Linux Motherboard Follies - page 2
Customer Service, Hoho HeeHee
Dinky and OverlappingI like the standard-sized ATX board, which is 12" x 9.6". But alas for me, the micro-ATX, which is 9.6" x 9.6", is shoving the full-sized boards right off store shelves. Some boards are better than others at being sensibly laid-out, and provide enough room for an aftermarket oversized CPU heatsink, video card, and full use of RAM and PCI slots. Some look like the designers had special training in making their boards as unusable as possible.
Flimsy vs. Reinforced CPU SocketFinally, look at the backside of any motherboard before you click the Buy button and see if there is a metal reinforcing plate behind the CPU socket. On Newegg.com you can view photos from all angles, which is such a wonderful thing I want to kiss Newegg. Because some brands of motherboards are not all that sturdy and flex too easily. So when your CPU heatsink has an extra-stiff clamp, it can bend the board enough to damage it. This is more of a problem with AMD boards, because the standard heatsink mount uses a clamp with two attach points and a lever, rather than the standard four-post mount on Intel boards. A lot of fancy AMD heatsinks come with their own special four-point mounts, which require removing the motherboard from the case to install them.
Linux Users Back of the Bus. AgainThe nice thing about modern motherboards is they pack in a lot of value. Onboard Ethernet, sound, video, tons of USB ports---these are good things. But as always, Linux users have to beware of the sound and video chipsets. Again, Newegg is an awesome resource, because you can search the customer reviews for "Linux" and "Ubuntu", and find out pretty quickly what works in Linux. Isn't it nice how customers do the vendor's jobs for them.
ConclusionSo what new board have I ordered? None, I'm a state of shock. I have my eye on a couple of nice-looking ASUS boards, and when I come out of shock I will actually order something.
Carla Schroder is the author of the Linux Cookbook and the Linux Networking Cookbook (O'Reilly Media), the upcoming "Book of Audacity" (NoStarch Press), a lifelong book lover, and the managing editor of LinuxPlanet and Linux Today.