First up, the new motherboard, a Gigabyte P35-DS3P.
Isn’t it pretty?
Anyway, I was originally looking at a couple of different Asus boards when I came across this one and a couple of other Gigabyte ones.
My old motherboard is an Asus A8N-E, and apart from having to replace the southbridge heatsink a week after buying it because the fan failed, I haven’t had any problems with it. Yes, I could have gotten it fixed under warranty, but then I would have had to wait to get it back and it needed to be working then and there.
Prior to the Asus though, I have almost always used Gigabyte boards, in my opinion, they are some of the most reliable motherboards in the desktop market. I used 2 of them in my own computers prior to the Asus, one of which was sold to a friend, the other is in my parents media PC, both of which have been going for 5 years plus now with no issues at all. In addition to those, we used Gigabyte’s in both my brother and sisters computers. There have never been problems with these either except when there was a power surge that took out one of them.
So, when I realised the Gigabyte’s were around $50-$100 cheaper than the Asus boards, and had roughly the same features, it was naturally very appealing. The deciding factor on this motherboard was the fact that it has 8 SATA ports, all supporting RAID 0 and 1, 6 of which support RAID 5 and 10, 2 support JBOD. Now, really, I only need RAID 0 and RAID 1 since they are what I have been using anyway, but RAID 5 would be far more useful than RAID 1. All of the Asus boards supported RAID 5, some of the other Gigabyte ones did.
The two Asus boards I was looking at, the P5KE Wifi and the P5N32-E both had decent sound, the P5N32-E included a Supreme FX/DTS sound card. The P5KE Wifi logically, came with wireless. Either of these things would be useful, but in the end, I already have a PCI wireless card, and the Gigabyte uses Realtek ALC889A audio with high definition support and is able to run surround sound up to 7.1 which is really more than enough for me. As much as I love my high quality sound, the Realtek audio on all of my previous motherboards has been good enough for me, so as long as it supports up to 5.1 surround sound, seeing as how thats what my speakers are, I am happy.
Finally, external I/O played a big part in the choice. The Asus boards had 4 USB connectors via the backplate as well as Firewire and e-SATA. The P5N32-E lost the mouse PS/2 port though.
This was a bit of an issue for me, I wanted Firewire, I don’t care about e-SATA, and if I am going to lose a PS/2 port, there should be a reasonable amount of USB devices available without the need for a hub, especially since I have 5 to 7 devices regularly connected to my current computer, not including keyboard and mouse.
The Gigabyte had a much better solution to this problem. It has e-SATA, it has Firewire, and it has 8 rear USB connectors as well as support for another 4 via front case connectors. Excellent.
So it has the Firewire and USB bases covered, and if I ever need e-SATA, well, it has that too.
So not only was it a cheaper motherboard, but it is a brand I prefer, and it has a better feature set for my needs.
The reason I chose this model over other Gigabyte’s comes down to very small differences. The other models I was looking at either did not have Firewire, or the only had 4 or 6 SATA interfaces, which is definitely not enough, especially with only one IDE connector.
I do not care about Crossfire or SLI, I mean, I got a Crossfire motherboard and an Nvidia video card, so this was not something I was worried about, as long as it meets my main requirements of being made of awesome.
That is all for tonight, more on the developments of the beastly Quadzilla tomorrow.