How To Buy A Motherboard – Complete Guide 2017

We have all come across a time when our PC became obsolete or failed, and a replacement was needed. Motherboards are one of the most complex PC components to shop for, this guide will help you to pick out one of the best motherboards according to your needs. How to buy a motherboard – complete guide divided into 8 points for a better understanding of the motherboard and features you want.

How To Buy A Motherboard – Complete Guide 2017

1.Form Factor:

Initially, you’ll need to select a form factor. Nowadays, the most common motherboard form factor is micro ATX because it is compact in size and occupy less space in the cabinet, so the desk looks more personalized with compact things, Moreover, micro ATX motherboard lacks the number of expansion slots but fortunately fulfill our needs. The other common form factor is standard ATX motherboard large in size more the expansion slots, which can be useful and occupy more space.

Form Factor - how to buy a motherboard
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All in all the form factor depends upon your needs and so you need to pick a right PC cabinet according to your motherboard form factor and cabinet categories in 3 section: micro-ATX, Mid-Tower, and Full Tower.

Note: Most PC cases that support a default form factor also support motherboards of the form factors smaller than it—but always check the specifications for confirmation of that before buying a new board or PC cabinet.


2.Socket Type:

Once you’ve picked the form factor for the motherboard, you need to select the processor socket type. The processor comes in various socket types. This is not too difficult to choose since it has a fixed socket type only things you consider is the specification of that processor and the support to your motherboard. So, you will consider first what processor you want to buy, before buying the motherboard.

Socket - how to buy a motherboard
How To Buy A Motherboard – Complete Guide

The latest socket type in 2017 from Intel is LGA 1151 and from AMD is AM4. The LGA 1151 socket supports all 6th and 7th generation Intel processor while the FM4 only supports the new AMD Ryzen processors.

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Chipsets are the most important chips that embedded into the motherboard, which tends to decide whether you want a certain feature or not in your PC. The number of latest features usually comes in the latest chipset as the new technology introduced in every six months, so Intel and AMD both have their range of chipsets to pick from. For example, some chipsets allow you to use the integrated graphics of the CPU along with your external graphic card. Although motherboard using the same chipset will usually have the identical

For example, some chipsets allow you to use the integrated graphics of the CPU along with your external graphic card. Although motherboard using the same chipset will usually have the identical in performance and they are differentiated by some extra features according to its price and brand, such as more RAM expansion slots, more storage option, SLI and Crossfire support and much more which are usually not present in the budget oriented motherboards.

In short, more advanced and latest chipset gives you the more premium features.



Selection of RAM (Random Access Memory) for your PC is usually a very simple decision. You just need to pick a reliable brand, desired frequency, and the ram chipset version i.e.; DDR3 or DDR4. The most common RAM chipset in 2017 is DDR4. The RAM distinguishes on two factors one is with overclocking feature and another one is without overclocking. DDR4 is the next generation RAM, consumes less power and offers more bandwidth than its predecessor (DDR3) and comes in your budget.

RAM DIMM Slots - how to buy a motherboard
How To Buy A Motherboard – Complete Guide

The only thing you need to consider before buying a RAM is that what type of RAM your motherboard supports and the bandwidth. So need to check your motherboard specs first before buying a RAM. Consider buying a motherboard which has at least 2-4 expansion modules for RAM for future upgradations.


5.PCI Express

PCI Express Abbreviated “PCIe”, these are the expansion slots on the motherboard which accepts the graphics card, USB card, Wi-Fi adapter, TV tuner etc. and other board-based components. If you’re planning for gaming then your motherboard should have the PCIe x16 slot. The ‘x’ represents the physical size of the slot and the bandwidth of the slot itself.

PCIe Slots - how to buy a motherboard
How To Buy A Motherboard – Complete Guide

The PCI Express expansion slot comes in x1, x4, x8, and x16. The PCIe x16 accepts the PCIe x1 card but not vice-versa. The PCIe x4, x8 slots can use to expand more connectivity options like you can install USB 3.0 card in it separately. The graphics card can only be installed in PCIe x16 slot. Motherboards usually come with 1 PCIe expansion slot but gamers who want a multiple card arrangement can buy a motherboard with additional PCIe x16 slot.

The motherboards having the multiple PCIe x16 slots, also supports the Nvidia SLI or AMD CrossFireX i.e., you can use the combination of two graphics card with an identical chipset that boosts the gaming performance of your system.

Boards that support the SLI or CrossFireX will also have different possible lane/bandwidth configurations that you should be aware of if you wanted to install two graphics card. So, also examine the bandwidth specs before buying the motherboard to make sure you will get full output from your multiple cards.


6.SATA ports

When considering buying a new motherboard you may need to consider the number of SATA ports as well as the latest M.2 SSD slot, depends upon your needs. SATA port allows you to connect an optical drive (DVD-RW) and storage drives, like an SSD or HDD.

M.2 Slot - how to buy a motherboard
How To Buy A Motherboard – Complete Guide

Nowadays, almost all motherboards come with SATA 3.0 ports which will give you the 6Gb/s maximum transfer speed, whereas the M.2 SSD slot gives you the 32Gb/s transfer speed which is 5x more than SATA 3.0. To gain the maximum throughput benefit, both drive and motherboard must support the same SATA specs.

SATA Ports - how to buy a motherboard

If you are on a tight budget then you may consider the SATA 3.0 motherboard if not then you should pick an M.2 SDD slot motherboard, it will give you the considerable amount of speed boost to your system and also better for future upgradations. Make sure when buying an M.2 SDD, the length and width should match the M.2 slot size of your motherboard.

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7.USB pin header

USB Header - how to buy a motherboard
How To Buy A Motherboard – Complete Guide

You should give some consideration to peripheral connection also like a USB pin header. All motherboards come with at least 1 USB header, this detail can matter if you use lots of external hard drives. Usually, motherboards come with either USB 2.0 pin header or USB 3.0 pin header. These pin headers allow you to get the extra benefit of front panel USB ports that are situated on the cabinet exterior. USB 2.0 can handle speed up to only 60 MBps while USB 3.0 gives you the 640 MBps speed.


8.Debug LED’s

Last but not least, the debug LED is a common feature on a budget to premium motherboards, it is a very handy feature for non-veteran PC builders and pros alike. These LED’s shows off error codes if the PC fails to boot. The codes, outlined in the board manual, can help you to rectify the reason for the failed boot, such as RAM not working or a video-card error.

        I hope that this How to buy a motherboard – complete guide will help you to pick the best motherboard available in the market. Make sure you know what you are looking for when you buying a motherboard so that you will save time.



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