by February 1, 2000 0 comments

After extensively testing all the motherboards, we observed some interesting facts, which gave us an insight into the technology, market trends, and performance issues in motherboards. These could be very useful in deciding which motherboard to buy. That’s why we decided to share them with you.

  1. Motherboards of similar categories are very similar in performance, be it in running productivity applications or gaming. So, when buying a motherboard of a particular category (say a Socket 370 with Intel 810 chipset), the deciding factors would largely be price and features.

  2. All other components being the same (hard disk, RAM, display card), a PIII/500 gives a 10-11 percent performance boost over a Celeron/433 when running productivity applications. 

  3. Ensure that the motherboard you buy comes with DMA (Direct Memory Access) drivers for your hard disk. If it doesn’t, make sure that you enable DMA for your hard drive from system properties. This option will be there if your hard drive supports DMA. This gives more than 100 percent boost in your hard drive’s transfer rates. It also reduces the load on your CPU significantly. Without DMA, the disk CPU utilization is above 70 percent, but with DMA, it goes down to around 4 percent or less. 

  4. The connecting cable for UltraATA/66 is different from the conventional IDE cable. The connecting strip has more wires. We didn’t find any difference in performance with this cable. 

  5. If you’re buying a motherboard for gaming, then go for a motherboard with an external AGP slot. This is because your display adapter has a large role to play in your gaming performance, and determines your game’s speed and graphics quality. 

  6. Your motherboard’s circuit design determines how effectively it can utilize your processor’s capabilities. It can cause a difference of as much as 5 percent in overall performance while running productivity applications.

  7. Ensure that you download the latest driver and BIOS updates for your motherboard. Most motherboards today have flash BIOS. This can be upgraded through software you can download from your motherboard’s site. 

  8. Some motherboards don’t provide all the features that are supported by the chipset they’re based on. One example is USB support, and another is the AMR slot in the new 810 motherboards. These are listed as optional in the motherboard’s manual and you can’t upgrade the motherboard for those features later. So ensure that all the features you want are available on the motherboard when you buy it.

  9. Jumper-less motherboards are much easier to configure as several factors like the CPU clock speed, front side bus speed, etc, can be modified through the BIOS instead of tweaking with jumpers. 

  10. The price difference between a dual processor (Slot 1/Socket 370) and a Socket 370 motherboard is not too much. So if you plan to buy a Celeron now and upgrade to a PIII later, the dual is a good option. Otherwise, go for just the
    Celeron.

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