The Top 5 Worst Motherboards of All Time

Dan_D

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Says you, I built well over 50 systems using the 680i chipsets, over 40 are still in use today by the kids of the people i built them for and to this day not a single issue has come from them. Hell even my own 680i eVGA board is still screaming down in my basement with my Q6600 at 3.6 on water. no hiccups, no issues. Now, this is largely because I custom installed the chipset driver and never used Nvidia's sata controller software. that 1 thing made all the difference.

Now what should be #1 is any fucking POS motherboard that use VIA for a chipset. reverse engineered AGP slots, half assed drivers. Hell even right up until MS EOL'd XP, if you called up tech support for help with your XP machine, if you were running ANY driver for the via chipset outside of what shipped with XP, they would hang up on you.

Says Kyle, and says me. :)

I will wager those boards are running dual-core CPU's or quads at stock clocks. My half dozen 680i boards killed in the line of duty along with half a dozen DOA replacements, witj probably 10 more dead ones in friend's systems tells me they were shit.

Even non-reference 680i SLI boards were terrible. The chipset was bad. The base BIOS code from NVIDIA was no doubt partially responsible for their failure rates. I saw a ton of P5N32-SLI motherboards and their variants die similar deaths. Even the two Striker Extremes I had shit the bed on me.

They are terrible boards. They earned the top spot on this list for a damn good reason. At lest the FIC VA503+ has the excuse of being cheap. The 680i SLI motherboards were designed to be the best in their time but had a track record that makes any ECS or PCChips model look good.
 

d3athf1sh

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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.

In my opinion if you don't want to pay for asus, get an MSI. I too owned 3 different asrock boards thinking they were stipped down asus boards... WRONG!!! every one i owned had little quirks similar to lists above. also i'm pretty sure the reason these and other cheaper boards heat up so fast is a thinner cheaper pcb. (prob not the only reason, but one)
 

Nathan_P

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I had a P5N32-SLI for a Folding@home rig, I think it lasted about 5 months, the PCIe slots took it in turns to die. It evidently didn't like running 24/7 with 3 8800Gt's in it. Fortunately nothing else was fried whilst it slowly gave up.
 

Dan_D

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I had a P5N32-SLI for a Folding@home rig, I think it lasted about 5 months, the PCIe slots took it in turns to die. It evidently didn't like running 24/7 with 3 8800Gt's in it. Fortunately nothing else was fried whilst it slowly gave up.

I think I tried all of the 680i SLI boards back in the day. They all had quirks, but the reference design was the worst. I think the chipset being shit was a large part of why those boards were always terrible.
 

M76

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I've had a few budget motherboards back in the day, but to my surprise when I did ran into problems it was with enthusiast level motherboards.

For example the ECS K7S5A, was the best bang for the buck motherboard I ever owned. It was the lowest of the low end AMD boards in 2001 when I got it. But with modified bios it was even possible to overlclock with it.

I know nowadays ASROCK is no longer a low tier manufacturer they climbed out of that box. But that wasn't so back when I had an ASROCK Dual VSTA in 2007 in that transitional period. This was the manbearpig of motherboards. It featured both DDR and DDR2 slots plus both an AGP 8X and PCIEX slot for graphics cards. It made it easy to upgrade on a budget as one could defer upgrading the GPU and RAM. This also worked without a hitch.

The motherboards I ended up having problems with are all from Gigabyte and MSI.

First it was the MSI K8N Neo Platinum which was a pretty high end AMD 64 board. For some reason the computer kept locking up when idle. I replaced everything around the MB, but never could figure it out. And the problem was impossible to reproduce sometimes it would happen sometimes not, and the worst part was that it only happened when the computer was idle for a few hours. If it did any work it was just fine.

The other candidate from MSI is the X99A Raider, which was DOA. I hate DOA, it shouldn't happen, ever. Imagine you're excited for your new build and then it turns into a giant frustration, that turns into a race against time to get a replacement part before the weekend or you end up staring at your brand new expensive parts for at least 48 hours as no store stocks new parts on the weekend.

As for gigabyte the one that failed was a low end microatx board, so no hard feeling there.

But what I hold a grudge for is the GA-X58A-UD3R. Which was the best featured MB for bloomfield at that price point, it beat even the top end ASUS boards with it's 10 Sata ports. But all that came at a price. No the board didn't fail, it works to this day as I know the owner, but overclockning was virtually non-existent. It wouldn't even boot at higher clocks, the best I could get out from my i7-930 with it is 3.3Ghz. And on top of that my 2000Mhz DDR3 rams wouldn't run any higher than 1400 in it. Same shit. XMP or manual timing, tried everything in the book and beyond. It still wouldn't cut it. After a late bios update I could maybe get it up to 15xx I think. So even though it didn't break it was a huge disappointment.
 

d3athf1sh

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my worst board goes to the finicky bastard that is the Asrock 939Dual-SATA2... Runner up all Nforce4 boards

i didn't have any problems with my asus a8n32sli-deluxe & TWINX2048-3500LLPRO memory which used nForce4 chipset. it worked great up until my house got broken into and it was stolen along w/ all my dj equipment. I still miss my baby, it was a beautiful machine.
 

XMAN245

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Says Kyle, and says me. :)

I will wager those boards are running dual-core CPU's or quads at stock clocks. My half dozen 680i boards killed in the line of duty along with half a dozen DOA replacements, witj probably 10 more dead ones in friend's systems tells me they were shit.

Even non-reference 680i SLI boards were terrible. The chipset was bad. The base BIOS code from NVIDIA was no doubt partially responsible for their failure rates. I saw a ton of P5N32-SLI motherboards and their variants die similar deaths. Even the two Striker Extremes I had shit the bed on me.

They are terrible boards. They earned the top spot on this list for a damn good reason. At lest the FIC VA503+ has the excuse of being cheap. The 680i SLI motherboards were designed to be the best in their time but had a track record that makes any ECS or PCChips model look good.


All OC'd to no less than 3.2ghz and all C2Q 6600s
 

mdzcpa

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What's the chance I had 2 out of the top 5 bad boards. LOL. The DFI NF4 and the EVGA 680i. I remember back at the time I used to say things like "these are tuner boards" and "not for beginners" and the like. I was able to nurse some serious clocks out of those boards in the day. But I always struggled with long term stability. Now I realize that, yes, those boards did just suck. I especially wasn't fond of ntune. Good article. Memory lane of sorts.
 

JMccovery

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I remember the pain of having a VA503+... Never had a board that I wanted to take a sledgehammer to before that one. Tried other VIA-based 7/Super 7 boards before I purchased my Asus P5A-B, then replaced it with a P5A, because I moved to an ATX case.
 

bnolsen

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Abit BP6. While it was a great awesome way to run 2 celeron processors in dual cpu configuration and overclock them from 366 to 550MHz.
Over time the overclocks would start to destabilize. All the capacitors would balloon and fail.
Replacing them was a huge PITA and the board I had never worked quite right after I replaced those caps myself.
 

triwolf

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Says you, I built well over 50 systems using the 680i chipsets, over 40 are still in use today by the kids of the people i built them for and to this day not a single issue has come from them. Hell even my own 680i eVGA board is still screaming down in my basement with my Q6600 at 3.6 on water. no hiccups, no issues. Now, this is largely because I custom installed the chipset driver and never used Nvidia's sata controller software. that 1 thing made all the difference.

Now what should be #1 is any fucking POS motherboard that use VIA for a chipset. reverse engineered AGP slots, half assed drivers. Hell even right up until MS EOL'd XP, if you called up tech support for help with your XP machine, if you were running ANY driver for the via chipset outside of what shipped with XP, they would hang up on you.
I had a VIA board that was somewhat OK, but I do remember being on a message board and reading some information from the VIA engineers that said to get AGP 4X working they essentially "threw lots of zeros and ones" into code for the driver until it was recognized by Windows 95/98 and worked. Now that's quality engineering! Anyone remember the voodoo of the setting for the AGP driver value in the BIOS? No one knew what the heck it was! LOL
 

lopoetve

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Oh... Oh god.

I had both the Soyo SY-6KBE (it was cheap!) and the Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7. The 990 turned me off Gigabyte boards for AMD forever, in fact. It's sitting behind me - I've been trying to decide what to do with it, as I've got plenty of parts to make a server, but that board sucked SO much...
 

OldGator

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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...

It also takes me back to when shredding cables, folding them, and DIY air/water cooling were just starting to be a thing (I still have photos of my very first shredded IDE cables from 2000).
 
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Brent_Justice

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I'm normally a fan of Asus motherboards, but the old Asus P4T533 (for rambus memory) had serious issues. Pretty sure there's an old forum post about it, but it was a long time ago. I swore off Asus motherboards for a few builds after that, but came back and pretty much only buy Asus now.

ETA: Hardocp review by Brent and Kyle with comments about the big forum thread of issues and my (bmg) comments in it: https://www.hardocp.com/article/2002/08/13/asus_p4t533/6

The old thread doesn't seem to be available any longer, but it was 15 years ago...somehow it doesn't seem all that long ago...time flies.

I had forgotten I did motherboard reviews as well, blast from the past!
 

Dan_D

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I had forgotten I did motherboard reviews as well, blast from the past!

Wow. I didn't realize you had ever done that. I know Morry stuck around for a long time before I came on, and I've been doing it now for 11 or 12 years now but prior to that a bunch of different people had done them but didn't stick around.
 

MrRuckus

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It also takes me back to when shredding cables, folding them, and DIY air/water cooling were just starting to be a thing (I still have photos of my very first shredded IDE cables from 2000).

Shredding cables. Jeezus. I did that a few times. Experimented with Peltier coolers also. I remember I bought one of these:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/426/3

Also remember the MC462. About that time a lot of aftermarket coolers started popping up, swiftech slowly started to get lost in the crowd..
 

OldGator

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Shredding cables. Jeezus. I did that a few times. Experimented with Peltier coolers also. I remember I bought one of these:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/426/3

Also remember the MC462. About that time a lot of aftermarket coolers started popping up, swiftech slowly started to get lost in the crowd..

I started folding/wrapping all the new builds I made starting around 2000-2001 until I got out of the business around 2007 or so. I often wonder if anyone since then (such as another tech) opened up one of my builds to upgrade it and thought "Wow, who took the time to do this?"

Remember when the Golden Orbs came out? Hard to believe that's been almost 18 years now.

For me the new stuff just doesn't have the same appeal.
 
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777

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The PC Chips motherboards.... yeah they were crap but EVERYONE knew they were crap and they were priced as such. I had a K6 system with one of those and it did work but liked to reboot at random. I seem to recall it was one of the first boards I used that had integrated sound (1997 ish) but it was filled with staticy screams and driver crashes.

I had a PcChips M550 and it didn't seem that bad. It did work... unless the random crashes and reboots I had in Windows 95 were actually hardware faults. Went from one of those to a BH6 which was quite a leap. Later on got the A7N8X which seemed fairly solid except for the noisy onboard sound. From the comments in this thread I take it Nvidia chipsets went downhill in the years following?
 

lopoetve

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I had a PcChips M550 and it didn't seem that bad. It did work... unless the random crashes and reboots I had in Windows 95 were actually hardware faults. Went from one of those to a BH6 which was quite a leap. Later on got the A7N8X which seemed fairly solid except for the noisy onboard sound. From the comments in this thread I take it Nvidia chipsets went downhill in the years following?


Horribly. The Nforce2 was the high point. You needed digital out to a DD decoder for those to be good too.
 
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Where is the ABit BP6?
Did it OC - Yes
Was it stable - Hell no! had to soldier bigger capacitors on to it for it to be remotely stable. And the extra PATA control was crap.
The BP6, if anything, is a contender for one of the BEST all-time motherboards - but ultimately ruled out because it was indeed produced smack in the middle of that capacitor plague that affected a lot of hardware, not just Abit. Incidentally, they're the only manufacturer who apologized for using bad caps based on a partially stolen formula to begin with. That and you need extensive mobo modification to use FC-PGA (Coppermine) CPUs, with FC-PGA2 (Tualatin) largely out of the question. It's still a noteworthy board once recapped, though - who else could let you run TWO of those legendary Mendocino Celerons (300A - 533) in SMP for a sane price?

It's a hell of a lot better than the PC-Chips M598 mobo my father built one of my first computers around, at any rate. Hoo boy, was that thing a real piece of work, and it gives me a lot of insight as to why PC-Chips is already such a reviled name in this thread, along with the SiS 530 chipset it's based around. It's a match made in hell, I'd say.

-What the hell were they smoking when they laid out this mobo? Some of the I/O headers run BETWEEN the expansion card slots, so you'd better hope the cables aren't putting a lot of stress on your cards, or blocking off headers of their own!
-Part of that is that it claims to support AT and ATX, even though it was clearly well into the age of ATX and AT needed to die off. I guess my father got an AT case and PSU for dirt cheap at the time, because I can't think of any other reason.
-It took me several years into its obsolescence until I realized that he had the AMD K6-2 350 running at 366 MHz not for overclocking's sake, but because the system is just horrendously unstable running at a 100 MHz FSB instead of the slower 66 MHz FSB. The RAM was PC-133, so that couldn't have been the culprit.
-Speaking of the SiS 530, it claims to have an AGP interface... that certainly isn't provided via a slot on the motherboard and is indeed dedicated to some utterly execrable integrated graphics that lose DirectDraw acceleration if you update past DirectX 7.0. I wish I was joking here, but that's a special level of bad when it doubles as a 2D decelerator just from keeping your OS up to date. My father even went and bought an AGP card, had to return it because of the lack of AGP slot, and returned with an ATI Xpert98 PCI instead that did the job... until he delivered it to me after a drive (long story) with the graphics card conspicuously missing. Then I got to suffer the integrated graphics again, Voodoo2 not helping with the 2D problem.
-The integrated CMI 8338 sound codec never worked. Funny to realize that C-Media is the biggest competitor to Creative in the sound card world now, but I quickly learned why he went through the trouble of installing a Sound Blaster Live! in there to begin with.
-Two of the PCI slots are blocked off by the CPU socket and HSF toward the rear, such that you can't fit long graphics cards/3D accelerators/whatever in them.

I haven't had that system for a few years; it went off to recycling, and I don't hold much sentimental value towards it. I have far better parts to build retrogaming rigs with now.
 
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TheSmJ

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I can't imagine how there isn't a single Asrock board on this list. Those boards only accidentally work right sometimes.

I've been using ASRock ever since ABIT went under and never had an issue with them. I had an Opteron 165 overclocked to what at the time was considered incredible speeds using their (at the time) upper-mid range S939 motherboard. I'm using one of their boards right now to overclock my 2500K and I have no complaints (system in sig).

Let's face it - all mobo manufacturers have released a stinker at some point. Even the cheapo brands got lucky. The ECS K7S5A was probably my favorite motherboard of the Socket A generation. With a couple simple hardware mods it was able to meet or beat high-end overclocking motherboards that cost 3-4x as much.
 

ecktt

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The BP6, if anything, is a contender for one of the BEST all-time motherboards - but ultimately ruled out because it was indeed produced smack in the middle of that capacitor plague that affected a lot of hardware, not just Abit. Incidentally, they're the only manufacturer who apologized for using bad caps based on a partially stolen formula to begin with. That and you need extensive mobo modification to use FC-PGA (Coppermine) CPUs, with FC-PGA2 (Tualatin) largely out of the question. It's still a noteworthy board once recapped, though - who else could let you run TWO of those legendary Mendocino Celerons (300A - 533) in SMP for a sane price?

It's a hell of a lot better than the PC-Chips M598 mobo my father built one of my first computers around, at any rate. Hoo boy, was that thing a real piece of work, and it gives me a lot of insight as to why PC-Chips is already such a reviled name in this thread, along with the SiS 530 chipset it's based around. It's a match made in hell, I'd say.

-What the hell were they smoking when they laid out this mobo? Some of the I/O headers run BETWEEN the expansion card slots, so you'd better hope the cables aren't putting a lot of stress on your cards, or blocking off headers of their own!
-Part of that is that it claims to support AT and ATX, even though it was clearly well into the age of ATX and AT needed to die off. I guess my father got an AT case and PSU for dirt cheap at the time, because I can't think of any other reason.
-It took me several years into its obsolescence until I realized that he had the AMD K6-2 350 running at 366 MHz not for overclocking's sake, but because the system is just horrendously unstable running at a 100 MHz FSB instead of the slower 66 MHz FSB. The RAM was PC-133, so that couldn't have been the culprit.
-Speaking of the SiS 530, it claims to have an AGP interface... that certainly isn't provided via a slot on the motherboard and is indeed dedicated to some utterly execrable integrated graphics that lose DirectDraw acceleration if you update past DirectX 7.0. I wish I was joking here, but that's a special level of bad when it doubles as a 2D decelerator just from keeping your OS up to date. My father even went and bought an AGP card, had to return it because of the lack of AGP slot, and returned with an ATI Xpert98 PCI instead that did the job... until he delivered it to me after a drive (long story) with the graphics card conspicuously missing. Then I got to suffer the integrated graphics again, Voodoo2 not helping with the 2D problem.
-The integrated CMI 8338 sound codec never worked. Funny to realize that C-Media is the biggest competitor to Creative in the sound card world now, but I quickly learned why he went through the trouble of installing a Sound Blaster Live! in there to begin with.
-Two of the PCI slots are blocked off by the CPU socket and HSF toward the rear, such that you can't fit long graphics cards/3D accelerators/whatever in them.

I haven't had that system for a few years; it went off to recycling, and I don't hold much sentimental value towards it. I have far better parts to build retrogaming rigs with now.

Nah dread, anything but PC-Chips.
 

Nathan_P

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The Asus Z9PED8-WS should get an honorable mention, Whilst its a good piece of engineering the damn things just do not work right. They only really like a GPU in slot 3, even though its rated for quad SLI, they lock up for no apparent reason and mine does not like a gtx 1080 anymore - yes the card works just fine. Last time mine crashed it corrupted the BIOS to the extent I had to get anew bios chip and reflash, and a new CPU as the new bios don't like my ES cpu's.

I use mine as a Folding@home machine and after spending a week getting it working with my 750ti and 1080 it took another dump this afternoon and refuses to boot with the 1080. :mad:
 

Dan_D

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The Asus Z9PED8-WS should get an honorable mention, Whilst its a good piece of engineering the damn things just do not work right. They only really like a GPU in slot 3, even though its rated for quad SLI, they lock up for no apparent reason and mine does not like a gtx 1080 anymore - yes the card works just fine. Last time mine crashed it corrupted the BIOS to the extent I had to get anew bios chip and reflash, and a new CPU as the new bios don't like my ES cpu's.

I use mine as a Folding@home machine and after spending a week getting it working with my 750ti and 1080 it took another dump this afternoon and refuses to boot with the 1080. :mad:

I never had to work with those before. I didn't mention it because I have no experience with it.
 

Gman1979

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I really wish I could remember the exact model, but I once had a MSI board with an ATI chipset that was either possessed or got dropped several times before packaging. Within a week of having it, I thought I killed it trying to overclock. Three days later it fires right up on it's own as I'm on my laptop. Seems to run fine. Rinse and repeat several times until I said to hell with it and got an ABIT. I really thought I had killed the MSI board intentionally the last time. Once I had the ABIT up and running, I volt modded the MSI board every way I could that was useful. Then I killed an AMD Duron with all the extra voltage options. Thought the board had left this plane of existence as I smelled and saw the "magic smoke" escaping as it's soul rose to the heavens. Several burn marks around the power connector and VRMs. No signs of life for nearly a week of trying. Obviously toasted right? Helll Nawww. Two years later my son was digging through my parts closet. He finds the MSI board and a CPU to go in it. The cursed thing boots right up for him, and somehow the RAM speed setting I could never get to actually work was working perfectly well for him as he played with it.

That's the abbreviated version of course. That board was my personal copier that deserved to die (Officespace reference for the dense or young). The long version of the tales of my time with this cursed equipment would require one of those anatomically correct dolls so I could point out where the evil motherboard touched me.

It actually reminds me of the old guy in Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail. Everytime the dead parts box would come around, that damnable board would pop its head up yelling "but I'm not dead yet", then promptly hose it's settings or corrupt windows randomly when all seemed well.
 
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NukeULater

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The Asus Z9PED8-WS should get an honorable mention, Whilst its a good piece of engineering the damn things just do not work right. They only really like a GPU in slot 3, even though its rated for quad SLI, they lock up for no apparent reason and mine does not like a gtx 1080 anymore - yes the card works just fine. Last time mine crashed it corrupted the BIOS to the extent I had to get anew bios chip and reflash, and a new CPU as the new bios don't like my ES cpu's.

I use mine as a Folding@home machine and after spending a week getting it working with my 750ti and 1080 it took another dump this afternoon and refuses to boot with the 1080. :mad:
It must be your board then. Mine has been extremely stable even with crossfired cards and overclocked cpus. The only problem I have with it is the pwm fan control which resets if the machine goes into standby.
 

Gman1979

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what 939 dfis were awesome! die! diediediediedie!

Socket 939 DFI boards were guilty of giving many enthusiasts the overclocking equivalent of blue balls. When they felt like giving up the goods, you'd get beautiful results, record clocks, gratification. For the other 7/10 times your settings made it angry, you'd get rewarded with the urge to smash things and use profanity unfit for sailors. I owned several of them once people started moving off of 939. It seemed like at least one thing (nic, usb port, etc) was broken on every single one of them. A couple of them were just kind of meh as far as clocking and stability. I was fortunate to get a solid one eventually, and it was a thing of beauty when pushed to the edge.
 
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Dan_D

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Socket 939 DFI boards were guilty of giving many enthusiasts the overclocking equivalent of blue balls. When they felt like giving up the goods, you'd get beautiful results, record clocks, gratification. For the other 7/10 times your settings made it angry, you'd get rewarded with the urge to smash things and use profanity unfit for sailors. I owned several of them once people started moving off of 939. It seemed like at least one thing (nic, usb port, etc) was broken on every single one of them. A couple of them were just kind of meh as far as clocking and stability. I was fortunate to get a solid one eventually, and it was a thing of beauty when pushed to the edge.

I agree completely.
 

Noghri2

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I had the Lan Party UT NForce4 Ultra-D board and it was reliable and stable for me. Granted, I didn't overclock.

The biggest board I had hit/miss issues with was the ECS K7S5A. I got it after reading reviews and how good it was. My board ran fine, but my sister's PC had lots of stability issues.
 
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