Upgrade - Which Motherboard?



Im doing an upgrade to my current system but I cant decide on what motherboard to get. One thing for sure is that it mut be an AGP motherboard as I dont want to get rid of my 6600 GT AGP Graphics card.

Heres my current spec:

Athlon XP 1800
Abit VA 10 motherboard (dont laugh! my asus mobo was bust and this cost me £21. I think this is the main culprit with my Graphics card driver update problems)
512 MB 3200 memory - which im going to keep. Buy another stick later on
Gigabyte 6600GT AGP Graphics card - Keep
Seagate 160 GB EIDE Drive - Keep
Seagate 160 GB SATA Drive - Keep
NEC 3500 Drive - Keep
NEC 3520 Drive - Keep

Heres what im getting:

AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Venice 90nm Socket 939 - Retail


But Which mobo should I go for?

[/size]Gigabyte GA-K8NS Ultra 939 AMD Athlon 64 Motherboard


Epox EP-9NDA3+ nForce 3 Ultra Socket 939 Motherboard

Abit AV8 3RD EYE K8T800 Pro Socket 939 Motherboard


MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum Athlon 64 nForce3 (Socket 939) Motherboard



I just got a MSI Neo2 mobo since i just got a x800xt agp, and it is very good. Just about every possible feature you could imagine and they overclock very well. I got mine running at 245 HT, running a divider since my memory can only go to 200MHZ fsb - very stable. It does have some quirks but once figured out it is a awesome board. My major beef is the layout sucks - they have the two ide headers, floppy header and power connector all together, so cable management is hard, and there isnt alot of room for a bigger heatsink. I have to admit that i am impartial to nvidia chipsets, so the gigabyte board would come in a very close second to the MSI.


I’d second the Neo2 vote! It’s a toss up between that and the epox. Both have some very good reviews, and if anything the MSI board has a few more quirks. Either would be a great choice. If you want to overclock though, i’d go for the Neo2. :slight_smile:

Don’t opt for gigabyte; their nforce3 boards aren’t up to scratch compared to the other offerings.

Better reliability / stability = Epox
Better performance / overclockability = MSI

By that i don’t mean that the MSI is at all unstable. Simply that the MSI board will require more fine tuning to get it set up just right.


if those are your only choices i’d probably get the MSI. this is simply from what i’ve read as i have no experience with any of those 3.

have you looked (or can get) a DFI? i guess it’s only a recommendation if you plan to do some serious overclocking…


I’ve had a look at DFI but they dont do a Socket 939 mobo with an AGP slot only a 754 slot or at least I couldnt find one that did. I dont want to get an older processor just to get this mobo. I think I will go with the MSI Neo2 mobo. Only overclocking I will do is to run the Processor from 1.8 Gig to 2.0 Gig. I have read on Internet forums that its very easy to clock to that speed on stock cooling is very stable.


DFI skt939 AGP board should be out June / July time. If you want to wait for it, then it’s probably a good choice to get. Otherwise, MSI will do well for you also! :slight_smile:


I think I might wait for a bit for the DFI motherboard. Looks good! :eek:

Check it out:



I’d second that MSI vote as well :). Three of my systems run on MSI boards (desktop 1: MSI K8T Neo2 FISR, desktop 2: MSI K7N2G-ILSR and server: MSI K7T Turbo 133) and they all work just fine.

Just make sure that if overclockability is a concern, to get the Nforce based motherboard, not the VIA one. Although the VIA chipset is quite alright (stable and fast), it’s not much of a overclocker. The VIA based boards cannot use the PCI/AGP lock (it’s there, but it does not work) and thus they aren’t suited for overclocking. The max I squeezed out of my system was an additional 200Mhz, after that my AGP card can’t take it anymore.


that’s not correct - the K8T800 Pro chipset has working AGP/PCI locks. but yes, the NV chipsets are in general better OC’ers than the VIA chipsets.


VIA says it does, indeed… but just Google for ppl having problems to use the AGP/PCI locks. They are there, but in practice they just don’t work.

On my board, I cannot set any other dividers, just change the FSB and HT speed, that’s all. I can enable the locks, but it doesn’t change a thing (AGP goes over 66Mhz, PCI over 33Mhz).

I wish you were right… as there is much more to be squeezed from my 3200+ Winchester.


i have two Asus Via based mobos…one K8V Deluxe (non-SE) with the K8T800 chipset and one A8V Deluxe Rev 2 with the K8T800 Pro chipset. the K8V does not have working locks, but the K8T800 Pro does (it took Asus until revision 2 of the A8V to implement working locks, but with some Rev1 boards there’s a beta bios - 1005.20/1 - that enables working locks)…i wouldn’t be at 240 HTT if it didn’t.

sometimes it depends on the mobo manufacturer to properly implement locks (via the BIOS) and some mobos have half their SATA ports locked and the other half not (because the ports are running off two different controllers).

what mobo do you have Dee-ehn?


Right now I have the MSI K8T NEO2 - FISR board. That one features the non working locks. I also tried the Asus K8V SE Deluxe and some Gigabyte board (don’t recall the type). Because I couldn’t get it to work, I started a search on the net and I found that (almost) everybody with this chipset has these problems… so I guess you’re lucky that Asus finally succeeded in getting the locks to work; I miss them really really bad.

You’re right about the controllers. On my board, the onboard VIA RAID controller is directly attached to the HT bus, while the onboard Promise controller is connected through PCI.


the K8T800 non-Pro chipset for socket 754 doesn’t have locks but the Pro chipset for socket 939 does… i’m a little ticked that i can’t push my 754 Clawhammer 3200+ past 220HTT/2.2ghz either, but that’s partially why i went out and got a 939 Winchester :wink:

depending on how tolerant your vid card is of an AGP bus out of spec and if you only run PATA/IDE HDDs off the Promise controller, you may be able to push the non-locked K8T800 boards up to 233-240 HTT…but definitely don’t risk it with SATA drives or a finnicky vid card…you’ll probably just end up with a corrupted OS and a fried vid card…

time to migrate up to socket 939 :wink:


I found while upping the FSB (and thus the PCI bus) that the Promise controller functions up to 224Mhz FSB. My video card can do the 220Mhz bus speed, but that’s all. Still pretty good for my old Radeon 9700…

When I had my s754 system (Athlon 3000+ Newcastle on an MSI K8T NEO FISR) I had the same problem, except, indeed, for this motherboard not featuring locks at all…


The K8N NEO2 only locks SATA ports 3 and 4 (ones nearest to the cpu), while 1 and 2 are unlocked. I found out the hard way - the computer would post but windows would not load at 240 HTT. A google search helped me figure that one out. :slight_smile: