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alexkOffline
Post subject: Motherboard + CPU + RAM recommendations  PostPosted: 24.04.2011, 23:06



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I'm looking to replace a dead Epox 9NPA+ Ultra ATX AMD socket 939 motherboard in a mid-size tower built 5 years ago. The motherboard was already replaced under warranty 2 years ago and Epox seems to have disappeared. Looking at the current availability of socket 939 MB's, I'm thinking of replacing the CPU/MB/RAM combo. This box has a SATA 3.0 HD, a couple of IDE CD/DVD-RW drives and an nVidia 6600GT PCIe graphics card. Any recommendations for Aptosid? AMD or Intel? Motherboard brands? USB 3.0? It would be great to be able to use Coreboot, but the supported motherboards list looks limiting.
 
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slhOffline
Post subject: RE: Motherboard + CPU + RAM recommendations  PostPosted: 24.04.2011, 23:14



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AMD and Intel should have similar support (CPU, chipset and onboard graphics), but serve different performance (and price-) ranges.

RAM? Easy, whatever fits into your mainboard (which should be DDR3 these days, especially as it costs less than half of the price for DDR2 per GB). For Linux >=2 GB should still meet most requirements (unless you make heavy use of virtualization), but I'd suggest >=4 GB¹ for a new system and 8 GB, if it fits into your budget; to get best performance from dual-channel configurations, you need sets of identical RAM modules.

Looking at the availability of (spinning) HDDs exceeding 2.0 TiB (even if you don't need those now²), I would strongly suggest picking mainboards with native UEFI support (and not games like "hybrid-EFI™", which is merely a standard BIOS with some hacks to get windows booting on these disks). Coreboot sounds great in theory, but I doubt using it for a "standard desktop" (you cannot boot DOS/ windows from coreboot, unless you add a qemu payload to emulate a real BIOS) makes that much sense, even ignoring the problem of finding a supported mainboard.

Personally I wouldn't pay a premium for USB 3.0 support, as device availability simply isn't a convincing reason, yet (pretty much the only device class which can profit from USB 3.0 are external harddisks, for which eSATA is still better suited) - but if your (otherwise) preferred mainboard supports it, why not...?

In my opinion, it's always best to spec your actual needs (plus some limited future safety³ for wear parts (HDDs), e.g. by the time you might want to upgrade CPU or RAM, sockets or RAM technologies have likely changed already - and you'd pay 2-3 times as much for compatible gear, than for a complete replacement set) and then match that to your price expectations.

¹: you need to install a 64 bit system (amd64) to make use of more than ~3.2 GB RAM.
²: we have no idea if you could install aptosid to HDDs exceeding 2 TiB already, likely not, without some installer changes
³: to put it short, there is no such thing as "future safety" - as you (and I) have experienced after buying s939 (compared to significantly cheaper s754~) based mainboards. The same goes for DDR-->DDR2-->DDR3 RAM, yes you can still get either, but for 'insane' prices.
 
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ppqOffline
Post subject: RE: Motherboard + CPU + RAM recommendations  PostPosted: 25.04.2011, 19:33



Joined: 2011-04-24
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Hi,

i can recommend AM3 boards by Asus. I have a M4A88TD-M Evo with integrated HD4250 IGP which works directly with fglrx - i never experienced any problems.
The M4A88TD-M Evo features 5 SATA6G ports, eSATA, a PCIex1 USB3.0 controller-card and 128MB built-in graphic memory (no need to share the RAM).
And a cheap AMD Athlon II X2, 240 or 250 or something. The 240e and 250e have a lower TDP (selected chips --> same performance) but are a bit more expensive. The "boxed" cooler is quite okay.
That's enough performance for a reasonable price. You may want to get a new PSU, too, the new ones are much more efficient. be quiet!, Cougar, Enermax, Superflower and Seasonic are good brands imho. 400W really is much more than enough.

Unfortunately, there are very few AM3/AM3+ boards with UEFI by now. The Gigabyte GA-870A-UD3 Rev. 3.1 is one. It looks nice, but it's pretty expensive...
 
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slhOffline
Post subject: Re: RE: Motherboard + CPU + RAM recommendations  PostPosted: 25.04.2011, 19:57



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      ppq wrote:
Unfortunately, there are very few AM3/AM3+ boards with UEFI by now. The Gigabyte GA-870A-UD3 Rev. 3.1 is one.
No, it's not "DualBIOS™ 3TB+ HDD Support (Hybrid EFI Technology)". The problem with these hacks, is future software compatibility - will it work with Linux, what about Windows 8? This tries to be smart (just do enough to make Windows 7/ SP1 boot), by sticking to the standard BIOS as much as possible in order to be the first to market and to keep engineering costs low, but no other vendor has taken this approach so far, so it's the odd child with little future.

Due to shear market volume, traditional BIOS implementations (support only for HDDs << 2TiB) will always be supported (in the forseeable future).

For new mainboard generations targetted to support HDDs with >= 2TiB, the industry has chosen UEFI && GPT and OS vendors have implemented support for these (Windows >= Vista SP1, Linux, xBSD).

How well mixtures of these will work, or if they mess up detection alghorithms, lose data or simply crash and burn is simply unknown; maybe it just works, but it's certainly a risk (especially as BIOS writers only test specific versions of windows).
 
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seasonsOffline
Post subject: RE: Re: RE: Motherboard + CPU + RAM recommendations  PostPosted: 26.04.2011, 17:23



Joined: 2010-09-13
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My favorite AMD mobo maker is Biostar. Specifically, this board: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813138303
I've never had an issue flashing the BIOS with a USB stick on Biostar boards (and other AMI BIOS boards).
RAM: DDR3, you don't need anything fancy.
CPU: just look at the list of AMD AM3 CPU's and pick one.
 
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alexkOffline
Post subject:   PostPosted: 20.06.2011, 20:57



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After a delay of mostly inaction, I finally took this project up again and ordered some parts (not yet received). Although I was happy with AMD, I decided to go Intel for this build. Went with the new Z68 chipset, Intel DZ68DB board with a core i5-2500k cpu and 2x4GB 1.5V 1600MHz RAM, along with a SATA DVD-RW as PATA has mostly disappeared. Add-on PATA controllers cost as much as a SATA DVD-RW.

It looks like there's no Linux support for the SSD caching or Lucid Virtu features of a Z68 board, but everything else should be pretty well supported. I assume you can do RAID with this board in Linux, though I have never yet used RAID. The Z68 chipset allows access to the graphics functions in the CPU, overclockability and costs little more than P67/H67.

The i5-2500k cpu is unlocked, has the HD3000 graphics vs. HD2000 and can be had for little more than the i5-2500.

It looks like you can still get used AMD socket 939 boards for prices like $23 shipped, so maybe I'll resurrect some of my older components for a second cheap system.
 
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sx9Offline
Post subject:   PostPosted: 20.06.2011, 22:15



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My favorite manufacturer still is ASUS.
They have well designed high-quality mainboards with nice technology inside.
The most of my PCs didn't last long but my ASUS Laptop still has been surviving a few years. So it HAS to be quite solid. Wink
http://usa.asus.com/Motherboards
Nice AMD-based board: http://usa.asus.com/Motherboards/AMD_AM ... V_Extreme/
Intel X58-based: http://usa.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_ ... /Intel_X58
Intel Z68: http://usa.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_ ... /Intel_Z68

My personal favorite (perfect with Intel Core i7 990X):
http://usa.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_ ... k_Edition/

_________________
My new self-made computer:
Intel Core i7-2600k
ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z (Mainboard)
2x4GB DDR3 RAM
ATI Radeon HD 6770
OCZ Vertex 3 60GB (SSD)
Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARX 2TB (HDD)
...
aptosid x86_64
 
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alexkOffline
Post subject:   PostPosted: 21.06.2011, 14:30



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      sx9 wrote:

The Asus P8Z68-V was on my short list of Z68 boards in that price range. I'm not much of a gamer or a big overclocker. The other boards on that short list were the MSI Z68MA-ED55 (microATX) and the ASRock Z68 Extreme4. I like the DIGI+ VRM, main issue with the Asus board and other similar ones is a reported problem waking up from suspend mode, which I also had with my previous board, but might not exist in all configurations and may get fixed with an upgrade sometime.

I ordered some of my parts from Newegg, not all. Newegg dropped the price $20 on the RAM I ordered prior to delivery and refunded me the price difference when I asked, which was eggcellent.
 
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DeepDayzeOffline
Post subject:   PostPosted: 21.06.2011, 14:44



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      alexk wrote:
      sx9 wrote:

The Asus P8Z68-V was on my short list of Z68 boards in that price range. I'm not much of a gamer or a big overclocker. The other boards on that short list were the MSI Z68MA-ED55 (microATX) and the ASRock Z68 Extreme4. I like the DIGI+ VRM, main issue with the Asus board and other similar ones is a reported problem waking up from suspend mode, which I also had with my previous board, but might not exist in all configurations and may get fixed with an upgrade sometime.

I ordered some of my parts from Newegg, not all. Newegg dropped the price $20 on the RAM I ordered prior to delivery and refunded me the price difference when I asked, which was eggcellent.


I been buying from Newegg for past 15 years...great deals!
 
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diblOffline
Post subject:   PostPosted: 21.06.2011, 14:47



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Although you can find complaints about quality problems with Asus boards, I have bought 5 or 6 of them over the past three years with no issues at all. I built my current desktop system on this one:

http://usa.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_ ... 6/P6X58DE/

It works good -- the aptosid root filesystem is on a SSD and I put a pair of WD1002FAEX drives on the Marvell 6 GiB/s controller and made a btrfs filesystem on them, and that is my data storage. i-7 950 CPU and 6GB of G.Skill ripjaws memory. Very fast.
 
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dptOffline
Post subject:   PostPosted: 21.06.2011, 17:28



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Have they done away with the onboard SUBD-9M COM PORT(S) and the SUBD-25F PARALLEL PORT?
Shortly I shall be looking fpr CPU/Monitor to replace my old desktop.
Since it shall be ON most of the time, I will be looking for something Lo-Power,
but should be able to handle 22", 16X9 Displays. LED backlit Display only.

_________________
In a lunatic asylum, everyone thinks that he is the doctor.
 
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DeepDayzeOffline
Post subject:   PostPosted: 21.06.2011, 17:53



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      dpt wrote:
Have they done away with the onboard SUBD-9M COM PORT(S) and the SUBD-25F PARALLEL PORT?
Shortly I shall be looking fpr CPU/Monitor to replace my old desktop.
Since it shall be ON most of the time, I will be looking for something Lo-Power,
but should be able to handle 22", 16X9 Displays. LED backlit Display only.


I think you can get USB to serial cables if you need a serial port connector even a USB to parallel cable if you need to hook up an older printer to such systems
 
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diblOffline
Post subject:   PostPosted: 21.06.2011, 17:58



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You can find low-end boards with a 9-pin serial port: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813138293

As deepdayze says, there are many kinds of adapters to go from USB to serial: http://www.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage. ... _Id=459431

But I have not seen a parallel port on a new motherboard in years.
 
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slhOffline
Post subject:   PostPosted: 21.06.2011, 18:14



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PS/2-, Serial- or parallel ports are no longer included into the chipsets of the latest mainboard generations, so if a vendor still wants to offer them, they have to solder a separate discrete LPC chip onto their mainboard - which most vendors simply don't do anymore.
 
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DeepDayzeOffline
Post subject:   PostPosted: 21.06.2011, 18:15



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      slh wrote:
PS/2-, Serial- or parallel ports are no longer included into the chipsets of the latest mainboard generations, so if a vendor still wants to offer them, they have to solder a separate discrete LPC chip onto their mainboard - which most vendors simply don't do anymore.


True, or get an expansion card that offer the ports or use USB cables
 
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