When it comes to building a PC the motherboard is probably the most important component because it will be the main body of your computer that houses all the other components. Although the processor, RAM or graphics cards will determine the performance of your computer, it is the motherboard that they have to be compatible with. This is why it is important to have the right kind of motherboard.
Choosing a gaming motherboard may be a bit challenging especially if you are planning to build your own PC and it’s your first time. There are definitely some factors to consider when choosing a gaming motherboard. You can basically sum up the priorities of choosing a gaming motherboard into four – cost, longevity or durability, future-resistance and size.
These are the things you may want to ask yourself. How much will it cost you? Will it last long, say three or five years? Will you able to update and upgrade? How many USB ports does it have? These are some questions you may ask yourself which can be answered by looking at these factors.
Form factor is the specifications of a motherboard. It will basically tell you the capacity of the motherboard from the dimensions, the type of power supply, the number of ports on the back panel right down to location of the mounting holes. Form factors typically dictate the overall size of your computer case. The smaller the form factor the smaller the case and vice versa.
Typically, there are about five common form factors each with a different number of expansion slots. The expansion slot is where different cards are inserted like tuner cards, display adapters or wireless NICs. You will have the ATX, Micro-ATX, Flex-ATX, DTX and Mini-ITX.
Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you are looking to add a few cards like a graphics card or sound card then the Mini-ITX or DTX may not be the best choice. However, if you are planning to put your gaming computer on top of a desk then the ATX or even EATX may be too big. When choosing a gaming motherboard, it is important that you know the right form factor of the motherboard you want.
It may not seem important but considering the layout of how a gaming motherboard is structured should also be taken in to consideration. Not all motherboards feature the same type or have the components in the same location, of course.
So when you are choosing a gaming motherboard make sure that you are well aware of where everything is located. Knowing where things are located will give you a good idea of the capacity of the motherboard you’re looking at.
Making sure that your motherboard is compatible with your CPU should be a no-brainer. There are, of course, different types of motherboards that you can choose from and knowing which one is compatible with your CPU should be a priority.
CPU compatibility simply means that if you have the same CPU then the gaming motherboard should, theoretically, be the same. So, an Intel CPU should work just fine with an Intel motherboard. However, it is not just about making sure it is the same, it is important to know if the CPU socket type is compatible with your motherboard.
Commonly referred to as the processor interface, the CPU socket type will essentially dictate what motherboard is compatible with your CPU.
Aside from making sure that your CPU is compatible, it is also important to check that your RAM is compatible. There are three things you should consider when checking for RAM compatibility – speed, capacity and type.
RAM types are generally two kinds– DDR3 and DDR4. The older version is the DDR3 and is the most common while DDR4 is the newer one. Whichever one you choose it is important to know that a given motherboard will only support one type.
RAM speed, on the other hand, should be the same as the motherboard. If it is not the same, your computer will not perform at capacity. Another thing you should consider is the capacity of your RAM. Simply put, the maximum amount of memory of your RAM should be in sync with that of your motherboard.
The motherboard is undoubtedly one of the most important, if not the most important, parts of a computer.
Sure, the RAM, video card and CPU are indicators of how a computer will perform but it is the motherboard that houses all and makes sure they perform at capacity.
Anything and everything that is directly or indirectly connected, attached or even installed in a computer will be connected to the motherboard.
Think of the motherboard as the central nervous system of the body. It relays important information to all components to ensure that they have the right data and perform properly.
Knowing what the function of each component is also a good way to determine how your computer works and what will be compatible with your computer.
When you look at a motherboard, or often referred to as system board or main board, the different motherboard components seem to be too complicated or confusing. However, finding your way around this jungle of components is easier than you think.
One of the most recognizable motherboard components is the back panel where it houses all the different connectors or ports.
This is where all the ports and connectors are situated where external drives such as USB ports, display ports, Ethernet ports and all others are connected to your computer.
This is where the CPU is inserted. If the motherboard is the central nervous system of the computer, the CPU is the brain. When you look at a motherboard, the CPU socket is often protected with plastic. During installation this plastic is removed to install the CPU.
When choosing a motherboard, it is important that your CPU socket type is compatible with that of the motherboard. If it is not compatible then you will not be able to use both together.
The Peripheral Component Interconnect or PCI is a slot for older expansion cards like a sound card, connector card and a network card. Older versions of a motherboard will still have the PCI slots.
However, in the newer motherboards you will no longer see this as it has been replaced with PCI-Express x1 slots.
Just like the older PCI slots, the PCI-Express x1 slots works pretty much the same. However, these are slots for the newer expansion cards. You can insert sound cards or network cards such as Bluetooth, wifi, Ethernet to these slots.
You can also insert connector cards to the PCI-Express x1 slots like FireWire or USB. There are also certain low-end graphic cards that go into this slot.
Although the PCI Express x16 slot works much like the PCI Express or the PCI slots, it is more for discrete graphic cards and high bandwidth devices.
This is where high-end solid state drives are placed, if you plan to include that in your computer.
Another motherboard component that may be familiar is the front panel USB connector. As the name suggests, this is where USB 2.0 ports are connected. It can be located at the front or top of a computer case.
This is where the USB 2.0 connectors are located. This is also where the power button, reset button, front audio ports and LED lights are connected as well.
This component essentially supplies power so it can store BIOS settings. It also keeps the real time clock running.
You may have heard of SATA connectors but have absolutely no idea of what they are or what they do. SATA connectors basically connect modern drives into the computer. These can be hard disk drives, optical drives for data transfer or solid state drives.
Understanding the different components of a motherboard may not be high on your list of priorities but this will eventually play an important role in how you can troubleshoot your PC.
It can also help you a great deal if you are planning to build your own computer.
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