Suggest motherboard for Athlon 64 (> 3 GB RAM)

mubs

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Nov 22, 2002
Messages
4,908
Location
Somewhere in time.
I might need to build an Athlon 64 system. Ruled out FX because it's so much more. I would have loved a dual Opteron :D but that will have to wait.

Ideally the board should support 4 GB of RAM; 3 GB will be the bare minimum acceptable. AFAIK, Win2k Pro (and Win XP Pro) do support 4GB of RAM.

Need AGP slot, of course (will have to buy a 4/8x since my current card is a 2x). Need PATA ports for opticals; disk drives will be on a Promise U-100 for now.

What boards would you recommend? I've never used VIA's chipsets, but have read enough horror stories to lean towards nForce.

Apparently the Gigabyte GA-K8NNXP supports only 2 GB of 400 MHz RAM, but 3 GB of 333 MHz RAM - this according to Kingston's web site. Gigabyte says 3GB supported on the specifications page, but does not elaborate. I downloaded the manual and it doesn't say anything about any limitations either. Not very good!

Advice and comments appreciated. Thanks.
 

Buck

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Feb 22, 2002
Messages
4,514
Location
Blurry.
Website
www.hlmcompany.com
Howdy mubs. Obviously a bit off your list (as you eliminated the Opteron), but I thought it was still worth mentioning the Tyan S2875S single Opteron board. It supports 8-gigabytes of memory. Please make sure that you check out the supported memory (plus other items) as is found through the navigation bar on the left.
 

blakerwry

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Oct 12, 2002
Messages
4,203
Location
Kansas City, USA
Website
justblake.com
i dont think that XP or 2k pro make use of more than 2GB of RAM from what I've heard on the mis-informative internet. You may beed to upgrade to a "server" OS to make use of that extra memory.
 

SteveC

Storage is cool
Joined
Jul 5, 2002
Messages
789
Location
NJ, USA
blakerwry said:
i dont think that XP or 2k pro make use of more than 2GB of RAM from what I've heard on the mis-informative internet. You may beed to upgrade to a "server" OS to make use of that extra memory.
The 64-bit version of XP uses up to 16GB of RAM.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Messages
20,329
Location
I am omnipresent
Website
s-laker.org
My Albatron K8T800 had 3GB of RAM in it. I was running 32-bit 2000 Server on it; I didn't like XP for 64-bit - didn't see a performance difference, and, well, XP has the power to find new ways to piss me off.

Of course, that was the PC where my 9700AIW decided to die, and a few weeks later the board went with it. I'm pretty sure the card took out the board, but I can't give it a 100% endorsement. Maybe 90%.
 

ddrueding

Fixture
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,315
Location
Monterey, CA
I tested my MSI K8T800 board with 3GB of Crucial (DDR400) and it posted, but I'm currently only running 1GB (better overclocking)
 

Pradeep

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 21, 2002
Messages
3,845
Location
Runny glass
IIRC when you have 4GB of RAM with WinXP etc, about 600MB is reserved for PCI interrupts etc, so you are left with about 3.5GB of RAM usable.
 

Handruin

Administrator
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Messages
13,257
Location
USA
We have a Dell 6650 at work with 4 GB physical ram and it does the same thing. Windows only reports 3,669,300 KB RAM. I didn't realize a set amount was reserved for PCI interrupts and so on. Do you happen to have any articles about this?
 

Howell

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Feb 24, 2003
Messages
4,740
Location
Chattanooga, TN
Pradeep said:
IIRC when you have 4GB of RAM with WinXP etc, about 600MB is reserved for PCI interrupts etc, so you are left with about 3.5GB of RAM usable.
Hmm... when I bought more RAM for my Tyan 2466 Crucial warned that some memory will be used for PCI interrupts and they don't know what OS I'll be using. Maybe its hardware level.
 

sechs

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Feb 1, 2003
Messages
4,699
Location
Left Coast
It's not the memory, but the memory addresses that are reserved for other uses. You can use PAE and other tricks to get around these limitations, but they're kludges, in my opinion.
 

mubs

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Nov 22, 2002
Messages
4,908
Location
Somewhere in time.
Thanks for the replies, folks.

Memory is the most expensive part of the new setup. And if for whatever reason only 3.6GB out of 4GB is usable, heck, I'll just go with 3GB. But 3 DIMMs will probably not work in dual-channel mode? I've always bought Crucial, but Kingston at Zipzoomfly is 70-100% less than Crucial.

Finding info at MS on how much RAM Windows 2k / XP use is an impossible task. Google produces much better results! And MS wants to be the king of search technology. Sheesh.

I also priced an XP 3200 system; the price is only ~$150 less than a comparable A-64/3200, so why bother.

Alas, Buck, a single Opteron system would still be way more expensive. I wish, I wish, but it shall not be at this time. But if I was going with Opteron, I'd buy a dual-proc board and use one proc at this time and add a second later, rather than buy a single-proc board.

Thanks for the link to the Motherboard finder, Sechs. That certainly is a useful tool.
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,890
Location
Brisbane, Oz
I'd have to disagree on the usefulness of the tool (sorry Sechs).

I couldn't find any current boards for either Athlon or Athlon 64 (I restricted the Socket A search to Gigabyte).
 

sechs

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Feb 1, 2003
Messages
4,699
Location
Left Coast
I'd have to disagree with your disagreement. I found boards.

Perhaps your definition of "current" is too restrictive. Or maybe you're expecting perfection from a free tool (see the links at the bottom of the page).
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,890
Location
Brisbane, Oz
Socket A

nVidia nForce2 Ultra400 = 0 found
Via KT800 = 0 found

Socket 754

nVidia nForce3 150 = 0 found
K8T800 = 2 found (1 MSI + 1 Abit)

Of the 3 Athlon 64 boards mentioned in this thread, only the MSI K8T Neo is in the Acme database.

Given that every major manufacturer has at least one socket 754 board, and some (such as Gigabyte, Aopen and Soltek) support multiple variants of both nVidia and Via solutions, I don't see how this database is in any way useful to mubs in his current research.

Albatron doesn't make it into the database for any boards whatsoever. :p
 
Top