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Old 12-26-2010, 10:12 AM
"Russell L. Harris"
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

I am tossing into the dumpster the last two motherboards which I
purchased -- Asus M3A78-T (AMD64) and Asus P5Q-EM (i386) -- because of
video problems. I purchased the boards because of the long-life solid
capacitors. (Motherboard life typically is limited by deterioration
of conventional electrolytic capacitors with age and heat.)

With the M3A78-T, the POST screen displayed a cross-hatch pattern of
horizontal and vertical red and green lines with a variety of
monitors, both CRT and LCD. The pattern also is visible in terminal
mode outside of X. Three trips back to Asus did not cure the problem.

With the P5Q-EM, the display goes blank ("out of range" message on the
monitor) when X starts.

I need a recommendation for a reliable desktop motherboard for normal
desktop use (no gaming) with Debian Lenny or Squeeze. My primary
application is writing and typesetting with XEmacs, LaTeX, etc.

I would prefer a motherboard with solid capacitors. I would prefer a
brand other than Asus, and I would lean toward Gigabyte or Intel.

If you recommend a motherboard without integrated graphics, kindly
recommend also a readily-available graphics card.

Thanks!

RLH



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Old 12-26-2010, 11:21 AM
shawn wilson
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

On Dec 26, 2010 6:12 AM, "Russell L. Harris" <rlharris@broadcaster.org> wrote:

>

> I am tossing into the dumpster the last two motherboards which I

> purchased -- Asus M3A78-T (AMD64) and Asus P5Q-EM (i386) -- because of

> video problems. *I purchased the boards because of the long-life solid

> capacitors. *(Motherboard life typically is limited by deterioration

> of conventional electrolytic capacitors with age and heat.)

>


I generally tend to go with supermicro or asus. However, I don't think that brand or manufacturing process are the issue here unless you bought cheap asus boards (they make everything from commodity to server products).



So, assuming a decent board (it doesn't sound like you have a problem spending $200+ usd if you're replacing it because video is starting to fail vs just putting another video card in) then, I wonder about outside factors. First, have you had the machines plugged into a ups? Did you check your RAM before trashing the boards (and probably in another computer that doesn't use shared RAM for graphics as I don't know how memtest86 handles that)? Are you in a real humid or dry setting? Is it real hot all the time? Etc, etc.



As for your issue with electrolytic caps (let me see if I can remember my electronics here). They are more suited for higher voltages and can hold a charge longer than the solid state variants. Personally, I like them better because when they blow, its visually noticeable (mushroom head or electrolyte all over the place). Lastly, I've got stereo cross over circuits with those caps that have been used for 10+ years. Point of all of this is, in most environments, I wouldn't really dwell on the caps one way or the other. Buy what works, treat it well and, in five years or so, you'll end up throwing away an old motherboard with perfectly good caps.



As for specific board recommendations, I can't really give you any as I don't work that way. I either get whatever cheap dell I can get gold support on and then replace it or I get proliant servers. If this is truly a desktop system for you and nothing more, you might opt for the dell with gold support (crap hardware with insurance ).
 
Old 12-26-2010, 12:22 PM
"Russell L. Harris"
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

* shawn wilson <ag4ve.us@gmail.com> [101226 12:28]:

> I don't think that brand or manufacturing process are the issue here
> unless you bought cheap asus boards

Cheap boards generally do not have solid capacitors exclusively.



> > purchased -- Asus M3A78-T (AMD64) and Asus P5Q-EM (i386)

> So, assuming a decent board (it doesn't sound like you have a problem
> spending $200+ usd if you're replacing it because video is starting to fail
> vs just putting another video card in)

How can you trust a board (still in warranty) which has video
problems, even if you use an external video card?



> then, I wonder about outside factors. First, have you had the
> machines plugged into a ups?

UPS and surge arrestor.



> Did you check your RAM before trashing the boards (and probably in
> another computer that doesn't use shared RAM for graphics as I don't
> know how memtest86 handles that)?

Recall that the M3A78-T made three RMA trips to Asus. If the RAM is
defective, Asus should have detected it.



> Are you in a real humid or dry setting? Is it real hot all the time?

Tropical mosquito swamp. Summer is hot and humid. Winter is cool and
humid. There are two nice days a year; one is called "spring" and the
other is called "autumn".



> As for your issue with electrolytic caps (let me see if I can remember my
> electronics here). They are more suited for higher voltages and can hold a
> charge longer than the solid state variants. Personally, I like them better
> because when they blow, its visually noticeable (mushroom head or
> electrolyte all over the place).

I am a graduate engineer with electronic expertise; you obviously do not
understand electrolytic capacitors.

Electrolytics are low-voltage capacitors; they tend to be leaky; they
lose capacity with age; the aging process is accelerated by heat; they
are subject to internal shorting. Even the best of electrolytics have
a rated operating life of about five years. The heat generated by an
internal short causes internal pressure to rise and may cause the case
to burst. Electrolyte from a burst capacitor can ruin a motherboard.
Electrolytic capacitors are widely used because they provide high
capacity in a small volume at a relatively low price.

Ten years or so ago, electrolytic failures gave every motherboard
manufacturer much grief, because after only a three to six months of
service, many of the electrolytics had decreased in capacitance to the
point that the associated circuitry quit working. This problem was
front-page news for months in professional electronic design journals.
It is this problem which has lead to the use of so-called "solid
capacitors" (there is no such thing as a "solid-STATE" capacitor) on
motherboards, despite the higher cost.



> Lastly, I've got stereo cross over circuits with those caps that
> have been used for 10+ years.

And as the electrolytics decrease in capacity, the crossover
frequencies change. But the human ear becomes accustomed to slow
changes. A frequency response curve made with a calibrated microphone
likely would surprise you.



> Point of all of this is, in most environments, I wouldn't really
> dwell on the caps one way or the other. Buy what works, treat it
> well and, in five years or so, you'll end up throwing away an old
> motherboard with perfectly good caps.

Not so. In five years, the typical electrolytic has only a small
fraction of its nominal capacity, so that parameters (such as ripple
and time constants) of the circuit of which the capacitor is a part
are outside of specification. There may be as many as a hundred
capacitors on a motherboard; many of the function as essential
elements of the power supply circuit.



> As for specific board recommendations, I can't really give you any as I
> don't work that way. I either get whatever cheap dell I can get gold support
> on and then replace it or I get proliant servers. If this is truly a desktop
> system for you and nothing more, you might opt for the dell with gold
> support (crap hardware with insurance ).

Obviously reliability means nothing to you. You really should not
speak concerning things of which you are ignorant and about which you
are indifferent. All in all, you and a Dell appear to be made for one
another.

RLH


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Old 12-26-2010, 12:28 PM
Stan Hoeppner
 
Default need motherboard recommendation

Russell L. Harris put forth on 12/26/2010 5:12 AM:
> I am tossing into the dumpster the last two motherboards which I
> purchased -- Asus M3A78-T (AMD64) and Asus P5Q-EM (i386) -- because of
> video problems.

Two?

> With the M3A78-T, the POST screen displayed a cross-hatch pattern of
> horizontal and vertical red and green lines with a variety of
> monitors, both CRT and LCD. The pattern also is visible in terminal
> mode outside of X. Three trips back to Asus did not cure the problem.

Sounds more like a DDC problem with your monitor, which you didn't
bother to mention. Now would be a good time to provide us with the make
and model# of your CRT/LCD monitor, what refresh setting you were using,
color depth, etc. It sounds like it may be a sync issue.

This, assuming neither of these boards every worked with said monitor.
You didn't state a sequence of events, i.e. what failed when. We need
that information to help you.

--
Stan


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