The motherboard is the main functional element of a computer, which determines its potential (depending on peripheral equipment).
How to choose a motherboard: what to look for
When choosing a motherboard you need to pay attention to following characteristics:
Socket (socket for the processor);
The presence of a built-in graphics accelerator or processor;
The number of connectors for video cards.
In addition, the manufacturer and – for gamers – the presence of an M.2 slot.
The form factor determines the physical dimensions of the motherboard, its length and width. It depends not only on its compatibility with case, but also some functionality. Modern motherboards are available in 4 form factors:
XL-ATX – Designed for Professional Use configurations. Compatible with full tower and equipped with an increased number of connectors;
ATX is standard on most cases. Coming to Midi tower and full tower sizes. Equipped with a standard set necessary connectors;
Micro-ATX is a smaller format. It is equipped with a small amount sockets and often a weak processor power subsystem, as a result, it is not suitable for powerful chips;
Mini-ATX is the most compact format. Often based on it running office PCs that are not equipped with cards extensions.
It is worth remembering that installation in the motherboard case improper form factor may cause a short circuit or similar problems.
How to choose a socket (socket for the processor) motherboard boards
The socket is one of the most important parameters of the motherboard, which determines its compatibility with the processor.
Buying a motherboard, you should take care not only about current compatibility, but also a possible future upgrade. therefore it is necessary that it is equipped with a current socket. For Intel this is:
LGA1150 – for processors with integrated graphics of generations Broadwell and previous;
LGA1151 – for generations of Skylake and Kabu Lake (i5, i7 with the code 6XXX or 7XXX).
Obviously it’s better to use motherboards with a socket Intel LGA1151.
The following sockets are relevant for AMD:
AM4 – for Ryzen generation processors (newest);
AM3 + – for FX generation processors (relevant, but gradually becoming obsolete). You can install chips in it, implying using an AM3 socket.
Obviously, it is better to use motherboards with an AMD A4 socket, which will allow in the future to upgrade to the latest generations processors.
On which chipset to choose a motherboard
Chipset – a functional element of the motherboard, which responsible for communication between peripheral equipment and the processor. It not only determines the speed, but also creates the possibility of overclocking (or does not create – in budget models). So way, buying a gaming motherboard, which later it is planned to upgrade, it is worth choosing a model equipped with relevant chipset.
AMD 970 – chipset for AMD. Unfortunately, it’s not suitable for creating an upgradeable configuration, but it can be overclocked;
AMD B350 is a more recent chipset for AMD. Also supports overclocking. It works well for games, but on a configuration with 1 video card;
AMD X370 is the most productive chipset. Suitable for overclocked AMD Ryzen 7 processors and 2 configurations video cards;
Intel H110 – chipset for a computer based on Intel processor, on which is not planned to play. However economical and well suited for web surfing, viewing multimedia, etc .;
Intel B150 and B250 – chipsets that work well with i7 processors for a computer designed for gaming. But not support overclocking. However, they are well suited for upgrade, because they can even be used with an Intel processor Core i7-7700 – the most powerful for 2017 (i9, which will be released in third or fourth quarter, not counted).
Built-in graphics accelerator and processor
Some low-cost motherboards come equipped with built-in graphics accelerator (integrated graphics card) or the processor. This is a good option for quick computer assembly, yes and quite inexpensive, but their performance is pretty small.
Such motherboards are not suitable for three-dimensional modern games. However, if it is possible to upgrade, they can equip with a discrete graphics card or more productive the processor. But then the cost of integrated components will become redundant.
Therefore, if you plan to upgrade or want to play modern projects – do not buy a motherboard with integrated processor or video card.
Number of slots for video cards
Almost all modern motherboards that have ATX or larger form factor equipped with two PCIe slots. it allows you to connect two video cards. However maximum performance can only be achieved on motherboards, which work in 8x / 8x mode. This allows you to combine power video cards. Without it, the second accelerator can only work in 4x.
But it is worth noting that when switching to NVIDIA GeForce SLI modes and AMD Radeon Crossfire video memory cards do not stack.
The most durable motherboards are manufactured by MSI, GIGABYTE, ASRock, and Asus. The differences between the models of these brands practically do not appear – neither in price nor in the warranty segment – so it’s worth choosing based on your preferences.
In the following articles, our experts tell you how to choose a computer table, secrets of choosing speakers for a computer and A complete guide for choosing a microphone for your computer.
Attention! This material is subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a buying guide.