The motherboard is the front line when it comes to your gaming PC. It’s the one component of your system that you touch most often and use most often. However, for a long time, people have ignored the motherboard, believing that it’s the processor and the graphics card that made it all worthwhile. For every one of these components, there’s one of these CPUs, one of these graphic cards, and a motherboard. So why get all excited about it?
We’ll keep this simple. Chances are you’re one of a very, very small group of people who actually need to know what’s going on with your motherboard.
The truth is you don’t need to know what the CPU is doing every single second. Your motherboard tells you when it’s getting hot or when it’s running out of RAM or what needs to be done to make your computer run properly. It keeps you updated without making you a slave to the monitor. You can have other people looking after your PC without giving them the ability to touch the motherboard.
So, if you can trust your motherboard, why do you need to get a new one every couple of years?
Look after it
We’ve always been of the belief that this isn’t something to worry too much about. A motherboard is never going to stop working. It’s not going to stop building and developing and that’s something you want to be on the ball with.
The idea of people purposely keeping their motherboard away from them for years on end is a bit ridiculous, but that doesn’t mean you should leave it in a bin. Some people, and not just those that hate your life, will dump their motherboard when it starts to feel like it doesn’t work anymore. However, instead of binning it for a long time, there’s an alternative.
OK, it’s not ideal, but it’s better than dumping your motherboard to the extent that you risk it getting contaminated with dust, whether that’s from being placed in your PC or thrown away.
That’s because many boards will still work in a ‘defrosted’ state. Yes, it’s not as good as having your motherboard work in pristine condition, but it’s better than waiting for your PC to get dirty.
When it comes to things like motherboards, there’s a big difference between good and bad. Motherboards from a good company will work perfectly all the time. However, cheap ones might take a bit longer to get up and running.
It’s always important to go and look at motherboards and check they’re well-made and that the components are in working order.
You’ll get what you pay for. Generally, the more expensive you are, the better it’ll be, but even a decent board will have got used a lot, which means it might no longer be working correctly.
The more expensive motherboards will also usually have a warranty, which is something you don’t want to ignore. And, of course, it’ll also be sealed against dust and dirt, so it’ll stay working for longer.
You’ll usually find the key to knowing if a motherboard works are checking its capabilities. The more capabilities a motherboard has, the more games it’s likely to be able to support, which can be great news if you play lots of games.
Let’s say you’re playing a game that only supports one kind of hardware. If your motherboard is able to support multiple different kinds of hardware, it’s probably the right one for you.
Make sure the board you want to buy has all the features it says it has.
The simplest test is to look for the ‘4.3V for each type of flash chip’ or something similar. The details vary by brand, but having that list is usually a good sign. If the motherboard doesn’t have it, you’ll need to try a different brand.
Many boards also have features that you can’t normally buy separately, which is a nice touch.
For example, it’s always nice to have a Realtek connector on your motherboard, but you’ll often find it’s sold in two different versions. This will be listed on the box. Most motherboard companies do a good job of listing the features included in their boards.
Why is motherboard so important?
Checking the spec will usually tell you how much RAM it has and what kind of storage you’re getting, how many ports it has, and whether it’s a single or dual channel or an optical drive, but also what memory controllers and PCIe slots it has.
We all know the saying ‘your motherboard is your brain’. It’s what makes your machine smart, and there are a number of factors that affect its functioning, from the chips themselves to the way they are built.
And the extent to which you’ll be relying on your motherboard in the near future is very much up for grabs, as this year Intel, Broadcom, and Nvidia have all unveiled their own dual-core mobile CPUs that combine a CPU and GPU.
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