How To Choose A Motherboard [Secrets Revealed]

| Last Updated On: August 12, 2020
How To Choose a Motherboard

Slowly and gradually with pacing time, our world is marching towards a more advanced and sophisticated era of modernization and we are all here for it.

When we talk about globalization or getting to know the robots around us more, the first thing that clicks our mind is the most used electronic device around, a computer or maybe a laptop.

Like everything needs certain pillars to stand on, distinct parts work together to operate anything in a proper manner. Just like that a computer or any other technical device needs its characteristics too, one of the many important attributes of these devices is a motherboard.


What Actually Is A Motherboard?


This very famous name that the ”motherboard” holds has a reason behind it, like for most of the households the chief leader is always the mother, if not the leader, she is someone who binds the whole family together and we all look up to her.

We can say that somewhat a motherboard does the same kind of thing, it is the most significant fraction of the computer system.

Components of PC Motherboard

Many important elements of the respective electronic device such as CPU ( central processing unit ), memory (also called bios) and connectors for in and our ports are held together in this firm base of none conductive material, probably some material from the plastic nation.

On the hard plastic-like base, there are very fragile and narrow coverings of copper along with aluminum foil, these lines are normally referred to as traces.

These so-called traces are really thin and they are actually responsible to form the circuit between the many many components, we can say that these traces are the real magic of the motherboard. Other than these electronic path, a typical motherboard also has plenty of sockets and openings to join the other organs to it.


Things To Know Before You Buy A Motherboard


Now this section is really crucial for people who take a keen interest in building their own desktop or device.

They gather the most important things that are compulsory for any desktop and put it all up together to make a masterpiece of their own and if you also are someone who is tired of low-quality desktops with pricy tags then you should go for the same principle.

MSI Motherboards Showcasing

But there surely are some cons when it comes to setting up a desktop yourself and that is you need to find all the perfect elements, don’t you worry people we are here to guide you all about the things that you should know before you even step into buying a motherboard because a little more knowledge never hurts anybody.

We are pretty sure that if you study and keep in mind the factors below then you will certainly be able to choose the perfect motherboard according to your desires.

  • Always make sure that your motherboard is the most upgraded version amongst the others because only the most advanced version will help you upgrade your pc in the future because your processor will be supportive of your motherboard. Also, make sure that you buy a high-quality processor such as the material from intel.
  • The motherboard you are planning on buying should at least support a DDR3 RAM because that is the most refined version of a RAM. This will help your PC to run smooth and again there will always be margin for an upgrade.
  • Another component that you need to keep in mind when purchasing a motherboard is the form factor, the form factor actually determines whether or not the respective motherboard will fit the casing of your desktop or not.
  • Always make sure that you choose the right chipset because it is the initial administrator and it overlooks the process of what leaves and enters the motherboard.
  • Make sure that you choose a motherboard that benefits the kind of settings you need now and the settings you are planning to work on later.
  • Always inspect the fact that the product you are planning on buying, does it support the kind of video you need or not.
  • Last but very important, when you are putting a good amount of money on something, always research about the manufacturer, the documentation they offer and the kind of customer feedback they get.
  • Keep this in mind, more high-quality slots will be better for you and your PC in the long go.
  • Make sure that you always check the warranty the manufacturer has to offer.

Now we will look into a more detailed perspective of the factors highlighted above.


1. More About Form Factors


The form factor in a motherboard consists of some important physical characteristics such as the size, the locations of mounting holes, and numerous other factors that determine if the board will fit the specific PC casing or not.

Motherboard Sizes
Image Credits “Whylaptops”

There are three main types of form factors that are most used, ATX, MINI ATX, MICRO ATX, AND E ATX. All of these four have their own characteristics and people buy them according to their needs. The factors of these form factors are as follows,

  • ATX has 4 ram slots and it is one of the oldest models but still used widely. It also has 7 PCI-E slots.
  • Mini ATX has 2 ram slots, mini ATX has one pPCIe slot.
  • Micro ATX has 4 PCIe slots.
  • E ATX is the largest amongst them all, it’s more advanced and is used in server machines containing more hardware. It also has 6 RAM slots and a lot more to offer.

ATX and MINI ATX can support more RAM as compared to micro. However presently ATX is more in demand as compared to others. Mini ATX and micro ATX are also relatively inexpensive because they support lesser settings. Picking of the ATX is all dependent on what kind of PC you are planning to operate for example a high-end gaming PC with require E ATX because of the number of benefits it offers.


2. A Peek Into BIOS And UEFI BIOS


BIOS and UEFI BIOS are two different firmwares that are mainly used in any motherboard. They both have different attributes and are people used them accordingly, as fitted to their needs.

UEFI BIO here actually acts like a middle person, it connects the desktops firmware to the main working network. It starts the hardware attributes and gives a start to the operating system too.

UEFI is more advanced and well features as compared to the mainstream BIOS. The UEFI keeps all the memory in a file, the file is kept in a separate portion of the desktop called EFI system, also contains the boot leader program. Just because of this special separate compartment, the UEFI is able to directly boot the running system and save the BIOS itself, resulting in a faster booting.

Difference in BIOS and UEFI BIOS Screen

BIOS is also a firmware but the location is quite different than the UEFI, BIOS is found on the chip of the motherboard of the desktop. It is preinstalled (default) which means the settings won’t change in case of a sudden shutdown. BIOS are simpler to understand, whenever the PC Wakes up, the bio loads up the computer’s hardware components, they ensure that the components are all working fine.

People nowadays are moving more to UEFI than BIOS because of some cons that BIOS has such as, they have to run a 16-bit processor mode, they only have a 1 MB space to commit the process in.

Which eventually leads to the slowing down of the whole process. UEFI BIOS also supports a vast number of features that BIOS doesn’t have any access to.


3. Intel or AMD


A processor or the CPU (central processing unit) is one of the most important parts of the desktop, this is because it controls and executes all the functions that have to be performed within the PC.

There are two main manufacturers that make the best CPUs around, Intel and AMD. You might have heard of them, but both of the products are very distinct from each other in various ways, let’s find the best suitable for you.

AMD vs Intel

AMD was always known as a company that manufactures cheap processors with an okay quality but it has changed quite a lot through the past years. Currently, the best processor that AMD has to offer is the ryzen 9.3950x, it consists of 16 cores and 32 threads. The only problem with their processors is that they can’t be overclocked.

On the other hand, intel is known for its no exception in quality features, you can trust blindly on their processors and you will never be disappointed.

Presently intel’s 9900k which has 8 core and 16 threads is a hot seller among intel lovers and yes they can be overclocked. But something that people don’t adore about intel’s processors and love about AMD’s product is their memory or storage.

If you are someone who needs more space and smooth performance for eg a gamer, then AMD is for you but if you are looking for something with more name and quality then intel it is.


4. Know More About CPU Sockets


The socket of your desktops has a series of pins attached to it, the holes present in the processor go into those pins and that’s how we attach the CPU to our desktop board, the base with the pins is called a CPU socket.

Different sockets are used for distinct CPUs, not all of them go well with each other. So it’s better to know about the kind of CPU sockets available and how you should choose them. Sockets are manufactured by AMD and intel too, so you have to pick a side.

CPU Sockets Image

Your processor should be chosen on the bases of what kind of socket is present in your desktop, for example, an intel socket will only fit a processor by Intel (depending on the model) and an AMD socket will only fit an AMD processor.

You have to make sure that you attach a socket that is almost of the 8th generation because then only you will be able to attach the CPU of the same generation, an 8th generation will support every other generation below but not anything more advanced than itself. Intel works on producing different sockets here and there but AMD is said to stick to the same one till this year 2020.


5. All You Need To Know About The Motherboard Chipset


The interdependent chips that are present in the motherboard are called a chipset, the main function of the chipset is that they control the data that flows in and out of the board and they connect the CPU to your desktop.

This set, irrespective of the size, is the most important component of your PC because it will be unable to process without one.

When picking a chipset, you should make sure that it is compatible with your motherboard or else it will result in a system failure. There are types of chipsets, overclocking and none-overclocking.

Over Clocking Chipset

Overclocking is a whole process where you increase the clock rate of the computer to speed up the memory.

Overclocking helps you in accelerating the performance of your desktop, it increases your memory and your RAM too.

In short, you are actually pushing your desktop over the limits set by the respective manufacturer. Overclocking is carried out due to many purposes, for example, expanding your graphic card for a certain game.

None-Overclocking Chipset

There are plenty of none-over clocking chipsets. It clearly means that they cannot be overclocked because they are not capable enough.

Mostly these are the kind of chipsets that are old version and not advanced enough.

Even if you try to overclock them, you will end up with a troubled desktop with 100 other problems. So it’s better to buy an advanced version.

Some chipsets come with the ability to be overlooked irrespective of the cons and some do not. So if you are planning on overclocking then you should pick your chipset with proper research.


6. What To Know About Motherboard Compatibility With RAM


RAM (random access memory) is a type of desktop memory, which you can change and read in any order you want. It is normally used to store typical data or computer codes.

It is typically used to store and run various programs on your device. RAM is also responsible to stimulate your speed and it enhances your performance (also depends on the kind of RAM used).

You should choose a RAM that is compatible with your motherboard so that you get performance without hindrance, DD3/DD4 is the latest and advanced RAM.

Hand removing RAM

Why your RAM should be consistent with your motherboard? Now, it may seem like a RAM is just some extra memory on your desktop but it’s not it played a crucial part in the performance of your motherboard, resulting in the good or foul performance of your desktop.

RAM helps in the easy access of your data, the processor doesn’t have to waste its time in reading the instructions from the hard drive that is slow, it picks it effectively from the RAM. The more space (RAM) you have, the faster and easier it will be for your motherboard to carry our various functions at the same time.

The amount of RAM you need is determined by your motherboard specs, for example, someone who plans on developing a high-end gaming PC will need more RAM.

RGB Gaming RAM Sticks

The most advanced RAM present is DDR3/DDR4. You can easily use a RAM that’s rated for lesser speed that your motherboard but you cannot use a chip rated for more speed or else your system won’t take that load.

We have a few examples for you, a DDR3 2000MHz chip can be inserted in a motherboard which is rated somewhat up to DDR3 1600 MHz but you can’t use a RAM rated up to 1600MHz on a motherboard of 2000MHz.

Other than this you should keep in mind that there is not much margin in picking up your own RAM because if your desktop is designed for a DDR3 RAM then nothing less will work or settle in the given slots.


7. Why Having More Ports And Slots Are Important In A Motherboard?


The slot or ports are the main connectors between your motherboard and the external components of your desktop, they hold immense importance when it comes to many features and we are going to tell you all about that. These slots or ports help you to unlock many new wonders of your motherboard because then you are able to connect more elements to it.

A motherboard normally has three types of slots present. A memory slot will help you plug in the RAM to the motherboard, the more the RAM slots you have, the more memory you can add to your motherboard.

Motherboard Components

The high speed and speed slots are also present for their own purposes such as connection the graphic card or the expansion card to your board. There is one main thing that you need to keep in mind when inspecting the slots given and that is these slots are very particular to the respective RAM.

Slots are mainly the connector present to connect the inner components and ports are present to connect the outer ones such as the USB port, the LED port, the audio port, and the switches port.

Inspecting these given ports is also important to check the compatibility of these ports to your external components. Let’s get more into the types of ports/slots and their uses.

  1. DIMM SLOTS AVAILABLE FOR MEMORY
    DIMM slot or RAM slots are actually present for increasing the memory of your motherboard, the more slots for RAM you have the more memory you can increase. The most slots you can have is 8 at a time. The DIMM slot need depends on the amount of RAM that you want.
  2. SATA PORTS
    SATA port is in simple words a port that connects your hard drive to your motherboard. There are at most 6 ports in an advanced motherboard, a hard disk is a maximum of one terabyte space. So if totally depends on you, if you want more storage then keep a check on how many SATA ports the motherboard has.
  3. PCIe LANES
    PCIe lanes are present internally and they are connected to the ports and slots present, they detect and negotiate what is connected and running in your desktop or motherboard whenever the PC starts. It creates lanes and tells where the electric traffic will go, we can say that these PCIe lanes are the brain of our motherboard.
  4. USB HEADER AND PORTS
    USB headers are present to connect the USB to your motherboard, now, what are they? USB header or ports are parties of pins on a motherboard. There are three types of ports available for USB, 3.1, 3.0, 2.0 and 1.0. Now you must be getting confused in these numbers, these are in simple words the amount of speed that the ports offer for data transfer. A 3.1 port will relatively offer a faster speed of data transfer than the others. USB 1.0 offers a speed of 480 MB per second, USB 2.0 offers 5 GB and, USB 3.0 and 3.1 offers 10 GB per second. The more advanced port you have, the faster data can be transmitted from both sides, sending and receiving.
  5. DISPLAY INTERFACE PORTS
    Digital display ports are employed for the purpose of connecting the display components to your motherboard such as the monitor. Your port should be compatible with the kind of monitor you are planning to keep and this will also determine the graphic card you choose to buy later on. The display interface port should be inspected for the compatibility component or else your monitor won’t work properly and it will further damage your port too.

8. More About The Motherboard Networking Features (LAN AND WIFI)​


LAN OR (local area networking ) is a way of distributing internet through cable wires, it can be shared among several desktops at the same time, LAN is actually the old school way to share internet.

Now how do we receive these LAN cables and how do we connect them to our desktops, we do it through the LAN port available on our motherboard. It is embedded on the device’s motherboards.

Small People Pluging in Lan Cable into MOBO

These onboard LANS also allow the program to run on the PC itself. Onboard LAN is default and they are much better than LAN cards because they are faster and more efficient. Now, this is because onboard LAN is a part of your PC and the understanding is more to the onboard side than the foreign cards.

Now, there is one more way of using the internet on your PC without ethernet cable and that is to use WIFI. When you are done organizing the parts of your device, you have loaded the windows and assembled other important settings.

Now all you need to do is type in the home wireless password and get into the internet without the hassle of ethernet cable. The chip for the wifi is also installed in your respective motherboard.

You can use both LAN or wifi techniques to work with the internet on your device but the most effective method depends on the kind of work you want to carry out, if you are a gamer then you should go for LAN because it’s faster and more efficient and if you are someone who has just a normal manual use with your device then you should definitely go for the wifi option because that saves you from the wiring hectic.


9. SLI And CrossfireX​​


SLI is actually a brand name for multi GPU technology developed by NVIDIA for adding two or more than two graphics cards together to produce a single output. If two graphic cards are attached together, they provide their own benefits such as increasing the processing power of the graphics.

Now the 2 way or 3 way SLI cards all have their different benefits and characteristics. If you are using planning on using a 2 way SLI card then you will have to make sure that your motherboard is compatible with it for example for a 2 way SLI card quad-core i7 will do the job but on these bases, you should have a proper cooling system and enough power to go with.

Crossfire vs SLI

Now, the crossfire is not any much different that SLI except for a difference of the manufacturer, crossfire is manufactured by AMD and SLI by Nvidia. NVIDIA is very outstanding when it comes to graphic cards. Now in SLI, you can only use the same video cards but in CrossFireX, you have the option of using slightly different cards.

You have to connect the cards to a cable or a proper bridge when it comes to SLI but if we talk about CrossfireX then you just need a PCIe 3.0 and you can directly connect it to your motherboard.

SLI is relatively higher priced than CrossfireX because the manufacturer of the motherboards needs to get verification for SLI, that means only a motherboard made for SLI will run it. On the other hand, CrossfireX is cheaper and pocket-friendly because it needs no verification.


10. Onboard Audio Motherboard


Some motherboards come with a built-in sound card and in some cases, you have to buy one yourself. A sound card is fixed in one of the slots available for it, it is responsible for producing a sound that can be heard through your headphone or through your speakers.

These ports where you insert your headphone are present at the back of your computer and they are represented by colors and symbols such as,

Motherboard audio port
  • Digital out in yellow or white colour, used for speakers.
  • Sound in, blue color, for tape-recorder, etc.
  • Microphone, in pink color, for headphones.
  • Sound out or in, in green color, for high-end headsets.
  • Firewire, used for high-quality sound cards.
  • MIDI OR JOYSTICK, in yellow color, used for joysticks.

11. What Extra Features Do You Need


There are some extra characteristics that you have to keep in mind when you are going to buy a motherboard, there are as follows,

  • Power connector. Your power connector is the large thick cable that is directly connected to the power. No matter how high-end your PC is if your power connector is not high quality, then your PC will not operate properly because the power will not be compatible with your PC.

Only a high-end power cable will prove beneficial for you, for example, the 24-pin ATX is a very standard power connector at the motherboard end. Never the less you should always make sure that you get a high-quality cable, spending a few more bucks won’t hurt anybody.


12. What Are The Best Brands For Motherboard


Before even plotting on the base of the feature, on which you will buy the motherboard, you have to pick a brand, some people think that these brands don’t really matter and local stuff is the best but we need to correct you here.

But the best brand is the most liked for a reason and that is not because they are famous, they are loved because of the quality of the products that they manufacture.

So we can say that the fame of a brand can pretty much tell about the quality of their products. We made sure that you get the best kind of help to finding the best motherboard, that’s why we have jotted down some famous brands as follows,

  1. ASUS
  2. MSI
  3. Gigabyte technology

These following brands are the highest-rated and their products are used from people all around the world.

Coming to their motherboards, they make sure that the motherboard is high in quality, has enough ports and slots, is made by the finest material, and something that supports the whole PC altogether. But something that worries people is actually the budget, let’s see how can you sort that thing out.


How Much Can You Expend On A Motherboard


A motherboard can range from anywhere from $50 to any far that you want to go. But if you want to buy a standard motherboard, that can range from anywhere up to $300-$350. Here is one of the best examples that we could find out. The description of the motherboard is as follows,

ASUS H110M-E/M.2
Price: $350

Chipset: It has a more organized chipset

Stability: All these components on Asus are better in quality, it is better in regulation and the PCB may have more layers and robust construction.

Expandability: The Asus board has a more better RAM support, and it also triples the number of PCIe slots.

Overclocking: Overclocking can be done in Asus because of the high quality and expandable nature.


Conclusion

The above mentioned features are really important to be read properly and understood, if you got what we were trying to convey then you will be able to buy the best kind of motherboard for yourself. You should keep in mind some of these main features such as ports/slots, the kind of material it’s made of, the compatibility with the other components and many more features discussed above.

If you keep a keen eye with full research on your motherboard, we are pretty sure that you will find what you desire for in a specific budget.

 
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Author
Bobby Segura
Bobby Segura

Gaming enthusiast who enjoys everything from the Vagrant Story to Assassin’s Creed. His interest in gaming soon transformed into passion and he started working as an author of NeoGamr.

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