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Looking For Expandable Motherboard & Case


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Hey everyone, I was wondering if anyone out there had any suggestions for a very expandable motherboard and case. I want to build, or have built for me a large gaming rig/media computer that I can keep expanding on. It seems with most desktop cases I keep running out of room inside of them, eg. can only hold two hard drives, and three PCI cards. I know there are some server cases out there, but I'm not sure how effective server motherboards are for gaming. Any help would be really appreciated.

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Antec P180 - Very good case, if you don't want a floppy/zip (who ever actually used zip?) drive you can fit 7 HDs in to it's drive bays.

As for upgrade-ability, get a Core 2 (Socket LGA775) motherboard. The minimum price, currently, for a decent computer with a core 2 chip is about £450. I recommend you spend at least that, then, when you have more money, you can buy a far more expensive Core 2 chip, be sure to get a motherboard that supports the current fastest Core 2 chips as well.

One of the confusing things about the Intel CPUs is that since the pentium 4, or rather, the last incarnation of the P4, all the CPUs and motherboards have used the same socket (LGA775). So watch out when buying a motherboard that it actually supports Core 2.

The advantage of them all using the same socket is that some times all the only upgrade your computer will need to support a new CPU is a BIOS update, but that usually isn't the case. This is because along with new CPUs that come out, so do new chip sets to support toughs CPUs.

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Is there a motherboard you recommend. I haven't found many mother boards that have alot of PCI slots, especially since some graphic cards take up 2 slots?

This is what i would like to have slots for at least:

2x Graphics cards (either crossfire or SLI)

1x Physics card

1x Ethernet (Gigabit)

1x TV tuner

1x Sound Card

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I did see some Motherboards have gigabit built in, which would eliminate the need for such a card. However I still need a board that can support the remaining 5 cards.

Side Note - I have a gigabit network built into my house, with a central file server, it allows for a VERY fast transfer rate.

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Most motherboards also have built in 5.1 (the more recent ones even have 7.1) sound cards... they usually work well. Some of the more cheaper motherboards with built in sound get static or interference from other things on the motherboard, but they are usually fine.

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I have always been under the impression that the less stuff you use on board ie. onboard lan and sound card, the less stress you will be placing on your motherboard. Over the years I have probably burnt out 3 or 4 motherboards and at least 8 Nic/Lan cards.

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Even if you don't use a feature on a motherboard it's still having power run though it. If any thing you put more strain on the motherboard by adding PCI cards that force the motherboard to draw more power from the PSU.

Any way, one other thing I should point out, if you go core2 (and you should), if you want that dual (or quad) GPU stuff, your going to have to go ATI. SLI is no supported by any motherboards that I have seen that use LGA775. You should still beable to use a single nVidia card no problem, but SLi will not work. The bad thing about ATI: there drivers for Linux are rather craptastic and there drivers for windows are equally craptastic, if you want to put up with annoying software just so you can use 2 graphics cards to render stuff for your display, fine, other wise go for a single nVidia card.

This is probably the sort of motherboard you want.

Don't forget the matching CPU (any on this page should work)

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ive got a Chieftec LBX-02B-B-B EATX

its teh midi version and has 6 drive bay's if u get teh large version u'll have more ...

i dont have a core 2 (im not rich!! )

but do have a x64 on a Asus A8R-MVP mobo ....

and teh now older RX1800XT 512MB ...of wich i must admit it was hard of finding the right x64 drivers for ...(i'm running win x64 pro) but once i got em i havent had probs with em ...

sparda i donnu why u h8 teh drivers as long as u find teh right one's ...

and u can get modded ones aswell on (ps they also have modded nvidea one's ...)...




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That's all fine and dandy, but if you have a 2.4 GHz chip, it's not going to be good for games that long. EX: Battlefield 2142 requires 1.7 GHz to run. My laptop is a Core Duo 1.6 GHz. The chip by itself would cost about the same as a 3.2 GHz single core chip (or more), but I still wouldn't be able to play Battlefield 2142 well (it might not even run at all, since minimum requirements are generally below recommended settings).

Honestly, if you're gonna be doing gaming, I'd still recommend a good single core CPU. Dual Core is good if you are doing a bunch of less-intensive tasks (such as burning a CD, listening to music, surfing the web and chatting on MSN at the same time), but if you're gonna do one dedicated intensive task such as playing a new video game, or 3D rendering (and then walking away while it renders), I'd have to go with single core.

Until video games can use both cores at the same time (such as one core for rendering the GFX and another for the physics, or whatnot), Dual Core just isn't worth it for gaming.

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