Need help finding a motherboard

Discussion in 'hardware' started by The Shadow, Mar 24, 2012.

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  1. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

    As my current desktop PC is quite old (P4 3.0GHz, 2GB RAM, WinXP), I'd like to build a more up-to-date (Win7) PC.

    The problem I'm running into is finding a relatively modern ATX motherboard that still supports PATA drives, as I have two very good ones that I'd like to continue using (for data storage). With that important restriction, I have no preference as to AMD vs. Intel, nor with CPU socket type.

    Any help would be most appreciated.
  2. Noob

    Noob Registered Member

    Since you are upgrading and storage is kinda cheap nowadays, why don't you get a few new SATA drives? :D
    Those hard drives could be a bottle neck
  3. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

    Well I certainly would like to get a fast SATA drive to host Win7 and my programs, but as I said I have two very good (320GB and 500GB) PATA drives that I would like to continue using for data-storage.
  4. mack_guy911

    mack_guy911 Registered Member

    can you give more specs what else you looking for like chip i3 i5 or core 2 duo .......etc

    and whats your budget for pc box only

    also 2 things you can use as you can buy external casing they pretty cheap for IDE(PATA) and use your drives inside it by using IDE(PATA) to sata converters :)
  5. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

    Hi mg,

    As I've been getting by with a 3GHz P4 (Northwood) I would think that any newer dual-core processors would make for a huge performance improvement. ;)

    By 'PC box only', are you referring to the case? If so, I now have a nice Lian Li (full-size ATX) tower case that's housing my old system which should work well.

    I really don't have room for a 2nd case!
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  6. rrrh1

    rrrh1 Registered Member

    Have you tried the "advanced" under narrow results at Newegg?

    May get you going in a direction after deciding on AMD or Intel CPU.

    rrrh1 (arch1)
  7. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

    Yeah, but it didn't reveal anything of interest.
  8. Firecat

    Firecat Registered Member

    I found an AMD motherboard which I think will be of use to you since it does have a PATA port.

    I'm sure you will be able to find it somewhere in your country even if not on Newegg. It's kind of an extreme motherboard but it will serve your purpose. ECS isn't a brand I generally recommend but the boards are fine as long as you aren't planning on serious overclocking.
  9. Scott W

    Scott W Registered Member

    Hey SD,

    First of all you are absolutely correct in that a dual core processor would make a dramatic performance improvement over your P4 system. As a matter of fact, 3 years ago I upgraded from a P4 2.8GHz system to a Core 2 Duo system and the difference was incredible. You can still find Core 2 Duo - Motherboard combos around and most of those boards still had an ATA/100 controller.

    On the other hand, with a larger budget you could ignore the absence of an ATA-100 controller on modern i3/i5/i7 boards (I'm an Intel fanboy) and simply add a PCI/PCIe ATA/100 adapter board (which are very inexpensive).

    It all comes down to the apps/games you typically run and of course, your budget. ;)

  10. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

    @Firecat... Thanks for the link. Never heard of ECS boards but I'll look into it. How do I determine if my existing PSU has the appropriate connectors for the AMD processors supported by that board?

    @Scott... Insofar as my apps/games interests, my most demanding app is definitely Photoshop, followed by MS Office and IE. I'm not into overclocking and I'm not a gamer (I guess I'm pretty boring)!

    Re budget, I would like to keep my Motherboard-CPU outlay to under $300 as I also have to buy a new SATA HDD (to host Win7 and Programs), 4 to 8 GB RAM, Video Card, and possibly a new PSU o_O
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  11. Fuzzfas

    Fuzzfas Registered Member

    ECS is a minor productor of motherboads, to be honest i don't consider it a good manufacturer, but since you want PATA connectors, that's probably the best motherboard for you (although out of stock in newegg).

    Your PSU needs to have 2 powet connectors. 1 24 pin and 1 2x4pin or 1 4pin. See the photos here from the manual of the motherboard:

    These power connectors work for almost any modern motherboard. Some motherboards, instead of the 24 pin, require 20 pin. In that case, your PSU may have an adopter or you can buy it separately (most modern PSU have provvisions for both 24 and 20 pin).

    It's a real shame that you insiste on the PATA, because with 300$ you could build easily a cheap yet good AMD system (I am an AMD fan, because it gives better bang for the buck for tight budgets). And since you 're not a gamer, you could cut costs on the motherboard further, with a micro-ATX board. Just remember that Photoshop likes more cores than higher clocks. So get the more core CPU you can get.

    For a cheap yet capable CPU that will hold its own for some time, i 'd say this (4 cores).

    While if you can afford it, this is the best for that motherboard at logical price and very good performance (6 cores):

    Either one will be huge upgrade compared to what you have and they 're really nice chips, they run quite cool.

    Oh, an advice. Your will to keep your PATA drives will penalize your build. Because it's not reccomended to keep 2 PATA HDD on the same IDE channel. One will slow down the other. And it's a dead end technology, it's being phased out already from newer motherboards. SATA is much better not only because it's faster, but also because each channel it's independent.

    It's a REAL shame to stick to PATA HDDs, which judging by their size, must be also older PATA models... Why not buying an enclosure and use them as external HDDs via USB connection?

    I mean,without PATA you could buy this motherboard: 970 extreme3

    Which is very cheap, but future proof and has all the most modern standards on (i 've got it for myself) and so you get SATA3 and USB3 on it and has japanese solid capacitors (should live long, since usually blown caps were the usual cause of failure for motherboards) and works really stable.

    Heck, you can do this (Provided you forget your PATA disks or find another solution like the ones mentioned by Scott or me):
    -Asrock 970 extreme3: 85$
    -Athlon 645 X4: 110$
    -Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 RAM: 45$

    - GIGABYTE GV-R545SL-1GI Radeon HD (Video card): 37$

    ^That's not a gamer's video card, but it should be more than enough for Photoshop (it's very good for films too and has low power consumption, only 20W at full load).

    Total: $ 277

    For your needs this will be plenty powerful for years to come. That's what i 'd buy for myself if i were you. (as a matter of fact, i have that motherboard and video card and 8GB RAM and a 1090T).

    Then you can get an a new SATA HDD...

    Note: For the above system, a decent 350-400W PSU is more than enough (another bonus). I 'd take this one:

    It's more than enough for that configuration (it won't even hit 200W at max load) and Antec guarantees good quality for the price.

    Keeping your PATA disks only cripples your system.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  12. Fuzzfas

    Fuzzfas Registered Member

  13. rrrh1

    rrrh1 Registered Member

    Two More

    BIOSTAR A880G+ AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

    BIOSTAR N68S3+ AM3 NVIDIA MCP68S Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

    These are at Newegg, and were in stock this morning.

    Have a good day!

    rrrh1 (arch1)
  14. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

    Hi Fuzzfas,

    I really appreciate that feedback along with your (wise) advice. I can now see that I am really compromising my new build by insisting on an onboard PATA port. It was foolish of me to insist on that and I thank you for getting me to understand that.

    The Asrock board + Athlon cpu's you suggested seem great to me. If possible I'd like to use my 6-year old Enermax 400W PSU. How can I tell if my PSU is compatible with that Asrock-Athlon combo (do AMD boards have different power requirements than Intel boards)?
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  15. Fuzzfas

    Fuzzfas Registered Member

    Wow, i am so glad you decided to ditch the PATA disks! :D

    AMD boards use the same power connectors. So you need to look, as shown in the pictures above, if your PSU has 1 24 pin power connector and 2x4 or 1x4 pin connector.

    Another thing you should look at, is whether your PSU has SATA power connectors. It's the black connector one here:

    If not, you will need molex to SATA adapter cables (like the one in the photo) or... a new PSU of course...
    Consider that you need one for each HDD you have and one for your optical drive (DVD+RW or Blue Ray, whatever you have). Oh, just to remind you, you do have a SATA optical drive too, right? Because with this board, you will forget about PATA optical drives too. :D

    Now, if you get the Asrock board and you intend to use it with Win7 x64, i suggest you use this driver combination, because i 've tested it on my board and it's rock stable:

    1) Update the BIOS 1.30 from here (you can use the Windows file, simply execute it through Windows, reboot and that's it). Your board will most likely ship with BIOS 1.20. Extreme3&o=All

    2) Get AMD 12.2 chipset drivers from here:

    (There are also raid drivers if you need them).

    3) Get Realtek Audio driver and Realtek LAN driver 7.0.44 from the Asrock site: Extreme3&o=All

    4) Get AMD 12.2 graphics driver (for the video card) from here (if you don't play games you don't need the second download with the profiles):

    5) Get the Etron USB3 driver 0.111 from here (this is important, since Asrock's site has an old version and many people had trouble because the driver was immature):

    6) Install "bonus utilities". Always from Extreme3&o=All

    If you get all the above, you won't need the drivers in the Asrock CD that will come inside the package and you will have better stability.

    I reccommend:

    - THX Trustudio
    - XFast USB (it really helps in USB transfers of big files, doubles the speed).
    - App Charger
    - Asrock AXTU (Extreme Tuning Utility), although i reccommend you get version 0.1.190 from here: Pro3&o=Win764

    Always pick the Asian Server, the others give me defective files that can't be open. Just enable it to run at start up and to use "Intelligent Energy Saver". It really works. You can leave the rest alone, it's for overclocking, but the first page gives nice overview of your system, with temperatures, fan speeds, etc. Like this:

    The second page is also interesting, as Fan Control also allows you to adjust your fan speeds if you like. Can become handy if you want to watch a film for example and you want a more quiet enviroment.

    You can download all that, burn them in a CD and so have a customized "Drivers and Utilities" CD ready to use when the board comes.


    1) If you get the Athlon, in BIOS (UEFI) set the LLC (Load Line Calibration) to "Enabled".
    2) If you get the FX-4100 set the LLC to "Disabled"

    Default is "auto", you could leave it like that, but i prefer setting it manually and the above are the reccomendations of Asrock.

    3) If you get the FX-4100 you can set manually the RAM speed to 1600. If you leave it to auto the board will set it to 1333, which is fine for the Athlon, but the FX-4100 can use 1600.

    4) When you get the board, be sure to test the various ports to make sure they 're all working, sometimes you can get a defective one and you need to RMA. So better check since the start to know if all went OK. Other than that, it should prove a good board, specially since you 're not an overclocker. It runs quite cool.

    **** To enter BIOS (UEFI), hit F2 while booting.**** (oh, you can disable the boot screen with the "Asrock Man" through the boot menu in the BIOS too. "Full Screen Logo: Disabled").

    P.S: I hope i didn't tire you, but in a couple of days i am taking a trip, so i thought to make it as complete as i can, to spare you the problems that i had at the beginning, mainly with BSODs caused by unstable drivers and BIOS features. With that configuration you should really sweat to make your system unstable. :)

    P.S.2: The Asrock board is AM3+, so, in the future, if you decide to, you can still put an FX processor or its successor, codename "Piledriver", that will come out at the end of 2012. You will just need to do a BIOS update.

    P.S.3: The black USB ports in the rear, are USB 2.0. The 2 blue ports, are the Etron USB 3.0. To fully use the USB 3.0, you need USB 3.0 compliant device and USB3 cable. But the ports are backward compatible with USB2 and USB1 devices and cabled. Also the SATA ports are all SATA3, but are backwards compatible with SATA and SATA2 HDD and they use the common SATA cable (the board will come with 2 SATA cables, so if you need more, you should order a couple more from Newegg)

    *****IMPORTANT***** Before Installing Win7x64, make sure that in BIOS, your hard disks are set to AHCI (Sata mode= AHCI), not to IDE.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  16. Fuzzfas

    Fuzzfas Registered Member

    Oh, i found yet another PSU, a bit cheaper, yet good, in case you need it:

    Your Enermax is high quality brand, but i have some doubts that a 6 year old PSU will have modern connectors (specially SATA) and well... the PSU is very important, a 6 year old horse if possible should be retired... The PSU is essential for the stability of the whole system.

    Ah, Americans are so lucky to have Newegg. It's so fun to shop in there. I wish i had a newegg here! :)
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  17. Fuzzfas

    Fuzzfas Registered Member

    Oh, just for your information, i did have a BSOD caused by Shadow Defender in Win7 x64. :D Just to warn you.

    Oh, one last thing. In case in Win7x64, you get intermittent speed in internet speed (big downloads stop, restart, stop,restart), go to Network connections, right click on Realtek PCIe Family Controller, configure, advances, go to "receive side scaling", set to disabled. This is not board-dependent, it's an issue that i also had with my previous board using realtek chip too in Win7.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  18. Fuzzfas

    Fuzzfas Registered Member

    Newegg just knocked off the price of the FX-4100 by 10$, now it's at $100.:D

    Oh well, you may want to google for reviews of both CPUS. Here they are trading blows.

    I just think that the FX-4100 is probably better in Photoshop, but can't be sure. Personally i like the Athlon more, as i had one and it's a good all around CPU and true 4 core (the FX is really a 4 module CPU, not 4 independent cores). But you should research a bit what's the gap between them in Photoshop.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  19. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

    Thanks again Fuzzfas, you are a wealth of knowledge on AMD. However, referring to your 'Photoshop Performance' link... ...the Intel Core i3 and i5 buries the FX-4100 (as well as most of the other AMD processors)!!! :doubt:

    On the PSU issue, once I have decided on a Motherboard and CPU, I'll also retire my older PSU and buy a new one.

    Which SD version were you using at the time? Was that just a one-time event or has it happened more than once?
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  20. Fuzzfas

    Fuzzfas Registered Member

    Yes, but usually an intel system with similar characteristics will come more expensive. The i3 is a bit more expensive, but i think the motherboard would cost more. Unfortunately i am not very informed on the Intel motherboards, someone else may find you a good combination. My main problem with i3, is that they are dual core.

    Anyway i found a comparion Athlon 645- i3 2100 (the 2120 should do a bit better). I would think from that the Athlon is better than the FX-4100.

    The thing is, any upgrade will be huge compared to what you have now. So, i 'd go with the one that saves me more money even if it means a few seconds more... On the other hand, if you want the best performance, then you should look at i5-2500.

    The latest x64 version (i don't remember the version, i thinks it ends in a 5). Happened once.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  21. Fuzzfas

    Fuzzfas Registered Member

    Ok, after looking at the benchmarks , i 'd go:

    i5 2500 if you don't mind the money.

    i3 as intermediate price solution.

    Athlon 645 if you want to save money.

    It's not mainly about CPU price, as motherboard price. I think Intel still has more expensive motherboards.

    I am sure someone will be able to point to you a good Intel motherboard.

    Oh well, you decide.

    EDIT: Here's comparison Athlon-FX4100. I always take the x264 video encoding as a measure of the raw power of a CPU, because it's optimized to use all cores at 100% (not many programs are today).

    The Athlon beats slightly the FX-4100. Because it has true 4 cores, instead of 4 modules.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  22. Firecat

    Firecat Registered Member

    Regarding video card, you need one only if you're heavily into gaming or a big time CAD/CAM user. Otherwise, integrated graphics these days are good enough for almost all basic tasks.

    For an Intel Build, I recommend the following:

    For an AMD build I recommend the following:
    These builds will be stable and long lasting. You will require DDR3 RAM to go with this setup, so go for G.Skill or Corsair Vengeance RAM - 2x2GB will be around $30 for DDR3 1600 and 2x4GB will be around $47.

    You can compare the performance of the CPUs - Personally I think the Intel platform is better, however, I also think the AMD motherboards offer more value (features) for the price.
  23. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

    Thanks Firecat - your suggestions are much appreciated...

    I have a (probably stupid) question for you order to use the i3 or i5's integrated HD Graphics, must I get a motherboard with onboard video? :doubt:
  24. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

    Could also buy a PCI card with PATA IDE connectors.

    Cheers, Nick.
  25. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

    Stupid or not, that's a question on my mind as well. It seems to me that the motherboard has to provide an interface to Intel's CPU-integrated graphics (along with providing video output connectors!) - is that different than a motherboard having or not having onboard video? o_O
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