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HP and Compaq Desktop PCs – How to Identify the Motherboard

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By James Norris T Comments Shares What’s the coolest, most personal part of your rig? It’s not the CPU. Those all look the same. It’s not the graphics card either.
what kind of motherboard do i have

How to choose a motherboard

By James Norris T Comments Shares What’s the coolest, most personal part of your rig? It’s not the CPU. Those all look the same. It’s not the graphics card either. They have more variety than CPUs, but not much. The coolest component of your system—the part with the most personality and style by far, unless you have a fancy custom water cooling loop—is the motherboard.

There’s one for every use, niche and sensibility, and these days they come in custom colors and patterns. It’s hard to believe how many of them are out there. The array of choices can be bewildering, especially because the most important differences are in function, not aesthetics.

Tiny, seemingly insignificant model number differences hide huge disparities in performance potential and hardware compatibility. We’re here to guide you through the chaos and help you pick the right chipset and socket for your choice of CPU and system style. Whether the rig of your dreams is all about gaming, tweaking overclocked hardware, or even speeding through workstation tasks, there’s a type of motherboard made especially for you.

Once you’re done here, check out our best gaming motherboards feature to find the one for you. Motherboards don’t provide performance themselves, but they enable it by allowing quality components to reach their full potential. That shiny new unlocked processor is wasted on a motherboard that doesn’t support overclocking. Even on boards that do overclock, you’ll get a lot more reach and a wider stability envelope from a quality board.

Here’s how to pick the right one for you. It’s all being made possible by Razer , which stepped up to support this months-long project. Thanks, Razer! Custom rigs, especially hand-built ones made for gaming, aren’t just about the numbers. Sure, performance is important, but if you’re spending the money on a system you’ll be using for years, you should be proud of it.

Early in the build process, spend a little time thinking about the look and character of your upcoming PC. Do you want a flashy, LED-soaked screamer or a sleek and silent sleeper? Feel like building a show-it-all full-sized plexiglass tower, or an impossibly tiny silver desktop ingot?

Once you have a blueprint in mind, you can start making hardware choices. Remember that there are four common motherboard sizes, which fit different sizes cases: The smallest, designed for very compact builds and cases. Typically has only a single PCIe slot, meaning you can only fit one graphics card.

Smaller than your standard motherboard, but with more features and expansion options than mini-ITX boards. For any mid-tower or full tower case, this is the typical choice. They’re more expensive and usually come packed with high-end features. Often requires a large full tower case to fit. Our guide to the best PC cases has choices big and small, and tells you what size motherboards will fit inside.

Intel or AMD If you’re not sure which processor to pick, head on over to our best CPU for gaming guide where we break down the choices for every budget and interest so it’s easy to select the silicon that’s right for you. While your pick here will influence the types of motherboard you can use, don’t worry about your choice locking you out of the latest features as it may have in years past.

While fans of AMD or Intel may argue over processor supremacy, the motherboard situation is largely equal these days. By now you should have also selected the best graphics card for your needs. For gaming rigs, this is the single most important performance component, and the rest of the system should be built around running this GPU at the native resolution of your monitor, with the highest gaming detail levels and framerates your budget can support.

Here are the best gaming monitors right now. This may also dictate certain minimum requirements for components like the power supply, and size of the case, so keep those size and budgetary calculations in mind as you continue. Motherboard chipsets explained Chipsets provide the control logic required to make the components of a system work together, from CPUs to storage, and are responsible for the type and number of connectors available on a PC both inside and out.

Motherboards are identified by the chipsets they are based on, and these names change when major new CPU revisions are released, which happens frequently. That means that at any given time, a few generations of motherboards share the marketplace, adding to the confusion. To help make sense of this, here are the current as of late chipsets and the sockets they support.

Intel’s new socket. Same as the last one. LGA v2 Intel’s current consumer chipset is home to the 8th generation and 9th generation Core processors also called Coffee Lake. The Z and Z chipsets, which support overclocking and Nvidia SLI, are the most popular with enthusiasts with the mainstream H and B chipsets rounding out the gamer’s corner of Intel’s lineup.

The pricey X series has a number of improvements over earlier and lesser Intel chipsets, including plenty of lanes for M. While the extreme X platform has some relevance beyond bragging rights for Intel, it’s mostly for non-gaming purposes. But with the mainstream platform now supporting up to 8-core CPUs, X is primarily for professionals.

Core iK through Core iK have higher clockspeeds and lower memory latency, which benefits gamers. There are other extras you might like on X, though. Most boards will give you all the bling you can handle. From LED light shows to remote-control overclocking panels, you’ll find the wildest ideas in Intel’s computing world on display here. X isn’t cheap, but it delivers tomorrow’s tech today. Budget choices: Cheapo Z motherboards cut a lot of corners to push the prices down, but they aren’t the only game in town.

There’s salvation in the form of the H and B chipsets. H and B gaming requires remarkably little sacrifice in either performance or looks. It’s a less flexible world, but when it comes to money, the savings multiply quickly.

Another sacrifice is overclocking, but staying at the speed limit and going with a non-K series CPU for exampe, the Core i over an overclockable i7 or i9 like the Core iK will save money that can be redirected toward a higher horsepower graphics card, which is where you’ll realize the biggest ROI for gaming. Intel’s latest entry: Z Intel motherboards featuring the new Z series launched in late , but offer few practical advantages over Z, which released in Along with bragging rights, Z does bring a few extra ports, native USB 3.

Z and the 9th gen CPUs are the new hotness and carry a price premium. Ryzen’s AM4 and Threadripper’s TR4 sockets are relatively new, and we expect both platforms to remain active for some time. AMD processor compatibility spans multiple product generations, so older Ryzen CPUs work should in later motherboards without a problem, although you’ll need to check the manual and update the BIOS to run newer processors on older chipsets.

Threadripper also sports 64 PCIe lanes and the core counts to back them up, making just about any combination of add-in cards and drives possible. As with the X platform, however, for gaming purposes you’re almost always better off sticking with AM4.

It’s not that Threadripper can’t play games, but it’s not faster than Ryzen and the extra cores aren’t put to use in any current games. These offer fewer ports than the flagship X, but the B and B support overclocking and run the same default memory speeds as the high-end X and X, making them a compelling alternative for Ryzen users looking to save a few bucks but keep some tweaking options open.

Cheap and fun are a winning formula. Picking a motherboard: What do you want from your system? The key to navigating the motherboard maze is mapping where you want to take your system.

It starts with size. How small does your computer need to be? When it comes to motherboards, bigger is usually better, roughly up to full-sized ATX. Go with the biggest board your case can comfortably accommodate; don’t let the novelty of a small board tempt you unless absolutely necessary, or if novelty is the part of the mission plan.

Smaller boards cost more, provide fewer features and just aren’t as stable as big ones. Unless there’s a specific reason to go ITX, it’s better to avoid them for gaming. Larger boards are easier to work with, provide better voltage regulation and offer niceties like room for serious graphics cards, slots for M. You also avoid the skinned knuckles and high blood pressure inherent in every tight build.

For example, ITX boards that feature M. Enclosure prices can more than double moving from mid- to full-sized towers, adding significantly to a system’s bottom line. Remember to include the hidden expense when buying and building beyond ATX. The next step is listing all the things you need from a system. What kind of drives are you hooking up? Are you using Ethernet or wi-fi? Are you running more than one graphics card? How big is the CPU cooler?

Any motherboard worthy of consideration should accommodate it all with to room to grow. When it comes to motherboards, features and stability trump performance claims. The main PCIe slots you plug graphics cards into support x16 speeds, though if you use multiple cards, that can drop the slot to x8 or even x4, depending on the motherboard and the CPU. The good news is you likely won’t need to worry about these complexities at all, unless you plan on an Nvidia SLI configuration with graphics cards.

Standard Intel desktop processors have 16 lanes for one or two x16 PCIe slots, with more provided by the chipset. This seems like plenty until you remember one graphics card uses up to 16 lanes by itself.

Think about your build style and size

Up to 8 Up to 12 These are general guidelines for some of the most common motherboard form factors. There are more, and they vary in their capabilities. The most important thing is to decide what size PC you want to build or buy, how many components you will want to configure now and into the future, and then pick the motherboard form factor that best fits your needs. Expansion Motherboards can connect a variety of components in addition to the CPU, including graphics cards, sound cards, networking cards, storage devices and connections, and a host of others.

VIDEO: How to choose a motherboard: sockets and chipsets explained | PC Gamer

Depending what type of socket you have on your motherboard, it will determine what Consequently, we would recommend choosing a motherboard that can. All of them have a heat sink or some type of device for absorbing and and IBM developed the first motherboard to do it, a computer chip that. In order to update any driver, check hardware capabilities, or you are thinking to upgrade your driver, then you must know that what kind of.

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