At the end of this article, I will clarify all your confusion about what kind of motherboard you need for your custom PC build.
It can be quite difficult to wrap your head around everything about getting or using a motherboard. Seeing others talk about motherboard details that confuse you can even be intimidating.
The motherboard is an important point of focus for every PC builder. It is responsible for connecting all the components of your computer, allowing all the important parts of your PC (such as the CPU and GPU) to interact.
Every part of your PC plugs into the motherboard you choose. This speaks volumes about the importance of having enough knowledge of motherboards.
I’ve spent the last five years as an IT professional addressing hardware how-to guides, all the latest best-of lists, and explainers to help people like you understand the hottest new hardware and software on desktops, laptops, and the web.
However, I get more emails than usual about people struggling to untangle the complexities of picking the right motherboard model for their needs and using the motherboard.
And “Where to begin?” is the beginner’s question, right?
I have created this extensive guide strictly with new builders in mind.
So, I won’t be mincing words when I say this may be the one single article you’ll have to go through to know everything about buying and using a motherboard.
At the end of this five-part article, you will learn how a motherboard operates, its features, types and models, and brands in the market to look at, and how to pick the right combinations for CPU and boards.
You will also learn the important details of using a motherboard as a beginner, the BIOS environment, and how to use the general functions of a motherboard.
As a bonus, I will show you all the common possible problems encountered while using a motherboard, troubleshooting tips, and important motherboard terminologies for beginners.
PART 1: UNDERSTANDING MOTHERBOARD
The motherboard is the unit of your entire PC setup that provides connectivity between other crucial components, including the memory (RAM), hard drive, and peripherals such as the keyboard or mouse.
Just as the CPU is the computer’s brain, the motherboard can be considered the computer’s nervous system since it connects all computer components.
In this section, you will learn, particularly, how a motherboard operates, its features, and the types of motherboards.
With this knowledge, you can have an expert idea of how to choose a motherboard for you in the market and what to look out for when making such a decision.
How Does a Motherboard Operate?
The motherboard of a standard desktop computer houses the microprocessor, primary memory, and other crucial parts. In modern microcomputers, it is becoming more and more common practice to integrate most of the peripherals into the motherboard itself.
Other components, like external storage, video display and sound controllers, and peripheral devices, may be connected to the motherboard through cables or plug-in cards.
A crucial part of a motherboard is the microprocessor’s supporting chipset. It offers interfaces between the CPU and the numerous buses and external components. The motherboard’s features and capabilities are partly determined by this chipset.
A large motherboard’s PCB may have six to 14 layers of fiberglass, copper connecting traces, and copper planes for the isolation of power and signals. Other parts can be added through a motherboard’s expansion slots. These additional parts include processor sockets, twin in-line memory modules, PCI, PCI Express, solid-state drive M.2 slots, peripheral component interconnect (PCI), and power supply connections.
Also, a Southbridge chip on a motherboard adds more connectivity options, such as PCI, SATA, Thunderbolt, USB, and others. The CPU is typically connected to double data rate 3 (DDR3), DDR4, DDR5, or integrated LPDDRx RAM and PCIe.
This is accomplished through the use of point-to-point interconnects such as HyperTransport, Intel’s QuickPath Interconnect, and Ultra Path Interconnect. The motherboard that a computer uses frequently determines how many functions it can support.
A heatsink and fan regulate the amount of heat produced by components such as the CPU. When a component becomes too hot, it can shut down, and the motherboard temperature sensor tells hardware like the processor and hard drive to cool down.
A form factor determines the parameters for a motherboard’s construction, including its size, shape, case, power supply, mounting holes, and general layout (more on this later). The ATX form factor is the most popular, and it has since evolved into mini-ATX, nano-ATX, pico-ATX, and other designs.
Due to the integration of some memory controllers into CPUs, motherboard Northbridge chips that handle memory management are no longer required. As a result, integrated video has transitioned from a motherboard-slotted peripheral to a graphics-capable CPU.
The Southbridge chipset is optional in AMD’s Ryzen system-on-a-chip architecture. Because of this CPU integration, the cost of manufacturing motherboards has decreased. They can develop specialized processor implementations that enable platform updates and basic systems for workstations and entry-level PCs.
A motherboard is inside the laptop or desktop computer’s case. As a result, you must open the PC case to access the motherboard. Its appearance is described using a variety of analogies. Some claim that it functions like a city because of the various blocks and complexes; to some extent, they are correct.
A motherboard is a pretty obvious component of a computer. After all, it is the biggest printed circuit board ever used in a computer. The circuit board on which the rest of the components are placed is called a motherboard.
A motherboard has circuits and information highways (PCIe lanes) that carry traffic from one component to the next. Similar to this, it features a variety of structures and landmarks, like the CPU socket, chipset, slots, etc.
P.S. : This is not an exhaustive list or explanation of how a motherboard operates, as other salient factors come into play, which we will look at as we dive deeper into this extensive guide. Stick with me.
Features of a Motherboard
Let’s remind ourselves that the primary function of the motherboard is to allow interaction between critical computer pieces, including the CPU, GPU, hard drive, memory, and connectors for input and output devices.
To make this happen, the motherboard has to be designed with crucial features, from the BIOS chips to the different ports and slots to the FBS speed.
Why do you have to know these features? The quality of a motherboard in terms of these features will say so much about its dependability and performance. So every novice and experienced PC builder alike should know these 10 key features of a motherboard:
1. Chipset or CPU Socket
A CPU socket on a motherboard comprises one or more mechanical components that provide an electrical and mechanical connection between a microprocessor and a printed circuit board (PCB). This makes it possible to install and remove the central processing unit (CPU) without the need for soldering.
Some CPU sockets have retention clips that exert a steady force that must be overcome when a device is plugged in. CPU sockets with retention clips are referred to as common sockets. Pin Grid Array (PGA) and Land Grid Array (LGA) are common socket examples.
Once a handle (PGA type) or a surface plate (LGA type) is installed, these designs apply a compression force.
Doing so allows you to place the chip into the socket without running the risk of bending the pins while still achieving improved mechanical retention. Ball Grid Array (BGA) sockets are used in some devices; however, they require soldering and are typically not thought of as user replaceable.
Another type of CPU socket is a zero insertion force (ZIF) socket; they are preferred for semiconductors with several pins.
CPU sockets are used in desktop and server computers ‘motherboards. They are used to prototype new circuits since they make component swapping simple. Laptops use surface-mount CPUs since they require less room on the motherboard than socketed components.
The printed circuit board (PCB) fabrication technology, which enables numerous signals to be effectively routed to neighboring components, is under more pressure as the pin density in current sockets rises.
Similarly, when pin counts and pin densities rise, the wire bonding technology within the chip carrier also becomes more demanding. Reflow soldering specifications will vary depending on the socket technology.
Electrical communication gradually moves to differential signaling via parallel buses as CPU and memory frequencies rise, which can be over 30 MHz or more. This will result in a new set of signal integrity difficulties.
All of these technologies will evolve simultaneously as the CPU socket evolves.
Connectors play a crucial role in the functioning of a motherboard. They can either be attached internally or externally to the motherboard.
Connectors are electrical components or tools that are used to connect or disconnect circuits. They can be connected and disconnected manually or with simple tools, eliminating the need for specialized equipment or soldering procedures.
Although there are numerous connector types, the vast majority are either single-piece connectors or two-piece connectors with a plug and socket. One-piece connectors are used to connect printed circuit boards (PCBs) and wires.
When a two-piece type has a plug and a socket, the contact part is where the plug and the socket are joined, and the connection section is where the printed circuit board or the electric wire is attached.
There are various connector types, some of which include hard drives, floppy drives, peripherals, and more. These connectors all enable the motherboard to work better.
3. Form Factor
We have looked into this earlier, but here is where we elaborate. The form factor is a hardware design that determines the size, shape, and other physical parameters of components, particularly those used in electronics.
A motherboard’s form factor refers to its design and layout. The shape of the computer’s case and the placement of specific components are both influenced by the form factor.
The majority of PC motherboards employ multiple distinct form factors so that they can all fit in common cases.
Some of these form factors include:
|Motherboard Form Factor
|Form Micro ATX
|An upgrade of ATX9.6 x 9.6 inches in sizefour expansion slotscompatible with ISA, PCI, PCI / ISA shared, and AGP, and supported by Micro-ATX. SSupports Intel and AMD processors
|Form Micro Mini-ITX
|Made to support low-consumption teams6.7 x 6.7 inch Mini ITX configuration
|Form Micro Nano-ITX
|Measures 4.7 × 4.7 inchesFully integrated boards and made to use extremely little powerMade specifically for smart entertainment systems like PVRs, media hubs, smart TVs, in-car gadgets, and the like.
|Form Micro Pico-ITX
|The smallest motherboard form factor on this list (75% smaller than the Mini-ITXMeasures of 3.9 2.8 inchesx86-based architecture and a low-power consumption board.VIA created and developed this motherboard.For embedded systems applications, including industrial automation, in-vehicle computers, digital signage, and more.
To connect more connectors, slots, and components, you need more space, which the form factor provides.
You will need a small form factor, such as a 6.7-inch square microITX or a 9.6-inch microATX, if you want to build a compact system.
These elements are crucial to enhancing the motherboard’s capabilities. This motherboard feature helps the motherboard and brings your system back to life.
An expansion slot, or bus slot, or expansion port is a connection or port situated inside a computer on the motherboard or riser board that enables the attachment of a computer hardware expansion card.
For instance, if you want to insert a video expansion card into your computer, you would do so through the expansion slot.
Most likely, when working with computers today, you will only come across AGP, PCI, and PCI Express. The expansion slots come in four main varieties: PCI Express, PCI, AGP, and ISA.
PCI Express: The PCI Express, commonly known as PCIe, is an expansion slot that is the finest kind to have on your computer. Without boring you, the PCI Express type of expansion slot connects swiftly and effectively with the motherboard and, consequently, with the microprocessor.
PCI: The most popular type of internal extension for a PC is the PCI slot. A few computers feature both PCI and PCI Express slots.
AGP: These expansion slots were created primarily to accommodate graphics adapters. Accelerated Graphics Port is the actual name of this port. The best video cards use PCI Express, while older computers might have this expansion slot.
ISA: The Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) is the oldest sort of expansion slot. ISA slots are still in use since they work with older expansion cards.
Slots are crucial to the motherboard since they allow for the addition of a few vital components and increase their capability.
5. BIOS or UEFI BIOS
The term “BIOS” stands for “basic input-output system.” It is low-level software that is housed on a chip on the motherboard of your computer.
When your computer turns on, the BIOS loads and is in charge of waking up the hardware components, checking that they are running properly before launching the bootloader, which boots Windows or any other operating system you may have installed.
BIOS interface of the Gigabyte Aorus gaming motherboard
Pressing a specific key during computer boot-up will bring up this screen; on different systems, this key is frequently Esc, F2, F10, or Delete.
Here you may find settings for your computer’s hardware configuration, system time, and boot sequence.
When you save a setting, your motherboard’s memory is where it is stored. The BIOS will configure your computer using the saved settings when you boot it up.
Before starting your operating system, the BIOS performs a POST, or power-on self-test. It verifies that your hardware configuration is accurate and functional. You’ll either see an error message or hear a confusing series of beep codes if something is wrong. (More on this in Part 4)
The BIOS searches for a Master Boot Record, or MBR, saved on the booting device when the computer boots up and uses it to start the bootloader.
The BIOS CMOS battery:
The BIOS uses a battery-backed memory known as CMOS (which stands for complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) to save different motherboard settings.
However, this strategy is no longer commonly used because flash memory, also known as EEPROM, has taken its place in modern computers.
6. FSB Speed
The FSB, which stands for front-side bus, is responsible for connecting the CPU (chipset) with the main memory and L2 cache.
It is sometimes referred to as the processor bus, memory bus, or system bus. The FSB can operate at frequencies as low as 66 MHz and as high as 400 MHz.
If you are buying a motherboard or a new computer, the FSB is now a crucial factor to take into account.
Both the system BIOS and the jumpers on the motherboard of the computer can be used to change the FSB speeds.
Even though you can adjust the FSB on most motherboards, be sure it is set correctly unless you want to overclock the system. Remember that with older technology, incorrect settings could result in problems like hardware lockups, data corruption, or other failures (e.g., SCSI cards). Check the component’s FSB speed and compatibility with your motherboard.
7. Memory Bus
A memory bus is a sort of computer bus that connects electrical components and enables data and address transfers from the main memory to the central processing unit (CPU) or a memory controller. It often takes the shape of a set of wires or conductors.
It is a portion of a PC’s network of transport buses that are used to channel high-speed data and transfer information to and from certain system components.
Newly created memory buses are made to connect directly to dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips rather than going through many controllers to minimize time delays.
Front-side bus speed is another name for the memory bus speed. The fact that this links the Central Processing Unit and Northbridge makes it crucial. It enhances the computer’s performance.
Without the memory bus, the FSB’s speed range of 66 MHz to 800 MHz is not conceivable. This component of the motherboard gives consumers a sense of how well their system is functioning.
8. CPU Multiplier
The CPU multiplier refers to the speed ratio between the CPU and the FSB. It is also known as the clock ratio, clock multiplier, or CPU core ratio. For example, a CPU that has a multiplier of 20 and an external clock of 133 MHz operates at 2.66 GHz.
Not every motherboard for a computer has a BIOS setting for this. For those that do, changing the computer multiplier can be done by going into BIOS setup and selecting the CPU or overclocking option.
You must be aware of the possible problems that can occur while overclocking a computer before making this change.
The CPU multiplier supported by contemporary chipsets ranges from 3 to 10.0 or even more. A system can acquire a lot more functionality from this motherboard feature.
In computers where the ratio of an internal CPU clock rate to an external one is set, the CPU multiplier helps the motherboard improve its performance.
9. CPU SMP Support
Symmetric multiprocessing, also known as shared-memory multiprocessing (SMP), is a multiprocessor computer architecture in which two or more identical processors are connected to a single, shared main memory.
When connected, these processors have complete access to all input and output devices and are managed by a single operating system instance that treats all processors equally and does not reserve any for special purposes.
In today’s multiprocessor systems, SMP design is the norm. With multi-core CPUs, each core is treated as an independent processor under the SMP architecture.
All Intel CPUs, except Duron and AMD Athlon, are capable of supporting SMP. One of the excellent features of symmetric multi-processing is that it is connected to two identical motherboards.
This enables the motherboard to have twice as much memory capacity and speed. One of the best motherboard characteristics that can help boost the motherboard’s performance by two times is CPU SMP support.
10. Integrated Drive Electronics Controller (IDE)
An integrated drive electronics controller (IDE) is an electronic interface standard that establishes the connection between a bus on the motherboard of a computer and the computer’s disk storage devices.
The 16-bit IBM PC Industry Standard Architecture bus standard served as the foundation for the IDE interface’s creation, but it has subsequently been used in machines with various bus architectures.
ATA, or PATA, is the more popular name for IDE (parallel ATA). Since IDE’s controllers are built into each drive, it differs from SCSI and ESDI (Enhanced Small Disk Interface) because each drive may communicate with the motherboard or controller directly.
Types of Motherboards
The various types of motherboards are dependent on their form factors. As you have seen in the previous section, “Motherboard Features,” form factors are hardware designs that determine the size, shape, and other physical parameters of a device.
I had earlier mentioned 4 form factors; however, 6 form factors underscore the types of motherboards.
So, if you want to get a motherboard or are asked what type of motherboard you use, you are going to talk about what form factor your motherboard is designed with. Here are the six different types:
1. AT Motherboard
AT Motherboard stands for Advanced Technology Motherboard.
These motherboards are not appropriate for the mini desktop category of PCs since they have larger physical dimensions that range in the hundreds of millimeters.
On these motherboards, the power connectors come in the form of sockets and six-pin plugs. Users have trouble connecting to and using these power connectors since they are difficult to identify.
2. LPX Motherboard
The Low-Profile Extended (LPX) motherboard was introduced in 1997 by Western Digital. Used in the late 1980s and into the 1990s, this motherboard was a rival motherboard form factor created by Western Digital in 1987.
A riser card was used, the video, parallel, serial, and PS/2 ports were located differently than on other motherboards, and an LPX motherboard was 9 inches by 13 inches in size.
Although the Baby AT form factor enjoyed greater success than the LPX motherboard, it was still a competitive option in the early 1990s.
3. ATX Motherboard
Advanced Technology eXtended, or ATX, is a specification that specifies the dimensions and configuration of motherboards to increase standardization.
ATX has undergone numerous changes since Intel first made it available in July 1995. Version 2.01 was released in February 1997 and was followed by version 2.03 in May 2000, 2.1 in June 2002, and 2.2 in February 2004.
4. BTX Motherboard
The Balanced Technology Extended (BTX) motherboard was designed by Intel to supersede ATX and was introduced in 2004. In contrast to the ATX, the positioning of each chip socket in the BTX is predetermined to ensure enough airflow over the processor and graphics card.
BTX was originally designed to replace ATX. This design has decreased power needs and reduced heat. Additionally, it makes use of upgraded technologies, such as the peripheral component interface (PCI) express, USB 2.0, and serial advanced technology attachment (ATA).
5. Mini ITX Motherboard
Mini-ITX is a small motherboard configuration intended to accommodate reasonably affordable computers in tight areas like those found in cars, set-top boxes, and network devices. Thin client PCs can also be built using Mini-ITX.
The Mini-ITX shares similarities with and is backward compatible with predecessor motherboards, like the ATX motherboard; however, it differs from them in several ways.
The Mini-ITX, as the name implies, is smaller, as it measures 170 mm by 170 mm (6.75 inches by 6.75 inches), and its power source is under 100 watts.
The ultra-low power x86 CPUs used in Mini-ITX systems are soldered to the motherboard and are cooled by a heatsink alone, as opposed to a heatsink and a fan.
- The motherboard is the unit of your entire PC setup that provides connectivity between other crucial components including the memory (RAM), hard drive, and peripherals such as the keyboard or mouse.
- Features of a motherboard include the chipset, connectors, form factor, slots, BIOS, FSB Speed, Memory Bus, CPU Multiplier
- The types of the motherboard are underlined by the form factors: AT, LPX, ATX, BTX. and Mini iTX motherboard
Part 2: Buying a Motherboard
- What is the best motherboard brand to buy?
- What motherboard and processor combination should I choose?
- How do I pick the best motherboard for gaming?
These are examples of common questions people ask, and chances are you’ve pondered them too as a new builder. Now that you have a comprehensive understanding of how motherboards operate and their features, the next milestone is knowing how to pick one in the market for your needs.
Modern motherboards can be pretty pricey, but there’s a whole lot more to look at beyond price. To begin with, the brands
|Quality and innovation
|Durability and high-end features
In this chapter, you will learn the prominent types of motherboard brands in the market, how to choose the best one, and, of course, expert-recommended models and types of motherboard combinations for new builders.
Helpful facts about the motherboard market:
The motherboard chipset market has grown from 78.7% to 83.3% in the past 12 months, while the global motherboard market will be valued at USD 14,230 million by the end of 2026, growing at a CAGR of 1.4% from 2021 to 2026.
Top 4 Motherboard Brands in the Market
ASRock is not a new name in the motherboard market. Since its inception in 2002, the company has had an excellent track record of producing top-notch motherboards and is now famous for its ‘Taichi’ name on the ASRock stable.
Motherboards made by ASRock appeal more to PC builders who are interested in budget-friendly options (When you compare the average ASRock motherboard price with other brands,
But we still have a few ASRock motherboard lineups that perform poorly. This explains why many people prefer to stick with the Taichi flagship.
ASUS is another big name in the gaming industry, and its production is not limited to motherboards. They are well represented in the laptop, smartphone, and peripherals markets.
The average ASUS motherboard is built with quality and innovation in mind. So if these two are your priorities, you’ve found your favorite brand.
The flagship of ASUS in terms of motherboards is the ROG (Republic of Gamers), which was released in 2006. Of course, it doesn’t measure up in the area of affordability, but no other brand comes close to ROG in terms of quality.
You will only get into trouble choosing the ASUS brand when you begin to look for mid-range value motherboards within ASUS products. If you want to favor this brand, be ready to spend, knowing that your money is getting you quality. This brand is also a solid pick if you want RGB control. (More on this shortly.)
Gigabyte is a really old brand in the motherboard manufacturing business. Gamers who find this brand a favorite, on average, are those who lean more towards durability and high-end features (software and hardware).
Since the launch of the famous gaming brand Aorus, Gigabyte has become one of the top recommendations, and they are consistently leading the frontline of innovation in today’s motherboard design.
But there are two popular problems that Gigabyte die-hard fans usually have to deal with:
- It is overbuilt
- The brand has the habit of adding a frustrating dual BIOS implementation on some of its motherboards. But this keeps you in control with its physical switch that many owners find very useful.
MSI is another old motherboard brand we still have on the mainstream market today. If you are a new PC builder, this will be your ideal brand if you are more interested in features that will improve your gaming experience.
They produce decent motherboards, but in recent times, they have released motherboards for professionals. Take the MSI z490 Unify Motherboard, for example. From the fancy RGB to the excellent features, MSI is a perfect balance of Gigabyte and ASRock.
It is easy to find MSI budget options that won’t sacrifice performance for affordability.
The fault in going for MSI as your motherboard brand is that they lag behind ASUS and Gigabyte when it comes to workstation-class products and features.
So as good as MSI is, it may not satisfy you if you intend to build a system for GPU rendering on a consumer platform or other specialized workloads.
We will stop here, but this is not an exhaustive list. There are other popular motherboard brands, but after doing a comparative analysis, these brands are topping the chart and are most recommended.
Now, even with these details, it can be hard to choose the brand to go for. Here’s what you should look at:
How to Choose the Right Motherboard for Your Build
Here’s the tricky part: there’s no best or worst motherboard brand or choice. However, the same motherboard brand or model that is considered a great product today can become overpriced and offer a terrible experience the next year.
In tech, things change quickly. Eggs and omelets
For this reason, I strongly recommend you don’t focus on the brand when choosing a motherboard for your build. Instead, use the following as a yardstick:
Except if you reside in the EU or UK, the best option you have when choosing a motherboard is to get one that allows you to deal with your manufacturer directly and not through retail.
The warranty experience for different brands varies by region. So be sure of the warranty process for your motherboard before shelling out cash. I needed to get this out of the way before going into the technical details because many first-time builders fall into the nest.
You want a motherboard with an easy-to-follow BIOS interface. (I’m thinking of the AMD Ryzen X570 motherboards right now.)
If you have been using a particular brand’s BIOS interface, it is best to stick with that brand so that troubleshooting or reconfiguration will be easy to navigate.
Most modern motherboards like this should have a relative.
Another important detail in the BIOS experience is to be sure of the motherboard’s update frequency. Before choosing a motherboard brand, check a few past generations to see if the models still receive timely updates.
The motherboard brand’s RGB software is another thing to look at. In my opinion, I do not see any manufacturer that cracks the roof in producing impressive software. However, ASUS seems to be doing a better job than others.
So if you wish to use a lot of lightning with your motherboard, RGB software is something you should strongly consider.
Here’s an illustration of the major motherboard manufacturers and their RGB software:
Does the motherboard flash the BIOS without a CPU?
Lastly, you want to be sure that the motherboard can flash your BIOS without a CPU installed, especially when the board supports a single generation of CPUs. If you are buying an AMD motherboard, this feature is non-negotiable.
Recommended Models and Types of Motherboard for New Builders
If you are still having a hard time deciding on what motherboard brand and model to choose, what processor and GPU to pair with, and what other peripherals to get, then I’ve done the work for you.
Here are my top recommendations:
|Motherboard Dimension MemoryRAMVaried Uses Price ASUS ProArt Z49023.62 x 15.75 x 15.27 inchDDR4128GBGraphics DesignPhotoshop$286Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Pro9.6 x 12.0″ / 24.4 x 30.5 cmDDR564GBGraphics DesignGaming $330ASUS ROG Strix B460-I6.7 x 6.7″ / 17.0 x 17.0 cmDDR464 GBGaming $190.04ASRock Z6902 PCIe 5.0 x16, 1 PCIe 4.0 x16, 1 PCIe 3.0 x1DDR4128 GBGamingProgramming $200Gigabyte Z690I Aorus Ultra Plus9.25 x 8.94 x 3.74 inchesDDR464 GBGaming $309.99MSI MAG B550M Mortar9.6 x 9.6 x 1.5 inchesDDR4128 GBGaming $230MSI MPG Z4909.6 x 12″ / 24.4 x 30.5 cmDDR4128GBGaming $125AMD X570 9.6 x 12″ / 243.84 x 304.80 mmDDR4128GBGaming Graphics designPhoto-editing $146MSI MAG B460Mn/aDDR4128 GBGraphics Design $124.99Gigabyte B365M DS3H8.90 x 8.07″ / 22.6 x 20.5 cmDDR464 GBGraphics Design $102.78
1. ASUS ProArt Z490
ASUS ProArt Z490 features the top-of-the-line LGA 1200 socket compatible with the newest 10th and 11th generation Intel processors and the Z490 premium chipset designed for enthusiasts, gamers, and power users.
This is a highly recommended option if you are a professional with a sizable budget to spend on a top-of-the-line motherboard made especially for content creators and graphic designers. This motherboard makes more sense if your system’s other components are also high-end.
In addition, this motherboard has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, which is one of its most appealing features and one that many content creators value.
2. Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Pro
The Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Pro is a mid-range Alder Lake motherboard that costs roughly $330 and provides excellent all-around performance with few compromises. There are four M.2 connectors for additional storage, enhanced audio, and a fresh form factor.
There is a lot to like about the Z690 Aorus Pro, including its 13 USB ports on the rear IO, four M.2 connections, and competent power delivery, all at a price that is significantly less than that of other motherboards. The Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Pro is a great Alder Lake motherboard to base your Z690 system on, provided you don’t need integrated RGB lighting or Wi-Fi 6E out of the box (you still get Wi-Fi 6).
3. ASUS ROG Strix B460-I
This motherboard is another great choice for graphic designers. Mini ITX is the form factor used by this motherboard. As a result, this is thought to be the smallest motherboard form factor that can be used to construct a standard PC. It measures just 6.7 by 6.7 inches.
The main drawback to this motherboard is how little room there is for expansion. It only provides a single PCIe X16 slot to begin with. The graphics card will most likely be the only one with access to this.
It also has a dual M.2 slot and four SATA slots. It’s uncommon for Mini ITX motherboards to have two M.2 SSD sockets. Therefore, there shouldn’t be a problem with storage expansion.
4. ASRock Z690
In some tests, the ASRock Z690 Extreme WiFi 6E’s out-of-the-box performance with some heavy multi-threaded programs was a little slower than normal, but when it came to game testing and workloads with fewer threads, this board excelled.
The board has a lot of hardware for its price, including dual 1GbE/2.5GbE Ethernet connections, three M.2 sockets, eight SATA connectors, and integrated Wi-Fi 6E.
With its predominantly black design, dark blue highlights, vivid RGB LEDs, and visually pleasing PCB notches, this board’s appearance is impeccable.
5. Gigabyte Z690I Aorus Ultra Plus
From several reviews, the Gigabyte Z690I Aorus Ultra Plus has shown itself to be a high-performing, attractive, and reasonably priced option in the Z690 ITX market. It is priced at $329.99, less than most of the competition, and comes with two M.2 connections, a contemporary premium audio codec, and premium 105A MOSFETs to power any CPU. Additionally, the design is RGB-inclusive.
Its competitors include the MSI MEG Z690I Unify ($399.99), the ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB4 ($299.99), and the ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi 6E ($409.99) from Asus. The difference between these two ITX boards, which are more than adequate, depends on your needs and the pricing.
These boards all come equipped with Wi-Fi 6E, 2.5 GbE, two M.2 connectors, and at least two SATA connections. The MSI board is the only one with three M.2 sockets; the other boards all have extra SATA ports.
If you compare audio codecs, the ASRock falls short, although few people would notice a difference.
6. MSI MAG B550M Mortar
The MSI MAG B550M Mortar motherboard is known for its excellent performance and fantastic price. Due to the intensive quality assurance and development process that went into its production, this series has come to be associated with toughness and sturdiness.
The MAG series features products of the highest quality and intuitive designs. This implies that creating and using a user interface are both straightforward processes.
Gamers were a priority in the design of the MSI MAG B550M Mortar. With eight digital CPU power phases for increased efficiency, it boasts a tough VRM design.
The CPU can run more quickly and with pure current thanks to the ground-breaking Core Boost technology.
7. MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi
From its name, it’s obvious this motherboard is for gaming. A built-in diagnostic and video spy camera allows the MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi motherboard for laptop computer game creation to monitor a variety of system parameters, including system temperature, program usage, and processor speed.
The product’s user manual contains all the information you need. It performs a variety of special tasks that other brands do not offer.
There won’t be a problem for you if you’re running a high-end gaming system that is compatible with Windows XP on this motherboard. It can update audio and video cards.
8. AMD X570
The top-tier AMD chipset is called the X570. When it comes to functionality, the X570 outperforms the A and B series. The newer Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 gen processors are supported; however, the finest feature of the 500 series X series is that they also support the PCIe v4.0 standard.
In comparison to the earlier Gen 3 version, its PCIe 4.0 protocol doubles the transmission speed between the CPU and PCIe devices.
In addition, this motherboard is premium because it features premium sub-components, such as a superb 12+2 phase power architecture, making it appropriate for projects based on potent Ryzen 7 or Ryzen 9 processors.
9. MSI MAG B460M BAZOOKA
This motherboard is neither a microITX motherboard nor a large ATX motherboard in size. It has the mATX form factor, which provides fair expandability.
This motherboard comes highly recommended because it is affordable for beginning and intermediate users. And it has a lot of capabilities. It boasts dual M. 2 slots, great heatsinks, 4 DIMM slots, up to 128 GB of RAM support, 1 PCIe x 16 slot for your GPU, and 2 PCIe x 1 slots for extra expansion
10. Gigabyte B365M DS3H
I highly recommend this if you like Intel setups and want to buy one of the cheapest motherboards available.
This is the absolute minimum requirement for an Intel build. The chipset is an Intel B365; the Z series is a premium chipset, whereas the H series offers an even more affordable setup. The B series is considered a mid-range chipset.
The Gigabyte B365M DS3H motherboard has a respectable number of ports for expansion, including one PCIe X16 slot for a graphics card, one PCIe X4 slot, and one PCIe X1 slot. The LA chipset provides a total of 20 PCIe lanes. Therefore, you can expand far more with this than you can with the previous B360 chipset, which supports only 12 PCIe lanes.
This motherboard was mostly created for beginner-to-advanced designers.
Does motherboard tier level matter?
A motherboard tier list is a ranking system that categorizes motherboards based on their quality, performance, and features.
The purpose of a motherboard tier level is to help users identify which motherboards are best suited for their specific needs and budgets. Motherboard tier lists are typically created by technology experts, hardware enthusiasts, or online forums dedicated to PC building.
For this reason, the lists are subjective and may differ from one another based on the criteria used to evaluate the motherboards.
Typically, motherboards are ranked into different tiers or levels, with higher tiers indicating higher quality and better performance.
How are motherboards ranked on tier levels?
The criteria used to rank motherboards usually include
- Quality of components used
- Reliability of the motherboard
- Number and type of ports and slots
- BIOS features
- Overall performance of the motherboard.
Just so you know, a motherboard tier level is not an official ranking system. Whenever you come across one on forums, I don’t recommend you take it as a general guide. Ultimately, you’d want to evaluate individual motherboards based on your specific needs and use cases.
- Getting a new motherboard boils down to choosing a brand, your preferred specifications to match your needs, and of course your budget.
- ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, ASRock, and EVGA are the leading motherboard brands, especially for first-time builders but your choice among these will depend on needs, preference, budget, and availability.
- To choose the best motherboard in the market, give a hard look at BIOS experience/interface, warranty/RMA experience, BIOS update frequency, flashing BIOS without a CPU, RGB Software, and reviews from users on forums
Part 3: Using a Motherboard
I strongly believe that the information in the previous section will serve as an ultimate guide for you to pick the right motherboard product for your build. But it doesn’t end there.
The use of motherboards is another area that gets a lot of FAQs in PC-building online communities. After you’ve purchased a motherboard, you need to know a couple of important things to ensure that your new PC built with your motherboard runs smoothly and efficiently.
These factors affecting motherboard issues include:
|Using a motherboard (Important factors)
|The first step to using a motherboard after purchase is to ensure it is compatible with the other components you plan to use, including the CPU, RAM, and GPU
|You will need to follow the guidelines in your motherboard manual to install the motherboard into the computer case, connect the power supply, fans, and other components
|After installing your motherboard, you will need to access the BIOS to configure settings such as boot order, fan speeds, and overclocking. This one requires special attention later in this chapter, especially for first-time users. DriversTo use the motherboard, you also need to install the drivers provided by the motherboard manufacturer to ensure all components are functioning properlyMaintenanceDifferent motherboard brands have various maintenance specifications but there is a general rule of thumb. For example, regular checks for firmware updates and ensuring dust-free components.
A better way to explain how to use a motherboard like a pro and maximize the potential of the unit is to explain it alongside the functions of a motherboard.
General Functions of a Motherboard
One major function of the motherboard is that it serves as the backbone of the computer, connecting all of its parts and enabling communication between them. None of the components of the computer, including the hard disk, GPU, and CPU, could interact without it.
I have highlighted other functions of the motherboard; these functions are tied to its features to help you understand how you can use what you’ve spent money on. They are:
1. Input and Output Ports
The motherboard provides input and output ports, which are used for inserting and extracting data from the system.
Input ports are found on the main parts of a computer, which are kept inside the chassis. Output ports are located outside the case, usually in the back. These ports offer numerous points of contact and connection for each of these components. For example, one type of connection where memory modules are installed is the RAM slot, which is typically found adjacent to the CPU.
If you want to install an external hard drive by connecting it to a USB port, you can use one of the external ports, which are usually found at the back of the motherboard. Also, to install an internal hard drive, even a solid-state drive, on the motherboard, you would need to open the case and insert it into one of the internal ports.
2. Peripheral Connection
The motherboard provides peripheral devices that connect to computers via a variety of input and output interfaces, including communications (COM), Universal Serial Bus (USB), and serial ports like Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) ones.
Examples of peripheral devices include the following:
- External Drive
- USB Flash Drive
Although there are many different types of peripherals, they are typically broken down into three major groups: input, output, and storage devices.
Input peripherals translate incoming user commands or actions into usable data that the computer can comprehend.
For instance, the computer’s keyboard will translate keystrokes into characters that appear on the screen, and the monitor will translate hand gestures into movements of a cursor that can be used to interact with the operating system’s programs. Joysticks, microphones, webcams, and optical scanners are other examples of input devices.
Digital signals are converted by output peripherals into information that the user can understand or use.
For instance, a laser printer converts information recorded in a word file into printed material, while a monitor or display screen shows the operating system’s desktop. Projectors, 3D printers, and speakers are other output peripherals.
Storage peripherals are used to store and record data. Internal and external hard drives, CD-ROM and DVD drives, and flash memory drives are examples of storage peripherals.
3. PCI Expansion Slot
PCI is an abbreviation for Peripheral Component Interconnect. The most important parts of your PC can connect to your motherboard using PCIe slots, which enable crucial functionality.
When you’re prepared to go beyond preloaded features like graphics and storage, they also offer you a variety of customization and upgrade possibilities.
You can increase the capabilities of your computer by using the PCI slot. This slot on the computer enables the installation of expansion cards.
4. Bus and Power Connector
Typically, when we talk about buses and power connectors, we’re talking about USB-connected devices that get their power directly from the USB connection and don’t need an extra power source.
To increase the number of connected devices or the USB distance, for instance, you can have a USB hub or repeater.
These connectors permit electrical current to flow through them solely to power a device (not a data stream, for example, or anything more complex).
Direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC) can both be carried by bus and power connectors (DC). Devices can be linked to a building’s main power supply via AC connectors and sockets. Depending on the national norms of the nation you are in, these sorts of plugs and sockets have different voltage ratings, current ratings, sizes, and designs.
To prevent users from unintentionally attempting to connect an incompatible plug and socket, DC connectors can be used; they have more standard types that are not interchangeable. DC connectors can be found on different things, including battery packs, electronic equipment, and accessories for cars.
5. Heatsinks and mounting points for fans and key components
The motherboard holds together some essential parts of the computer, such as the central processing unit (CPU), memory, and connectors for input and output devices.
It also carries the heatsink and fan, which are used to actively cool integrated circuits in computer systems, typically the central processing unit (CPU).
It is made up of a passive cooling system (the heat sink) and a fan, as the name would imply. The fan is typically a DC brushless fan, which is the industry standard for computer systems, and the heat sink is usually manufactured from a high-temperature conductive material like aluminum or copper.
A very stiff layer of non-conductive material, usually rigid plastic, serves as the motherboard’s base. Traces, like thin layers of copper or aluminum foil, are imprinted on this base. These traces are incredibly narrow, and they connect the various components on the motherboard.
6. Memory sockets for RAM, ROM, and cache
The motherboard provides sockets or ports for RAM, ROM, and cache, which are all storage devices in the system.
RAM is used to store data temporarily. It is a quick type of memory storage that stores data like programs, apps, the operating system, and the graphic user interface (GUI).
All information kept in RAM on a computer is lost if the power goes out.
ROM is a memory that a user or a program cannot alter. Even after the computer is shut off, ROM keeps its memories. The instructions for the computer to boot up when it is turned on again, for instance, are stored in the ROM.
The cache is a specific kind of computer memory. Caches are used to prioritize data for quick access, which speeds up computers.
Web pages and the pictures on them, as well as copies of recently accessed content, are kept in the cache. It keeps this data on hand so that it can “swap” onto your screen at any time. To avoid having your computer access the original web page and photos in Denmark, the cache only gives you access to the most recent version on your hard drive.
This helps speed up the functioning of your device because the next time you request a page, it will be accessed from the cache on your computer rather than from a remote Web server.
The BIOS of Your Motherboard: All You Should Know
The Basic Input Output System, or BIOS, of your motherboard is software stored on a small memory chip in your system’s motherboard. This software is the first to run when you power on your system.
It performs an initial set of diagnostic tests called POST (Power On Self-Test) to see if there are any issues with the hardware before booting into Windows or any other operating system you use.
Different motherboard brands and models have their own distinguishing BIOS environment interfaces. But generally, the software contains the instructions your computer needs to load its basic hardware, including the POST.
So when you boot your system and it doesn’t post into your OS, the BIOS will prompt certain beeps to alert you to what could be the issue.
Apart from the POST function, the primary function of the BIOS environment on every motherboard is to serve as a bootstrap loader and provide BIOS drivers to give your system basic control over its hardware.
Another important aspect of the BIOS of your motherboard is that it provides a setup interface, allowing you to access its configuration program to configure your system’s hardware settings such as time, date, and passwords.
Things you can do in the BIOS interface of your motherboard
Depending on your motherboard, there are various ways to access the BIOS environment of your motherboard. On most motherboard brands and models, you can get into the BIOS setup by continuously pressing the DEL key as your system boots.
Once you’re in the BIOS interface, here are the various tasks you can perform to configure your motherboard’s operation:
- Change CD/DVD/BD drive settings
- View the amount of memory Installed
- Change the bootup num lock status
- Reset the Extended System Configuration Data (ESCD)
- Enable or disable the BIOS control of system resources
- Alter the fan’s speed settings
- View CPU and system temperatures
- View the fan speeds
- Enable or disable the CPU’s internal cache
- Create/Delete a BIOS password
- Change the date and time
- Change the ACPI suspend type
- Change the power button function
- Change the boot order
- RGB settings
- Load BIOS setup defaults
- Change hard drive settings
- Enable or disable the BIOS caching
- Change the CPU settings
- Change the memory settings
- Change system voltages
- Enable/disable RAID
- Enable/disable the onboard USB
- Enable/disable the onboard IEEE1394
- Enable/disable the onboard audio
- Enable/disable the onboard serial or parallel ports
- Enable/disable ACPI
- Flash (Update) BIOS
- Enable or disable the computer logo
- Enable or disable the Quick Power On Self Test (POST)
- Change the power-on settings
- Change which display gets initialized first on the multi-display setups
Updating the BIOS software on your motherboard
Motherboard brands occasionally release updates for your BIOS chip, allowing users to add more memory.
You can also update the data on your BIOS chip, especially if it’s a flash BIOS that allows you to boot with a special disk without even opening the case.
But if you have an older BIOS chip, you have to replace the entire chip with many changes.
The bottom line is that when you want to update your BIOS software, the files and information you need are usually on your motherboard manufacturer’s website. And before you take any action, I strongly recommend backing up all your system’s data from its hard drive.
You also want to confirm if your motherboard has a recovery jumper before updating your BIOS so that if things go wrong, you can recover the original BIOS.
Types of BIOS
Another important aspect of the BIOS setup of motherboards is the types, namely, legacy and UEFI BIOS.
Older motherboards using Legacy BIOS to turn on the computer. The drawback of this BIOS type is that it can’t handle data drives larger than 2.1 TB. On the other hand, UEFI supports 2.2 TB or larger drives using the Master Boot Record.
So which of these two BIOS programs should you use? Well, it depends on your needs.
UEFI is the newest of the two boot software offerings. People prefer it for its improved scalability, higher performance, better programmability, and higher security. The interface and speed are relatively smooth and faster. Also, you don’t need another bootloader program to load Windows or any OS when using UEFI.
This explains why you see many manufacturers such as AMD, AMI, Apple, Dell, HP, and even Lenovo using UEFI.
- Using a motherboard revolves around compatibility, installation, BIOS, drivers, and maintenance.
- To maximize the potential, you need to know the functions of a motherboard and how to use them for various tasks. these functions include: input/output ports, peripheral connections, PCI Expansion slot, Bus, and power connector, heatsink and mounting points for fans, and Memory sockets for RAM, ROM, and Cache
- The BIOS environment of your motherboard allows for POST and driver configuration. The appearance of the interface varies as per motherboard brand and models
- The two main types of BIOS software for motherboards are Legacy and UEFI. UEFI is a better option and is used in newer motherboards.
PART 4: PROBLEMS AND TROUBLESHOOTING FOR THE MOTHERBOARD
Part of the experience of using a motherboard is having to deal with malfunctions, operational issues, and software or hardware defects. It’s almost inevitable.
In this chapter, you will learn about the common problems users face with their motherboards and the popular solutions to them.
Before then, it is worth noting that the motherboard is designed with dedicated LED light indicators that help alert users when there’s a software or hardware issue with their motherboard and how to fix it (using instructions in the motherboard that correspond with the light indicator).
Light Indications from Motherboards: Meaning and Troubleshooting Tips
Motherboards have light indicators that let users know the motherboard has power. Users may also be informed of faults via the light indicators.
Below, I have discussed the red and yellow light indicators, the issues they indicate, and how to troubleshoot these issues.
1. Orange Light
A solid orange light flags the following issues:
- Inadequate power supply
- Unstable power source
- Damaged Parts
- RAM and the motherboard are not compatible
- Incorrect positioning of the RAM stick
- Heatsink Too Tight
- Faulty CPU
- Loose Hardware/Wire Connection
How to troubleshoot orange light errors
RAM Stick Insertion: Remove and Replace RAM in the Slot
Removing and resetting the RAM can help if your motherboard displays an orange light. Your system might not even recognize your RAM if you have not installed it correctly. You can use a blower to clean the slot or rub some alcohol on your RAM. Before inserting the RAM stick into the RAM slot, make sure it is completely dry.
Make sure the gap between the RAM stick and the slot on the motherboard is lined up before you install the RAM. To confirm that the RAM is fully inserted, you must also hear the click sound.
You can put the RAM in a different slot if the problem persists.
You can check the cooling fan’s and GPU’s (Graphics Processing Unit) fan’s functionality if the orange light is on. If so, your motherboard might not be receiving enough power from your power source. You need a PSU that can fully power your motherboard to fix this.
The power requirements for your desktop computer are simple to determine. Websites like Coolermaster and Newegg have a section on their pages where you can figure out how much power your desktop PC needs.
A BIOS is simply a computer program that is kept in your ROM. Your computer’s BIOS enables communication between numerous components connected to your motherboard and helps your computer launch the operating system.
The flash BIOS button on the I/O panel is a feature found on the majority of the newest motherboards that allows you to update your BIOS. It enables BIOS updates without a CPU or RAM. A flash drive is all you need to solve most power supply problems.
Change the processor.
This can be the most expensive fix for your issue. You might experiment with a different CPU to see if the orange light disappears.
Reset your CMOS.
Even when your computer is unplugged from the wall, your BIOS must still be functional. The BIOS is powered by a little battery called a CMOS. You can try resetting your CMOS to make the orange light disappear in the following ways:
- Unplug all devices that are connected to the PSU’s power sources.
- Your capacitors may still be partially charged. Press the power button five to six times to cause the discharge of all capacitors.
- The CMOS battery is located on the motherboard. It looks like a little circular battery (like a coin).
- Remove the battery. Make sure you know which side should be facing up before removing them.
- Then replace the CMOS after a few minutes.
The orange light should disappear when you start up your computer.
P.S.: Sometimes, the orange light on the motherboard can appear as a yellow light (the DRAM light). When this comes on, it can still mean any of the above.
2. Red Light
- The CPU is not properly placed and as a result, the pins might be bent or might not be plugged in properly.
- It might also imply that the motherboard’s power line is improperly connected.
- The CPU fan cable is not fully inserted into the header.
- Dead CMOS battery.
- The CPU that you installed is damaged.
How to Troubleshoot Red Light Errors
Switching out the CMOS battery should be the first thing you do when you enter a red light indicator.
To make sure the problematic hardware is plugged in properly, unplug it and reinstall it. This step doesn’t apply to older versions of motherboards.
Most often, all you need to do is reset your motherboard’s BIOS. If you don’t know how to do this, you’ll need your board’s user manual. You might also look at the manufacturer of your motherboard’s official help website.
If everything else fails, unplug and disconnect every piece of hardware, starting with the CPU, RAM, GPU, and any hard drives.
Check the pins and connectors for debris or damage. An outdated motherboard may become soiled and dusty, which might lead to issues.
This problem can be solved by delicately using a soft pencil eraser to clean the connectors. Remove the mouse, keyboard, external drivers, printers, and Ethernet wire, as well as all other external devices.
Next, connect each device one at a time to your computer and try to start it up. The CPU and RAM are examples of vital hardware. If you have more than one RAM module, you can leave one plugged in while unplugging the others.
Even when there is no visual, if the computer seems to boot and there is no red light, you’ve probably identified the issue. Then, try starting the computer with just one stick of RAM and no GPU (graphics card).
If you’ve examined every component and the issue still exists, it can be a failing or malfunctioning power supply or a faulty motherboard.
Try switching the PSU to fix this problem.
The Most Common Motherboard Problems: Causes and Solutions
Your motherboard may run slowly, seize up, or crash often due to overheating. This is usually caused by dust and a lack of proper airflow as a result of a faulty heatsink.
To resolve this issue, first turn off the computer and give it some time to cool. Turning off resource-intensive programs will cut down on the amount of computational power needed to run the device. As opposed to placing the computer on carpet or inside a cabinet, placing it on a flat, hard surface with lots of space around it will also help to improve airflow.
If the issue persists, consider using a blower to remove any dust and debris that may be causing your motherboard to overheat. Internal cleaning should be done every six months to encourage airflow for the best results. Another way to stop your motherboard from overheating is to attach an external cooling system to the case and blow cold air inside.
2. Unable to boot
You might be having power problems if your computer won’t switch on or shuts down erratically. This problem is usually caused by an inadequate power supply.
Since motherboards require not just one but two power connections, the time-tested recommendation to “check the power” is particularly pertinent in this case.
A green power light that turns on when something is plugged in does not guarantee that your motherboard is getting enough power.
Make sure the four- or eight-pin connector concealed by the processor socket and the 20- to 24-pin connector are both properly plugged in and matched with the appropriate supply cords.
It’s also worthwhile to try unplugging them and then plugging them back in.
3. Incorrectly installed components
The processor, RAM, and video card are just a few of the additional parts that are connected to the motherboard. They may result in problems if installed incorrectly, such as the computer booting, but there is no video or picture display. Occasionally, your computer might even refuse to turn on.
To solve this, ensure the video card is firmly seated in its slot by pressing it down. Verify that neither the pins on the card nor those in the socket are bent.
Make sure all the power lines are firmly connected to the motherboard and the video card once more. The wings should be tightly clasped over each side, and your RAM sticks should be installed firmly in their slots.
In some ways, processors are more delicate. Verify that yours is properly positioned on the motherboard.
4. Short Circuit
Capacitors are electrical devices that store energy, and motherboards are filled with them. They help the motherboards carry data and power from one location to another.
You may have noticed that your motherboard is positioned on your computer such that it is held up and separate from the PC case.
This keeps the motherboard from coming into contact with other metal parts, which can result in a short circuit that harms the capacitors.
To prevent or stop the problem of short circuits, make sure your motherboard is installed so that it cannot touch the case.
However, since it involves soldering, it might be best to leave capacitor repair to professionals.
5. Frequent Crashing
The voltage output from your power source might be too much for your motherboard to handle, and this may result in the system crashing.
To fix this, consider purchasing a better PSU with higher watts if you have an aftermarket CPU cooler, such as a liquid cooling system.
Simply having too many gadgets plugged in at once can also lead to crashes and other issues; try unplugging all but your CPU and video card (if you have one).
If it doesn’t work, you probably need to upgrade your hardware or disable some startup programs.
6. No Case Power Button Connection
A tiny, two-pin cable from the power button on a computer’s casing connects to the motherboard. Your computer won’t boot up without this crucial yet simple connection.
This is because pressing the power button while the wire is improperly connected to your motherboard’s pins prevents the motherboard from ever receiving the order to turn on.
This problem can be fixed with a steady hand and steely resolution. Note that attempting to straighten pins might easily lead them to break, necessitating the replacement of components like your CPU. Therefore, you should carefully consider your options before attempting them yourself.
To fix this problem, you’ll need the manual to identify where the power button connector goes and maybe a magnifying glass to properly match the connection with the pins.
If you can’t locate your manual, the manufacturer of your motherboard ought to have a PDF copy of it on their website. Just look up the model number of your motherboard.
7. Unable to load Windows and other programs
Your computer may be trying to boot from an external device, which could be the root of this issue (e.g., a flash drive).
To resolve this issue, try turning off your computer and unplugging anything that isn’t necessary to see if this resolves the problem.
If this doesn’t work, you may need to contact a computer repair specialist.
8. Incompatible UEFI/BIOS Hardware
The Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) and Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) link the operating system and firmware of your computer.
When your computer first turns on, they assist in reminding it of what it should do, including identifying any hardware faults.
Although motherboards leave the factory with a BIOS or UEFI capable of handling modern hardware, they are not guaranteed to function with any hardware that is released after they leave the factory.
They are often incompatible when paired with new UEFI or BIOS hardware.
To fix this problem, you probably need to update the BIOS or UEFI system.
9. Inadequate power
Most motherboards lack sufficient power supplies to boot, probably. Most often, this problem is caused by faulty power cables.
Getting a new and improved power supply cable is the quickest way to resolve this issue. If it doesn’t fix the problem, there can be a hardware problem with your system that prevents it from booting up correctly, such as a dead RAM stick or a malfunctioning processor.
The only way to be certain is to examine your motherboard.
10. Slow operations and occasionally frozen
These problems are frequently brought on by overheating, which either results in hardware failure or sluggish system performance.
If the fan doesn’t solve the problem, you might need to replace overheated components like your CPU and GPU.
- It is almost inevitable to use a motherboard without experiencing issues that require the use of handy troubleshooting tips
- Motherboards have light indicators that let users know the motherboard has power. Users may also be informed of faults via the light indicators. These light indicators include Orange, DRAM, Red, and VGA lights and they all have various causes and fixes.
- the most common problems users face with their motherboard include overheating, unable to boot, crashing, short circuits, unable to POST into windows, and slow operation
PART 5: MOTHERBOARD TERMINOLOGIES FOR NEW BUILDERS
It is possible that we talked all about motherboards in this entire guide without mentioning some important key terms that you are unfamiliar with. During the process of buying or using a motherboard, you may come across any of these terms.
As promised earlier, we have touched on the various common terminologies related to the motherboard and their meaning:
BIOS, which stands for Advanced BIOS, can support calls in protected mode. ABIOS is currently a standard feature on all new PCs, having first been developed for the IBM PS/2 running the OS/2 operating system.
AMR, which stands for audio/modem riser, was introduced on September 8, 1998. It enables OEMs to create a single card that can function as both an audio device and a modem simultaneously. This specification enables the motherboard to be produced at a lower price while freeing up system expansion slots for extra plug-in peripherals.
3. Auxiliary connector
The auxiliary connector, a four- or six-wire power supply connector, is connected to the motherboard to provide extra power to the computer’s processor and other power-hungry devices, like a video card.
A bus is a connection between parts or devices connected to a computer. A bus is sometimes referred to as an address bus, data bus, control bus, or local bus. As an illustration, a bus connects a CPU to the system memory via the motherboard.
5. Berg connector
The Berg connector, created by Berg Electronics, is a power connection that is occasionally identified on cables as P7. It is utilized with computer power sources that are connected to front panel lights, reset or turbo buttons, and floppy disk drives.
The BIOS, also known as the Basic Input/Output System, is a ROM chip found on motherboards that enables you to access and configure your computer system at the most fundamental level.
Short for balanced technology Extended BTX is a motherboard form factor first announced by Intel on September 17, 2003, as a replacement for ATX. BTX was later revised to 1.0a, which was released in February 2004. The BTX features a low profile, a more efficient layout to facilitate cooling, a scalable board to accommodate different system sizes, and support for high-mass motherboard components. In September 2006, Intel announced that it was stopping all future development of BTX.
8. Back panel
The area of the motherboard known as the back panel is where you can attach external devices like your monitor, speakers, keyboard, and mouse. The back panel is located on the motherboard’s edge. The rear panel of the motherboard is put into the case’s I/O plate from the back side of the case during motherboard installation.
9. Back-side bus
The back-side bus (BSB), which connects the CPU and L2 cache, was invented by Intel and originally appeared in the Pentium Pro processor. The back-side bus is a component of the CPU. Its speed depends on how fast the CPU is.
The CNR specification, which stands for Communication and Network Riser, provides the audio, modem, USB, and LAN interfaces of core logic chipsets. Intel unveiled CNR slot technology on February 7th, 2000. It was designed by the eminent hardware and software experts of the AMR (Audio Modem Riser) slot.
A daughterboard is an expansion board that attaches directly to the motherboard and adds functionality. It is also known as a piggyback board and a daughter card. These boards are no longer present or utilized in desktop computers. ISA cards, PCI cards, and onboard choices took their place. However, these boards are still utilized by certain computers. A modem is an example of a daughterboard.
12. Dual BIOS
Any computer motherboard with a primary BIOS and a backup BIOS is said to have a “dual BIOS. A motherboard can recover from any issues that arise during a BIOS update with the aid of this configuration. Additionally, a dual BIOS aids in defending the BIOS from potential viruses and other types of data damage.
EISA, also known as Extended Industry Standard Architecture, was initially introduced in September 1988 for IBM-compatible computers as a rival to the MCA bus.
Nine rival companies collaborated to create the EISA bus, which is used in Intel 80386, 80486, and early Pentium processors. AST Research, Compaq, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, NEC, Olivetti, Tandy, WYSE, and Zenith Data Systems were among these rivals.
The FSB stands for a front-side bus that connects the CPU (chipset) with the main memory and L2 cache. It is also referred to as the processor bus, memory bus, or system bus. The FSB can operate at frequencies as low as 66 MHz and as high as 400 MHz.
When buying a computer motherboard or a new computer, the FSB is a crucial factor to take into account.
Both the system BIOS and the jumpers on the motherboard of the computer can be used to change the FSB speed.
Even though you may adjust the FSB on most motherboards, be sure it’s set correctly unless you want to overclock the machine. Remember that with older technology, incorrect settings could result in problems like hardware lockups, data corruption, or other failures (e.g., SCSI cards).
To avoid issues such as these, check the component’s FSB speed and compatibility with your motherboard.
HyperTransport, sometimes referred to as HT, is an open alternative to AMD’s traditional bridges and buses, including the computer FSB. LDT (Lightning Data Transfer) was the codename given to HyperTransport. HT is now found in PCs, servers, and other high-performance networking and communications hardware.
HyperTransport was launched and made available on April 2, 2001. The initial version of HyperTransport had a peak aggregate bandwidth of 12.8 Gbps and a top signaling rate of 1.6 GHz on each wire pair.
16. I/O Plate
The input/output plate, sometimes known as the I/O template, is a small, removable metal panel that shields a computer’s back and provides access to I/O devices like USB.
Every new computer case comes with one or more generic I/O plates; however, when constructing a computer, these are frequently swapped out for the motherboard-specific I/O plate.
The I/O plate typically has all of its holes punched out; however, certain cases and motherboards do not. If your I/O plate does not already have a hole punched for your motherboard, ensure to punch it before installation by using a screwdriver.
Ensure that the holes match the back panel of your motherboard.
IHA, which stands for Intel Hub Architecture, is the motherboard’s Northbridge and Southbridge replacement. All Intel 800 series chipsets contain the IHA, which, like its predecessor, is composed of the GMCH and the ICH.
Similar to the Northbridge, the GMCH, or Graphics and AGP Memory Control Hub, aids in managing memory and AGP.
While the ICH, also known as the I/O Controller Hub, is in charge of the PCI controller and I/O ports just like the Southbridge,
The motherboard’s southbridge is an IC that controls the integrated hardware, I/O controller, and hard drive controller. If the sound card and video card are on the motherboard, integrated hardware may also include USB, PCI, ISA, IDE, BIOS, and Ethernet.
The Southbridge earned its moniker due to its location (south of the PCI bus).
The Southbridge and Northbridge are usually linked together in that they sometimes both feature heat sinks. The Northbridge is typically a little bigger than the Southbridge as well.
The Northbridge, also known as the PAC (PCI/AGP Controller) and nb, is an integrated circuit in charge of facilitating communication between the CPU interface, AGP, and memory. The northbridge is directly connected to these parts, in contrast to the southbridge.
The Northbridge serves as the bridge that enables the Southbridge to interface with the CPU, RAM, and graphics controller.
In recent developments, the northbridge is a single chip that is located north of the PCI bus. However, before this, it consisted of up to three different chips in early computers.
Normally, the northbridge and southbridge each have their own heat sink. Additionally, the northbridge is situated nearer to the CPU and memory and is often a little bigger than the southbridge.
The northbridge memory controller receives a request from the CPU whenever it requires data from RAM. The northbridge responds to the request by letting the processor know how long it must wait before reading memory through the front-side bus.
However, IHA has been used on some more recent motherboards to replace the northbridge and the southbridge.
It’s a wrap!
It’s been a long ride.
In the above article, we’ve touched on the various features (components) of a motherboard, the functions these parts help the motherboard perform, how to know the right type of motherboard to get for the specific function you want from a system, as well as the various faults a motherboard can develop along with respective troubleshooting tips.
If you are new to PC building, the complexities of motherboards, from buying to usage and maintenance, can be overwhelming.
However, having at your fingertips a go-to guide that spells out every relevant piece of information about motherboards will make things easier.
That’s what I hope to achieve with this guide.
The objective of this all-in-one article is to hold the hands of anyone who is new to computer building and wants to learn more about motherboards. Being one of the most important components of a computer system, it can be quite overwhelming for beginners to understand all of its intricacies.
For this reason, we’ve put together this comprehensive article that covers everything from choosing the right motherboard to maintaining optimal performance.
However, we also have in mind people who plan to upgrade their existing system. So if we missed out on any practical tips in that regard, feel free to let us know in the comments.
This guide will be updated frequently to catch up with the latest innovations in motherboard models and brands, but your feedback and suggestions are welcome.