Which Micro ATX Athlon mobo is best?

  NinkyRudes 18:59 04 Feb 2003

I want to replace the mobo in my Emachines 700 celeron with another micro ATX mobo, which will accept at least 512Mb PC2100/PC2700 DDR, preferably 333Mhz FSB AthlonXP processors (I haven't decided which one yet). It also needs at least a 4x AGP slot and 3 PCI slots. I will upgrade the case later, but I am saving up for an attractive one, so I need the internal components first.
I will also need to upgrade my PSU from 150w to 300w. Are they a standard size? I intend to carry on using my (new) LG combo drive, my Seagate ST320413A 20Gb 5,200rpm HDD, standard floppy, and, until I can afford an AGP card, my PCI Radeon 9000 64Mb. I would prefer on board sound (until I upgrade to an Audigy) but rather not have on board graphics, unless they are GeForce 4 MX ;-)
I know it's a lot to ask in one post, but is anyone (i.e. a PC builder) aware of any small mobo that includes at least of these things?
Thanks in advance!!

  Gongoozler 10:07 05 Feb 2003

NinkyRudes, I haven't seen any motherboards with the spec you are looking for, and doubt there are any. Micro ATX are usually specified for the low end of the market. As no-one else has replied to your posting yet, this will bump it back to the top and meanwhile I'll have a look at a few makers to see if I'm right.

  Gongoozler 10:31 05 Feb 2003

NinkyRudes, I have checked a few sites, and still come to the same conclusion. The best performance micro atx motherboards appear to be for the Pentium 4. The best Athlon boards I could find were the Gigabyte GA-7VKML and Asus A7N266-VM, neither of which satisfies your requirement.

Another way of looking at your problem is that if you want a fast Athlon, you will be spending over £100, possibly nearer £200. You will also be needing a new power supply of about 350W which will cost about £25 to £50(it is unlikely your Emachines supply will be good enough), and also the cooling in your Emachines box may not be good enough. So I advise you not to waste mony on a MATX motherboard, but to save a few more pounds and get an ATX case with a suitable power supply for not much more than the replacement supply, and you will then be able to get a motherboard with all the capabilities you want.

  NinkyRudes 12:23 05 Feb 2003


  temp003 13:06 05 Feb 2003

The combination of m-ATX form factor and 333MHz FSB support makes your choices very limited.

I manage to find one that seems to fit the bill - Elite ECS L7VTM click here and look for it on the website. The mobo uses the VIA KT400 chipset which supports 333MHz FSB, DDR333, and even AGP 8x. The chipset was originally intended to run DDR400, but it had its problems. However DDR333 will have no problem. AGP 8x is also not reliable, but again AGP 4x will have no problem.

[Actually the VIA KT400 and KT333 chipsets both support 333Mhz FSB – you will find that many mobos with those chipsets already have the setting of 166MHz FSB in the BIOS - but the mobo makers will not say officially that those boards support that FSB.]

I agree with Gongoozler’s view on the choice of m-ATX, but that’s a matter for you.

As to 333MHz FSB support, since the CPU is very recent, mobo makers tend to make the ATX boards first. The best platform for AMD 333MHz FSB platform now is arguably the nForce2 chipset, but I can't find any m-ATX boards.

If you're going for a 333MHz FSB CPU, it's very pricey at the moment, since it's the top of the line.

I assume budget is a consideration, and so either buy a 266FSB now which is much better value (with a lot more choices of mobos), or wait for the price of the 333FSB Athlons to drop, by which time more m-ATX boards may be available.

I last I heard is that AMD will release the Barton this coming Monday, so watch the prices in the next month or so.

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