How to Choose the Best Motherboard for Your PC

When building a PC, you’re likely more concerned about which CPU and GPU to get. After all, these are the components that power a computer program’s instructions and display graphics in as high a quality form as possible on your screen. But the motherboard is also integral as it serves as the connection point of all the internal components of a computer, such as the hard drives and RAM. Because of this, you’ll need a motherboard that can grip these components in the right place, alongside regulating electricity from the power supply so it doesn’t fry the system.

However, motherboards come in different forms — from a frame with slots for expansion cards to the more advanced ones that have audio chips. So to help you choose the right motherboard for your PC, below are a few considerations to keep in mind:

The right number of ports

Ports are connection points that allow for hardware expansion, and there are two kinds: internal, also called slots, and external. External ports can be seen outside the case so you can easily plug and unplug peripherals like headphones and Ethernet. Meanwhile, internal ports require more technical knowledge to install and remove devices to avoid damaging anything.

The most basic motherboard tends to have only the main ports, such as USB headers and display interface ports. Then there are the advanced motherboards that feature extra ports like PCI lanes, which can accommodate different components, from multiple GPUs for the more avid gamers, to newer and faster NVME SSDs for more storage space. What you use your computer for will ultimately affect the number of ports you’ll need.

CPU and motherboard compatibility

You need to ensure that your motherboard is compatible with your CPU. As a type of printed circuit board, each motherboard is built with specific component parameters to define its form, fit, and overall function in relation to other parts. This means only CPUs that fit the set parameters will work with your motherboard. This is important because the CPU is the brain of the computer and the motherboard is what connects everything — so if these two components are incompatible, it can lead to the computer performing poorly or not working at all.

A general guideline to figure out if your CPU and motherboard are compatible is knowing the brand and the generation of each. For instance, Intel CPUs are designed specifically for Intel motherboards. However, not all Intel CPUs and motherboards are compatible with each other. In some instances, the CPU socket of one generation’s motherboard may be different from the other.

Overclocking capability

Overclocking boosts your computer’s performance by making the system faster or extending the power. This concept is typically associated with CPUs, but a motherboard also plays a big role in overclocking. For one, it manages the voltage that enters the system to prevent the circuits from being destroyed. Some motherboards and CPUs, such as AMD Ryzen, are already overclock-friendly, though how much you can squeeze out of them differs per generation.

For Intel, overclock-friendly CPUs are those that have a “K” or “X” at the end of the product number, such as the Core i7-7700K. Meanwhile, an example of an overclocking motherboard is the Intel Z590. Regardless of which CPU and motherboard you get, remember that you’ll want a motherboard with a chipset that can help your CPU overclock.

Finding the best motherboard for your computer may seem daunting as it should contain all your PC’s internal components. However, with some good research, you’ll be able to choose the right one. For more computer tips and tricks, check our blog.

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