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Selecting a Motherboard

The motherboard is 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 MSI B450 Gaming Plus 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.

A motherboard's chipset can tell you which processor the board supports and other additional features. AMD B550 motherboards use AMD processors 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 less expensive but still 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. 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.

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.