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Shadow Lord
November 23rd, 2013, 02:22 PM
As posted in another thread (http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?39673-Urgent-help-needed-flashing-a-BIOS-with-a-Genius-G540) my main WS MB is dead. I am in search of a replacement board but as can be expected certain key technologies (to me at least) are now missing from boards namely PCI, PATA and floppy controllers.

I was wondering if anyone has any experience with a PCI-E PATA controller? I am looking at this one (http://www.startech.com/Cards-Adapters/HDD-Controllers/IDE/1-Port-PCI-Express-IDE-Adapter-Card~PEX2IDE) but am open to recommendations. I plan to use the controller for an IDE LS-240 drive (doubles as my 1.44 floppy) and ZIP-250 drive. I am pretty sure both drives will work with the controller. What I am not sure about and would love to have work is being able to boot off of the LS-240 at a minimum and maybe even the ZIP drive. Both of these were supported as boot devices on my old MB but they never worked right!

If that is not possible does anyone know of an INTERNAL USB floppy drive w/o card readers?

TIA!.

njroadfan
November 23rd, 2013, 03:16 PM
Use a SATA to PATA bridge. Its very likely that the card is just using one internally as most have SATA ports too.

Don't know of any pure USB internal 3.5" drives. Most of the combo drives are a standard MFM interface with USB card reader. Booting off of LS-120/240 and Zip drives requires that the BIOS support the "ARM-D" standard. I don't know if modern boards do or not, particularly when using legacy BIOS boot since they rely on a AHCI option ROM in most cases.

SomeGuy
November 23rd, 2013, 03:25 PM
Have you bought a new board yet? The http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157266 ASRock 990FX Extreme4 still has those features, but expect it to be gone soon. (The only glitch is the BIOS won't let you specify anything other than a 1.44mb floppy).

As far as I know, those insane manufacturers still don't have any internal USB floppy drives, and all the card readers with floppies require a real FDC header! What gives with that? You will have to get a card reader, rip out the normal floppy drive, and stuff the guts of an external USB one in. I'd recommend these: http://www.microcenter.com/product/420667/144MB_USB_External_Floppy_Disk_Drive_-_Black as they can read 720k disks, but I don't know for sure if those will fit in a card reader.

A PCIe IDE card should let you access an LS-240/Zip drive, but I would be surprised it it could boot from one, even if it has its own bios (It could, I don't know). I've also had zero luck attaching an IDE zip drive to an SATA port with an adapter - not sure if that is a driver or an adapter issue.

Shadow Lord
November 23rd, 2013, 04:17 PM
Thanks for the input guys:

@njroadfan: I have never been very successful at using those PATA to SATA convertors - even on HDD much less on a CD-RW. I hate to see what they do to a ZIP drive and or LS-240. Even if I was using that then the main board BIOS would have to have an option to boot off of floppy/LS-240 or whatever... which I assume a board without a built in PATA controller would not. The card I linked to has its own BOOT BIOS and per comments on newegg it seems to be compatible with the new UEFI BIOS standards! People have booted off of it w/ IDE HDDs but nobody reported LS-240 (surprise surpsrise :D).

@SomeGuy - That board is almost perfect except for the fact that it is an AMD board. Never bought an AMD board even though the price has always been better then intel. Was actually looking at the Asus Sabertooth X79 and trying to figure out if the BIOS was socketed (there is a socketed Winbond chip on it) or another SOIC8 solder job (problem with my current board!). The board you linked to is far cheaper and has the required ports so I am giving it some serious thought...

What is with the non-internal USB drives? I get the fact that USB is for easy connection of peripherals and I use a external IBM USB FD on my Lenovo laptop but an internal one seems like a no brainer! Almost like and internal USB to RS232 the a bracket w/ 9 and 25 pin connectors! But us dinosaurs are not much loved by these guys!

The PCI-E PATA board does have its own BIOS that will boot HDDs and apparently CDs. Not sure how that translates to LS-240 and zip drives! I wonder if the ASRock MB supports 2.88MB floppy drives.... ;)

Shadow Lord
November 23rd, 2013, 04:36 PM
Just went through the ASRock manual and no mention of what boot devices are supported or even what floppies.... Has a SuperIO chip which I think supports 2.88...

Agent Orange
November 23rd, 2013, 04:40 PM
About the internal USB drives. Some USB PCI controllers (mine) have an internal port, so its just a small matter to craft a bracket for your USB drive. So, it can be easily done and cheaply at that. I'm not clear on why you want to however.

Late edit: The Gigabyte MA-FX790-UD5P has what you what. However, it will only allow you to select one specific floppy (5.25 included). What I did was to install the 1.2 MB 5.25" and then use my LaCie external 1.44 MB 3/5" floppy via an USB port. I use that rig as a backup. Has an AMD 960T quad core which unlocks and becomes a 6 core 1605T. That board is available NIB on eBay for @ $70.00. It also runs a pair of XFX 5950's in Crossfire rather nicely.

Shadow Lord
November 23rd, 2013, 04:43 PM
About the internal USB drives. Some USB PCI controllers (mine) have an internal port, so its just a small matter to craft a bracket for your USB drive. So, it can be easily done and cheaply at that. I'm not clear on why you want to, however.

I'd like to have a floppy drive installed in the system as opposed to hanging off of the outside. Since many boards no longer have internal floppy headers and there are plenty of external USB drives plus plenty of MB with internal USB headers it seems like a nice logical thing. Put one of the external floppies in an internal std. sized 3.5 inch case so it can be mounted internally and have the wires connect to the internal headers of the MB. Hell, they could even add a few extra ports up front with it...

Chuck(G)
November 23rd, 2013, 05:11 PM
The trouble is the internal USB drives seem to be non-existent. Even the 3.5+Flash card reader ones use a standard legacy floppy interface. I finally got one of those and swapped the floppy drive for a USB one. (Teac FD05U). It works just fine. I did have to supply a 3.5-to-5.25 mounting bracket, however--the 3.5" external port on modern cases has gone the way of the dodo.

SomeGuy
November 23rd, 2013, 06:11 PM
Just went through the ASRock manual and no mention of what boot devices are supported or even what floppies.... Has a SuperIO chip which I think supports 2.88...
Internally the FDC chip probably supports it, but the BIOS doesn't. The 990FX is permanently stuck on 1.44mb. Similar story for 1.2mb disks, the chip supports 300kbps but you can't specify the drive type, so DOS can't use it. I've tested that. Dunno why they bothered to limit it. The slightly older pre-UEFI ones weren't limited like that.

Bizarrely when testing it with Imagedisk it seems the chip can read/write FM single density! Go figure.

I posted some other details and comparisons with this board in this other thread: http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?39615-Recent-motherboard-FDC-and-quot-legacy-quot-tests

Chuck(G)
November 23rd, 2013, 07:57 PM
Bizarrely when testing it with Imagedisk it seems the chip can read/write FM single density! Go figure.

That's pretty much true on any PII-or-later motherboard. Most use "SuperIO" chips that are based on SMSC/SMC designs that always supported FM. 128-byte-sector MFM is much more difficult to find.

386/486/P1 motherboards are much less likely to support FM.

Ole Juul
November 23rd, 2013, 10:28 PM
I don't really see the point in having either floppy or PATA on a modern machine. Where's the backward compatibility going to end? You've got networking which can bridge it all, at least to a tweener.

As an aside: I recently tried to save some money, by getting a PATA to SATA converter. When it arrived I realized it should have been the other way around - or was it the other way around. :) I had hoped to utilize one of the many old, but perfectly good, CD/DVD/RW drives like we're all getting stuck with. Anyway, the converter will come in handy for connecting something someday. I spent about 25 bucks on it from Newegg. And to cut my losses, I just ordered a new, state of the art SATA drive from them for the same price. I should have done that in the first place. I'll stick to SATA from now on, and leave the PATA to vintage machines. Lesson learned.

As for floppy? What good does a single drive do? You'll need at least two 5.25 drives and one 3.5 to be of any use. Maybe even add an 8 incher and four types of tape drives to the (by now five foot high) tower. :p .... no, like I said: just use the lan to a tweener and don't hamper your choices in a modern motherboard. /2cents

Shadow Lord
November 23rd, 2013, 10:47 PM
As for floppy? What good does a single drive do? You'll need at least two 5.25 drives and one 3.5 to be of any use. Maybe even add an 8 incher and four types of tape drives to the (by now five foot high) tower. :p .... no, like I said: just use the lan to a tweener and don't hamper your choices in a modern motherboard. /2cents

Here is a $0.25 for your $0.02 ;)

W/O getting into the gory details I needed to upgrade the BIOS on my Asus MB. Since I did not have a floppy drive that was bootable I opted to use the Winflash utility provided by Asus. Ran said utility under Win7 x64 was told BIOS was upgraded and verified! Rebooted and bam no BIOS. A quick check after the facts on the internet revealed that the utility is buggy as hell specially under x64 and has been known to destroy the Asus P5 series board's BIOS! A working/bootable floppy and I'd still have my system!

AgentOrange: The gigabyte board would not work for me. I need the following slots:
1. 2x PCI-E 2.0/3.0 x16 (for two video cards)
2. 1x PCI-E 2.0 x8 (for Areca RAID Controller)
3. PCI slot for sound card

Unfortunately the Gigabyte board does not have an x8 slot.

The ASRock board is looking like the easiest replacement so far. Has all the slots/features I need except for it being AMD. On the plus side AMD AM3+ socket is compatible with my current water cooling setup (where Socket R is not). Still looking at processor and memory pricing for it...

Edit: Looks like the ASRock only has x4 slot....

Agent Orange
November 24th, 2013, 08:18 AM
Here is a $0.25 for your $0.02 ;)

W/O getting into the gory details I needed to upgrade the BIOS on my Asus MB. Since I did not have a floppy drive that was bootable I opted to use the Winflash utility provided by Asus. Ran said utility under Win7 x64 was told BIOS was upgraded and verified! Rebooted and bam no BIOS. A quick check after the facts on the internet revealed that the utility is buggy as hell specially under x64 and has been known to destroy the Asus P5 series board's BIOS! A working/bootable floppy and I'd still have my system!

AgentOrange: The gigabyte board would not work for me. I need the following slots:
1. 2x PCI-E 2.0/3.0 x16 (for two video cards)
2. 1x PCI-E 2.0 x8 (for Areca RAID Controller)
3. PCI slot for sound card

Unfortunately the Gigabyte board does not have an x8 slot.

The ASRock board is looking like the easiest replacement so far. Has all the slots/features I need except for it being AMD. On the plus side AMD AM3+ socket is compatible with my current water cooling setup (where Socket R is not). Still looking at processor and memory pricing for it...

Edit: Looks like the ASRock only has x4 slot....

Yep, that's too bad. You didn't say what type RAID you were running. I used to run RAID 0 with a pair of Velociraptors. The problem with that was a viable backup when one or other drives fail - which it did. Now with SSD's taking over, there's not much to to gain performance-wise, if anything, from a RAID 0. If your using RAID as a backup then that's a different story. BTW, the on-board sound on the Gigabyte board really isn't too shabby. It been a long time since I've used a sound card for a gaming rig. Lastly, I don't think I've know of a mobo with 3 PCI(E) slots, as they usually come with 2, and now 4 on the high end boards (the 10K+ big time gaming rigs with the monster video cards) - might be one out there that I've missed though.

Agent Orange
November 24th, 2013, 09:20 AM
I almost forgot about the Gigabyte MA-890FXA-UD7. I had this board once but returned it because of 2 separate on-board floppy controller failures. That was real early in the model run, however. That board has has 6 PCI(E) slot in various flavors plus a PCI and supports floppy's. You don't see boards configured like this very often. http://www.gigabyte.us/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3416#sp

Shadow Lord
November 24th, 2013, 10:31 AM
AgentOrange:

I am actually running two sets of RAID5s on the system. There are a number of boards with more than two PCI-E slots. The real difference seems to be Intel vs. AMD. It seems as if the Intel boards have more PCI-E channels in them and can be paired with an additional chip to provide even more channels. So they usually will have two x16 slots and one x8 plus one or two x1 slots (x48, x79 chipsets). The AMD boards seem to max out at 36 channels. For example the other MB you linked to will drop the number of channels on the x16 slots if an x8 card is installed. Frankly, it took me a long while to find my current board and it was right on the cusp of the change so I was able to hit the sweet spot with it in terms of new and old tech support!

After doing more research here is what I've got as pro cons so far:

Intel x79

Pros:
1. Intel
2. Ivy Bridge support so wicked fast
3. Provides the slots I need to make things work (2 x x16 and 1 x x8 plus 2 x x1 for PATA add in or sound card)

Cons:
1. PRICE - Will be 2-3 times more expensive then the AMD solution
2. No headers for 1394a connectors (just a port on the back so still usable)
3. No built in FDD, IDE controllers - can be added in with a card though
4. Need adapter kit for my water cooling kit - more cost

AMD:
Pros:
1. PRICE
2. Has controller for FDD (although VERY limited), and IDE
3. Internal header for 194a
4. Water cooling kit should work straight out of the box

Cons:
1. AMD
2. Will cut my RAID performance in half

Choices choices!

Agent Orange
November 24th, 2013, 10:55 AM
My first reference of 2 or 4 PCI(E) slots was intended to reflect x16. Intel motherboards are now a dead-end - production has ended. Also, Intel setups have a very, very short upgrade life, as you probably know. I think my twin 7970's in Crossfire will compete with the average player. If you are into big time on-line gaming (possibly for bucks) then Intel would be the way to go. BTW, what's your RAID setup all about?

Shadow Lord
November 24th, 2013, 09:53 PM
My first reference of 2 or 4 PCI(E) slots was intended to reflect x16. Intel motherboards are now a dead-end - production has ended. Also, Intel setups have a very, very short upgrade life, as you probably know. I think my twin 7970's in Crossfire will compete with the average player. If you are into big time on-line gaming (possibly for bucks) then Intel would be the way to go. BTW, what's your RAID setup all about?

Not sure what you mean by Intel MB are a dead-end? Are you talking about Intel branded boards or boards w/ Intel chipsets and CPUs (which is what I am talking about). I am not a big gamer (okay more accurately if you don't count Sierra and Infocom I am not really a gamer my copy of UT 3 is still unopened 6-7 years after I bought it!). So massive speed is not an issue. However, getting everything I want is and if that means paying more usually I am okay with it. At this point though the Intel route seems very expensive. I found an Intel MB that would work for me: the ASRock X79 Extreme 11 (http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/X79%20Extreme11/index.us.asp?cat=Specifications). It has most everything I want, plus built in SB so all I need is a PCI-E IDE adapter. However, at $600+Tax for the board only it is way more than I would EVER be willing to pay!

Luckily I also found the ASRock 990FX Extreme9 (http://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/990FX%20Extreme9/index.us.asp?cat=Specifications). It also lacks the IDE port but it can be setup in a x16 x16 x8 PCI-E setup, plus x1 for an IDE adapter and a PCI port for my SB X-Fi card. I can probably buy the CPU, some RAM, and the MB for the price of the Intel board above! Currently it is top on my list and I am checking out memory and CPU options for it. Maybe I will place an order by the end of next week...I still want to try reprogramming my BIOS a few more times. And heck if it doesn't work out I can then practice my soldering skills on that board! ;)

My RAID setup is mostly for redundancy and performance. I have two arrays in RAID 5: BOOT and DATA. The boot is made up of 4 Seagate Cheetah 15K.6 SAS drives. The DATA array is made of 4 Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 drives with room for 4 more. It all runs off an Areca 1680ix controller. I like the Arecas: great support, good CSR (even if it is delivered in broken English), and they keep updating their equipment/BIOS/FW/etc. The controller is real easy to use and can be accessed via Telnet, local host, or direct LAN connection!

Agent Orange
November 25th, 2013, 08:35 AM
Not sure what you mean by Intel MB are a dead-end? Are you talking about Intel branded boards or boards w/ Intel chipsets and CPUs (which is what I am talking about). I am not a big gamer (okay more accurately if you don't count Sierra and Infocom I am not really a gamer my copy of UT 3 is still unopened 6-7 years after I bought it!). So massive speed is not an issue. However, getting everything I want is and if that means paying more usually I am okay with it. At this point though the Intel route seems very expensive. I found an Intel MB that would work for me: the ASRock X79 Extreme 11 (http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/X79%20Extreme11/index.us.asp?cat=Specifications). It has most everything I want, plus built in SB so all I need is a PCI-E IDE adapter. However, at $600+Tax for the board only it is way more than I would EVER be willing to pay!

Luckily I also found the ASRock 990FX Extreme9 (http://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/990FX%20Extreme9/index.us.asp?cat=Specifications). It also lacks the IDE port but it can be setup in a x16 x16 x8 PCI-E setup, plus x1 for an IDE adapter and a PCI port for my SB X-Fi card. I can probably buy the CPU, some RAM, and the MB for the price of the Intel board above! Currently it is top on my list and I am checking out memory and CPU options for it. Maybe I will place an order by the end of next week...I still want to try reprogramming my BIOS a few more times. And heck if it doesn't work out I can then practice my soldering skills on that board! ;)

My RAID setup is mostly for redundancy and performance. I have two arrays in RAID 5: BOOT and DATA. The boot is made up of 4 Seagate Cheetah 15K.6 SAS drives. The DATA array is made of 4 Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 drives with room for 4 more. It all runs off an Areca 1680ix controller. I like the Arecas: great support, good CSR (even if it is delivered in broken English), and they keep updating their equipment/BIOS/FW/etc. The controller is real easy to use and can be accessed via Telnet, local host, or direct LAN connection!

I was under the impression that you were looking for an Intel motherboard. Intel is getting out of the motherboard business. Your RAID setup is quite impressive.

Shadow Lord
November 25th, 2013, 11:16 AM
I was under the impression that you were looking for an Intel motherboard. Intel is getting out of the motherboard business. Your RAID setup is quite impressive.

No I preferred an Intel chipset/CPU based MB but the AMD price is too good:

1. AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz (4.2GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ Eight-Core Desktop Processor $199.99
2. ASRock 990FX Extreme9 ATX AMD Motherboard $179.99
3. G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) $154.99

Grand Total: $534.97 - even with tax and shipping that is less then the price of the Intel based MB or the Intel CPU alone! I am going to wait until "cyber Monday" before deciding on a buy. Maybe able to get a discount or two! I just have to make sure my add-in card placement will work...

Agent Orange
November 25th, 2013, 12:28 PM
No I preferred an Intel chipset/CPU based MB but the AMD price is too good:

1. AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz (4.2GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ Eight-Core Desktop Processor $199.99
2. ASRock 990FX Extreme9 ATX AMD Motherboard $179.99
3. G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) $154.99

Grand Total: $534.97 - even with tax and shipping that is less then the price of the Intel based MB or the Intel CPU alone! I am going to wait until "cyber Monday" before deciding on a buy. Maybe able to get a discount or two! I just have to make sure my add-in card placement will work...

The FX-8350 is a great performer, I've had it installed in my Asus Sabertooth 990FX since early this year. You may want to treat yourself to Battlefield 4 as it is designed to use most of your cores. You didn't mention what you were going to do for video.

Shadow Lord
November 25th, 2013, 02:29 PM
The FX-8350 is a great performer, I've had it installed in my Asus Sabertooth 990FX since early this year. You may want to treat yourself to Battlefield 4 as it is designed to use most of your cores. You didn't mention what you were going to do for video.

I considered The Asus Sabertooth but it had three problems:

1. it was an Asus and after the ridiculous support I have gotten fro them on my P5E64 WS Evolution I was not about to give them another red cent
2. It basically had the same feature set as the Extreme4 but missing 1394a
3. It cost more

I am glad to hear the chip is a solid performer though. Video and just about everything else will be salvaged from my current system. Heck if I could find a LGA-775 board that would fit my needs I wouldn't even switch out my CPU or RAM. Currently I have an NVidia GeForce 280GTX running my 30" dell flat panel and a GeForce 8800 GT running the two 19" panels on each side... Great for work as I can have email open on one screen, spread sheet on the main screen, and have other (i.e. music, widgets, etc.) running on the third screen.

njroadfan
November 25th, 2013, 03:19 PM
I am glad to hear the chip is a solid performer though. Video and just about everything else will be salvaged from my current system. Heck if I could find a LGA-775 board that would fit my needs I wouldn't even switch out my CPU or RAM.

What are those needs?

My X38 based LGA775 board has onboard Firewire, floppy, PATA, LPT, and RS-232. Gigabyte GA-EX38-DS4. There are other variations, some with the X48 chipset, but they all have the legacy ports. Only 2 PCIe 16x slots though.

Shadow Lord
November 25th, 2013, 08:15 PM
What are those needs?

My X38 based LGA775 board has onboard Firewire, floppy, PATA, LPT, and RS-232. Gigabyte GA-EX38-DS4. There are other variations, some with the X48 chipset, but they all have the legacy ports. Only 2 PCIe 16x slots though.

Basically what you said plus:

1. 2x PCI-E 2.0/3.0 x16 (for two video cards)
2. 1x PCI-E 2.0 x8 (for Areca RAID Controller)
3. PCI slot for sound card

The slots where the problem then too. I remember I searched along time until I found the Asus P5E64 WS Evolution board. I actually found one for sale but at $412 dollars it makes far more sense to go the AMD route and upgrade then get another board. Now if it was $100 or even half that price I'd be all over it...

Shadow Lord
November 29th, 2013, 08:37 AM
Well I pulled the trigger and bought the AMD MB/CPU/16 GB of ram and the StarTech PCI-E IDE controller... I will post back once things are setup and report success (or lack there of) with the IDE LS-240 and 250MB ZIP drives (including if it will boot them!).

luckybob
November 29th, 2013, 12:04 PM
damn, I'm a bit late, but did you consider USB for your zip & superdrive? When I replaced my socket A system, I lost ide & floppy as well, but I got an usb zip drive for a song at a thrift store. I even use an old ibm branded usb > 3.5 floppy drive and contrary to what people seem to believe, windows 7 can still work with 720k floppy formats just fine.

Agent Orange
November 29th, 2013, 02:21 PM
I considered The Asus Sabertooth but it had three problems:

1. it was an Asus and after the ridiculous support I have gotten fro them on my P5E64 WS Evolution I was not about to give them another red cent
2. It basically had the same feature set as the Extreme4 but missing 1394a
3. It cost more

I am glad to hear the chip is a solid performer though. Video and just about everything else will be salvaged from my current system. Heck if I could find a LGA-775 board that would fit my needs I wouldn't even switch out my CPU or RAM. Currently I have an NVidia GeForce 280GTX running my 30" dell flat panel and a GeForce 8800 GT running the two 19" panels on each side... Great for work as I can have email open on one screen, spread sheet on the main screen, and have other (i.e. music, widgets, etc.) running on the third screen.

1. Your going to get good and bad with any mobo, but Asus is still tops in quality IMHO. (Tech support isn't any worse off than Gigabyte or MSI)
2. What in the world do you need FireWire for these days?
3. Asus does cost a little more but I believe they are well worth it.

If I just went with the investment you made, I would be looking to upgrade the video. FWIW, the Asus Radeon R9 280X (Tahiti) Scored a "Verdict 9 KICK ASS" in the Holiday Issue of MAXIMUMPC (@ $310 or less if you can find one) Heck of a board for the money.

njroadfan
November 29th, 2013, 02:24 PM
Some of us have MiniDV camcorders that require Firewire.

Agent Orange
November 29th, 2013, 03:09 PM
Some of us have MiniDV camcorders that require Firewire.

That's okay, I'll buy that argument. But since a mini FireWire to USB adapter can be had for just a few dollars ( http://www.amazon.com/Firewire-Ieee-Ilink-Adapter-Cable/dp/B0049DJ0JG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385769689&sr=8-1&keywords=mini+firewire+to+usb ) I certainly wouldn't use "FireWire" as the criteria for investment in a modern motherboard/PC system.

Shadow Lord
November 29th, 2013, 03:13 PM
1. Your going to get good and bad with any mobo, but Asus is still tops in quality IMHO. (Tech support isn't any worse off than Gigabyte or MSI)
2. What in the world do you need FireWire for these days?
3. Asus does cost a little more but I believe they are well worth it.

If I just went with the investment you made, I would be looking to upgrade the video. FWIW, the Asus Radeon R9 280X (Tahiti) Scored a "Verdict 9 KICK ASS" in the Holiday Issue of MAXIMUMPC (@ $310 or less if you can find one) Heck of a board for the money.

Well, I'll have to wait and see. Initially I used to buy Tyan for solid performance but no frills then I switched to Abit which at one point made great boards (my BP6 and VP6 are still running strong!) and finally I moved on to Asus. I have bought four Asus boards in three systems and all four have failed in one way or another. Two suffered from capacitor issues (although after many years of service), one didn't work straight out of the box, and the latest failed after a bad flash.

Go figure that I have XTs that are 30 years old still working fine but my 5 year old Asus has problems! :)

In any case time to mix it up a bit. If I wanted to get a high end/feature rich board I'd consider EVGA next time but I was trying to keep the price down so here we are!

As for the video I know what you mean but really I have no use for it (i.e. I don't play the latest games) my current video cards will serve me well until the next massive upgrade. Plus the money I would have spent on video cards went toward three SSDs to upgrade my notebook and my two HTPCs. In fact I am going to use the processor and RAM from this system for the guts of the second HTPC...

As for 1394 I have Sony HD MiniDV cam that uses 1394...

Shadow Lord
November 29th, 2013, 03:17 PM
That's okay, I'll buy that argument. But since a mini FireWire to USB adapter can be had for just a few dollars ( http://www.amazon.com/Firewire-Ieee-Ilink-Adapter-Cable/dp/B0049DJ0JG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385769689&sr=8-1&keywords=mini+firewire+to+usb ) I certainly wouldn't use "FireWire" as the criteria for investment in a modern motherboard/PC system.

True, I could also buy a PCIe 1394a add in card but when the ASrock has the feature and is cheaper then the Asus why should I complicate my life? ;) Somebody should just make a PCIe card with al lthe obsolete ports/connectors on it (1394a, LPT, RS232, IDE, Floppy, etc..) sort of like the AIO boards of the ISA era... Then you can buy one of those and boom you are ready to rock it like it was 2003 again! ;)

Agent Orange
November 29th, 2013, 03:29 PM
Awww, go ahead and crack for that new video card. Its the Holiday Season you know, falalalala and all that - you deserve it. Trust me, gaming or not, that R9 video card will make your new system jump no matter what you're doing.

SomeGuy
November 29th, 2013, 03:36 PM
Somebody should just make a PCIe card with al lthe obsolete ports/connectors on it (1394a, LPT, RS232, IDE, Floppy, etc..) sort of like the AIO boards of the ISA era... Then you can buy one of those and boom you are ready to rock it like it was 2003 again! ;)
I seem to recall there is some technical reason (something to do with DMA?) that you can't put a real FDC chip on anything other than an ISA bus.

Al Kossow
November 29th, 2013, 04:13 PM
I seem to recall there is some technical reason (something to do with DMA?) that you can't put a real FDC chip on anything other than an ISA bus.

To be compatible with existing software, you have to use the motherboard DMA channel 2 to drive the data transfers. Modern peripheral cards have their own on-card DMA. There was a way in the PCI days
of forwarding DMA requests from PCI peripherals to the mb DMA controller and in fact there was a rare PCI floppy controller card, but that was abandoned in later chip sets.

Al Kossow
November 29th, 2013, 04:21 PM
here is the post from the thread that I was thinking of

http://www.classiccmp.org/pipermail/cctech/2013-May/104133.html

Shadow Lord
November 29th, 2013, 04:40 PM
here is the post from the thread that I was thinking of

http://www.classiccmp.org/pipermail/cctech/2013-May/104133.html

While not very illuminating to use non EE Guys it is very informative. Basically, an FDC is not implementable with PCI-E. Now excuse my ignorance but don't modern chips/CPUs have DMAs? If so can they be addressed? If yes then what are they good for if not used for backwards compatibility? Thanks.

luckybob
November 29th, 2013, 04:51 PM
My dual socket 771 board has a floppy disk port. the bios only supports 1 drive but its still there. I put a 5.25 floppy on that and i use a 3.5 on USB.

Agent Orange
November 29th, 2013, 04:52 PM
I seem to recall there is some technical reason (something to do with DMA?) that you can't put a real FDC chip on anything other than an ISA bus.

Well, there are numerous modern motherboards out there that support PCI, PCI(E), and have their own floppy/IDE controllers on-board. However, I have never been successful in locating a stand-alone PCI floppy controller, but I do have a PCI IDE controller that works just fine on my all-SATA motherboard.

Shadow Lord
November 30th, 2013, 08:33 AM
Awww, go ahead and crack for that new video card. Its the Holiday Season you know, falalalala and all that - you deserve it. Trust me, gaming or not, that R9 video card will make your new system jump no matter what you're doing.

Well, while the festive holiday colors are quite enticing I still have to pass. :) I am in full build mode now and I am finally setting up my other HTPC, upgrading the notebook, and repairing my main WS which means lots of HW = $$$$. I am doing my best to not buy anything I don't absolutely need. One thing I do need is another MB for the HTPC.

I need a mATX board that supports LGA 775, DDR 3, 3-4 SATA ports (for BD Drive, HDD, and SSD) and has one full x16 PCI-E slot. Ideally it would be a PCI-E 2.0 slot but I haven't been able to find a board that meets all those needs. The closest I came to was the Asus P5G43T-M PRO problem being it is not available for sale any more (aside of course from it being an Asus)! ;) So any recs for boards are appreciated.

luckybob
November 30th, 2013, 08:49 AM
ddr3 & pcie-2.0 is quite a stretch on the same board. That said: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128536

everything you listed except its a 1.0 not a 2.0, But unless you are gaming, its a moot point.

Shadow Lord
November 30th, 2013, 09:10 AM
ddr3 & pcie-2.0 is quite a stretch on the same board. That said: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128536

everything you listed except its a 1.0 not a 2.0, But unless you are gaming, its a moot point.

Yes it is. I think the G43 chipset is the key. G31 seems to only support DDR2 and G41 adds DDR3. And as you say, since I am not gaming, I am willing to make the compromise on the PCI-E 2.0 if I have to! Newegg actually has two boards and I'd probably go with the Asrock if I can't find anything better in a week or so.

Krille
November 30th, 2013, 10:05 AM
I need a mATX board that supports LGA 775, DDR 3, 3-4 SATA ports (for BD Drive, HDD, and SSD) and has one full x16 PCI-E slot. Ideally it would be a PCI-E 2.0 slot but I haven't been able to find a board that meets all those needs. The closest I came to was the Asus P5G43T-M PRO problem being it is not available for sale any more (aside of course from it being an Asus)! ;) So any recs for boards are appreciated.

This (http://www.prisjakt.nu/kategori.php?l=s151731321) might be useful. It's a swedish site and I don't know if you guys have something similar in english but FWIW...

Shadow Lord
November 30th, 2013, 10:29 AM
This (http://www.prisjakt.nu/kategori.php?l=s151731321) might be useful. It's a swedish site and I don't know if you guys have something similar in english but FWIW...

That is handy! Thanks!

Shadow Lord
November 30th, 2013, 10:41 AM
Anybody have any experience with this board (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Acer-Aspire-AM3800-G45T-G43T-AM3-Motherboard-MB-SC409-002-MBSC409002-8654-/350586688927?pt=Motherboards&hash=item51a098559f)?

It worries me as it is an OEM board not a retail board so no real support/BIOS updates/drivers etc. But it seems to have everything needed and honestly if it works then I am not going to be upgrading it or doing anything fancy with it...

njroadfan
November 30th, 2013, 11:43 AM
That's okay, I'll buy that argument. But since a mini FireWire to USB adapter can be had for just a few dollars ( http://www.amazon.com/Firewire-Ieee-Ilink-Adapter-Cable/dp/B0049DJ0JG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385769689&sr=8-1&keywords=mini+firewire+to+usb ) I certainly wouldn't use "FireWire" as the criteria for investment in a modern motherboard/PC system.

Read the product reviews. Its not really a USB to Firewire cable. Gotta love the fake 5 star review in there too.

Agent Orange
November 30th, 2013, 11:48 AM
Read the product reviews. Its not really a USB to Firewire cable. Gotta love the fake 5 star review in there too.

Nothing is what it seems anymore. But, you can still get a PCI multi-function board (small riser) which would include FireWire support. I've seen them on the shelf at Micro Center for under $10.

njroadfan
November 30th, 2013, 11:51 AM
I need a mATX board that supports LGA 775, DDR 3, 3-4 SATA ports (for BD Drive, HDD, and SSD) and has one full x16 PCI-E slot. Ideally it would be a PCI-E 2.0 slot but I haven't been able to find a board that meets all those needs.

Why bother with a LGA775 on a new build? You can get a modern AMD platform board+CPU for less than any old 775 board will go for these days.

http://www.microcenter.com/site/products/amd_bundles.aspx

Shadow Lord
November 30th, 2013, 04:52 PM
Why bother with a LGA775 on a new build? You can get a modern AMD platform board+CPU for less than any old 775 board will go for these days.

http://www.microcenter.com/site/products/amd_bundles.aspx

I beg to differ. Where can you get a MB, CPU, and memory delivered for approx $70?

Agent Orange
November 30th, 2013, 07:56 PM
I beg to differ. Where can you get a MB, CPU, and memory delivered for approx $70?

Well, you live fairly close to the LA Micro Center. Most of the time you can walk in and buy an AMD CPU and get a mobo for free or maybe just $10. Catch a sale on some quad core and ask what mobo's are a available. DDR3 is cheap these days, so you can probably walk out for around $100 or less. I'm not a big fan of MSI, but I built no less than 3 systems for friends and family within the last year that way. I'm with njroadfan on this one. Why buy that refurb with an ancient chipset when you can get a viable product for about the same money. BTW, these types of deals aren't always advertised at the Micro Center. Once in a while they do pop up in their mailed ad.

Ole Juul
November 30th, 2013, 09:22 PM
Well, you live fairly close to the LA Micro Center. Most of the time you can walk in and buy an AMD CPU and get a mobo for free or maybe just $10. Catch a sale on some quad core and ask what mobo's are a available. DDR3 is cheap these days, so you can probably walk out for around $100 or less. I'm not a big fan of MSI, but I built no less than 3 systems for friends and family within the last year that way. I'm with njroadfan on this one. Why buy that refurb with an ancient chipset when you can get a viable product for about the same money. BTW, these types of deals aren't always advertised at the Micro Center. Once in a while they do pop up in their mailed ad.

I was looking for an LGA775 board for my second computer recently. There are very few still around and they're not cheap. I was only looking at Newegg, so perhaps others specialize in these old boards, but I think generally they're going away and are only worth buying if you have RAM and CPU for cheap or free. A new LGA775 CPU will cost a fortune compared to what it's worth (50-75 bucks or more). However they're only a few bucks used, and perhaps one already has one. I did end up saving a bit, but not much. I got two CPU's for a bout 10 bucks and I had just enough DDR2 - which is really expensive if you have to buy it. So yes, I'm with the Orange on this one, LGA775 is not a really good idea for saving money. You only save a little bit and you end up with a less capable computer because of it.

Shadow Lord
November 30th, 2013, 09:25 PM
Well, you live fairly close to the LA Micro Center. Most of the time you can walk in and buy an AMD CPU and get a mobo for free or maybe just $10. Catch a sale on some quad core and ask what mobo's are a available. DDR3 is cheap these days, so you can probably walk out for around $100 or less. I'm not a big fan of MSI, but I built no less than 3 systems for friends and family within the last year that way. I'm with njroadfan on this one. Why buy that refurb with an ancient chipset when you can get a viable product for about the same money. BTW, these types of deals aren't always advertised at the Micro Center. Once in a while they do pop up in their mailed ad.

"Fairly Close" is relative - The nearest (only) Microcenter is 50 miles each way from me. That is a 100 miles or about 1.5 hours of travel time most places but LA is not most places. Realistically I am looking at 2 to 3 hours of travel time. My car gets about 12miles to the gallon in normal LA freeway traffic so figure ~8.5 gallons of gas at $4.79 = ~$40 in gas and I haven't even set foot in the place yet to hopefully find an unadvertised deal for whatever board/chip they want to hawk at me. The ONLY time I have eve set foot in/bought anything at that Microcenter was around 2000-2001 when they had a promo with eTrade. If you opened up an eTrade account and maintained it for a year or two you got $400 of credit at Microcenter. Picked up quite a bit of goodies signing my self and other various family members up! ;).

Let me put it to you another way: Newegg is about 10 miles away and I am still not willing to do will call. Why brave LA traffic, put wear and tear on myself and the car when I can have all the components for a new system delivered to me for $2.99 to my front door in 3 business days or less?

The other reason I don't want a more modern MB is that I have the rest of the components so either I got to throw them away or try and sell the DDR3 RAM and a Quad Core Intel chip on eBay which is not even worth the headache. I can get a NEW (not sure where refurb or MSI came into it) MB from Newegg delivered for ~$70. I don't create any more trash in the world and the system will be far more then necessary for an HTPC setup. Plus my other HTPC is practically setup in the same exact way (except for the MB) so I've basically worked out the HW and SW kinks for the setup.

Yes, I have to hunt a bit to find a MB and I may have to compromise (e.g. give up PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot) but hey to me that is half the fun. For a forum with a bunch of guys who collect old computers you guys sure do advocate heavily for throwing away older stuff and replacing it with the brand spanking newest shiniest latest model... Just saying ;)

Shadow Lord
November 30th, 2013, 09:31 PM
I was looking for an LGA775 board for my second computer recently. There are very few still around and they're not cheap. I was only looking at Newegg, so perhaps others specialize in these old boards, but I think generally they're going away and are only worth buying if you have RAM and CPU for cheap or free. A new LGA775 CPU will cost a fortune compared to what it's worth (50-75 bucks or more). However they're only a few bucks used, and perhaps one already has one. I did end up saving a bit, but not much. I got two CPU's for a bout 10 bucks and I had just enough DDR2 - which is really expensive if you have to buy it. So yes, I'm with the Orange on this one, LGA775 is not a really good idea for saving money. You only save a little bit and you end up with a less capable computer because of it.

Yes I agree if I was buying everything. I.E. if my main WS MB had not died and I was setting up the HTPC from scratch I would have bought the something on the mid-end of whatever board/CPU/ram is currently commonly found for purchase. However, as mentioned previously I already have the CPU and RAM so I just need a board. Hell if it wasn't for the fact that I was limited to a microATX by my HTPC case the field is pretty damn wide open on LGA775 boards.

Agent Orange
December 1st, 2013, 08:09 AM
Good luck with your project. One man's junk is another man's treasure, as they say. BTW, ever consider moving the hell out of downtown LA?

Shadow Lord
December 1st, 2013, 08:39 AM
Good luck with your project. One man's junk is another man's treasure, as they say. BTW, ever consider moving the hell out of downtown LA?

Technically I am not in downtown. I am 12 miles or so north of it. If you are referring to the traffic situation I would have to move and work outside of LA county to avoid traffic around here. Traffic is a fact of life for the most part. Where I am locally the traffic is non-esxistent. However, nothing is generally local (i.e. big box stores, malls, good restaurants, etc...) It is a very good neighborhood with one of the best performing school districts nation wide (which is saying something for LA). Plus it is December 1st and it is Sunny outside with a temp of 70 degrees for the next week vs. oh say Walled Lake, MI at 41 degrees with snow in the forecast ;).

LA is not for everyone (neither is California as a whole) there are cheaper places with better standards of living through out the country where there is no traffic, the scenery is better, and people are friendlier but for now it works for me.

Agent Orange
December 1st, 2013, 10:25 AM
Technically I am not in downtown. I am 12 miles or so north of it. If you are referring to the traffic situation I would have to move and work outside of LA county to avoid traffic around here. Traffic is a fact of life for the most part. Where I am locally the traffic is non-esxistent. However, nothing is generally local (i.e. big box stores, malls, good restaurants, etc...) It is a very good neighborhood with one of the best performing school districts nation wide (which is saying something for LA). Plus it is December 1st and it is Sunny outside with a temp of 70 degrees for the next week vs. oh say Walled Lake, MI at 41 degrees with snow in the forecast ;).



LA is not for everyone (neither is California as a whole) there are cheaper places with better standards of living through out the country where there is no traffic, the scenery is better, and people are friendlier but for now it works for me.

I hope we get some damn snow here in Walled Lake. I just spent a bundle on a new snow blower (6 forward & 2 reverse). I spent a lot of time on the west coast when I was in the Navy; San Francisco down to San Diego, and lived in Lemoore for a while. I now realize how the "Golden State" got it's moniker. Back in the early sixties, the Basic Allowance for Quarters (BAQ) was $77.10. Between Lemoore, Hanford, and Visalia, a sailor and his family couldn't get satisfactory accommodations for less than $200 a month, or maybe more. It took emergency congressional action and funding for the additional on-base Capehart Housing in order to level the playing field. While riding a carrier (1963) over in WestPac, I got a letter from my wife saying that the cities of Lemoore and Hanford had been put "Off Limits" because of price gouging in the stores. Military dependents were bussed to Fresno and Bakersfield for shopping. What a wonderful place! I was transferred back east in the spring of '64 and never looked back. If I decide to go to Las Vegas anytime soon, I may divert to San Diego just to visit the USS Midway (CVA-41), my first carrier. BTW, its a 62 mile round trip for me to visit my Micro Center - never really gave much thought about the distance though (gas is $3.18 today).

njroadfan
December 1st, 2013, 01:05 PM
Round trip to the local Microcenter is about 60mi for me and involves the most congested sections of roadways in the state. Takes about a half hour to get there.

Shadow Lord
December 1st, 2013, 11:18 PM
Round trip to the local Microcenter is about 60mi for me and involves the most congested sections of roadways in the state. Takes about a half hour to get there.

Which state? Most congested route in Ohio, for example, means nothing considering the 101/405 exchange is the busiest intersection in the country and is currently under going major construction! ;)

Seriously though, if you don't mind the drive be my guest. Me I'll have it delivered and save my free time for other pursuits (like trying to figure out why my 5170 won't turn on anymore :().

Shadow Lord
December 1st, 2013, 11:25 PM
I hope we get some damn snow here in Walled Lake. I just spent a bundle on a new snow blower (6 forward & 2 reverse). I spent a lot of time on the west coast when I was in the Navy; San Francisco down to San Diego, and lived in Lemoore for a while. I now realize how the "Golden State" got it's moniker. Back in the early sixties, the Basic Allowance for Quarters (BAQ) was $77.10. Between Lemoore, Hanford, and Visalia, a sailor and his family couldn't get satisfactory accommodations for less than $200 a month, or maybe more. It took emergency congressional action and funding for the additional on-base Capehart Housing in order to level the playing field. While riding a carrier (1963) over in WestPac, I got a letter from my wife saying that the cities of Lemoore and Hanford had been put "Off Limits" because of price gouging in the stores. Military dependents where bussed to Fresno and Bakersfield for shopping. What a wonderful place! I was transferred back east in the spring of '64 and never looked back. If I decide to go to Las Vegas anytime soon, I may divert to San Diego just to visit the USS Midway (CVA-41), my first carrier. BTW, its a 62 mile round trip for me to visit my Micro Center - never really gave much thought about the distance though (gas is $3.18 today).

Things have only gotten worse: $200 rent is gone with the days of $0.86/gal gas. Property is just out of control here and while some neighborhoods corrected a bit after the crash most places are still over priced to the point that even "professionals" can't afford a house!

30 miles each way isn't so bad... That is my drive for work (25.8 miles each way to be exact) and w/o traffic and a bit of good music the 45 minutes goes by relatively quickly (it takes me ~20 minutes to drive 20 miles and another 20 minutes to drive the last 5.8 miles up the 405). But 50 miles is just too long. Forget the simple distance at that point you are almost guaranteed to run into a broken down car, an accident, or construction (or all three) where ever you are going.

njroadfan
December 2nd, 2013, 03:17 AM
Which state? Most congested route in Ohio, for example, means nothing considering the 101/405 exchange is the busiest intersection in the country and is currently under going major construction! ;)

New Jersey. Not exactly a quiet drive through the woods. Another added incentive is that the store is located in a state urban enterprise zone and only charges 3.5% sales tax. Many times the prices are better than Newegg, even with "will call" pickup (their Edison NJ location is about the same distance away).

Agent Orange
December 2nd, 2013, 06:23 AM
Things have only gotten worse: $200 rent is gone with the days of $0.86/gal gas. Property is just out of control here and while some neighborhoods corrected a bit after the crash most places are still over priced to the point that even "professionals" can't afford a house!

30 miles each way isn't so bad... That is my drive for work (25.8 miles each way to be exact) and w/o traffic and a bit of good music the 45 minutes goes by relatively quickly (it takes me ~20 minutes to drive 20 miles and another 20 minutes to drive the last 5.8 miles up the 405). But 50 miles is just too long. Forget the simple distance at that point you are almost guaranteed to run into a broken down car, an accident, or construction (or all three) where ever you are going.

Can't ya just sneak over there on a weekend or after hours? Kind of make it like a pilgrimage and go twice a year. Its always worth it to me to browse the Micro Center. Usually come home with a large sack full of goodies that I don't real need.

Shadow Lord
December 2nd, 2013, 10:26 AM
New Jersey. Not exactly a quiet drive through the woods. Another added incentive is that the store is located in a state urban enterprise zone and only charges 3.5% sales tax. Many times the prices are better than Newegg, even with "will call" pickup (their Edison NJ location is about the same distance away).

I've given up on tax. CA now charges us ~10% sales tax and since most of these companies are located in CA (e.g. Newegg) we get screwed. Plus CA requires you to pay a "use tax" for stuff you buy from out of state for use in CA which incidentally is also ~10%... :rolleyes:

Shadow Lord
June 2nd, 2014, 07:14 AM
Six month to the date and it is time for an update :D!

I finally had a chance to install the new HW and get my WS up and running this weekend. It went surprisingly better then I expected. Of course there were some hiccups along the way but the ASRock 990FX seems to be working well.

Pros:

The LAN/Ethernet performance seems heads and tails above my old Asus board (maybe the Intel NIC vs. the Broadcom NIC). Interestingly Win 7 does NOT contain drivers for the Intel chip. I did not do a clean re-install of Win 7 (yet) but just an upgrade. Surprisingly it did not complain when I tried to go from Win 7 Pro to Win 7 Pro. However, it seems to be working surprisingly well with none of the expected headaches. As I had mentioned earlier I planned on using a JMicron PCI-E IDE controller. The controller seems to be working great. In fact better then my old Asus' built in IDE controller! The controller does allow booting from the IDE devices (although how much of it is MB BIOS dependent I am not sure). In fact I was able to finally boot off of a floppy on my LS-240 drive, something I was never able to do with the Asus. I was also able to sequentially boot off of my two optical drives. I have not yet tried booting off the ZIP drive but it would be nice if worked as well! The UEFI has its cons (see below) but it does work nicely with my Areca RAID Controller and of course the JMicron IDE controller. I did not have to do anything special to get the BIOS extensions from those cards to work with this BIOS (unlike the Mac FEI BIOS which required changing the BIOS boot code on an Areca controller).

Cons:
LOUD! I am not sure if this board/chip runs hotter, or maybe the algorithms are not as aggressive for quieting down the fans in the ASRock BIOS, but the fans are just going full bore. I had to manually limit all the fan speeds. I am also not digging the UFEI BIOS. Too cartoony for my taste. Bring back a nice text based BIOS interface and we would be in business.

So far I am happy with the upgrade. The system is working as it should and there is a decent performance boost along with it.