I'm currently running an HP Pavilion m9047c, except that I've replaced the video card with a Diamond Radeon HD 4870, and upgraded the power supply to (I believe) 650 watts. I never added any RAM over the 3GB it came with, due to the 4GB limitation of the 32-bit OS. This video card has provided solid performance so far, but newer games are starting to demand much more than it can deliver.
Add to that the fact that support for Vista has ended (now I can't even get updates for Chrome anymore), and I know it's time for some upgrades.
I want to build a new desktop system, mostly for gaming (including modding and emulation), with a fair amount of general Internet use as well - shopping, YouTube, maybe the occasional video chat, etc.
I don't anticipate doing any video/sound editing, but might retouch photos now and then. I may also want to delve into some minor programming and/or web development.
I don't have a specific overall budget set, but my plan is to start with a base system - the lowest price possible without being inferior to my current machine - then making subsequent upgrades to improve performance (in particular, the CPU and GPU will both be upgraded as soon as funds allow).
For the motherboard, however, I would like to get something that I can run with for not just those imminent upgrades, but for several years to come.
Able to support all hardware listed in the "Recommended" system requirements for Fallout 4:
- Intel Core i7 4790 3.6 GHz, or better (doesn't necessarily have to be the LGA1150 socket, if it can socket a better Intel CPU. I've been out of the marketplace for so long, I don't know how to compare two CPUs unless they're identical except for clock speed, or same architecture + more cores = better. That, and Intel is better than not-Intel. :-)
- 8 GB RAM (or more, as much as possible up to the point at which this begins to significantly impact price). High speed for RAM is also important.
- NVIDIA GTX 780 3GB (honestly, I'd like for it to support a GPU that I spend $400-500 on, 2-3 years from now, as well)
Note that I will not be starting off with that CPU & GPU; they're my short-term upgrade goals.
- Nothing about the motherboard makes it inferior to the IPIBL-LA board in my old Pavilion. In particular, the Pavilion has 6 SATA connectors, 6 USB ports, 100Mb/s Ethernet, a headphone/mic jack, and an SD-Card slot. But I don't care about the PS/2 mouse & keyboard ports, surround audio, 1394, or SPDIF jacks.
- Supports SLI
- Gigabit Ethernet
- More USB ports
- Whatever other bells & whistles the kids are putting on their motherboards these days
- Cool-looking - I may get a windowed case
- Integrated video (except if a board with integrated video that moderately outperforms the Radeon HD 4870, costs less than the sum of a comparable GPU and a similar board with basic/no integrated video - but this seems unlikely)
- Small Form Factor. I am planning to get a nice, roomy case so I can add expansion cards, more drives, etc., so I'm fine with a full ATX board.
$50-150 seems like a reasonable range for the motherboard.