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 Post subject: Best nForce4 Ultra (not SLI) board?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 4:26 pm 
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Hi, I'm looking to buy an nForce4 Ultra motherboard - don't need SLI and would rather have more PCI slots. My only requirements, really, are:

- passively cooled chipset
- Firewire
- serial port

Anyone have a recommendation? I am interested in the Gigabyte K8N Ultra-9 which seems to feature all of the above. What's more, I read in a usenet post that with the new BIOS it is able to reduce the CPU fan speed to 0 - something not all boards can do, if I understood correctly.

Opinions?

Thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 1:28 am 
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Location: Umea, Sweden.
Perhaps the Abit AN8 Ultra or AN8 v2.0, both have heatpipe chipset coolers.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:16 am 
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Location: Denmark, Europe
An8 v2 is with nforce4 4x, so you're going to want an8 ultra... should be good 8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:39 am 
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hightower wrote:
An8 v2 is with nforce4 4x, so you're going to want an8 ultra... should be good 8)

Neither has a serial port.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:55 am 
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I would go with the Gigabyte, unless you are serious about overclocking to the limits of your hardware (which I doubt, or else you wouldn't care about passive cooling).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 10:04 am 
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Redo wrote:
I would go with the Gigabyte, unless you are serious about overclocking to the limits of your hardware (which I doubt, or else you wouldn't care about passive cooling).


Not...entirely true. The Silent OTES heatpipe cooler is extremely effective, and handles fully upvolted nForce4 without any issue at all, and it is quite common for little chipset coolers' 40mm fans to die early from dust or whatnot, so I personally know a few overclockers who prefer larger passive chipset coolers, as we've (they and myself) have all been victims of dead chipset and/or VGA cooler fans.

Although we here at SPCR prefer fanless coolers for silence, many other people prefer fanless because it means one less component that can fail. A standard size fan is easy to replace if it fails (the larger fans don't tend fails as much, either), but 40mm and custom fan/cooler combinations are a pain to replace. Better to avoid such a thing in the first place.

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 10:35 am 
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I was referring to the Abit having more overclocking options then the Gigabyte, nothing to do with the chipset cooling. Overclockers generally don't get Gigabyte boards, just because the ram voltage options aren't as good compared to an Abit or DFI.

I look at Abit's heatpipe and it looks like it may get in the way of a Thermalright xp-120, but I'm not sure. If Abit's heatpipe gets in the way of a xp-120, I wouldn't buy the mobo.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:02 pm 
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I use an XP-120 on my AN8-SLI; the only real interference is that it's very difficult to install RAM after installing the XP-120. I recommend installing the RAM onto the board before installing the XP-120, and I highly recommend that all that be done before mounting the board into the case. It's not impossible to install RAM after the XP-120 is installed, but it's difficult.

Now, hoever, that the only orientation that works is with the XP-120's heatpipes pointed to the back of the system, with the overhang portion above the RAM. The good side to this is if you plan to overclock and buy something like Mushkin Redline or OCZ VX, the air from the CPU fan will be blowing right onto the upvolted memory.

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:07 pm 
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Redo wrote:
I was referring to the Abit having more overclocking options then the Gigabyte, nothing to do with the chipset cooling. Overclockers generally don't get Gigabyte boards, just because the ram voltage options aren't as good compared to an Abit or DFI.


Well my point is that you could be into serious overclocking and still care for passive cooling.

Redo wrote:
unless you are serious about overclocking to the limits of your hardware (which I doubt, or else you wouldn't care about passive cooling)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:20 pm 
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I could have worded it better, but my point was I don't see too many overclockers deciding on a mobo based on if the chipset has passive or fan cooling. Many will just buy an Abit or DFI and deal with the noise or use custom cooling.

Many overclockers aren't too concerned about noise, alot of the do buy Tornado's or Delta's :roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:53 pm 
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Location: Denmark, Europe
Quote:
Well my point is that you could be into serious overclocking and still care for passive cooling.
Well said, while im not into heavy overclocking, I still want some extra mhz out of my cpu - without raising vcore that is. And most people hate crappy chipset fans, even hardcore overclockers, so heatpipes are definitly the way ahead. Looking forward to my Silverstone Nt01 v2 is coming, and I can't wait to test Abits 955x AW8. Should be a good combo!
Quote:
Many overclockers aren't too concerned about noise, alot of the do buy Tornado's or Delta's
True - the extreme overclockers. But even that community is turning heads at the chipset fan on a8n-sli. Hell, most boards except intels' allows modest overclocking or with some sort of automatic 'overclocking for dummies' windows program.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 1:18 pm 
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Right, if you are a modest overclocker, the Gigabyte is fine. For heavy overclockers, the Gigabyte is out of the question. It has to do with the Gigabyte not having as many overclocking options as the Abit or DFI.

Then again (as I said before), heavy overclockers don't heavily base their mobo decision on a pre-installed passive northbridge cooler.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 1:41 pm 
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While Gigabyte isn't Abit or DFI when it comes to overclocking, it depends on the model. Previous, Gigabyte have sucked for overclocking. But they are improving and getting more options. The 955x Royal have heavy overclocking options and clocks well! I would also count Asus in the top with Abit and DFI, atleast with Intel (don't know about AMD).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 6:54 pm 
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Redo wrote:
Right, if you are a modest overclocker, the Gigabyte is fine. For heavy overclockers, the Gigabyte is out of the question. It has to do with the Gigabyte not having as many overclocking options as the Abit or DFI.

Then again (as I said before), heavy overclockers don't heavily base their mobo decision on a pre-installed passive northbridge cooler.


What's your definition of heavy overclocker? I plan to get at least 2.8 out of my San Diego (it's a 3700+) and I will definitely be relying on my board being able to drive the OCZ VX at at least 3.3 to get nice 7-2-2 2.0 1T timings out of it at whatever HTT I can hit, and I still chose the ABIT over the DFI precisely because of the passive cooler.

What I'm really trying to say is simply to try not to generalize; there are always exceptions, particularly in this case. As I said, I know plenty of people going for minimum 25% o/c that do everything they can to avoid active chipset cooling--it's a seriously weak link. Of course, the people I know are skilled, experienced overclockers who know it doesn't take active cooling on the chipset to achieve good overclocks.

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 7:53 pm 
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Location: Chicago
^^ I believe the Gigabyte only allows a .2v or .3v overvoltage on the DIMMs. You could always get the DDR booster, or just get a board that allows heavy over volting on the ram.


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