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What is a Motherboard?

  • How It Works
  • Reviews

Choosing a Motherboard that Best Fits Your Computer Build

Knowing what is a motherboard and how to install a motherboard is key to building a computer. One of your most important system decisions is to choose a motherboard cpu bundle. What are the primary and secondary motherboard parts?

What is a Motherboard?

I've talked about this on other pages but here's a quick review: The motherboard is the primary connection point for all other components in the computer system.

The motherboard connects the CPU, sockets, chipsets, BUS, and peripherals. You need to define how much memory you might need before you select your motherboard.

Think of the motherboard as the 'central nervous system' of your system; it needs to be in good operating condition for good system performance.

Socket 775 Motherboard, motherboard parts

Motherboard Parts

  • CPU - Processor
  • Socket
  • Chipset
  • Bus Speed
  • System Memory - not really a part, but you need to consider your memory needs when choosing your motherboard
  • Peripherals; i.e. Keyboard, Printer, Mouse, etc.


Have a Closer Look at a Motherboard diagram...


Choosing a Motherboard

My recommendations of the best motherboard for your computer are really dependent on what you need to use your computer for: a high performance, high use, graphic system; a high speed, great graphics gaming computer; a mid range computer for home office use; a low cost, basic performance computer system; and more.

Remember that the motherboard and processor (CPU) need to be compatible - they work together in combination. So because there are fewer processor options, choose your processor first; then focus in on the best motherboard for your needs.

Check the tab at the top of the page for even more motherboard reviews.

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Secondary Motherboard Parts: Motherboard Odds And Ends

These are things that you will not take into account when selecting the best motherboard for your computer, but are still important to know.

BIOS - Computer Basic Input/Output System

The BIOS is what allows your computer to boot up. It is built-in software that directs what the computer does without accessing programs from an outside resource; it starts up the process by initiating communications with the different components.

Before you start building, you should read the detailed BIOS information, but for now, just be aware that the BIOS comes preloaded on the motherboard.

On personal computers, the BIOS controls the keyboard, disk drives, display screen, serial communications and other functions.

Learn More About Computer BIOS...



Motherboard Battery

This little battery looks a lot like a large watch battery. It provides a tiny bit of power to the CMOS so that the BIOS settings are not lost.

You'll know it's time to change the battery when you notice that your computer is not keeping the correct time anymore. These batteries usually last 3 to 5 years or so.

They are inexpensive and easy to change, so don't worry about it until you need one.


To build your own computer, you need a good understanding of what is a motherboard, how to install a motherboard, and what are the available best motherboards.

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Motherboard Reviews


Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H

Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2HGigabyte has recently released the Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H motherboard with the ATI 780G Chipset. This board supports the AM2+ and AM2 socket CPU's, including Phenom, Sempron and Athlon 64 X2 processors in the Micro-ATX form factor. It is being promoted as an all-in-one board, using an integrated graphics processor (IGP). This makes it ideal for a HTPC (Home Theater PC). Let's take a look at what makes this board such a great choice for an HTPC.

Read the Review



MSI P35 Neo2-FR

MSI P35 Neo2-FRIf you are in the market for a lower cost board that pefforms extremely well, even when overclocking, look no further than the MSI P35 Neo2-FR. Boards using the P35 chipset are really starting to drop in price as competition heats up between Asus, Gigabyte and MSI.

Read the Review



Gigabyte GA-EX38T-DQ6

Gigabyte GA-EX38T-DQ6If you are looking to get a high performance board that is great for overclocking, the Gigabyte GA-EX38T-DQ6 should be on your short list of boards to look at. This is one of the most stable boards for use in overclocking, and with the huge array of features, options, and connections, it will be an excellent base for your system.

Read the Review



Abit AB9

Abit AB9If you are in the market for a new office or home office computer, the Abit AB9 will give you a nice base to build that system on. It has a host of connections that will allow multiple external devices, and multiple hard drives, both internal and external.

Read the Review


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Thanks for
Clear Guide

"Putting the parts together was relatively straightforward. The only snag we hit (my son & I) was getting the CPU fan aligned properly. We had 3 pins in, then noticed when we turned the board over that one wasn't through.

After struggling (carefully!) for 10 minutes, we loosened the other pins, aligned all the pins and we were away again.

The hardest part, I thought, was the wiring. And here your guide really shined.

Most of the other guides ignore it, or just say 'connect all the wires properly'. So thanks for the details (because the devil really is in those wiring details)."

Don, the Netherlands


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