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How do I pick a motherboard for my CPU?


Alvin Ramard
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I'm just wondering how those with more experience go about choosing a motherboard to go with a CPU.

 

I'm trying to put together a parts list for a new personal development server. I've picked my CPU and now I need to decide on a motherboard, so i go through the Power Search option on Newegg and pick the options I want. I then look at the search results; look at the best ratings in my price range; review the specs; review the reviews; tweek my search criteria; etc ..., until I find what I think is my best option. Somewhere in that process I'll also google the item to see what else I can find about it.

 

Is that how you guys do it? Is there a better site I should be looking at find the right board?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Alvin

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Find few companies that you want to stay with (for example I like eVGA, DFI, & Gigabyte) and buy whatever is cheapest that meets your requirements. Once you settle on one, looks for some reputable reviews (such as Anandtech or Tech Report, not joeschmoe.com) to see if that one works. If it sounds good, buy it. If not, go to the next one on the list. At least that's what I do.

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Yea, I typically stick to a few companies I'm familiar with. Like the BYOB guys, I re-purpose 'till the cows come home, so I like to make sure that whatever I buy will work well for a very long time. Today, those companies include Gigabyte, ASUS and Intel. I've become very familiar with their support sites, RMA process and updates. It usually takes an incredible deal or some other compelling reason before I'll deviate and try a different brand.

 

Other than that, it's kinda like walking around with a stick to find water. I usually start on enthusiast sites like Anandtech, Tom's Hardware etc. to figure out what platform I want (socket, chipset, etc.) and to read reviews of individual motherboards. I'll also use the NewEgg power search to filter down to motherboards with various features and either Bing or Google the model numbers. I'll wander around like this until I find a motherboard to get excited about. Depending on the build, this process can take a few minutes or it can take a few months...

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Absolutely agree with sticking with what has performed best for you in the past. On a side note, I will generally never buy a product if a rebate is involved just form being burned too many times in the past. Just not worth the hassle. I probably waited 3-4 weeks to find the best components for my HTPC that did not rely on rebates.

 

I'm a newbie to component builds and I read the reviews and can generally sort the bad reviews based on bad practices by the end user. Thanks to the BYOB guys and everyone here, I think I put together a pretty rock solid set of parts...now the waiting as it will take a week to get to me.

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Absolutely agree with sticking with what has performed best for you in the past. On a side note, I will generally never buy a product if a rebate is involved just form being burned too many times in the past. Just not worth the hassle. I probably waited 3-4 weeks to find the best components for my HTPC that did not rely on rebates.

 

I'm a newbie to component builds and I read the reviews and can generally sort the bad reviews based on bad practices by the end user. Thanks to the BYOB guys and everyone here, I think I put together a pretty rock solid set of parts...now the waiting as it will take a week to get to me.

 

 

How about talking about your build in detail on the BYOB podcast? I'd love to get the skinny.

 

Jim

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Thanks guys.

 

I'm looking at my 3rd build sinec Sept 2007. The previous 2 were with Gigabyte motherboards. This upcoming one, if I go through with it, will probably by Gigabyte also. If my last motherboard (Gigabyte GA-H55-USB3) could handle Raid 5 I'd use it again. I don't need Raid 5 right now, but I'd like to have that option later. I may still go with this same board anyway.

 

This upcoming build is for a server on which I could run multiple virtual servers, most likely SQL servers. I'm probably going to use an i7-870 (LGA 1156) with a minimum of 8 Gigs of ram. I considered using a LGA 1366 socket instead, but that seemed to drive the total system cost up too much. I still have to decide what size board to use so I can pick a case. I'd like to use a small case since I'll likely be carrying this to user group meetings.

 

Okay, back to searching. Catch y'all later.

 

How about talking about your build in detail on the BYOB podcast? I'd love to get the skinny.

 

Jim

 

 

hmmmmmm ..... let's wait till I get it built first. Guess we could also talk about my i3-540 Vail build too. ;-)

Edited by Alvin Ramard
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Guest no-control

I've been through boards like toilet paper so I've honed a sixth sense for what is good and not through trial and error (and wallet CPR). Just kidding!

 

I'm not brand loyal when it come to motherboards. I've used boards from every manfactuer on the market right now from cheap to stupidly expensive. Usually the driving force is feature set do I want IGP or discreet? That sort of thing.

 

I usually end up with ASUS or Gigabyte just due to features I want. But sometimes eVGA and ZOTAC fit the bill better. sometimes it just ends up being which one has better review/color/price that week. I also buy A LOT of used/recert/RMA return parts. I don't buy new often as resale hurts more. Since I change parts constantly I tend to not have to exercise warranties etc..my luck has been pretty good so far.

 

You have to try pretty hard to find a turd of a motherboard nowdays.

 

Is this DB server for testing or production? I wouldn't use consumer grade stuff for a big VM server unless I didn't care about about it going down. That being said I wouldn't build this as an 1156 I would go for the 1366. Long term cost is going to be lower and flexibility of the platform is higher. Not to mention the 1156 platform is going away in a few months. There are a TON of 1366 systems out there on the cheap right now that would make for a decent VM server.

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Personally I look for brand and features and lastly price. Value is important but in a given series they do not vary much so I put price last. I have worked with most of the motherboard companies and although their features are the similar, the end result is not always the same. For that reason, I only buy Gigabyte and EVGA as they have given me the best results in the past based on price, performance, features, and mostly reliability and compatibility. Asus is good but they always screw something up in there design and are typically more complex to setup. MSI, Biostart, and EFI have been a hit and miss so I stay away from them. When it all comes down to it, eVga and Gigabyte fit the bill better. Presently, I have 7 Gigabyte boards and 1 eVga. The eVga is the only X58 board I will use and Gigabyte for the 1156/775 boards.

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How about talking about your build in detail on the BYOB podcast? I'd love to get the skinny.

 

Jim

 

No problem, I would like to. Let me get the parts in, which should be by this time next week, lay out a plan of action and then I can discuss. All I can do now is the "why" part of the equation.

 

John

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If this is going to be portable, then I'd start with the case next. Apevia, Silverstone and Lian-Li make various "LAN Party" oriented cases designed for portability. This will help you pick between mini-ITX or microATX. I'd also not worry about RAID 5 capabilities on your motherboard. Performance will be too slow for your needs unless you have a separate RAID controller with onboard memory.

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