How to Choose the Right Motherboard for your Personal Computer

eiodotcom —  June 15, 2012 — 1 Comment

Today’s Eio post focuses on how to choose the right motherboard for your personal computer.

A motherboard is like a spine or backbone of the computer. It is the underlying circuit board of a computer which holds many of the crucial components of the system. It also provides the connectors by which the majority of other parts connect to one another. These parts include CPU, memory, RAM, PCI express cards sockets.

Wikipedia lists off the following as what modern motherboards include, at a minimum:

  • sockets (or slots) in which one or more microprocessors may be installed
  • slots into which the system’s main memory is to be installed (typically in the form of DIMM modules containing DRAM chips)
  • a chipset which forms an interface between the CPU’s front-side bus, main memory, and peripheral buses
  • non-volatile memory chips (usually Flash ROM in modern motherboards) containing the system’s firmware or BIOS
  • a clock generator which produces the system clock signal to synchronize the various components
  • slots for expansion cards (these interface to the system via the buses supported by the chipset)
  • power connectors, which receive electrical power from the computer power supply and distribute it to the CPU, chipset, main memory, and expansion cards.

There are several aspects of the motherboard you must think through to know which is right for your personal needs.

Form Factor and Power Supply

The first thing you must think through is the form factor and power supply. In more technical language, case- and motherboard- sizes are referred to as “form factors.”

ATX form factor motherboards are older but the current mainstream form factor in motherboard specifications.There are extended ATX, standard ATX, and micro ATX sizes. Extended ATX motherboards only fit in full towers. Generally, a computer case that supports a standard/full-size ATX motherboard should be compatible with all smaller ATX boards as well.

The other form factor, BTX, is the newer motherboard technology but is not as widely used. BTX motherboards have unique layouts and set up required, so they require BTX compatible computer cases.

The form factor of your motherboard must fit into the compatible size and shape of your computer case. Furthermore, it must fit alongside a compatible power supply. The last thing you want is to purchase an expensive hard drive and find out it is too large or too small to fit in your computer case!

Sockets and Connectors

The second major thing you must think through is what type and how many sockets and connectors the motherboard houses.

RAM

It’s a good rule of thumb to obtain a motherboard that supports more RAM than you actually need so that you can add more later. But beware, because boards also have a limit on the total amount of RAM they support.

SATA

Boards also contain some Serial AT Attachment (SATA) ports or Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) for connecting hard drives and optical devices. A good tip to remember when it comes to SATA or IDE is the speed at which you desire to transfer data. SATA 1 ports transfer 1.5 gb/s; SATA 2 transfers 3 gb/s; and SATA 3 transfers 6 gb/s.

AMD vs. Intel

When choosing which motherboard to purchase, remember there are two major manufacturers in the motherboard business: AMD and Intel. Ehow says this about the two companies:

“AMD produces a variety of low-cost motherboards with exceptional performance. Intel motherboards are a bit pricier and require more power than AMD’s motherboards. Intel motherboards are designed for high data transfer speeds and support additional memory sockets.”

So check out some of Eio’s motherboards!

Intel BOXDH57JG LGA 1156 Intel H57 HDMI Mini ITX Intel Motherboard

ASUS M4A88T-M LE AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

See also:

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One response to How to Choose the Right Motherboard for your Personal Computer

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