Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

The Top 5 Worst Motherboards of All Time

We have been reviewing motherboards here at HardOCP for about 20 years now. And in that time, many have been flush with horrible features and bugs of all kinds. Dan takes a stroll down a very painful memory lane and rehashes his top five..as instructed by his therapist. Let it out Dan...let it out.

I often get asked what the worst motherboards I've dealt with are, were, or who made those. I've decided to count these down in order of best to worst, and tell you why they suck. You can also check out our list of The Five Best Motherboards of All Time.

#5 DFI LanParty nForce 4 SLI DR Expert - 2005

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I expect to catch some shit for this one. This was one of the boards to have in the Socket 939 era. It was feature-rich, it had a good layout and it was a monster of an overclocker. At the time I was building systems for a local computer store and I built several machines using this motherboard. I can't tell you how many DOA or problematic copies of this I went through. I dreaded each and every one of them I ran across. I could assemble systems with the same RAM, CPU, PSU and this motherboard and get different results each time. Some were stable at stock settings, but many weren't. This is the crux of my hatred for this motherboard. It was inconsistent regarding its behavior, stability and compatibility with hardware.

#4 Soyo SY-6KBE - 1997?

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This motherboard was awful. I built several systems based on this motherboard back in the day for a client. Within a year or so, all of them had developed some sort of fault. Two of them got replacements of the same model only to fail a short time later. The best of these only had two bad PCI slots but otherwise ran for years. The others all lost RAM slots, developed instability issues that couldn't be solved or plain died. Soyo was a brand loved by many, but my experiences with them were mostly negative.

#3 GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD7 - 1998

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This is one I reviewed back in the day. The conclusion page summarized my issues nicely. Up until X370, this was the worst motherboard I had reviewed. In fact, reading over the notes in that article, I had a lot of memory compatibility problems echoing my experiences with X370. If you don't want to click the links, this line from the conclusion page should paint the picture for you: "This is probably the worst motherboard I’ve ever reviewed here at the [H]. I can’t recommend it to anyone for any reason as it stands today and feel like it should be avoided at all costs."

#2 FIC VA 503+ - 1998

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This was an easy call to make. The FIC VA 503+ was based on a VIA MVP3 chipset. This piece of shit had a number of shortcomings, one of which was that it didn't fully support all the K6 processors that were out at the time. Not only that, but the user manual was printed with inaccuracies for the jumper setup. The silk screening on the motherboard was full of errors too. Even the addendum in the user manual was wrong. You had to use a painful trial and error process to make it work. This motherboard also had a dismal DOA rate and a high percentage of failures. I worked for a computer retailer back in those days and we saw countless DIY systems come into the tech shop for service. Worse yet, AMD had their own clone of Intel's Retail Edge program and this motherboard was paired with a processor that the board didn't officially support. Virtually everyone who bought this deal at our store had me setup their systems because no one else could get them to work.

This piece of shit was so bad it had three hardware revisions and never was built correctly. I have no doubts that this motherboard's awful reputation is one of the many nails in the coffin for FIC's motherboard business. The company exists today, but exited the PC motherboard market years ago.

#1 EVGA 680i SLI - 2006

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This motherboard and the various rebrands of it were built by Foxconn. This was a great motherboard at the time on paper. Unfortunately, these pieces of shit were prone to failure. These motherboards had a myriad of problems. Some of these problems you could work around, but many heralded the motherboard's impending demise. These suffered from poor RAM clocking, overvoltage issues, overheating components, USB issues, and some problems I'm sure I've forgotten. Even water cooling these things didn't help with the heat issues, which I suspect was due to things like the chipset getting more voltage than they could stand. Often times, BIOS updates fixed one thing at the cost of something else. PCIe device compatibility was sacrificed to gain overclocking performance in one of the later iterations.

I personally owned 12 of these things. All 12 of thes died within a year's time. Almost half of them were DOA replacements that were received from RMA or bought at the store. Even the hand picked EVGA Black Pearl I reviewed didn't last long. The only reason people tolerated these things, and sold so well is due to the fact that SLI functionality was locked to NVIDIA's motherboard chipsets back in the day. Eventually, I stepped up to Intel's D5400XS / Skulltrail platform to get away from this pile of trash. I had a stack of these I took out shooting one day. Putting a .500 Magnum round through the chipset's fancy heat sink was a very satisfying activity. I hope to never encounter a motherboard this bad again.

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