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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to finalize my choice of motherboard and would like some opinions (or experience).


After much consideration and reading, I decided to go with full ATX MB (mainly because I do not want to have expansion problems and I hear the addition of the Holo 3D card is tough for a micro ATX MB).


I want a recommendation on either a ASUS or Intel MB that is full ATX. I general I am interested (but not married) in HT support, AGP (4 or 8X) for a Radeon 9700 Pro, 1GB of RAM, Serial ATA support (actually I am not clear if I need this or if it makes much of a difference - some contradictory stuff out there on this topic), USB 2.0 and FireWire would be nice.
 

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Of course, you leave out the most important question - what CPU are you going to put in the thing :) Assuming you are going with one of the new Pentiums, the mobo of choice these days seems to be the Asus P4PE. Asus built, Intel chipset.


I just got one myself, and it works great. Fast, rock-stable, quiet, nice onboard sound (though I've only work in 2-speaker mode and haven't tested 5.1). 4 Real panel USB 2.0 ports, and two more you can hook up in front or back. I guess the one downside is that it isn't a budget item if you need to go as cheap as possible.


They have a version with built in SATA and Firewire. If you want Firewire, you're getting SATA for this board. Right now SATA is useless, as there are no SATA drives to hook up. When they come out next year, the big advantage are more manageable cables - any speed improvement is debatable.
 

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Salmoneous is right - you need to mention what CPU you're going with :)


I'd generally agree with Salmoneous - but I think I'd go for either the Asus P4T533 (which uses PC1066 RDRAM vs. DDR333 RAM) or the A7N8X. The latter is an Nforce2 board that takes an AthlonXP processor and has just about anything you'd ever want in a board - AGP8X (although the useability of 8X is debatable), firewire, USB 2.0, SPDIF (on deluxe model)... the list goes on. And it's one of the fastest boards out there for the AMD XP.


I'm still debating on P4 vs. AMD XP for my new HDPC. Can I ask what case you decided on?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. The Asus P4PE is currently at the top of my list. I plan to use a 2.4GHz P4, but may want to upgrade in the future when the HT stuff comes down in price. Price for the MB is not a concern.


What memory, power supply, fans and Heat Sink (or CNP) did you buy for this board.


Regarding SATA: what about the new Seagate Barracuda V? Again, this is not a requirement, but I don't want to preclude using it in the future. What drive(s) did you buy? I was thinking of Seagate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am going for P4.


In terms of case, this has been the hardest part. I want something that looks like an audio component. I don't really like anything that is currently on the market, but I think I am going with the Vision 2 case. It is a bit big, but I decided to go full ATX and I just have to suffer with the size.


There is one I saw on a Korean site ( http://www.kanam.co.kr/html/htpc.htm ), but I can't find it anywhere - the HT-100S in black.
 

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The case *has* been an incredibly difficult part of the equation. I'm half-tempted to just get a generic (but decent-looking) mid-tower and hide it behind the RPTV for now, then when these cases become a bit more available, I'll change it out.


Funny you should mention that HT-100S - I wanted that exact same case and PM'd ShePerl to ask if it was available in the US... looks like it hasn't even been released yet, let alone available in the US. I'd hate to have to import the thing just for a HTPC :)


So it looks like you and I are in the same boat of planning right now. Good luck with yours!
 

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a couple of comments.


first, I'd pick asus over intel in a heartbeat. I've installed numerous mobos and asus has been less problematic in general.


2nd. usb 2.0 is fast becomming a requirement. if you use any usb devices for music, you'll find the fast transfer a god send. If you are at all thinking of getting a digital camcorder, you need to get firewire. Yes, you can add USB2 or firewire later but its a pita and you run the risk of compatibility issues so do it up front.


3rd. SATA is probably going to be important in the future but I dont think it really matters unless you are planning on doing multiple upgrades over time. I would not bother with a sata drive right now (are they even available yet) - maybe in 6-12 months. I tend not to buy the newest tech until they've worked out the bugs. also, sata doesn't appear to solve any problems for me.


4th. asus is a fine choice but there are other motherboard makers that produce great products. abit, gigabyte, shuttle are a few. I am partial to abit but gigabyte is starting to win my loyalty with their latest round of products.


phil
 
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