Need a good basic P4 motherboard
June 2, 2005 4:41 PM   Subscribe

Motherboard question: My company sells industrial instruments with a Windows PC interface and lots of add-in peripherals. I'm in charge of getting the rackmount computers from a local computer shop. Until recently we've been using the Intel D865GBF which was great because it had 6 PCI slots for all the crap we have to add in. These are now becoming harder to find, and some of our cards don't work in the newer PCI-X and PCI Express slots that are all the rage with the kids these days.

I'm ideally hoping to find a recent motherboard with at least 6 old-school PCI slots, extra USB ports for front-panel add ons. Graphics, memory, and processor don't have to be super-fast. If it has built in RAID-1 (mirroring) that would be nice and we could get by with 5 PCI slots. Also if anyone has some insight into the new PCI standards I'd be interested to learn more. Most of the stuff I've googled goes on about the blazing graphics it will enable, but I'm more intersted in backwards compatibility or alternatives to existing PCI cards (i.e. camera control cards, extra serial ports, modems, RAID controllers). Or if you know where I could stock up on some D865GBF or equivalent boards...most places I've looked are out of stock. Thanks!
posted by jacobsee to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
A good motherboard comparison shopper site would be nice also
posted by jacobsee at 4:45 PM on June 2, 2005

For an old project we needed more PCI slots on a PC than were commonly available. We ended up using a PCI expansion chassis that plugged into a PCI-X slot. I don't recall who made it and the project has been bundled up and shredded. Here is one place that makes them.
posted by substrate at 7:45 PM on June 2, 2005

It looks like 5 is common and 6 is rare... Many 865PE chipset boards (that's just my local PC store, but lots of places must have a similar stock) have 5 PCI and an AGP slot with integrated RAID 1 (check the stats carefully about the RAID 1, but I think they all have it). So you haven't got much to worry about yet...

The 865 probably doesn't have too long for the world though. substrate's suggestion looks robust but expensive...

Alternatively, you may not need as many PCI slots as you think... RAID 1 is a very common feature on modern boards, external modems are pretty common, and there are USB to multiple RS232 devices available too...
posted by Chuckles at 9:18 PM on June 2, 2005

I have a similar problem at my job. Our passive backplane PC also relies on outdated PCI technology.

Here's what we did. We found replacements for the two PCI boards we don't make, and redesigned our custom PCI board.

If you stick with your outdated design, you can only expect failure. I don't see how you can expect anything else. Trying to hold onto outdated technology is a blueprint for failure.

In my application, our primary operating system is Windows NT 4.0. We've been porting over to XP, and the finish line is in site. We're moving almost a million lines of code (C, from PLM) and it's been a nightmare, and is killing our profits. However, like the hardware, if you don't move forward, guess what?

Anyway, sorry to sound negative, but that's reality.
posted by kungfujoe at 3:52 AM on June 3, 2005

Chuckles: That ASUS P4P800SE looks pretty good. I also like the idea of USB-to serial converters but I'll have to shop around and see if they make something that is easy to install inside a computer. I might have to stock up on some of these P4P800SE boards for now.

KFJ: I hear what you're saying but things move pretty slow in my industry. Our camera maker is coming out with a USB 2.0 inteface so we may be over to that by next year. Luckily we're already up to WinXP on the software side...

substrate: cool suggestion but those things are definitely overkill for this project :)
posted by jacobsee at 9:41 AM on June 3, 2005

You've linked to Newegg yourself, so have you tried their product specification search? Here's a search for Intel-processor motherboards with 6 PCI slots. It looks like they're all in stock. Apologies if you've done that already.
posted by whatnotever at 7:39 PM on June 3, 2005

For decent, practical motherboards (not the freakish 3D1 bundle I have at home), my first stop would be Tyan:

Their "Product Matrix" shows that the Tomcat K8S and Trinity i875P boards have six PCI slots.
posted by krisjohn at 7:00 AM on June 4, 2005

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