Looking to Upgrade your Motherboard:
How to buy a motherboard? I come across this question a lot, so I decided to do a post on what to look for when shopping for a motherboard. Here on this post I will cover the items you need to look for, along with an explanation as to what there purpose is in deciding what motherboard will be best for you. Hopefully taking away any stress that you might have in purchasing a motherboard. 🙂
Will start with looking at the CPU Socket:
Everyone has heard this one, no that’s alright, this will be the first item to consider , because it is going to determine which manufacture your going to go with, either Intel (oh now that is one we have heard of) or Amd (who you ask, oh it’s the other one). OK the socket is the place on the motherboard where the CPU plugs into allowing connection to all of the other components of the computer. Just like your wall sockets in your home where you plug in your appliances.
So the manufactures started to make their own brand of motherboards to fit their own brand of CPU’s, (everyone’s got to be different than the other person). So Amd came up with sockets labeled AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, and so on, just for their motherboards, and Intel came up with their own sockets labeled LGA1155, LGA1366, and their latest LGA2011, for their motherboards.
I will go over what you can look for in a CPU here on this post:
So once you have decided whether you’re going with an Amd model or Intel, just keep in mind that everything needs to be compatible, meaning your motherboard socket must match your CPU socket. Now the rest of the terminology is going to apply to either brand of boards.
Next on our list of items, is going to be the Form Factor:
The form factor is used to determine the size and shape of the board’s, (small, medium, and large). So the size of a Mini ITX (small) measures 5.9 by 5.9 inches, the Micro ATX, (medium) comes in at 9.6 by 9.6 inches, and the Standard ATX (large) measures around 12 by 9.6 inches.
Why the different in sizes? Well the size of the motherboard will determine the capabilities of the motherboard, such as the larger ones will have more memory slots along with more expansion slots, allowing you to add more features to get the most out of your motherboard by adding more expansion cards. or in building a higher end machine.
The two most likely one’s you will see around are the Micro ATX and The Standard ATX, for they offer the most expansion slots. The Micro ATX offers around four expansion slots and two to four memory bays, while the Standard ATX will offer around seven expansion slots with four to eight memory slots, giving you unlimited expansion capabilities. Now your wondering what expansion and memory slots are well lets take a look at these two.
Starting with Expansion Slots:
These are slots on the motherboard labeled PCI or PCIe (PCI express) which will allow you to expand the capabilities of your computer. Like adding a graphics card to enhance the display of your monitor for your games, and any other intense graphics program that you may be running. You can also use these cards for adding more than one monitor to your system. How about adding a sound card to enhance your gaming experience, or listening to your favorite music in stereo, and maybe even watching your favorite DVD in surround sound.
Maybe you would like your computer to be WiFi capable, they have those cards to. And what if you find that you want more USB 3.0 ports for your computer, well no problem just add a USB port card with the latest version 3.0. How about watching some TV through your computer, well they have a card for that also.
For most applications, the four PCI expansion slots that come with the Micro ATX motherboard will suffice, saving you some money. But hey, if you’re planning on building a High end Computer, or an intence Gaming computer, you might want to go with the Standard ATX Motherboard giving you plenty of expansion slots for whatever comes around to enhance your machine.
Now the Ram Slots, not as easy as you would think:
This is where you plug in your memory for your computer, and you’re wondering just how difficult could this be? Can’t I just drop in a 2GB, 4GB, or an 8GB, memory module, and away I go. Not quit, just like everything else there is a little bit more to it. So a few factors to consider, first you will want to know how much memory the motherboard supports, usually around 64GB, and others that support up to 128GB (great for a High end computers). Then you will want to know if it supports a DDR2, DDR3, or DDR4 and their speeds such as 1333mhz , 1600mhz, or 1866mhz.
So with all that in mind you will want a motherboard that supports DDR3 or DDR4 with speeds of 1600mhz or higher and will handle 8GB, of memory for a basic or gaming computer, and for your a high end rig get one that supports the highest end of speed and Gigabytes of memory that you can afford.
These Ports are used to plug in your hard drives, and optical drives, the motherboard comes with at least two, so if you’re planning on installing more than two Drive’s then you will want to keep look out for one that offers more than two.
USB Header Ports:
Keep an eye out for these; this is where you connect the USB ports on the front panel of your computer case into the motherboard. I’m always plugging things into my computer and I find it a lot easier to use the front panel rather that the back of the computer case where it is not so readily available to get at. So I like to make sure it has plenty of ports that allow connection to the front of the case.
Now you Know How to Buy a Motherboard:
So if you ever hear someone asking How do you buy a motherboard, you can jump right in and say hay, this is what you need to know. First your type of socket, Intel or AMD, next how large of a board do you want, moving on to the amount of expansion slots and then how much memory do they need. And after that you can razel, dazel, them with terms like Sata Ports and USB Header ports. Cool huh.
Now if you have any questions at all, even if you think it’s stupid (the only stupid question is one that doesn’t get asked) I would love to hear them, just leave them in the box below.
And hey if you would like to leave a comment, that would be great also. So until next time, have a Wonderful Day. 🙂