Motherboards serve as the backbone upon which the various computer components may be installed. This central architecture allows each device to communicate with each other. When building any computing device, the quality and capacity of the motherboard is often the biggest factor, given its role in determining compatibility with other components. It can be confusing to navigate the countless motherboard options since there are many manufacturers, price levels, and performance specifications. In this blog, we will discuss the various factors that should be considered when choosing a motherboard.
The first decision to make when purchasing a motherboard is to determine which central processing unit (CPU) platform to use. Although other companies are trying to break into the market, the overwhelming majority of CPU chips are produced by only two companies: Intel and AMD. Thankfully, both manufacture high-quality products which range from entry-level applications to high-performance. The next priority is choosing a compatible chipset and determining what level of performance is needed. Chipsets are integral in data flow management between the processor, memory, and peripheral components.
With a solid CPU and chipset in place, it is now time to explore the various expansion options that the motherboard offers. Although older designs necessitated research into various expansion ports, most modern motherboards are designed with universal Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) ports. Therefore, the most important factors to consider today are the size and placement of the various PCIe ports. Keep in mind that peripheral components have a particular sized slot that they are compatible with.
For many gaming, video editing, and scientific applications, a powerful graphics processing unit (GPU) is required to render images. Although most standard GPUs will easily satisfy the display needs of most applications, those with a higher demand should purchase a standalone GPU. Currently, the top manufacturers of high-end GPU models are AMD and Nvidia. In addition to performance, it is critical to find a unit that has compatible PCIe ports.
Another important element to decide upon is the random access memory (RAM). This volatile memory is used to aid the processor complete tasks quickly by storing working data in a short-term format. Depending on the amount of multitasking that the user is likely to do, as well as the memory consumed by each program, the amount of RAM needed may vary from 4GB-32GB. Although it is possible to mix RAM brands in sizes on the same motherboard, this is generally not recommended for peak performance.
Although RAM is capable of holding onto functional memory in the short term, it cannot maintain data when the computer is turned off. As a result, the motherboard will require either a hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SSD). Although SSDs are more expensive, they are much faster, quieter, and more durable than HDDs. However, HDDs tend to have a longer operational lifespan on average.
Although we have discussed the importance of choosing the right number of PCIe ports, there are other inputs and output connections to consider as well. For example, if a user requires a particular number of USB C ports to run their accessories, it is critical to ensure the motherboard is compatible.
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