The 5 Most Important Things to Consider When Choosing a Motherboard

June 10, 2016 | By Kevin Shih | PCDIY

The motherboard is the piece of hardware that connects all your components together and essentially serves as the backbone that allows each of the pieces to talk to each other. In this guide, I’ll give you some pointers on choosing the right motherboard that fits your needs.

Here are the five most important things to consider when choosing a motherboard:

#1 CPU Socket

The first thing that comes to play when choosing a motherboard is selecting the CPU you will need that fits your budget or needs. CPUs come in various socket types. For example, the Intel LGA 1150 has the widest range of supported processors, from Celerons to i3s all the way up to i7s. For the AMD sockets, you got the flagship AM3+ in comparison. With each new generation of CPUs, a new type of socket can be introduced. Once you have chosen the CPU of your choice, you can move on to the chipsets.

#2 Chipsets

Chipsets are the main chips that get fitted into motherboards and they allow certain numbers of features to work. The number of the latest features usually refreshes in the latest chipsets as new technology gets introduced and both Intel and AMD motherboards have their range of chipsets to choose from. Some chipsets allow the use of integrated graphics – that is outputting to your display so that you don’t need to make a separate purchase of a graphic card. Other chipsets allows more PCI express lanes to drive more graphic cards. Each chipset can come with its own perks or limitations. Ultimately, it comes down to how many of the features you will be needing with this one.

#3 Form Factor/Size

Motherboards comes in a multitude of sizes in which form factor is used, this ranges from the smallest Mini-ITX to the E-ATX. The size of motherboard has a direct impact on the number of features that can be packed into the board. For example, some smaller motherboards only have two slots for memory. Choosing the form factor also depends on how big you want your systems to be. Most standard mid-towers can sometimes fit up to an E-ATX. While it can definitely fit a smaller board, it may not look good in the process.

#4 Integrated Add-ons

If you will be needing wireless networking, or Bluetooth from the start, these are good things to consider when making the decision on a motherboard because it will save you time if you want to add it in later with an expansion card. Integrated features are already soldered onto the motherboard and all you will need are working drivers to get it up and running when you install the OS.

#5 Brand

The final item on this list of things to consider when making that motherboard purchase is the brand. Various manufacturers have great aftermarket services and their history in producing motherboards. Additionally, the level of expertise and coverage a manufacturer has directly impacts drivers and compatibility with certain components. The manufacturer you choose also may play a part in your decision if you decide to one day create a Hackintosh PC. Certain boards are known to be extra-compatible while others aren’t so doing the right research can come a long way.

Need More Tips?

These five tips will definitely help you make up your mind when you are trying to figure out which motherboard to buy. However, these aren’t the only things you should consider when building a PC.

If you’re still confused about building a PC or don’t even know where to start, download our “How to Build a PC” eBook and get started on your building journey!

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