What do you want from a motherboard?

In a few hours I set off on a super secret mission into the heart of the motherboard industry. I can’t say much about the trip, but I’ll be meeting with board designers and engineers to discuss what enthusiasts would like to see in future products. Now I’ve written at least one manifesto on the subject, but I’d also like to bring the concerns of TR readers to the table. What would you like to see from future motherboards in terms of features, BIOS options, bundled extras, and even layout configurations?

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    • NoOther
    • 11 years ago

    There are a few things I think absolutely need to be fixed in motherboards these days. Most of these have to do with enthusiast boards, and some relate to everyday boards as well.

    1) The first and foremost thing that needs to be fixed is RAID support. This ‘has’ to work properly. I am tired of having to search for drivers, wait for updates, be limited to 0 or 1 configurations because the other configurations don’t work properly, or in some cases get data corruption errors when I overclock other components.

    2) DIMM slots. These need to be closer to the CPU with increased bandwidth and speed, they need a proper bus management system to handle all the memory traffic, a solid memory controller with a good quality heatsink, and all the slots should work equally well.

    3) ESA type system. Am I a fan of nVidia? I sure am, why? Because they listen to enthusiasts. I want to be able to see my fan speeds, power usage, voltage, temperatures, clocks, etc. This doesn’t ‘have’ to be ESA architecture, they can come up with a system of their own if they wish, but ESA works, so why not use it?

    4) If you are going to put eSATA ports on your motherboard, they should work. For that matter if you put any option or device as part of your motherboard it should work. Why do manufacturers include things that don’t work? Do they really think we will be impressed that their motherboard has 25 options, but only 5 of them actually work properly? How about we make a motherboard with 10 options where all 10 work properly.

    5) Finally quality capacitors and heatsinks. I want as much cooling as possible. It doesn’t necessarily have to hold up to a lot of overclocking, but it should be able to handle hot environments, such as an HTPC setup where you need extensive passive cooling. If I want to overclock I can add my own cooling, so one thing that would be nice is if every heatsink wasn’t connected to every other heatsink, unless you are making a greenpower motherboard especially designed for HTPC type setups. Then by all means, whatever the best heat dissipation system you can come up with that reduces noise would be helpful.

    • flip-mode
    • 11 years ago

    Crap I missed this one. Oh well, hope it’s not too late to be usefull, here goes:

    First tier needs all of equal importance:
    1.1. Quality components
    1.2. SOLID bios and drivers
    1.3. Passive cooling
    1.4. Firewire
    1.5. Overclocking features including voltage access
    1.6. Onboard video
    1.7. Minimum of (6) SATA, but (8) would be nice.

    Second tier needs all of equal importance:
    2.1. (6) USB on the back
    2.2. Useful utilities that use plain windowing – NO FRACKING SKINS!

      • DrDillyBar
      • 11 years ago

      No Skins. So Say we All.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 11 years ago

    This is broad but has specifics I’m just not going to point out examples because anyone familiar with mobos will know a model like this.

    In general, a well-engineered oc’ing/tweaking forcused mobo where the cost is in support and quality parts and BIOS updates not a lot of froo-froo fancy crap that I won’t use. No wi-fi please. No 4 GigE ports. No ‘sound modules’ with the same poor codecs as onboard anyway. Other stuff that I can’t think of off the top of my head. This kind of excess just adds cost for no reason, perhaps some people use them but why can’t they just make a board exactly identical otherwise and just have these items be add-ons or ‘1337’ editions? Some manufacturers sort of do this but in reality the no- -[

      • just brew it!
      • 11 years ago

      q[< No 'sound modules' with the same poor codecs as onboard anyway.<]q The point of using a separate sound module isn't to provide a better codec (though that can be part of the equation as well). The point is to get the codec off of the electrically noisy environment of a typical commodity PC motherboard. Mainstream motherboards tend to use low-cost 4-layer PCBs, which makes providing proper isolation for the analog audio circuitry problematic. Moving the analog stuff off to a separate card can give the mobo vendor a way to improve the quality of the audio section, without the added cost of adding layers to the entire mobo.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 11 years ago

        It’s still half-assed and people who care enough about audio quality will get a separate card so it just adds cost. Go with the standard on-board for those who don’t care, those who do will buy something anyway but don’t burden me with the cost of the module to get a motherboard that has good components and BIOS options and support. It was just an example of something that’s included with the otherwise best mobos but adds unnecessary cost.

    • Saber Cherry
    • 11 years ago

    Regardless of specific features, /[

    • tmfoo
    • 11 years ago

    1. ECC memory support. If the chipset and CPU support it, then go ahead and implement it. It doesn’t cost much to do. It should be on every single AM2 motherboard, especially. Example: none of Gigabyte’s current microATX AM2 boards support ECC. Some of the older ones did, but they all should. Please don’t fob this off with something like “ECC is only for liek servers LOL”.

    2. Webmaster who speaks good English. How difficult is it to find a quality English translator in Taiwan? There must be some! Hire him/her and put them in charge of translating BIOS changelogs, specifications, FAQs etc.

    3. Faster websites. The ASUS website, in particular, is slow and sometimes broken. It’s painful to use. Surely it’s not that expensive to run a faster website.

    4. Motherboards should be full-width and have a full set of mounting holes. I hate boards that bend and flex like mad because they’re 5mm too narrow to have any mounting holes on the right-hand edge. I know physically smaller boards are cheaper – but I don’t want to save money like that. Example: none of ASUS’ current microATX boards are full-width.

    5. Standardised pin-outs for power/reset switch, hdd led etc.

    6. No more VGA ports. DVI only, with a DVI->VGA adapter if needed.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 11 years ago

    I used your blog as a bit of a guide:

    Chipset features. If it’s built in, why not use it instead of an external component off the PCI bus. Unless of course the built in one is garbage, and the external component offers something more. I would definately consider a stable driver more.

    Now a days designs should be hanging peripherals off PCIe links and only using the PCI bus for BIOS features and physical slots. On this note, I’d happily sacrifice some of the lanes in my secondary PCIe x16 slot for the purpose. Until someone shows me a Scott/Geoff Graph that shows a PCIe v1.1 x4 or x8 physical link in that secondary slot as being my bottleneck.

    Backplane. I want to see PS/2 KBD, eSATA, 6 USB, 1 GigE (but 2 is a nice failsafe), Audio ports for at most 5.1 analog (would you really demand more from ac97?). Now for things like Serial, LPT, PS/2 (mouse) I don’t mind them generally, but they could be hung off USB and put on a bracket or something if needed.

    Audio. Motherboards, especially the ones you pay $250 for should have a decent audio codec. AC97 audio lived for FAR too long, and the newer HD codecs still aren’t as good as a discrete solution. Crappy audio and the ports it uses on my backplane are a waste and there should be motherboards in the market that forgo this feature much like some make a GPU optional. Gimme more USB / my PS/2 / another GigE / eSATA’s and extras I’ve not mentioned like 1394a instead and bundle one of those ASUS sound cards in the box. Worth almost $300 now. 😉
    (edit: it’ll likely be there anyway since having a line-in/mic/passthrough is just so darn handy. They should focus their efforts in that direction and people can use the built in stuff for Skype type functionality and save the MP3/HD/Gaming for another DSP if available. That’s more drivers and OS though)

    General layout considerations are pretty basic. Clearance is nice, good components, 4 memory slots not too cramped and the ability to remove my videocard without dismantling my whole system would be nice. I should be able to access at least 1 PCI and 1 PCIe x1 slot with a doublewide videocard installed and I’ll echo calls for a standard chasis hookup layout, making initial setup easier.

    The P5WDH I have now was designed for the P4 EE monsters and has 8 phase power much like the 10 phase power in the new AMD boards. Rock stable mobo in my books. I only really want mild OCing potential… up my FSB to 333 and I’m happy.

    Beyond that, it’s now dependant on Chipset / CPU choice and formfactor.
    Also depends on if the CPU company is going to change sockets anytime in the near future.

    Have a good trip.

    • no51
    • 11 years ago

    I think that the reference 680i has one of the nicer setups on a motherboard out there. So adding off that:
    1) SS caps
    2) more usb (6 on i/o, 6 or so on headers
    3) more sata (10? or so? maybe hardware engine for RAID5)
    4) better plug locations – I agree on the comment on the placements of 4/8 pin connectors, they’re a pain in the ass
    5) 6 dimm sockets?
    6) EATX – more room for more features!
    7) EFI
    8) No audio – maybe put in an addin card on a pcie 1x connection instead of having it integrated? I believe MSI is doing this on one of their boards.

    • emorgoch
    • 11 years ago

    1) PRICE DROPS!!!!!! CPU and GPU prices have been dropping for the last 2 years, but mobo prices are going up by just as much, so in the end, I’m really not saving anything.
    2) Passive heatings
    3) Sticking to reference drivers whenever possible
    4) Pushing AMD/Intel/nVidia to expand their core chipsets to remove the need for secondary controllers
    5) PRICE DROPS!!!!!!!
    6) Ditching “custom” applications for monitoring, etc. Stick to the ones handed down by the core logic guys (nTune, AMD Overdrive, etc)
    7) Vertical SATA headers. I hate the ones turned so that they face towards the front of the case. Only had to deal with it once, but it meant my 90 degree SATA cables couldn’t be used.
    8) Did I mention PRICE DROPS?!?!?!?!?
    9) Standard Front Panel Connections
    10) Easy Post Codes, either through an LCD, or a LED array. No Beeps
    11) Reliable websites so that I can get the firmware, drivers and documentation I need.
    12) Longer product lifes. It’s really getting rediculous how short the compatabilities between motherboards and CPUs are getting.
    13) 8 SATA ports (6 standard, 2 ESATA) coming from the southbridge, not supplementary
    14) Atleast 1 GigE Eth onboard, 2 in a premium product
    15) Reliability. And no more reviews with beta firmwars. If I hear the phase “It should be fixed with a firmware update” again in a review, I’m going to kill somebody. Feel free to send out product samples, and have previews done on them, but keep the formal reviews restricted to finalized products.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 11 years ago

    One thing I’d really, really like to see is some sort of standardized heatsink/fan mounting system. I’m not really knowledgeable of motherboard design, so I don’t know why AMD/Intel choose to use different methods. As it is, Intel’s godawful push pin system makes me homicidal, and while AMD’s system is SLIGHTLY easier its no less annoying with its own little quirks. I think I would prefer a standard backplate implementation, as I believe its provides more support and keeps the motherboard from bending during install.

    This has been repeated ad nauseum (along with several others I completely agree with), but make 6 SATA ports the absolute minimum. Put 4 on the SB and 2 on an add-on chip for flexibility. You can out the 4 on AHCI and the 2 on IDE for your opticals. If you must have onboard RAID, have it support AT LEAST up to RAID 5. This whole thing about stopping at 10 is ridiculous. All or nothing.

    I’ve very rarely used onboard sound, but when I have its always been friggin’ Realtek and its always sucked. I wish the current revolution of onboard video would extend to onboard sound. Getting nice, clear sound from onboard without having to rely on optical out + an expensive receiver would be a godsend.

    Dual BIOS, I prefer this to modular chips. Its worked quite nicely on the DS3R (and wow did it kick in alot during overclocking) and theres no waiting for a replacement chip.

    Anything else I can think of has already been repeated.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 11 years ago

    Unified front panel connector, EFI and dual BIOS is all I really care about.

    • deruberhanyok
    • 11 years ago

    Standard front panel connections would be great, especially if it meant case manufacturers could then just have one block to connect to a motherboard.

    Less prevalence of Realtek, for both audio and networking controllers. Speaking of audio, is it really that much effort to provide a built-in digital audio connection on micro ATX boards? Because there are a lot of mATX boards with codecs capable of DDL or DTS connect that don’t have them and you have to add some kind of bracket to get a coax output.

    I was thinking that PCI Express slots that allow for larger cards to be installed would be nice; this would mean either having physical x16-size slots for everything or physical x1x/4/whatever slots keyed to allow x2/x4/x8/x16 cards to be connected anyways.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing zero legacy ports, either (floppy, PS/2, parallel, serial), but I think I’d rather just see newer chipsets remove support for this entirely. Replace them with extra USB ports (with newer chipsets supporting 10 and 12 USB ports, even if you set aside 4 to be used in front panels or for internal devices, there should be room for at least six USB on all rear panel I/O), firewire ports, eSATA, whatever.

    Don’t provide a bunch of expansion brackets (or worse, make them optional and charge for them) if you’re going to have sparsely populated rear I/O. This means you, mATX boards.

    • SuperSpy
    • 11 years ago

    – Stable. This is paramount. Nothing else matters if the board won’t boot, or if it corrupts your data.
    – Standard drivers. Sorry, but by and large the board manufacturers suck at writing drivers, even if it’s just the AMD/Intel/Nvidia reference drivers stuffed inside a shiny wrapper. Bonus points for letting Microsoft/Linux community write them for you. Giant bonus for publicising the specs for your hardware so the Linux folks can write proper drivers and GPL them.
    – Ample connectivity. Drop PCI for PCIe, drop PATA for SATA, drop serial/parallel for USB, extra fan headers, more than 4 (gasp) DIMM slots etc. Also, 3rd party add-on chips where there are already working integrated chips is silly, IE using an extra GBe chip instead of the built-in GBe on Nvidia’s chipsets.
    – Drop the stupid crappy temperature monitering/tuning apps, and just make your boards work with chipset makers’ apps, like nTune. Or, even better, get together and make a real standard for monitoring so that simple apps can be made to read them, instead of hacked-up monsters like mbm (RIP) were.
    – Ditch the crappy chipset/GPU/VRM fans. They suck and are some time stupidly difficult to find replacements for. Passive heatsinks are far better.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 11 years ago

    A good, clean power design (e.g., 6-phase, with the latest VRMs) and solid-state capacitors
    Passive cooling, and equally important, a chipset cool enough to run that way without the NB heatsink burning me when I open the case
    PS/2 ports (yes, I still use them, I have a PS/2 KVM)
    Minimum 4 USB ports in back, with headers to connect at least 2 up front
    Firewire (preferably one rear port, with an option for one front-mounted one)
    Minimum 6 SATA ports (not including any eSATA ports), with RAID 0/1/0+1/5 support
    At least one IDE channel (I still find optical drives can be more reliable on IDE)
    No Realtek — make your NIC and Audio chips decent ones. Same with FireWire, don’t give me cut-rate just to satisfy the port being there. All SATA ports should be through a native controller, none through a secondary, slapped on one that isn’t as flexible.
    Two PCI slots (still too many PCI peripherals)
    Minimum one PCIe x16 slot
    Minimum two PCIe x1 or X4 slots, preferably more
    Gig NIC that doesn’t use the PCI bus
    Microswitch for clearing CMOS that is easily accessible; if possible, one for power-on as well.
    Regular, consistent BIOS updates
    Stable performance –doesn’t have to be the fastest, but reasonable, and rock-solid

    I’m picky. A board is the heart and soul of my machine, and I try to hang on to one for at least 2 years (if possible, slightly longer), especially since prices have gotten quite high for decent ones these days. I won’t settle for cut-rate parts, lousy BIOS support, or flaky behavior.

    • eitje
    • 11 years ago

    from what i’ve seen already listed, here’s what i’d like:

    – passively-cooled NB & SB; elaborate heatpipes optional
    – solid state caps
    – move legacy ports to onboard headers
    – drop PCI, go all PCI-E

    things i haven’t seen yet:
    – better undervolting options for CPU (RAM undervolting options a plus)
    – onboard HDMI for integrated video (ie – forget VGA & DVI)

    • ChangWang
    • 11 years ago

    For me:
    – 6 SATA ports
    – e-SATA on the rear panel (plus cable)
    – Firewire on rear panel
    – Decent onboard sound with multi-streaming (no more realtek crabs)
    – 1 PCI-e Ethernet jack (2 or more are not needed really)
    – Doesn’t generate alot of heat *cough*nvidia*cough*
    – Solid Caps are a must
    – a POST display would be nice for troubleshooting (like what epox used to have)
    – a CMOS reset switch (like the IP35 Pro)
    – push button power and reset (like the IP35 Pro)
    – OC fail recovery
    – EFI would be nice
    – a price that isn’t through the roof (i thinking around $150 tops)
    – a bios flash utility built in the bios that can read USB devices (thanks gigabyte)

    I’ll add more as I think of it later

    • stoydgen
    • 11 years ago

    A Few Things:

    -Standardized front port connectors (instead of having this bullcrap 1000 teeny headers, just have a header block that is the same for all mobos and all case front headers which saves us one of the more time consuming sections of mobo installation)

    -More mobo’s with Dolby Digital out/DTS Connect, even if it’s a few dollars more, a good implementation of this saves us plenty of money.

    -Lots of SATA ports/USB ports (this is already happening)

    -FIREWIRE! it seems that its being left out on the lower end stuff, and when it is included its now only one port.

    • nstuff
    • 11 years ago

    Reliability!

    Tired of motherboards failing or having horrible relaiability/stability issues. The problem is, most motherboard manufacturers can’t do much to fix an unrelaible chipset like what ones Nvidia loves to pump out.

    The rest of these should be provided to mobos of all levels (entry and high-end) I like the latest crop of mobos having dual cmos chips or some form of backup. I like that the higher end boards are getting LEDs on the board itself for POST codes. Keep the northbridge and southbridge chips cool enough to not require their own fan.

      • davidedney123
      • 11 years ago

      I’d second that. As I get older and more sensible I’ve been buying Intel Retails boards!

      • TurtlePerson2
      • 11 years ago

      Don’t drop PCI yet, just minimize it. Maybe 2 PCI ports at most.

    • TheOldGuy
    • 11 years ago

    Why do they want to cram everything into a single board? How about a modular design with a flipchip NorthBridge,CPU and 5-7 PCI/X slots, We have enough sound ,networking,USB,1394, SATA cards to last a life time now! I would much rather buy the latest NB and CPU for my socket types as an upgrade until the next big sockets come out. Reminds me of the old car radio days (70s) when everything was built in along with the amp, but today its all modular and has been for years, Time to setup to the 21st century!

      • crazybus
      • 11 years ago

      I doubt we’ll see less integration in the future. People expect those kind of features so it makes sense for them to be integrated. Why use a ton of add-in cards if you don’t need to? BTW, northbridge chips have used flip-chip packaging for a while now.

        • just brew it!
        • 11 years ago

        I think he meant he wanted to be able to swap out the northbridge, just like you can with a CPU.

        The problem with this is that I don’t think northbridge chips have a standard pinout. This is not under the motherboard makers’ control. Furthermore… what would be the point? It’s not like a lot of systems are being held back by their northbridge. Adding new features would require a mobo redesign anyhow.

    • Geatian
    • 11 years ago

    Hmm. How about all PCI-e use physical 16x connectors? Might be confusing for some users, but you should be able to use an el cheapo 16x video card in a 1x slot if you wanted to. Or a RAID card, or whatever. Theoretically they are all electrically compatible in this way already.

    • sroylance
    • 11 years ago

    I’d like to see clearer product names/numbers, especially around revisions. I understand that there may be board revisions to fix problems, but when you switch sound chips between r1 and r2, at least make it clear in the bootup screen which rev I have. It’s happened a few times that I’ve needed to rip a system apart to read a silkscreen so I could figure out what drivers to download.

    I’ve got another vote for better front panel connections. I doubt that we’ll ever have a meaningful spec, but what ASUS does with the header block is good enough IMO.

      • mboza
      • 11 years ago

      As well as clearer names, a website that better shows the differences between motherboards. The P35-DS3L is great, but the Gigabyte website comparision facility is less than great, so it took far longer than it should have to work out what the differences between the P35-DS3L and the other 13 P35 boards actually were.

    • FroBozz_Inc
    • 11 years ago

    – Memory diagnostic tester built into BIOS

    – Remove parallel and serial ports from back, but keep onboard headers for them. Disable these by default in the BIOS

    – Keep PS/2 ports

    – Minimum 6 USB’s on the back, 6 more headers onboard

    – Minimum (2) ESATA ports on the back panel

    – Include both RCA and Optical type digital audio connectors

    – Built-In WIFI

    – Huge passive cooling is better then fans on the board, always.

    – Start including one more PCI-e and one less PCI slot

    – Come up with a more accurate, precision way to view and adjust voltages while inside the BIOS. Maybe higher quality components for more accurate readings.

    • crazybus
    • 11 years ago

    What I wish for in a motherboard:
    -Back plate -> 6 USB ports / 1394 / s/pdif output / eSATA / PS/2 ports

    The serial and parallel ports can be relegated to mobo headers.

    -Minimum 4 internal SATA headers plus 1 PATA header

    -Passive chipset cooling that’s better than marginal (i.e. you don’t have to attach a fan if you wish to overclock)

    -Power regulation that can handle the most power hungry of CPUs, plus some.

    -A full selection of useful BIOS options, particularly for overclocking – such as individual core fsb reference voltages and control over tRD memory timings.

    -BIOS profile saving plus autorecovery

    -BIOS options that aren’t hidden, undocumented, or completely ambiguous (here’s looking at you Gigabyte)

    -EFI support

    -Peripheral chips that weren’t picked because they were the cheapest (LAN/audio/firewire etc)

    That’s about all I can think of right now. Just give me a board where everything works as advertised.

    • Hdfisise
    • 11 years ago

    As long as you maintain standardizing the front panel connections I’ll be happy

    • Convert
    • 11 years ago

    -Lots of sata, 6 minimum

    -Placement of power connectors needs improvement, no more 4/8 pin connectors in the top left corner, cases either have reinforcement there or the PS is there, it makes it too difficult to plug/unplug if the motherboard is mounted. This is compounded when you have a 8pin connector and the genius that made the PS didn’t make the 4+4 fasten together.

    -Tons of USB, I want 6 on the back by default.

    -Passive cooling, no “special” fans like a maglev setup or some other BS that ends up breaking just like every other fan before it. I don’t care how much time you spent developing some new fan design, it never works no matter how much you want it to.

    -If the board is going to include a PATA connection don’t put it at the bottom of the board, put it exactly where it has been traditionally (IE somewhere USABLE).

    -Standardize on a front panel connector (PWR, reset, lights, etc). As I have said before even something similar to a Sata cable could work, make the other end a header block. I would prefer they just get their act together with case makers and do away with the need for a header block. Or heck keep the block, make it the coupler, the case comes with one cable that has a female end and the motherboard has the mate to it, if they don’t have a newer case they can just plug into the block. At the very least just do what ASUS does if they are really lazy (which I know they are).

    -Full fan control within bios and within windows

    -A bios that goes back to defaults (or a set default of your own) after a failed OC, and have it actually work. I have ASUS boards that claim they do it but usually it only works some of the time.

    -CMOS battery placed somewhere besides directly under the graphics card, if you made the bios 100% recoverable then this isn’t important.

    -Dual bios/socketed bios. I would like to have dual bios most of all because I don’t want to wait two weeks while I pay you to reflash it. When you release complete piles of S*** you call bios updates I shouldn’t be the one holding the bill for it (I am looking at you ASUS). Just assume you have no idea what you are doing when it comes to releasing bios updates and need to give a user a way out.

    -Reliable websites. Yeah gee, who would have thought one would desire to grab the latest drivers after you do a reinstall or while troubleshooting. I am again looking at you ASUS but you aren’t the only one. Sometimes I need a driver ASAP and I expect to have access to it at all times. High school kids run more reliable and functioning websites.

    -If you are going to have wifi on your motherboard follow what ASUS does and have different SKU’s for it. If not allow the user to turn it off bios level.

      • pikaporeon
      • 11 years ago

      Whats so hard about BIOS updates?

        • just brew it!
        • 11 years ago

        In the vast majority of cases, nothing.

        But every once in a while, there will be one that bricks the motherboard. I’ve had this happen twice — once on an Asus board, and once on a Gigabyte.

        • Convert
        • 11 years ago

        It’s rocket science apparently for some motherboard makers.

        Asus in particular is horrible (in my experience) when it comes to this.

        I have actually yet to brick a board because I spend a lot of time researching a bios before upgrading. I will come across forum posts about a recent bios that will auto-brick your board unless key conditions are met like using a specific version of their flashing utility or you must be up to a certain bios level before flashing, which a lot of the time is mentioned no where on their site. Only after reading countless “ATTN: No one flash their *insert motherboard* to *insert bios version*” posts are the key pieces of information divulged but only after someone else learned the hard way.

        I think most people don’t run into issues because most don’t flash their bios, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Though when you are always upgrading you need the latest bios for it to properly recognize your new CPU or work with your RAM etc.

          • pikaporeon
          • 11 years ago

          Since EZ Flash was implimented on ASUS it’s largely been put the .ROM on a USB key and go into the BIOS. Hardly worth the chip real estate for the very rare opportunities when that gets cocked up.

            • just brew it!
            • 11 years ago

            It was actually EZ Flash that bricked one of my Asus mobos. I still think a socket for the BIOS chip is a worthwhile feature. It is only marginally larger than the chip itself (so board real estate should not be an issue), and probably costs around 25 cents in the sort of quantities that motherboard makers would be purchasing.

            • Convert
            • 11 years ago

            Then stack them, real estate issue solved.

            Gigabyte was offering dual bios for the longest time, it’s not that big of a deal to include it.

    • P5-133XL
    • 11 years ago

    Also, how about bringing OC’ing cababilities to a dual socket Xeon with 5100 chipset running Registered DDR2 RAM (no evil FB-RAM please).

    • P5-133XL
    • 11 years ago

    good very OC’ing capabilities — This means the MB should be able to operate reliably while OC’ed and not merely to have settings in the BIOS.

    Very high reliability and longevity (no evil chipset fans, definitely solid capacitors, and high quality heatsinks for MB components)

    Two GbE Lan’s, with Vlan and jumbo frame support

    at least two PCI-E x16 both SLI and Crossfire capable
    at least 4 RAM slots preferably more.

    Design CPU placement so that after-market CPU cooling is an easier install

    at least one E-SATA port
    at least one PATA
    at least one 1394

    both standard PS/2 ports — come on ASUS, get real: I’m not going to replace my mouse (to be USB) to buy a MB.

    • Stijn
    • 11 years ago

    Overall, I’m quite satisfied with current motherboards.
    Some minor improvements would include more space between the CPU socket and heatsinks / RAM slots / etcetera, and some more USB ports.
    I would also ditch PCI in favor of PCIe (except for budget boards) and like integrated WiFi (it has been done but isn’t very common in my opinion).

    I never use integrated audio, but I don’t think we’ll see boards without it anytime soon.

    • Krogoth
    • 11 years ago

    No PCI slots. Sorry, Creative is effectively dead and the raison d’etre of PCI. You can finally get a decent selection of non-video card PCIe discrete cards.

    Single on-board LAN please. Dual LAN and more is just excessive.

    Provide some good options for the voltage, bus speed, memory timings. Avoid going over the top though, I am looking at you DFI. On the other hand, don’t resort to using a “special” key to unlock some of those options *cough* Gigabyte *cough*.

    Just provide sufficient space around CPU to make room for aftermarket HSF solutions.

    • cygnus1
    • 11 years ago

    raid that’s reliable or none at all

    • just brew it!
    • 11 years ago

    My wish list:

    – At least 6 SATA connectors

    – Passively cooled chipset

    – At least 2 PCI slots and 3 PCIe slots (not counting the video card slot)

    – 1394 (Firewire) port

    – Socketed BIOS chip (makes recovery from failed flash possible without RMAing the board)

    – Solid-state capacitors in areas likely to operate at elevated temperatures (e.g. around the VCore regulators and CPU socket)

    – Full support for ECC RAM (at least on AMD platforms, where the ECC logic is already part of the CPU so adding support to the motherboard should cost the manufacturer almost nothing)

      • Scrotos
      • 11 years ago

      – Solid-state capacitors in areas likely to operate at elevated temperatures (e.g. around the VCore regulators and CPU socket)

      Seconded, I guess. I had two Gigabyte Athlon boards die from this. The capacitors started bulging and eventually one of the the voltage regulators just exploded. The problem manifested itself with my PSUs repeatedly dying. Finally, the last death on the last motherboard took out 4 hard drives. Ouch.

      I don’t care a whole lot about features, I just don’t want a situation like that to ever happen again. I didn’t overclock, I didn’t put in high-end graphics cards, I had decent ventilation.

      I have old 486’s, Mac IIci’s, and even an Amiga 500 that hasn’t had the same problem and these suckers are much older. I don’t know if it’s the quality of components, the heat produced, the components needing to handle more power, or what.

        • just brew it!
        • 11 years ago

        It was an issue experienced by many mobo vendors back in the early ’00s. MSI and Abit seemed to be especially prone to this issue. Inferior electrolytic caps were the culprit.

        Quality liquid electrolyte caps should not burst or leak, but even the good ones will dry out eventually (especially at high temperatures), compromising system stability. Caps with solid state electrolyte should prevent this from happening.

    • seeker010
    • 11 years ago

    3 pci slots and 4 pcie slots would be nice. none of that only have 6 expansion slots even though atx allows for 7 bs. dual lan is a nice luxury. not having the cpu socket be so close to the ram slots so large hsfs don’t take away 2 ram slots. plethora of usb and ieee 1394 connectors. bios features that allow changing voltage and clock speeds of everything. having a backup bios chip incase of a bad flash, kinda like what gigabyte has would be cool as well. also have a good power distribution system.

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