When it comes to configuring your own gaming computer, most people emphasize on how you need fast video cards, an efficient processor, or extremely responsive memory modules. In order for these components to utilize all their core features, the motherboard they are situated with must be able to handle all these specifications accordingly. With that, all three of those components are actually directly connected to the motherboard and believe it or not, the system board is one of the least appreciated parts! Who would have thought?! Though we can’t give all the credit to just a single components actions, as a gaming PC consists of multiple hardware parts working in an effective manner. To help you select one of the best gaming motherboards, we have compiled a few key specifications to help you decide on a candidate that meets your needs.
You should always begin this process by choosing a compatible processor check it out. It seems somewhat odd, but the motherboard is where the processor is stationed. The reason this formal spec. is so crucial relates to the CPU socket located on the motherboard, which by default is the best way to selecting a suitable logic board. Let me give you an example. Say you have an Intel Core i7 processor and a motherboard with a 775 socket. This will not work because this particular socket was built for Intel Core 2 Duo and Quad Core gaming processors. A Core i7 processor must use an LGA 1156 (Socket H) or LGA 1366 (Socket B) socket.
Which brings us to another detail that is extremely important not to overlook. The type of processor you choose limits you to the motherboards you can purchase. There are two major processor manufacturers you have to choose from. Either Intel or AMD. Both use different sockets to house their processors, including the paired chipset that the processor was implemented to interact with. Just ensure that you check this specification before you make a purchase. If you have any questions, you can refer to the OEM or re-seller of that product.
Another important aspect that motherboards determine are the memory modules. Gaming computers require a large amount of RAM to help process data as quickly as possible. This can be figured by the amount of slots a gaming motherboard is equipped with, including each slots capacity and overall maximum capacity. This will also help you establish the type, speed (frequency), and an appropriate bandwidth, specifically relating to the operating frequency of the FSB. There are nice combinations for motherboards and memory modules featured on various sites across the web, its just a matter of deciding which set is right for you, thats if you go with this option, though we do recommend purchasing each component individually.
You may think that the video cards are the most relevant to this selection process, but they actually don’t require you to select a specific card, unless you are considering multiple video cards. If you are going to install more than one video card, then you need to check the compatibility of that specific card and if it is SLI (Nvidia chipset) or CrossFire (AMD chipset) ready. These two technologies allow motherboards to recognize any additional graphic cards, which allows them to operate simultaneously. This is especially important for gaming computers, as vivid graphic quality is a tendency for these systems.
Your games obviously need a place to be stored and accessed as well, especially in fast paced environments. Gaming computers usually have a fast hard drive equipped, which requires that the disk controller on the motherboard complies with the SATA 2.0 standard at least, seeing how SATA 3.0 was recently introduced into the market. Majority of gaming motherboards and associated devices support the 2.0 standard, which is what we suggest you purchase regarding this specification. If you are considering a RAID setup, ensure that there are enough SATA interface connectors located on the motherboard.
Just to note, there is one more type of storage drive that is drawing considerable attention. Solid State drives are newer storage devices using a flash based memory, replacing any moving mechanisms that existed in previous devices, hard drives being a perfect example. The price is higher for these drives, but well worth it. If you can supply a gaming computer with this type of storage drive, then your system will load any form of program with ease, especially 3D games.
A few other important qualities not to bypass would be any additional peripherals, including 5+ USBs, 1-2 Firewire, built-in LAN connector, display ports, etc. Plus, since gaming computers typically need every last bit of performance, overclocking your processor should be taken seriously, in some instances. This can be done by manipulating the system BIOs, usually most gaming motherboards allow this behavior, in which changing the CPUs current voltage and adjusting the system bus to a faster operating frequency is a common practice.
When it comes to integrated components, do not waste your time with on-board video and sound controllers, as purchasing separate video cards and a sound card will provide your gaming computer with more clarity and enjoyment when encountering various scenes throughout the games you experience.