Choosing The Right Motherboard For Your Build: Form Factor And Compatibility. – – If you want to build your own PC, or buy a pre-built PC that you want to expand or upgrade later, there is a component that will serve as its foundation. This component is the motherboard, and it is an incredibly important piece of the PC puzzle. This determines many of the other components you’ll be able to choose from, as well as other choices like the processor you’ll use in your new computer, which determines which motherboard you’ll get.
After choosing a CPU, a complementary motherboard will usually be the next component you choose for your build. Let’s break down your motherboard selection into a few (relatively) simple steps.
Choosing The Right Motherboard For Your Build: Form Factor And Compatibility.
Before we get started, though, here’s a big tip. One way to make your decision easier is to use the comparison feature. If you go to the motherboard page, you can choose five motherboards and get a detailed look at how they compare in terms of many of the topics discussed in this guide.
Motherboard Form Factors And Popular Sizes Explained
A motherboard is a printed circuit board (PCB) that forms a kind of backbone that allows different types of components to communicate, including the central processing unit (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU). ), provides various connectors for components such as memory. and storage. Most computers made today, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers, use motherboards to hold everything together, but the only types you’ll typically buy yourself are those designed for desktop PCs.
Looking at the motherboard from top to bottom, you’ll see the circuits, transistors, capacitors, slots, connectors, heatsinks, and more that run signals and power throughout the PC, and you’ll see all the required components. . This is a complex product and many technical details are beyond the scope of this method. However, some of these details are important to your purchasing decision, and we’ll outline them for you below.
As you’re deciding on the right motherboard, you’ll want to make sure it meets your needs today and tomorrow. If you know you’ll never want to upgrade your computer beyond its original configuration, you can choose a motherboard that offers exactly what you need to get it up and running. But if you think you might want to expand your computer later, you’ll want to make sure your motherboard can support your needs as you grow.
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Perhaps the first decision is which CPU you want to use as the brain of your computer, which means choosing between two companies: Intel and AMD. Both offer CPUs that range from entry-level options good enough for web browsing, productivity, and low-end gaming to super-powerful beasts that can tear through today’s most demanding video editing projects and games with high frames per second. FPS).
Both companies are constantly improving their products and so this information can become outdated very quickly. However, as of this writing, Intel is in its twelfth generation of CPUs and AMD is currently in Zen 3, with the Zen 4 architecture set to debut in the fall of 2022. In the past, applications that benefited from multiple processors . cores like AMD CPUs but not with 12.
Generation Alder Lake Intel has reclaimed the performance crown. However, Zen 4 looks set to break Intel’s current lead, as AMD’s latest architecture uses a smaller fabrication process. A smaller CPU means more power efficiency and less bandwidth usage.
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Once you’ve decided which CPU is best for you, you need to choose a motherboard that uses the right one.
. Basically, a processor socket is the mechanism by which a CPU is firmly attached to the motherboard. A chipset is the motherboard software and hardware that allows all the different components to communicate.
It’s not so important to understand everything a chipset does, but it is important to understand how you can choose a motherboard with the right chipset — and the right socket — for the CPU you plan to buy. Required. It is also important to know that different chipsets support different combinations of components such as RAM, GPU and others.
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As you do your research and compare motherboards, you’ll want to make sure everything you want to do is supported. If you use a comparison tool, you can get a good idea of which motherboard is best for your new computer.
Motherboards come in a variety of sizes, which means you have some flexibility in building your computer to fit your environment. If you have a lot of space, you might want to go with a full-sized tower, while if you’re building a home theater PC (HTPC) that’s meant to sit under your family room TV, you probably would. much smaller. Chance.
This is why motherboards come in different sizes or form factors, and these standards specify not only the size of a motherboard, but also how many different components it supports. There are variations on the latter, but in general, the larger the physical size of the motherboard, the more components it will support. Not all cases support all form factors, so you’ll want to make sure your motherboard and case are compatible.
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These are general guidelines for some common motherboard form factors. There are others, and they differ in their capabilities. The most important thing is to determine what size computer you want to build or buy, how many components you want to configure now and in the future, and then choose the motherboard form factor that suits your needs.
Motherboards can connect a variety of components in addition to the CPU, including graphics cards, sound cards, network cards, storage devices and connections, and many more. There have been many different types of expansion ports over the years, but luckily things have gotten a lot easier. Today, you’ll mostly be dealing with Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) ports, with some motherboards including PCI slots for older devices.
PCIe is the most important port and the one you will use to connect most components today. There are four sizes of PCIe slots, and the latest standard in common use is PCIe 4.0, which is available on the latest Ryzen and Intel Alder Lake compatible boards. These four sizes dictate both throughput and connection size – you’ll want to make sure you have enough room for expansion and that they’re the right size to meet all your current and future needs. are
Gaming Motherboard Buying Guide
The four slot sizes are x1, x4, x8 and x16, with x4 and x16 being the most common. Motherboards vary widely in the number of slots they include as well as their placement. You’ll want to make sure you have enough slots and that there’s enough space around them to fit all of your desired components.
All PCs need is a way to get the information out into a visual form that we humans can use. In its simplest terms, it means displaying images on a monitor. The component that performs this function in a typical computer is the graphics card, or GPU, and you need to make sure that your motherboard can support the type of GPU you need for your intended use.
Some Intel Core CPUs come with integrated GPUs that provide the means to display the output on a monitor, and AMD has its own version of the same thing called an Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) in the same package. Connect the CPU to the GPU. These are relatively low-powered GPUs that are great for routine productivity tasks, but only support less graphically demanding games (such as eSports titles).
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If you need a more powerful GPU, either for gaming or for more demanding applications like video editing that can use the GPU for faster processing, you’ll probably want a discrete GPU. In this case, you need to consider what kind of GPU you can connect to your motherboard, and even how many GPUs your motherboard can support.
Today, most GPUs connect via PCIe slots, and most use PCIe x16 slots. Also, most modern GPUs require PCIe 3.0 or later. The final requirement is the width available for each PCIe slot, and many GPUs require two slot widths. This can block some x1 PCIe slots and make them inaccessible, which is fine as long as it doesn’t surprise you. Note that some GPUs can use up to 75 watts of power provided by a PCIe slot, but that most GPUs require more power from a fairly large power supply via a six- or eight-pin connector.
Therefore, when choosing your motherboard, you should make sure that it offers the right type of PCIe slots. This means carefully checking the GPU specifications and comparing them to the motherboard specifications. If you want to connect two or more GPUs, called Scalable Link Interface or SLI by NVIDIA and Crossfire by AMD, you’ll need two available PCIe slots and a compatible motherboard.
How To Choose The Best Motherboard For Your Pc Build
We’ll stress this again because it’s very important: Check your GPU requirements to make sure you know what your motherboard can deliver.
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