Computer Hardware Solutions: How to Choose a Motherboard

The computer motherboard is the heart of your desktop computer. These days, motherboards are available in all sorts of combinations and numerous specifications. When you want to choose a computer motherboard, it is necessary to first decide the type of computer system you want. The motherboard you choose, must be compatible to the computer system. The motherboards should also be chosen after taking the purpose and the nature of the computer usage into consideration. Firstly, decide whether you want the desktop computer for playing games or for office use or just as an entertainment medium for watching movies.

CPU Socket
The computer motherboard is housed in the central processing unit (CPU). There are three types of CPUs available in the market viz. Socket 478, socket 370 and socket A. Selecting the socket, means that you are selecting your processor. The type of processor chosen, decides the socket type of the CPU. It is important to remember that all processors are not compatible with all the available motherboards. The processors are available in different speeds and the cost of the processors increase with the increase in the speed they provide.

The next most important feature while choosing a computer motherboard is the type of chipset. Many people ignore this, but it is the nitty-gritty of the computer motherboard. The chipset is a set of two chips called the Northbridge and the Southbridge. The main function of the chipset is to connect the CPU to the input-output (IO) system of the computer. The Northbridge is closer to the CPU as compared to the Southbridge and deals with the connection of the CPU and the memory (RAM). The second function of the Northbridge is to handle the connection between the CPU and the graphics card connected to it. The Southbridge takes care of the other input-output systems in the computer, like the audio and the drives connected to the system. It also deals with the ports and expansion slots and generally, the Southbridge has a slower speed of operation than that of the Northbridge. Improvements and changes are always seen in the chipset, so it is advisable to opt for the newest chipset available.

Memory of the computer is another essential part of the computer motherboard. The memory (RAM) decides the speed of your computer system. There are three types of memories available that should be chosen depending on their compatibility with different processors used. They are as follows:
  • RD RAM: This type of RAM is quite an efficient RAM available and is used with the Pentium IV processor.
  • SD RAM: This type of memory is the most common type because all the Pentium III processors use this memory.
  • DDR SDRAM: This type is generally used with the Athlon motherboards that require the CPU with the socket type 'A'. This is the fastest type of RAM and nowadays, is also supported by some of the socket 478 CPUs (Pentium IV).
Graphics card
Choosing or upgrading a graphics card is dependent upon the type of the motherboard you have chosen. The PCIexpress slots are nowadays available, which also have a facility that gives you the benefit of using two video (graphics) cards at the same time.

The type of on-board video should also be decided when you choose a computer motherboard. The standard VGA is always found in the computer motherboards but recently the DVI and HDMI connections offer higher resolutions and are rapidly replacing the VGA connections.It is necessary to take into consideration, the compatibility of the monitors of your computer with these standards.

When you choose a motherboard, you need to decide whether you want the overclocking option. The overclock is used to increase the clock rate of the computer so as to give better performance. In overclocking, the voltages required and the bus speeds are changed. Usually, people who want to play computer games, overclock the computer system. The BIOS menu takes care of this overclocking option.

The front panel and the rear panel connectors also matter when you choose a computer motherboard. The connectors that must be considered, include the USB ports, the serial and parallel communication ports, SPDIF (digital input and output port), infrared port, firewire (generally used for high speed transfers) and eSATA (connector).

These were some of the issues you must take care of, when choosing a computer motherboard. Remember choosing your computer motherboard can be an easy task and not as difficult as it is usually thought to be!

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