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Planning For The Future
While it is impossible to accurately predict the future, you should have a pretty good idea of what sort of "PC person" you are: for example, whether you will be continuously adding or upgrading components every few months, or if you will probably build it and run it as-is until the next major upgrade in a year or two. Some users need to have as many expansion slots as possible because they anticipate adding more memory or additional devices that require PCI or ISA slots. Others upgrade their processors every 6 months or so to "keep up with the Joneses", and therefore need to have "headroom" for faster CPUs. Still others believe that buying a new CPU requires a new motherboard, and therefore future processor support is not an issue. Of course, there are also those who have been running their old 486 system until being forced to upgrade and probably will run the new system until forced to upgrade again.
Generally speaking, advances are being made so quickly that a motherboard has an upgrade life of only about a year or less. While there are some notable exceptions to this, it is not wise to expect otherwise. What this means is that unless you are one of those who buys the newest processor every few months, you shouldn't even worry about whether the motherboard will allow you to upgrade next year to a new processor. In this case, you should just figure that the motherboard and CPU will need to be purchased together at that time; with prices constantly dropping, the cost will probably be very affordable.
On the other hand, it may be wise to try to find a motherboard that has at least one or two additional memory and/or PCI slots to spare. It is a given that future applications will need additional memory, so chances are that even if you don't buy a new motherboard or processor within a year or two, you will probably want to add more memory. It is also certain that ISA cards will soon be a thing of the past. Modems and sound cards are now being made with PCI connectors, in accordance with Microsoft's PC99 specification that calls for the elimination of ISA support. Though most motherboards do not currently have an IEEE1394 port (Firewire), chances are that devices for this connector will be appearing very soon which probably means another PCI card to support them.
Next: Size (And Shape) Matters