The Top 5 Worst Motherboards of All Time

Discussion in 'Motherboards' started by Dan_D, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    I often get asked what the worst motherboards I've dealt with are, were, or who made them. I've decided to count them down in order of best to worst, and tell you why they suck.

    #5 DFI LanParty nForce 4 SLI DR Expert -2005

    I expect to catch some shit for this one. This was one of the boards to have in the Socket 939 era. It was feature rich, it had a good layout and it was a monster of an overclocker. At the time I was building systems for a local computer store and I built several machines using this motherboard. I can't tell you how many DOA or problematic copies of this I went through. I dreaded each and every one of them I ran across. I could assemble systems with the same RAM, CPU, PSU and this motherboard and get different results each time. Some were stable at stock settings, but many weren't. This is the crux of my hatred for this motherboard. It was inconsistent regarding its behavior, stability and compatibility with hardware.

    #4 Soyo SY-6KBE - 1997?

    This motherboard was awful. I built several systems based on this motherboard back in the day for a client. Within a year or so, all of them had developed some sort of fault. Two of them got replacements of the same model only to fail a short time later. The best of these only had two bad PCI slots but otherwise ran for years. The others all lost RAM slots, developed instability issues that couldn't be solved or plain died. Soyo was a brand loved by many, but my experiences with them were mostly negative.

    #3 GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7 - 2011

    This is one I reviewed back in the day. The conclusion page summarized my issues nicely. Up until X370, this was the worst motherboard I had reviewed. In fact, reading over the notes in that article, I had a lot of memory compatibility problems echoing my experiences with X370. If you don't want to click the links, this line from the conclusion page should paint the picture for you: "This is probably the worst motherboard I’ve ever reviewed here at the [H]. I can’t recommend it to anyone for any reason as it stands today and feel like it should be avoided at all costs."

    #2 FIC VA 503+ -1998

    This was an easy call to make. The FIC VA 503+ was based on a VIA MVP3 chipset. This piece of shit had a number of shortcomings, one of which was that it didn't fully support all the K6 processors that were out at the time. Not only that, but the user manual was printed with inaccuracies for the jumper setup. The silk screening on the motherboard was full of errors too. Even the addendum in the user manual was wrong. You had to use a painful trial and error process to make it work. This motherboard also had a dismal DOA rate and a high percentage of failures. I worked for a computer retailer back in those days and we saw countless DIY systems come into the tech shop for service. Worse yet, AMD had their own clone of Intel's Retail Edge program and this motherboard was paired with a processor that the board didn't officially support. Virtually everyone who bought this deal at our store had me setup their systems because no one else could get them to work.

    This piece of shit was so bad it had three hardware revisions and never was built correctly. I have no doubts that this motherboard's awful reputation is one of the many nails in the coffin for FIC's motherboard business. The company exists today, but exited the PC motherboard market years ago.

    #1 EVGA 680i SLI -2006

    This motherboard and the various rebrands of it were built by Foxconn. This was a great motherboard at the time on paper. Unfortunately, these pieces of shit were prone to failure. These motherboards had a myriad of problems. Some of these problems you could work around, but many heralded the motherboard's impending demise. These suffered from poor RAM clocking, overvoltage issues, overheating components, USB issues, and some problems I'm sure I've forgotten. Even watercooling these things didn't help with the heat issues, which I suspect was due to things like the chipset getting more voltage than they could stand. Often times, BIOS updates fixed one thing at the cost of something else. PCIe device compatibility was sacrificed to gain overclocking performance in one of the later iterations.

    I personally owned 12 of these things. All 12 of them died within a year's time. Almost half of them were DOA replacements that were received from RMA or bought at the store. Even the hand picked EVGA Black Pearl I reviewed didn't last long. The only reason people tolerated these things, and sold so well is due to the fact that SLI functionality was locked to NVIDIA's motherboard chipsets back in the day. Eventually, I stepped up to Intel's D5400XS / Skulltrail platform to get away from this pile of trash. I had a stack of these I took out shooting one day. Putting a .500 Magnum round through the chipset's fancy heat sink was a very satisfying activity. I hope to never encounter a motherboard this bad again.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
  2. Bowman15

    Bowman15 Gawd

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    Come on Dan. You weren't even trying if you don't put PCChips at number one! :confused::)

    Maybe you were lucky enough to never work on one....
     
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  3. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    I don't think I have. I've worked with some ECS and other atrocious brands but none of them gave me the trouble that the above list has. Notice that I experienced issues with multiple copies of the above boards. The GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7 being the one exception there.
     
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  4. cram501

    cram501 n00bie

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    I owned an EVGA 680i SLI (nForce) and it ran like a champ for about 3-4 years... until it hit capacitor-gate. EVGA replaced it with an X58. Overall it worked fine for me until the capacitors started going. It wasn't the best motherboard but for me it didn't come close to the worst.
     
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  5. duronboy

    duronboy [H]Lite

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    Oh yeah PC Chips was the worst. ...along with anything else found for a bargain on Pricewatch.
     
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  6. xternal

    xternal [H]Lite

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    i use to love the dfi lan party motherboards lol 10+ years go brings back some good memories
     
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  7. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    In part, I suspect that the EVGA 680i SLI motherboards had a borderline VRM design. They worked well with the Core 2 Duo, or at stock settings. When you overclocked these things with a Quad Core processor and chased after higher RAM clocks they didn't last. I killed over half a dozen of them doing this.
     
  8. EVIL-SCOTSMAN

    EVIL-SCOTSMAN 2[H]4U

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    I had a few ECS boards with via chipsets and I can hand on heart say that every single one of them died au naturel.

    Well, they were naturel but premature deaths.

    Pieces of shit.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
  9. Simplyfun

    Simplyfun [H]ard|Gawd

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    I like your list and understand your pain here with this one, but it doesn't belong here. It was finicky and I fried two of them with LN2... but the third and fourth .. OMG I busted so many world records on that thing... and Oscar from DFI pounded out BIOS like a champ for whatever the hell we needed at that time and Ryder was all over the place with RAM data and swapping RAM sets...

    That was a magical time and this was a magical board. You can swap this fifth place finish out for anything at all from Sapphire from their first motherboard launches.
     
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  10. Kyle_Bennett

    Kyle_Bennett El Chingón Staff Member

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    Yes it does. LN2 benchmark monkey bullshit had nothing to do with real world usage. So you busted a long distance nut with it, but you would not do that with the board in service in daily usage long. Might have been a great drag car, but a Le Mans board it was not.
     
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  11. sirmonkey1985

    sirmonkey1985 [H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010

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    lol i have a pc chips socket A board that i bought for 10 bucks at fry's in 2006 i think because i was bored and wanted to see if the athlon 1700+ i had laying around still worked, board and cpu still works like a champ 11 years later. :p i have no clue why i still have it though.
     
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  12. Simplyfun

    Simplyfun [H]ard|Gawd

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    It was still working with the same proc five years ago when I sold that one and both of them survived multiple trips through the ultrasonic. I think that's a fair lifespan. Of course, my sample of four doesn't constitute a metric, but they weren't crap either. I'm happy with what I said. Overall it was probably the most blown up OCing board ever released and I've never come across another board that had that many official and unofficial BIOS files. You could flash it for stability and it would behave if you stuck with two RAM slots.

    No, it wasn't a good choice for a beginner. I maintain it wasn't one of the worst five boards ever though. Like I said, any of the POS boards Sapphire first released would easily fill that fifth slot.
     
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  13. Kyle_Bennett

    Kyle_Bennett El Chingón Staff Member

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    They were shit.
     
  14. Skylinestar

    Skylinestar Limp Gawd

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    Love the black and yellow theme.

    I wonder where these DFI geniuses are working for right now.
     
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  15. OldGator

    OldGator Limp Gawd

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    Those things were total nightmares. First boards I ever saw with Winmodems. I had the unfortunate experience of working in a store where the idiot owner loved buying the refurb boards from Evertek for about $15 each and would then put them out for sale for around $79 (if you think the new PCChips were bad imagine the living hell of building with refurbs). If they were out he'd buy the FIC boards.

    Most of our new non-custom builds had those motherboards inside and close to 100% of systems would be back with major problems.

    The owner's favorite phrase regarding that was "Do you think the customer did it?"

    Blame the customer and never accepted the fact that he had no business owning a computer store.
     
  16. Master_shake_

    Master_shake_ 2[H]4U

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    i have never had a motherboard that was completely decimated by a bios update until i had owned an Intel DZ68BC.

    it won me over with the glowing skull.
     
  17. sirmonkey1985

    sirmonkey1985 [H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010

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    who knows but my guess would be asus. since it wasn't long after that asus went hardcore with the whole ROG line and all that and took over the overclocking crown.
     
  18. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    This was exactly my issue with it. I recognize the board for its tuning capability and feature set, but any board that was that fickle, and different from one example to the next isn't a board I'd want anywhere but an LN2 test bench.

    I too liked the black and yellow theme. I liked it on MSI's XPower and MPower series before they went with this Titanium theme.

    Last I heard, some of those DFI guys may have worked for EVGA during their hey days with the early FTW boards. Then again, this is something I've heard probably so far from the source that it may be distorted. I also believe some of the better ABIT guys ended up over there too. Where those people are now is a question I can't answer. There are a lot of people in the industry that have long since moved out of it, or work in other areas of the industry.
     
  19. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    I can believe the guy who designed the DFI LAN Party board in question could have designed that Crosshair VI Hero. :)
     
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  20. sirmonkey1985

    sirmonkey1985 [H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010

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    that i won't argue with, lol.. i'd say the only dfi board that was the exception at least for me was the NF3 250Gb but it came out so late to an already dead socket it never really got to prove it's self. other than that board i was never really a fan of DFI boards and always had issues with them.
     
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  21. DrLobotomy

    DrLobotomy [H]ardness Supreme

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    If you ever make a top 10 you can include the ASRock X58 Extreme 3. I spent 2 years fucking that POS before I threw up my hands and picked up an MSI X58A-GD65 which still runs to this day as I type this.
     
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  22. EchoWars

    EchoWars Limp Gawd

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    Wasn't it PC Chips that built the board with the fake math co-processor on 'em?

    My first board was a PC Chips. I didn't know any better. It was awful. I upgraded to an Epox socket-7 and all was well (or at least a lot better).
     
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  23. OldGator

    OldGator Limp Gawd

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    PCChips had a lot of fake stuff on them - fake modems, fake sound, etc. Basically they provided the physical port (in many cases just a tiny riser with a cable that attached to the motherboard) and used software to emulate the features. IIRC one of the biggest complaints from customers was that the modems would never connect faster than 14.4~28.8 despite being advertised as 56k.
     
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  24. Meeho

    Meeho 2[H]4U

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    This thread reminds me of the more diverse and exciting days of PCs when we had multiple manufactures of MBOs, CPUs, HDDs, GPUs...
     
  25. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    Yes indeed.
     
  26. harmattan

    harmattan 2[H]4U

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    Came here expecting the EVGA i680 SLI - not surprised it's the #1 worst board. I went through literally three RMAs with that board over several months with varying issues. After about a year the last one's SATA ports gave up. I raised a massive stink with EVGA, but they wouldn't do a thing since it was a few days out of warranty.

    Complete stinking terd of a mobo. I wish I had those hours of admin amd headache back.
     
  27. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    That's not too dissimilar to my own story. One of the differences was, EVGA wouldn't take a couple of my RMA's because I didn't have the receipts for them. I bought that board several times over.
     
  28. tangoseal

    tangoseal [H]ardness Supreme

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    I used to own a DFI lan party with the Nforce chipset....

    it was pure junk to put it frankly.
     
  29. harmattan

    harmattan 2[H]4U

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    It really was a shame since, like you mention, the supposed feature set was good and it was really advertised as the premier board for GTX 680s (I had two at the time which sadly sat largely out of commission while I had them due to the board's issues).

    Glad to hear I wasn't alone in the frustrations. In 25+ years of doing builds I've never experienced a poorer piece of hardware with issues all over the place.

    It did strongly push me away from EVGA. They knew they had a stinker, but their service and policy was horrible. Had this been a car, it would have sunk the company with recalls/returns/suits.
     
  30. Phelptwan

    Phelptwan [H]ardness Supreme

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    Had that same DFI board along with an Opteron 165. It was a great overclocker when it was stable, but I'm pretty sure I returned that board 4/5 times. The only upside is DFI was doing advanced RMA's without a CC. I think after the first exchange of the board they were paying shipping both ways as well.
     
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  31. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    The 8800GTX was the premier graphics card during the time of the 680i SLI motherboards. I had two of them and later three of them in 3-Way SLI. Those got moved to my D5400XS / Skulltrail afterwards.
     
  32. Ihaveworms

    Ihaveworms [H]ardness Supreme

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    Ugh...that thing. I went through 2 of those boards before dropping it and going for a single video card on a P45 chipset. That 680i board was terrible and the heat that the chipset put out was crazy. I redid the thermal compound on the mosfet heatsinks in hopes it would help with overclocks, but that did no good.
     
  33. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    If you reapplied thermal paste and the chipset temperatures improved, you had a "good" board. If they didn't, then it was destined to die fairly quickly. It still put out a lot of heat, but whenever they'd idle at 45-50c, it was defective.
     
  34. BrainEater

    BrainEater Gawd

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    What no ASUS striker extreme ?
    I've hated 2 or 3 of the motherboards on that list , but man , the striker extreme was THE worst POS ever.
     
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  35. Mugato

    Mugato Gawd

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    Ah capacitor-gate...can you believe a machine designer used these in a whole line of $100k equipment? Yeah, mobo's would die right in the middle of production, only to be swapped with the same board. THEN, when it got to be the third or so, they did a recall. Guess what the recall was? Oohhh, we have this new "upgrade" for ONLY 25k (it's a deal, usually 50k!) that will let you migrate to Win 7, we have to replace the computer though - WINK WINK. Oh, yeah, if you want your 100k machine to run, like ever again, it's mandatory. grumble grumble.
     
  36. schizrade

    schizrade [H]ardness Supreme

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    I had a Slot A board that I went through 4 RMAs of before I finally said fuck it and got an ABIT. I cannot remember for the life of me who made it though.

    Oh and fuck Tyan.
     
  37. Vader1975

    Vader1975 Limp Gawd

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    ECS GeForce6100SM-M 2000
    then again in 2006
    ECS K8M890M-M (V1.0A) AM2 VIA K8M890 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

    I was selling pc's for a small computer shop around 2000 and these would come back all day long. ECS couldn't make anything work and they would send you back your own RMA's as "new boards" with the exact same problems you first reported. You will be hard pressed to find a worse board.
     
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  38. Vader1975

    Vader1975 Limp Gawd

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    We usually did great with ABIT but they also had a VIA chipset board around 2000 that was doa about 5 out of 10.
     
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  39. AaronP

    AaronP Bad [H]SS Mofo

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  40. Xyvotha

    Xyvotha Limp Gawd

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    Thanks for the article.
    This shows we've come a long way in MB design and manufacturing. Then one day you buy a Crosshair VI Hero to remind you of such old times :mad:
     
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