Holiday Motherboard Guide

by Gary Key on December 15, 2008 11:00 AM EST

It's not unusual for many users to start getting a little antsy around the holidays as they contemplate various upgrades they might want to make. They say it's better to give than to receive, so we at AnandTech thought it might be nice to give you some good advice for holiday purchases, and if you're lucky you might receive a few choice upgrades.

Motherboards are one of the most important components in any computer system, but at the same time they're one of the most difficult decisions you face when it comes time to upgrade. You might think that going out and spending a ton of money on a motherboard would be a guarantee of success and quality - you get what you pay for, right? -- but as we've discussed recently that's frequently not the case. We have used and abused many motherboards over the past year, and there has been more than one occasion where a significantly cheaper motherboard easily surpassed some of the high-end offerings.

To help out with your holiday shopping, we've put together a comprehensive motherboard guide, looking at everything from entry-level products up to high-end enthusiast offerings. We will be looking at both AMD and Intel options, including the latest X58 motherboards for Core i7 systems. We will have several other component buyer's guides over the coming week, but the motherboard is the heart of any modern system so we felt it would be best to start there.

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  • v12v12 - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    I hate to say it, but anyone dumb enough to buy this Sh!_ gets what they deserve. It doesn't take a shopping analysis to figure that this stuff is nothing but BETAWARE. Or more like BEWARE... It's bad enough that M$ is allowed to basically sell a patch-ware OS, now mobo manufacturers are ALLOWED to sell patch-hardware. In the form of "bios updates." PLEASE Do the dang testing YOURSELVES: OC, Stress test etc... WTF are the public/review sites forced to do it themselves — then Hope and pray for a proper firmware to be released to address it?

    Just like my old NF7-S 2.0 = a GODLY mobo. It's highly OC'd, still passes Prime95 and yet cannot even boot from a damn USB stick? How could that simple innovation be left out? B/c Abit DECIDED to not give a crap and just leave users blowing in the wind...while a POS Dell Inspiron has the bios option???! People PLEASE! If you want to do something about it, DO NOT BUY these types of products until they are properly reviewed by AT and the like and PROVEN: Reliable, stable, and meet any claims or advertising by the manufacturers!
  • superkdogg - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    WANTED: One cheetah on steroids for overclocking experiments. PM me.
  • poohbear - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    thanks for this guide, looking forward to the next one as im really looking at upgrading soon and this article was a wealth of info. cheers.
  • jzodda - Monday, December 15, 2008 - link

    Nice article. In the mid range category I am impressed with the Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P. It's in my opinion the best board I have owned since the Abit BH6 8+ years ago. Its incredible overclocking enables me to run 24/7 stable at 525 FSB. I didn't expect that when I purchased it. My E8400 loves it.

  • AssBall - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    Speaking of Abit... didn't see them lurking around on any of these lists. Are we to conclude that newer Abit boards are no longer top notch equipment, Gary? Or is it just that AT doesn't play with them anymore or they have poor support?
  • DefRef - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    ABIT is out of the mobo business, thus their non-existent profile for years. Too bad. The BH6 and BH6-II were awesome boards.
  • bigboxes - Monday, December 15, 2008 - link

    I place the blame squarely on the mobo compnay for releasing their products without proper QA. Maybe by then their bios updates will fix the multitude of bugs that infect their products. Until then I'll play the waiting game. :)
  • SonicIce - Monday, December 15, 2008 - link

    remember then the site used to actually review them and post overclocking results :(
  • tyaiyama - Monday, December 15, 2008 - link

    I bought it about $260 before $30 MIR in late September. Now it sells less than $200 after MIR. It is feature rich.
    Chipset: nForce 780a SLI
    (nForce 200)
    Dual GbE
    Creative X-Fi Xtreme H/W Audio Card
    Everything else in high end M/B can be also found.
  • strikeback03 - Monday, December 15, 2008 - link

    is that Instant Boot Technology available on any ITX boards? Would be nice for a carputer.

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