Factors to Consider When Buying a Motherboard

Factors to Consider When Buying a Motherboard

The motherboard is a fundamental part of a PC system, and is something that is often overlooked in favour of components like the processor and RAM. However, choosing the right motherboard for your build is important and can be quite complicated as there are lots of things to take into consideration. This blog should help you to pick the right one!

What is a motherboard?

Let’s start with explaining what a motherboard actually is. It is a printed circuit board which is the foundation of a computer. It allocates power and allows communication between hardware components, such as RAM and CPU. They are designed to use specific processors and memory, so not all RAM and CPU work with all motherboards.

Fun fact! Do you know why a motherboard is called a motherboard? Because it is the main circuit board which can be extended by plugging smaller boards into it. These smaller boards are called ‘daughter boards’ so the main board is the motherboard! And before you ask, no, there is no father board!

Sizes of motherboard (form factor)

Determining the size of motherboard that you need is very important. The type of motherboard will dictate the size and placement of screws and the placement of the major components on the board. The form factor determines the size of case that you need, along with the number of expansion slots you will have. In general, larger form factors give the builder more DIMM and full size PCle (we’ll come back to these shortly). It is incredibly important to check what size you require before you buy.

Components of a motherboard

Here are a few of the components placed on a motherboard and the things you need to consider:

  • CPU socket – If you are doing a complete build of a PC you will need to look at what processor socket you require. The sockets lie on the motherboard where the processor will sit. CPUs come in different sizes and if the CPU doesn’t fit in the motherboard, you can’t use it. Therefore, it is best to choose what CPU you need before you choose a motherboard.
  • Expansion slots (PCle) – These slots allow you to install devices such as graphics cards, SSDs and RAID controllers. The PCle slots contain links which have a certain number of data lanes and each lane consists of two pairs of wires; one wire to transmit data and one wire to receive data. The motherboard has a set number of slots and therefore determines the number of devices you can install. You therefore need to decide what installations you will want to add, before you buy a motherboard.
  • RAM slots – These are slots specifically for RAM modules. ROM modules are volatile memory which stores data and allows for fast retrieval. Before buying a motherboard, you need to check the number of RAM slots available. Having multiple sticks of high-speed RAM can help your PC to handle more programs at the same time without slowing down.


In conclusion, there are numerous factors you need to consider when deciding which motherboard you require, and it can be quite a confusing process. At servers and spares, we have a whole range of different motherboards in stock and have a team of technical experts who can help you figure out what you need. Give us a call on 0113 8805 440 to get some expert advice.