The motherboard is the main functional element of the computer, which determines its potential (depending on the peripheral equipment).
How to choose a motherboard: what to look for
When choosing a motherboard, you need to pay attention to the following characteristics:
Socket (socket for processor);
Built-in graphics accelerator or processor;
Number of connectors for video cards.
In addition, the manufacturer and – for gamers – the availability of an M.2 slot are also important.
The form factor determines the physical dimensions of the motherboard, its length and width. Not only its compatibility with the case depends on it, but also some functionality. Modern motherboards come in 4 form factors:
XL-ATX – Designed for use in professional configurations. Compatible with full tower chassis with increased number of connectors;
ATX is the standard option for most chassis. Suitable for midi tower and full tower sizes. Equipped with a standard set of required connectors;
Micro-ATX is a smaller format. Equipped with a small number of connectors and often a weak processor power supply subsystem, as a result of which it is not suitable for powerful chips;
Mini-ATX is the most compact format. Often, office PCs are based on it, which are not equipped with expansion cards.
It is worth remembering that installing the wrong form factor in the motherboard case can lead to a short circuit or similar problems.
How to choose a socket (socket for the processor) motherboard
A socket is one of the most important parameters of a motherboard, which determines its compatibility with the processor.
When purchasing a motherboard, you should take care not only of the current compatibility, but also a possible future upgrade. Therefore, it is necessary that it be equipped with an actual socket. For Intel this:
LG A1150 – for processors with integrated graphics generations of Broadwell and previous;
LG A1151 – for Skylake and Kabu Lake processors (i5, i7 with 6XXX or 7XXX code).
Obviously, it is better to use motherboards with socket Intel LG A1151.
The following sockets are relevant for AMD:
AM4 – for Ryzen generation processors (latest);
AM3 + – for processors of the FX generation (current, but gradually obsolete). It can accommodate chips that use socket AM3.
Obviously, it is better to use motherboards with AMD A4 socket, which will allow future upgrades to the latest processor generations.
Which chipset to choose a motherboard on
A chipset is a functional element of a motherboard that is responsible for communication between peripheral equipment and the processor. It not only determines the performance, but also creates the possibility of overclocking (or does not – in budget models). Thus, when buying a gaming motherboard, which is planned to be upgraded in the future, it is worth choosing a model equipped with the current chipset.
AMD 970 is a chipset for AMD. Unfortunately, it is not very suitable for creating an upgradeable configuration, but it can be overclocked;
AMD B350 is a more recent chipset for AMD. Also supports overclocking. It is good for gaming, but on a 1-GPU configuration;
AMD X370 is the most powerful chipset. Suitable for overclocked AMD Ryzen 7 processors and configurations with 2 graphics cards;
Intel H110 is a chipset for a computer based on a processor Intel, which is not planned to be played. However economical and well suited for web surfing, multimedia viewing, etc .;
Intel The B150 and B250 are chipsets that work well with the i7 CPU for a gaming PC. But do not support overclocking. Nevertheless, they are well suited for an upgrade, since they can even be used with the Intel Core i7-7700 processor – the most powerful for 2017 (the i9, which will be released in the third-fourth quarter, does not count).
Integrated graphics accelerator and processor
Some budget motherboards come with a built-in graphics accelerator (integrated video card) or processor. This is a good option for quickly assembling a computer, and quite inexpensive, but their performance is quite low.
Such motherboards are not suitable for modern 3D games. However, if it is possible to upgrade, they can be equipped with a discrete graphics card or a more powerful processor. But then the cost of the integrated components becomes unnecessary.
Therefore, if you plan to upgrade or want to play modern projects, you should not buy a motherboard with an integrated processor or video card.
Number of connectors for video cards
Almost all modern motherboards that are ATX or larger come with two PCIe connectors. This allows two video cards to be connected. However, maximum performance can only be achieved on motherboards that run in 8x / 8x mode. This allows you to combine the power of video cards. Without it, the second accelerator can only work in 4x.
But it is worth noting that when switching to NVIDIA GeForce SLI and AMD Radeon Crossfire modes, the video memory of the cards is not summed up.
The most durable motherboards come from MSI, GIGABYTE, ASRock and Asus. There are practically no differences between the models of these brands – neither in the price, nor in the warranty segment – so you should choose based on your preferences.
In the following articles, our experts will tell you how to choose the right computer desk, the secrets of choosing speakers for your computer, and a complete guide to choosing a microphone for your computer.
Attention! This material is the subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a purchase guide.