First post, by Tetrium
I branched it off of this topic:
I'm sure every one's lists will differ a lot in details, which might result in an interesting read 😉
There are many different motherboard manufacturers out there. Some good, some not so good and some good only during a certain time period.
So here's my list:
Imo the best all-round manufacturer. All the ones I've used have lasted a long time without ever failing me. They are easy to setup, have tons of options in their BIOS, easy to install drivers and flexible to tweak and upgrade.
Afaik they tend to leave all of their older mobo stuff up for download, another +
Downside is that their boards are also very expensive.
What is has in common with Gigabyte is their price. Some of their boards have risen to legendary status (SP3)
My very first computer used a P2B and it just keeps going! They seem to often run stable but when receiving an ASUS you run the risk the board may be of a bad batch or difficult to set up (A7V series, NF boards). Good BIOS options too.
I just LOVE the way ASUS leave ALL of their BIOS and manuals on their website for download!
One extra note: I noticed their boards often have undocumented settings that will actually work 😀
Downside: In addition to their boards being expensive, ASUS tends to pull of some proprietary stunts once in a while (Media slot, NV 6600 graphics card with different GPU soldered on, later revisions of the P5A not taking the K6 mobiles, the list is kinda endless) making them harder to set up when it comes to drivers.
Both ASUS and Gigabyte boards seem to have survived the capacitor plague rather well.
MSI: Imo the best value for money! Their current boards tend to be very cheap with good reliability for a low price. My 3 most modern rigs run MSI boards. The boards were cheap (All were under €60) and have given me little to no problems. They have limited BIOS options when it comes to tweaking and OC though.
Downside: The biggest downside is MSI boards tend to be bad during the caps plague, made worse by what I personally found were bad caps without any visual sign of damage. I try to avoid the MSI Socket A's solely for that reason. I'm not sure about their long term survivability. MSI tends to be easy on the drivers and, even though they often ship their boards with limited (early?) BIOS. I don't like it when I have to do a BIOS flash months after I buy a board. But at least they are cheap 😀
AOpen: I've had good luck with AOpen boards. The ones I had seemed to run very well. AOpen tends to sell high quality products under their name (Cases, PSU's).
When I get an AOpen (even if it's a dumpster find) I have good hopes of getting a stable system out of it 😀
I'm not sure about their Caps Plague (From now shortened to CP) boards though.
FIC: A friend of mine had a FIC mobo (PA-2005) and it's still in working condition 😀
Board quality seem to be quite above average but I'm not sure about their BIOS options.
One good thing about their older Socket 7 boards is, they can run with single SIMM's.
I never build a system with one myself, but if a FIC ever finds it's way in my hands, it's surely to find it's way near the top of my stack of "future rigs" motherboards 😉
Intel: Yep, they make and made boards also. I can be quite short on this one.
The boards are often of good quality but at the expense of tweakability and upgradability. Intel is known for making their boards run with only their stuff (even their 486 boards were rigged to only accepting Intel stuff) and they seem to purposefully make their boards not upgradeable. Intel WANTS you to buy a new board with every upgrade...a board which will have an Intel chipset usually. Buy Intel new means making your wallet go on a strict diet!
And their BIOS options are just...kinda crappy. But getting an Intel board in your hands does usually mean you can build a stable system around it, and that's a BIG +!
Many Intel boards found their way to Gateway and other oem's.
Chaintech: This one's difficult to put in a group. I used 2 of them in slot 1 builds and didn't have any problems with them...the short time I actually used them (slot 1's just too boring 😜 ).
They can be more tricky to ID. I found they can be ID'ed by the code on the BIOS sticker and the Chaintech logo on the chipset heatsink.
I use on of their boards for testing Slot 1 cpu's and I have to say, these Chaintech's are on top of my stack of Slot 1 mobo's when I want to build a new rig.
Can't say anything about their other boards as I never used them.
Board quality seems to be quite good. I have no idea how they fared during the CP.
PC Partner (NOT to be confused with PC Chips!!!).
Can be quite short on this one. Fairly unknown manufacturer. Their stuff seems to be made for oem's mostly. Their boards do seem to be reasonably flexible (good voltage support on their Socket 7 stuff) but they sometimes leave out onboard stuff.
I mainly mentioned PC Partner because it's still a LOT better then PC Chips.
Abit: I'm mixed about this one. Afaik they don't make boards anymore so aquiring manuals and BIOS updates may get to be a problem in the long term.
From what I've read they seem to be fantastic...if they work. And if they don't work you're simply toast.
They seem to have fantastic BIOS support for OC and tweakability.
Downside:Their boards suffer from the CP a lot.
I've only ever bought one Abit, a KV7V, and had no end in trouble. It was the most unstable POS I ever bought new. It would often not even make it through counting the memory without locking up and it was impossible to install an OS on it. Not even 9x would install. Mind you, even though I may have simply gotten a bad board, these boards seem to be extremely problematic. Best is if you aquire this board by gift/dumpsterdive.
I have kept the board though, it's my standard Socket A test board.
The good thing is, they seem to be one of THE preferred boards when it comes to overclocking. Their BIOS options are very good, even in the KV7V I never got to work 😉
So anyways...if yours works, you should be ready to go!
A-Trend: Only ever seen 2 of these, and couldn't get it to post.
A-Trend is difficult to find firmware and manuals for and their board quality seems to be somewhat below the average, but only somewhat.
Jetway:Never build a system around one, but a friend had 2 Jetways with lots of problems only solved when he upgraded to Asrock (not exactly a top tier name itself). Their board quality does seem better then cheap and crappy though, when finding a P3 or earlier board, I may give them the benefit of the doubt.
Better not be needing an older BIOS though, they aren't exactly vintage friendly.
ECS: I found many of these boards early in their stage of life (What I mean is, finding a Socket A on the street when it's still recently new), mainly because there was something wrong with them.
Board quality is usually low. If I ever find one, it'll quickly disappear on the bottom of my "stack of future rigs mobo's".
The only exception is their 486 stuff. In contrary to PC Chips, the 2 Socket 3 ECS boards I own seem to be of same quality build as any of the other good boards in that age.
They seem to be unreliable both in stability and survivability.
And now the last one. The very bottom of the barrel. This one's so well known for it's crappyness I need not bother typing their name down...but for completeness...
PC Chips...who else!
When getting a PC Chips, the first problem is that they seem to be a challenge to actually identify. Most of their boards are of very poor quality but some of their boards can actually be quite usable. A friend of mine had a PC Chips during the P1 mmx time and I do have to say, it would work pretty well, even when playing Total Annihilation online.
Their BIOS options seem to be better then average. Only problem is, usually their boards can't run at higher speeds anyway because of their poor quality.
Notable board manufacturers I didn't mention: