Motherboards are the central hub for connecting all computer components. If it has high-level specifications, be sure that the PC’s performance will be great.
Are you thinking of building a custom PC or replacing a worn-out one? Well, whatever your reason for purchasing a motherboard is valid. The motherboard is really important in the operation of a regular computer or high-level gaming PC.
The motherboard supports the processor and is the central hub for all components' connection. Since it is the central hub it distributes power among all the available components. If you have never bought one before, you may be wondering “how much should I spend on a motherboard?”
This article will provide an overview of how much you should spend, what to look for when buying a motherboard, and other essential details.
Table Of Contents
How Much Should You Spend On A Motherboard?
Based on the features, motherboards normally cost between $50 - $1500. However, in as much as you need a high-level motherboard, don’t overspend on it.
If you are building your own custom PC, purchasing a motherboard will be the most complicated thing to do since it will influence the performance.
Even though you need to check the price, it is also crucial to check whether the motherboard has basic features. For instance, it would be so unfortunate if you bought one that lacked 4 DIMM slots.
What To Look For When Buying A Motherboard?
If you are not sure of the kind of motherboard to buy, these are key things that you need to consider:
1. Essential Features
Some of the components that need to be in a motherboard include a CPU for processing instructions, memory where data and instructions are temporarily stored, storage interface for the hard disk & Solid State Disk, ROM BIOS that stores firmware, Northbridge chipset & South bridge chipset that connect the different components, cooling fans, peripheral connector slots, peripheral devices connectors, backup battery, and power connector.
Those are crucial components that if missing on the motherboard you will have a hard time using it, or it won't function. Additionally, if they are worn out, then the functionality of your PC will definitely slow down. Therefore, when shopping be keen to ensure you only purchase an all-round motherboard.
2. Check the RAM slots
One key thing to consider is the RAM slots on the board. The standard number of RAM slots is four, but some come with two. However, if you have a good budget for it, consider purchasing one with 4 RAM slots.
Therefore, you can use two for the memory kit and preserve two if you will upgrade later on. Be keen to check the motherboard's product page to see such specifics.
Another consideration is the basic connectivity on the motherboard. These include the USV ports, fan connectors, M.2 clots, SATA ports, Ethernet ports, and other ports.
These ports allow some peripherals to be connected to the motherboard. Also, when reading the description check if there is the “Wi-Fi” or “AC” sign to ensure the motherboard can support internet connectivity.
4. Upgrade path
Another thing to consider is the upgrade path. Many chipsets only support one or two generations of CPUs, so you can check whether you can put a next-generation CPU in that motherboard. Take your time, before making a decision on the motherboard.
5. Voltage Regulating Modules
Another thing to consider is power delivery and Voltage Regulating Modules. This is to ensure stable power reaches your CPU. The motherboard is the central hub and therefore, this capability is crucial to ensure the power reaches all components.
Due to this, the PC will manage to function well even in some fatal situations. VRM is like a converter that optimizes power that reaches the CPU. It is one of the most crucial components even when overclocking. Check for the “Phase VRM design”. The higher it is, the better.
6. PCIe lanes
Also, consider the number of PCIe lanes. The more lanes, the more features it can accommodate. Moreover, the motherboards with newer PCIe versions tend to be a bit more expensive than earlier versions.
Also, check whether it has PCIe Gen 4 or 5. This is mostly found in modern motherboards, previous ones didn’t have the feature. The feature allows the motherboard to support extremely fast SSDs and graphics cards therefore more capability.
However, the PCIe versions 4.0 and 5.0 tend to be a bit expensive. The number of expansion slots and dual GPU support will also make a motherboard to be a bit more expensive.
7. Aesthetics and design
Even though this is not that important, you can also consider purchasing a motherboard with a great aesthetic. Motherboard designs have improved over time.
Actually, you can get color-neutral motherboards in black with some elements being silver, gray, or silver. So you can also research the motherboard design.
The budget of the motherboard depends on whether it is for high-end gaming, mid-range gaming, budget gaming, home use, school use, office use, or professional work.
- For high-end gaming – You can spend around $250 -$350 on the motherboard. The most ideal would be one with AMD X or an Intel Z series chipset.
- Mid-range gaming – You can spend about $150 - $250 for the motherboard. The best would be entry-level Intel Z and AMD X, AMD B, or Intel B & H.
- Budget Gamers – You can spend around $100 - $150 for the motherboard. The most ideal would be Intel B560 or B660, Intel H610, AMD B series, and AMD A series.
- Home/school use - You can spend around $70 - $100 for the motherboard.
- Professional work – You can spend around $500 and above based on what you use the PC for. The most ideal chipsets are AMD TRX 40 or Intel X series.
9. Overclocking Support and Ports
When buying, ensure to buy the one with overclocking support. Overclocking makes a computer run faster than the intended speed by the manufacturer.
Additionally, the number of ports and headers is something to consider. The more ports there are, the more expensive it can be. The different ports may include video outputs, Ethernet, USB, and much more.
10. Chipset type
Another factor to consider is the chipset type. Those with Intel chipsets are a bit more expensive than those with AMD chipsets.
The Intel ones tend to perform better than the latter. Also, while checking the chipset, check the processor socket type. The different processors require unique types of motherboards.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are some common brands that sell motherboards?
They include Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, M-ATX, and Intel.
Q. What components are essential in a motherboard?
CPU, memory, storage interface, ROM BIOS, chipsets, cooling fans, peripheral connector slots, peripheral devices connectors, backup battery, and power connector.
Q. What is the function of the chipsets?
The chipsets relay communication between the CPU and other components e.g. storage devices.
Buy A Motherboard That Fits Your Budget
Regardless of your budget, you can always find the perfect motherboard to meet your needs. Additionally, it is important to have an idea of the kind of motherboard that you want before making any purchase.
At the end of the day, you want a motherboard that will last long and won't require replacement that fast. Therefore, take your time while purchasing a motherboard.