A motherboard and CPU combination can dictate the native support that you can find in a computer build. Incorrect setups can lead to under-performance. It can lead to a system with little headroom in upgradability to allow for the system to be viable in the future.
While a CPU will dictate compute power, a motherboard provides the support for onboard and add on components and the feature level of these components.
What to look for in a motherboard?
Typical motherboard features and configurations will differ in:
- Form factor
- CPU socket and Chipset
- Power delivery RAM Dimm slots
- PCIe expansion slots number and configurations
- SATA, and M.2 slots
- Onboard audio and graphics throughput
- Network support (LAN, wifi)
- Bluetooth support
- Cooling support (fan connectors, thermal sensors)
- USB 2, 3 and thunderbolt support
- Legacy device backwards compatibility
Low budget motherboards will have a minimum 2 x ram slots, 1 x 16 lane PCIe slot, LAN support, USB 2 & 3 support, legacy i/o device. This configuration can lead to a decent computer, that can handle most daily office tasks and, depending on the components fitted, some medium-load duties.
What if I need more power?
For more demanding workloads or higher specification components, a motherboard with a more advanced chipset. As the motherboard’s form factors increase in size, they can feature as many as 8 RAM DIMM slots, and 4 x 16 PCIe expansion slots for monster builds.
Unfortunately, your system, in whatever you configuration you set it up will be only as good as its specifications. 3D CAD, video editing, AI software engineering and other fields will need high spec systems with matching motherboards and CPUs to effectively.
There have been times where I have heard complaints of a video 3-minute video rendered taking 3 hours. It may be okay once in a blue moon, but if your daily work necessitates this type of workload, a weak system can lead to a loss in productivity.
Computer Bottle-necking occurs when a component is not able to handle the throughput of data processing compared to the rest of the system. common areas of bottle-necking are in memory, CPU, GPU and finally, storage.
Until recently the biggest bottleneck came from storage. then SSDs and namely PCIe SSDs removed that issue. Moreover, with the introductions of PCIe 4.0 and DDR5 RAM support coming in 2021, the bottle-necking is squarely in the CPU and GPU side of the equation.
You can find examples of this in gaming. On conventional systems running at 1080p, you will mainly find that the content framerate is CPU bound. However, with 4k gaming, the systems end up GPU bound. Understanding where the scale starts to slide can help you find a cost-effective balance in parts that will not lead to one component feeling like it is overkill.
Fisrtly, I would like to point out that WOW factor items DO NOT improve performance. RGB does not make your computer faster, much like red does not make your car faster. Secondly, they create a markup in pricing that is unjustifiable. But people like it.
I find that I am stuck with RGB elements on a build because it ends up bundled with features on a motherboard that I need. For instance, I would be happy with the same power delivery elements, on a motherboard with no RGB, as it could make the motherboard as much as 20-30% cheaper.
Tips for choosing a motherboard and CPU?
Look at you most relevant, current software package that you use every day. With that software, you can find something called recommended specifications. Using that as a build list will cover you for most everyday tasks. If you find your budget is too low for this setup, I would recommend increasing your budget, especially if you need this system for work.
If you use things occasionally like Photoshop, video editing or gaming, use the recommended settings on the most demanding package you use as the basis of the build. In these cases, if they are hobbies, you can consider the minimum specification to use as a build guide if you are finding the budget stretched thin. However, the quality will be low.
If you are unsure of how to start creating your ideal build, we can help. Just fill out a simple questionnaire, and we can help design a system to suit your needs. Or, you can call us on 1300 883 831 today.