Motherboard is one of the most important components of your computer. It is the place where all your other components are plugged-in or sits so that they can perform their operation. You can say that motherboard acts as an interface for all your computer components, which includes cpu, ram, hard disk, smps, graphics card, sound card etc. Motherboard is sometimes called mobo in short.
Motherboards comes in different sizes, specification and features that makes some people very confused on how to choose the best motherboard for their PC. So in this article I will tell you the basic things that you should keep in mind while selecting a good motherboard for your computer or pc.
Components of Motherboard
Here shown in the picture are the main components of a standard motherboard.
Important things to Remember when choosing a Motherboard
Here are some of the important things that you should keep in mind when getting a new motherboard for your computer.
Form Factor / Size
Motherboards mainly come in two standard sizes, ATX and microATX. ATX are full sized motherboards that comes with more features, expansion slots and they offer top notch performance. ATX motherboards are very costly as compared to microATX ones, but if you have loads of cash and want top performance from your PC then you should go for ATX motherboard. ATX motherboards also consume more power so make sure you have good enough smps to handle it.
Read here on how to choose a good smps for your computer
The other one is the microATX which is very common and is used by majority of the people. They are quite smaller in size and have limited features and expansion slots. They are also quite cheaper, inferior in quality and performance as compared to the full sized ATX motherboards. If you are on budget then you should get a good quality microATX motherboard.
ATX Motherboard size – 12 × 9.6 inch (305 × 244 mm)
microATX Motherboard size – maximum size 9.6 × 9.6 inch (244 × 244 mm) but some microATX motherboards can be smaller with dimensions 6.75 × 6.75 inch (171.45 × 171.45 mm).
CPU / Processor
You should first make up your mind about the processor you want to buy or already have. There are only two major CPU or Processor manufacturing companies in the world, they are Intel and AMD. Both these processors have different architecture and requires different motherboards i.e. you cannot use Intel processor on AMD based motherboard and vice versa. Intel processors are more popular because of their amazing performance and their trust among users. This doesn’t mean that AMD processors are bad, they are equally good, and also they are relatively less costly than the Intel based processors. So while selecting a motherboard for your pc you should be clear about the processor you want to use.
Intel and AMD Processor
Different processors or cpu have different socket type or pins, so you should be very careful in selecting a motherboard for your processor type. While getting a motherboard you must be totally sure that the motherboard you are choosing supports the specified cpu socket or pin number, otherwise you will not be able to use that cpu on your motherboard. Present day Intel motherboards have pins in the motherboard socket while their processors are pinless (pinless processors), but AMD processors have pins.
Here are some popular and available socket types of Intel and AMD CPU’s or Processors.
Intel Processors Socket Type – LGA775, LGA1150, LGA1155, LGA1151, Socket G3
AMD Processors Socket Type – Socket AM3+, Socket FM2,
Intel Processor (Pinless)
AMD Processor (with Pins)
Brand or Company
Brand or Company is one of the most important things that you should look for in a motherboard. Some good and well known brands of motherboards are Asus, Gigabyte, Forsa, MSI. Intel also makes its own original motherboards, which are also quite good but lacks some extra features that other chipset motherboards offer.
RAM Type, Speed and FSB
Today all motherboards use or support DDR3 RAM which is currently the fastest RAM for desktop computer. DDR3 RAM also comes in different speeds so choose a motherboard that supports the highest RAM Speed / FSB.
Read here on how to choose the best RAM for your computer
Graphics Card Slot
If you are a gamer or run heavy graphics softwares or applications then your motherboard should have the graphics card slot to support a graphics card. Today’s motherboards comes with PCI-Express x16 slot which is used for installing a graphics card. Also some high-end motherboards comes with two PCI-Express x16 slots so that you can run two identical graphics cards (should support SLI or Crossfire) in parallel for more graphics performance.
Almost all modern day motherboard comes with integrated sound. If you can do some research then you will find that in some motherboard models you can get 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 channel sound support including some other great features too, so make sure your motherboard onboard sound is good enough. Realtek is the most common sound chipset used in the motherboards.
USB ports are very useful as nowadays all the external device comes with USB Connectivity. So if you are going to connect more devices to your computer e.g. printer, scanner, webcam etc. then you should have adequate usb ports to accommodate them. Your motherboard should also have the option to support front usb ports for devices like pen drives or usb drives. Also try to get a motherboard with USB 3.0 ports, as it is the latest and fastest way to transfer your data to or from an external hard disk.
USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports
Some motherboards come with special features like fast boot, dual bios, HDMI etc. If you can get these extra features then it would be an added advantage.
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