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Choosing a gaming motherboard?


For the gamer, a PC’s performance is quintessential to the dynamic of gaming. Thus, choosing the perfect gaming motherboard to match their requirements is a large decision on the kind of machine they want. A motherboard is one of the essential bodies in any gamers build for the responsibility it holds in the communication and connection between all the other pieces of a computer - essentially, it’s the central nervous system of your machine. However, it’s insane how often gamers overlook their motherboard as just another mesh of metal and plastic that slips into their computer. The original space shuttle was more than just an overpriced firework, after all.

When deliberating the motherboard that will match your gaming needs and price-range, it’s essential that you consider an array of characteristics before purchasing the hardware. You could buy the best components available, however, without the proper motherboard, you’ll be creating nothing for yourself but a headache and gaming lag.

You must consider quality, reliability, compatibility of other components – the list goes on, but that would be a waste of my word count. Let’s spend it on more informative help, shall we?

First comes quality

Although many a PC will run exceedingly well on a stripped back version of traditional motherboards, with gaming it pays to research the quality component for you. A gamer wants an advanced motherboard that is going to have a long life and will last with a durability that can handle the heavy workload that comes with gaming.

Look for the features (mentioned below) that will benefit you. Consider purchasing above your usual price-range for a peace-of-mind purchase that will save you on time and stress of replacing in the future.

Good things come in pairs

There are two types of motherboards you can get to consider before buying. This is where buying gets tricky: Intel has their branch of motherboards, compatible with their own CPU’s. Then there are AMD’s boards which, yes, you’re right, can only fit AMD’s family of CPU’s.

Now the tricky gets trickier. While you may have purchased an Intel motherboard to go with your Intel processor, you’ve got to make sure that it can be matched with your motherboards processor interface, or more commonly known as it’s CPU socket type.

Read the specs, people! By doing a little bit of reading and checking that you can match these two pieces of hardware together, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of hassle and will be able to bask in the clear coordination between the two components that were quite literally made for each other.

MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon Socket LGA 1151-V2 ATX Motherboard

Motherboard pictured MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon Socket LGA 1151-V2 ATX

Perfect form

The different sizes of motherboards are known as form factor, which will be influenced by the size of your PC case. The two options you’ll definitely come across in your gaming motherboard travels are the most common ATX motherboards and the smaller mATX’s (a shortened title for Micro ATX.)

ATX is obviously much larger than their micro-cousins, allowing for more features and a larger case – but this also comes with the bigger price-tag. mATX’s will usually also have fewer ports and slots, so choose wisely.

Note that an ATX motherboard will not be able to fit into an mATX case, while a mATX will certainly make room inside an ATX case.  

RAM compatibility

When it comes to which motherboard type to choose from, you will also need to acknowledge its RAM type. There’s generally only two options nowadays: DDR3 or DDR4 RAM. DDR4 is newer and thusly faster but that doesn’t stop the older, reliable DDR3 from being a trusted motherboard companion. Just be careful in picking as your motherboard can only support one or the other.

If you’re looking to bring extreme performance to your system for all your gaming purposes, you’re going to need to know the maximum capacity of your RAM. While rarely an issue, as the amount of modern RAM is usually titanic, it’s still an important aspect of the PC for gaming. With this in mind, also make sure that the motherboard matches up with the specific speed of your RAM so that you know it can support it!

Can’t use your own network?

Most motherboards that you shop around with will come including a traditional wired cable LAN support for the benefits of a smoother, faster game.

For those prepared to spend that little bit extra, wireless support is also available – allowing you greater freedom with where you have your PC and the types of speeds you can expect while in-game. If this is still out of your price-range, fret not: you can still buy a wireless adapter. Wireless WiFi adapters fit into either the spare PCI or PCI-E slot on your motherboard, depending on the adapter type.


Expansion pack: Motherboard edition

As a gamer, you’ll be looking to customise your build and add those tasty extra components to benefit your gaming experience: network cards, sound cards – maybe a few extra cheeky graphics cards? Oh, you devil.

Make sure the motherboard you’re shopping for will allow for the extra expansion slots, which come in PCI or PCI-Express (PCI-E) ports. Universally, the PCI-E is more common and is the accustom slots for network, sound, and graphics cards.

Another area of expansion to think about is how many USB ports your board is going to have in order to fit your requirements. A USB 3.0 is the perfect match for most gaming needs and shouldn’t be a concern in messing with the design of most modern motherboards.

Support: not just a gaming class

Extra components will need the extra features to match whatever you are looking to put the machine through. If a dual graphics card setup sounds right down your alley to take on Overwatch or Shadow of Mordor, then the perfect motherboard that you are seeking is going to require that it can support the SLI or CrossFire technology support.   

Keep your eyes peeled in the motherboard specs for this one!

Conclusion: Mothering your board

To finalise, make sure that you are aware of the features that you will want for your PC and make sure that the final product you get matches the quality and reliability that you are looking for from your computer. Stick with trusted companies and eliminate the hassle of disappointment by doing your research beforehand.

There are many other aspects that can be considered with your motherboards features, such as LED lighting, varied designs, etc, but typically these are the biggest concerns that you need to think about when you buy. 

For specific, reliable brands, check out Novatech’s broad range of motherboards for the perfect match to your gaming PC.