A motherboard is a printed circuit board that provides various connectors for components, including the central processing unit (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU), memory, and storage. It acts as a form of backbone for these components' connection. To keep everything together, the motherboards come in modern computers, smartphones, tablets, notebooks, and desktop computers. The answer to your question, how to choose a motherboard for your computer, needs to be correctly addressed to make a good choice.

First, ensure that the motherboard you choose for your PC will fulfill your current and future demands. A motherboard that offers all you require right now can be selected if you are sure you won’t ever wish to upgrade your PC beyond its setup process. However, if you plan to upgrade your PC in the future, ensure your motherboard will support your upgrading needs. Well, Choosing a motherboard is not an easy task, especially for beginners. Therefore, let’s understand everything in this post to better understand motherboards!

How much do you spend on a motherboard?

Price ranges for premium boards that handle HEDT (High-End Desktop) CPUs like Core X and Threadripper range from under $100 for entry-level models to over $1000 for high-end motherboards. Here is an overview of what each price range offers:

Motherboards up to $100: Even the premium, last-generation X370 chipset is available in overclockable boards for AMD processors in this price range. Although this may change with Intel’s future B560 and H570 boards, you are limited to stock speeds with Intel. Although Wi-Fi-equipped boards often start over $80, you can get various features, including onboard Wi-Fi, depending on sale prices.

Under $150 motherboard: For overclocking, you’ll need boards with Intel’s Z490 chipset, which starts at the bottom end of this range. Additionally, more AMD boards with premium features like Wi-Fi and high-end chipsets (X570) are starting to appear.

Under $200 motherboard: More RGB lights, stronger heatsinks, better power phases, and better VRMs (voltage regulation modules), which are crucial for competitive overclocking, become more common as you move up into the premium tier. More ports are also available at this level, including more USB 3.0/3.1 Gen 2 connectors. Most Intel’s Z490 boards begin in this price range, at or over $150.

Between $200-$300: This was the premium price range for mainstream platforms before Z490 and X570, where you would find the greatest board components, large (sometimes exceptionally styled) heatsinks, and I/O covers designed to create a smooth, premium aesthetic. Extreme overclocking characteristics, which are unnecessary for mainstream builders, are frequently a crucial feature set.

Which motherboard size do you need?

The size of your final PC construction, sometimes referred to as form factor, is the next thing you’ll want to consider. Typically, motherboards come in three sizes. Each size ultimately determines the potential dimensions of the finished structure. The most crucial factor to consider is how much space you will have for the motherboard, depending on whether you want a tiny PC to show on your desk or a considerable powerhouse workstation that requires its own desk:

ATX: The biggest and most popular form factor, ATX, is simple to construct and has the most chance of future system expansion and improvements. The cost of ATX boards ranges from affordable to luxurious and everything in between. ATX is a great motherboard option if your project’s size is not an issue.

Micro-ATX: Even though it is slightly smaller than the full ATX, Micro-ATX provides performance that is quite comparable to ATX. But it often has fewer expansion slots and less room for future upgrades due to the tiny size of the board.

Mini-ITX: Mini-ITX boards, the smallest and often most expensive form factor for motherboards, allow the construction of extremely small PCs. Mini-ITX boards' severe lack of expansion slots makes them ideal for computers where space is an issue. Most ITX boards contain a single expansion slot and few additional RAM or storage connections.

Several other well form factors and their most typical specs are shown below:

Mini-ITX Micro-ATX ATX
Size 9.0 X 7.5 Inches 9.6 X 9.6 Inches 12 X 9.6 Inches
Expansion Slots 1 4 7
RAM DIMM DIMM DIMM
RAM Slots 2 Up to 4 Up to 8
GPUs Up to 1 Up to 3 Up to 4
SATA Ports Up to 6 Up to 8 Up to

How to choose a motherboard?

The motherboard may be the most crucial part of a computer since nothing else can work without it, and it decides what future upgrades are possible. Here are a few factors to consider before choosing the correct motherboard.

What chipset should you buy?

A motherboard’s chipset is an essential consideration in understanding motherboards. All your computer’s internal parts connect to a motherboard to communicate, but the hardware and software that manage and utilize those connections are known as the board’s chipset. You can find out what technologies a motherboard supports by understanding its chipset. Although some CPUs can only work with a specific type of chipset, this is not always the case, so be sure to examine how your chipset and CPU work.

If you choose the most expensive consumer-grade Intel or AMD CPUs (Core X or Threadripper), you’ll only have one option for a suitable chipset (X299 for Intel or X399 for AMD). The older B450, B350, and B300 chipsets, as well as the B550/X570 chipset, still support overclocking. Upgrading to an X570 board is beneficial if you require extra ports and SSDs. The more premium B550 boars are equally as pricey as many X570 options, if not more so. 

Is your processor compatible?

The compatibility of the motherboard’s CPU should be your first priority when choosing a motherboard, along with the chipset. To successfully complete an update or new computer build, it is vital to confirm that both devices are compatible because motherboards are designed with specific CPUs in mind. Beyond the basics, you should compare the motherboard’s chipset and CPU socket with the CPU you’ve decided on. Some CPUs have the ability to use different chipsets with various features.

What are the other important features to consider?

When learning how to choose a motherboard, there are many other features and parameters to consider. To help you choose the best motherboard, look at some crucial specifications:

Memory slots

While your PC is powered on and operating, your CPU needs a place to store data. This is called “random access memory,” or RAM, and memory slot. Modern PCs typically have at least 4GB of RAM. How quickly you consider your PC to be is greatly affected by RAM. You can run more programs at once and use resource-demanding programs more if you have more RAM. RAM upgrades can extend the life of older computers by many years. 

More RAM is required to browse the OS as operating systems get more complex and feature-rich. It is crucial to consider this when determining how many memory slots a motherboard has. Most builds will never use more than two sticks of RAM, but as time goes on, more RAM will be required as the system requirements for video games improve. Hardcore gamers or professionals utilizing graphics-intensive apps or performing 4K video editing should choose motherboards with four RAM slots.

Connectors & Ports

Many users require specialized peripherals for their jobs, education, or games. The ports on your motherboard show what devices your computer can support. Motherboard connections like SATA and fan headers can significantly impact the performance and appearance of your setup. 

Even if you purchase a case with six fans, you will not be able to fully utilize them if your motherboard only has four fan connections. The same is true of SATA storage devices and the connections that go with them. Up to the extent of potential storage connections on your motherboard, you can only add system storage.

Expandable Slots 

There have been many different types of extension ports, but thankfully, things are getting a lot easier. Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) ports are the most common ports used nowadays, while some motherboards still have PCI slots for older devices. Your computer can benefit significantly from adding graphics, sound, and network interface cards, but each one needs its own expansion slot.

Because of this, you must think through your computer usage goals and whether you will require future updates. Most expansion slots are found on ATX motherboards, which enable users to get the most out of their system.

Integrated on/off switches

These may be useful during the initial building phase or if your system is being held in an open case for component testing or benchmarking. Onboard buttons (which may also feature buttons to clear the CMOS or do rudimentary overclocking) aren’t necessary for the typical user.

LED diagnostic readouts

It is becoming useless to use the tiny speaker that connects to motherboard headers to produce diagnostic sounds when something goes wrong. It has been replaced with a two- or three-digit display that serves a similar function on many mid to high-end boards nowadays, providing you with an alpha-numeric code when something goes wrong. When building or upgrading a computer and you either forget to connect something, something isn’t placed correctly, or one of your components arises to be defective, this can be a real help.

Wifi and Bluetooth

Next, you have to check the presence of WiFi and Bluetooth on your motherboard. These features benefit users who don’t want to connect PC peripherals using wired connections. Instead, looking to build a wire-free computer to keep the desktop as clean as possible. Suppose your motherboard lacks features, but you still want to utilize them. In such a case, you would need to purchase an external WiFi module and connect it using the M.2 Key-E slot on the motherboard—ensure that the motherboard must have a key-E slot. 

Ethernet port

Sometimes, users want to directly connect the Ethernet port to the PC, maybe since the internet speed isn’t that impressive with the WiFi. This requires an Ethernet port on the motherboard. But some boards come with dual-Ethernet ports. This is primarily beneficial if you intend to use the computer as a server, and the board can collect the two connections into one as a single Gigabit Ethernet port offers enough bandwidth for Internet traffic. Assume a 2.5Gb or 10Gb Ethernet board for individuals demanding wired network requirements.

Conclusion

The motherboards that keep everything together in most computers are the only ones you’ll buy for yourself. After choosing the type of motherboard used to make your own PC or that will serve as the structure of the pre-built PC you’ll be purchasing, you should consider the company that made it. Some businesses specialize in making motherboards for gamers with enough room for GPU expansion and LED lighting systems, while others concentrate on more commonplace systems. I hope this article is of great help to you, and from this, you can decide which motherboard is suitable for you.

Abdullah Sarfraz
Myself Abdullah Sarfraz and I am an SEO. My hobby is reviewing the latest tech-related products. For the past few years, I am working on amazon affiliated sites therefore, I came to know my interest and chose this field, now I have good experience in it.