We must take into account several concepts when choosing a motherboard:
- Components: Buying a good board should involve choosing good components, for example phases and capacitors. Asus has its Digi + technology , Gigabyte the Ultra Durable and MSI the Military Class . All of them have excellent components for Motherboard but who today assembles the best power phases and CHOKES is Gigabyte. We believe that they are the benchmark in the sector .
- Cooling: We must choose between passive cooling (without fans), with fan or kit with combo with liquid cooling (For example, the Gigabyte Z170X SOC Force). Passive cooling is usually the smartest option, because it doesn’t incorporate the annoying little fan that eventually breaks down. But … you will ask yourself: What components are usually refrigerated? Basically the hottest chips: power phases and main chipset of the south bridge.
- Chipset: It is in charge of the interconnection between the processor and the rest of the elements , controllers and memories of your configuration. The more advanced, it will have native support for USB 3.1 connections, it will allow to connect more graphics cards, PCI Express 3.0 or higher versions, etc. It is one of the most important elements of a motherboard, because it will determine the working capacity of the set of hardware. We must also consider that there are overclocking-oriented chipsets and others that are not.
- Expansion ports: these are very useful for connecting graphics cards, external television controllers, sound cards … There are many types: classic PCI , PCI Express , or the current M.2 NVMe for high performance storage units.
Main connections that you should know about the motherboard of your PC
For all these reasons, the motherboard is one of the most important components of any PC , in this section we will see all the most important connectors that a motherboard includes, and what their main function is. The components that we are going to be able to install on our equipment will depend on them.
The CPU socket is an array of hundreds of metal contacts to which a PC’s central processing unit connects . The CPU socket supplies power to the processor and allows data to be sent to and from the processor from main memory . Intel and AMD use different sockets, so the motherboards are only compatible with models from one of the companies.
A typical motherboard has at least two sockets for random access memory (RAM). RAM acts as a high-speed system to temporarily store the data that programs need while they are running . When the processor needs instructions, it receives them from RAM, and when it saves a document or file, it goes from RAM to the main storage unit.
PCI / PCIe connectors
Many motherboards have PCI connectors for additional expansion cards. These connectors are long slots that cards are inserted into. There are several types of plug-in card connectors. Some of the most common include Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) and Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) , used primarily for video cards, and Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) , used for other types of add-on cards such as sound cards and storage controllers.
Size does matter on the best motherboards. Why?
Based on the domestic use of motherboards we can differentiate four formats :
- Format XL-ATX and E-ATX : These are special formats and involve the acquisition of a large tower with 10 or more expansion slots . They are ideal for mounting full liquid coolers, multiple graphics cards, and many storage drives.
- Standard ATX format : Normally its measurements are 30.5 x 24.4 cm and it is compatible with 100% of PC cases on the market (Mid Tower or Semi-Tower) . It is our recommended format in all our Gamer configurations or for Workstation equipment.
- Micro ATX format (mATX): It has a smaller size, but we do not find a great advantage . It is a very common format, but with the arrival of smaller motherboards it has been a bit out of place. Ideal for salon teams.
- ITX format : Its arrival has revolutionized the world of motherboards and gaming equipment with really small dimensions and capable of moving 2560 x 1440p (2K) resolutions without messing up and even the highly demanded 3840 x 2160p (4K) with some ease.
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