The Motherboard

To be compatible it will need to have the correct socket for the processor as there are several types available. It will also have to be able to support the speed of the processor. You can find all of this information in the specifications but for a newcomer it can all get just a little confusing, one particular tip I find useful is to look down towards the bottom of the page for the processor you bought and there will usually be a section that shows what others have bought to go with the selection, this will usually give you a good indication of a few popular compatible motherboards. I particularly look for boards manufactured by Asus, AsRock and Gigabyte.

Something else that you will want to consider is what the motherboard has on it. This will again come down to your preference which is something you can do when building a computer yourself. You can get motherboards with built in sound capabilities and built in graphics facilities so if you’re on a tight budget you can go for a board with these included and them buy a graphics card or sound card at a later date, for a better performing machine.

I also make sure that the motherboard has a network socket to connect up to the internet, some don’t have this and you will be left having to get a separate card. Which brings me on to my next requirement of how many cards you can plug into your motherboard? Some only have space for a couple of PCI slots. A lot of the newer motherboards don’t have PS2 ports for the older mice and keyboards or parallel ports on them anymore.

Something else to bear in mind when you choosing your motherboard if you have an older printer. I have a laser printer that connects via a parallel port and as my new motherboard didn’t have a socket for that I had to buy a PCI parallel port board. I also had a top of the range soundcard that filled up the remaining PCI slot leaving me nowhere else to plug in any more expansions! Most of today’s motherboards are all SATA which is the connection to the hard drives and optical drives, such as the CD and DVD’s so if you have a particular IDE hard drive or DVD writer that you want to integrate into your new system make sure that your motherboard has an IDE interface socket on it as well as the SATA ones. Also USB sockets tend to get used up very quickly these days with mouse, keyboard and memory sticks so make sure you’ve got plenty.