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Motherboard choice


Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 347
Messages: 668

For building a new system, I am in need for a modern motherboard, but with at least 1 PCI slot, and I found this one:

I want to use this with a Core i7 Skylake processor. Question, would it be possible to operate this with FreeBSD 11.1-RELEASE, or perhaps with -STABLE, or with FreeBSD 12-CURRENT?

Graphics would be not an issue, this will be a headless system.

PS: I guess, I am most concerned about this EFI/UEFI thingy. I would appreciate if someone could please elaborate a little bit on this as well?


Well-Known Member

Thanks: 140
Messages: 302

Since you want to go headless, 11,1-RELEASE suits you well (new driver in the works for Skylake graphics in 12-CURRENT).
Most visible effect of booting in UEFI mode is graphics mode text-console right from the beasty menu, where with legacy booting you'll get good old 80x25 characters.
Though by loading e.g. i915kms intel graphics driver (up to Haswell in 11.1-RELEASE) the console will swith to graphics mode as well, no matter if you booted UEFI or legacy.

Most modern system I own is Broadwell, here UEFI booting works well.
On very few Haswell platforms UEFI is buggy and it was mostly buggy and not working on Sandy Bridge generation computers I owned (based on my experience, others may have experienced it different).
So I think on a Skylake platform, UEFI booting should work.

Still you can allways use modern GPT disk layout and still boot in legacy mode using a Master Boot Record (or protective MBR as it is called on GPT)
Using UEFI you can install EFI bootcode everywhere on the disk, which you can't using MBR. This gives you the ability to add UEFI bootcode later and then swith to UEFI booting.
(this is only true if the manufaturer respects the UEFI standards and does not fall back to legacy booting if an MBR detected. This shouldn't be checked, but often is, even if it violates the standard)

To sum it up, it doesn't really make a difference IMO, especially since you go headless.

Edit: It's some time ago I installed FreeBSD but I think the installer will handle it like...
- You boot the installer in legacy mode, then the installer will install a PMBR and GPT bootcode.
- You boot the installer in UEFI mode, then the installer will install EFI bootcode.



Thanks: 21
Messages: 37

I use an Asus Z170-A with a Skylake i7. This board works well with 11.1-STABLE and has a single PCI slot (which I haven't used yet, though).



Thanks: 21
Messages: 37

I would have generally preferred an mATX board too, but in the end I took the larger one mainly for the extra slots IIRC (which are mostly unused still). As I had an ATX case already, didn't matter too much anyway.
The board you linked to certainly looks good, too.