What you need to know when choosing a motherboard for your computer?
Experienced gamers have great demands on a gaming computer. Not every store computer can match them. Therefore, you have to think about building your own gaming PC. And it’s no secret that the assembly of any gaming computer begins with a careful selection of the motherboard. This is one of the most important basic foundations of the PC. Which ones you can find out by reading this article.
Both the performance of the computer and the possibilities of future tuning and upgrading depend on the parameters of the motherboard. When choosing a board, it is important to pay attention to a number of key parameters.
In other words, the socket into which the central processing unit (CPU) is installed.
The required socket is indicated in the characteristics of the CPU:
- LGA – sockets for Intel products (modern models: 1150, 1155 and 2011);
- AM, FM and S – sockets for AMD products (current versions: AM3 +, FM2 +).
- Special integrated microprocessor on the motherboard. The most common models are based on the chipsets of two key market players: Intel and AMD.
Chipsets are divided according to their characteristics into separate classes or levels – the higher they are, the higher the performance.
- H – initial level;
- P and Z – medium level;
- X – high level;
- B and Q – “business” level with special functions.
Chipsets from AMD:
- A45, A50, A55 and A58 – initial echelon;
- A75 and A78 – middle echelon;
- The A85 and A88 are the highest echelon of the market.
Motherboard form factor
The selection of a gaming PC case and the installation of additional expansion cards and accessories depend on this parameter of the motherboard, or, otherwise, its size.
Main form factors:
- Mini-ATX – 170 x 170 mm;
- Micro-ATX – 244 x 244 mm;
- ATX – 305 x 244 mm;
- XL-ATX – 345 x 262.
In addition to the above, there are many other form factors.
- Built-in devices: They differ in that they are mounted on the motherboard, contain the prefix “built-in” in the name (for example, “built-in video card”) and cannot be replaced:
- Built-in video adapter – such an integrated video chip is sufficient for a simple office computer, but an additional external video card is required for a gaming PC;
- Built-in sound chip (integrated sound card) – all motherboards have, and has three or even six 3.5 mm jacks for connecting to external audio devices (speakers, headphones);
- Built-in network adapter – required for Internet access; supports data transfer at a certain speed: 100 or 1000 Mb / s;
- Integrated Wi-Fi adapter – for connecting to a wireless network.
Specific connectors for installing RAM strips. Inexpensive entry-class motherboards have a couple of slots, more advanced ones – 4. Modern motherboards support the DDR4 memory format, and previously DDR3 / DDR3L was used.
It must also be remembered that every motherboard is limited in terms of the amount of RAM, and also that one should take into account the support of the central processor of the frequency of the RAM.
The availability of such connectors determines how many and what additional components can be connected to the motherboard: an external sound card, a RAID controller, a TV tuner.
Most often, you can find PCI-E x1 slots on the board, sometimes PCI-Express (useful for installing an advanced video card).
The number of expansion slots is determined by the motherboard form factor: so Mini-ATX has only one slot, Micro-ATX – 4, larger ATX and XL-ATX – 7.
Internal motherboard connectors
All the “stuffing” of the system unit is connected to them:
- Disk system connectors – for connecting a hard drive and optical drives (usually SATA3);
- Video card slot – all modern motherboards are equipped with a PCI Express slot, which is used to install a powerful external video card;
- Board power connector – must match the power supply socket, new boards have a 24-pin connector (which, however, can also be powered from a 20-pin power supply unit);
- Processor Power Connector – 4 and 8 pin options available.
External motherboard connectors
They can be seen from the front or back of the system unit. These connectors are used to connect external devices to the PC.
Here are the main ones:
- PS – an outdated type of slots for a computer mouse and keyboard, today it is practically not used;
- USB 3.0 – a high-speed port for connecting a mouse, keyboard, USB modem, Bluetooth adapter, external data storage devices;
- DVI – for connecting the screen to a motherboard with an integrated video adapter;
- Display Port – used for a number of screen models;
- HDMI is a modern video interface for connecting a monitor;
- eSATA is a modern interface for connecting external drives that supports hot-swap mode;
- RJ-45 – standard network connector;
- 3.5 mm audio jacks – for speaker system, microphone, headphones;
- S / PDIF – optical audio output for connection with the latest advanced audio systems.
Motherboard cooling system
To cool the heating elements of the motherboard, special metal plates are used – radiators. Low-end motherboards cost only one heatsink on the chipset and miniature heat sinks of powerful transistors.
The advanced boards have heat pipe-based cooling systems.
The overall dimensions of the radiator should be taken into account – it can interfere with the installation of a cooler or the installation of a high-performance video card.
When choosing a motherboard for a gaming PC, take your time and think carefully about all the characteristics.