The Top Considerations in Buying a Motherboard


Are you planning to build your computer or want to upgrade your unit? Well, the motherboard can sometimes the most confusing a trickiest component to select most especially if you are a beginner.

What Is A Motherboard?

The motherboard is a very important component of a computer as it serves as a foundation of your pc. It helps in determining the other component that you need to choose. The motherboard is a printed circuit board that serves as a backbone of the computer peripherals. Others refer to it as the heart and central nervous system of your computer. It allows a variety of components to interconnect or communicates to each other as well as provides different connectors for components like:

  • Central Processing Unit (CPU)
  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
  • Memory
  • Storage
  • Add-on cards (video, sound, and network)

You will see a collection of circuits, capacitors, slots, heat sinks, connectors, and more if you are looking at a motherboard from top to button. It also contains all the various ports and other features of your system such as:

  • USB
  • Video output for integrated graphics
  • Storage connections and more

And if you are going to build your computer or plan to upgrade it in the future, you need to do a little research on what model of the motherboard to invest.  Here is what you need to consider before you buy.

#1: Form Factor

When buying a motherboard, the form factor is the first that you need to consider. It defines the physical size, mounting hole locations, and other factors that determine whether the motherboard fits a particular case.

To see if your motherboard is compatible and will fit your case, you must check the specs of your case to make sure it supports your motherboard's size. Commonly, ATX motherboards or micro ATX is the most popular motherboard especially in computers made since 1995.

ATX motherboard has the addition of more expansion slots as well. But if you are not sure what size will fit your unit case, you can measure your old motherboard and compare it with the different sizes available in the market. Here are the four main sizes to choose from when building a desktop computer:

  • EATX
  • ATX
  • Micro ATX
  • Mini ATX

To know if your motherboard will be compatible and fit in your PC case, you must check the specs of your pc case to make sure it supports your motherboard's size.

#2 Processor Socket

After choosing the form factor of your motherboard, the next factor that you need to consider is the processor socket. Back in the days, there are different types of sockets to use today, LGA, PGA, and BGA are the only sockets that you need to keep in mind.

The most common processor sockets are LGA (Intel) and PGA (AMD), while BGA sockets are not popular. After all, it cannot be upgraded or serviced because it is permanently attached to the motherboard. So when buying a processor, you need to consider the type of socket that your motherboard has. 

#3 Random Access Memory (RAM)

The motherboard determines the amount and type of RAM that you can have. That is why you need to carefully decide which motherboard you should buy. To know if your motherboard and RAM are compatible, here are the checklist:

  • It must support the RAM Type (DDR4)
  • It must support the RAM speed
  • It must not exceed the motherboard's maximum RAM capacity
  • It must have enough RAM slots

Commonly, computers today have at least 4GB RAM. The ideal motherboard is the one that can accommodate at least 16GB RAM. But if you don't plan to buy that much, look for a board that offers four or more memory slots for future expansion. So if you are planning to buy a motherboard, also make sure that it has enough slots to support your computer usage.

#4 PCI Slots

Peripheral Component Interconnect Slots or PCI Slots is a connection or port located in a motherboard where it allows expansion cards to be connected. The PCI slot is where you connect your LAN adapters, sound cards, and other connectivity expansion to your computer. If you want to use your pc for gaming, you need to at least have a one full-speed PCI Express x16 slot.

#5 Number of SATA Ports

The number of SATA ports offered by the motherboard is very important. The SATA port allows you to connect an optical drive and other storage drives like HDD and SSD to your motherboard. It is highly recommended to have a SATA 6 gigabytes standard (SATA 3.0) for your motherboard as well as consider having peripheral connections like USB 3.0.

These are just one of the few things that you need to consider when buying a motherboard. But you still need to make more research to know if each component is compatible to operate with one another.

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