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What Motherboard Should I Buy?

All of the motherboards we show will work properly with each processor shown on the same page. The boards all have built in audio and networking. 

The motherboard is the backbone of your computer, it is the highway system for all the information and it is the docking point for all the components of the system. Generally, higher priced motherboards will give you a greater number and faster pathways for the information to travel and more docking points for devices.

Motherboards will come with either 2, 4, or 8 memory slots. The latest AMD & Intel CPU based boards use the faster DDR4 memory, AMD Socket FM2, AM3 & Intel Socket 1150 motherboards use DDR3 memory. If you buy a motherboard with only two memory slots you will be more limited in terms of future memory upgrades. If you have it in your budget we recommend 4 slot motherboards.

Drive Connections

  • SATA3 is the current standard drive connection type.
  • M.2 - Available in select boards, M.2 gives you up to 5 times the speed of SATA3.


  • USB 2.0 The standard USB connection type (Up to .5 gb/sec performance)
  • USB 3.0 The newer USB connection type - Same connector & backwards compatible (Up to 5 gb/sec performance)
  • USB 3.1 The newest USB connection type - New connector (Up to 10 gb/sec performance)

Video Connections

Motherboards may come with integrated video, or they may require a separate video card. Modern integrated video based boards are much better than integrated boards from just a few years ago, but a separate video card is typically better than integrated video.  
Intel's i3 /i5 /i7 (Except Socket 2011) and AMD APU A4 / A6 / A8 / A10 CPUs now have a separate video GPU (like a separate video card)  built right inside the CPU.  These separate GPUs are the equivalent of a $40 to $60 separate video card. 
For many customers who do not play games and do not rely on heavy graphics, integrated video is often a good solution. If you plan on playing 3-D games or are building a more powerful system, a separate video card is best. 

Monitor Output / Video Connector Types
  • VGA (Analog) - Traditional 15 pin oblong connector
  • DVI (Digital) - Larger rectangular connector
  • HDMI (Digital) - Flat blade connector that also passes audio
  • Display Port (Digital) - Smaller almost square blade connector

Expansion Slots

These slots are used for adding expansion cards like special sound cards, additional network cards, IEEE1394 cards etc.
  • Traditional PCI slots - approx 3 inches long and are the slots used to expand with older or slower devices.
  • PCIe slots - come in 4 types.  x1 slots, are approximately 1" long, x4 are approx 2 1/2" long and x8 & x16 slots are approx 4" long.  All the slots are used for newer, more modern expansion cards. 
Sizes - Motherboards come in two main sizes, ATX (roughly 9" x 12") and Micro ATX (roughly 9" x 9" or less). If you are buying anything built in a case from us, you do not need to worry about the sizes, because all of our cases accept either ATX or Micro ATX. If you are buying a motherboard combo and your previous motherboard was ATX size you can buy any board from us. If your previous motherboard was Micro ATX you should check your system case to see if it can accommodate the 9" x 12" size before you buy an ATX size board.

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