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Choosing The Right Motherboard

| Marc Enzor |

Three Mistakes Gamers Make When Choosing a Motherboard for their Gaming Computer

Perhaps the most overlooked component for new system builders is the motherboard. The motherboard is the central hub for all of the computer components. It’s how all of the other parts of a computer system communicate with each other. Without a motherboard, a computer is not possible.

Most new system builders fall into the trap of believing that the more they can put into their video card and processor, the better. While it is partially true that the video card and processor you choose for your build will have a huge direct impact on your gaming experience, it’s also true that dropping a ton of money on those two components at the cost of going with a low-quality motherboard is a bad idea.

The motherboard will not have a direct impact on your gaming experience, but it will dictate the quality of components you can choose for your new gaming computer. If you choose a quality motherboard, you will be able to use quality components. If you choose a low-quality motherboard, you will only be able to use low-quality components…

In this post I will go over the three top mistakes that I see new system builders make when choosing their motherboards.

Mistake #1 – They Choose a Low Quality Board to Save Them Money

As mentioned above, choosing a low quality motherboard will limit your choices to other low quality components. A low quality board will not support your components as well it should, and it will likely give you problems down the road.

Lower quality boards have less features and are built with cheaper components. They should be avoided at all costs…

However, the good news is that you can get a pretty decent gaming motherboard for around $80.

The following are three easy ways that you can tell a high quality board from one that is lower in quality:

  1. Read consumer reviews of the motherboard you are considering purchasing.
  2. Read expert reviews of the motherboard you are considering purchasing.
  3. Buy your motherboard from a reputable manufacturer.

By reading consumer/expert reviews and by buying from a well-known and trusted manufacturer, you can guarantee that you are getting a solid board. The following is a list of quality motherboard manufacturers:

  • ASUS
  • AS Rock
  • MSI

Of course, you will also need to make sure that the motherboard you choose is one that is compatible with the rest of your components…

Mistake #2 – They Choose an Incompatible Motherboard

Another mistake I often see new system builders make is that they choose a motherboard that is either incompatible with their other components, or it won’t support them as well as it should.

When choosing a motherboard you need to make sure that it will work with your other components. If you choose a case that has USB 3.0 hookups, but your motherboard does not support USB 3.0, you will not be able to utilize USB 3.0. Also, you need to make sure that the processor socket matches the CPU you’re going to get. For example, an LGA 1155 motherboard is only compatible with LGA 1155 processors.

Another thing to note is the chipset of the motherboard you are choosing. I often see new builders pair up a locked processor (like the i5-3570) with a Z77 motherboard instead of an H77 motherboard. This is a waste of money. The only advantage that a Z77 chipset has over an H77 chipset, is that the Z77 chipset allows the processor to be overclocked. However, since an i5-3570 cannot be overclocked, there is no point in spending more on the Z77 chipset, when an H77 board will perform just as well.

These are the kinds of things you need to be aware of when choosing your motherboard.

Mistake #3 – They Don’t Think About the Future

Finally, a lot of new computer builders don’t think ahead. With the rapid pace at which technology changes, a gaming computer that is top of the line today will barely be relevant a few years down the road. Therefore, it’s important to build with the future in mind.

And, the motherboard you choose now will play the biggest role in whether or not you can easily upgrade in the future.

For instance, choosing a motherboard that supports multiple video cards—even if you are planning on only using one to start—will give you the option to add a second video card in the future. So, when your single card is starting to struggle with certain games, you can always add a second card to give you a boost in your computer’s graphics processing power… however you must have a motherboard that will allow you to do that.

Other things to think about when looking for a future-proof motherboard are:

  • Max amount of memory supported
  • Memory speed supported (can it support memory at speeds over 1600 MHz?)
  • Number of SATA connections (the more SATA connections, the more storage devices and drives you can install)
  • Multiple video card support
  • Overclocking support

The above features will give you a lot of opportunities to upgrade your computer in the future and they should definitely be considered when choosing a motherboard for your gaming computer.

Don’t Make These Mistakes—Choose a Quality Motherboard

Choosing the components for your gaming computer is one of the most enjoyable parts of building your own system. However, much care needs to be taken when you choose your components, as you will likely be using your build for a long time.

You will also need to take extra care when choosing your motherboard because it will have a long-term impact on the quality of your system. So, make sure you do your homework and choose out a solid motherboard for your gaming computer.

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