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Motherboards are an integral part of any computer that connects all of the individual components together and ensures a smooth transfer of data between them. There are two main factors to take into account when determining whether a motherboard will meet your requirements:

Processor Socket

Before upgrading your CPU you’ll need to ensure that it is compatible with your current motherboard. The sockets found on Intel and AMD processors are not interchangeable so it is important to check your motherboard for what type of socket it contains before purchasing a CPU. It is also wise to check that the BIOS on your motherboard will support the processor you’re wanting to install. BIOS refers to a small block of separate read only memory that serves to maintain the basic fundamental functions of your computer.

Form Factor

Whilst Motherboards feature standardised layouts to ensure cross compatibility with other computer parts, it is important to buy the correct form factor (size) to ensure it fits within your desktop case. Standard ATX is the most common form factor for full sized computers with Micro-ATX & Mini-ITX variations available for smaller cases.

Other Motherboard Features

Once you’ve found a Motherboard with the correct processor socket and form factor, there’s a range of additional features you may want to consider including:
  • Chipset - Manages the data flow between the processor, memory and peripherals.
  • RAM Sockets - There are three standards DDR2, DDR3 & DDR4, it is important to match the right motherboard with the sockets on the RAM you wish to install.
  • Expansion Slots - Used to install components such as graphics cards. It is important to match the compatibility and amount of slots for your requirements.
  • Rear Panel Ports - Refers to the amount and type of connections available on the Motherboard such as USB, Ethernet, Firewire, HDMI etc.