How to select a Motherboard? [Buying Guide]

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A motherboard is the center of all the focus you put to attach your PC components and selecting the right one is a bit challenging but in this guide, we will cover the hard part for you and leave the rest to you for picking the reliable or economic one. Rather make it reliable and less economic because the cheaper motherboard would deprive you of demanding features like SLI/Crossfire, M.2 SATA, USB 3.2, In-built Wifi, or most importantly the overclocking capability.

CPU Socket

To start with, determine which CPU you are going to buy or already have. It’s obvious that you can’t fit Corei7 9700k CPU into an AM4 socket neither a Core i9 9900k onto LGA 1155 socket. Therefore, you must follow the supported socket for your CPU. Also there are Overclockable/Unlocked CPUs, which require a good chipset to work at full potential. If you select a high-end CPU but low-end motherboard you may face a bottleneck which means you are not balancing your components’ potential.

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Know your CPU socket and motherboards chipset that give support to each Socket Type.

SocketChipsetsSupported CPUs 
LGA 1200 Comet Lake (10th-gen): Z49010th-generation Intel Core 
LGA 1151 Coffee Lake (8th-gen): H310, B360, H370, Q370, Z370
Coffee Lake (9th-gen): Z390, B365, B360
8th and 9th-generation Intel Core 
LGA 2066X299Skylake-X/Kaby-Lake X 
sTRX4TRX403rd-generation AMD Ryzen Threadripper 
sTR4X399AMD Ryzen Threadripper 
AM4A300, A320, B350, B450, X370, X470, X570AMD Ryzen, 7th-generation A-Series, and Athlon 

Enthusiastic Features

Different manufactures like Gigabyte, Asus, MSI and ASRock gives stunning features to their consumers to make their builds stand out most. Like there are MSI Mystic Light Support to sync all your LED stripes and Fans to go with controlled spectrums. Similarly, Asus features Aura Sync tech to give the same synchronization schemes. Most motherboards offer on-board lights like MSI 450 Tomahawk has a trail of A-Sync LEDs which illuminates and can be synced with all other components. One should select a stunning motherboard if he has all the bundle for enthusiastic purpose. Otherwise its fine because a decent build has its own grace too.

Form Factor

Form factor in general is the standard size scheme of motherboards with respect to Chassis size and components expansion. The form factor emphasizes the dimensions, RAM slots, PCI-e Slots, SATA ports of motherboard. The vast your components are in quantity the more superior form factor you have to select. Though Mini-ITX motherboards also got potential to overclock but they are expensive.

Size12 x 9.6 inches9.0 x 7.5 inches9.6 x 9.6 inches
Expansion Slots714
RAM SlotsUp to 82Up to 4
GPUsUp to 4Up to 1Up to 3
SATA portsUp to 12Up to 6Up to 8

RAM Expansion

If you want dual channel configuration, then don’t buy Mini-ITX case because it may limit your RAM expansion. For RAM expansion and for larger memory size consents, the Micro-ATX and ATX motherboards are reliable.

Storage Expansion

SATA ports are a common center for point to determine how many disk drives or SSDs you are able to attach. Also the M.2 SSDs disables one or more SATA ports to work. Re-count your number of storage devices before selecting a motherboard.

Multi GPU Support

If you want to attach more than one identical Nvidia GPUs, get an SLI ready motherboard or if you want to attach more than one identical AMD GPUs, get a Crossfire ready motherboard. Look up for these labels before selecting a motherboard.

PC Case

Lastly the size and dimensions of your PC case matters. Suppose you have mini-ITX case and want to put in the motherboard of the eligible size. Follow the form factor table to select a motherboard for the compatible size of your PC case.