View Single Post
Unread 02-27-2005, 06:55 PM   #1
MAD Overclocking Guru
5-Clicks's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 3,194
5-Clicks is on a distinguished road
Default [FAQ] Motherboard Guide - READ BEFORE YOU ASK

In light of somebody suggesting an FAQ for the forums to help prevent the "is ____ compatible with _____" threads, i decided to start with the motherboard category. so here goes.

WHAT PROCESSORS WILL FIT MY MOTHERBOARD? - Every motherboard has a socket type, whether it be a number or a letter. Naturally, the socket types of both the processor and the motherboard have to be the same for them to work with one another. Some likely examples include Socket A (AKA Socket 462 -AMD), Socket 478 (Intel), Socket 754 (AMD), Socket 939 (AMD), LGA 775 (AKA Socket T - Intel), Socket AM2 (AKA Socket 940 - AMD...this can be confusing because there is also non-AM2 labeled socket 940 which is for server systems). Please note that some motherboards must have an updated BIOS or revision in order for the certain CPUs to work right.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RAM AND MEMORY? - First of all, for all those noobs out there, it would be helpful to know that RAM and Memory are one and the same. You'll be happy to know that because it saves you money and time

WHAT RAM SPEED SHOULD I GET? - Your motherboard specifications should tell you what RAM is supported. For example, your motherboard specifications should say "PC2700" or "DDR 333". However, your motherboard is not limited by the supported speed. It can take higher speeds (ex: PC3700, PC4200, etc.) than what is "supported"...and vice long as it is the same RAM type (DDR, DDR2, and so on).

WILL MY GRAPHICS CARD FIT MY MOTHERBOARD? - First you must check what type of graphics interface slot you have. You will have either AGP, PCI-Express (PCI-E), or PCI. Once you've determined what slot you have, check to see what interface your card is. Don't confused PCI-X with PCI-Express (PCI-E). They're completely different!

WILL MY MOTHERBOARD FIT IN MY CASE? - Most likely yes, but there are those people who buy the cases that don't support anything bigger than Micro-ATX motherboards.

WHAT'S MICRO-ATX AND ATX? - They are the motherboard form factor types/sizes. All micro-ATX boards have only about 2 or 3 PCI slots...where as full ATX sized boards USUALLY have 5 or 6. However, some ATX motherboards with dual PCI-Express slots have only about 3 PCI slots too, so be sure to get that straight.

WILL MY POWER SUPPLY BE OK WITH MY MOTHERBOARD? - Currently, the latest motherboards, such as the socket T (LGA 775), have 24-pin power connectors. Likewise, a lot of the newer power supplies come with 24-pin power adapters so keep an eye out for that.

Also, for today's setups it is recommended to have about 450w+ of good quality power. However, that numer increases to about 500w if you're going for SLI (dual graphics cards). Here is a good source showing what power supply companies are favored.

WHAT CHIPSETS ARE GOOD? - It really depends on 1) what you want to do with your computer, and 2) what processor you have/are getting. For AMD's, nVIDIA's nForce chipsets are favored for overclocking. Intel makes their own chipsets which are prefered when overclocking an Intel processor. Other chipset companies include SiS, VIA, and recently AMD/ATI.

WHAT DO THE DIFFERENT DRIVE INTERFACES MEAN? - First things first. It's always good to know that IDE, EIDE, Paralell ATA, and PATA are all different names for the same interface. Other interfaces are SCSI and Serial ATA (AKA SATA). IDE has a transfer rate of either 66mb/s, 100mb/s, or 133mb/s, where as the much newer SATA has a transfer rate of 150mb/s or 300mb/s. SATA also is much less limiting as far as technology capabilities are concerned. IDE has reached it's limit when it comes to things such as buffer size, but SATA has a future. SCSI on the other hand was an attempt that flopped and is somewhat similar to IDE. You can identify the different interface types simply by looking at them. An IDE interface is a long retangle with two rows of pins. SCSI is very similar except it's a longer rectangle. SATA is much much smaller...about 1/2 an inch long...and looks something like the opposite of a USB port.

HOW ARE THESE INTERFACES LIMITED/SUPPORTED? - Your motherboard specifications should says something similar to this: "IDE: 1x ATA 100 up to 2 Devices by ICH6R". The "ATA" refers to the IDE connection(s), the "100" means that the port has a maximum support of 100mb/s data transfer rate, the "2 devices" means that two devices such as CD drives and/or hard drives can both be plugged into one port at the same time via a two-way split cable. The "ICH6R" is the controller of the port(s) that registers to the motherboard that something is plugged into it, etc.

WHAT IS BUFFER? - Buffer on a hard drive acts much like RAM, but it is much much slower.

WHAT IS RAID? - RAID stands for Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks. For information on what each RAID array does, take a looksey at this. One new array that is not mentioned in there is RAID 1+0.

WHAT MOTHERBOARD BRAND SHOULD I GET? - This poll can serve as a general guide to what brands are in and what are out. That being said, every manufacturer has their once-upon-a-time aces, so it would be beneficial to do some of your own research for specific motherboards if you're looking into overclocking (for example, the Foxconn C51XEM2AA was an unexpcted success. Biostar has also begun the TForce series boards that for the most part have proven to be good overclocking boards).

Well there you have it. Let me know what you think or if I forgot anything thing.
My Rigs
CPUs: Intel C2D E6600 (L630B015) @ 3.5GHz 1.4v --- AthlonX2 3600+ Brisbane (CAAFG 0651XPAW) 2.75GHz @ 1.425v --- 2x AMD Duron 1.7Ghz @ 2.2/2.4GHz --- Intel P4 2.6GHz
Motherboards: Abit QuadGT --- Biostar TForce 550 --- Abit NF7-S v2 --- Abit IC7-G
Memory: 2GB Corsair Dominator PC2-8500 --- 1GB Micron D9CWX (Fatbody) --- Random
Video: HIS Radeon X1900XT --> XTX --- Sapphire X700 --- 3x ATI Radeon 9500 (L-shape) @ 9700 Pro
Sound: Creative X-Fi Elite Pro
PSU: OCZ GameXStream 700w

Last edited by 5-Clicks; 03-24-2007 at 11:44 AM.
5-Clicks is offline   Reply With Quote