Need a new P4 motherboard
January 4, 2008 6:01 AM   Subscribe

I need help choosing a new motherboard around a used Intel P4 chip.

The motherboard of one of the key NLE systems at work has recently gone bad, and I need to get a replacement motherboard within the next few days.

The only tech guy is no longer here, so it's upto me, and being out of the tech loop for the past few years, the smörgåsbord of current chipsets, chips, sockets & slot interface offerings has me confused (what the hell happened??)

I'll have to use the chip from the dead system, which is a 3 GHz P4. Does that specify the CPU completely, or are there varieties of 3 GHz P4s? It's not a dual-core or Xeon, if that helps eliminate anything, and it was bought in early 2006, from what I gather. I'd also like to use this opportunity to accommodate a possible upgrade which requires a 'PCI-X' slot. So, I need an ATX motherboard that has a PCI-X slot and will accept this processor. I'll upgrade RAM as necessary, but rest all is to be transplanted onto the new system.

Since this is a NLE, the dedicated hardware does the heavy lifting, but I still require some features, like onboard video, audio, ethernet, SATA and prefer others like Firewire, SATA II..etc

I've a bias for Asus due to consistently good experiences with their product, but all contenders are welcome, maybe excepting Intel. This is in Mumbai, India. Budget is equivalent to ~$250, but cheaper = better.

So, foremost,

1)which motherboards should I be looking at?

2)any links to good primers for navigating the tech offerings available today and in the near future?
posted by Gyan to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
It would help if you knew what the socket type is. It could be socket 423, socket 478, or (hopefully) LGA 775. The latter will give you the most options.

Are you able to see the specific model number on the chip? Can you see a code name like Willamette, Northwood, Prescott, or Cedar Mill?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:51 AM on January 4, 2008

Oh, and for links, try the forums at They're very helpful.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:52 AM on January 4, 2008

Unless you absolutely insist on keeping the old processor (are the pins on the processor or the motherboard, btw?) I'd just do something like this:
Or just get the bundle.

Faster than the P4 (probably a socket 478, rather dated) and well within your budget. This (the first one with seperate parts, not the combo with the intel board) setup is also more upgradeable. You don't mention how much/what kind of memory is required so you'll need a couple sticks of DDR2 for those setups (~50$).

None of this is very fancy (very budget), but it's rather better than what you're using now.
posted by IronLizard at 6:55 AM on January 4, 2008

Also, I'm assuming that by 'PCI-X' you mean PCI-Express. Those are now fairly standard and the board above I linked to has one.
posted by IronLizard at 7:00 AM on January 4, 2008

Response by poster: Digging through files, I see an invoice which pegs the dead mobo as a D915GAV, and from an online query, that's a LGA 775 socket.

IronLizard, the string 'PCI-X' is accurate. Wikipedia tells me that's not the same as PCI Express. Is that right?
posted by Gyan at 7:15 AM on January 4, 2008

PCI-X is sort of a forerunner to PCI-E. There's also PCI-X 2.0 but that standard is half-dead.
posted by aerotive at 8:20 AM on January 4, 2008

They are completely different. PCI-E means PCI Express, and it bares almost no relation to previous PCI implementations. PCI-X was an extension of the old PCI to handle increased bandwidth demands in special applications. PCI was first extended from 32-bits to 64-bits, then the speed was increased, and when the speed was increased a second time they started calling it PCI-X.

Socket 775 boards with PCI-X are pretty rare, but it is possible. P5E3 WS and P5WDG2 WS (there is at least one more listed on the Asus socket 775 page). Also try their Workstation Motherboards page, and look for extra long white slot(s). PCI-X slots aren't always white, but there is usually at least one white slot if the motherboard has any.

As for price and availability, you've got me (well, there's ebay, of course).. They are all current or very recently retired products, so it should be possible.
posted by Chuckles at 8:36 AM on January 4, 2008

I expect that any Socket 775 motherboard will take your CPU, but it is always best to check the CPU support page of the particular model before committing to buy.

Also, the memory you have might be DDR, DDR with ECC, DDR2, or DDR2 with ECC. Anything but DDR2 (no ECC) will severely limit your options.
posted by Chuckles at 8:40 AM on January 4, 2008

And, I guess finally, finally..

All the other features that you mention, sound, lan, sata, will be present on all candidate boards. It is only the more exotic implementations that require special searching. More than 4 sata ports, 6 or 8 channel audio, multiple lan ports or onboard wireless are all possible, but not on every PCI-X motherboard.

A motherboard change is the most extreme change you can make, so there is little reason not to bump the CPU and memory at the same time.
posted by Chuckles at 8:49 AM on January 4, 2008

Response by poster: To not limit my options, and since the PCI-X is for a possible upgrade, I'm also soliciting suggestions for LGA775 boards without PCI-X.
posted by Gyan at 9:06 AM on January 4, 2008

Is there a specific reason you must use the current processor? At least in the US you can find bundled packages with MB and CPU (and sometimes even RAM) for nearly the same price as just a MB. Then you're not limited to a small subset of current boards that have your socket and the fairly specific additional requirements you seem to have.
posted by 6550 at 12:53 PM on January 4, 2008

Response by poster: The computer components market in India isn't that competitive or transparent, so I'd use US market prices as only a rough indicator. Not getting a new CPU because the funds disburser doesn't want one, and in this case, there's not much benefit to doing it anyway.
posted by Gyan at 8:07 PM on January 4, 2008

Response by poster: For anyone checking in, I dropped the PCI-X requirement and am 99% decided on getting the Asus P5K-VM.
posted by Gyan at 1:05 AM on January 7, 2008

Looks fine, but in case you haven't found it, here is the CPU support page. In general, I'd avoid mini-ATX unless it is necissary, the extra slots have a habit of being useful later. On the other hand, having the PCI-E x4 slot, rather than the more common x1 slot, seems very good.
posted by Chuckles at 2:02 AM on January 7, 2008

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