Well, finally it’s the time for a new computer, you chose a good processor, a good GPU but you don’t know what motherboard to buy, then you’ve come to the right place. Motherboard is the most important computer component, without it you can’t build the computer of your dreams, every cable or fan you plug into the motherboard. You also need to watch out if the motherboard is compatible with your CPU or RAM.
Watch out for the socket!
The most important thing you need to check is that motherboard socket is right for your chosen CPU. You can check what socket the CPU requires on Intel’s or AMD’s web page. For example, Intel’s most popular socket is LGA1151 and AMD, on their newest processors, uses AM4 socket.
Compatible RAM with motherboard!
Make sure that the RAM is compatible with the motherboard and how many RAM slots does the motherboard have. If you have DDR4 RAM, then you must buy a motherboard that supports DDR4 RAM or if you have DDR3 RAM you need to buy DDR3 motherboard. Smaller motherboards tend to have two slots for RAM, but bigger and more expensive motherboards have up to eight or more RAM slots. For video games 16GB is most ideal RAM amount, you don’t need more than that.
Three most common motherboard sizes are ATX, micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards. ATX motherboard is the biggest of the three and offers most RAM and expansion slots. It is also the most expensive of the three but for modern gaming this is the motherboard you want. The other two motherboards are smaller and have less slots but are good motherboards if you want a cheap computer. With the smaller motherboards you can also buy smaller and cheaper cases.
This varies from person to person depending what ports they use at most. Someone wants more USB 3 ports others want more audio ports. Always check how many ports does a motherboard have. There are USB 3, USB 2, audio, USB type C, USB 3.1 Gen1 and Gen2, HDMI, Display port, PS/2 and Thunderbolt 3 ports. Ports you probably want the most are the USB 3 and USB 2 ports. USB 3.1 Gen2 and USB type C ports are good to have for the near future but for now not many peripherals support this standard yet.
For Intel motherboards you can choose from the cheaper motherboards that can’t be overclocked or the more expensive ones that can. The ones that can be overclocked are the ones that have the letter “Z” in the chipset name e.g. Z370, Z170-A, Z77, Z87… Motherboards with chipsets with letters “B”, “H”, “Q” … are not overclockable motherboards. Also, if you want to overclock your processor you must be sure that your processors name ends with the letter “K” because that is Intel’s unlocked version of processors or if you are a real enthusiast the “X” series processors and motherboards will also support overclocking (X stands for extreme edition).
On the AMD’s side the B350 and B300 chipsets still support overclocking. But with that you will get less ports over the X370 motherboard.
With everything said how much to spend on a motherboard? It all depends on what you want.
In the price range up to 100$ you can get AMD boards that supports overclocking. But on the Intel’s side you can’t buy a motherboard that supports overclocking in that price range. But you can find Z370 board for just over 100$
100$-150$ price range. Here you can get higher-end AMD motherboards and lower-end Intel motherboards that can be used for overclocking.
150$-200$ price range. Here are the more premium motherboards with RGB lights and with a more premium look. Better heatsinks, VRMs (voltage regulation modules) - very important for serious overclocking. You will also find motherboards with more ports.
200$+ price range. This are the board for extreme overclocking and board for CPUs like Intel Core X and AMD Threadripper. These boards have a stylish premium look with giant heatsinks.