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PC Hardware in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition by Barbara Fritchman Thompson, Robert Bruce Thompson

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Our Picks

Over the years, we’ve tested a boatload of motherboards for Intel and AMD processors, and we’ve come to have some pretty strong preferences. The chipset determines the features, performance, stability, and compatibility of a motherboard, but a good chipset alone does not guarantee a good motherboard. Build quality—the care with which a motherboard is constructed and the quality of supporting components such as capacitors—is also a key factor in motherboard quality. Although it is impossible to build a good motherboard using a poor chipset, it is quite possible to build a complete dog of a motherboard around an excellent chipset. For that reason, the brand name on a motherboard is as important to its quality as the chipset it uses. Here are the motherboards we recommend:

Intel Pentium 4 or Celeron system

Intel (D865- or D875-series). We use Intel-branded motherboards almost exclusively for Intel processors, and on those few occasions when we must use a non-Intel motherboard for some reason, we try hard to choose a motherboard that at least uses an Intel chipset. Intel chipsets and motherboards are superb. They are the standard by which we judge other products in terms of stability, robustness, and build quality.

There is a reason why Intel sells motherboards by the millions to OEM system makers. Support calls cost OEMs money, and Intel motherboards generate fewer support calls than do other brands. Intel motherboards aren’t always the fastest models available and they ...

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