I've decided to build a new PC, instead of just buying a pre-built. I'm in the process of doing some research to make sure I do it right...the first time. From what I've read so far, it seems to be that the motherboard is the most important decision to make...and to make first. I'm still going to do some more Googling (because I haven't been able to find a good explanation yet) but came across Daniweb, which looks to be a good resource for this question, which is:
Are there different types of motherboards (not just namebrands...but specs, etc.)?
How will I know if it's compatible with all the other components?
So far I'm thinking of going with an Intel Quad Core and an ATI Radeon Video Card as 2 of the main components...but no other specifics/decisions thus far.
Yes, there are different types of motherboards (called chipsets. AMD, Nvidia and Intel each have their own chipsets) and then different brands. Many brands (ASUS, MSI etc.) will make their own model, based on a certain chipset.
You're right, the motherboard is the most important choice, but what motherboard you choose will depend on what you want to plug into it.
If you mean an intel Core2Quad, then you're looking at these chipsets: P35, P45, X38, X48, 750i, 780i, 790i. I'm sure there's more, but they spring to mind. The 750i etc. are SLI ones (2 or more Nvidia cards) so they're no use to you with an ATI card.
That leaves you with the P35, P45, X38 or X48 (both Intel chipsets). The newer X48 has DDR3 versions, which is the type of RAM. DDR3 is a little better than DDR2 RAM, but also a little more expensive.
In regards to the ATI Vs Nvidia card usage, you can use an ATI card on an Nvidia chipset motherboard. The only thing you cannot do is crossfire two or more ATI cards on the Nvidia chipset board.
The same goes for an AMD chipset board. You can use a single Nvidia card, but you cannot SLi them.
So would you recommend that an INTEL CPU be paired with a NVIDIA Chipset Motherboard and NVIDIA Video Card? And an AMD CPU be paired with an AMD Chipset Motherboard and ATI Video Card?
Any recommendations for pairings? I'll be using this computer for Adobe Creative Suite 3 (Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver) as well as playing Champions Online and City of Heroes. And will most likely go with Windows 7 as the OS.