Many PC enthusiasts build custom computers based on their specific needs. Usually, many custom PC builders are more interested in their purchase of the processor and GPU. People spend a lot of time choosing the right GPU and CPU combination and watch tens of videos comparing those products before making the final buying decision.
However, when it comes to buying the right motherboard, it is usually dealt with as a last thought. PC enthusiasts usually buy every other component after careful consideration and choose whatever motherboard they can fit in their computer. While this is technically okay, buying the right motherboard can become overly complicated if you don’t pay much attention.
Almost everyone using a computer knows that motherboard is one of the most important parts of building a custom computer. In addition to supporting your processor, the motherboard is also attached to all of the components of your computer and is responsible for interconnecting them. Additionally, the motherboard takes power from your power supply and distributes it to all of the components of your computer in an efficient and regulated way. Choosing the right model of the motherboard can either be simple or complex based on how you proceed in the process. Similarly, you can easily overspend on the motherboard by focusing too much on the gimmicks.
So, here’s an educated answer on how much you should spend on your motherboard when building a custom PC.
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Find The Right Balance
Unlike other PC components like processor and graphics card, the motherboard does not affect the numbers you see in benchmarks and games. This is why you can easily spend more than needed money when buying a motherboard. Buying the right motherboard can be one of the trickiest parts of building a computer.
For an average PC user, it can be nerve-wracking to understand the difference between a $700 and a $100 motherboard while they both support the same processor, and have the same number of RAM modules. If you end up spending too much on your motherboard, you won’t be able to spend on other components like processor and GPU, which actually impact the performance of your computer directly. For example, if you’re looking for a Ryzen 7 3700x motherboard for your computer, you’ll have options ranging from $100 all the way to $1000, and even more. But you should only pay for the needed features. You can check here the list of motherboards compatible with your CPU.
You should never buy an expensive motherboard just because it looks sleek. On the other hand, never buy the cheapest motherboard you can buy, as this will avoid you from getting the most out of other components, and can block your future upgrade path. Cheap motherboard manufacturers are known to apply extreme money-saving tactics, and usually use only 2 DIMM slots, and a terrible power delivery system on their motherboard.
So, doing proper research is necessary before you actually purchase a motherboard. Unless you have thousands of dollars laying around, you should buy a decently made motherboard that provides you with both cost savings and better performance.
Features To Spend Your Money On
When comparing different motherboards to buy one, you will find that every manufacturer advertises some of the best selling features of their motherboard. Keep in mind that most of these things are just for advertisement purposes, and usually have nothing to do with the performance of your motherboard.
That is why you should make yourself aware of all the important features you should be looking for in your motherboard. Here are some of the important features that usually determine the price and functionality of a motherboard.
One of the main considerations you should make when buying a motherboard for your new custom computer is the number of RAM slots it has. Usually, four ram slots on a motherboard are considered the standard these days. However, there are several other two ram motherboards in the market as well which you can choose to save yourself some money if you do not need to install four rams on your computer.
Ideally, you should invest in a motherboard that has four ram slots. This will allow you to use two ram slots as well and will provide you with the option to upgrade to four ram slots later on.
When it comes to compatibility, almost every type of RAM is compatible with every motherboard these days. You can turn the XMP profile on or off in your motherboard’s bios settings depending on the type of ram you have.
VRMs on your motherboard are designed to regulate and provide clean and consistent energy to your computer’s components. Better VRMs on a motherboard help it perform excellently even under stressful conditions. However, motherboards with high-quality VRMs can cost you a bit more money. You should go for a high-quality motherboard if you are looking to overclock your computer.
When you overclock your computer, its power demand increases significantly. So, VRMs Play a significant role in delivering stable and enough energy to your computer.
When it comes to the phases of VRMs installed on motherboards, higher is usually better. However, there are lots of marketing gimmicks and false information regarding this specific specification of motherboards.
If you are not a technical person, it is usually better to simply watch a few YouTube videos about the VRM quality of a specific motherboard before buying it. There are lots of trustable sources which put a lot of effort into testing the VRMs of different motherboards under stressful conditions, you can refer to them when comparing different motherboards for your custom computer.
Whenever you are in the market to buy a motherboard for your computer, you should consider the different connectivity options available on your motherboard. Various different connectivity options like USB ports, M.2 slots, SATA connectors, and others are needed on motherboards. So, make sure that the number of these connectivity options meets your specific requirements. For example, if you want to install 2 M.2 SSDs on your computer, you should make sure that the motherboard you are buying has those slots available.
To find out the exact number of connectivity options, you should visit the manufacturer’s page made for the product you are looking to buy. Many motherboards also feature built-in Wi-Fi routers. This is usually an optional feature, and you can definitely save some money by excluding it if it isn’t needed.
Since motherboard can make up for the significant cost of building a custom computer, you should invest in a good motherboard that will last you a long time without needing to be replaced. This is especially true if you are thinking of upgrading your computer down the line. To make this possible, your motherboard must have the necessary features which will allow you to easily swap the old hardware parts with the new ones.
For example, many motherboards which support Intel processors are only made for a specific processor generation. So, you will have to upgrade both the processor and the motherboard if you are looking to install a new processor on your computer. On the other hand, AMD motherboards or forwards and backward compatible with all of the AMD processors ever released. Meaning that you can easily swap your old AMD processor with the new one without changing your motherboard.
So, we can safely conclude that you should never pay for the gimmicks heavily advertised by motherboard manufacturers, and should only pay for the actual features you will be using on your computer.