How to Choose a Gaming Motherboard
Choosing a good gaming motherboard is a must if you intend to build your own gaming computer. Motherboard is the most important component in your computer. It’s the part that connects all the other parts together and make sure they run smoothly. Getting an inappropriate motherboard for your computer will either cause your system to malfunction or break down.
How to choose a gaming motherboard?
The CPU connects to the motherboard through a CPU socket. Different CPU brand and model have different socket type.
- Socket 478 – for Intel Pentium 4 processors. (obsolete)
- Socket 775 – for later Intel Pentium 4 and Pentium D dual core processors
- Socket 754 – for AMD Sempron and some AMD Athlon processors (obsolete)
- Socket 939 – for newer and faster AMD Athlon processors
- Socket AM2 – for AMD Athlon processors, a replacement for socket 754 and 939
A gaming motherboard should contain either socket AM2 (for AMD CPU) or socket 775 (for Intel CPU). It must also be able to support dual core processor.
There are 3 different memory types:
SDRAM — meant for older processor such as Pentium III / Celeron processor. This type of RAM has become obsolete and not suitable for gaming purpose. All new motherboards do not support SDRAM.
DDR RAM — Currently the most common and widely used RAM in the market. Most motherboards support this type of RAM. The memory slot that connects the RAM to the motherboard is the 184 pins slot. It’s not compatible with SDRAM.
DDR2 RAM — latest RAM in the market. Most of the new motherboard support this type of RAM. The memory slot for this type of RAM is the 240 pins slot. It’s not compatible with SDRAM and DDR RAM.
Due to the difference in clock rate, a motherboard can only support one type of RAM at one time. It is not allowed to use a SDRAM and a DDR RAM together on the board. It will spoil the motherboard.
When choosing a gaming motherboard, it must have at least two memory slot supporting DDR2 RAM up to 4GB. This is to ensure that the gaming computer can receive the maximum performance from the RAM unit.
Hard Drive Interface
There are three types of interface to connect the hard drive to the motherboard: the IDE, SATA and SATA 2.
IDE — The traditional interface for connecting hard drive to the motherboard.
SATA — A new type of hard drive interface that is of a different technology from the IDE interface. It supports a transfer speed of 150MBps. All new motherboards support this type of interface.
SATA 2 — This is an upgrade version of the SATA interface. It supports transfer speed up to 300MBps.
If you are getting a gaming motherboard, it makes no sense if you buy the one that supports only IDE interface. The wise choice is to go for the one with SATA 2 interface. This will double your hard drive transfer speed, hence increase the system performance.
Graphics Card Slot
New gaming motherboards come with PCI-express slots, which is a replacement for the existing AGP slot. Some of these motherboards even support SLI or Crossfire technology, which allows two graphics cards to be connected to the motherboard. This dual graphics card technology is not a must-have feature, but if you are serious in getting the best out of your game play, then the SLI or Crossfire motherboard is something that you should consider getting.
Choosing a motherboard is never an easy task, especially if you’re looking for a gaming motherboard. It requires you to spend more time and effort to source for the right one.
Depending on the type of game you play, you may want to choose a gaming motherboard that best cater to your needs. If the game that you are playing require lot of graphics processing power, get motherboards that support 16x PCI-Express slot and SLI or Crossfire technology. For strategy games that require more computational power, get motherboards that allow you to upgrade your RAM to 8GB. Determine what you need your computer for, then choose the one that is most suitable for you.
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