GIGABYTE GA-G31M-ES2L motherboard?



So did I make a mistake getting this board?

I'm haven't been able to decide on a motherboard for months. I can just get a cheap 50$ board, but for a few dollars more, I can get more options I like, and for a few dollars more than that, more options till its a 150$ motherboard (I cannot find the sweet spot for me). I would have to save for a 100$ board, but I'm better at blowing money on crap than saving.

I ordered it for instore pickup at microcenter for 54.11$ with tax. If I change my mind I could just let it cancel. Its local so its returnable (havent checked their return policys yet).

Overclocking is a big plus and this seems to be one of the few cheap boards that can (it will get an e6300).
Upgradability is a plus and it seems to take many newer cpu's (newer than I have anyway).

Stability and reliability are mandatory and reviews on newegg seem good.

no firewire (I have firewire cards but with the limited pci slots)?

no raid and I have a billion smaller drives. I have raid cards but that takes another pci slot.

some complaints about sound. I have sound cards but that takes another pci slot.

I have 2 1GB 1066 memory stick or 4 1GB 800 memory sticks. It only has 2 slots.

its only pcie-16 1.1. My fastest cards are 2600xt's so I think that would be ok (I do have 2 that I could use in a crossfire board though).

What to do, what to do.....


The order got canceled (typical for micro center). I’m still interested in the board but I might look at some others if I’m ordering online. Hopefully I can finally come to a decision.


IMO, It’s a good board but a very old chipset.
Maybe you would be better spending an extra $20 and getting this one.


Going with my experience cheap motherboards usually works quite poorly in the long run.
If you want integrated graphics (adding an old 2600XT wont really benefit) I would highly recommend you to get either a Q45 or G45 chipset. You can pretty much forget about overclocking but you’ll get a very solid board.

I have the G45-chipset version and it’s a very nice board that performs well, no overclocking though. You also have these if you don’t need integrated graphics but still no overclocking.

Intel boards usually have very good compatibility with Linux/BSD (no f***d up BIOS) and Intel LAN is really nice to have. :slight_smile:


I am also very close in getting one of this G31 and also a cheap intel E1500 cpu, so my question is how stable and compatible is this chipset with windows xp?


Why are you getting such a low end chipset in the first place?
If you’re looking for something cheap you might as well go for a dual core Atom board.
I also have no idea why you’re getting an E1500 instead of a E5200.


[QUOTE=DiiZzY;2276251]Why are you getting such a low end chipset in the first place?[/QUOTE]

It would only be used to write a few documents in [B]word[/B], and some surfing with [B]IE7[/B], so as you can see there is no point to get a better or faster machine for this needs.

[QUOTE=DiiZzY;2276251]If you’re looking for something cheap you might as well go for a dual core Atom board.
I also have no idea why you’re getting an E1500 instead of a E5200.

I am not sure about the CPU, but CPU isn’t important for [B]word[/B] & [B]IE7[/B], i will look at this dual core atom boards, but for office use i am very happy with the cheapest and most stable combo i can find.


Thanks for the recommendations. I’ll look those over after work today. Fyi, overclocking is top of my list along with reasonable reliability against failure. I know I’m not going to get raging overclocking in these price ranges but at least some would be very desirable. I need to squeeze a little more out of these old processors, with a cpu upgrade being a possibility down the road (though a cpu upgrade and motherboard at the same time is out of the question, at least while I am still paying 1000$ a month for daycare, lol). I already have some very good heatsinks I can use.


Fyi I’m not brand loyal to gigibyte or anything (abits the only MB I was ever loyal to and they are gone). I have also been pondering some asrock boards, or if I can scrape the money together (probably not), maybe a lower model asus pq5 if one goes on sale cheap enough.


Why do you even look at the Asus boards with non common components?


[QUOTE=DiiZzY;2276529]Why do you even look at the Asus boards with non common components?

What do you mean?


They usually have Atheros LAN and AD(I) sound which isn’t great esp driver-wise.


[QUOTE=DiiZzY;2276591]They usually have Atheros LAN and AD(I) sound which isn’t great esp driver-wise.

I see. I have seen that series of board mentioned on overclocker forums often but haven’t really thoroughly looked them over as they are out of my price range for the most part. I did see several open box p5q se2 for 80$ at micro center today though (I kind of wonder why there are so many returned though). I have spare nics and sound cards now but of course that wastes limited pci slots. I also had a used DFI Blood Iron P35-T2RL offered to me. I’ll look them over as well as what everyone has recommended on my next day off (I’m kind of burning the candle at both ends the last couple of days so I have had time to look anything over in depth).


Unless you have a recent sound card and nics they’re probably have worse performance than the integrated components. If you want to overclock (although I do not encourage it in any way) you probably want to have a look at GA-EP45-UD3P or such but it’s around 90-100$.


ripit you mention you want oc capability, I must ask though, what day to day needs will you actually need/expect out of the board of your choice?


Photoshop work, heavy video encoding and decoding, web browsing (and I tend to leave a million tabs open but that mostly needs a lot of memory), audio encoding and other general stuff. It seems rare that I have the time, but gaming too. I don’t play the latest, greatest games that need massive video power, but it would be nice to be able to play games reasonably smoothly including some recent games. I also tend to have way too many things running at one time with very heavy multi tasking (trying to do more than I really have time to do I think). If I ever have the time, I would like to get into more video capture (tv) too including HD stuff. I already have tuner cards sitting unused (haupage 1600 and tv wonder hd650 pci-e). With any luck, I might work on the computers some in the next couple of days.

Since I don’t have a motherboard I’ll probably work on the htpc which is not the computer that needs a motherboard (get the tv wonder hd 650 installed and massively overclock the cpu). Talk about using too weak a processor. Its an athlon 64 3400 single core. Its not playing nice with my bluray/hd-dvd rom and I’m hoping some extra juice from overclocking will help. I think part of the reason it can do it at all is the abit motherboard (best performing board I have ever owned). I have had it massively overclocked before and it ran stable (actually with a 64 3000 but I still have the 3000 if the 3400 wont overclock). It hasn’t been overclocked in a while as too many hard drives were producing too much heat for the case to deal with (currently 8 hard drives), but its now in a case (antec 900) that I think can handle the hard drives and overclocking. I just haven’t had time to mess with it (hopefully in the next couple of days but I have said that before).

If I had to pick a single task that I though needed a lot of power, it would be playing HD video (often while multi tasking). The 2600xt’s I have seem to handle that most of the time with hardware decoding but it still takes some cpu power. Fyi the motherboard I had that would take the 2600xt died (pos ecs) and the old one only has a 9550 overclocked to 9600 speeds (the fastest agp card I got). The old one also will only run 1Gb ddr2 (design defect on a pos ecs board). I Kind of have to upgrade to something to get better video and more memory ( I already have video cards and memory, I just need a board that can run them).

@DiiZzY, I have a sound blaster x-fi extreme audio or an older sound blaster audigy (cannot remember which exact one). For nics I have recent but cheapo dlink or linksys nics (marvel and realtek chips If I recall right). Not the greatest nics but they seem good enough for streaming video, voip, file transfers etc. I get about 28MBps true speed with file transfers. Honestly I don’t thing anything has increase my network performance more than when I upgraded to a good qos router. It would be nice to get intel nics etc. to get more speed but it low priority as what I have is good enough).


I’m being indecisive as usual but need to hurry and decide (need to but probably won’t as I’m too busy). They shorted me a days pay so I got an extra days pay plus I got 42 hours (were not supposed to get overtime) so I got a huge check. I’m already nickel and diming away the extra money though so my budget is shrinking. I guess I need to make a list of the top contenders and decide. I did find out something interesting (if its true). Micro center, at least according to a salesman, said they would price mach newegg on motherboards (locally). That was right after telling me they couldn’t price match fry’s as it was below cost though.

Out of curiosity, whats wrong with older chipsets? Is it that they just don’t support as many cpu’s for upgrading, or is it that they all around don’t perform as well?


Intel LAN chipsets will perform much better, going for G45 (or Q43 not Q45 for some reason) will also give you hardware acceleration on HD with some restrictions. Going for old chipsets may not be bad, hell I recommended Q35 for a friends file server but older chipsets may have fewer SATA-ports, lack AHCI, PCI Express 2.0 may be missing etc…
Also older chipsets with integrated video usually performs much worse than the newer models. Just some advices…


I have kind of been going over my priorities and this is where they lay. Fyi, I was kind of thinking out loud and it got really long. I’m not asking questions here (maybe one), so I can research much of this myself, but if you are bored and care to read some and give an opinion, its quite welcome (It will shorten my research). Truth be told, I will probably impulse buy due to price (at least with some knowledge), or research it till I don’t have the money…

The original board posted is on the table still (I’m sorry, I haven’t researched it more in comparison, I’m working on no sleep and at least 4000mg of caffeine in the last two days). Luckily I’m off for the next 2 (spending tomorrow morning recovering from caffeine tremors). Its in micro centers ad so they may get more (or not, they take no effort to stock ad items and in fact may advertise an item without ever having it in stock).

Also, I can quite capably research boards mentioned or ones I’m looking at myself. Don’t spend your time unless you have one (or know the chipset ect.). I would hate for you to do research I can easily do myself and will do anyway…

Lan: My whole lan is crappy (not really crappy, it does what it needs to and works right), and its good enough. If the motherboard doesn’t have good enough lan, I have lan cards comparable to the rest of my network (though that eats a pci slot). I will probably never get better lan equipment (soon anyway, eventually it will all be junked as everything becomes obsolete), but a few years down the road things may be different. It’s not high priority.

Video: I already own 2 2600xt’s, a 2600 pro, and an x1300 pro that are all pci-e. The only time I have ever ran more than 4 computers is when I was running an old antique pentium 3 to run win 98 games. Unless onboard video would give advantage over these cards, it doesn’t matter. I actually prefer atx for the extra slots, but they tend to be more expensive.
Crossfire, I don’t think it helps video playback, and I don’t play games that need it, but really don’t know. I do have 2 2600xt’s though so there is a hmmm??? factor. Could it help me? The cards are diffrent brands and difrent memory speeds fyi.

Sata ports? I only have 4 sata drives, 3 160 gig sata 1 hitachis that I got cheap when compusa was closing, and a 1tb western digital black that I recently bought. I contrast I have a dozen pata hard drives still in service. I have 2 sata optical and a half dozen pata (one of the sata’s is sitting on the shelf). I have been wondering what ahci was as I have seen it mentioned several times. I read the wiki and googled but still don’t understand it. I suspect I don’t need advanced sata functions now (I really don’t know), but it also seems like something that might really bite me on the ass in the long run (I hate that as it has happened to many times). I haven’t found the sata for dummies book though. I can do my own reading, but what does it basically boil down too? If its importanf, I could use help there.

Memory: All my computers run ddr except for this one (actually it runs ddr or ddr2 but I don’t have any ddr to spare). for the new motherboard, I have 2 1GB sticks of mushkin pc8500/5-5-4-12 or 4 1GB sticks of corsair pc6400/4-4-4-12. I am running xp on all my machines so 2 gig is enough (1gig is seriously not enough). I have never ran 4 GB before but in my case I suspect more is better. Still, speed might help with overclocking (I’m not sure how intell processors deal with asynchronous ram speeds). 4 slots would be a plus, now or in the long run.

Processor: Upgradability is very important, but be aware, I have never paid much more than 100$ for a processor. In fact, the e6300 for it is the most expensive processor I have ever bought (I think it was in the low 100’s when I bought it). I am currently being bitten in the ass more than you can know on that issue. I have an older revision abit board that wont take a dual core processor (the newer revision will). It socked 939, and at a point, I could have gotten a much faster dual core for next to nothing. I’ll run that board till it dies (I am so in love with it I think I might marry it some day, it rocks in so many ways). It’s in my htpc right now (and will eventually pass to the kids, they are sharing my overclocked, volt modded nf7-s right now). I would eventually like to drop a faster processor in it (and considering how many processors are socket 775, I might even get 2 upgrades out of it). It cannot be the endall (because of price), but upgradability matters (within the relm of what sub 100$ processor can I drop in it down the road that will make a significant difference). I don’t want to pay a lot more for it (that defeats the purpose), but will pay more just for that (remember, if it supports 90% of 775 processors, it would still be of benifit even if it doesn’t support a few).

Some overclocking is also top 3 on the list. In a few years when I’m not paying 75% of my paycheck for daycare, HIGH overclocking will be top 3 (and I probably won’t even consider matx as I want the slots).

Ide? I have ide cards out the but including raid and or pci-e (ok not out the but but maybe 6), but again, it takes a slot. Do you see a common theme, it takes a slot? I have drawers full of crap to plug into those slots (some important, some just toys). I do actually have a true 4 channel pci ide card (so 8 drives). I don’t use it as it is outdated (no official xp drivers though I found ones that work, crappy raid 1 performance though raid 0 etc possibilities). That kind of gets me thinking about jbod’ing a bunch of pata’s into a 1-2TB drive. It would take massive work though (4 drives in my htpc are sata).

What am I forgetting? firewire (I have a card but another slot). Tv tuner (another slot and the only pci-e one is reserved for another computer?). The only thing I have that is firewire (right now anyway) is a camcorder.

Floppy (why in the hell can’t we get standardized enough for cd raid drivers???)? I do raid so I guess the odds say, once a year I will use a floppy on one of my computers for 20 seconds, but without the floppy, it could be a nightmare.

Ok I’m reaching (I don’t have a list yet, this is off of memory).


ripit man, wtf with the super long posts?