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Selecting a Motherboard

Looking to build your own PC? Don’t overlook the importance of the motherboard. This is the printed circuit board that contains the primary components of your device, featuring all the connections and slots that allow your CPU, GPU, hard drive, and other components to interact. While it may not get as much attention as your graphics card or processor, the motherboard is important because it allocates power and keeps all hardware working in sync.

The motherboard is at the core of any PC build. Motherboards come in different shapes, sizes, and chipsets that determine what other components are supported by your computer. Understanding what features the different chipsets offer can help you determine which motherboard is the right choice for you.

Typically, you can see the chipset of a motherboard within the parts name, such as the ASRock X570 Taichi ATX or ASUS Z690-A LGA 1700 ATX. The name of these components will tell you many things, including which processor the board supports, the form factor of the part, and other features such as integrated WiFi. Intel processors and AMD processors require specific sockets to function, and a motherboard will only support one brand.

Intel and AMD Motherboards

A motherboard's chipset can tell you which processor the board supports and other additional features. AMD B550 motherboards use AMD AM4 socket and are some of the most popular on the market today. These boards often support multiple graphics cards, integrated WiFi 6, and USB 3.2 ports, making them great motherboards for gaming or workstation style PCs.

A popular choice is AMD B450 motherboards. The differences between B550 and B450 are minor, and supported peripheral components are similar, making either an excellent choice. AMD X570 motherboards are considered top of the line for AMD processors and offer the most robust features and build flexibility. These boards can come at a premium price, however features such as support for multiple high speed storage drives or GPUs make them highly desired for streaming PCs or workstation style computers.

If you need a motherboard that is compatible with Intel processors, be sure to select an Intel motherboard. We offer many of the top Intel motherboards at Micro Center, including the popular ASUS Intel Z690, the Gigabyte Aorus Elite, and others. Check the specs of each model to ensure that your motherboard is compatible with your CPU and memory. Each motherboard also has its own socket type (LGA 1151, LGA 2066, LGA 1700, LGA 1200, etc.) so be sure to reference that to ensure compatibility.

Selecting a Gaming Motherboard

A great place to start when choosing a motherboard for gaming or any task is by looking at the form factor. The size or form factor will tell you what kind of case the motherboard will fit in. From largest to smallest, the most common sizes of modern motherboards are ATX, microATX, and ITX. ATX motherboards are easy to build with and allow many other components to be integrated into your build. This makes them great for first time PC builders or anyone looking to make the most powerful PC possible.

Each motherboard has a certain number of connectors or slots that allow you to connect expansion cards. As a gamer, you will want to think about the number of PCI expansion slots as well as memory slots to connect your RAM modules. Regardless of if you plan to use your motherboard for work or play, you need to think about RAM compatibility. Your motherboard must be compatible with the type of RAM such as DDR4 or DDR5.

Differences between chipsets can be minor yet significant for specific tasks. Understanding the anatomy of a motherboard will help you learn precisely what each chipset can do. You can also use Micro Center's Custom PC Builder tool to ensure your motherboard supports your CPU and other parts.

Shop All Motherboards at Micro Center

Micro Center is here to help you select the perfect motherboard for your unique needs, whether you are building a high end gaming PC or simply want to design your own custom workstation. We have the right motherboard options for desktops with all the features you need. Shop AMD and Intel motherboards by ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte, ASRock, and more in our awesome selection.

Whether you are looking for a top notch AMD motherboard or something to power your Intel processor, we can help with custom recommendations and expert-level support.