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Thread: Anything wrong with Intel Motherboards??

  1. #1
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    Anything wrong with Intel Motherboards??

    OK, this may sound like a strange question for an enthusiast site, but the short version is what do people think about Intel motherboards? Any obvious reasons why I shouldn't buy one? I've picked out the Intel H55TC as it seems have the lowest idle power of the H55 boards. As below, I don't think other boards have actually got anything to offer me.

    So the long version of the question is that I wanted to build a low power NAS type box. Looking around, I saw that the H55/core i3 combination could result in very low power systems e.g. : - they managed 25w system figure (at the wall), just by using a 220w 80+ psu and a 2.5" HDD drive.

    I then looked at core i3 performance, and realised that at stock clocks, a core i3 is roughly on par with a Q6600 which surprised me, though did depend on what you're doing.

    So I figured I could combine the low power NAS box with an upgrade to the dektop pc my wife uses. Currently that's an old P4 2.6ghz Dell, so pretty much anything will be an upgrade

    She uses the pc for internet, email, farmville (). About the only really intensive thing she does is photoshop, though TBH even farmville taxes the P4 every now and then!

    Looking at 24 hour NAS use, idle power is obviously a big concern. Looking at this page ( The MSI and Intel are the lowest power. There are hints that the MSI H55M-E33 that Scan sells has problems with s3 sleep, and I'd like to keep that open as an option (even the NAS wouldn't need to be on at 5am in the morning). In any event the, Intel board is clearly the lowest power.

    So any reason not to go for that? Possible reasons that I've discounted are:
    • Overclocking - Not really interested as I want it to be as low power as possible, and as above, anything will be a big step up from the P4 for the missus! Even if I want to reuse the board at some point in the future, the intel board does have limited overclocking options.
    • underclocking - from looking on SPCR - underclocking the core i3's makes little to no difference to idle power. Seems Intel have sorted that pretty well so that underclocking becomes redundant
    • USB3 - not likely to be a big issue for me in the near future. The boards with it on are higher power and that's the biggest factor for me. I could always get a cheap add in card anyway.
    • Sata 6gbs - Looking at current prices, it's unlikely I'll be buying any SSD's that need the 6gbs anytime soon
    • Audio - the outputs are limited on the intel board, but that really doesn't concern me at all
    • errrrr..... - can't think of anything else

    So I'm left with more vague notions that e.g. intel driver or bios support might not be as good (though Anandtech seems to say the intel boards are basically the only H55 boards that haven't had problems on initial bios's) or a comment in one review that the capacitors or chokes (??) used weren't as good quality. None of which I can really assess objectively.

    Oh, and possibly related, are Intel onboard solutions better than Realtek? the Realtek integrated gigabit on my old gigabyte board often has trouble connecting at gigabit speeds, though I've never worked out whether that is the switch or the MB.

    So what do people think? Any general comments very much appreciated
    Last edited by GaryRW; 05-03-2010 at 03:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Anything wrong with Intel Motherboards??

    Intel motherboards are pretty good and usually very reliable. Their network chipsets are probably better than anything else on the market.

    The only criticism I'd level at them is that these days they don't always have great longevity. Other manufacturers may overspec motherboards with voltage regulators and BIOS updates to handle new generations of processor, whilst Intel may want to sell their next generation motherboard. My D975XBX2/BadAxe2, for instance, is unable to support Penryn processors whilst third party motherboards lack that limitation.


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