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pinr
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 12:01 am    Post subject: Which Motherboard? Reply with quote

Hi I'm about to change from my old Pentium III based system to an AMD 64 system and of course I'll be installing my favourite OS Gentoo. I am split between two motherboards the Jetway S755MAX here:
http://www.jetway.com.tw/evisn/index.html
and the Gigabyte GA-K8NS here:
http://www.giga-byte.com/MotherBoard/Products/Products_Spec_GA-K8NS.htm
Both are relatively inexpensive and I'd like to know if anyone has any experience with or recomendations about either of these two products . Is everything working sound, network, lmsensors on either or both?
Thanks
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sigmalll
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would go for the gigabyte board with the nforce chipset
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sybille
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about the MSI K8N Neo4-F?
http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/mainboard/mbd/pro_mbd_detail.php?UID=652
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pinr
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sigmalll wrote:
I would go for the gigabyte board with the nforce chipset

Why? According to this article the SIS chipset is better:
http://www3.hardwarezone.com/articles/view.php?cid=6&id=883
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pinr
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sybille wrote:
How about the MSI K8N Neo4-F?
http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/mainboard/mbd/pro_mbd_detail.php?UID=652

It looks like a nice board, but out of my price range and difficult to obtain here in Mexico.
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 3:05 pm    Post subject: Tons of advice here... Reply with quote

-= LONG POST WARNING =-

I'm going to give you some hints & tips on making an AMD64 system.

I just recently finished a good hard, long run working at a computer store a month ago. Got a nice opportunity to practically memorize all the mainstream brands' current offerings. I also was able to walk through the stock rooms and read up on each board and compare all their features exhaustivley.

I built an AMD64 linux system late 2004, and is in fact the system I'm typing to you on right now (it's specs are at the bottom of my post).

You have two options really. First is socket 939 or 754. 754 is older, and you'll find a lot of people are going to step up to bash it after my post. Major differences will be lack of a dual channel memory controller and, according to what I heard from a knowledgable fella, a 128bit memory interface as opposed to 939's 256bit. Architecturally, the two sockets are quite similar outside of that.
Keep in mind that your memory controller (if it isn't disabled by a motherboard's chipset) is on the CPU, as is your AGP. All AMD64 systems are thus, quite similar, despite chipsets.

Out of all the boards I've sold, ASUS and ABit stand as the >>>LEAST RETURNED<<< brands. The system I'm using here which is built using an ABit KV8 pro (754) is one that I've pushed to countless people. Very stable for an AMD64 platform. Made it a low-cost gaming/linux rig. There's lots of performance to be had by 754, and you can save tons of cash for a marginal difference in performance. Be sure to buy something higher than a 3000 CPU so that you get more than 800mhz Hyper Transport as well...

Asrock, biostar & ECS tend to come in very-last. DFI, Tyan and Soyo are good boards, but my store didn't carry them. Gigabyte are predictable in performance. The only boards I have a big problem with aside from the first three I mentioned are MSI boards. Specifically their full ATX boards. I noticed a weird trend with MSI boards...
First that their full ATX boards are brutally picky & unstable, nforce or not. Their micro ATX boards on the other hand seemed to be indestructable. The RS480M2 is a good example of that. As are all the VIA (K8MMILSR, KM4AM-V) motherboards with the onboard S3 video. NEVER saw one of those come back, and even had some customers come back & tell me how pleased they were!!

Stay away from full ATX MSI, and worse still, nforce. I love nVidia and their drivers for linux...but if you want a stable computer, buy VIA. Just don't argue the point and don't let it come across as a budget brand.
The 8237 southbridges are one of the most widley used out there and if you run "menuconfig", you'll see VIA support EVERYWHERE. They've really embraced the linux community.

Get an nVidia video card, because ATI - despite being Canadian - do not give a damn about driver support. They're in some murderous denial about the subject and refuse to acknowledge the complaints even. Another good fact is that nVidia cards currently will annihilate ATI cards for performance in linux no matter what. nV released drivers some while ago that just took performance off the deep end.

So, if you got cash to blast, go 939 and get more bandwith & upgradeability. My reccomendation would be ASUS A8V-Deluxe or A8V-E-Deulxe (AGP or PCI-E respectivley). GeForce 6200 all the way up to a 6800 series video card - depending on how much 3D you got on the schedule...

If you want to cut costs and make a decent system still, go 754, grab any of the Micro ATX VIA-based MSI boards, or any VIA K8T800Pro based motherboard. With the money you save, get a 6600 or something like that to ensure good performance in 3D...Again, if it's what you want.

Nice news? With those boards & chipsets, you have SATA support in the kernel, which means fast hard drives. You have to pay the most attention to what board you buy. Don't even sweat processors, RAM & hard drives. Just make sure you get good ones, and put the rest of your effort into that kickass board.

Why no nforce? Because it's unstable and largley unsupported when new. I have an nforce 2, I hate it. I've sold nforce 3 250s and up and each one came back for a VIA board especially MSI boards.
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmhmh i don't agree...
2 points:
1)
Quote:

Why no nforce? Because it's unstable and largley unsupported when new. I have an nforce 2, I hate it. I've sold nforce 3 250s and up and each one came back for a VIA board especially MSI boards.


my NForce3 250gb based system works great, audio, sensors and ethernet device are working very fine ;)

2)
Quote:
Nice news? With those boards & chipsets, you have SATA support in the kernel, which means fast hard drives. You have to pay the most attention to what board you buy. Don't even sweat processors, RAM & hard drives. Just make sure you get good ones, and put the rest of your effort into that kickass board.


wrong. SATA drives are not so faster as you said, the difference is about a 0,5% faster then P-ATA. the real advantage of sata are the really small cables which helps in cabinet ventilation
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pinr
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SniperSlap! Thanks for the reply there's a hell of a lot of usefull info in there. Can you tell me if everything is working on the ABit KV8-Pro I've read reports of problems with the network interface and lmsensors. I'm going for 754 as all the 939 MBs are too pricey. I was thinking of getting the AMD 64 2800+, but after reading your post I'm not so sure I thought the 2800, 3000 and 3200 were basically the same save the clock speed. Is the 2800 crippled in some other way I can't even find any reference to it on AMDs website, which is very odd, as it definetly exists.
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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pinr wrote:
SniperSlap! Thanks for the reply there's a hell of a lot of usefull info in there. Can you tell me if everything is working on the ABit KV8-Pro I've read reports of problems with the network interface and lmsensors. I'm going for 754 as all the 939 MBs are too pricey. I was thinking of getting the AMD 64 2800+, but after reading your post I'm not so sure I thought the 2800, 3000 and 3200 were basically the same save the clock speed. Is the 2800 crippled in some other way I can't even find any reference to it on AMDs website, which is very odd, as it definetly exists.


I haven't had any issues with my onboard NIC. You have to install the 10/100 NIC support, and then go into 1000 and install velocity as well (seems velocity is dependant on the regular driver). With lmsensors, I doubt you'll have problems, it might require a bit of investigation. Bear in mind that you need to check to see if I2C is a requirement. I2C is one of those technologies that doesn't get a lot of spotlight, but I recently discovered is INSANELEY integral for that kind of stuff! :D
ABit practically writes the book on the inclusion of those features. There's a lot of (windows only, sadly) live software-based overclocking support which means there's some pretty psycho winbond chips going on there. ASUS is what you use for predictable stability. However, if you're an enthusiast, I've found that many young fellas & feature-junkies get the ABit boards. My biggest favourite is the optical audio out (and IN on the KV8 Pro to boot!!), which DOES effortlessley work in Linux (contact me if you're interested in getting that working).
Abit is also closley related to VIA through some means (not too sure), and they often have preference for releasing VIA based motherboards. For me, it's the logical choice, but my ASUS boards are solid too. The K8T800 chipset was an early one for 754, and the "K8T800 Pro" (KV8 Pro) is a more recent offering where VIA basically said to nVidia "suck it" (same thing as with the KT880 for Socket A CPUs).

If I could afford it, I'd get a 3700 which is the HIGHEST POSSIBLE CPU for Socket 754. It's got the fastest bus, and that chip will last a long long long long long long time in Linux. The 2800 is spectacular though. You can't grade a CPU's performance in Linux the same way you do in Windows. It takes much longer for a processor to reach it's "could be better" threshold. Often to the point of being expressed in years, rather than months.

Do not buy a Socket 754 Sempron either, as those are 32bit CPUs.

Turin:
Overall, nForce has a history of being a picky platform. It took nForce 2 SEVERAL revisions before it was stable. RAM was a problem and sometimes still is. For the 250s, I found that nVidia's LAN interface/controller solution is problematic. MSI has a promising (at first) nForce3 board that has dual lan. After trying to install linux on it, I found out that the extra lan controller was there as a fallback (sometimes even in Windows!!) it was nutso-flakey.

Too many horror stories. Especially when AMD64 is still considered "unstable" (it's not really).

SATA's advantages, number-for-number are 150MHz to IDE's 133MHz. Bearing in mind that Maxtor is the only major manufacturer that makes UDMA133 capable drives. Consequently, Maxtor has a staggering reputation for failed drives. Seagate and Western Digital only do 100MHz.

You are partially right in that the speed increase still isn't that much, but it's overall worth it for the extra $3 - $10 you spend on it!! :D Also if you want to RAID, that speed increase is a little bit more noticeable. I'm not a big fan of RAID for performance, especially when linux doesn't always support the controllers but I have seen that it works, especially with the 10000RPM drives!!

...Rate SATA's importance at your own discretion. I use it for a system drive on my Windows machine - no hassles. Would gladly add one to my linux box or server some day should the need arise.

Hope I covered everything, more questions are welcome, I'll watch this thread.
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pinr wrote:
sigmalll wrote:
I would go for the gigabyte board with the nforce chipset

Why? According to this article the SIS chipset is better:
http://www3.hardwarezone.com/articles/view.php?cid=6&id=883


But it also states that the SIS based mb had more of an aggressive bios than would be shipped retail. Also bear in mind the entire review is running Windows and probably more an indication of driver quality than the actual chipsets.

My suggestion of the Gigabyte board was based on my experiences of previous products from them, I have built many many systems based on their boards (everything from P3's to dual AMD) and never had a problem with any of them. Thinking about it now, the only machines that are still in use long after their shelf life are all running on Gigabyte boards.

I dont exclusivly buy Gigabyte, I just build and maintain a lot of boxen.
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the Asus K8N-E Deluxe and it has worked fine under 64bit Gentoo, Fedora and Mandrake. I never get Audio mic input to work but maybe that is just my fault since I haven't really made a big effort to fix it.

It is a 754 motherboard (so at the end of the upgrade cycle in terms of processors), if 754 is a lot cheaper then go for it since in the future you can always buy a new motherboard with a new processor, otherwise go for the newer pin type.
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a Gigabyte GA-K8N Ultra-9 with passive cooled nForce4 Ultra and also a passive cooled GeForce 6600GT from GigyByte. Both run nice and (absolutely) quite.

http://www.giga-byte.com/MotherBoard/Products/Products_GA-K8N%20Ultra-9.htm
http://www.giga-byte.com/VGA/Products/Products_GV-NX66T128VP.htm
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PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 11:38 pm    Post subject: Gigabyte Reply with quote

Quoting a somewhat distant past issue of bad capacitors on Gigabyte boards would certainly not do the brand any justice. I've sold many clearance and new Gigabyte boards. All have functioned well, they're a good manufacturer. Not my first pick, but not one I would steer away from. Each board manufacturer offers different feature-sets, akin to their target mini-audience. It's important for anyone choosing a motherboard to decide on a CHIPSET first, and then compare what all the manufacturers have to offer.

In some cases, you may cut a few out because they don't have a board with your intended chipset out yet! Easier decision!!!

In other cases, you may like the way one manufacturer maintains their support site.

Go into this with open eyes and sit each board sidebyside until you can envision one making your system, and often THEN, you'll get your perfect computer.
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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2005 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've put together a new system recently using an antec aria case (which I'm cutting holes into).

First I had a s754 760 gigabyte microatx board with a 3200+ DTR.
I ended up putting in a s754 aopen 760gx microatx board so I could overclock the processor to 220fsb while locking the PCI bus & ram.

I had some initial problems with 2.6.11 not having support for the 760 agp bridge. Ended up being a pretty easy fix. The current gentoo-sources has that fix built in.

The DTR is nice, I use the ondemand frequency policy, it rocks.

But to be honest with you, if I would have been able to do a full sized board I woudl have gone socket 939 all the way.
The new winchesters just plain run cold, some recent article shows they stay below 31W even under heavy load. The DTR under the same conditions pushes 75W.

At work we have MSI nforce 3 boards, both s754 and s939. They've all been nice and stable running linux, generally fedora core 3. Interestingly enough they tend to hiccup at times under windows, apparently it's something with the AGP driver (so go with PCIe I guess).

Right now s939 microatx is pretty much a desert. AGP offerings just aren't there. (I had an fx5950ultra)

To sum it up:
- likely better support for nf3 & nf4
- good support and performance with sis 755/760(gx)
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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2005 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Nforce 3 250 and Nforce 4 are superior to everything from VIA.
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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2005 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tùrin_Mormegil wrote:

...
wrong. SATA drives are not so faster as you said, the difference is about a 0,5% faster then P-ATA. the real advantage of sata are the really small cables which helps in cabinet ventilation


What about NCQ? (Native Command Queueing) that's meant to speed up the hard drive due to the method it does when seeking data, and if I remember correct the Nforce4 SATA (not sure about the silicon image one) supports NCQ (along with SATA2), I've found my drive to be so much faster in Timing cached reads(is that due to NCQ? not sure to be honest but I'll raise the point anyways) to be fair the Timing buffered disk isn't that much different (2mb).

Code:

#hdparm -Tt /dev/sda3
 Timing cached reads:   4148 MB in  2.00 seconds = 2073.28 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:  186 MB in  3.01 seconds =  61.87 MB/sec

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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2005 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gherald
The nForce 4 is a completley different platform to anything VIA has out in force right now (K8T890). nForce 3 has been proven to be slightly slower than VIA's K8T800 PRO chipset. More importantly though, if a board has to give you trouble, nForce will tend to be the first before VIA. I've sold both for a living, trust me...I know which boards come back.

I wouldn't build an SIS system even if it was for free. They are just a junk chipset manufacturer. Just no hope for that brand, no matter what any benchmark tells you.

My 754 system is bullet proof and insanely fast. A former coworker's nForce 3 machine sits un-linuxed.
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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2005 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have explained in several older threads why VIA is not competative with nvidia, and I don't feel like starting a mini flame war now.

It suffices to register my firm belief that -- ever since the Nforce 2 -- anyone purchasing an AMD VIA motherboard is/has been misguided.

(with the obvious exception of the early Nforce3 150 vs. original K8T that was widely reguarded by both sides as being an unimpressive stalemate).

But I'll join you in ridiculing SiS, especially their linux support.
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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2005 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pinr wrote:
According to this article the SIS chipset is better:
http://www3.hardwarezone.com/articles/view.php?cid=6&id=883


Hardware on Internet time.
The article was published in 2003. Doesn't make it wrong but I would want to read something a little more current.
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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2005 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gherald wrote:
I have explained in several older threads why VIA is not competative with nvidia, and I don't feel like starting a mini flame war now.

It suffices to register my firm belief that -- ever since the Nforce 2 -- anyone purchasing an AMD VIA motherboard is/has been misguided.

(with the obvious exception of the early Nforce3 150 vs. original K8T that was widely reguarded by both sides as being an unimpressive stalemate).

But I'll join you in ridiculing SiS, especially their linux support.


Gherald, in your previous forum posts, you go about as far as saying "nforce rocks nforce rocks" - exactly the same that you do here. You have zero basis for any of the information you're providing. The fact of the matter is that you clearly have not used a VIA-based motherboard.

From my experience in both using and selling nForce and VIA based machines, the support is a lot stronger and consistent in VIA's camp. Most 64bit chipsets aren't going to be too different due to the integration of the northbridge in the CPU. I have had numerous knowledgeable people agree that nForce is at times picky, despite any revision or manufacturer. It would be ultimatley misleading to reccomend an nForce based motherboard over a VIA board simply due to the fact that they don't have a great track record.

Performance-wise, 250 is nothing compared to K8T800Pro. I strongly suggest you revisit the benchmarks and update your knowledge. VIA released the revision chipset for a reason.

Anyone reading, do not fall prety to the nForce fanboy syndrome. It is a good platform, but I still have yet to find the stability I rely on for both a server and 64bit client.
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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2005 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SniperSlap wrote:
You have zero basis for any of the information you're providing. The fact of the matter is that you clearly have not used a VIA-based motherboard.

Ok, I'll just list all the VIA motherboards I've personally used starting with Socket A:

1x A7V333
A7V8X (1x regular, 1x -VM, 1x -X)
2x MSI K8T Neo-FSR
1x MSI K8T Neo-FIS2R
1x ABIT AV8
2x EPOX 8HDA3+

As for Nforce-based:
`
5x A7N266-VM/AA
3x Biostars w/Nforce2-IGP
A7N8X (4 or maybe 5x regular, at least 13x deluxe, exactly 10x -VM, 1x -X, 1x -E)
3x Abit NF7 & 2x NF7 rev 2
4x Abit AN7
6x MSI K8N Neo Platinum 1 & 2x Platinum 2

Obviously I only kept some of these systems around for a few weeks before selling them, and most of the -VMs went to my day job, but you get get the idea.

Here's what happened to each of the VIAs:

A7V333: Second Socket A system I ever built (first was an Ali 266). Didn't have any problems, eventually sold.
A7V8X: My third Socket A. Was great when I first got it but the A7N8X revolution started just 1 month later... I never would have bought it had I known :(
A7V8X -VM and -X: Just curious about the state of VIA. Learned to stay away from Asus's -X line ...
2x MSI K8T Neo-FSR: All AMD64 boards on the market were mediocre, so it was pretty much a toss up. I opted for these because according to Anand, MSI had a small leg up on the competition... but one of them died after a few months :@
1x MSI K8T Neo-FIS2R: Didn't spend a whole lot of time on this one; built it custom order for an old friend -- still works fine AFAIK.
1x ABIT AV8: The first died after less than 1 hour. Thank God for newegg... the replacement functions fine except for the onboard sound, which was really really shitty so I added an SB Live.
2x EPOX 8HDA3+: First died after a week. Its replacement was DOA. The second replacement still works. I guess third time's the charm, eh? Now as for the second original one... it worked fine for 3 months, then the IDE controller failed! So I switched it to my spare 80gb SATA and it uses a USB cdrom enclosure I got for free.

Now, have a look at how many more Nforce boards I've worked with. There's like 40 on that list (which may not be complete). I had a problem with exactly 2. Two, out of more than 40! The first was an A7N8X Deluxe that simply wouldn't POST after about 11 months. But it was running 200FSB from day 1, so that wasn't even dissapointing. The second was an Abit NF7 (Rev 1) which was DOA and replaced by Newegg.

I am not very familiar with the K8T800Pro or later, but based on my experience with both these brands I do not see myself buying a VIA anytime soon, especially since all AMD64 motherboards perform so similar due to the integrated memory controller.

What really sells me on Nvidia these days is:
A) No southbridge.
B) Gigabit on the northbridge.
C) RAID on the northbridge (I don't use this, but my *dozing friends think it's great)

AFAIK, current VIAs have no such features.
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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VIA chipsets are buggy. New nVidia chipsets (nforce 3 and nforce 4) are the best chipsets for AMD64. I've an Asus a8n-sli deluxe and works fine with Gentoo. Asus is usually a company that makes motherboards very reliable, stable and well-designed. You can watch very easy: chipset in Asus a8n-sli (deluxe or not) is situated away from graphic cards, so you can replace chipset cooler-fan and you can put some cooler without fan.
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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

VIA chipsets are buggy. New nVidia chipsets (nforce 3 and nforce 4) are the best chipsets for AMD64. I've an Asus a8n-sli deluxe and works fine with Gentoo. Asus is usually a company that makes motherboards very reliable, stable and well-designed. You can watch very easy: chipset in Asus a8n-sli (deluxe or not) is situated away from graphic cards, so you can replace chipset cooler-fan and you can put some cooler without fan.


Thats an urban legend. Asus boards are not that good anymore nowerdays and via chipsets are NOT buggy. Nvidas have more features i agree but there is no proof about any of them being buggy or not. For nidia u just pay too much just for their name and if you dont need any of their features you pay for nothing. So stop spreading FUD or show some proof.
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el_Salmon
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PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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So stop spreading FUD or show some proof.
It's not FUD, it's my experience as sysadmin in a research laboratory with 30 workstation and servers running linux and windows, and my experience with computers of my family & friends. Asus motherboards are not perfect, maybe, are not the best motherboards always, I agree. But chipset place it's example of well-designed motherboard. I think VIA chipsets, include the new KT800, have a few bugs. Maybe, bugs are not critical, but have bugs. By example, I had problems with Logitech Desktop Keyboard & Mouse with KT800 with USB or PS/2 connectors. I had problems with USB flash memories and PS/2 keyboard with computers with VIA KT400 chipset and MSI motherboard. Sysadmin partners in my university have reported similar bugs with VIA or AMD chipsets. Nvidia chipset motherboards are not so expensive, maybe 10% or 20% respect to VIA but not so much. I don't like flames about hardware in a linux software forum. This is my opinion, and this is all that I have to say, nothing else.
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crazycat
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PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I personally had no problems with via boars and different configurations with them. I also havent seen any articles describing via bugs. I'm sorry if i offended you but I see lots of people who say via has bugs cause they are just some cheap manufacturer and nvidia does great chipsets because they make such great videocards. Thats because i'm quite critical to it and think that some of the problems a partially to manufacturers , for example different ram compatibility with different boards with the same chipset.
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