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Blogs What do you want from a motherboard?

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Dogbert666, 11 Oct 2016.

  1. Xlog

    Xlog Minimodder

    16 Dec 2006
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    1) IPMI with full HW control/reporting, so we can get rid of proprietary fanControl/OC/Swag/etc windows-only software that becomes unsupported a year later.
    2) At least two Intel NICs
    3) IOMMU support in BIOS for chipsets that support it
  2. RedFlames

    RedFlames ...is not a Belgian football team

    23 Apr 2009
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    Also, if you're gonna load your board with LEDs... give me the option to turn the feckers off...
  3. Stanley Tweedle

    Stanley Tweedle NO VR NO PLAY

    3 Apr 2013
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    I want the following:

    Red lights.
    a few capacitors.
    an opamp I can unplug but never actually will.
    heat sink in shape of demonic cyborg face because in my head I'm still a teen easily impressed by dumb stuff.
  4. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

    9 Feb 2004
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    I got a 6700K in Jan and with it a Gigabyte Z170 Mobo, which was quickly RMA'd and replaced with a ASUS Maximus VIII Hero.

    The reason I settled on these two was a) previous good experience with both brands and because they both supported 8 x SATA - I have 3 x SSD and 3 x RAIDed SATA plus 2 optical drives.

    I recall seeing some Asrocks with 12 ports and there is also the option of PCIe cards to provide extra ports, but I went with favoured brangs with good reviews.
  5. Yadda

    Yadda Minimodder

    25 Jul 2003
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    Interesting article.

    I like motherboards that:

    Are durable.
    Overclock well. Not record breaking levels, just decently.
    Are easily recoverable when over clocking fails.
    Have the fan headers and other connectors near the edges, not in the middle of the board.
    Have adequate room for coolers & blocks.
    Don't cost the earth.
    Don't come in circus tent colours.
    Don't make a smell & fail.
  6. Combatus

    Combatus Bit-tech Modding + hardware reviews Lover of bit-tech Super Moderator

    16 Feb 2009
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    Pretty sure the next round of Intel CPUs and boards will offer HDMI 2.0. You can also use a discrete GPU such as a GTX 960, although if you're just playing back 4K content I guess that's an added expense you'd rather not have!
  7. ObsCure

    ObsCure What's a Dremel?

    26 Mar 2012
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    This, especially the 4x pcie above the main slots. Put it into a micro ATX form factor and you are golden.
  8. Xir

    Xir Modder

    26 Apr 2006
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    What I like:

    Long lifespan.
    "Good enough" audio, meaning one or two notches up from the (cheapest) average.
    Easy fan management, either in BIOS or in Windows, preferably in BIOS.
    Post code display

    What I don't care about: lights, colours, bundeled software, WiFi.

    As you're looking for clues on what to test, how about adding a "simple standard" mobo within a range? So for instance (Asus) not just the ROG/Sabertooth/Progaming, but also one of the "normal" ones, just to show if there's any performance benefit to the former?
  9. JAMF

    JAMF What's a Dremel?

    17 Feb 2009
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    2x nVME M.2 ports
    HDMI 2.0
    PCI-e 3.0 x16
    At least one USB-C, for additional versatility and future proofing.
    Enough 4-pin fan headers
    At least 4x SATA600, for magnetic storage

    Audio will be handled by a DAC, or passthrough on HDMI, so not bothered about that.
  10. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Fan Fan

    16 May 2011
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    I think the motherboard is definitely the place where most builders/enthusiasts are willing to cut corners. What's the difference between the low, mid and high-end motherboards? Virtually nothing in terms of performance... mostly just features and connectivity, many of which are irrelevant to a lot of people.

    My motherboard purchases have always hinged primarily on the chipset & socket (all my boards have been X58 / 1366 since 2009), and that will likely be my first consideration when I upgrade my system because it will determine what other components go into it. By the time I upgrade it may be an easier choice, but at the moment I'd say I was hard pressed to choose between Z97 and Z170.

    The only other important consideration for me is connectivity, so as many USB ports as possible and preferably one or two USB headers for the front of my case (which my current board lacks because it's so old).

    I don't care about LEDs or digital readouts... just a solid board that performs well. My priorities have definitely changed since my system use has become 99% work focused and therefore not about playing games or tinkering with component voltages. When I bought motherboards in the past, it was usually based on which had the coolest heatsinks - that's largely why I bought the original Asus Maximus with its awesome heatsink design. (I even still have the receipt in my email - purchased in July 2008 from Tekheads UK.) :D

    Edit: now this is hawt :lol:

  11. Jan1970

    Jan1970 What's a Dremel?

    14 Oct 2016
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    Features I desire on a motherboard:

    - At least four memory slots. (2 filled when the desktop is bought, and usually an upgrade 2 or 3 years down the road)
    - At least 3 PCI-e x8 connections (usually filled with 10GBit NIC, HW RAID and graphics card).
    - Open ended PCI-e slots.
    - DP with MST.
    - Dual BIOS (what a weird name for something storing UEFI and not BIOS, but ...)
    - A decent firmware (which often means OC/gaming boards).
    - eSATA.
    - Thunderbolt3
    - M.2 for NVME SSDs.
    - Debug LEDs

    As SSD capacity grows the need to use a hardware RAID card is dropping, which might mean I will accept fewer PCI-e connectors in the future.

    Things I would not mind, but which are just 'nice to have'

    - A PS2 socket (I am still using a classic model M keyboard from 1991).
    - Two DP ports (no need to use MST when using multiple monitors).
    - Multiple connectors for system fans.
    - A serial port connector on the motherboard for talking to old devices without needing an USB to serial convertor.
    - Multiple M.2 connectors. No need to use a PCI-e to M.2 card when adding more disks during an upgrade.

    Things I dislike:
    - RGB lighting. I always turn it off.
    - VGA connector (ancient, ancient, ancient. And using space).
    - DVI connector (using lots of space and some licensing costs).
    - Additional SATA controllers beyond the chipset.
    - A graphical firmware.
    - Wireless.
    - Motherboard supplied SLI bridges.
    - Needless bloatware.

    Some software included with the motherboard comes close to bloatware. I usually do not install it

    > Will you gladly shed RGB lighting for a cheaper board?
    > Do you actually use the software included with your motherboard?

    Yes. Never use it. Still have to pay for it if it is present. Dump.

    > Which brings us back to price. How much does it matter to you?

    I do try to get a cheap motherboard which has all the features I want. Usually around £180.
    Latest three motherboards I bought are:
    * Gigabyte X58 UD-5 (i920 platform, eSATA, 3x x16, 6 memory banks. Older desktop)
    * ASROCK Z170 Extreme4 (fileserver/testing platform)
    * Gigabyte Z170 gaming 7 EU (current desktop)
  12. Mr_Mistoffelees

    Mr_Mistoffelees The Bit-Tech Cat. New Improved Version.

    26 Aug 2014
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    Simple really, a decent spec with overclocking support and M2 support without all the unnecessary cosmetic extras, that add to the cost but won't be seen in a windowless case, squeezed betwixt my desk and the storage unit next to it.
  13. Anfield

    Anfield Multimodder

    15 Jan 2010
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    MSI Lolocoaster Cheesecake


  14. LennyRhys

    LennyRhys Fan Fan

    16 May 2011
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    ^ Hahahaha damn that brings back memories. I did look at the MSI P35 Diamond which had that exact heatsink, but I ended up going for Gigabyte's P35 DS4 which had possibly the most ridiculous heatsink of any motherboard at that time.

    Much to my disappointment, instead of sending me the original design (pictured below), they sent me the Rev 2.0 version of the board which had a more sensible heatsink design.

  15. Maki role

    Maki role Dale you're on a roll... Lover of bit-tech

    9 Jan 2012
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    For me, it's entirely down to the form factor. I want the most functionality from each size where possible, but also aesthetics are damn important to me. Luckily it's easy to make a good looking board:

    Aesthetic Points (all form factors):
    • Neutral colours paired with RGB lighting - Lighting can be switched on or off, means the board can fit with almost any component combo. This is finally a reality
    • Power cables on the edge of the motherboard - Obvious plus for cable management
    • Right-angled SATA connectors on the edge of the motherboard - Again it's an obvious move that manufacturers have done for ages, but straight ones are creeping back on some boards
    • Shroud for the IO pieces - They're ugly, simple as
    • Matte PCB - Just makes things look so much cleaner not seeing traces everywhere

    Features (all form factors):
    • Lots of rear USB ports - They're damn useful, my main boards are all WS varieties and they have them spilling out of the seams. The more the merrier. I wish they'd just chuck a single Displayport on the back and do away with all the VGA/HDMI/DVI stuff that takes up space.
    • Power button - Should be a standard feature tbh, simply handy for testing outside a case etc. The front IO connectors can be hard to reach sometimes with GPUs installed
    • BIOS Flash/reset/update port/button - Pretty standard now but very useful

    ITX Boards:

    • At least 1 PCIe M.2 port for SSDs - Not having M.2 on an ITX board is stupid, it's about the only form factor where it matters
    • On-board wifi - Makes sense for the form factor

    mATX Boards:
    • 2x M.2 ports - Bigger board so more ports please. Massive speed but even better, bigger capacities without cables anywhere
    • At least 2 16x PCIe slots - preferably with triple spacing for big cards

    ATX Boards:
    • 2x M.2 ports - Obvious by now
    • 4 x16 PCIe slots - I know this needs switches, but damn do I like the capability
    • x16 slot as the first slot and no stupid 3 slot spacing - completely kills builds with three cards. I know Nvidia only wants two, but I want more for other uses that don't require SLI, so not having proper spacing is a complete bummer.
    • Front IO headers in a proper place - they get covered up on the X99E-WS if you use all the slots, stupid design. Put them on the side somewhere, perhaps near the 24 pin or something? Or the top
  16. azrael-

    azrael- I'm special...

    18 May 2008
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    Lots of stuff, but what it eventually boils down to is ECC memory support.
  17. Wwhat

    Wwhat Minimodder

    2 Oct 2005
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    I'm on-board with most other commenters, a good number of PCIe slots, M2 connectors, plenty of USB3.1/3.0 and yes even USB2.0.
    Also plenty of SATA but I don't need RAID since I find in real life it's a pesky and costly thing to maintain.
    And 2x NIC because I like the ability to connect two separate Ethernet cables.
    And a decent soundchip with as little goddamn DRM as possible.
    And 4 slots for RAM at least.

    And I still like PS/2 for older hardware, and on-board serial is nice I admit., especially if it's still in the chip they use and all they need to do is put a header on the board.

    I don't need WiFi, antennas are a pest with WiFi on motherboards since they need to be on the outside but connecting them on the rear means half the signal is still blocked by the case, and they are in the way, and it'll soon be outdated Wifi anyway.
    I also don't need graphics on the motherboard, I like to have more powerful graphics and for a desktop system you'll go for a graphics card. APU are for mobile and office IMHO.
    In terms of lights I like it to be functional and not merely decorative, the lights should indicate various operations. But I'm not in a great need for all the RGB light extravaganza.

    For the BIOS I like to not have it lock down with all the so-called secure boot and śhit since that's designed to help companies not users, no matter what they say.. And it should have all the options, especially options to disable intrusive and unneeded stuff. And it should have decent fan control..

    Last but by no means least, in fact it's quite important: longevity, don't put big capacitors in places where they heat up too much and fail. And of course use decent capacitors, if they are still made these days that is... Oh and make the ones that are likely to fail first (easily) replaceable..
  18. Wwhat

    Wwhat Minimodder

    2 Oct 2005
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    One more thing on the topic of onboard WiFi, I think they would be better of just making a nice WiFi USB dongle and include that in the package, less cost since you don't need to route it on the board and include antennas and deal with spurious signals, less hassle for both the user and manufacturer. Plus you can include a nice personalized USB extension cable and design the dongle nicely to attach it to the front or top of the case and you have a superior solution. Plus people like the idea of free stuff. And of course people can update it when new WiFi standards come along, and then they can even sell of gift their old dongle or use it for a board like the Raspi or some such (I know the new ones already have WiFI).

    And while I'm virtually talking to the manufactures: Also don't sell a top-of-the-line boards and then when the next model is released 3 months later abruptly drop BIOS updates for it. That kind of thing makes people go to another manufacturer the next time.
    Last edited: 22 Oct 2016

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