This article is here to help you choose the best motherboard for your new custom gaming build. The motherboard is one of the most important components in any computer, and it can make or break a system. You can have the best CPU, RAM, and graphics card in the world, but without a quality motherboard at the core of your system you are limiting yourself.
We will look at the various factors you should take into account when choosing your gaming motherboard, to ensure that you choose the best motherboard for your needs and one that is compatible with all your other components.
If you think of the processor as the brain of a computer, then the motherboard could be described as the heart and/or central nervous system. The motherboard represents the core of a PC and is responsible for relaying information between all the internal components. In other words, it’s the hub of the computer, where all other components connect to.
Since the motherboard is so crucial to your system, buying the best motherboard you can afford is a good investment if you want a gaming system that will last. The following guidelines are here to help you make a more informed decision on your gaming motherboard choice:
The first thing you need to be aware of when choosing a motherboard is compatability with the CPU you plan on using. A motherboard will generally only support either Intel or AMD CPUs, and only certain models too.
Checking for compatability between a particuilar motherboard and a CPU is very simple, all you need to do is check to see if the motherboard and CPU both have the same 'processor interface'.
The motherboard you choose will dictate the type and amount of RAM you can have. These days you will want to get DDR3 RAM, and at least 4GB for the best gaming performance to play the latest games. So ensure your motherboard will support this type and amount of memory, but most boards these days will so it's very rarely an issue.
Ports, Slots, and Other Features
If you need extra PCI ports for other cards then make sure your motherboard has this. You should also consider the number of USB ports you need, and whether you need a Firewire port (used for video capturing and editing).
Also, be sure there's enough PCI-Express slots for your needs. You will need a PCI-Express slot for your video card, or two slots if you are going to install two video cards in your machine. If you decide on getting a dedicated sound card then you will need another PCI-Express port for that too.
On-board Audio VS Dedicated Sound Card
Most motherboards will come with built-in audio so getting a dedicated sound card is completely optional. I would recommend investing in a sound card if you want the very best experience from your games, or if you want to take full advantage of high quality speakers or headphones.
For music producers and those doing video and audio editing it's a different story, and a sound card is necessary as the on-board sound provided by typical motherboards won't cut it. If you want to learn more about choosing a dedicated sound card for gaming or other purposes check out How To Choose The Best Sound Card.
Tips On Buying Your Motherboard
When you're choosing the best motherboard for your gaming PC it's wise to think ahead a little. If you want your motherboard to last you a while then I would recommend you choose a decent quality board that has been released recently.
Since the motherboard is such a critical component to your gaming PC, in general I would recommend buying the best board you can afford. Some of the most-trusted motherboard manufacturers for quality and reliability are ASUS, MSI, EVGA, Intel, and Gigabyte to name a few of the best.
If you are looking for specific recommendations on the best motherboards for use gaming, check out the Recommended Custom Gaming Builds. The motherboards picked in those builds are some of the best available right now with both high performance and value for money in mind, and we strive to always keep them updated from month to month.