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Old 06-28-2007, 07:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Motherboard Questions & Help Me Find a Mobo

1. if you have a *big* Video Card (such as EVGA 8800GTS/X) in a PCIEx16 slot, will it block you from using an adjacent PCI/PCIE slot? I need to be sure that I will be able to fit everything I need on the board and can plan for space/arrangement.

2. What are the differences between nForce 650i and 680i chipsets? I want a technical answer here, not "it's a better value" or "it isn't worth the money."

3. What motherboard would you recommend, given the following requirements?:

* MUST be ATX Form Factor
* MUST be sturdy and reliable. I plan to keep it for several years.
* MUST have AT MINIMUM 2 PCI slots and 2 PCIEx16 slots.
* 3 PCI slots are preferred, as would be another PCIE slot.
* MUST be an nVIDIA 650i or 680i chipset and SLI-ready
* MUST have AT MINIMUM 6 Internal SATA and 1 PATA/IDE.
* 7+ SATA is better.
* MUST have SATA RAID Controller with RAID1/0/0+1.
* RAID5 is a big plus if it has 7+ SATA, JBOD would be nice, but not really necessary.
* MUST be Socket 775, and support both Intel Dual and Quad Core Processors.
* MUST be overclockable.
* The Easier it is to overclock, the better.
* Should have a good Northbridge heatsink that is parallel with front-back airflow.
* it would be nice if it wasn't an eye-bleeder and had an aesthetic color scheme, since it will be going in a case with a window.
* The More USB, the Merrier.
* Value is nice, but Performance is more important, and anything under $300 is acceptable. Please no suggestions of "Well, it doesn't meet your requirements, but this is cheaper!"

My current cooling setup is a CoolerMaster CM Stacker Full Tower with 3x 120mm fans in front, 1x 120mm fan in back, 1x 80mm fan on top, the CrossFlow fan, and a Zalman 9700 CPU Cooler.

These are some motherboards I've been considering, but am unsure as to the usability and reliability. I'd like feedback from people who have had experience with them:

Newegg.com - XFX MB-N680-ISH 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI Intel Quad Core Ready Motherboard NEW A+ REVISION - Retail
($199.99 after Rebates) Note the perpendicular Northbridge heatsink... definately not ideal. Also, reviews are sketchy....

Newegg.com - ASUS P5N32-E SLI LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
($209.99 with Instant Discount) Again questionable Northbridge cooling, and bad NewEgg reviews.

Newegg.com - ABIT IN9 32X-MAX LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
($279.99 with Instant Discount) Still not sure about that Northbridge, but at least it's bigger... expensive.

Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-N680SLI-DQ6 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
($248.99 with Instant Discount) Chipset Heatsink right behind the CPU, where the CPU cooler will be blowing hot air. Also, ugly.

Newegg.com - DFI LP UT NF680I LT SLI-T2 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i LT SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
($279.99 with Instant Discount) Something about cooling complications... could I fit the Zalman on there? Looks nice otherwise...

Newegg.com - ASUS Striker Extreme LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX The Ultimate Gaming Motherboard - Retail
($329.99) Too Expensive... but could probably be persuaded if it's worth it.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-28-2007, 07:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Motherboard Questions & Help Me Find a Mobo

Yes, the 8800 would cover an adjacent slot.
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Old 06-28-2007, 07:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Motherboard Questions & Help Me Find a Mobo

I would definitely recommend the MSI P6N Platinum.

The difference between the 650i and 680i chipsets, is mostly features, and 680i supporting SLI x16 mode. The 680i motherboards usually has more USB, SATA, LAN ports, etc.....I'd still recommend the 650i....because 1. It's cheaper and will perform just as well as the 680i chipset....2. 650i actually beats the 680i in SLI performance, according to this article:
Nvidia nForce 650i SLI vs. nForce 680i SLI - TechSpot

Another suggestion for the 650i chipset is the P5N32-E Plus 650i.
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Old 06-28-2007, 07:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Motherboard Questions & Help Me Find a Mobo

Good to know... thanks for the info. Which slot will it eclipse? the one above or below? or does it depend on the card?

This now brings up the issue of making sure that the motherboard has at least 2 PCI slots that are NOT eclipsed by either SLI PCIEx16 port.... hmm...

B1gapl: what is SLI x16 mode, and what does it do?

That P6N looks really slick, my one main beef with it being that it has only 4 internal SATA ports. This means that after putting in my 4 SATA HDDs in RAID0+1, I would have only space for IDE drives, 3 of them after my DVD burner. As long as I never ned another internal SATA connecter, I guess it would work. Any word on the overclockability of that board with G.Skill and an E6600?
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Old 06-28-2007, 07:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Motherboard Questions & Help Me Find a Mobo

the slot below
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Old 06-28-2007, 08:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Motherboard Questions & Help Me Find a Mobo

Well I guess then that rules out...
XFX MB-N680-ISH
ASUS P5N32-E
ABIT IN9 32X-MAX
GIGABYTE GA-N680SLI-DQ6
ASUS Striker Extreme

... well, ****... looks like only the MSI P6N and DFI LP UT NF680i are left of what's been mentioned in this thread so far... any other recommendations, or is that it?
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Old 06-28-2007, 08:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Motherboard Questions & Help Me Find a Mobo

some of the newer Mobos have the slots spaced farther away from the PCIx16 slots so the the video card will not cover them, but not all.
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Old 06-28-2007, 09:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Motherboard Questions & Help Me Find a Mobo

whoa Cunjo....edit your last post. Use shizzle...

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Originally Posted by Cunjo
B1gapl: what is SLI x16 mode, and what does it do?
SLI x16 mode, is the most allowed bandwidth, in the PCIe x16 slots. The 680i chipset allows for two x16 slots, running the full x16 mode in SLI....but at this point right now, graphic cards cannot even use the full x16 bandwidth. The 650i chipset allows two x16 slots, but running in SLI x8 mode, with the two slots. So it splits the 16 lanes into two.
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Old 06-28-2007, 09:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Motherboard Questions & Help Me Find a Mobo

lol fo shizzle my nizzles in the hizzle!
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Old 06-28-2007, 09:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Motherboard Questions & Help Me Find a Mobo

fo rillz?
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