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 Post subject: A64 Motherboards - I'm Confused...
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 3:22 am 
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I'm looking to build my own PC for the first time, and I'm planning to go for an A64 Winchester 3000+ CPU-based system.

However, I'm totally confused as to which motherboards would suit my needs best, so I'd be really grateful for some guidance...

I'm planning to use the system for software development, so I really don't care about graphics cards (and am unlikely to in the future). In fact my sole requirement is that the graphics card (or even onboard graphics?) must have a DVI output. Which makes me think that a board that supports AGP is my best bet as there are cheaper low-end passive graphics cards for AGP than there are for PCIe?

My main concern for this system (and hence me posting about it on this forum) is that I want it to be quiet - so a passive northbridge cooler is a must (or at least the abiltiy to easily fit a passive heatsink to the northbridge).

I intend to fit an Artic Cooling Freezer 64 initially, but I want the mobo to give me the flexibility to experiment with (semi) passive cooling at a later date. So I would definitely like a board that supports undervolting, and it would be ideal if the board was compatible with the XP-120 (or any other passive cooling candidates).

So, to sum up, I'm after a mobo which meets the following requirements:
1. Socket 939
2. Only need AGP (but could go PCIe if there are cheap passive cards with DVI)
3. Passive Northbridge cooling OR an easy way to add it
4. Undervoltable board
5. Compatibility with XP-120 (ideally)

Any suggestions will be most gratefully received...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 4:32 am 
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I'm pleased with my Asus A8V Deluxe. I'm using it with that exact processor, undervolted, with an XP-120 (see sig for details), so it definitely meets your requirements.

The BIOS will, however, continue to tell you that the CPU is overvolted :roll: , but you never see it unless you're watching for it.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 6:58 am 
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Thanks for the reply Shriek.

The Asus A8V Deluxe sounds like it should meet my needs pretty well. Are there any other mobos I should be considering?

I note that the Asus A8V Deluxe is a VIA K8T800-based mobo. I seem to remember people recommending nVidia nForce3-based mobos a few months back when I first thought about building an A64-based systemone - have they gone out of favour now for some reason?

Also, I can't help but wonder if I'm better going for a PCIe equiped board in order to future-proof the system to some extent... But I imagine this would mean a more expensive motherboard(?) as well as a more expensive graphics card, and I can't envisage any non-gaming applications that are likely to warrant me upgrading my graphics card in the next 3-4 years...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 3:10 pm 
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I have been recommended this card: EQS A58K9-MLF. It is a PCI-e mobo but it has good onboard graphics (Radeon X300 PCI-e 128MB) so I would not need to buy a separate graphics card. The Micro-ATX version retails for £89, and if the full ATX board is not too much more then it seems to me that it might represent a good buy.

I'm a bit worried about whether an XP-120 would fit though... As I'd never even heard of EQS before, I'm not sure how I'd go about finding out. Any ideas???[/url]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 5:25 pm 
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That EQS mobo doesn't have a DVI connector, but a 15-pin D-sub (aka VGA) connector.

If I knew that wouldn't be a real problem, then I would have recommended the RS480M2-IL from MSI the first time I read this thread. It's almost the same as the micro-ATX version of that EQS board, but from a more reputable brand.

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5) Intel D525MW | Intel 320 40GB | Vertex II 180GB


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2005 3:02 am 
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Tibors - I am after a full size ATX mobo, rather than a micro-ATX one - it just so happened that the guy I spoke to only knew the price for the micro-ATX version.

To be honest, I'm still very confused about what I need to be looking for...

The guy I spoke to said I should be able to get a very cheap card that just provides a DVI output - hence me considering a mobo that doesn't have an onboard DVI output. It just seems to me that if I can get a mobo which has onboard graphics for about the same price as a mobo with no onboard graphics, then I am saving the cost of a separate graphics card (and the cheapest PCIe cards with DVI output that I found were £40+).

Of course, ideally, I'd like a board with DVI output as well - but I've yet to stumble upon one of them.

However, I'm a complete newbie to all this, and I'm still very much open to suggestions


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 6:31 pm 
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gavinm wrote:
The Asus A8V Deluxe sounds like it should meet my needs pretty well.


I've been looking into this for some months, and I am going with the Asus A8V. Mainly because its a full size ATX and will accommodate an XP-120. It seems to be good for cooling quietly. I recall that comparable nForce boards came with an active northbridge cooler and only provided 1%-3% performance gains.

I've pondered the AGP vs PCI-e question. AGP far outstrips my graphics needs. If I'm not mistaken it outstrips the graphics needs of most all gamers too. It may be, however, that 1x and 4xPCI-e cards will be on the market two years from now, but it is hard to say. My conclusion for this question was that the first thing on this board to become obsolete will be the memory bandwidth. So even if I were to go with PCI-e, my motherboard would not be future proofed.

Another motherboard I've considered is the MSI NEO2-F and the MSI NEO2-FIR. These are both K8T800 Pro boards. There almost the same as the A8V. I did not go with this board because I read that one of the NEO2s did not have undervolting options in the bios. Perhaps with AMD cool 'n quiet technology this would not be an issue. I'm not too sure how important undervolting is, especially for novice computer builders like myself. One potential problem with the A8V is that when one adds a PCI sound card, the integrated sound system is disabled. Apparently is impossible to have both a PCI sound card and the integrated sound system run simultaneously. I'd like to know if anyone could recommend an MSI NEO2 over an Asus A8V.

-halfpower


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 7:29 pm 
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Having jumped into building a PCI-e based system, I can sum up my experiences as follows:

1. For most desktop users, there is no significant performance difference between the chipsets. For servers, the Nforce4 has some clear advantages. Not too many high performance servers can afford the luxury of quiet computing, so I doubt this is a factor for most people here.

2. PCI-e is not really more expensive than AGP at this time.

3. PCI-e boards are relatively new, and have a lot more bugs than AGP boards. A lot more bugs. A lot more bugs. Same with SATA based disk drives and controllers.

4. Future Proof is vastly over-rated, since a motherboard only costs about $125, and AGP video cards, and other PCI cards (sound, USB, Firewire, TV, etc) will be around a very long time so long as Ebay is still in business. There are no desktop add-on PCI-E cards other than video that I am aware of, which can be a problem if your PCI-E board has only 2 or 3 traditional PCI slots. By the time that AGP video and traditional PCI add-on cards are hard to come by, your processor, memory, and disk subsystem will be obsolete anyway.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 11:34 pm 
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The first to appear (which already exists as far as i know) are gigabit lan cards and hardware raid5 cards. Those things can benefit from the extra bandwith pci-e can offer.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 11:40 pm 
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madman2003 wrote:
The first to appear (which already exists as far as i know) are gigabit lan cards and hardware raid5 cards. Those things can benefit from the extra bandwith pci-e can offer.

Yes, but notice that I said there are no desktop PCI-E cards other than video. The prices of the cards you mentioned are outrageous and only designed for high-end servers. Actually, most PCI-E motherboards include on-board gigabit Ethernet, although an amazing number of them don't work correctly.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 1:58 am 
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Shriek wrote:
The BIOS will, however, continue to tell you that the CPU is overvolted :roll: , but you never see it unless you're watching for it.


How are you ascertaining exactly what the core voltage is? I'm only asking because the P4P800-E Deluxe has a BIOS that *seems* to allow under and over volting. But when I view the voltage from Windows the core is at 1.6xx regardless what I have set it to in the BIOS (actually, I have only attempted to undervolt the core, so I'm not sure exactly what Windows would report if I tried an overvolt. But I am certain that undervolting always shows as 1.6xx). I've noticed this by using CPU-Z and Asus Probe.

So how to I get an accurate reading of core voltage?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 8:18 am 
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Tibors wrote:
That EQS mobo doesn't have a DVI connector, but a 15-pin D-sub (aka VGA) connector.

If I knew that wouldn't be a real problem, then I would have recommended the RS480M2-IL from MSI the first time I read this thread. It's almost the same as the micro-ATX version of that EQS board, but from a more reputable brand.


Dear Tibors, none of the RS480 motherboard in the market now comes with DVI connection onboard, it is all with D-sub only :)

EQS always the first one coming out with ATi chipset motherboard in Europe as far as I know...the first time we have ATi A3, A4, until RS300, RS350 and now the RS480 and upcoming RS400 sample is already with me today :)

EQS comes with 3 years warranty and direct technical support down to end-user.

EQS maybe a new brand name to most people but our factory have been in the motherboard market for more than 20 years and specialised in VGA card as well....

You can check one of our engineering sample review here http://www.hexus.net/content/reviews/re ... 9JRD05NTk=

Cheers :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 8:52 am 
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i was happy when i learned about the eqs rs480 boards being released, however (like almost every other manufacturer) there was no provision for overclocking. right now i've got a checklist of 8 or so micro-atx amd motherboards and none of them allow overclocking, bar the foxconn nforce4 with its obnoxious chipset placement (and fan) and far fewer features than ati boards.

if gigabyte's upcoming k8a480m doesn't allow overclocking either, i guess i'll go with a full-atx via-chipset board. it still boggles my mind that the ati chipset performs so well in the reference board (reached 320+ htt speeds easily), is apparently cheaper than the nforce4, draws far less power, and yet manufacturers adamantly refuse to allow the htt bus to be changed. emails to the companies are replied with "we want the first-gen ati boards to be stable, not overclocked", but then why did all the first-gen nforce3 and nforce4 boards allow overclocking out-of-the-box?

sapphire's upcoming high-performance ati-chipset board is being awaited by the overclocking community (see xtremesystems.org) as the new high-end high-overclock board of choice - many dfi nforce4 users are already putting their boards up for sale awaiting the sapphire ati board. hopefully the success of that will convince other companies to allow overclocking on their ati boards. unfortunately it seems most ati boards use clock generators so crippled that no bios update could allow htt speed changes anyway, a short-term planning decision that'll make me buy the first micro-atx ati board i can find that allows overclocking. that means the msi rs480m2, ecs rs 480-m, colorful ati xpress 200g, jetway a200gdms and eqs m56k9-mlf are all off my purchase list.

wow what a rant that was :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 11:31 pm 
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Wedge wrote:
Shriek wrote:
The BIOS will, however, continue to tell you that the CPU is overvolted :roll: , but you never see it unless you're watching for it.


How are you ascertaining exactly what the core voltage is? I'm only asking because the P4P800-E Deluxe has a BIOS that *seems* to allow under and over volting. But when I view the voltage from Windows the core is at 1.6xx regardless what I have set it to in the BIOS (actually, I have only attempted to undervolt the core, so I'm not sure exactly what Windows would report if I tried an overvolt. But I am certain that undervolting always shows as 1.6xx). I've noticed this by using CPU-Z and Asus Probe.


So how to I get an accurate reading of core voltage?


Bump for my question Image

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 11:51 pm 
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yeha wrote:
i was happy when i learned about the eqs rs480 boards being released, however (like almost every other manufacturer) there was no provision for overclocking....


Dear Yeha, at this stage, none of the RS480 in the market comes with REAL overclocking features...starting this quater, we will have more ATi chipset motherboard coming with overclocking with FSB adjustment + voltage adjustment as well...the current RS480 is mainly aim for MCE 2005 system builder :) That is why most of the people seldom heard of EQS because our motherboard mostly exist in a system instead of going through distribution market

I will keep on posting when EQS overclockable ATi chipset motherboard coming out...we have all those board in testing already :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 5:16 pm 
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Location: Sydney, Australia
I've got the A8V Deluxe myself
CG revision Winnie 3000+
2 sticks of Geil 512Mb

in terms of your original post:
- undervolting is achievable; I'm using RMClock to undervolt to 0.85V @ 1GHz idle, stable (I'm planning also to undervolt at load; currently at 1.4V @ 1.8GHz; I've read that someone managed to undervolt to 1.1V and stable at load)
- note that undervolting is done at Windows level; BIOS doesn't accept both CnQ and undervolting
- BIOS similarly has problems with fan speed monitoring. I've disabled my Q-Fan option and manually changing fan speeds with SpeedFan
- XP-120 can fit as per Thermalright and one other person I know of has it in his A8V (bought this mobo with same intention)
- AGP is fine for your needs. There really is no practical difference with AGP vs PCI-e. I got the 9250 with DVI output, passive heatsink, AUD$60.

hope this helps


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2005 10:37 am 
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Tibors wrote:
[...] I would have recommended the RS480M2-IL from MSI [...] It's almost the same as the micro-ATX version of that EQS board, but from a more reputable brand.

This is not so much to the OP, but to anybody else who stumbles over this thread. I changed my opinion. If I would be buying now and could get it, then I would go for the EQS mobo and not for the MSI mobo.
  • The 4-pin P4 connector sits in a slightly better place.
  • The header for the COM port sits in a place where you can actually use it.
  • It has a PCI-Express x1 slot.
If they would have put the video memory next to the Northbridge on this board, it would be a winner IMHO.

review of the EQS M56K9-MLF Motherboard @ bit-tech.net

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2005 6:10 pm 
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Shuttle has come out with their ST20G5 model SFF which is based on the RS480 chipset, has DVI and VGA, and I believe it also supports overclocking and it definitely supports undervolting. A google search for ST20G5 will reveal many more details than I can remember right now. Its about 375USD delivered to your door.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2005 8:59 pm 
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Whatever you do, don't get the DFI nf4 Ultra series (the placement of the chipset is brain dead. It's almost impossible to use an unmodified good chipset cooler at the same time with many bigger VGA coolers).

I'm hating my DFI nf4 more day by day (already tried four different chipset heatsink variations, some posted here and some invented by myself - all have failed for space or coooling reasons).


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