Morgan Jones on 15 Mar 2011 08:53:59 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Recommendations for Motherboard

Rich et al,

This is only in part what you're looking for but certainly on topic and may be of interest to others.

I recently built a machine to experiment with ESXi, consolidate my server count and try out a few operating systems..  I ended up with a Supermicro X8SIL-F and a Xeon 3440 CPU.  It's is a true server motherboard for $180 on  Of note it has onboard video, dual gigabit Intel Pro ethernet and uses (only) ECC ram, has an internal USB port which is handy for booting the OS and has 6 onboard SATA ports.  This all increases cost of course but is still very affordable for a server class system.  The Xeon 3440 is an i5 with more cache and perhaps more cores or just hyperthreading, I'm not sure now, for an extra $30.

Of more interest to your build, Rich: I chose an Antec Three Hundred case: it's mostly tool-less, easy to mount drives, has plenty of space inside, looks like an adult's computer and is affordable at around $55.  I bought an Antec EarthWatts EA650 power supply that seemed like a reasonable compromise between quality and low cost.

I didn't even look at AMD as my clients seem to end up with VMware on Intel and I wanted to get close to what they were using.  I don't buy hardware often and prefer to buy once and use for many years.

I intentionally didn't buy from Newegg because I find their return policy is frustrating.

Good luck.


On Mar 14, 2011, at 8:13 PM, Rich Freeman wrote:

> Perhaps slightly off-topic, but since Anandtech seems to no longer do
> decent system build guides (they might release two a year without any
> real head-to-head comparisons on the components), what would people
> around here recommend for a motherboard to build a new AMD-based
> desktop/server?
> I'm leaning towards a fairly cheap quad-core Phenom II-based system.
> My only real requirements are:
> 1.  Needs to support a fair amount of RAM but nothing exotic.  I'll
> probably start with 4-8GB.
> 2.  Needs to have at least 4 SATA ports (with support for SATA II at least).
> 3.  Needs to have at least one, and preferably two PCI slots.  (Yes,
> PCI - if I don't have that I need to factor in an extra $60+ for a
> dual tuner card as this is my Myth backend.)
> 4.  I need to have VGA output at some point for my monitor.  That
> could be a card, or it could be integrated.  I could care less which
> if the price is right.  Any chipset designed in the last decade will
> more than meet my requirements, as long as I get reasonable 3D
> hardware acceleration on linux.
> 5.  All essential features are linux-compatible.  I run Gentoo so I
> can run a fairly up-to-date kernel.  I'd prefer avoiding binary
> modules, although I don't have a big problem with NVIDIA.
> I can always just hit search in Newegg, and will no doubt do so.
> However, if anybody has done the research recently and has something
> to share let me know!  Thanks!
> Oh, I'm open to CPU advice as well.  I'm more of the school of
> spending fairly little and just upgrading more often, so I'm not
> really interested in whether one $800 CPU edges out another.  I'm sure
> I won't have to spend much to outperform my current Athlon 64 3200+
> with 2GB of RAM.  Maybe I'll even try KDE again, though honestly xfce
> has been working great for me...  :)
> Rich
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