Looking for a motherboard.

  • Looking for a motherboard that has the following specs (for a firewall and router). Things on the wish list.

    Intel Core 2 Duo or better processor
    DDRII Memory or better
    CF Card Type II Storage
    4 Intel 1Gbps prefer the Intel 8257x family for NICs
    1 Mini PCI and 1 PCI Interface
    VGA Output


  • That's a lot to get in a single motherboard. You didn't list what size motherboard you are looking for which will be important too. Generally CF slots and mini-PCI slots will only be found on mini-ITX boards or maybe a mATX board. Also, are you actually looking for PCI and mini-PCI slots or did you mean the PCI express variants? Due to size limits you will usually only get one slot on a mini-ITX board and wanting a Core 2 CPU that usually means it's a PCI express (x16 usually) slot but old school PCI can still be found. Not sure about mini-pci slots though. And again due to size limits 4 NIC controllers would be hard to find on a mini-ITX board. Of course if you can use a mATX board these are generally all moot since you have room for 4 PCI type slots and would have more room for mini-pci slots and extra NIC controllers. Even still finding one with all that is going to be a tall order I imagine but let's see what we can match up and go from there.


  • Four ethernet ports looks like it's out of the question unless you want to buy a specialty server board (says it's for a 1U case but I'm not sure what kind, and it uses Marvell chips for 4 of the 6 ports (Intel 8254x for the remaining 2). Gigabyte supposedly made a P45 based motherboard with 4 ethernet ports but they were Realtek based, Newegg reviews indicated lots of problems and it's been discontinued anyway (ebay maybe or so if you really wanted it). Not to mention it was a full ATX board and didn't fit your other requirements about the CF and mini-PCI. What do you need 4 gigabit ports for if I may ask? Also, will a CF adapter be OK would would you prefer it to be onboard? What will the mini-PCI slot be for, a wifi or 3g card? Just trying to get an idea of what you do/don't want and what your goals are.

  • Size of the motherboard doesn't matter. And PCI-Express would be fine, just need to fit a VPN accelerator and wireless card in the slots. CF adapter would be just fine.

  • Both the VPN accelerator and wireless cards can be had in PCI/PCI express versions so you don't really need the mini-PCI slot. Dropping that and since a CF adapter is fine makes this a LOT easier to find. You will almost certainly have to settle for a dual/quad port NIC card though since getting 4 on-board ports is pretty much out of the question no matter what. Let me see what is out there.

  • Quad port NIC: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106019 - It uses a pair of 82571 controllers. There's another one that uses 82576 controllers but it's out of stock at newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106074. This one is supposed to have 82580 controllers (not sure if that chip is on the HCL or not): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106050.

    Looks like CF support on-board is limited to mini-ITX boards and $1000+ custom industrial boards. Mini-ITX wouldn't have enough slots, generally only one slot (two counting the mini-PCI option). That'd work except you won't get 4 NICS of any kind on it which means needing yet another slot. Gonna have to do a CF adapter and an add-in NIC card listed above. Beyond that your choices are pretty much open to anything (lots of Core 2 and DDR2/DDR3 options out there). I personally prefer ASUS and Gigabyte boards but that's just me. I've used and had no issues with others: Abit, Asrock, MSI, Tyan, Supermicro, Soyo, etc. I also like boards that have sideport memory, this keeps you from having to install a video card and keeps the BIOS from stealing as much as 128MB of RAM (even on the low end) for the on-board video. If you're wanting 4 gigabit ports and a VPN accelerator I'd venture to guess that every little bit of RAM could be useful, even 128 MB. The downside is Sideport appears to be limited to the AMD camp for now, Newegg doesn't show any Intel based boards with it. If that's OK with you here's my recommendation: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131646. If you would prefer to stick with Intel here's my choice: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131356.

    I'm not that versed on Intel boards, I generally stick with AMD so if you or someone else can suggest a better Intel board go ahead. Yeah I know the one I picked uses LGA775 and it's EOL but there's only two that have discrete on-board graphics (both use LGA775). There's lots of others that can support on-board graphics but they require a sandy bridge CPU for the GPU which may be newer tech than you want to get into.

  • Wait!!! better idea! Stupid me didn't look in the "server motherboards" section  :(

    Here's the full search results: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=Property&Subcategory=302&Description=&Type=&N=100007629&IsNodeId=1&srchInDesc=&MinPrice=&MaxPrice=&PropertyCodeValue=2368%3A20724

    Here's one that has an on-board quad port Intel 82574L NIC: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131721 and it's cheaper than the quad port add-in card. Only downside is it requires ECC and it's new tech (Sandy Bridge) but it's likely the better choice than what I just posted. It doesn't appear to have IDE so you'll need an IDE card for the CF adapter if there isn't a SATA to CF adapter.

  • That looks like the Asus motherboard will work. Just need to find an adapter or just put a hard drive in place of the CF adapter.

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