What do you look for in a motherboard?

Discussion in 'Motherboards' started by Rob Williams, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

    12,080
    1
    Jan 12, 2005
    Atlantic Canada
    After I posted our review last night for Gigabyte's P55-UD5 motherboard, I got to thinking. Just what is it that our readers look for when deciding on a motherboard? Is it the feature-set? The overclocking-ability? Or does it more often than not, simply come down to the overall price?

    So I'd like to pose that question here, because I'm curious. The P55-UD5 we reviewed, for example, is a $220 offering. Is that more than most of you would want to spend? What's a better price-range? We just want to make sure that we're going to be tackling products you are most interested in... and if all we post is $200+ motherboards, then we're likely to cater to only one crowd.

    I also wouldn't mind opinions on how we currently review our motherboards, and look for suggestions on anything you believe we should add, or begin looking at in a deeper detail.

    Thanks!
     
  2. 2Tired2Tango

    2Tired2Tango Tech Monkey

    632
    0
    Mar 8, 2009
    Ontario Canada
    Price is always a consideration Rob, but the best answer is seldom the cheapest motherboard. Most often the answer is somewhere between the $49 board that barely boots up and the one with 347 features driving the price up.

    Feature sets are also important but in all truth today's motherboards are so feature rich I'd bet most people (techie types here, notwithstanding) don't use half of what is offered. In fact I would choose a less feature laden board in many cases because I know my guys will never use some of the more exotic features... For example: I have not yet been asked about firewire or bluetooth and have had only 1 inquiry about esata.

    People who post here (and to a degree, those who read) are a different crowd than the ones who walk into the computer store and grab whatever's on sale... I can't say if this is because of the nature of the information you provide or if it's just that a bunch of highly technical people have found one another (for me it's the latter) but there is little question that TechGage has a definate feel to it. For example: most computer forums are pretty laden with people begging for help, here we tend to discuss features and debate the esoterica which is a welcome break from my routine of trouble calls and price level inquiries.

    For mostly selfish reasons I would like to see more reviews of Micro-ATX boards. They may not be as exciting as the latest 13 core, gamer board with high end video and gigabit network connections... but they are fast becoming the bread and butter of many builders responding to the call for smaller and "less ugly" computers.

    Mini-ITX is a personal interest of mine. I've been working extensively with the ASRock offerings and have been testing a couple of others. This form factor is going to take off big time and it will bring in changes in the industry beyond smallness. Look for new processors and an expansion architecuture geared specifically to this form factor. Also expect big changes in power supply and casing designs. I should think it would be to your advantage to be ahead of the curve on this one... he who bats first, is the first to score a run, Rob.

    For the reviews themselves I would suggest adding a "Quick Info" sidebar on page one giving a point form rundown of your discoveries. This would serve two key purposes, first it would give the informed reader a quick indication of what is in the article and for the "lunch bucket Joe" crowd it could provide all the information they need. This could be especially valuable if you find flaws or problems with a given product (not just motherboards).

    On a personal note, I will suggest that except for big changes in the industry, most reviews (from any source) bore the snot out of me. I read them to keep up, but would not read them if it wasn't about keeping up. If you note the review I wrote about the ASRock/ASUS combo I've been working with was very different than the standard "test results and not much else" style that dominates most review sites... a little humor and a lighter feel might help... perhaps talk about the experience a bit more ... actually say if you like the product or not.

    Overall, Techgage is a pretty decent place to argue about computer stuff. Despite a rough beginning, I'm actually enjoying the time I spend here... but aside from the interesting people on your forums there's not a lot to say "this is a special place".
     
  3. Doomsday

    Doomsday Tech Junkie

    1,477
    0
    Nov 24, 2008
    KHI, PAK
    i got my mobo for $214..so its ok i think..this was my first motherboard bought without any 1going to the shop, building a PC and giving me at home to plug and use...Price is important...next thing stability. both in overclocking and power distribution amongst the Rams n Processor etc.(mobo handles that right?!?)...looks r in the end, hehe!
     
  4. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

    12,080
    1
    Jan 12, 2005
    Atlantic Canada
    That's my thinking on things as well. The vast majority of people who build their own PCs don't even have a clue about what makes most of the components special. I've known many people over the years who built their own system's to ask for help from friends on what parts to buy, and in some cases, just take the word of the salesman at a computer shop (almost always a bad idea... computer shops tend to sell last-gen hardware for current-gen prices).

    I'm with you on that, and it bothers me that we haven't taken a look at such boards to a great degree in the past. The real problem is that there's just a lack of manpower right now. Over the course of the past three months, I've written 75% worth of the site's content, and I'm already weeks behind on content that should have already been posted. I promise that as soon as we're able, we'll be taking a look at more mATX (and even some miniATX) boards. It's not an option... we need to. They are growing in popularity at a very fast rate.

    This is a good concept, I like it. I think something like this would work in more than just a specific type of content. I'll discuss this with the rest of the staff, and see if we can't implement something like that in the near-future.

    I don't think our content lacks humor or lacks a "lighter feel". Some pieces of content is more technical than others, but we already try to write our content a little differently than other sites. We don't want to litter our content with humor, because that's not our goal. Our goal is to inform. Our goal is also to offer enough information to show that we know what we're talking about. There are many sites out there who review hardware which has editors that know little about the product they're looking at. We never, ever want to give off a vibe like that. On some sites, the lack of knowledge is totally blatant.

    We do say if we like the product or not... hence the reason we have a Final Thoughts section.

    Living in Pakistan, something tells me that you're probably already paying more for a product than what it's worth. Is that the case? Are US prices generally much more favorable than those over there?
     
  5. 2Tired2Tango

    2Tired2Tango Tech Monkey

    632
    0
    Mar 8, 2009
    Ontario Canada
    If I can dare a prediction.... the move to mini-ITX is the future. With the exception of high end gamers, full sized ATX boards are probably "last generation". Micro-ATX is pretty much the standard for SOHO and Home users. Currently all my builds are on that form factor. Only once have I run across a customer who actually needs ATX boards... and that's simply because he needs the extra expansion slots for his task (high end security/surveliance).

    My local computer store must love me right about now. I made a deal with them when they started carrying the ASRock boxes (at my recommendation) that I would send my guys to them for the hardware and do the software setup myself. We are now well along that road and it's going gangbusters. Additionally, I know this has spawned at least twice as many copy cats as a lot of my friend's friends have chosen to do their own setups based on what they saw in the boxes I did... I'd estimate (based on requests for my software bundle) we're about 150 machines into it... in only 4 months.

    I agree... you do need to do this, or you will soon enough be left behind.
     
  6. Doomsday

    Doomsday Tech Junkie

    1,477
    0
    Nov 24, 2008
    KHI, PAK
    yup..that be true.....e.g the HD4770 is for $99 but in PAK its for Rs.13000 which is $154!!! well same goes for everything else. US prices r more favorable, yes... but gotta live with it..:)
     
  7. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

    12,080
    1
    Jan 12, 2005
    Atlantic Canada
    For many people, I would agree, but I do see a problem. With miniITX, there is almost no expansion capabilities at all, which is a huge issue for performance users. Currently, you can only use a maximum of 4GB of RAM (or perhaps 8GB of slow RAM) that I know of, and inside of an ITX chassis, you're not going to be able to fit much. Then there's the issue of lack of room for a large graphics card (which is pretty much all of them lately), lack of room for multiple hard drives, no other expansion (TV tuners, audio cards, WiFI card (unless it's built in, which is cool), et cetera) can be had.

    If we could have today's performance PCs shrunk down into miniITX, I sure wouldn't complain. But we've never catered to that crowd. We've always catered to the performance crowd, so for our audience as it is today, miniITX is going to be of low interest, except to those who just want to create an HTPC, and not use it as their main PC.

    Either way, it's a goal to begin taking a look at these sooner than later. We were supposed to long ago, but this year has been a little rough where content stability is concerned.

    Ugh man... 50% higher? That's way, way harsh :mad:
     
  8. 2Tired2Tango

    2Tired2Tango Tech Monkey

    632
    0
    Mar 8, 2009
    Ontario Canada
    When that is the criteria Micro-ATX is your answer. It does require a much larger case but if that's what you need it's what you need. As I mentioned, I almost never build ATX machines anyomore.


    This is certainly true of the Atom based solutions. For anything except use as a glorified i-Pod, I'd be looking into Zotac (etc.) for their AMD or Core based offerings. Once off the Atom bandwagon the performance for gaming and content creation is there... what's missing, to date, is the expansion capability. Farming around on the web, I've come across several sites detailing work on an expansion standard for Mini-ITX... usually this involves risers from a standard connector on the board. It's a new form factor... give it time.

    Granted Mini-ITX this isn't up your main audience's alley... Yet.
     
  9. Doomsday

    Doomsday Tech Junkie

    1,477
    0
    Nov 24, 2008
    KHI, PAK
    i know....like last week i went to this new shop GNC Live Well..its a sports nutrition shop and i thought i'll check out some 100% Whey Protein in Chocolate and Bam! :eek:

    e.g. a 5lb tub of whey protein costs around $54...($39 if it be on sale) but when i asked the price it was equivalent to $105......i asked the guy and he said it come from USA and the delivery and the taxes the gov. has put they have no choice but to sell it this high....

    but the good thing is that prices drop after a few months. They become more acceptable! still high but reasonable!
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2009
  10. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

    12,080
    1
    Jan 12, 2005
    Atlantic Canada
    Ugh, that is absurd man. At that price, it's better to just buy real food with a ton of protein (like fish). I swear, I'll never complain about the prices of anything again. I forget what I pay for whey protein, but I'm quite sure it's about $25 CAN for a 5lbs container. Could be a bit less... I never pay attention like I should.
     
  11. Psi*

    Psi* Tech Monkey

    751
    0
    Jun 17, 2009
    Westport, CT
    off topic tangent!!!

    Certain things are just grossly overpriced. Take for instance & similar to what you are talking about http://www.amazon.com/MuscleTech-Ce...r_1_100?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1255215759&sr=1-100

    I had a trainer (back when I could afford things like that) that absolutely insisted that I buy this stuff. Grape reminded of Grapette from my childhood, BTW. BUT, those containers are half full, grossly overpriced ... and I took it religiously for 6 months ... ehhhhh!!!!!:eek::mad: Did not do anything. I call it expensive cool aide & will never walk into a GNC again. But, I am also a born skeptic & that is just me. Your mileage may vary.:cool:

    My point is, there are some things that the marketeers know that there is a religious-like following & will buy "it" at whatever the price. I was not going to tell my trainer B--- S--- as he could have tossed me across the gym. :eek: This applies to electronics also ... like "gold" audio connectors? Oh, you didn't know? :eek:

    Trying to get on topic of the original post. I am a minimalist as far as mother boards. Ideally, I would like to add on what I want, be it high end video & sound cards (external?), TV tuner .. or not. I do not want to pay for what I do not need. I may someday decide to upgrade an aspect of a computer and when doing so I like the feeling of economy by not scrapping a similar, but older and/or less capable feature built in. I am never satisfied with the built in stuff, but live with it.

    My current interest, is give me a mother board with incredible & proven overclocking capability, 2 oz copper (call what you want), supports i7s & 6 memory sockets and nothing else. Well, ok ... a IDE for a floppy (don't know why), SATA-whatever (the fastest & current), USBs like "1 port" (can't you get splitters similar to the 3 that I already have for more ports?), and 1 external SATA-whatevers. Oh, PCI-e 16 bit & at least 4 of those plus a couple more PCI-e for I don't what & am not sure that they are needed. To this I want a mediocre video card ... for a couple of years. Then I'll get a high end Creative Labs card/usb box.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
  12. Doomsday

    Doomsday Tech Junkie

    1,477
    0
    Nov 24, 2008
    KHI, PAK
    lol! yeah, buying chicken/fish would be cheaper but the problem is preparing. So i told me cousin in UK to buy two 5lbs tubs of whey and bring em with him! hah! filled her bag! :D
     
  13. 2Tired2Tango

    2Tired2Tango Tech Monkey

    632
    0
    Mar 8, 2009
    Ontario Canada
    Cooking is a pleasure, not a chore, my friend.

    Just one suggestion... if you want good flavor and nutritian from your nicely prepared meal... keep it the heck away from microwave ovens. Darned things can suck the flavor out of anything.
     
  14. Doomsday

    Doomsday Tech Junkie

    1,477
    0
    Nov 24, 2008
    KHI, PAK
    Aaye..Thaat be truue!
     
  15. gibbersome

    gibbersome Coastermaker

    151
    0
    Sep 19, 2009
    That's just awful man!

    How about next time I visit Pakistan, I'll bring you a spanking new 5870X2?

    Though, I don't know what I'm going to do with all those rupees.
     
  16. Doomsday

    Doomsday Tech Junkie

    1,477
    0
    Nov 24, 2008
    KHI, PAK
    lol! coming to Pakistan?!
     
  17. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

    12,080
    1
    Jan 12, 2005
    Atlantic Canada
    I think your last point there sums it up nicely, because that's the case for most things.

    If there's one muscle-builder I think does work, it could be whey powder, since it's packed with protein. There are other methods of getting all that protein, but who wants to eat cans of tuna every single day? I sure don't, I can say that much. There are a lot of powders and pills on the market that people believe in, even if it does nothing for them. In some regards, some act mostly as a placebo. Take creatine, for example. I've known a lot of people who used it, and claimed it worked, but it's fairly obvious that it only does anything if you are a hardcore muscle-builder. It's not for someone who goes to the gym for an hour three times a week.

    Of course. Take Airborne for example. It's been proven that it does little, or nothing (the company was sued for millions), yet there are tons of people out there who claim it works wonders.

    I'm the exact same. We are definitely one of the few, though.
     

Share This Page