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Budget LGA775 nForce4-SLI chipset mobos - which one?


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#1
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I have a P4 HT, which I want to use to build myself a new system (as already mentioned here: http://www.geekstogo...owtopic=100761). This means that the mobo will have to be Soket LGA775. After some research I decided to go for the nForce4-SLI chipset, in order to have the SLI option available when/if I decide to splash out on two Nvidia graphics cards.

According to a price comparison site (http://uk.shopping.c...rce4_sli_&ST=or) there are over 10 Soket LGA775 mobos with an nForce4 chipset. The chipest one is the ASUS P5ND2-SLI. The next one up is Gigabite's GA-8N SLI Pro. The there's Abit's NI8-SLi GR. All these three appear to cost (well) under £100.

I was just about to go for the ASUS, when I came accross various reviews (including this one: http://www.techfear....xe_30day.shtml), which say that although the board is generally good, it is quite unstable (it overheats, etc.).

So I started looking for reviews about Gigabite's GA-8N SLI Pro, and was not able to find many such reviews. There are a few on the Royal and Quad Royal versions of the GA-8N, but these two latter ones cost over £100, which if I could avoid it, I would not like to spend on a mobo.

Therefore, I was left with no choice but trying to find out more about Abit's NI8-SLi GR. Guess what? Almost no reviews, apart from one or two very negative ones (eg: http://www.custompc....ni8sli-gr.html).

Sorry about the long intro, but it was necessary in order ask the followig questions:

1. What (other) good/stable Socket LGA775 nForce4-SLI mobos under or around £100 can you recommend?

2. Is it worth risking and going for ASUS P5ND2-SLI?

3. Is Gigabite's GA-8N SLI Pro a better choice than ASUS?

4. Should I really spend another £50-£75 and buy something a LGA775 SLI mobo for around £125-£150, and if so, which one has the better reputation?

Your help/suggestions will be much appreciated.

Thanks,

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#2
Samm

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Hi there

I'm afraid I don't have any personal experience of the 3 boards you listed but I can give you my opinion of the manufacturers in question.

Asus tend to make 2 types of board - ones which are really good & ones which are really bad. If you've been reading bad things about the Asus board you looked at, then you may be best off staying away from it.

Gigabyte are OKish. They're online support sucks though & personally I think they've become a flakey in recent years.

Abit are generally very good - certainly better on the whole than Asus or Gigabyte. However, if the only reviews you can find are bad, then stay away from that particular board. It may worth investigating a bit further first though.

I realise that when it comes to finding LGA775 boards with SLI for under £100, theres not a huge amount of selection. Personally, I would ditch the Intel processor & go for a AMD 939 socket, then you could buy a DFI board or similar. (www.eclipsecomputers.com do a DFI socket 939 board with SLI for around £83).

If you are determined to get an Intel cpu however, then I personally I would ditch the SLI requirement. There are plenty of good LGA775 boards around with PCI-E (but not SLI). Stay clear of the ones with SIS chipsets though.

Whichever type of board you decide to get, I would try & go for one of the following manufacturers in preference to Asus or Gigabyte :
DFI, Abit, MSI or even Asrock (believe it or not, my experience of these boards has been really good)
Obviously, read the reviews for any board regardless of the manufacturer.
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#3
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Samm:

Many thanks for your reply - I really appreciate your input. I know that in principle you are right to suggest that I either go for a Soket 939 mobo (with SLI?), or a Soket LGA775 one without SLI (i.e. with an Intel chipset? - if so, which one? the best one I can afford?).

It is just that although I would really like to go for an AMD one, I haven't got the money to buy a good AMD CPU (plus the board, the video cards, etc). Nor I have the time to try to sell something (like the P4 I've already got) to raise some cash. So I am kind of stuck with the P4 (and the Soket 775) for the time being.

As for the other option, i.e. ditching SLI (and going for an Intel chipset), maybe that's what I am going to end up doing, but I was hoping to be able to have the dual-card option (and I chose SLI because cross-fire seems to be yet in its infancy), so that when I win the lottery or my first PCI-E card won't be able to cope with the newest games ot there, I could just buy her another sister, and the two of them would do the job. Jokes apart, you know I mean to say.

Conclusion: from what you have told me and what I have been able to read about those three boards, it looks like Gigabyte is my only choice... I am really surprised/disapointed that there aren't any other/good mobos that will have both SLI and a Soket 775. :whistling:
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#4
Samm

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Sorry, I think I must have misunderstood the situation originally - I didn't realise you already owned the P4 cpu! In that case, then obviously stick with the LGA775 boards.

Which ever board you decide to go for in the end, just double check the cpu compatibility chart on the manufacturer's website. Even though the clock speed is bound to be supported on the new board, not all boards fully support all cpu cores (eg Prescott/Northwood etc). As the board you are buying (especially if its SLI capable) will almost certainly be newer than your processor, the chances of it not supporting the cpu are extremely slim, but it doesn't do any harm to check!
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#5
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I think SLI is largely overblown. You can almost always buy one fast video card cheaper than two slower cards that will equal it's performance in an SLI setup. It might give you an upgrade path down the line, but SLI is really only for those on the cutting edge that have to have the fastest system available (which you don't). I'd save the money on the SLI and buy a better mobo.
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