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Upgrade motherboard to ....?

Posts: 97
Registered: 12-08-2007

Upgrade motherboard to ....?

Hi everyone,

I currently have an

Epox 8K7A+ motherboard
Athlon XP 1400
2 * Crucial PC2100 256Mb RAM
(+ 2 * Corsair PC2100 256mb unused)
1 * Gainward GeForce 4 TI4600 128mb 4*AGP graphics
Audigy 2
2 * ATA100 40gb IBM hard drives (not set up as RAID)
Nothing is overclocked

I have just got myself an Athlon XP 3200 Barton CPU 400mhx FSB and obviously need to upgrade my motherboard. At this stage I don't plan to upgrade anything else but will in the future (more/faster RAM, bigger HDD).

Can anyone recommend a good motherboard (again, no overclocking expected) and Heatsink and Fan. I am quite interested in the Asus A7N8X Deluxe. Is this a good choice, are there better ones out there, are there better value ones out there. I has also been suggested I get an Abit NF7-S V2.0.

I'm a bit out of touch with motherboard (as you may be able to tell from my old setup).

Thanks for any help you can give


Upgrade motherboard to ....?

You've picked two good motherboards using the same chipset from two top manufacturers, there is little to choose
between them, either would be an excellent choice.
I would simply go by the specs, check they meet your requirements.
I like the Zalman range of coolers as they are very quiet and
really get the temperatures down, another premium make
is Vantec.
Regarding future upgrading especially when using high spec RAM
check that your motherboards 'supports' the RAM manufacturer
on their list of tested components as some have had problems
when upgrading RAM.
Similarly for your future hard drive upgrade, as there have been
some compatibility issues with RAID controllers.
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Upgrade motherboard to ....?

Your main problem may be the ram speed. You have PC2100 (266FSB) and the cpu really needs PC3200 (400FSB). Check you are actually able to use that slow a speed ram in the mobo. They may only support PC2700 (333FSB) or PC3200 in the BIOS. Running at a lower FSB will also lower the CPU clock so you will not be able to run it at 2GHz - cpu multiplier (fixed) * FSB speed (variable) = processor clock speed. Different mobo/BIOSs handle the different speeds in different ways so check before you buy.

The 2 mobos you suggest are perfectly adequate for what you want.

Don't forget a new PSU, your current one may not handle the extra current the new barton needs. Probably at least a 400->450W main brand (Antec True430, enermax), or even 500W OEM (which don't always supply what they claim so go bigger to make sure).
Posts: 97
Registered: 12-08-2007

Upgrade motherboard to ....?

Thanks for the reply.

The Asus can certainly handle PC2100 but I was unaware that using this speed my affect the max speed of the cpu, I'll have to look into that.

Maybe I'll get some PC3200 and have done with it (don't tell the wife though)

I currently have a 430W enermax PSU so that shouldn't be a problem.

Upgrade motherboard to ....?

Abit and Asus usually have FSB/DRAM ratio adjustments
in the bios, this will auto negotiate the CPU - Memory speeds
or allow you to set the ratio manually so you
would be able to run your CPU and RAM at full speed.
Upgrading the RAM is a good idea and so is getting a new
hard disk, better graphics, once you get the bug ....... Smiley
Posts: 97
Registered: 12-08-2007

Upgrade motherboard to ....?

That is good news.

I have e-mailed Asus to see what they say about it.

It's not so much a case of getting the bug (got that a long time ago) but getting the money and more inportantly, approval from the wife (else sneek the boxes in when she's out).

Upgrade motherboard to ....?

I've had a look at the specs sheet on the asus here
and it does support your current memory speed.
This means that all you will need to do is choose the auto option
sometimes labeled 'By SPD', this will adjust the memory timings to
66% FSB.
Getting some Corsair DDR400 or similar will give a big boost to performane when you eventually get round to it.

Upgrade motherboard to ....?

lo,another ram issue to be aware of with n-force chipset boards is to make sure if you are gonna slot in more than 1 stick of ram to buy matched pairs,it does give a slight speed increase.if you only fit 1 stick of ram and then later on want to add more you can run into a lot of memory errors,best to make your mind up before you build as to how much ram ultimately you are gonna want in your machine.1x512mb is fine.if 2x512mb then they must be an exact match, they can be bought allready paired.on your ram fsb speed it is best to go with the same or faster fsb ram than that of the cpu.not sure on those 2 specific boards but if your slooting in that gfx card you might need to set agp slot to 4x in bios,have heard of no display in some setups due to this.