Buying Guide: Motherboards
| by Rossi Fernandes
We’ve already mentioned how motherboards can be priced anywhere between Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 25,000. One would expect to find major performance benefits, but quite frankly, there aren’t. Expect to see a performance difference of no more than 3 - 4 per cent, assuming of course that you use the same processor on two boards using the same chipset. Expensive boards are likely to have advanced overclocking features, which will allow you to speed the processor better. So if you’re not going to be overclocking, then simply look at the cheapest board that has all the features you need from it.
Support for multiple GPUs
If you’re a gamer, then you’ll want to get as much performance as you can. This means adding more than a single graphics card to your rig. NVIDIA cards can be connected together using SLI and AMD cards are connected using CrossFire. Look for motherboards that support SLI or CrossFire depending on what make of cards you use. If you have no such plans and are happy with a single GPU or an integrated graphics solution, then you can avoid SLI/CrossFire supported boards. They are usually expensive.
The board layout is quite an important factor while choosing a motherboard. Motherboards have PCie x16, x8, x4, x1 and traditional PCI slots. The space between the slots is important especially when you insert a graphics card that uses up two slots. If there is a slot right under the first PCIe x16 slot, it might be unusable. Some board manufacturers leave a little more space between the top slots.
Spacing between PCI-Express slots
Like we mentioned earlier, heatpipes and large heatsinks can cause some trouble when you attach more memory and cards to the motherboard. If you plan on using a custom CPU cooler, you should also check to see if there’s enough space around the processor. Another thing to look for is the positioning of the SATA ports on the motherboard. Look for ports that point towards the sides of the motherboard. This way they don’t come in the way of any long cards that you plug into your system.
If you’re spending more than Rs. 10,000 on a motherboard, look for additional features such as integrated WiFi adapters, two Ethernet ports in place of one and RAID.
Integrated WiFi support is available on some high-end boards
Some manufacturers will also include high-quality sound card modules to the package and also amplifiers for headphones.
It will be three years in November since Intel launched their X58 chipset,
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