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HMTK

Need a mainboard foe dual core CPU and 4+ GB RAM

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I'm in the market for a mainboard (preferably Intel, MSI, Asus or Gigabyte) but I need some advice. I specifically need a lot of RAM to run many virtual machines so support for more than 4 GB is mandatory. Most Intel boards seem to be limited to 4 GB but AMD boards seem to have more support more often more than that. Problem is that I haven't been following chipsets lately and I have no clue what kind of chipset to look for. A workstations-class mainboards is beyond my budget.

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I'm in the market for a mainboard (preferably Intel, MSI, Asus or Gigabyte) but I need some advice. I specifically need a lot of RAM to run many virtual machines so support for more than 4 GB is mandatory. Most Intel boards seem to be limited to 4 GB but AMD boards seem to have more support more often more than that. Problem is that I haven't been following chipsets lately and I have no clue what kind of chipset to look for. A workstations-class mainboards is beyond my budget.

Most Intel Core 2 Duo boards support 8 Gigs of Ram, you can find 2x2GB sticks of some good timings DDR2-800 sticks for 330ish per.

I personally have found the Asus P5B-Deluxe/Wifi to be a great motherboard for most things.

If you need PCI-X slots, I used a P5WDG2-WS workstation board recently that was also quite nice.

Over 8 Gigs of ram and you likely need to go 2-way on the motherboard.

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budget = low

I'm actually considering a Sempron 64 or Celeron 64-bit for the interim but I want to be able to already install a 64-bit OS.

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OK, those Asus boards look interesting.

But what about chipsets for AMD CPU's? Which are the ones to look for?

I'm not afraid to use integrated graphics by the way.

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HMTK,

Nforce690 is the current "standard" if you will for AMD, lots of great boards out there with that. You have a wide choice of mobos from the manufacturers you specified.

The problem I suspect is that you may find it difficult to find 2Gig DDR2 modules in the EU (not too easy here in the UK), and if you do they will not be the highest speed the mobo can support - nor will they be cheap. You will need 4 of them to reach your target - so you may want to find DDR2 availability first, and then select a mobo that has been tested with that memory brand and model. In short, work backwards from the most limited component...

You might consider going back to a (supposedly obsolete) 754 or 939 socket and use DDR, where you might find a higher availability of 2G or even 4G memory.

Oh, and btw, I would avoid integrated video - I recently had a nightmare with even the unused onboard video complicating some hardware install that I was doing, because of the way it played with interrupts. Add on video cards are way too cheap now to be bothered about...try an Nvidia 7XXX series, they are cheap enough.

FS

Lastly, take a look at Amazon's Elastic Computing structure - they have on-demand rent-a-cluster for extremely cheap rates, and there are converters to take a VM-ware image and convert it automatically to an Amazon-compatible image. It's very interesting technology, and very cheap both for MIPS and storage. And very, very cool...IMHO. I am considering a database project with it currently...

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OK for Nvidia. ANd what about AMD/ATI chipsets?

As for memory, I'm going to start with only 2 GB (2 x 1 GB) because, as I already mentioned, my budget is limited. I do want to be able to upgrade to 6 GB by adding a couple of 2 GB sticks. Availability is not that big of a problem. The company I work for buys directly from Ingram Micro and TechData, which makes things easier and considerably cheaper.

Onboard video isn't a must but I'll certainly check whether the major applications (VMWare and your typical office and internet apps) have an issue with it. BTW I'm not even yet certain whether I'll use XP, Vista or Linux as an OS.

Now if I were to go Socket 939 and DDR, which chipsets do I look for?

Other hardware in the PC will be:

-a couple of SATA disks

-IDE DVD-ROM and/or Writer

-Adaptec U160 SCSI adapter

-DDS-4 tape streamer

BTW any idea whether 10k SCSI drives would be better for use with VMWare than 7200 rpm SATA drives? I happen to have a couple of 73 GB Atlas 10k V's gathering dust.

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Don't know much about AMD/ATi chipsets, so someone else will have to chime in. I do know that nVidia has been making chipsets longer, and with better software support than ATi - which can be a help with Linux support.

As for 939 and 754 boards - basically your choices will be limited. I just took a view at my UK supplier, and they had very few boards to chose from. The Nforce4 was the chipset with the widest use...but the 6000 series (with integrated video) was also popular, usually in uATX format...I'm typing this on one.

As far as SCSI versus SATA drives, I am not sure - I would assume the SCSI would be faster, but due to the virtual nature of the drive I am not sure it would be a huge winner. One thing I have found is that VM ware seems to use a LOT of space, due to overhead and the fact that you can end up with so many virtual machine images - you might be better off with a large capacity SATA drive for the space. Maybe add an Atlas just for a paging drive, and set up a large virtual memory space?

WRT OS, you CAN install a 64-bit client under a 32-bit host - I have done so using 32-bit XP Pro as the host, and installed 64-bit Red Hat, and it works OK. Not a speed demon, but what do you expect...I am personally holding off on Vista until more drivers are stable.

FS

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And while I don't like integrated video, I figured I'd give you the link:

http://anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2942

FS

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This is what I am using for core components:

compy.jpg

Works out to about $US520. I have been using this setup on Vista X64 for a few months now & am thrilled with the performance & stability of the machine. Not a single BSOD or stalled app or anything.

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Oh, wanted to add that it might be tough (i.e., expensive) to build a setup for more than 4GB of ram because 2GB sticks of memory aren't exactly common or cheap. Also, a board with more than 4 slots (workstation-type) will also set up back some $$$, as you well know.

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This is what I am using for core components:

Works out to about $US520. I have been using this setup on Vista X64 for a few months now & am thrilled with the performance & stability of the machine. Not a single BSOD or stalled app or anything.

You got quite lucky. The DS3 has some bugs. Andi bet you don't overclock (looking at the ram) :)

Edited by Telstar The Sorcerer

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This is what I am using for core components:

Works out to about $US520. I have been using this setup on Vista X64 for a few months now & am thrilled with the performance & stability of the machine. Not a single BSOD or stalled app or anything.

You got quite lucky. The DS3 has some bugs. Andi bet you don't overclock (looking at the ram) :)

Mine is just the S3 (no 'D'), although I have built plenty of systems with the solid cap DS3 & have heard no reports of any problems. No, I do not overclock & neither do any of my clients (they're all adults).

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