Wondering what to look for in a motherboard for gaming? This question opens a lot of other PC-related topics, and you might find yourself lost in all the technical details if you do not know what you have to be looking for. But do not worry, as we are here to assist you.
If you are someone who is tech-savvy, we are sure that all you want to know are the complicated features or even unique add-ons to a motherboard. On the other hand, if you are just a beginner but you really want to have a hardcore gaming PC, then you first have to know what you should be looking for before concerning yourself with all the technicalities.
Speaking of technicalities, can we prevent that difficult talk in this article? Sad to say, that is next to impossible because we are talking about PCs here. A simple "work PC" still requires a lot of technical know-how, after all, so what more if you are going to build a gaming rig? Cast your anxieties aside, though, as we will try to present all the details in a simple manner.
Moving forward, we are going to talk about what to look for in a motherboard for gaming. Also, we are going to discuss what makes the "gaming aspect" so special that it requires a different PC set-up. Lastly, we are going to give general guidelines that you can follow and also pair with your PC preferences.
Cannot wait to buy that new video game? Then keep on reading so you can start setting up your rig.
Is a Gaming PC Special?
Yes. More often than not, if you have a gaming PC, you can almost do anything that is possible to do with a computer. This is also the reason why people tend to set up gaming computers even if gaming is not their intended purpose. Why is this the case?
The reason is temperature. Why is it so important, though? It is vital because the longevity of a PC is largely affected by the proper maintenance of its temperature. The next question is, what type of PC can properly and efficiently handle extreme temperatures?
Bingo! A gaming PC.
Some people who are not that into video games might view this type of PC as a simple recreational activity. However, that is far from reality. In fact, every gaming rig is special. You can mix and match PC parts as well as software. The process of setting it up is so intricate that it paved the way for the creation of gaming PC building communities.
At the same time, not only can a gaming PC maintain proper temperatures, but it can also hold huge amounts of data. As simple as it may seem, this is actually a huge thing. We are talking about 100 tabs that are open while watching a 4K video and uploading a walk-through on Youtube. The end result? Smooth and flawless screen time.
Of course, all of this is only possible if you have the right motherboard.
What to Look for in a Motherboard for Gaming
Choosing the motherboard is the most important part in the process of building a gaming rig. Trust us when we say that when you pick the wrong motherboard, you can kiss your gaming PC goodbye. So, here are some things to take note of:
Type of CPU
In general, there are two types of motherboards available. The first one is an Intel-based motherboard. This simply means that this type of motherboard is compatible with Intel CPUs. The other type is called AMD motherboard, which fits the AMD CPUs.
So, which one is better? We really cannot say. In this aspect, your preference and also research about the two types will help you make a choice.
More often than not, a lot of people go for Intel-based motherboards because a lot of gaming motherboards are specifically built to be compatible with an Intel processor. What is more important is the fact that this motherboard is compatible with a CPU socket type.
This is also the key to getting the right motherboard. You should get a motherboard that has a socket that goes with your processor. In order for you to know if your processor and socket type go together, you can check the socket numbers.
There, you will find the processor generations. You will then compare that to the generation of your processor. An example of this is an LGA 1151 socket, which is compatible with the Kaby Lake and Skylake Intel Processors.
This does not really come with the motherboard, but you should make sure that it has a compatible memory. Today, motherboards support DDR3 RAM or DDR4.
Now, do not panic as you just read a combination of letters and numbers. What this simply means is that your RAM should go well with your motherboard. Better go with the DDR4 because slowly but surely, the DDR3 is being phased out.
This is an aspect that a lot of people tend to overlook. Although it is not that drastic in terms of affecting gameplay, it is surely the way to improve game performance. As you go through setting up your rig, you will realize that you need to add more components to your PC, hence the need for more ports or expansion slots.
If all slots are already taken, you cannot just add another slot; you have to purchase a new motherboard that has the required slots. For this, the rule of thumb is to go big or go home.
This simply refers to the size. Of course, your motherboard should also fit your case. At the same time, getting the right size is also important for cable management and to ensure that all your other PC parts are not touching together.
It is not only about the aesthetics, but you should have a neat set-up within your case in order for your PC to properly "breathe." This might be confusing since we have mentioned before that gaming PCs can properly maintain temperature, but still, everything should be in its right place, with a little bit of allowance for the parts to work flawlessly.
There are three most common sizes in today's market, which are ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX. ATX form factor is the typical size and offers the maximum space for other components and growth. Mini-ITX allows for compact PCs that still have room for one graphics card, while Micro-ATX has the smallest size and is quite hard for expansion.
ETX / XTX
Those are all the things you should take note of when your mind is already set in getting a motherboard that is specifically for gaming. Do remember that it is all about compatibility. No matter what unique features your other PC parts have, if it does not go with your motherboard, then, sadly, all is lost.