A motherboard is very important for your computer people also call it the “main board.” It is the primary circuit hub that allows connection between all elements and peripherals hooked to the computer.
It also empowers all the elements like CPU, graphics card, hard drive, and memory to get power from the fixed power supply.
As there are not many processor manufacturers available in the market, this straightaway segregates the motherboard options to Intel-based boards and AMD boards.
For this reason, it’s crucial to choose your processor first, because all of the remaining systems is going to follow that choice beginning with the motherboard.
It’s not possible for you to install AMD CPUs on Intel-based boards, and the other way around. So pick your CPU carefully so that you can find the ideal motherboard with much ease.
The most crucial thing that you have to do when selecting a motherboard for your custom gaming PC is that you match the socket of the board with the socket of the CPU you pick.
If you have selected an Intel 1151 socket processor, then look carefully that the board you picked has an 1151 socket. This will confirm that the 2 parts are congenial with one another.
When you pick a particular socket build, you will only see parts that belong to that group, to evade uncertainty and compatibility problems.
Other Dominant Factors To Choose a Motherboard:
Definitely, the socket is the most crucial factor to ensure compatible builds; there are some other factors also to ponder, and that includes motherboard form factor (size), chipset, and intended use.
Form Factor – This one follows a standard and it is called ATX and this is the size of the actual board.
The processor has nothing to do with what standard you pick, but it will certainly have an effect on the case you pick.
Some of the cases are not big and only support mATX boards or mini ATX. And some of them are smaller than the small ones and are called micro ATX.
And the boards that are oversized ATX are typically referred to as EATX or extended ATX. If you want to build a small system with a small case, then go for the mini or micro ATX boards that will be ideal for you. And if you are interested in building a standard-size tower, then you can think about ATX boards.
People usually call the chipset the brain of the motherboard. As it makes the CPU and all the various elements work together flawlessly.
Chipsets provide additional features but sometimes they have restrictions also, so selecting the precise chipset is crucial, according to what you want the system to do.
For instance, some chipsets can also provide on-board video. If this happens, The video card is not needed and the video connectors exist on the back of the motherboard, besides all the other ports.
This is a great feature for people who are not interested in having a video card and want to save money.
Onboard video chips are good for providing reasonable performance for your basic tasks, and even light gaming. But when it comes to intense gaming it should be left for dedicated cards only.
Even if you have a dedicated card, sometimes it’s good to have a backup video solution this will help you if the primary video card fails.
Almost all the chipsets comprise onboard video, but some of them like the X79 Intel or P chipset series by Intel do not provide this feature.
There are some other features also which include overclocking, SSD caching, and some others. Some of the chipsets support the use of various graphics cards in an SLI or CrossFire configuration, whereas others don’t.
If you want to build a custom gaming PC with collective graphics cards, ensure the chipset and motherboard you pick the support that many graphics cards. It’s always better to do proper research when trying to get the chipset that is best for you.
Usually, Boards are marketed in a particular way to specify what kind of use it’s intended for. So it’s quite simple.
If you want to build a server or a workstation, then it’s better not to use a gamer motherboard. Inversely, if you’re interested in building an exclusive gaming system,
Then evade building it with server boards or workstation boards. And one more thing, try to evade small form factor boards that don’t support exclusive CPUs.
Things To Look Before You Choose a Motherboard:
So now that we’ve discussed about crucial aspects of motherboards, let’s look at how you select amongst them. Usually, there are 2 deciding factors when it comes to picking between the boards.
After you found a number of boards that meets all your criteria from the above-listed factors, then price and features will determine what to pick.
The price range of motherboards can vary from as low as $50 and as high as $800. Some of them are even higher than that.
Most of the standard desktop boards normally cost around $100-$200, and if we talk about exclusive gaming boards and workstation boards they can go up from $250 and typically sit around $300 region.
Exclusive boards that support various processors or extra features like server RAID and others can cost around or above $500.
When we look at the average boards they usually comprise a lot of features and you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars for them also.
But, as they say, “you get what you pay for” it’s true in this case. Because most of the cheap motherboards do support features like RAID, it doesn’t mean they’re very good at it.
If you are seriously banking on particular features of the board like RAID and others, then you should invest in a particular RAID setup with suitable hard drives and dedicated controllers.
On a regular desktop board, RAID is OK, but it’s not great and you can’t always bank on it. This is a big issue, as RAID needs to be dependable. Otherwise, it’s not worth it.
There is always a standard set of features that you usually see on every board you look at, which include PCI express slots, PCI slots, SATA II and SATA III connectors, fan connectors, eSATA connectors, USB 3.0 support, and some others.
When you look at these features, you better try to picture your whole system and think about all your needs. If you’re interested in having 4 SATA III hard drives, and the motherboard supports only 2 SATA III ports, then you have to look somewhere else.
It’s always better to picture your complete system and choose your features accordingly. It’s not a big problem if you exceed them where possible. In fact, it will help you when you want to add upgrades, so it’s better to have that extra room so that you can grow and support future expansions.
Choosing the right Mother Board isn’t very complicated. You just have to do some research and familiarize yourself with all the latest technologies.
There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to abbreviations, so it’s better to learn these and their meaning before picking boards.
As we have mentioned above imagine your complete system, as it will certainly help you find the right board.
If your motherboard is good it will be like the highway that links all of the elements you plan to install, so try to think ahead in terms of affinity, connections, and of course features.