From my Manuals - MoBo Integrated Graphics
TIPS FOR JUDGING QUALITY
Hardware Secrets Feb 12, 2010 Gabriel Torres is the editor-in-chief of Hardware Secrets, a US-based website about PC hardware
With more and more components being integrated inside the computer CPU, the motherboard doesnt affect the system performance as much as it used to just a few years ago. So what makes a given motherboard a good motherboard?
There are features, of course. The number of memory sockets, the number of expansion slots, the support for SLI and CrossFire configurations, the number of SATA ports, the presence of eSATA ports, the number of USB ports, the presence of digital audio outputs (SPDIF), RAID support, overclocking options and, especially right now, the presence of new technologies such as SATA-600 (a.k.a. SATA 6 G) and USB 3.0.
But if you are buying a motherboard and find two or more products with similar features, which one you should buy? One answer might be the one with the best quality. But how can you tell the quality of a motherboard?
There are a few small details on motherboards that reveal a lot about their overall quality.
The first one is the quality of the electrolytic capacitors that are used on the motherboard. Many years ago some manufacturers used low-cost capacitors that leaked after some time, leading the computer to behave erratically and even damage the motherboard. Since then, several manufacturers started using capacitors that are immune to such leakage. One of the best kind of capacitor uses polymer type, also known as solid. They are easy to spot: the look like small aluminum cans. Then the second best are the ones manufactured in Japan (brands include Nihon Chemi-Con, Rubycon, Sanyo, Matsushita/Panasonic, and Hitachi).
The second clue to quality is the kind of chokes (coils) used on the voltage regulator circuit (which is located close to the CPU socket). These chokes can use ferrite or iron in their core. Both are squared components measuring approximately 3/8 x 3/8 (1 cm x 1 cm), but ferrite chokes are closed while iron chokes are opened. So if you see a bunch of gray or black square components near the CPU socket without a coil inside of it showing up you are seeing a ferrite choke, otherwise you are facing an iron choke. Ferrite chokes are better than iron chokes.
Then we have the number of phases of the voltage regulator circuit (think of a phase as being like a piston in a car engine). The more phases the voltage regulator has, the better, because each transistor present on this circuit will work less, thus producing less heat. The less heat your motherboard produces, the better for its life-span and of course temperature inside the computer. A high number of phases also increases the motherboard efficiency, i.e. it consumes less energy.
But how can you tell the number of phases from a motherboard? By counting the number of chokes available: each choke is connected to one phase. However, current CPUs require several voltages to work, so the voltage regulator circuit will have separated phases for each voltage. For instance, on motherboards designed for CPUs with integrated memory controllers (all AMD CPUs and Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 from Intel), the voltage regulator will produce two distinct voltages, one for the CPU core and another one for the memory controller. In this case the motherboard manufacturer may say that the voltage regulator circuit is, for example, a 6+2 design, meaning six phases for the CPU core and two phases for the integrated memory controller. Motherboards targeted to the new Intel CPUs with integrated video controller need to produce three different voltages, the third one being to the CPU integrated video processor, so manufacturers announce the voltage regulator circuit like 6+1+1.
So when comparing motherboards, you should buy the one with more phases.
Some manufacturers, however, use a higher switching frequency on their voltage regulator circuit, what makes one phase to be more efficient than several phases from competing products. Manufacturers that offer this kind of solution on their products advertise this very clearly on the product specs page.
MOTHERBOARDS - DO NOT HAVE ON BOARD GRAPHICS - BY Bill3
A very simple way of getting a good motherboard for a NOVICE, is stick to Asus and Gigabyte, ( others are good too ), who have very good reputations for quality, win many awards for excellence, and you can clearly see the evidence of this tutorial, when examining their boards. Of course, the more you pay the better you get.
My personal recommendation is never, never, never have on board graphics, because : -
1 Graphics are very highly sophisticated, expensive, and stressed section of a computer.
2 If on board graphics die, they can kill the motherboard too, so your in for a complete rebuild.
3 On board graphics only come on cheap motherboards.
4 On board graphics consume much expense in the construction, so both the motherboard itself, and the graphics, have to be made cheap and nasty.
5 With no graphics, manufacturers charge from nearly double for their motherboards, so this must really show that there is a whole lot more to a good motherboard.
6 Computers with separate graphics cards always have a much nicer picture for XP.
7 Computers with separate graphics cards always have a much nicer picture for games, and more of them will run on your computer.
8 With a separate graphics card, you can remove and upgrade it, to run a higher specification game.
However, if on board graphics die, you can put a graphics card in, and usually get the computer working again. Also, there are heaps of people, who just want a cheap, reasonable computer, and they run just fine with on board graphics, but not with the same performance as the separate graphics card computers.