June 24th, 2003, 10:33 PM
Motherboard newbie help please!!
I've been with my computer for quite some time and I was wondering if anyone could give me some help with purchasing a new motherboard. I know very little about computers and i never looked into the motherboard area of the subject. I always took the motherbaord for granted and thought of it as "some place that you plug everything into". I need a direct product name and just a general brand. I'm look for something with a lot of expansion and room to add. Something with an Intel Pentium 4 Processor (maybe anything 2.0ghz and up). If AMD Althon is better than let me know, its just than I know Intel and Ive been with their processors for wutie sometime. As long as they work the same way then it's all cool. I'm willing to spend $100 - $150 US. maybe a bit more if 100-150 is considered too little for a motherboard. If you need any more info about what I need then please ask.
I have also heared people talking about "jumper" settings and making sure to screw things in the right way or else you could fry you motherboard of sumthing. Please explain this stuff to me or anything else that poses a risk if I need to know about it.
PS. I'm currently using a Compaq 5450CA and it needs to be better than that. The 5450ca has only two of those slots for ram sticks and the case has no room to expand for more cd-drives whatsoever. Its 2.0ghz and I am going to use its parts with the new motherboard im getting, therfore explaining why im just not buying a new computer.
Any suggestions are good too, thanks ppl.
PPS. If you could give me any help please, please add me on MSN, ICQ or AIM or let me know so that I can add you. Thank you.
June 25th, 2003, 07:23 AM
Now, I'm no hardware expert, so anyone feel free to add things to this but, here goes.
Price: motherboards over $100 are generally considered higher end. Most probably, you can get a perfectly fine one for less.
Brand: There are several big brand names that are know both for reliability and quality products: Asus, MSI, Soyo(expensive) just to name a few.
Intel/AMD: Now, I am bias because I have always used AMD. Intel will probably be a better choice for daily buisness work, but AMD is better for gaming, and is also fine for the daily routine. AMD tends to be cheaper also when it comes to processors that arent "cutting edge". Now, I think you might be confused with something here.. Motherboard DO NOT come with a processor. It must be bought separately, along with a heatsink(normally included) and fan. I would suggest a retail AMD Barton 2700-2800+(Im currently running the 2800) but it is certainly up to you.
Installation: Installing a motherboard is a fairly easy task, but it is also a risky one. If you have no idea what you are doing, its generally not a good idea to tackle this job. The motherboard comes with plastic spacers to offset if from the case on installation, thereby not letting the metal complete the circuit and fry the whole board. Granted, it is pretty hard to mess this up, but it has been known to happen. Moreso than just the board installation, the processor and heatsink can also lead to major damage. If the heatsink is not installed properly(plastic can't be touching it off the CPU) it can again case a very bad day.
expansion: almost any motherboard today provides for decent expansion. If you mean RAM slots, then almost all have three nowadays. PCI/AGP slots are also pretty common. Other features such as RAID, etc. wil cost you more, but if it's something you need then you might want to look into it. Also, you can commonly find motherboard with onboard sound, video, and NIC. This is a good space saver if you are not concered with having the utmost quality in these areas.
Choosing: When choosing a motherboard, there are a few important things you want to look for. First, make sure it supports the processor you want to buy. Either Intel or AMD. And make sure that it can support the clockspeed of that CPU(it is always clearly labled on the box). Next, the front side bus. The motherboard must be of the same FSB as the processor, and the RAM as well if you want to take full advantage of the speed. (Barton 2800+ runs at a 333 FSB, Itel is always higher in recent models). Finally, look for the features that are important to you.
RAM: If you wanted to just keep the system you have, it is possible to buy higher density RAM. For instance, you probably have two sticks of 256mb RAM currently. You can get anywhere from that to 1ghz or even 2ghz in a single chip! So, RAM slots should not be an issue.
CPU: Assuming you bought a compatable board, it is possible to take the CPU out of you existing Compaq and put it in a new one. However, since it seems that you have not had much experience in the area, I don't suggest you try this.
Well, hope I didn't leave anything out. Good luck on you purchase!
Edit: If you wanted to order offline, I suggest www.newegg.com I bought my entire computer off the site, and may other things since. Great site. Also, if you get it from there, I can help you directly find the one that you want/need.
Last edited by AGibel; June 25th, 2003 at 10:57 AM.
June 25th, 2003, 01:02 PM
Well, thank you and I am getting a much clearer idea of what i'm looking for. I just have a few more quesions:
Now, I have always looked at AMD and seen the AMD Althon. What is the difference between the Athlon and the Barton? What would be the "Intel Equivalent" of them? How many ghz?
Also, i was wondering if you could explain what FSB is beucase it seems pertty important but i'm not really sure about what part fo the motherboard it is.
What is the RAID option? Do most people have it?
Also I've been hearing a lot about getting AGP x4 or x8 what is better?
Also, what part of the motherbaord is the CPU? Is it that little black chip that has intel engraved onto it? If it is, are you saying that I can take it out? If i can, how do I take it out because i have an extra computer that i can practice taking out that little chip if I have to.
June 25th, 2003, 01:53 PM
Whew. Well, I must say this is keeping me entertained.
FSB= Front Side Bus. This is not a physical "thing" but rather an attribute that RAM, Motherboards, and CPU's have. It is important that it matches on all three of these.
AMD- The Barton is simply another line that AMD has come out with. It has about a 2.08 clockspeed, and is equivilent, to now a lower end P4. I can't get direct product names, because I'm at work, and I probably shouldn't be "shopping around"
A RAID is something you will not need. It is simply an option that includes the ability to link two or more harddrives to each other, making a single larger one.
AGP is a slot used for the video card. The only reason you would need an 8x AGP slot is for the most recent, high end video cards.(GeForce FX)
The CPU is not a part of the motherboard at all. It is a completely separate chip that merely "plugs" into the motherboard. It is an area probably about 2 in square. If the computer you are talking about runs, then there will be a large piece of metal, and a fan over top of it.
Not to sound mean, but with your experience level, I highly reccommend that you do not attempt to change processors. But to do it, you first must take off the fan, but undoing some hooks by hand, and unplugging it from where it was. Next, you must take off the heatsink, which is the large piece of metal sitting there. This can be difficult. There are clips on either side near the board that must be tightly squeezed and then it can be taken off. The CPU is more or less resting on the plastic underneath. There is a lever that is down on one of the sides of the square. Only after you lift this lever can you remove the proccessor. Again, I highly reccommend you find someone else to install/change CPU's w/ you limited experience. It can be very costly if things go wrong.
June 25th, 2003, 03:30 PM
installing cpu is easy. lol only people like me f*ck it up. well almost. it works now. i think.
but u can always buy a motherboard with cpu. some people say it's cheaper. and u dont got to install anything.
June 26th, 2003, 01:19 AM
Ok, i've looked around, asked some people and this is what i've come up with. I've boosted up my budget and this is what im thinking about, please tell me if im making the right choices:
(All info from newegg.com)
Intel Pentium 4 / 2.66 GHz Northwood 512K Socket 478 Processor 533MHz Processor Bus Retail
CPU: 2.66 GHz
Type: Pentium 4 Northwood
BUS: 533 Mhz
Socket: 478 Retail (Box with Heatsink and fan)
The motherboard is $104.99 and the processor is $190. Overpriced? Good deal? Is it what i'm looking for? I'm jus making sure i'm on the right track. BTW does newegg.com charge tax or anything besides shipping?
June 26th, 2003, 07:03 AM
Well, I don't know much about Intel, but that looks fine to me. Motherboard is a bit pricy, but thats what you get for a good brand. All and all, as long as you have a video card you should be all set.
BTW: newegg doesn't charge tax on anything, and many times shipping is free(in product specs). Has one of the best reputations around.
June 26th, 2003, 11:05 PM
Ok, so i have my stuff chosen. Does anyone know a good site that good give me a tutorial or how to or some tips on installing motherbaords? I'm not really that intelligible about it and I must be the one to do it. Thanks.