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Looking for a low-power Socket AM2 full ATX board

cdldt

Banned
I'm currently using an MSI K9AG Neo2-Digital (AMD 690G + SB600) motherboard and there are so many niggling little issues. I suspect most people won't care about them and maybe I'm just too picky, but they're there and it bugs me.
  1. USB implementation. Not only is the USB slow (as I already knew from reviews on the SB600) but there are issues with certain devices not working in certain ports. For example, I have a Dell 2407WFP-HC and the USB hub/card reader REFUSES to work when plugged into any of the I/O panel USB ports. The only port it works in are the ones from the USB header, although it admittedly works perfectly when plugged into that, a USB I/O plate is not included so out of the box it would not work.
  2. PCI implementation. I've been using my Creative Audigy 2ZS on various motherboards with the kx drivers, and never had a problem with it. I never understood why people suffered the "continous tone" or "silence" problems with it. That was until I moved across to this particular board. It seems that this "bug" in the kx drivers is caused by poor PCI performance. If you stress PCI I/O, the Audigy dies. This can be achieved by inserting a VIA PCI USB controller card (unfortunately, this applies to the Nova-T-500) or by using the Audigy's firewire controller to transfer data. Tweaking PCI latency timers makes absolutely no difference.
  3. Missing Firewire BIOS option. When I set the board up, I had an option to enable the onboard Firewire controller. For some reason this has completely disappeared. After experimenting with it it seems that the option only appears immediately after a CMOS reset. Once it's been set and saved, it'll never appear again unless you clear the CMOS and start over. This bug is present in both 1.5 and latest 1.6 BIOS.
  4. USB mouse detection at POST. The board tries to be too clever and looks for a USB mouse and refuses to boot if there isn't one. I turn off my KVM switch to save power, and if the machine wakes up from hibernate to do a TV recording, it sits there at POST forever because it can't find a mouse. To work around this I have to leave an unused mouse connected all the time.
Does anyone have recommendations for a Full-ATX board that uses a similar amount of power to the AMD 690G? I want to avoid AMD chipsets because even the newest SB700 southbridge looks like it has issues with PCI. There is a GeForce 8300 board from ASUS which looks quite good - M2N-H/HDMI. And the Biostar TF8200 A2+. Does anyone know anything about them?

I don't need integrated video, because I'm using a passive Radeon HD 3650.

Does anyone know how well RAID works on the nVidia chipsets? I'd been wanting to setup RAID1 on my system but from reports, the SB600 seems a bit flaky for RAID which has put me off.
 

cdldt

Banned
Thanks for the reply. It looks like a nice board but I'm reluctant to try another AMD chipset. I know AMD say they've fixed USB 2.0 in the SB700 but nothing about PCI performance.

I've decided on the Biostar TF8200 A2+. I've had good success with Biostar reliability in the past, and it looks like quite a feature rich board with a good layout.
 

Vandiesel

Active Member
Biostar boards are superb, have been waiting on the 8200 and the 750 series for quite a while. Where have you found them available?


Thanks
 

cdldt

Banned
I decided to stick with the AMD 690G board, and put up with its issues due to reactivation hassles for all my software etc. so the Biostar is on eBay, brand new and unused.
 

cdldt

Banned
For anyone following this thread - CCL are stocking the newest Biostar boards in the UK, including the TF8200 A2+. In my experience they are a good store, along with the likes of Scan and eBuyer. Their prices for the Biostar board are very good.
 

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