Guide to choose Motherboard | Motherboard buying tips

When you ask someone about their computer configuration, they will normally tell you about the CPU speed, RAM memory size, Hard disk size etc. What most computer users do not care much about is the Motherboard. Most don’t even know what is a motherboard.
Guide to choose Motherboard | Motherboard buying tips
Guide to choose Motherboard | Motherboard buying tips

The heart of the computer is the Motherboard. Motherboard is as important to a computer as a foundation is important for a building. Even though you have high capacity hardware for the computer, if the motherboard is not efficient, then those hardware will also not function to their full capacity.

Therefore when you buy a computer or when you upgrade your computer it becomes very important that you get a correct motherboard. Here are the buying tips for a motherboard:
  1. It is important to know, how much speed of CPU the motherboard can support. For example if you are going to buy a CPU of 2.4 GHz speed then you should buy a motherboard that supports at least 3.06 GHz speed. The reason is, if you want to upgrade later, then you can just upgrade your CPU and reuse the existing motherboard. Therefore try to buy a motherboard that supports greater speed than your CPU speed.
  2. Take note of the CPU socket in the motherboard. The socket depends on the CPU. Socket 462 and Socket 478 are some examples.
  3. The chipset which controls all the hardware is very important. SIS, VIA, INTEL are some of the companies that manufacture chipsets. Intel 845E, VIA, KM 266 are some of the popular chipsets.
  4. Another important thing to note is to check how much RAM memory can be inserted into motherboard. Even if you are going to buy a smaller RAM size, make sure you have free slots for inserting RAM for later upgrade if needed. There are motherboards that can take upto 4GM RAM. Also see which type of RAM is supported. For instance there are SDR RAM and DDR RAM. Some costlier motherboards support both SDR and DDR RAM.
  5. In many motherboards the video cards are integrated. This is referred to as ‘Integrated Video’ or ‘Onboard Video’. If you buy a motherboard with this integrated video card then you do not have to buy another video card. So you can play games using these cards. However some higher end games and some software like CAD cannot be used with this video card. Therefore, if you are a game addict or you use video a lot, then make sure that your motherboard comes with a AGP slot, so that in future if you need a more powerful video card then you can buy and insert it here.
  6. Many motherboards also come with integrated sound cards. If you buy a motherboard with ‘Integrated bchannel’ audio then you can save cost on buying another sound card.
  7. You can also save cost by buying motherboards with Ethernet, USB 2.0 and FireWire integrated, so that you don’t need to buy them separately.
  8. Some motherboards also come with RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Devices) support. If you are buying a server then you should go for this. If you are a home user then normally it is not necessary.
  9. Motherboards that support bluetooth are available. If you use many wireless devices then you should go for bluetooth supported motherboards.
  10. The number of PCI slots also vary in different motherboards. The number of PCI slots vary from 2 to 6. It is better to buy a motherboard with more PCI slots so that you can insert any external devices as and when required.
  11. The Font Side Bus (FSB) speed of motherboard ranges from 133MHz to 533MHz. It is obvious that the FSM speed should be high. The motherboard Chipset should be able to handle your CPU speed and the FSB speed of your motherboard. This is called Form Factor. Now, Micro ATX form factor is quire popular.
  12. Also note that there should be adequate space around the CPU. This will enable more air flow to the CPU while functioning. If required buy an additional fan.
  13. Check that your motherboard comes with the User manual, Driver CDs, Required connection cables etc.
  14. The price of the motherboard usually ranges between $60 to $300. You can choose a cheaper motherboard with more features.
  15. Some of the popular motherboard manufacturers are Krypton, Asus, Msi, Mercury, Gigabyte and Intel. Choose the one with long warranty period.

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