how to choose The Right motherboard

The motherboard (MP) is a complex multilayer printed circuit board, which is the basis of the computer (PC). All other components are connected to the motherboard, and, in fact, it is a kind of connecting link for all other devices in the PC. choosing the right motherboard should be approached as seriously and responsibly as possible because the performance, stability, and durability of the entire system will depend on this choice. In addition, it is not recommended to install powerful high-performance components in a budget motherboard, since the MP may simply not overpower them in terms of power, and the opposite situation is not recommended – buy an expensive high-performance motherboard and install budget components in it. In this case, the expensive MP simply does not justify its purchase.

It is useless to buy a powerful processor and crazy gigabytes of RAM if you have a weak motherboard. Instead of supporting the work of all the components of the PC, it will simply clamp them in the tight framework of its inconsistency. And this means that you will have to select a new board that will allow the computer to fully reveal its capabilities.

motherboard comparison


The best motherboard manufacturers

For normal computer operation, it is always better to purchase the filling from well-known manufacturers. The competition in this market niche is very tough, and no one wants to lose their positions.

That is why famous brands rely on the quality and reliability of their products. And we, customers, just that. After all, good electronics for a PC is expensive, and I don’t really want to change it every six months.

The best manufacturers of motherboards today are:

  • Asus
  • MSI
  • Gigabyte
  • Intel
  • Evga.

The flagship high-performance motherboards are manufactured by ASUS. The entire line of MP of this company stands out for its high quality, fast speed, and stability. In terms of price/quality, excellent motherboards are produced by MSI, Gigabyte and ASRock. Other manufacturers are launching budget options in small motherboard motherboards. Of course, even the companies ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte and ASRock have motherboards on budget chipsets, however, in terms of quality and stability, they outperform MP from other manufacturers.

Rating The best motherboard manufacturers

Among the many representatives in this field, five of the best motherboard manufacturers were identified. This list is not a rating since all the manufacturers represented are among the best in their field.

Opens the list with ASUS, which established itself as the most popular manufacturer of equipment for gaming desktop computers. Since this manufacturer directly receives data from Intel, its motherboards outperform their competitors in compatibility with the latest processors.

The next representative is GIGABYTE, which has been praised more than once by various expert publications. Motherboards from this manufacturer have always been of high quality and a long service life, however, like all the equipment manufactured by this company.

When it comes to the most popular brand among manufacturers of motherboards and other equipment for gaming PCs, MSI immediately appears. The equipment of this company has always been distinguished by an affordable price for reasonable quality.

Next in the list of the best motherboard manufacturers is the American company EVGA, which equips the computer market with motherboards and graphics cards. Its range of models is not as wide as that of the previous representatives, but it is in no way inferior to them in quality and price range.

The top five is Intel. By releasing motherboards, this manufacturer is several steps ahead of all other competitors who manufacture motherboards for Intel processors. Knowing the microarchitecture of its processors, their potential and capabilities, this manufacturer produces high-performance motherboards that fully reveal the potential of processors.

It was the five best manufacturers in their business who supply the computer market with their equipment, which allows users not to worry about the quality and durability of their computer.

It is worth adding that for quality it is worth turning to motherboards from ASUS and GIGABYTE, and if an affordable option is needed for accessibility, then a solution from MSI will come to the rescue.

Which motherboard is best

how to choose a motherboard, a question with so many answers, the right answer start with what you need it for? everything depends on your needs is it a gaming motherboard you are looking for?
To know which motherboard to buy, decide what it will be used for. After all, the criteria for choosing a gaming and office motherboard are completely different.

Criteria for choosing motherboard for office work

  • Choosing a motherboard for the office you need from inexpensive. Therefore, the purchase of components, the potential of which will not be used, will not make any sense.
  • Enough of four slots for RAM with a maximum capacity of 16 GB. Even 4-8 GB of RAM will be enough for work. – There will be enough chipset like AB350, it can easily cope with any office tasks.
  • The presence of 4-6 USB ports will be enough. Also, at least one Type-C port will not be superfluous.

Criteria for choosing motherboard for gaming computer

  • It’s not worth saving on a gaming PC, you need to buy components that will be relevant for another 5-7 years
  • You need to take the motherboard with the maximum possible motherboard over 64 GB. The system requirements of games are growing every year and it will not be surprising that soon the minimum threshold in top games will be 32-64GB
  • You do not need to ask consultants which motherboard is better, they usually advise those that are more expensive and have long been on the counter. You should read the reviews on the forums, ask knowledgeable friends and, of course, do not forget about Zuzako editorial advice
  • We need a top-end chipset like Z270 to ensure maximum performance of all components
  • A very important point for a gaming computer is the presence of a large number of USB ports. After all, all gaming accessories, like a steering wheel or a gamepad, are connected through these connectors

Principle of operation and device

how to choose a motherboard

The motherboard is an electronic board with a wide variety of slots, sockets and connectors. Without it, all the connections between the components of the computer would simply hang in the air.

The main elements soldered to the surface of the board:

  • A socket is the largest socket for installing a processor.
  • Chipset – a chip that combines two bridges. Severny is responsible for the interaction of the processor, video card and drive. Southern coordinates the work of BIOS, hard disk, mouse, screen, keyboard, etc.
  • Slots for connecting RAM strips and video cards.
  • Connectors for a hard drive and disk drive.
  • Connectors for power supply, network card, monitor, mouse, keyboard, etc.
  • USB-contacts – internal or external with outputs to the power, reset, drive, etc. buttons.

Almost the entire filling of the system unit is connected to the motherboard, and it itself serves as a traffic controller, redirecting information flows from one computer component to another.

Motherboard chipset

The motherboard chipset is a set of chips that are responsible for the operation of all other components. When choosing a motherboard, you need to pay special attention to the MP chipset, because it will depend on it the performance of the entire system, and the installed processor in the socket of the motherboard, which will also determine the performance of the computer. There are only two manufacturers of chipsets for motherboards: AMD and Intel , however there are chipsets for AMD processors made by NVIDIA . Depending on which company the chipset is installed in the motherboard, the computer will run on the processor of the same company.

Motherboard chipset

There are several types of chipsets: budget, mid-budget and flagship high-performance. Also, the company Intel, there are corporate chipsets for business. Each type of chipset determines which processor is suitable for it, and therefore will be effective in the operation of the entire system. In the technical specifications of the motherboard in the columns “ Chipset Manufacturer ” and “ Chipset Model ”, you can find out which company is the manufacturer of the chipset and also find out the exact name of the chipset.

Types of motherboards

Motherboards For Intel processors

motherboards For Intel processors

It is immediately worth noting that all devices for Intel gadgets are more expensive than analogues. After all, components of the famous brand are distinguished by high power, which means that a motherboard with the same chipset should have the appropriate characteristics.

Such a board can support the latest types of RAM with an operating frequency of up to 2864 MHz and higher. And thanks to the SATA connectors, its own bandwidth is 6 GB / s.

In addition, motherboards for Intel are considered promising in terms of upgrading the machine, as they contain up to 8 additional slots for connecting various computer components.

Motherboards For AMD processors

motherboards For AMD processors

Motherboards based on AMD chipsets are slightly inferior to rivals. The latest models can work with DDR4 RAM, although the main one for them is still DDR3. The supported frequency is slightly lower than Intel’s (up to 2400 MHz).

In terms of bandwidth, AMD also “sags” – they have only 3 GB / s, however, this is also a good indicator. But these motherboards have up to 12 slots for upgrades, please the owners of new processors with their versatility and are not too expensive.

Processor socket

The processor is installed in a special socket on the motherboard, which is called Socket (socket), and the socket of the motherboard and the processor socket must match. And if Intel ’s compatibility is very strict i.e. processor socket must coincide with the motherboard socket and nothing else, then AMD made backward compatibility of some sockets. For example, a processor on an FM2 socket can be inserted into the motherboard socket on an FM2 + socket.

lga 1151 motherboard

To check whether the processor is suitable for the socket on the motherboard, you need to look at the column “ Socket (Processor Socket) ” in the technical specifications of the processor and the motherboard, but it happens that this is not enough, so you need to go to the motherboard manufacturer’s website and see the list of supported processors. Also, there are motherboards with soldered processors. Such processors do not have a socket, and it is impossible to replace them, but motherboards with a processor soldered into it will cost an order of magnitude cheaper than buying these components separately.

Motherboard Form factor

The form factor is the size of the device, in our case, the motherboard. In order for the MP to be installed in the case, it is necessary that the form factors of both coincide, or in the case of the form factor of the ATX case, the motherboard can be installed both ATX and other common form factors. To check whether the motherboard is suitable for the case, you need to look at the “ Form factor of the motherboard ” column in the technical specifications of the case, and the column “ Form factor ” on the motherboard.

Motherboard Form factor

The most common form factors of motherboards are mainly considered: ATX – a full-sized motherboard with many expansion slots, which is installed in an ATX- format only case . Micro-ATX ( mATX ) – the form factor of the motherboard is half that of ATX . It typically has fewer expansion slots than the ATX MP . Installed in a compact mATX form factor enclosure or full-size atx motherboard . Mini-ITX- The smallest motherboard format, and as a rule, has a minimum of expansion slots. It is installed in the case of any form factor. There are also large-sized E-ATX motherboards , which in most cases are used for very high-performance gaming systems. For such an MP, you should choose the case of the same form factor E-ATX , so that the motherboard fits in the case.

  • ATX – the main form factor of full-sized boards with sides of 30.5×24.4 cm and a maximum number of slots.
  • MicroATX – a version reduced to 24.4×24.4 cm with the number of additional connectors not more than 5-6.
  • MiniATX – the most compact boards with a size of 17×17 cm, which can be installed even in small cases of system units. But they have another drawback – difficulties with the organization of effective cooling.

There are still a good two dozen different formats of motherboards, however, these options are the most common.

Motherboard Size matters
Firms-manufacturers of motherboards, especially well-known, are famous for their versatility. When choosing a motherboard, the main criterion is its size. Not only compatibility with the case depends on it, but also technical capabilities.

ATX motherboard
Motherboard manufacturers on the ATX form factor install many slots and interfaces for connecting and improving equipment. For this size of the motherboard, you will need a case of a similar standard so that the components placed on the board fit completely and do not overheat during operation.

mini ATX motherboard
As for the second option, there are some limitations that motherboard manufacturers place on hardware. Since miniATX is smaller than its opponent, its capabilities are also slightly curtailed. Computers with such motherboards are installed to save space, but it can also be installed in a standard size case.

Its dimensions are smaller, but this does not mean that it will be less powerful than a full-sized motherboard, it will simply have fewer components.

Motherboard ram compatibility

It is also necessary to pay special attention to the compatibility of the motherboard with RAM. To check the compatibility of RAM and the motherboard, you need to look in the technical specifications of the motherboard in the column “ Type of supported DDR memory ”. Here you can find out what the maximum frequency of RAM supports the motherboard. Also, in the technical characteristics of the motherboard, you can find out the maximum supported amount of RAM that can be installed, and the number of connectors that the motherboard has for installing RAM strips in the columns “ Maximum memory (GB) ” and “ Number of DDR connectors (slots) ”, respectively.

ram compatibility with motherboard

As a rule, standard ATX form factor MPs have 4-8 slots for RAM, and mATX and Mini-ITX motherboards have only two slots. There is also a small point in the frequency and maximum amount of RAM: if you install RAM with a higher frequency and volume than the motherboard and processor support, then the computer will only determine the maximum supported amount of RAM by the motherboard and processor, and the RAM itself will work not on its own frequency, but on the one supported by the motherboard and CPU.

The number of slots for installing RAM strips of the DDR2 standard (the second generation of RAM with the so-called double data transfer) into the motherboard.

The more connectors the motherboard has, the greater the amount of memory that can be installed on it; a large number of slots for memory modules is important for boards designed for the subsequent upgrade, as well as for high-performance workstations and servers. Specifically, DDR2 some time ago was the main standard of the “RAM”, however, in recent years it has been practically supplanted by the next, more advanced generations (see below). Therefore, today, memory slots and slots for them on operational boards are very rare.

The number of slots for RAM slots of the DDR3 standard provided in the motherboard.
DDR3 is the third generation of RAM with the so-called double data transfer. Some time ago, this standard was the most popular in computer technology, but now it is increasingly giving way to a newer and more advanced DDR4. However, motherboards for DDR3 are still on sale; they can have 2 , 4 , or even 6 or more slots for such memory.

The number of slots for RAM slots of the DDR4 standard provided in the motherboard.
DDR4 is a further (after the third version) development of the DDR standard, released in 2014. Improvements, compared with DDR3, are traditional – an increase in the speed of work and a decrease in power consumption; the volume of one module can be from 2 to 128 GB. It is on this RAM standard that most modern motherboards are designed; the number of slots for DDR4 is usually 2 or 4 , less often – 6 or more .

Memory Slot Form Factor

The form factor of the RAM strips for which the corresponding slots on the motherboard are designed. Different form factors suggest a difference not only in size, but also in the arrangement of contacts, which is why they are incompatible with each other; this must be taken into account when selecting components.

  • DIMM. Abbreviation for Dual In-Line Memory Module. This form factor can be called “full-sized”, it is standard for desktops and is very popular among motherboards of all sizes.
  • SODIMM. The abbreviation for “Small Outline Dual In-Line Memory Module”, which can be roughly translated as “a reduced version of DIMM”; accordingly, the main external differences of the strips and slots for them are reduced sizes and the number of contacts. This option is used in motherboards of compact form factors, most often mini-ITX (see above).

Mode of operation

The operating mode of the motherboard with RAM installed on it. It can be as follows:

  • Single-channel. The simplest mode of operation: one controller works immediately with the entire amount of RAM. It is supported by all motherboards and does not require any tricks in the number of memory modules, their compatibility, etc.
  • Two-channel. In this mode, two independent controllers work with RAM, the memory itself is divided into two blocks and information is exchanged in two streams, which increases the speed of work. The performance gain in this case can be from 5 – 10% to 100%, depending on the specific application and system features. It should be borne in mind that to work in dual-channel mode, two RAM strips with identical characteristics are extremely desirable – this allows you to achieve optimal performance, in addition, not all motherboards are able to work with pairs of unequal memory modules.
  • Two / three channel. Motherboards supporting three-channel mode of operation of random access memory. This mode is similar to the two-channel one and fundamentally differs only in the number of threads and memory bars – there should be 3 (or the number multiple of 3). In this case, again, ideally, such trims should be the same; the ability to use different slats is not guaranteed on all motherboards, and if the frequency does not match, the channel speed will be limited by the speed of the slowest …

Maximum clock speed

The maximum clock frequency of RAM supported by the motherboard. The actual clock frequency of the installed RAM modules should not exceed this indicator – otherwise there may be malfunctions, and the “RAM” features will not work to the full.

Maximum memory capacity

The maximum amount of RAM that can be installed on the motherboard. The larger the value, the more productive your PC can be. But it is worth considering that for everyday office needs well enough 8 – 16 GB , while for home gaming use 32 GB will not find the limit. Values ​​of 64 GB of RAM can be considered by avid gamers, but 128 GB or more is already the prerogative of service solutions and people associated with graphics. However, it is better to take with a margin, because the appetite always grows with food.

AMP support

The ability of the motherboard to work with RAM modules supporting AMP (AMD Memory Profiles) technology. This technology was developed by AMD; it is used in motherboards and RAM units and only works if both of these system components are compatible with AMP. A similar technology from Intel is called XMP.

The main function of AMP is to facilitate system overclocking (“overclocking”): special overclock profiles are “pre-wired” in memory with this technology, and if desired, the user can only select one of these profiles without resorting to complicated configuration procedures. It is not only simpler, but also safer: each profile added to the bar passes the stability test.

XMP support

The ability of the motherboard to work with RAM modules supporting XMP (Extreme Memory Profiles) technology . This technology was developed by Intel; it is used in motherboards and RAM units and only works if both of these system components are compatible with XMP. A similar technology from AMD is called AMP.

The main function of XMP is to facilitate system overclocking (“overclocking”): special overclock profiles are “sewn” into memory with this technology in advance, and if desired, the user only needs to select one of these profiles without resorting to complicated configuration procedures. It is not only simpler, but also safer: each profile added to the bar passes the stability test.

ECC Support

The ability of the motherboard to work with memory modules that support ECC (Error Checking and Correction) technology . This technology allows you to fix minor errors that occur during data processing, and increases the overall reliability of the system; mainly used in servers.

SLI / Crossfire

Some graphics cards support proprietary technology SLI is powered by NVIDIA for graphics cards, and Crossfire from the company AMD graphics card Radeon. Using these technologies, you can install several identical video cards on your computer to combine their capacities and achieve greater performance in computer games. To install several video cards in a computer, the motherboard must also support SLI / Crossfire technology in addition to the video card. Also, the motherboard must have several PCI-Express slots for installing multiple video cards. Typically, multiple PCI-Express slots have an ATX form factor MP, and mATX and Mini-ATX form factor motherboards, in most cases, have only one slot for installing a video card. Well, in order to check whether the motherboard supports SLI / Crossfire technology, you need to look at the column “ Support for SLI / Crossfire ” in the technical specifications of the motherboard, and the columns “ Number of PCI-Ex16 slots (x16 mode) ”, “ Number of PCI-Ex16 slots (x8 mode) ”and“ Number of PCI-Ex16 slots (x4 mode ) ”indicate the number of slots that are suitable for installing video cards.

Crossfire technology

Integrated graphics card

The motherboard has its own video card – a module for processing and outputting a video signal. This module can be integrated both into the board itself and into the processor originally installed on it (see “Embedded processor”). In any case, this feature saves the user from the need to purchase a separate video card. On the other hand, for working with video, the built-in video chip uses part of the total amount of RAM, and therefore the performance of the integrated video cards is usually not very high. Professional and gaming motherboards without a built-in video card, but often support graphics built into the processor.

Embedded Graphics Card Model

The name of the integrated video card installed in the motherboard. Knowing the name of the graphic module, you can, if necessary, easily find detailed information about it – complete specifications, tests, reviews, etc.

Hybrid mode

Support for hybrid mode is found only in motherboards equipped with their own video cards (see. Built-in video card). When an additional separate video card is installed on such a board, the system can automatically optimize the operation of video adapters depending on current tasks: use the relatively low-power, but economical and silent own video chip of the motherboard for simple operations (work with documents, web surfing) and additionally connect a powerful external video card for working with demanding applications (games, HD-video, 3D-rendering). It makes sense to purchase a motherboard that supports hybrid mode only if you plan to install a separate video card on it. In this case, it is worthwhile to separately determine the compatibility of this video card and motherboard.

D-Sub Output (VGA)

The presence of the motherboard output D-Sub (VGA) . This is the connector used to output analog video to an external monitor; it was originally used in CRT monitors, however, despite the development of LCD devices and digital standards, it is still widespread enough, it is used not only in monitors, but also in LCD TVs.

DVI Output

Motherboard has DVI output . This is a connector for transmitting video signal to an external screen, mainly in digital form; It is mainly used in computer technology, but it is also found in LCD TVs. To date, two DVI standards are used in motherboards:

  • DVI-D. The standard provides for the transmission of a signal only in digital form.
  • DVI-I. A standard that provides for the transmission of data both in digital and analog form. The analog version of the signal transmitted via DVI-I is compatible with the D-Sub interface (see D-Sub (VGA) output) using a special adapter.

HDMI output

The presence of an HDMI output on the motherboard. HDMI – a high-speed connector for outputting a composite signal (video + sound) in digital form. Allows you to display high-definition video (up to Full HD, 1920×1080) and multi-channel audio on an external screen. In addition to computer technology, widely distributed in modern LCD TVs, the presence of an HDMI output greatly facilitates the connection of such a TV to a computer.

HDMI version

The version of the HDMI connector (see above) installed on the motherboard.

  • v.1.4. The earliest standard found in our time, appeared back in 2009. It supports resolutions up to 4096×2160 inclusive and allows you to play Full HD video with a frame rate of up to 120 fps – this is enough even for 3D playback.
  • v.1.4b. A modified variation of v.1.4 described above, which introduced a number of small updates and improvements – in particular, support for two additional 3D formats.
  • v.2.0. The version, also known as HDMI UHD – it was in this version that full support for 4K was introduced, with a frame rate of up to 60 frames / sec, as well as the ability to work with ultra widescreen 21: 9 video. In addition, due to the increased bandwidth, the number of simultaneously played audio channels increased to 32, and audio streams to 4. And in the improvement of v.2.0a, HDR support was added to all this.
  • v.2.1. Another name is HDMI Ultra High Speed. Compared to the previous version, the throughput of the interface really increased noticeably – it is enough to transmit video in resolutions up to 10K at 120 frames per second, as well as to work with the extended color space of BT.2020 (the latter can be useful for some professional tasks). To use all the features of HDMI v2.1, you need cables such as HDMI Ultra High Speed, but the functions of earlier standards are also available with conventional cables.


The motherboard has a DisplayPort connector. This is a high-speed connector for outputting video and audio signals; in many ways, it is similar to HDMI (see HDMI Output), but it is mainly used in computer technology and is rarely found in television. In particular, DisplayPort is the standard for Apple monitors.
DisplayPort Version
The version of the DisplayPort interface (see above) installed on the motherboard.

  • v.1.2. The oldest version used in our time (2010). It was for the first time that 3D support appeared, the ability to work with the miniDisplayPort connector, and also the option of connecting several screens in series to one port (daisy chain). The maximum resolution fully supported by v.1.2 is 5K at 30 fps, with some limitations 8K video is also supported. And the update v.1.2a, introduced in 2013, added compatibility with FreeSync technology used in AMD video cards.
  • v.1.3. DisplayPort standard update released in 2014. Due to the increase in bandwidth, it was possible to provide full support for 8K video (at 30 fps), and in the 4K and 5K standards, increase the maximum frame rate to 120 and 60 fps, respectively. Another key update was the Dual-mode function, which provides compatibility with HDMI and DVI via the simplest passive adapters.
  • v.1.4. The newest version of the widespread. The bandwidth was even more increased (almost doubled compared to v.1.2, which allowed, albeit with some limitations, to transmit 4K and 5K video signals with a frequency of up to 240 fps and 8K – up to 144 fps. Support for a number of special functions was added, including HDR10, and the maximum number of simultaneously transmitted sound channels increased to 32.

motherboard built-in soundcard

Audio chip

A model of an audio chip (module for processing and outputting sound) installed on the motherboard. Data on the exact name of the sound chip will be useful in finding detailed information about it.

Modern “motherboards” can be equipped with fairly advanced audio modules, with high sound quality and extensive features, which makes them suitable even for gaming and multimedia PCs (although for professional work with sound, you still most likely need a separate sound card).

Sound (channels)

The most advanced sound format that the audio chip of the motherboard is able to output to an external audio system. At the moment, almost all motherboards with audio chips support standard stereo audio 2.0, and the most advanced format may be this:

  • 4. The specific layout of sound on four channels may be different, but in any case, this option consists of two classic stereo channels, supplemented by two – for example, the center and rear, or a pair of rear (left and right). This allows you to expand the sound stage and achieve greater volumetricity than in classical stereo, while maintaining the low cost of the sound cards themselves. However, this option is rare, mainly in mini-STX boards (see “Form Factor”).
  • 5.1. Six-channel sound: two front, center and two rear channels, plus a subwoofer for low and ultra-low frequencies. Allows you to reproduce a fully surround sound that is perceived by the listener not only in front of, but also behind him. One of the most popular multi-channel audio formats today.
  • 7.1. Development of the idea of ​​surround sound embedded in the 5.1 format. In addition to the standard six-channel configuration (center, front pair, rear pair and subwoofer), there are two more speakers. The place of their installation, which can be different, depending on the particular scheme of the eight-channel sound used: above the front or rear pair, in the form of a center-rear pair, on the sides of the listens spruce, etc. In any case, eight-channel circuits allow more accurate reproduction of the direction of sound.
  • 9.1. The most advanced version of acoustics found in motherboards to date. Like 7.1, this standard includes 6 channels according to 5.1, plus additional speakers – only four in this case, which gives even more opportunities for expanding surround sound.

Optical S / P-DIF

An output for transmitting sound, including multi-channel, in digital form. Such a connection is notable for its complete insensitivity to electrical noise, since an optical rather than an electric cable is used to transmit the signal. The main disadvantage of optical S / P-DIF , compared to coaxial, is a certain fragility of the cable – it can be damaged by bending or stepping.

Coaxial output

An output for digital audio transmission. The possibility of transmitting multi-channel sound. Unlike the optical variant described above, coaxial S / P-DIF uses an electric cable with RCA connectors (“tulip”); Such a cable can be affected by electromagnetic interference, but it is not as delicate as fiber.

Hard Drives and SSDs

When connecting hard disks (HDDs) to the motherboard, you need to make sure that the HHD interface matches the interface of the motherboard. For this, you need to look in the “ HDD Interface Type ” column in the technical specifications of the hard drive , and in the “ SATA Interface Type ” column in the technical specifications of the motherboard. SSD drives are connected in the same way as hard drives – through the SATA or SAS port of the motherboard. In this case, the usual SerialATA is suitable, which is used when connecting hard drives, and for the remaining interfaces of SSDs it is necessary to see whether this motherboard supports a certain type of interface.

motherboard Hard Drives and SSDs

To check for the presence of M.2, mSATA and PCI-Express slots, you need to look at the specifications for the motherboard in the column “ Number of M2 Socket 3 ”, “ Number of mSATA ”, “ Number of PCI-Ex1 slots ” and “ Number of PCI-Ex4 slots ” etc. under the appropriate connector SSD-drive type PCI-Express interface, respectively. in addition, in the specifications of the motherboard article about iT to pay attention to the column ” number of SATA connectors “, which indicates the maximum number of hard drives and solid-state drives can be installed build a computer of the type SerialATA interface.

IDE connector

The number of IDE ports on the motherboard. The IDE interface is used to connect drives, provides a data transfer rate of about 133 Mb / s and allows you to connect up to two drives at once to one connector on the motherboard (in some cases, even three, but one of them works only for reading, without writing ability ) It is considered obsolete and is gradually being replaced by a more advanced and high-speed SATA interface (see the corresponding paragraphs below).

SATA2 (3Gb / s)

The number of SATA2 ports on the motherboard.
SATA – the interface for connecting internal drives, which replaced the IDE, provides higher speed and noise immunity. On the other hand, unlike the IDE, it is impossible to connect several drives to the same motherboard port via SATA.

SATA2 is the second version of the SATA interface, providing a practical data transfer rate of about 2.4 Gb / s, or 300 Mb / s. The practical speed is lower than the documented 3 Gbit / s due to the fact that service information is transmitted simultaneously from the main SATA channel.

SATA3 (6Gb / s)

The number of SATA 3 ports on the motherboard.
SATA3 is the third version of the SATA interface, providing a practical data transfer rate of about 5.89 Gb / s, or 700 Mb / s. As in the case of SATA2, the practical speed is lower than that declared due to the transfer of service information along the SATA channel along with the main one. For more information about the features of the SATA interface, see “SATA2 (3Gb / s) (port (s))”

SATA Express

The number of SATA Express ports on the motherboard.
SATA Express originally appeared as part of SATA 3.2 – an improved version of SATA 3.

The main feature of this interface is the combination of the SATA standard with the PCI-E bus (see below), so that drives using any of these technologies can be connected to SATA Express. In the first case, the connection speed will correspond to the original version of 3 – 6 Gb / s, while two standard SATA connectors are placed in one SATA Express port at once. When working with PCI-E, the speed will depend on the version of this bus.


The number of mSATA connectors provided in the design of the motherboard.
The mSATA (mini-SATA) interface is used primarily for connecting solid-state drives (SSD) in the same form factor. In accordance with the name, both the drives themselves and the connectors for them are very tiny. mSATA is physically compatible with mini PCI-E (see below), however, full compatibility is not found on all motherboards. Therefore, if such a function is important to you, you should make sure that it is directly declared by the manufacturer.

M.2 connector

The number of M.2 connectors provided in the design of the motherboard.
The M.2 connector is used to connect various internal peripherals. It is an extension of the SATA Express standard and combines PCI-E 3.0, SATA 3.0 (see the corresponding items) and internal USB 3.0 in one slot. Thanks to this, through M.2, you can connect both expansion cards (in particular, wireless adapters such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS modules) and storage devices (primarily SSDs). At the same time, the connector itself has a very miniature size and can be used without problems even in the most compact form factors of motherboards (see above). Also, there are motherboards with two M.2 connectors .

Note that various interfaces can be implemented through this connector; for more details see “M.2 Interface”.

M.2 interface

Interface (s) implemented through the M.2 connectors provided in the motherboard (see above).
This parameter is indicated by the number of connectors themselves and by the type of interfaces provided in each of them. For example, the entry “3xSATA / PCI-E 4x” means three connectors capable of working in both SATA and PCI-E 4x formats; and the designation “1xSATA / PCI-E 4x, 1xPCI-E 2x” means two slots, one of which works as SATA or PCI-E 4x, and the second only as PCI-E 2x.

For more information on SATA, see above; for different versions of PCI-E – below; here we just recall that the first interface is mainly used for hard drives, the second – for expansion cards and SSD modules.

Cooling SSD M.2

Motherboard cooling for SSD drives connected via the M.2 connector.
This connector allows you to achieve high speed, but for the same reason, many SSDs under M.2 have a high heat dissipation, and in order to avoid overheating, they may require additional cooling. Most often, the simplest radiator in the form of a metal plate is responsible for such cooling – in the case of SSD this is quite enough.

U.2 connector

The number of U.2 connectors provided in the design of the motherboard.
U.2 – a specialized connector designed to connect internal drives with a cable. It is designed primarily for the most advanced SSD modules supporting high-speed NVMe data transfer technology.

eSATA plug

The number of eSATA ports on the motherboard.
eSATA is a type of SATA interface (see SATA2 for details), designed to connect external drives. In this case, the eSATA and SATA connectors are not compatible. The practical data transfer rate with this connection is similar to SATA2 and is about 2.4 Gb / s (300 MB / s); this is noticeably faster than in another popular interface for external peripherals – USB 2.0. In addition, the convenience of eSATA lies in the fact that when connecting an external drive via this connector, the USB ports remain free and other peripheral devices can be included in them; such an opportunity can be useful when you have to use many USB devices.

SAS connector

The number of SAS ports on the motherboard.
SAS is a modification of the SCSI interface and is usually used to connect drives. Devices with this interface are mainly used in server systems and are almost never found in ordinary desktop PCs. The data transfer rate reaches 6 Gb / s (750 Mb / s). It is worth noting that drives with SATA2 and SATA3 interfaces (see the corresponding paragraphs in the glossary) can be connected to the SAS interface; at the same time, the SAS device cannot be connected to the SATA interface.

RAID array

Also, several absolutely identical (this is very important!) Hard drives or SSDs can be combined using RAID data virtualization technology to increase the reliability of information storage, performance, and in some cases for both at the same time. A RAID array can be created using the BIOS of a motherboard that supports RAID .

RAID can be of several types:
The RAID 0
Used to increase the performance of hard drives or SSDs that share information. With this RAID array, information is divided into blocks and written to all disks in turn, and the performance directly depends on the number of devices, the more there are, the higher the speed. The only minus of RAID 0 is that if at least one drive fails from the entire RAID array, the data disappears permanently from all drives.

The RAID 1
This RAID array is used for high reliability of data storage that is duplicated on two disks at the same time, so even if one disk fails, the information will remain intact on the second medium. When using RAID 1, there is a complete loss of the “volume” of the second disk.

RAID 2, RAID 3, RAID 4, RAID 5, RAID 6, RAID 10, RAID 50

These RAID arrays are less common and are used very rarely because have a specific focus. They serve for distributed data storage with disks allocated for parity codes and various block sizes.

To find out if the motherboard supports the technology of creating RAID arrays, you need to look at the “ RAID SATA ” column in the technical specifications of the motherboard, which will also indicate what types of raids the motherboard supports.

Motherboard with wifi

Wi-Fi version (standard) supported by the Wi-Fi module of the motherboard. The main purpose of such modules, regardless of version, is access to the Internet through wireless routers; however, Wi-Fi can also be used for direct communication with other devices – for example, for transferring materials from a digital camera or remote control it.

Nowadays, you can find support for different Wi-Fi standards. From this nuance depends primarily on the maximum connection speed. At the same time, different versions also differ in the ranges used; and they are compatible with each other if they coincide in the ranges used. However, the wireless modules of modern motherboards often support not only the Wi-Fi standard specified in the specifications, but also earlier ones; this point does not prevent to clarify separately, but in most cases there are no compatibility problems. However, to use all the features of a particular version, both devices must support it – both the “motherboard” and the external device.

The list of major versions looks like this:

  • Wi-Fi 3 (802.11g). The oldest standard of today, in its pure form, is found only in outdated boards. It operates at speeds up to 54 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band.
  • Wi-fi 4 (802.11n). A fairly popular standard, only recently starting to give way to more advanced options. Supports to the 2.4 GHz band, and the more advanced 5 GHz band and the maximum data transfer rate is 150 Mbit / s per channel (up to 600 Mbit / s with 4 antennas).
  • Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac). It works only at 5 GHz. Initially, the maximum theoretical data transfer rate was 1300 Mbit / s, however, since 2016, the 802.11ac Wave 2 standard has been used, where this figure has been increased to 2.34 Gbit / s.
  • Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax). Initially, it operates on two bands – 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz – however, the specification of this standard provides for the possibility of using any operating range between 1 GHz and 7 GHz (as such bands appear). The nominal data transfer rate compared to Wi-Fi 5 has grown by only a third, however, a number of improvements that increase communication efficiency can achieve a significant increase in the actual speed – in theory, up to 10 Gb / s and even higher.
  • WiGig (802.11ad). A standard using the 60 GHz band. In theory, it provides speeds up to 7 Gb / s; however, due to the relatively small number of devices using this range, the amount of interference is also minimized, and real communication speeds are quite high.

motherboard with Bluetooth

The motherboard has its own Bluetooth module , which eliminates the need to purchase such an adapter separately. Bluetooth technology is used for direct wireless connection of a computer with other devices – mobile phones, players, tablets, laptops, wireless headphones, etc .; Connectivity options include both file sharing and external device management. The radius of the Bluetooth connection is up to 10 m (in later standards, up to 100 m), while the devices do not have to be on the line of sight. Different versions of Bluetooth are mutually compatible in their basic functionality.

Expansion card slots

Slots for expansion cards are special PCI and PCI – Express slots that are designed to expand the functionality of the system by installing additional devices in these slots, without overpaying for the same functionality that is already integrated into the motherboard. For example, an MP with two network cards at a price will cost an order of magnitude more expensive than with one, so it will be more profitable to take a motherboard with one network card, and use a slot for expansion cards to install a second one if necessary. In addition to this, in these connectors you can also install controllers, TV tuners, Wi-Fi adapters and SSD drives with the appropriate type of interface. The main thing is that for all additional devices, these connectors are enough.Number of PCI slots ”and“ Number of PCI-Ex1 slots ”.

Expansion card slots

PCI-E 1x Slots

The number of PCI-E (PCI-Express) 1x slots installed on the motherboard.

The PCI Express bus is used to connect various expansion cards – network and sound cards, video adapters, TV tuners and even SSD drives. The number in the name indicates the number of PCI-E lines (data channels) supported by this slot; the more lines, the higher the throughput. Accordingly, PCI-E 1x is the basic, slowest version of this interface. The data transfer speed of such slots depends on the version of PCI-E (see “PCI Express Support”): in particular, it is slightly less than 1 GB / s for version 3.0 and slightly less than 2 GB / s for 4.0.

Separately, we note that the general rule for PCI-E is this: the board must be connected to a slot with the same or a large number of lines. Thus, with PCI-E 1x, only boards on a single line will be guaranteed to be compatible.

PCI-E 4x Slots

The number of PCI-E (PCI-Express) 4x slots installed on the motherboard.

The PCI Express bus is used to connect various expansion cards – network and sound cards, video adapters, TV tuners and even SSD drives. The number in the name indicates the number of PCI-E lines (data channels) supported by this slot; the more lines, the higher the throughput. 4 PCI-E lines provide a data transfer rate of about 4 GB / s for version PCI-E 3.0 and 8 GB / s for version 4.0 (for more information about versions, see “PCI Express Support”).

Separately, we note that the general rule for PCI-E is this: the board must be connected to a slot with the same or a large number of lines. Thus, in the PCI-E 4x slot, you can install cards on 1 or 4 PCI Express lanes.

PCI-E Slots 16x

The number of PCI-E (PCI-Express) 16x slots installed on the motherboard.

The PCI Express bus is used to connect various expansion cards – network and sound cards, video adapters, TV tuners and even SSD drives. The number in the name indicates the number of PCI-E lines (data channels) supported by this slot; the more lines, the higher the throughput. 16 lines – the largest number found in modern PCI Express slots and cards (technically possible and more, but the connectors would be too bulky). Accordingly, such slots are the fastest: their data transfer speed is 16 GB / s for version PCI-E 3.0 and 32 GB / s for version 4.0 (for more information about versions, see “PCI Express Support”).

Separately, we note that it is the PCI-E 16x that is considered the optimal connector for connecting video cards. However, when choosing a motherboard with several such slots, it is worth considering the PCI-E modes supported by it (see above). In addition, we recall that the PCI Express interface allows you to connect cards with fewer lines to connectors with more lines. Thus, the PCI-E 16x is suitable for any PCI Express card.

PCI-E Modes

The operating modes of the PCI-E 16x slots are supported by the motherboard.
See above for more details on this interface, and information about the modes is indicated if there are several PCI-E 16x slots on the board. These data specify at what speed these slots can work while connecting expansion cards to them, how many lines each of them can use. The fact is that the total number of PCI-Express lines on any motherboard is limited, and they are usually not enough for the simultaneous operation of all 16-channel slots at full power. Accordingly, with simultaneous operation, the speed will inevitably have to be limited: for example, recording 16x / 4x / 4x means that the motherboard has three 16-channel slots, but if you connect three video cards to them at once, the second and third slots can only give out speed PCI-E 4x level. Accordingly, for a different number of slots and the number of digits will be appropriate.

It is necessary to pay attention to this parameter mainly when installing several video cards at the same time: in some cases (for example, when using the SLI technology), for video adapters to work correctly, they must be connected to the slots at the same speed.

PCI slots

PCI slots are used to connect expansion cards. Provide data transfer rates up to 533 Mb / s. Some time ago they were widespread, but now they are considered obsolete and are gradually being superseded by the PCI Express standard (see PCI-E 1x slots). To date, they are used to connect boards that do not require high data exchange speeds (for example, sound). The usual number of PCI slots for modern motherboards is 1-2.

PCI Express Support

Version of the PCI Express interface supported by the motherboard. Recall that this interface is nowadays virtually standard for connecting video cards and other expansion cards. It can have a different number of lines – usually 1x, 4x and / or 16x; for more details, see the relevant paragraphs above. Here we note that the speed of data transmission on one line depends primarily on the version. The most relevant options are:

  • PCI Express 3.0. The version released back in 2010 and implemented in hardware two years later. One of the key differences from the previous PCI E 2.0 was the use of 128b / 130b encoding, that is, in each 130 bits – 128 main and two overhead (instead of 8b / 10b, which was used earlier and gave very high redundancy). This made it possible to almost double the data transfer rate (up to 984 MB / s versus 500 MB / s per 1 PCI-E line) with a relatively small increase in the number of transactions per second (up to 8 GT / s against 5 GT / s). Despite the advent of a newer version 4.0, the PCI-E 3.0 standard is still quite popular in modern motherboards.
  • PCI Express 4.0. The next PCI-E update introduced in 2017; The first motherboards supporting this version appeared at the end of spring 2019. Compared with PCI-E 3.0, the data transfer rate in PCI-E 4.0 was doubled – up to 1969 MB / s per PCI-E line.

Electronic components

Motherboard electronic components For the durability and reliability of the motherboard are responsible electronic components (transistors, capacitors, etc.), which are used by manufacturers in its production. As a rule, budget motherboards use similar components that are not designed for too long use, and high-level MPs use higher-quality elements. Moreover, manufacturers rarely indicate in the technical specifications information about which electronic components are installed in the motherboard, so you will have to look for this information yourself. However, manufacturers on the official websites of motherboards emphasize which electronic components were used in production, so you should pay attention to labels like “ Super Alloy Power”, Which means that the motherboard has reliable power systems, high-quality solid-state capacitors, etc.

motherboard electronic components


The motherboard BIOS is a built-in program (firmware) through which you can control all the functions of the motherboard. UEFI BIOS is installed in modern motherboard models , which have a more intuitive graphical interface with the ability to support a mouse. UEFI also has enhanced functionality and support for the latest technologies. In the technical characteristics of the motherboard in the column ” BIOS Type ” indicates which version of the firmware was originally installed in the board.

gigabyte motherboard BIOS

External ports and connectors

Motherboards are equipped with many external connectors and ports, which are located on a special panel of the board. As a rule, no motherboard can do without USB ports for connecting computer peripherals – a mouse and keyboard, an RJ-45 network connector for connecting to the Internet or a local network, audio jacks and an SPDIF optical audio output for connecting audio systems or a headset, and at least one of the connectors for outputting images to a DVI-D, VGA or HDMI monitor. However, there are minor exceptions, for example, motherboards on the 2011-3 socket do not have connectors for image output because The CPUs on this socket do not have an integrated graphics adapter. Sometimes these sockets do not exist at all, due to the fact that motherboards are designed for processors with graphics.

Motherboards connectors

In modern motherboards, PS / 2 connectors are used less often, which are used to connect peripherals, because mice and keyboards, in most cases, are connected via a USB port. Some motherboards have an eSATA connector for connecting external hard drives or SSDs with a similar port, and a Display Port connector for connecting a monitor through this connector. Also, in some motherboards, there is a Wi-Fi adapter, as well as a BIOS reset button when it freezes, however, these are not mandatory functions and connectors, so they are not present in all motherboards. You can find out about the presence of certain connectors in the motherboard in the technical specifications of the device in the appropriate columns.

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