To sign up for our daily email newsletter, CLICK HERE
The motherboard is an essential component in your gaming PC. It acts as the central nervous system that allows all of your electrical parts to communicate with one another. So, when building a new rig, you will want to make sure it is equipped with the best motherboard you can afford because if it doesn’t work correctly, there isn’t much point in even having a gaming PC.
With so many motherboards on the market, deciding which one you should buy can be pretty tricky when trying to determine just what would be best suited for your needs. There are numerous things to consider when purchasing a motherboard; however, here are our top 5 tips when considering your next purchase for the best motherboard.
Pick a Side – Intel or AMD
You need to decide whether your gaming computer will run on an Intel or AMD processor.
Intel processors are typically more expensive; however, they also can deliver faster speeds and require less wattage than an AMD processor. If you are looking for a high-end gaming machine, it would be best to go with an Intel motherboard instead of an AMD one; however, working with a tight budget may not be possible.
AMD motherboards can also range in price depending on what type of features it has, but generally, the prices tend to be lower than that of their equivalent Intel boards, which is why most people opt for them when building cheaper, entry-level rigs. There’s no right or wrong choice here, but before purchasing a motherboard, you should keep in mind what type of processor will be running on it so that you can ensure the two are compatible with one another.
Form Factor – Size DOES Matter
You may be surprised to learn that the motherboard has a form factor, but it’s true. Form factor refers to the three types of motherboard sizes available on the market today: E-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX.
E-ATX: Extended ATX motherboards are much larger than their standard counterparts. You can use them in both regular ATX sized cases and the much larger HPTX ones.
ATX: Standard size motherboards are what most people think of when using the term motherboard, but they may also be called full-sized boards. These motherboards are commonly found in cases that support micro or Mini ITX products making them one of the most popular computer enthusiasts today.
Micro-ATX: This form factor is about half the size of an ATX board which means you will have fewer PCI slots to work with if you choose this type/size of the motherboard. However, it still has enough expansion room to accommodate a mid to high-end graphics card, making it a good choice for gamers on a budget.
Mini-ITX: These are about one-fourth the size of an ATX motherboard, but that doesn’t mean they lack all the features you need to make your gaming PC run smoothly. They still come with enough expansion slots to allow modern graphics cards to perform at their highest level. If you want the possible minor build without sacrificing any performance, this is probably the size of board you will want to go with.
RAM – The Need for Speed
RAM is a critical part of your computer’s motherboard, and it’s necessary to have a lot of it if you want to play the latest games on their highest settings. The rule for purchasing your RAM is simple: Go with that size if you can afford 16 GB or more.
If not, then 8 GB will do just fine as long as you don’t plan on playing many modern AAA titles. However, keep in mind some new games are coming out with more critical and more demanding requirements than ever before, so it may be best to err on the side of having enough memory rather than too little when building a gaming PC.
Each board has its limitations as to how much RAM it can support; however, many let you install as much as 64 GB of RAM if you can afford it.
GPU – Single or Multi?
The graphics card is another critical part of your motherboard, and if you want to play the latest games, it would be best to choose a board with two or more GPU slots.
The problem with this is that not all boards can support multi-GPU technology, but some do. It’s crucial to purchase a motherboard with this feature. Once you add a second graphics card to your gaming computer, you will notice significant performance gains in your frame rates during intense gameplay sessions.
The downside with going with a board like this is they tend to be pricier than most other motherboards on the market today; however, it’s a small price to pay for a significant increase in gameplay speed and efficiency.
Connectivity – Make Sure You Can Connect Everything
A modern gaming PC requires a lot of different peripherals to play the latest games, and it’s essential your motherboard can connect them all without issue. This means you should look for a board with several USB 2.0 ports along with at least seven 3.0 ports so you can attach all of your devices easily using an appropriate cable or two instead of having to resort to wireless connectivity solutions that may have latency issues when playing games online.
It’s also a good idea to purchase a model that supports Thunderbolt technology since this is a much faster standard than USB 3.1 that many computers use today for peripherals such as external hard drives, monitors, keyboards, mice, and more. The best motherboards support both standards, though not every board will for this level of connectivity.