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Thread: A Stable, Economical 754 Motherboard for Linux Server?

  1. #1
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    Oct 2005
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    A Stable, Economical 754 Motherboard for Linux Server?

    I need help choosing a board. I just had to return a second PC CHIPS M-811LU. The first one ran for 2 minutes. The second ran for less than 21 hours before dying.

    Even the best manufacturers sometimes turn out lemons so I would prefer recommendation for exact boards (and revisions if applicable.)

    This board will end up in a headless machine in my basement. It will run linux (Debian stable) and serve files over ethernet. It will be on 24/7 with little downtime.

    My #1 top priority is a RELIABLE board. I don't want to deal with any more RMAs and I don't want this thing to die on me after six months of use.

    My second priority is price. I'll be buying a new retail processor to go with the board. I'd like to spend as needed to get a quality board.

    I'm open to any AMD processor but it seems that the socket A stuff is drying up. Also, it looks like I can get a 754 Semperon for not much more than I'd pay for a Duron setup. Am I wrong in assuming that 754 is the way to go?

    Would it be dumb to buy a budget 754 today with the Geforce 6100/6150 and nForce 430 boards on their way?

    Ok, now on to the specifics...

    These are the things I absolutely need:
    • low DOA rate
    • stability over the long term with the machine running 24/7
    • solid linux support for the chipset (and if applicable the nic & sata controller) NO CLOSED SOURCE BINARY DRIVERS!
    • availability from a reputable retailer like newegg
    • no chipset fan
    • two ide ports (do all boards still have them these days?)
    • must be from a company who will actually replace/fix my board if it dies under warranty

    These are things that would be nice to have:
    • onboard nic (gigabit is a big plus)
    • >1 year warranty [**1]
    • sata ports - the controller should be compatible with Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 ST3250823AS drives [**2]
    • onboard video with stable linux support

    **1 Someone mentioned that Epox is offering a 3 year warranty on at least one of their boards.

    **2 I read that some SATA chipsets had problems with some Segate sata drives. Dunno much more than that...

    I couldn't care less about this stuff:
    • overclocking
    • sound
    • firewire
    • onboard raid

    I have an older ATX power supply and stick of DDR that I'd really like to use in this box but I'm unsure if either is up to snuff for a recent 754 board.

    The ram is a noname stick of DDR 2100 with chips on both sides. Will all of the 754 chipsets function properly with PC2100? For instance, the ECS NFORCE4-A754 with theNForce 4-4X chipset lists support for PC3200. Will it run and be stable with PC2100 in it? I understand and accept that performance will be sacrificed.

    My power supply is a Sparkle FSP300-60ATV with specs as follows:
    • Complies with ATX and ATX12V standards.
    • 20 pin atx power cable
    • 4 pin atx 12V power cable
    • 3V supplies 28A
    • 5V supplies 30A
    • 12V supplies 15A
    • 5VSB supplies 2A
    • 5V and 3.3V total output not to exceed 200W
    • 3.3V, 5V, 12V total output not to exceed 280W.
    • When 3.3V is loaded to 28A, 5V can only supply 21.5A.
    • When 3.3V is loaded to 15A, 5V supplies the full 30A.

    Does this thing have the juice to power a low end Semperon 754 with five 7200 rpm drives? If not I'll need a recommendation for a solid but economical PSU as well.

    Are the ATX power connections up to suff for modern boards? It has 20 pin ATX and 4 pin ATX 12V connectors. For instance, the ECS NFORCE4-A754 has a 24 ATX and a 4 pin ATX 12V connector. Will my power supply work with this board? Does the 20 pin ATX cable plug into the 24 pin ATX connector? If so, then does the ATX 12V connector supply the juice that would have been coming in on those other four pins of the ATX 24 connector?

    If you've read this far, THANKS so much! The forums are my only hope...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    0 times in 0 posts
    Hi kristof,
    I assume this is a big server you are building so my first suggestion would be to keep with a server board if possible. Generally there arn't many 754 server boards but generally you need to look at the via based boards. I have always got on well with gigabyte boards and this looked like a good bet

    The board is designed with PC3200 in mind but you may get PC2700 to work although this is more dependant on the FSB of the cpu than the board. With 939 and 754 Althon based cores, the cpu actually holds the memory controller not the motherboard so that might be why you have been having trouble. The board may be trying to run your memory at the higher speed and frying it in the process.

    The PSU looks enough as long as you don't have any PCI cards, I think a hard disk draws a couple of amps from the 5V line (please correct me if i'm wrong) so you already eat up 10A before considering the other parts. edit, just checked and most hard drives use the 12V line so that might be a little closer. According to one site, 5 hard drives alone will use up 161 Watts

    There is a nice tool here which allows you to see how much power you need.

    I hope this helps, if you have more questions now let me know.
    Last edited by nick_1; 09-10-2005 at 03:58 PM.
    Abit IP-35 Pro, Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3Ghz, 8800GTS 512, Zalman Reserator1 External Watercooler, 4GB DDR2, 76GB Raptor 10k, 300GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10, 2x Maxtor 250GB 7.2k, ViewSonic VP201s & Dell 2408

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