Choosing the Right Motherboard

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Choosing the Right Motherboard

The motherboard is the heart of every computer. It is that big flat board inside the computer that everything is connected to. It performs the role of directing information and connecting components. A motherboard is often the central part of the computer design process. Therefore, choosing a motherboard that’s right for you is essential to your computer build.

Choosing the right motherboard does not have to be a problem, even though there is a lot to consider. We will start off with the larger parts and move onto the things that are less essential.

Firstly is the socket type. The socket is where the processor (CPU) connects to the motherboard. There is no compatibility between sockets, so you have to get a processor and motherboard with the exact same socket size. The socket connection needs to match the connection of the processor you have or the one you intend to buy for the computer.
Most older Intel Pentium 4s utilize socket 478. Newer computers use socket 775 and 1151. AMD chips utilized socket A for a long time, but now the AMD Athlon 64 series and Semprons use socket 939. Be sure to double check the socket size before ordering your products! It saves a lot of time and frustration later if you do your research before you order the parts.

Your choice of CPU will have a lot to do with your needs, but choosing one with an up to date socket type will ensure slightly longer motherboard life as you can upgrade the chip for a while.

DDR3 is the RAM of choice for most systems, but some newer systems, like the ones with the new core I7-6700K use DDR4. These two kinds are not interchangable and have a different number of pins. DDR2,  DDR3 and DDR4 RAM chips come in different speed ratings measured in MHz. Make sure your motherboard supports the speed in MHz that yuo want to buy your memory in. This can be found in touring a prospective motherboard’s manual online.

Finally, we must look at the expansion slots. If you want to add a graphics card to your system, make sure you have a PCI-E x16 slot on the motherboard. That is the long slot with a clip on the end of it. This will allow you to expand your system in the future.

Choosing a motherboard should be proactive; you should think about how you want to upgrade your system in the future when you purchase a motherboard. Motherboards aren;t extremely cheap and if you can reuse the same motherboard in a future build or upgrade it currently, you can save a lot of money in the long run.

A motherboard must be chosen carefully, to both match all the other components and fit in the case you choose. A little bit of research before you buy will save a lot of hassle later on.


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How to Pick Parts When Building A New Computer

Picking the parts for your computer is one of the most important things in building a computer, because you can’t assemble a computer without the parts! Picking parts for computers has become much easier than before, because form factors have been standardized; however, you still need to make sure everything will fit together properly. The first thing to think about when choosing the components for your computer is what you are going to be using your computer for. If you are creating a computer for just checking your eMail and using Microsoft Word, you are going to need different parts than a computer that you are going to be using for gaming.

CPU
The first thing you should pick out about your computer is what CPU you are going to use, because it determines what motherboard you are going to get, which determines what other components you get, et cetera. There are two main CPU manufacturers, Intel and AMD. Both have their Pros and Cons, but they are pretty similar. I would suggest using Intel, because they make notable processors like the Core i7 or Xeon processors. If you are spending below $500, I would suggest a budget processor like a core i3 or i5, Between $500 and $1000, midrange and $1000 and above I would suggest a high end processor, like any higher clocked i7.

Motherboard
Choosing the right motherboard is vital to building your computer. First, make sure you find a motherboard that has the right socket type for your CPU. Then, check the different features of the motherboards you are looking at. If you aren’t going to buy a video or sound card, make sure your motherboard has onboard video and/or sound. Other things to check for on your motherboard are the hard drive interface, graphics card interface, expansion slots, the memory size and speed. Also, check for the chipset. There are too many to talk about, but generally Intel and nVidia chipsets are better than the other ones. Now that you picked out your motherboard, you know what to look for in your other components.

RAM
Getting the right speed and amount of RAM is vital to the speed and stability of your system. If you are running Windows 7, you will probably need at least  2Gb of RAM. If you are going to be doing anything memory intensive, gaming, rendering or just want a faster computer, you should get 4Gb or more. I reccomend maxing out the amount of memory your motherboard can handle. To see this number, refer to the motherboard’s website or user manual. Make sure your motherboard has enough DIMMs and the right type of DIMMs for your RAM. Also, be sure to check the speed of the memory

Hard Drive
Now its time to pick your hard drive. There are few variables in picking a hard drive. The first, and most important is size, 250Gb is usually enough for most people unless, you are going to be storing alot of pictures and video. Also, make sure you get an HD with the right interface that fits your motherboard. Almost all motherboards have the SATA (Serial ATA) interface. Sata is a much faster hard drive interface and uses a thinner cable than older IDE drives. Having a thinner cable helps with airflow in your case. There is even SATAIII now, which allows for transfer speeds for up to 6 Gb a second. Also look at rotation speed, almost all desktop HDs are 7200RPM and Cache, most are 16Mb, don’t buy a HD below those standards. If you want to spend some money, you can get 2 smaller HDs and run them in RAID which increases performance. RAID is connecting a series of drives to work as one with greater write and read speeds. This is because different parts of data are stored in different physicasl drives rather than a different location in one drive.

Video Cards
If you are going to be doing any gaming, be sure to buy a video card, if youre not, onboard video is fine. The first thing to check for is the interface, most are PCI-E. I personally like nVidia cards better. If you are going to be doing graphic intensive games or video rendering, I would suggest at least a GTS 250. If you have alot to spend, go with a GTX 980.

Optical/Floppy drives
Another thing you are going to need sometine is a DVD drive, these are IDE or SATA. The optical drive is almost defunct nowadays, but it is a great thing to have when you need to install the operating system from a DVD or want to watch a movie or play a CD. This should not cost you much; it should be only $20.

Power Supply
Make sure you have a sufficient power supply!! If you have a high end computer, you should get a 650W or greater PSU. Otherwise, 350W should be fine for most people. If you need any help figuring out what power supply you need, just do a google search for “Power supply calculator” and that should answer your question.

 

Case

Most cases are ATX, but make sure it is the same type as your motherboard (ATX, MicroATX, BTX, etc…). This is crucial to connect the front panel and fan connectors found inside of the case to the motherboard. Also, look out for package deals where a case is bundled with a power supply. Even though these power supplies are not as good as a main branded one, they do the job.

 

So that’s all of the parts you need to make your computer! A final word of warning: Be sure to make sure all your components are compatible! You don’t want to accidentally fry something or void the warranty on your components. Please do as much research as you can before ordering parts. It will make your life a whole lot easier once you get the parts and are ready to assemble your computer.