Damn, lost my post I think I must have acidentally hit back.
So I'm not going to spend an hour typing it, here is the sumery.
tropic gave me some very expensive memory for free (MEGA BIG THANKS). Also, I can afford a new motherboard, I just cannot decide.
Had problems with the ads because 1GB of memory was not enough for all the programs I had to run (I think firefox and or photoshop would have liked that much themselves). The computer froze up randomly (sometimes had to reboot).
Was running a pos ecs board that used ddr 400 or ddr2 677. got a new board (ecs pos but a 150$ ecs pos for 25$, clearance at frys).
Ask recomendations on memory (didn't have any ddr2 so I couldn't run the new board at all).
I mentioned that I liked high speed/overclockable but often would wind up getting the cheaper stuff (at least thats what I'm guessing from memory of what I said).
So out of the blue, tropic offered me 2 1GB sticks of some fast, high quality muskin with d9 chips, rated at pc8500 with exelent timings (5-5-4-12 at pc8500). At the time, this was selling for 100$ (probably cost him a lot more as memory prices had been dropping fast for a while). I was reluctant (didn't want to take advantage but he said he apreciated the ads and assured me he didn't need it). so I agreed, and not only did he send it to me, he sent it next day air!!!!
So the new ecs board died after a few weeks. the old one canot run ddr2 (it can but I have discovered it really cannot). I got 2 sets of 2x1GB corsair ddr2 800 for 25$ each, no rebate (it was suposed to be rebate but there was a misprint in the ad, which they kept on their web site till the last day of the ad, so they gave it to me for 25$ ea up front. fyi this is ddr2 800 444-12 and reviews say it can actually do it.
So the new ecs board lasted a few weeks. Back to the old board that aparently (design flaw) cannot run ddr2. One of the free mushkin sticks memtest86's as very bad (not really bad though I'm guessing and I havent swapped around stick to test).
I tried the corsair and 1GB sticks showed as 512MB???
So after searching, I found that is normal for this board (all the memory is fine, the board just cannot handle ANY ddr2 properly). Any and every brand has some sort of failure or issue or half the stick just doesn't show.
I can afford a motherboard but I have always had a problem with motherboards. I can buy an asrock that is very well rated for 43$ (IF that deal is still alive), but cannot take 45nm processors, limited overclocking (not bad for the price though and a solid board). I could also apply that 40$ to a 120$ asus or asrock (there is a asrock for 135$ that I really like).
I'm a cheap bastard but don't mind paying for quality (but still need to hunt the deal on it). It used to be easy, free ecs combo from frys, or abit (I shead a tear when abit went down).
The 43$ asrock looks good but it cannot suport the latest processors. I have an abit ax8 (first gen), that will not support dual core. I love this motherboard so much its still running my htpc with a single core (a slower one), and my god will it overclock (though it is years old. I love the design and abilities of this board, I wold never give it up. It really hurts that I cannot just throw a dual core it it though (the newer revision of this board can).
I could just buy a 60$ or less MB now, but I guess I'm going to overanalize it forever... Actually, I need to overclock that abit ax9 (its running stock now and studders a little with some HD), and fix some other stuff, then maybe I'll be more clear headed.
FYi, how fast of memory support and how many ddr2 slots has had the bigest impact on my indecision. crossfire would be of intrest too (I already own 2 crosfire compatible 2600xt cards), althogh, I'm not a gamer, and deal primarilly with video (as far as high power requirements), so I'm not sure crossfire would do me any good.
Ok ramble over for sure this time (and another thanks to tropic, free shit is nice, but valuable free shit given out of benevolance or even gratitude ,especially considering my recent problems with the ads), deserves a second public thanks...
Gotta go, the wife came home and I'm being nagged to take children...