Help Choosing Motherboard

  izanagi 19:08 13 Jan 2003
  izanagi 19:08 13 Jan 2003

I'm looking into having a pc custom built for me but would like some impartial advise as to which motherboard to request. My budget is around £2200 and i am looking to get a P4 3.06 cpu, 1GHz DDR 333MHz RAM, ATI Radeon 9700 Pro, Soundblaster Audigy 2 and a 7200 rpm ATA 133 Hard Disk. I need to know does the motherboard have to support AGP 8x to use the 9700 Pro card as i am finding it difficult to find a board which supports 3GHz+ cpu, hyperthreading, with AGP 8x, ATA 133, as well as DDR RAM. It would also be handy to have at least 6 USB2 ports available.
Thanks in advance for your help

  temp003 05:08 14 Jan 2003

The only chipsets that support hyper-threading at the moment are those made by Intel itself. For DDR333, it's the 845PE, GE and GV (the last two with integrated graphics, not what you want). But they do not support AGP 8x. From the way you asked your question, you probably know all this.

Motherboards using the 845PE chipset will work fine with the Radeon 9700 Pro at AGP 4x. In fact there have been a lot of problems trying to run the card at 8x on mobos that supposedly support 8x. Even when it works at 8x, there's little gain in performance over 4x. So the 845PE chipset should be fine for your purposes.

The chipset itself only supports up to ATA 100. But again ATA 133 has little performance gain over ATA 100, and in any event will soon be overtaken by serial ATA.

Still, if you want ATA 133, individual mobo makers may add an ATA 133 controller to the mobo. The Asus P4PE series of mobos has an add-on which supports both S-ATA and ATA 133, which may be quite useful if you want to change to an S-ATA hdd in future. 4 USB 2 at the back with a connector for 2 more in front I think. Gigabyte has a GA-8PE667 Ultra for ATA133. I'm sure you can find other mobos. click here for Intel's mobo selector, put in your options and click show results to see what mobos are available for the specs you require (Intel's database may not be up to date - check individual mobo makers as well).

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