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Thread: mainboard brands comparison

  1. #1
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    Default mainboard brands comparison

    anyone care to offer an opinion of mainboard brands ? first thought of asking after i read the last post by deanjo http://www.phoronix.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12776

    not sure why deanjo recommended foxconn, i read they didnt support linux well.

    Biostar and Jetway don't have real great quality control.

    ASRock is Asus's budget brand

    MSI has a history of really cruddy BIOS's

    would anyone like to agree or disagree ?

    perhaps an opinion of gigabyte or dfi lanparty?

    matt

  2. #2
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    Older thread but anyway:
    My experiences in short form

    MSI - fair stuff, low price, well equipped; NOTE that this is my experience with dated Socket A mainboards (which I still use today)
    So I can't tell about them today but they HAD some decent stuff. The German hotline (prolly outsourced) was lame though, no technichal knowledge, no nothing. Well, okay, I called one time so I shouldn't judge from that one time experience.
    At all I built 4 or 5 boxed with mainboards from them and they've been fair/good stuff.

    Elitegroup/VIA in a cheapo laptop (ECS G320) - acceptable for the price

    Jetway - huh, dunno... it's prolly all the VIA stuff on it that gave me the creeps, the board is ice cold and passively cooled and all, most things work but then a few things like HPET are broken (Kernel freeze at boot and so on) and that old problem with the FUBARed Chrome-Grpahics by VIA... well. The board is miniITX very low power consumption but wasn't really low on price (but with CPU onboard)

    ASUS - was great and prolly is still the same great. I'm NOT fond of their software quality what concerns the W32 software. But since Gentoo Linux comes without any rebranded stuff and is just pure and full of goodness... only few problems and they have decent BIOS stuff. Recent experiences with two boards (2008/2009).

    ASROCK - to my knowledge (no own experiences though!) the contents of the litterbox they throw out at ASUS' site is captured by ASROCK and reused for cheapo mainboards. Heard of several one blowing quickly.

    QDI - dunno if they still exist, but probably crap, blew a few times on a friend's box.

    Shuttle - had one for socket 370 which was nice but the elkos (what's the correct word in English? electrolyte condensators) popped. But that was a widespread issue back at the time. Most vendors had it. Couldn't use it really long.

    Yakumo - gave up on biz, it was a Socket 7. HDD controller got crazy after a few years of use. Dropped support so also no BIOS updates available. Meh.

    something that was maybe intel?
    On my first 486. *bleeds bloody tears* OMG, the good old times... I soo loved that box. Sadly the box somehow doesn't boot anymore. Dahmit. Still I can't throw it away. Could you?

    A few others I bought used on some popular auction platform but I don't want to tell about them since I didn't use them intensively and when something is already used... well, you never know what the pre-owner did with it.


    I'd also be interested in a HDD comparison.

  3. #3
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    last experience with gigabyte was random lock ups ( in the bios or operating system). current experience with the asus that replaced the gigabyte junk is that it sometimes doesnt boot or freezes immediatly, and totally crashed once while in the bios. once its booted it seems fine.

    oh, and the bios on the asus takes forever to boot.

    either i have 2 cases of bad luck or gigabyte and asus are making junk ?

    most seems to be bios related. still wish tyan had something for small desktops. none of this 1980 like bios that doesnt work, coreboot/openfirmware

    i would not buy gigabyte or asus again.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adarion View Post
    Older thread but anyway:
    My experiences in short form

    MSI - fair stuff, low price, well equipped; NOTE that this is my experience with dated Socket A mainboards (which I still use today)
    So I can't tell about them today but they HAD some decent stuff. The German hotline (prolly outsourced) was lame though, no technichal knowledge, no nothing. Well, okay, I called one time so I shouldn't judge from that one time experience.
    At all I built 4 or 5 boxed with mainboards from them and they've been fair/good stuff.
    Im my experience they have been really slow to fix (if ever) bios issues. Reliability has never been great.

    Elitegroup/VIA in a cheapo laptop (ECS G320) - acceptable for the price
    If I had a dime for every ECS board that I have ran across with a duplicate MAC addy.....

    Jetway - huh, dunno... it's prolly all the VIA stuff on it that gave me the creeps, the board is ice cold and passively cooled and all, most things work but then a few things like HPET are broken (Kernel freeze at boot and so on) and that old problem with the FUBARed Chrome-Grpahics by VIA... well. The board is miniITX very low power consumption but wasn't really low on price (but with CPU onboard)
    No personal experience with them but their rep is less then flattering
    ASUS - was great and prolly is still the same great. I'm NOT fond of their software quality what concerns the W32 software. But since Gentoo Linux comes without any rebranded stuff and is just pure and full of goodness... only few problems and they have decent BIOS stuff. Recent experiences with two boards (2008/2009).
    Annoying habbits of putting in propriatary stuff that will only work with their software solutions (ATK 0110 for example) but otherwise relatively solid.

    ASROCK - to my knowledge (no own experiences though!) the contents of the litterbox they throw out at ASUS' site is captured by ASROCK and reused for cheapo mainboards. Heard of several one blowing quickly.
    Fans of Hybrid solutions, usually ends up with something that doesn't do any of the tasks relativly well. The "all-in-one" MFC of motherboards

    QDI - dunno if they still exist, but probably crap, blew a few times on a friend's box.
    Haven't seen one in ages

    Shuttle
    - had one for socket 370 which was nice but the elkos (what's the correct word in English? electrolyte condensators) popped. But that was a widespread issue back at the time. Most vendors had it. Couldn't use it really long.
    Usually barebones but relatively stable.

    something that was maybe intel?
    On my first 486. *bleeds bloody tears* OMG, the good old times... I soo loved that box. Sadly the box somehow doesn't boot anymore. Dahmit. Still I can't throw it away. Could you?
    Ran into to many chipset bugs (seems like I like runnning into listed erratta) in the past for me to rely on them.

    Favorite brand of all time was Abit. No nonsense, no frills but man were they rock solid and best BIOS in the biz. RIP

    On a less consumer based system Tyan seem to rule supreme if your not looking to do OC'ing and such.
    Last edited by deanjo; 04-18-2009 at 04:29 PM.

  5. #5
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    Just my 2 pence:
    Asus - the expensive ones are good, but well, expensive :P. The cheap ones are not so great
    Asrock - fails hard. Have seen a bunch of them die. Also one behaved weird (when one usb-device was plugged in another one would stop working)
    Gigabyte - Good quality and fair price
    Those are the three brands I've had personal experience with. I never had a problem relating to linux with any of them though.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    If I had a dime for every ECS board that I have ran across with a duplicate MAC addy...
    Humm, I got two nearly identical Laptops with it but they have different MAC. But then it's only two devices. (Both featuring the VIA Rhine 2 network chip, a common one like RTL8139x)

    Annoying habbits of putting in propriatary stuff that will only work with their software solutions (ATK 0110 for example) but otherwise relatively solid.
    Yep, that'd be something nasty. Praising their "unique" features but then only accessibly by software. And ASUS' software tends to be nothing really great and besides W32 only.

    On a less consumer based system Tyan seem to rule supreme if your not looking to do OC'ing and such.
    *sigh* Tyan, the unreachable dream. Well, but then they don't have normal desktop boards anyway. And I have seen a board of them having integrated an XGI graphics chip. And we all know what that means. Ok, you can use a slotted addon card but the chip is nothing but a power eating brick on your mainboard. I wonder if XGI still exists. I mean they don't stand much of a chance in the W32 gaming field against ATI/NV and without any non-W32 support...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adarion View Post
    Yep, that'd be something nasty. Praising their "unique" features but then only accessibly by software. And ASUS' software tends to be nothing really great and besides W32 only.
    I wouldn't say w32 only since those extra's work fine in w64 too.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adarion View Post
    *sigh* Tyan, the unreachable dream. Well, but then they don't have normal desktop boards anyway. And I have seen a board of them having integrated an XGI graphics chip. And we all know what that means. Ok, you can use a slotted addon card but the chip is nothing but a power eating brick on your mainboard. I wonder if XGI still exists. I mean they don't stand much of a chance in the W32 gaming field against ATI/NV and without any non-W32 support...
    As far as I could tell when browsing the Tyan site, the boards with XGi chips all came in two variations, the server version with XGi, and a workstation sku without the graphics chip but normally including onboard audio...

  9. #9
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    Well, maybe. But anyway I would have expected them to be more sensitive towards the Linux market (which should be large in their business environment) and not provide any board with a chip that is a brick for Linux. But maybe that was a one time mistake and someone didn't research correctly or just slept when concepting the board with that xgi volari stuff.

  10. #10
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    Well, I have used a couple of Asrock boards in the past. I am now with my 5th Asrock board.
    + the price is great. I have a A770 board with solid caps, lots of slots and usb ports and sb700 sb for very low money. A lot of my friends have Asrock too. Price/Performance is hard to beat.
    + bios updates even for older boards
    + when I asked support about a 10 year old scsi card that was troublesome I got an helpfull answer - despite the fact that they don't support linux
    + no fakery. There are lots of AM2+ boards out there (Msi, Gigabyte) that only support 95W CPUs. Are you kidding me?
    + quality is good

    - overclocking is bad. Since I don't overclock and think that overclocking is a useless waste of time and ressurces this isn't really a bad point for me. In fact, one of the reasons Asrock boards are cheap is the lack in ocing options. Yay! Low price is more important than 50mhz more. The things needed to get troublesome hardware working (like memory voltage) are there.

    Asus. You pay what you get. A lot of nifty things. But if you don't need it.. well then don't buy it.

    Gigabyte. Hot! Really hot. And the bazillion of superheavy heatsinks easily kill airflow so the CPU becomes hot too.

    Jetway - had one once. I am still underwhelmed. Not bad, but not good enough.

    MSI - you have to be VERY carefull with this little f*ers. Expensive.

    Biostar - aren't they dead yet? They should. Shoddy quality.

    Abit - dead

    EDIT: I only lost one Asrock board - killed by the PSU. I have a friend who damaged one power line on his asrock, resulting in some melted material - and it survived...
    Last edited by energyman; 04-23-2009 at 08:19 AM.

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