How to Spot a Good Motherboard
I was recently browsing the web to check the price of my motherboard, when I found something surprising. I purchased my Intel DG965WHMKR motherboard for Php 6,500.00 back in May 2005, and as I was checking the prices I found out that the average price for this motherboard is currently and possibly for the year 2009 would be at Php 6,100.00 and that price is for outside the Philippines. How much more would that be if the board is to be purchased here it probably would cost at least Php 8,000.00. Anyway, here are some tips to picking a good board.
Here’s the first tip: Good motherboards will always be hard to find. No matter how much publicity you see for a motherboard it is always best to check the net for forums that have user opinions on the boards. Be careful though some companies use SEO tactics and do shameless self promotion with their products. A good tip would be to check the forum poster’s number of posts, the higher the posts the better.
Second Tip: If you are a computer enthusiast, a good motherboard for you would be one that is fully customizable. I can’t give out any suggestions on what motherboard brands to purchase but look for one that has good warranty coverage. This is so that you can relax easy while overclocking or concocting a new super computer that can rival Google’s servers.
Third Tip: If you are not a computer enthusiast and want a motherboard that is budget wise and will last for a long time, go for Intel motherboards, not motherboards with Intel chip sets but motherboards that are manufactured by Intel. I can assure you Intel boards, with regular maintenance (anti-virus, defragmenter) can last to more than 6 years based on personal experience. This is backed up by the fact that Intel has been producing server motherboards for IBM mainframes for a long, long, long time already.
Lastly: Picking the motherboard should be the task that will take you the most time when building a system. Keep in mind that the motherboard is the glue that will bind every component of the PC and so it is very important to choose carefully. I have always noticed since computers were sold as packages at stores here in Davao, store owners will not put the motherboard brand on the package list. They usually think that the system is good to sell as long as the CPU is fast, the hard drive is spacious, the monitor has a large and clear screen, the memory is high and the video card. I always end up asking “What’s the motherboard of this package?”
* I have owned this computer since May 2005, even though I have been quite abusive to the computer such as turning off the CPU by holding the power button and even pulling the plug immediately, I still have the original installation of Windows XP running on the machine from the day I purchased the system. (“Original Install Date: 5/7/2005, 11:24:05 PM” – You can check for your installation date by executing the “systeminfo” program in the command line of Windows XP.)
PS: Lastly, the motherboard that I would not recommend you purchasing would be ASUS motherboards. Even though ASUS has good marketing, IMHO, I don’t think they produce high quality motherboards. I am saying this because I have a lot of friends who own ASUS motherboards and they always keep asking me for help on something such as unexpected restarts and BSOD which I will not be able to fix because I have traced the problem as part of the hardware. As a systems administrator, web developer and programmer I have used and fixed a lot of comptuers that run on ASUS motherboards one such example that would be easy enough is when I am updating the BIOS, I distinctly remember two units with ASUS motherboards failing the update and rebooting to the old BIOS. Another problem I have with ASUS motherboards is that when you try to check their website for drivers, most of the drivers are dated back when the motherboard was released. I would not even bother installing the auto updater that comes with the CD for the motherboard in the office because it would only be a waste of memory.
And if any ASUS motherboard fans are reading this here are two things to think about. ASUS produces about 15 to 30 new motherboards per year (this is due to the fact that they also produce motherboards for AMD) while on the other end, Intel produces about 5 to 9 new motherboards per year. Another thing, with that much marketing and publicity how much do you think they will have left for funding research and development?