The first thing to understand is what the motherboard does. The answer may seem simple, but it's quite complicated. A motherboard acts as the central hub for almost everything that powers your computer. It all begins with the processor (CPU), which is typically located on the motherboard itself or on a small piece of silicon called a "socket" that's connected to the motherboard. Once you have a processor, it needs a socket designed for that particular chip. When you shut off your machine, all of those tiny transistors on the processor—the transistor is considered the basic unit of modern electronics from which all other electronic devices are made—are effectively turned off as well. In addition to holding the CPU, most motherboards also hold other vital components such as sound cards and system memory (RAM).
How Do You Pick The Right Motherboard?
It should be noted that there are different sockets for Intel and AMD processors even if they're both still x86-based architectures. This means you need to make sure you pick a board that works with your specific chip. Typically, you want to pick a motherboard that has a socket matching the generation of your specific chip. For example, if you have a 2nd gen Core i5 processor, make sure you get a motherboard with an LGA 1155 socket since this is what was provided on the chip itself.
Here's where things get tricky: Not only do different generations of chips use different sockets but they also require different chipsets from one another. Chipsets are essentially just controllers for the components on your motherboard, such as USB 3 or SATA III (SATA stands for serial advanced technology attachment and it's how data is sent to and from storage devices). So, before buying anything, be positive it has all the features you need. Remember: This may not be the time to save money.
What Is A Chipset?
A chipset is a group of microchips that work together and control a motherboard's inputs and outputs, such as USB ports, audio connections, etc. The chipset handles communications between the central processing unit (CPU) and peripherals. Chipsets have evolved dramatically since they were first introduced. In the beginning, they consisted of only a few chips: Northbridge for handling memory, Southbridge for input/output devices, graphics cards, and power management. Over time, however, chipsets have become smaller because microprocessors have been integrated into motherboards' designs so there was no need for separate components from other companies like Intel or AMD. This allowed motherboard manufacturers to lower the cost of their products since they no longer needed to purchase additional chipset components.
How does a motherboard work?
The chipset determines what your motherboard can do and how it will perform. Your chipset is the heart of your motherboard, where most of the magic happens. The best chipsets for overclocking are Intel Z170 and AMD X370 since they offer more features than lower-end chipsets like Intel H110 and AMD B350, but they also cost a bit more.
How can I tell if my motherboard is dead?
If your motherboard is dead, you won't see any lights or hear any fans when you try to power on. If this happens, the problem is either with your power supply (PSU), which isn't providing enough juice to turn it on, or the motherboard itself. To find out if the board is working properly and just having connectivity issues, you can attach everything but the CPU and memory modules and then try turning it on again. If that works, then we'll need to start replacing component by component until we narrow down where in the system something went wrong. This could be a frustrating process since every time we add in a new part it might not work, but at least now we know what doesn't work instead of having to guess.
How to choose a motherboard for overclocking?
Note: If you're not interested in overclocking or just want to know what is the best motherboard for your needs, feel free to skip this section. Overclocking is done by increasing the clock speed of your components beyond their normal operating range with software tweaks. This can be extremely dangerous if done incorrectly since you could fry your processor and it's also unnecessary most of the time. As long as you have a good CPU cooler (which comes with some modern chipsets), you should be able to get everything but the highest-end processors working stably on standard settings without overclocking.
Finding your motherboard model’s information
If you're not sure what kind of motherboard to buy, the best place to look is at your current hardware configuration. You can usually find a sticker on your computer that has all this information on it, but if not then Google searches the model number and name of each component in your system. This will tell you which socket type you have and how many USB ports are available. From there you should be able to easily find a compatible motherboard since manufacturers don't change sockets or connectivity options too often unless they're trying something new.
Caring for the motherboard
You should avoid placing anything on your motherboard. Not only can this damage the board's delicate circuits, but it could also make some components difficult to remove later on down the road if you ever need to replace them. If you must put something under or behind your computer, use a cheap pressboard or thin plywood instead of metal or heavy objects; otherwise, your desk might be pulled away from the wall and fall over when you move it.
Common motherboard parts
If there's any doubt about your motherboard's legitimacy, you can check the model number or serial number to see if it matches what should be expected for its price. If it doesn't, then don't buy it. As for what each part does, let's start with the heart of your system:
A CPU provides general computational resources to your computer. It works by acting like a central command center that knows how to access data and process everything that happens inside the system. CPUs are fitted into sockets on the motherboard so they only work when paired with compatible hardware due to one manufacturer not being able to know all of their competitor's choices ahead of time. This is why you'll often get slightly different models even though they usually have the same name. More expensive CPUs can do more things at once without slowing down so they're better for applications that require a lot of simultaneous computations such as playing graphics-intensive games or encoding video files. Modern processors also use something called hyperthreading to make them work like having twice as many cores, but this works best with specific types of tasks and you shouldn't expect apps to run faster unless they were made specifically to take advantage of it.
Motherboards are the electronic circuit boards on which all of a PC's components, including the CPU and RAM, are mounted. The following components may be found on a motherboard:
- Optical drives, such as DVD and CD-ROM
- Video cards and GPUs
- Sound cards
- Hard drives (SSD or HDD)
- Processors (CPU)
- Memory sticks (RAM)