Building your own PC has become much easier and affordable these days, with decent gaming set-ups possible for under 40,000 INR ($500 USD).
Arguably, the most crucial part of your entire build is your PCB, or as it is more commonly called the motherboard. It is your central hub for literally every component that will make your computer run.
So, here’s what you need to know when choosing your ‘mobo’.
Also, Read: All You Need to Know While Buying Graphics Card
Motherboard Buying Guide: What to Keep in Mind?
Intel or AMD?
Although there are a ton of brands out there manufacturing motherboards, there are only two options in terms of socket support.
Intel and AMD use different chips for their processors, so a motherboard that works with one cannot be compatible with another.
Picking Intel or AMD really depends on your own processing needs and preferences, but make sure you check if your motherboard is compatible with the right CPU socket and chipset generation.
Form factor refers to your motherboard’s size, power supply type, ports, and features. You’ll want to consider this because it needs to fit into your PC casing.
On top of that, the size will determine how many ports and slots will be available on the mainboard. Mini-ITX boards are perfect for small builds, micro-ATX works for mid-sized towers, while ATX boards are larger but usually offer more ports and compatibility.
Speaking of components, you’ll want to check your PCB layout. Each motherboard has an intricate design review process to ensure its component placement works properly, but this also means that it’s not a one size fits all approach.
Count the number of expansion slots since this will show how many graphics cards, sound cards, and even NVMe SSDs you can connect. Each manufacturer will also have instructions on which ports will disable other parts to avoid surges.
This also determines how much RAM you can install. Aside from checking how many RAM slots, there are, you need to verify the maximum capacity the motherboard can handle (this ranges from 32 GB to 128 GB).
Features, Power Draw and Aesthetics to Consider
In your search, you also want to think about extra details like how much power your motherboard consumes and if it has any extra functions.
Aesthetically, you can also double-check if the build fits your vision for your layout. Some companies really go for a “premium design”, although many PCBs work without the extra glitz.
For power, motherboards range anywhere from 50 to 150 watts depending on the model, but you also have to take into account how much power the installed components will draw once you build the whole rig.
As far as extra features, they are a plus if you are willing to shell out a little extra. For example, the B450 Mortar Max from MSI is a pretty affordable motherboard with addressable RGB lighting that can also be used to signal booting issues.
What motherboard should I get if I plan to overclock?
Aside from doing your research on forums or checking the packaging, you can check if any motherboard you already have supports overclocking by checking the BIOS.
Simply boot up, enter your BIOS, and read through the options on your screen. If you see settings for manually adjusting CPU clocks, voltages, and your memory, then it’s likely you can overclock your system.
Also, Read: How to Undervolt CPU Using These 2 Methods
Is it safe to buy a second-hand motherboard?
It’s generally advised to buy brand new when it comes to such an important part of your PC. If anything goes wrong, you can be assured of a manufacturer warranty. There are also tons of budget-friendly options available these days.
That said, you can still get a second-hand motherboard if you’ve made sure it’s from a reliable source and all of its components are still working well.
It may seem daunting, but as long as you are thorough with checking for compatibilities, you should find a motherboard perfect for your needs.
Now that Windows 11 is coming and major manufacturers are confirming compatibility with it, you can be one step closer to your dream setup.
Also, Read: Can My PC Run Windows 11? Here’s How to Check