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Best Computer Motherboards in 2021 (Affordable & Quality)

No computer without a motherboard: the individual PC components such as the processor and main memory are located on the motherboard of a computer. When looking for best computer motherboards that you can find affordably. You will know which properties make sense for your requirements.

Best Multimedia or gaming computer motherboard?

Motherboards can be roughly divided into two groups: gaming and non-gaming.

The former offer, among other things, complex cooling solutions and other dedicated components. For example, network and audio chips specializing in online multiplayer games are not uncommon.

Additional PCI-Express slots to accommodate multiple graphics cards and hard drives as well as extensive lighting options are among the additional features of the gaming boards.

Enthusiasts will find suitable models in the price range between 200 and 450 dollars.

Buying a cheaper motherboard is sufficient for the Internet, office, etc.:

The models offer enough power to watch a film or listen to music, for example.

The inexpensive motherboards run no less fast and reliably, especially since there are no restrictions when it comes to the choice of processors.

You can use all processors that are compatible with the board or rather the socket. A motherboard, which costs between 90 and 180 dollars, is sufficient for multimedia and Internet applications.

The right processor: AMD vs. Intel

Here you make a fundamental decision: The processor or the CPU as the heart of your new PC processes information and controls the data processing.

Each motherboard has a socket on which the respective CPU is plugged. The socket determines the processor selection, as only certain CPUs are compatible with a socket type.Intel is currently the leader in terms of efficiency and performance.

AMD CPUs are cheaper than the Intel models. With the new Ryzen processors, AMD was not able to completely close the performance gap to Intel, but it was able to reduce it noticeably.

With this in mind, AMD CPUs are interesting for price-conscious buyers.

Both manufacturers have their own sockets and chipsets that are not compatible with each other. The two most important sockets are currently the 1151 from Intel and the AM4 from AMD.

Chipset – the link between the PC components

The chipset is the central element on the motherboard: it ensures that the individual components work well with one another.

Whatever is happening in your computer, the chipset is involved. In the following overview you will find chipsets for Intel processors:
  • the H110 for particularly inexpensive Intel PCs
  • the B250 for multimedia users
  • the H270 for price-conscious gamers
  • the Z270 for enthusiasts and overclockers
  • the Z370 for cutting-edge processors of the 8th generation (Coffee Lake)
The most important chipsets for the current AMD CPUs are, in ascending order of price and equipment:
  • the A320 for the cheapest possible office servants
  • the B350 for multimedia users and price-conscious gamers
  • the X370 for enthusiasts, hardcore gamers and overclockers.

What do you need to consider when it comes to RAM?

The main memory or RAM serves as an intermediate storage device on the way of the data that is sent from the processor to the hard disk, for example.

It is a crucial component when it comes to the speed of your computer. The current standard is the DDR4 RAM. When choosing the right main memory, the clock rate plays an important role.

Information on this and the maximum capacity can be found in the product description of the respective motherboard – for example 64 GB DDR4 memory with 2666 MHz. RAM bars that have a higher clock rate than that supported by the motherboard are either automatically downclocked or not recognized.

Higher quality motherboards allow manual adjustment of clock rate, latency and power supply.

To avoid complications,if you are new to PC assembly, you should follow the motherboard manufacturer’s specifications.

If the motherboard offers a so-called dual-channel function, it can connect 2 RAM bars in parallel and thus respond particularly quickly.

For this to work smoothly, the individual bars should be identical.

There are special dual-channel kits for this. When assembling a new PC, you should go for a kit consisting of two 8 GB bars or two 16 GB bars, depending on the existing budget.

PCI Express (PCIe) for hard drives and graphics cards

If you want to operate a large number of plug-in cards in your system, you should pay attention to the number, type and placement of the PCI Express slots.

The interfaces connect various PC components with the chipset. They play a correspondingly important role: Connected directly to the motherboard, they enable the highest transfer rates and fast work.

In addition to graphics cards , SSD hard drives also benefit from the high bandwidth of the interface.

An SSD connected via PCIe x4 or even x16 is many times faster than conventional 2.5-inch SSDs via the SATA3 connection.

SATA3 is already exhausted in terms of performance and also only communicates indirectly with the motherboard. The result is higher latencies.

In order to be flexible when choosing the drives, you should make sure that the motherboard has SATA ports as well as M.2 and sufficient PCIe slots.

The U.2 connection is brand new. The SSDs offered for this are also housed in 2.5-inch housings and are therefore not directly on the motherboard.

However, since they are connected to the chipset via four PCI Express lanes, they achieve data transfer rates of up to 4 gigabit /s (4GB/s)

The design or appearance of a connection does not necessarily determine how the interface is connected.

A PCIe x16 slot can only be connected via eight or four lanes instead of 16. A distinction is made here between physical and electrical connections.

However, this is only important if you want to install multiple graphics cards or high-performance SSDs. In these cases, motherboards with as many fully-fledged PCIe Express interfaces as possible are interesting.

Inseparable: connections and protocols

With connections like M.2, SATA and USB it is important to pay attention to the supported protocol standards. M.2, for example, is initially just a physical connection standard.

How it communicates with the motherboard is a matter of protocol. Here you should remember the term NVMe.

This protocol enables an SSD to exchange data via the PCI Express interface. Alternatively, M.2 SSDs communicate via the older and slower SATA protocol AHCI.

The same goes for USB. The former USB 3.0 has been renamed USB 3.1 Generation 1.

It is only half as fast as the new USB 3.1 generation 2. If you read the addition type C: This says nothing about the performance, but describes the shape of the USB connection.

Type C is twist-proof and visually clearly distinguishable from its ancestor type A. In addition, there is no distinction between device and host side.

It can also be used universally: Not only USB signals, but also Thunderbolt, DisplayPort and PCI Express signals can be transmitted via it. In short: one connection, several possible protocols.

A question of size – the form factor

The ATX format allows standardization of PC components. It relates to the size and ensures that power supplies and motherboards, for example, fit into the corresponding housing.

The most common form factors are, in descending order of size, ATX, Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX. You have least of all worries with the ATX form factor.

This is where the selection of components and housings is greatest. For home gamers and overclockers, ATX is the best choice.

The size has no influence on the performance.

Note, however, that small motherboards have fewer slots and connections.

Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX still have their raison d’etre: If you want to put together a small, inconspicuous living room PC for music and video streaming, you are well advised to use the small formats.

A small and light PC also makes life easier for gamers who often go to LAN parties. You have the largest selection with micro-ATX motherboards.

RGB and Crypto Mining: Interesting Trends

Even the mother of all circuit boards cannot avoid certain trends. motherboards have become a lifestyle object for many people.

This needs to be bathed in the right light: Ever more sophisticated LED lighting can be seen especially on gaming motherboards.

When it comes to housings and peripherals, the RGB light show has long been one of the must-haves for gamers. Modern motherboards today offer special connections (4-pin headers) for LED fans and other illuminated accessories.

This allows color changes to be controlled or the lighting of various components such as the housing, mouse and motherboard to be synchronized.

Modding accessories are therefore playing an increasingly important role. Another trend are motherboards with a focus on crypto mining.

These are characterized by the fact that they have a large number of slots for graphics cards.

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