You need to research motherboards very carefully before you buy one, whether you’re building a gaming or a general purpose computer. They are the critical components of any computer that connect RAM, processor, Graphic card, and other essential components together. It’s important to keep your budget and requirements in mind when purchasing a motherboard.
Here are some of the technical aspects by Pro Tech Reviewer you should be fully aware of before purchasing a motherboard:
Motherboard Form Factor
There are three standard motherboard sizes, namely: ATX, Micro-ATX, and MINI-ITX, with ATX being the largest, having the most features and MINI-ITX being the smallest. Firstly, you need to make sure that the motherboard you choose supports the PC case. However, there are some PC cases that support several motherboard sizes.
Once you’ve ticked the box, you must be wondering which form factor should you go for in terms of functionality? ATX motherboards have up to 8 memory slots, 4 DIMM slots and additional expansion slots which may not be needed if you aren’t a heavy gaming user. They are capable of overclocking and you can increase the number of graphic cards also.
On the other hand, micro-ATX motherboards have almost all of the recommended features found in large ATX motherboards, and are available at reasonable cost. It’s upgradeable and the best building for a budget friendly gaming PC.
If you’re a gaming or a non-gaming user, it’s recommended to have at least 16 GB of RAM because modern day games and applications require 16 GB of RAM for smooth and fast operation. When you’re buying a motherboard, it’s safe to choose a board that has 4 DIMM slots so you can increase the main memory whenever you need it.
In case there is an increase in the demand for RAM after a few years, instead of changing the motherboard, you can safely increase the RAM. As smaller boards have less RAM capacity, you will need to upgrade the motherboard before upgrading the RAM.
As the hardware is communicating with each other through the Chipset, selecting the wrong Chipset can mean be dangerous and that the BIOS will not detect the CPU no matter if the CPU socket supports it or not. Therefore, buy the chipset that is compatible with the CPU otherwise you’ll have to get your motherboard changed.
There are two chip companies: Intel and AM. Both of them are popular choices. When you’re choosing the chipset, it will determine the features of the motherboard. You need to check whether the chipset you want to buy supports overclocking, wireless AC and USB support. Once you’ve checked out the features of the chipset, choose the one that best meets your requirements.
- SLI or Crossfire requirement
If you’re looking to build a PC with multiple GPUs, your motherboard has to support dual graphics cards (SLI/Crossfire). When choosing an SLI/Crossfire build, please remember that two nonidentical graphics cards cannot be used simultaneously. Both of the cards need to be similar in terms of GPU, VRM etc.
NVIDIA cards can’t use more than x8 PCIe slots since they don’t support x4 PCIe slots. 2 PCIe x16 slots with at least x8 speed are required for standard performance. So make sure you know which second graphic card you’re going to choose.
- SATA Ports
It isn’t necessary to go for motherboards having extra SATA ports. Even if you buy a budget-friendly motherboard, it will include 4 SATA ports that are more than enough. If you plan to load up media files and games on your hard drive, it’s wise to go for a single 3 or 4 TB hard disk instead of adding 4 x 1 TB drives that will cost you a lot.
It doesn’t matter how many SATA ports your motherboard has if you just have one SSD and two hard drives. So, the next time you buy a motherboard, don’t be concerned about how many SATA ports it has; you may end up saving a lot of money.
- Video Slot
It is possible for a motherboard to contain zero, one, or two dedicated video card slots. If a video card slot is present, it is typically an AGP or PCI Express (PCIe), which are incompatible but have the same purpose.
You can install only one type of video adapter on an AGP motherboard. PCI Express is rapidly taking over AGP slots. Buy an AGP motherboard if you have a compatible AGP adapter.
To put it simply, these are the major features you should look for when you are buying a motherboard, in order to avoid disappointment and to make sure you receive a motherboard that fulfills your needs.