HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD MOTHERBOARD?

The only computer machine that I had which was gifted from me from my auntie already retired last year, she made it up to more than 7 years, she’s the machine that I used during college, most especially those thesis days.   

When she ultimately bid farewell, I was thinking of getting a new one, especially now that technology evolves so much and everything on that machine was far too old and outdated already. However, getting a new one is kind of expensive based on my taste. Though I know that there are computers or laptops out there that cost about Php 14,000~ the kind of machine that I want is something that can withstand the software and jobs that I am planning to do for her in the future. Only those high-end specification laptops can handle that and high-end also means high-priced.    

 

I cannot afford for now to purchase a machine that so expensive and has a possibility that I may not use so often since I always prefer mobile and handheld for entertainment and social media (turning on and sitting in front of a computer is so tiresome for me). So, I am thinking, why not assemble a desktop? The desktop is the Lego for the big boys!   

  Project Tower 

Desktops are bulky, heavy, and stationary those are the most common disadvantages of a desktop however with desktops you can control a lot about it, from its price point, looks, power and performance, and durability; in other words, you can customize a lot with a desktop computer.    

 

So, December last year I started the project to assemble a desktop which I called project “Tower”. I am going to purchase the components of a desktop in a staggered manner since first I cannot afford to purchase them all in one blow and second, I need to do some research for every item and weigh carefully of which I value the most: performance or price?  

 

The first thing I purchased was the backbone of every computer, the motherboard also known as mobo.  

Motherboard 

Unlike the motherboards 10 years ago, the latest generation of motherboards are better and cooler.   

I got this great deal from Lazada, it’s a bundle of a CPU and mobo. The mobo is from Gigabyte, it’s A320M-DS2. Before, the commercially well-known player in the market of CPU is only Intel after they released their core series everybody fallen behind and therefore most of the motherboard manufacturers are creating mobo compatible to Intel CPUs but when AMD step up their CPU game and introduces Ryzen which offer stronger multi-threaded performance relatively comparable to Intel’s CPUs. Since then AMD’s market share increases and mobo manufacturers are creating AMD Ryzen compatible boards. If you are buying a motherboard today (year 2018) you have 2 choices of CPU socket, if you prefer Intel then most of the sockets are named LGA (example: LGA 2066 or LGA 1151 etc.) depending on the version while if you like AMD Ryzen CPU then the socket is AM4 (Socket AM4, assuming you’re building personal use desktop running either Ryzen3,5, or 7). The largest socket is the TR4 for AMD Ryzen Threadripper. 

Socket Name  Year introduce  Supported CPU  Computer type  Package  Notes 
Socket AM1  2014  AMD Athlon  Desktop  PGA  Compatible with AMD Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) such as “Kabini” 
AMD Sempron 
LGA 1151/  2015  Intel Skylake  Desktop  LGA  used for Intel’s 6th generation (Skylake), 7th generation (Kaby Lake) processors and 8th generation (Coffee Lake) processors 
Socket H4  Intel Kaby Lake 
   Intel Coffee Lake 
LGA 3647  2016  Intel Xeon Phi  Server  LGA  used for Intel’s Xeon Phi x200 processors 
Intel Skylake-SP 
Socket AM4  2017  AMD Ryzen 7  Desktop  PGA  compatible with AMD Ryzen 7, Ryzen 5 & Ryzen 3 Zen based processors 
AMD Ryzen 5 
AMD Ryzen 3 
Socket SP3  2017  AMD Epyc  Server  LGA  compatible with AMD Epyc processors 
Socket TR4  2017  AMD Ryzen Threadripper  Desktop  LGA  compatible with AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors 
LGA 2066/  2017  Intel Skylake-X  Desktop  LGA  Used for Intel’s 7th generation (Skylake-X & Kaby Lake-X) series of Core-X processors 
Socket R4  Intel Kaby Lake-X  Server 

 

If you like Starbucks or familiar with it, you probably aware that they have different cup size like short, tall, grande, venti, and trenta; motherboard also have the same and they’re called form factor (ATX, ITX, DTX, SSI, BTX, and NLX). The most common are the ATX (Advanced Technology eXtended) and ITX (Information Technology eXtended), below is the list of mobo form factors to suit your preferences: 

  • ATX of Full ATX with a board size of 12″ x 9.6″ (30cm x 24cm) 
  • Mini ATX with a board size of 11.2″ x 8.2″ (28cm x 21cm) 
  • Micro ATX with a board size of 9.6″ x 9.6″ (24cm x 24cm) 
  • Flex ATX with a board size of 9” x 7.5” (22,9 cm x 19,1 cm) 
  • Mini ITX with a board size of 6.7″ x 6.7″ (17cm x 17cm) 
  • Em ITX with a board size of 17 cm x 12 cm 
  • Nano ITX with a board size of 4.7″ x 4.7″ (12 cm x 12 cm) 
  • Pico ITX with a board size 3.9” x 2.8” (10 cm X 7,2 cm) 
  • Mobile ITX the smallest form factor with a board size 2.4” x 2.4” (6 cm x 6 cm) 

Why I choose Gigabyte A320M-DS2? 

Honestly, I really don’t have a choice since it’s a bundle and for cost-saving purposes but of course, prior to purchasing the item in Lazada I did some research about it if it’s worth the purchase. 

My first bet is either from MSI or Asus since they have these cool looking motherboards with LEDs which is very common right now especially for the gamers and desktop enthusiasts. 

Gigabyte A320M-DS2 features that really win me are: 

  • Durability: it is designed with anti-sulfur resistors that protect and prevents sulfurization reaction by adding a protective layer alloy. This reaction will cause open to short circuit and fail or degrade the ability of the electrode to conduct electricity properly and eventually malfunction the motherboard. The PCB (Printed Circuit Board) is designed to repel humid by incorporating new Glass Fabric technology. This offers much better protection from system malfunction caused by humidity and damp conditions. 
  • Patented DualBIOSin the event of BIOS failure or some malware infestation or other scenarios that the it will be compromised it’s always a relief that you always have a backup BIOS and immediately restore your bios setting, extending your motherboard’s life. 
  • High-Temperature protectionwith Smart Fan 5, it ensures that the computer maintains its performance and stays cool. It has 5 temperature sensors and supports high current fans up to 24w with over-current protection. The Smart Fan 5 software was updated for you to be able to customized fan speed and modes according to any defined temperature source input (except CPU fan). 
  • Hybrid Fan Pin Headersworry not if you wish to upgrade your cooling system from ordinary system fan to water-cooling pump or closed loop water-cooling since the fan headers are hybrid and can automatically detect the type of cooling device with different PWM or voltage mode. 
  •  

There are also other features that for me are just add-ons though are good to have also. This mobo has high quality onboard audio components to create the most realistic sound effect for gamers, enhanced BIOS interface making it easy and friendly to use, fast USB 3.1 Gen 2, and Realtek GbE LAN that features cFosSpeed which helps to improve network latency and deliver better responsiveness in crowded LAN environments. 

Conclusion 

After deliberation with me, myself, and I.. I concluded that the bundled mobo is good and perfect fit for me which prioritized the cost yet not sacrificing the quality and not the coolness and awesomeness of a motherboard,after all, all motherboards work the same. 

The motherboard is an essential component of a computer; here are the round-up of this post in buying a motherboard for your new desktop. 

  • Identify first which one fits for you, performance or cost? 
  • Identify your desired form factor, do you want a small one to save space? 
  • Intel Core or AMD Ryzen? different brands different socket, watch that out! 
  • Durability and other features 
  • If possible, find the brand that offers dual bios. I’m not sure if it’s only Gigabyte but hopefully not. 

Published by Gino Pena

Usually confident and calm, Gino is dynamic, intuitive, and a little grain of shyness. He has a keen active mind that is capable of planning ahead and fast decisions. He tends to give out honest helpful advice in a friendly manner. Gino likes to dress smartly in clothes he feels comfortable. Ambitious but not overly so and can be generous to those he loves.

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