What MotherBoard Should I Get ?


A computer's motherboard is the main printed circuit board containing and connecting its central components.
Motherboards are characterized by

  • Form factor - this encompasses
    • Its physical dimensions .
    • Slots - The number and type of interface slots it provides.
    • External connectivity - The number and type of external peripheral connections.
    • Power requirements - The type and specification of the power supply required.
  • CPU Type - The type of CPU for which it is designed.
  • Chipset - The type and arrangement of its central electronic componentry.
  • Memory - The type and speed of system RAM.
  • Memory Capacity - The maximum amount for system RAM supported.
  • Manufacturer

Form factor

For a performance oriented or gaming desktop desktop system there is an advantage in buying a larger tower size form factor. Larger form-factors are easier to keep cool and dust free. In addition, large form factor motherboards offer more options in terms of slots and card placement. This is important since, high performance gaming graphics cards tend to be bulky and cover multiple slots.

System architecture

In terms of overall system architecture and approach to parallelization. There are three (and bit) choices.

Multiple CPU systems

Multiple CPU systems are typically found in very high performance workstation and servers. And indeed, on super-computers. These systems generally employ more than one motherboard and each motherboard has two or four (or more) CPUs, with each CPU being a multi core job. The price tag of this arrangements takes it out of the running for typical uses.

Single CPU with multiple cores

This arrangement the best choice for the majority of uses wanting a high performance but cost effective system.

Single CPU with a single core

This would be a choice for a low end, low price system. The two advantages of single core systems are, price (they are as cheap as chips) and low power consumption.

CPU Type and Chip Set

For high performance systems as noted above the the best performance at reasonable cost is a single CPU with
multiple cores. The two main manufactures at present:are Intel and AMD.

Intel's high performance desktop 64 bit offerings

Name Cores Cache L3 MB Best Memory
i7Core 4960X, 4930X 6 12, 15 DDR3-1866
i7Core 4820 4 10 DDR3-1866
i7Core 4 8 DDR3-1600
i5Core other 4 6 DDR3-1600
i5Core 347t 2 3 DDR3-1600

AMD's high performance desktop 64 bit offerings

Name Cores Cache L3 MB Best Memory
FX-9590 8 8 DDR3-2133
FX-9370 FX-8350 FX-8320 FX-8300 8 8 DDR3-1866
FX-6350 6 8 DDR3-1866
FX-6300 6 8 DDR3-1866
FX-4350 4 6 DDR3-1866
FX-4320 FX-4300 4 4 DDR3-1866