Easy Guide on How to Choose a Motherboard
When you decide to repair or build your own PC, there are multiple components you have to choose. However, the most important component of a PC is the motherboard.
A motherboard is a printed circuit board (PCB) that provides connectivity and also facilitates communication between the different components. Every component you use whether a graphics cards, a storage drive or a CPU will get connected to the motherboard.
Unfortunately, most people who are not accustomed to PC rebuilding and repair do not know how to choose a motherboard. As a result, they choose a motherboard that can’t support the components they wish to use.
If you are new to computers and don’t know how to choose the best motherboard for your needs, you have come to the right place. We have provided a simple yet elaborate guide on how to go about choosing a motherboard.
To learn more keep reading.
What Factors Should You Consider When Choosing a Motherboard
Whether you are repairing or building a custom PC, your choice of motherboard relies on a number of factors. There are multiple factors to consider but we will focus on the key ones since this is a simple guide for beginners.
The main factors to consider are as follows.
#1. CPU Platform
A CPU is the central processing unit but commonly referred to as the processor. Typically, you can only choose one of two brands of processors. Those made by Intel or those manufactured by AMD.
All motherboards come with pre-designed sockets for either Intel or AMD. However, just because a motherboard has an Intel chip slot, it doesn’t mean it can support all Intel chipsets. Hence, depending on the kind of processor you want to use, you have to ensure the motherboard you select can handle it.
For instance, if you want to use a powerful chipset like the Intel i7 9700k you want to take a look at a guide for i7 9700k motherboards to ensure you make the right choice.
You can also use this guide on how to check if a motherboard is compatible with your choice of CPU.
In a nutshell, a processor is the brain of the computer. The processor you decide on typically depends on your PC needs. If you would like a processor that can facilitate applications that use multiple cores then AMD is your best bet. Nonetheless, if you need a fast performance single-core processor then Intel is your best option.
#2. Form Factor
Form factor represents the size of the motherboards. The size of the motherboard typically determines how many sockets/slots you get for components. Additionally, the motherboard has to fit into the PC case you have.
As far as form factor get concerned, there are three sizes of motherboards to choose from. The sizes are:
The ATX is the largest and considered the standard size motherboard. The MicroATX and Mini-ITX are the medium and smallest sizes respectively.
When it comes to choosing the size of a motherboard, there are numerous factors to consider such as:
- The size of the PC you want to build or repair
- How many component slots you need at the moment as well as in the future
It is essential to note that the ATX form factor has the greatest number of slots as well as expansion capabilities. Due to its large size, it is able to house up to:
- Eight RAM slots
- Four GPUs
- Twelve Serial ATA ports
- Seven expansion slots
The MicroATX and Mini-ATX have a smaller number of slots. Hence, they are a bit limited in capability.
#3. Storage Connector Type
A PC requires drives to store the operating system as well as other files such as videos, pictures, and music. Typically, there are two types of drives that can get connected to a motherboard.
- Hard Disk Drives (HDD)
- Solid State Drives (SDD)
In a nutshell, hard disk drives are ideal for large storage capacity because they are relatively cheaper. Whereas, solid-state drives store data in faster flash memory but are quite expensive. However, SSDs are ideal for hosting applications and operating systems due to their speed. HDDs, on the other hand, are ideal for storing files such as documents, videos, music, etc.
For you to use any of these drives, your motherboard has to have the respective connectors. Typically, most motherboards will have both connectors; unfortunately, the number of connectors varies with each manufacturer.
Hence, if you intend to expand your storage capabilities in the future, the number of connectors on your motherboard is a considerable factor.
When choosing a motherboard, ensure you have an adequate number of storage connectors. Additionally, ensure the connectors are compatible with both SSD and HDD storage drives.
#4. Auxiliary Ports
Auxiliary ports refer to the input and output ports (I/O). These include:
- Power connectors
- Audio and microphone jacks
- USB ports
- Display ports
- Wi-Fi antenna
Depending on how the motherboard is configured, some of these connectors can be on it or on the case. If the connectors are not on the case, then it is best to pick a motherboard that has them attached to it.
It is also essential to consider the number of ports as well as their versions when choosing a motherboard. For instance, nowadays, 3.0 USB ports are recommended for faster data transfers. Considering you may need to connect multiple devices to the PC, the more the ports, the better.
You also need to check for auxiliary ports for additional connections to RGB as well as fans. Most of these come as proprietary products from different manufacturers.
#5. Motherboard Manufacturers
Since you have determined all the above factors for your PC, it is time to select a motherboard from a manufacturer you trust.
Different manufacturers provided motherboards aimed at different uses. For instance, if you want to build a gaming PC, you can choose a motherboard from Gigabyte, MSI or ASUS. These companies are known to provide keyboards with ample slots for adding:
- RAM sticks
- RGB lighting
- Multiple GPUs
Hence, if you are choosing a motherboard for a gaming PC, look for one manufactured by a company that designs gaming motherboards.
Summary on How to Choose a Motherboard
How to choose a motherboard for your PC comes down to numerous factors. However, if you are a beginner, the above factors should suffice in assisting you on how to pick a motherboard that serves your current needs.
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