Can't decide on a motherboard for my new PC

Discussion in 'MSI' started by Ikke, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. Ikke

    Ikke Guest

    Hi everybody,

    For the past few hours I've been trying to piece together a new PC, but I
    can't seem to decide on which motherboard I should use.

    First and foremost this will be my new development machine (I'm a
    software developer), but I'd also like to use this machine for gaming
    from time to time, watching (HD) movies, and doing some sound-editing.

    Here are the specifications I have so far:
    - CPU: either the Core i7-930 (2.80GHz), or the Core i7-960 (3.20GHz),
    I'm not yet sure.
    - RAM: 4GB DDR3 1333MHz 240p
    - SSD: 80GB, 2.5" SATA
    - HD1/2 : 1TB F3 Spinpoint, SATAII
    - DVD-Reader
    - DVD-Writer (no Blue-Ray)
    - GPU: either nVidia N9800TG-MD1G, N240GT-MD1G or N250GTX-TwinFrozr, not
    yet sure

    I've narrowed my search down to three motherboards:
    - H55-G43
    - H55M-E33
    - H55M-P31
    but as I said before, I can't seem to decide on which.

    Does anybody have any recommendations, downsides, pros/cons for any of
    these? Stuff that isn't compatible (or even possible)?

    Other suggestions or remarks on the configuration are also very welcome!

    Any info is greatly appreciated!


    Ikke, Jun 29, 2010
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  2. Ikke

    Paul Guest

    I'd take the first one, of the three you've shown, as it is full
    sized ATX and has more expansion slots. The thing is, you'll need
    at least one decent slot, for usage with your combo USB3/SATA III card
    that you'll be adding later :)

    This is an example of a combo USB3/SATA III card. At least the
    SATA III (600MB/sec), works better if it's part of the chipset. but
    that isn't a widespread option yet. I think there is one AMD chipset
    that has it. The reason for preferring that, is fewer bootup problems,
    if a port like that is on the Southbridge. If you check the
    reviews here, this is a bit rough around the edges.

    The only reason I point out that card, is it has a PCI Express x4
    revision 1 interface. That means a lot of motherboards can interface
    to it, without a problem. There are also USB3-only cards floating
    around - the first batches of these, may have been arranged by
    NEC themselves, to get their USB3 chip in more widespread circulation.
    The problem with this design, is it has a PCI Express x1 Rev.2 interface.
    A number of motherboards have Rev.1 slots, and then the USB3 doesn't
    go quite as fast. (A Rev.2 lane is 500MB/sec, while a Rev.1 lane is
    250MB/sec. The slots are backward compatible, but then the slot
    becomes a bottleneck for the USB3 if it's the slower one.)

    The main benefit of SATA III, is for SSD drives. It doesn't
    really help normal hard drives at all (only burst to cache is
    faster). But in the future, there could be more SATA III rate
    SSDs around. The current ones are still pretty expensive.

    This is another reason to have a good PCI Express slot around. This
    is an SSD on a PCI Express card. This particular one has two
    SandForce controllers in RAID 0. Apparently, the design can be
    expanded with a daughtercard, to a total of four controllers.
    It's probably overkill, but is another way to add fast storage.

    So in terms of choosing a motherboard, I like to look at the
    slots a bit, and try to imagine what I'll need from the
    motherboard in the future. Even though a full sized ATX looks
    like a lot of slots, in some cases, one card will block some of
    the other slots, and you don't typically get to use all the
    slots, at the best of times. In the past, I've had
    computers with all slots full, but that is because all
    the cards were single slot width. I can't do that any more,
    due to a lot of junk inside my computer case. On my current
    system, I'm lucky if I can get to use three expansion slots,
    on a full sized ATX. (One of those cards is a TV tuner, which
    is kinda handy, and saves electricity on turning on a real
    TV set).

    Paul, Jun 30, 2010
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  3. Ikke

    Ikke Guest


    Thanks Paul for your information, you've been very helpful!

    Ikke, Jul 3, 2010
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