Primarily I am referring to their stability with Athlon FSB 333 processors running Folding@Home, but there are other factors contributing to my overall dissatisfaction:
- Poor placement of ATX power connectors. On one board the power connector is so close to the CPU that the connector becomes nearly impossible to disconnect with a cpu heatsink attached. Another places the power connector on the "wrong side" of the CPU, creating a cable routing problem.
- Poor placement of the CPU. One is so close to the corner that one mounting hole screw is nearly unreachable with a cpu heatsink attached.
- No power LED. This can lead to fried components when things are plugged and unplugged while the board has power.
- No onboard "buzzer" to signal POST codes. When a board fails to boot, you have no idea WHY.
- Poorly tested BIOS's. One board will not POST if the option "Ignore CPU fan fail" is enabled. Another won't boot unless the floppy or IDE controller is enabled, even though the board is booting off a LAN and has no drives attached.
- Essentially ZERO overclocking ability. Most boards allow frequency adjustment, but are unstable when overclocked by even 1 MHz. None offer voltage adjustments.
But the Linux issue, as daunting as it is to me, is a one-time problem. Once I figure it out, I won't have to mess with it again until I need to upgrade the kernel the blades boot from.
SO, this begs the question. Are there NForce chipset micro-ATX boards that would be stable, offer some overclocking features, and be better designed and tested than the boards I have tried so far?
A couple of related notes:
- The ASUS board I have has been excellent. My only beef is that it offers little in the way of overclocking features. This isn't necessarily a show-stopper, but OC'ing is something I would like to experiment with.
- I am returning the two Abit boards and the Shuttle board. This means I am in search of three new boards.