Thursday, June 22, 2006

My New PC: The Motherboard

While it is a key piece of the puzzle, a lot of factors go into the motherboard selection. And in the end you have to make an educated leap of faith.

I'm new to overclocking, but I know my way around the components and am a quick study. I don't want to spend my life learning about the nitty gritty details of overlcocking or endlessy tweaking. Overclocking is strictly a learning experience and a way to squeeze a bit more value into my pc budget. These statements may seam irrelevent to the conversation, but they are actually important factors in making the motherboard choice.

From this position, I can derive the following guidelines for my motherboard selection:
  1. Established Motherboard maker that has a track record in the overclocking arena
  2. A Motherboard which clearly states it's support for the Intel 805 CPU
  3. Support from formums that real people have made this combination work
  4. A reasonable price point
Another key choice that has to be made is around graphics. Specifically do you want to have the option to support Dual Graphics cards (NVidia SLI or ATI Crossfire). I personally have had good luck with the NVidia graphics lines and have had more driver issues with systems based on ATI. So, I prefer NVidia. NVidia's SLI is also a bit cheaper to implement. On the SLI front, I want the option to go SLI, but will not do so for the foreseeable future. As long as the price is right, this will give me another route in the future to economically stretch my PC for another year or two.

These factors all lead me to NewEgg's product search facility to start to narrow the choices. After some reading, I decide that Asus, Abit, and Gigabyte make motherboards that I would be intersted in, but the prices and reviews vary widely. Asus seems to be getting good play in most of the forums, and they offer several intersting choices. Finally, buried in the middle of the NewEgg forum I find that someone else has successfully married the Intel 805 with fairly inexpensive Asus P5ND2-SLI ($88.99 at NewEgg). Furthermore, this person was also a novice overclocker and had been able to easily overlock the 805 by 20%.

The other choices from Asus were considerably mkore expensive and added features that I don't need. So, Choice made: Motherboard is the ASUS P5ND2=SLI. There were several good alternatives here, but I had to choose one.

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