In this article, I’ll be guiding you how to choose the best gaming motherboard for your computer. The motherboard is one of the most important parts to consider when you build your own gaming PC and a bad choice can make it act as a bottleneck to your gaming performance.
How to find the Best Gaming Motherboard for a Gaming Computer
Every single piece of hardware in your computer is connected to the motherboard and it carries information between them. That’s why buying the best affordable motherboard for a gaming PC is a must. Below you can find some Best Gaming Motherboard.
The Right CPU Socket
Because every CPU model has a specific socket type that makes it impossible to install the CPU to a wrong motherboard, you have to make sure that they match with each other. When looking for these two components, I find choosing the CPU first before motherboard easier. It limits the number of motherboards I can choose making it less confusing.
Nowadays common gaming motherboard sockets are AM2 and AM3 from AMD and LGA1156 and LGA1366 from Intel. Below is an AM2 socket.
When it comes to memory, your motherboard can support only certain types of it. Make sure that the motherboard supports either DDR2 SDRAM or the newer DDR3 SDRAM memory. These two types of memory aren’t compatible with each other so for the best upgradeability in the future, choose DDR3 but budget computer builds may go for DDR2.
In addition to the type, motherboards can only take certain bandwidth memory such as DDR 800 Mhz. Motherboards also have a limit of the maximum installed memory so keep that in mind too.
Most motherboards support dual or triple channel which means that using two or three equal type memory modules makes your motherboard access in parallel making them perform faster.
Modern graphics cards utilize a port called PCI Express (PCIe) to exchange data with the motherboard. If you are planning to go for a multiple graphics card system, make sure you have the needed number of the PCIe ports. Even one graphics card can take the space from two PCIe ports so that’s something to notice. Luckily there are gaming motherboards that are designed so you have the space for multiple cards.
Another thing if you are planning to get multiple graphics cards, make sure that the motherboard is compatible with either SLI or Crossfire. These technologies allow your motherboard to detect and use several graphics cards.
The PCI slots are different from those faster PCIe slots. They are usually intended for expansion cards such as network and sound cards. If you think you are going for these devices, consider looking for a motherboard with a PCI port.
Storage and Media
Whether you are using Serial ATA (SATA) or IDE or any other type hard drive, you have to make sure your motherboard comes with the right ports for them. In practice, every new motherboard has at least few SATA ports and one IDE port, though.
You may also want to connect your BluRay, DVD or CD drive. These usually require ATA/IDE or SATA connectors. USB and Firewire ports should not be forgotten either especially for external drives and video editing.
Integrated Networking, Sounds and Graphics
Even though you can buy these cards separately, most motherboards come with integrated networking and sound cards and can save you from expenses of buying those cards separately.
If you want decent quality graphics to your games, you will definitely need to buy a separate graphics card (dedicated). On-board video simply doesn’t cut it for a good 3D game experience.
You can get decent quality sound with an integrated sound card. If you’re an audiophile (like me) or producing music you will want to invest in a separate sound card. For more information, check the guide to choosing the best sound card.
Choosing the best gaming motherboard is a process of balancing the price to the features you want. To be sure that your motherboard provides with functionality and upgradeability in the future, choosing DDR3 memory, newest sockets, USB 3.0 and so on makes it possible.
Some brands I would like to recommend are Asus, EVGA, MSI, Gigabyte, for example. You can find the best deals and user reviews on motherboards at Newegg.com.