What is a motherboard & what does it do?
Motherboards are fairly complex pieces of hardware, but when you break it down, the motherboard is basically a connectivity hub for the rest of the components in your PC. It’s the single platform that connects all other parts together, including the CPU, RAM, GPU, expansion cards, hard drives, and optical drives. It’s considered the backbone of your PC and should be one of the first parts you consider before building a PC.
Why is a motherboard important in gaming?
Despite the motherboard not having a huge impact on gaming performance, it still plays a major role in the hardware you can purchase – ultimately, having a knock on effect for gaming performance.
When we think of gaming performance driven hardware, we think of the GPU and CPU. That being said, whilst the motherboard isn’t one of the top priorities when it comes to gaming, you still need to carefully consider which one to go for.
The motherboard dictates factors like CPU support, RAM support, and expansion availability – all factors that can affect gaming performance. Without the right CPU, you’ll undoubtedly experience drops in FPS and unsmooth gameplay. And whilst hard drive capacity isn’t as important as the latter, it can still limit the amount of games your PC can hold – making it a consideration nonetheless; that’s why we constantly review and test for the best gaming motherboards on the market.
How do I find out which motherboard I have?
There are a few ways to find out which motherboard your computer has, that said, below are the two easiest methods on how to do so.
First, try opening your PC case and simply looking at the motherboard. When you remove the panel, you should see all your hardware facing you, with the motherboard PCB at the bottom. Somewhere on the motherboard, you should find the manufacturer and the model number of the motherboard. Below are some of the popular brands and models of today’s motherboards:
Popular motherboard manufacturers:
If you’re struggling to see what motherboard you have by opening the case, you can also check via your PC’s ‘System Information’.
- Start by typing System information in the Windows search bar – bottom left-hand corner of your desktop
- Inside System information, from the information on the right-hand side, search for Baseboard manufacturer and baseboard product
- This will show you your motherboard brand and model number
How to choose the right motherboard for your CPU
If you already know which CPU you plan on getting, choosing a motherboard becomes a much simpler task.
All CPUs and motherboards come designed with a specific socket in mind. The socket is the physical connector on the motherboard which houses the CPU. It forms the electrical interface and contact with the CPU, allowing the rest of the hardware to connect with it.
So, if you’re new to PC building, the first thing you should do is determine whether your CPU is Intel or AMD. Once established, find out what socket the CPU supports. Once this is confirmed, simply look for a motherboard that utilizes that particular socket.
Now, whilst this is the most basic way to look for a motherboard, as mentioned above, there are other factors to consider before buying one as well. You must also establish how much RAM (and the required speed) you need, how many expansion slots you require, what Gen USB support you require, and whether or not you want to go SLI/Crossfire or not. You also need to factor in future proofing your build, with some motherboards having compatibility for next generation CPUs – mainly AMD. We provide detailed reviews, guides & tips to make sure that you always have the best advice and recommendations for gaming motherboards.
How to check how much ram your motherboard supports
The easiest way to find out how much RAM your motherboard supports is to simply find out what motherboard you have. Then find the motherboard manufacturer page for that board and look up the key specifications. It’ll go through all the main specifications your motherboard offers, including RAM capacity support, RAM speed support, USB ports, expansion ports, SATA connectors, I/O port information, and more.