How to Choose a Motherboard that is perfect for your computer? It’s no easy task and sometimes a small detail can go without being spotted.
Before we start, let’s talk about what is the motherboard and how it functions inside your computer. The motherboard is a printed circuit which creates a backbone, allowing a variety of components to communicate. That provides different connectors for components like CUI (central processing unit), GPU (graphics processing unit), memory and storage.
Most computers, phones, tablets and laptops today use motherboards to pull everything together but the ones you’ll buy yourself are typically for PC. It’s always better to choose a motherboard that can support your needs for expanding your PC later.
The first important decision is whether to choose Intel or AMD. Both offer CPUs ranging from entry-level options and low-end gaming to the ultra-powerful beasts that can run the most demanding games at high FPS (frames per second).
Both companies are quick in the upgrade of their products so the information gets stale really quickly. Intel introduced in short period its ninth-generation of CPUs and AMD introduced their Zen 2 architecture and Zen 3.
Which one is right for you depends on your needs – for example, if you’re worried about apps that can use multiple processor cores (in which case AMD Ryzen might be good for you) or games that benefit from fast single-core performance (Intel Core).
Sockets and Chipsets
It’s not so important to know the components of the chipset. However, you need to understand that the motherboard needs to fit with the chipset and socket in order to function. Different chipsets provide support to different combinations of components, like RAM, GPUs an others. While comparing motherboards you need to make sure that everything you want to accomplish is supported. You can also use online comparison tools or ask for recommendations on forums which will help you out in your search.
Motherboards can come in different sizes so while you have some flexibility in building your PC to fit into your environment, you also need to be careful if you are buying a motherboard for already set up the computer. Make sure your motherboard and case fit together.
The size of Mini-ITX is 9.0 x 7.5 inches, it has 1 expansion slot, DIMM Ram, 2 RAM slots, up to 1 GPUs and up to 6 SATA ports. MicroATX is 9.6 x 9.6 inches, had 4 expansion slots, DIMM RAM, up to 4 RAM slots, up to 3 GPUs and up to 8 SATA ports. The ATX is 12 x 9.6 inches and has 7 expansion slots, DIMM RAM, up to 8 RAM slots, up to 4 GPUs and up to 12 SATA ports.
The variety of components in addition to CPU, like graphics cards, sound cards, networking cards and storage devices and connections are all connected by the motherboard. Nowadays it became more simple with fewer expansion ports needed.
Today, the most important is Peripheral Component Interconnect Express or PCIe ports. It is the one you’ll use to connect the most components today and there are four sizes of PCIe slots. There are four sizes and the latest standard in common use is PCIe 3.0.
PCIe 4.0 is available on the latest Ryzen and Intel Comet Lake boards. Make sure you have enough connection and enough expansion slots for the present and possibly the future when you might want to upgrade your computer.
Every PC needs output information in a visual format – which means displaying images on a monitor. This is actually performed by the graphics card in typical PC (or GPU) and you need to make sure that your motherboard supports the GPU you need for the intended uses.
Some of the Intel Core CPUs come with integrated GPUs but these mostly provide just enough power for usual productivity tasks. If you need a GPU for gaming or something more demanding, you’ll want a standalone GPU.
Or ‘random access memory’ is the information your computer stores while turned on and working. Today’s PCs are usually equipped by 4GB of RAM or more. The safest recommendation is 8GB RAM or 16GB for heavier users.
The best performance will be achieved if you install RAM in matched pairs. However, make sure your motherboard has enough slots for the RAM you need.
This is the data you want to store while your computer is not operating and the power is off. You can choose between HDD (hard disk drive) and solid-state drives (SSD) that store data in much faster flash memory. HDDs are usually less expensive but SSD offers the extra speed and is great for holding operating systems and apps.
The most common storage connection today is SATA or serial ATA. SATA 3.0 provides up to 6 GB per second transfer rate which translated to 600 megabytes per second in reading and writes speeds for SATA SSDs.
You can buy both HDDs and SSDs that support SATA 3.0 connections and motherboards that contain several SATA ports. There are more versions of connections for even faster speeds. There is one trick you can do to pull off the best price and still get a pretty good performance.
Buy a relatively small SSD for operating systems and apps and one larger HDD for storing things like photos and videos. However, this will also depend on why you need a computer in the first place.
Make sure you Choose Motherboard which is compatible with other things in your computer, like fans, external USB ports, RGB lighting systems and a variety of other specific products. Make sure your board has the support for all kinds of add-on components and case features. The more complex PC you have, the more attention you need to pay to details of the motherboard.
You are ready to Choose Motherboard for your PC!
After you’ve finished with all of this, you only need to choose a manufacturer. Some focus on motherboards and parts for gamers, while other on mainstream systems and take advice from others who tested the products.