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Buying a motherboard can be a little stressful for beginners. There are many options, compatibility options and features that make the whole process a little daunting. Ultimately, you need to find a compatible motherboard for your processor and PC case that fits your budget and meets all your personal needs.
In this chapter we have decided to break down the most important aspects of the system diagram and explain which implementation areas are most suitable for you. This section should help you understand the basics of what is the best motherboard and help you with your current and future purchases.
Whether you buy a motherboard for an Intel processor or the best motherboard for a Ryzen 5000, there’s a wide variety of form factors to power systems of different sizes.
The form factor refers to the physical size of the board and ranges from E-ATX to Mini-ITX. The most common form factor for motherboards is ATX, which is installed in most medium sized towers and above. Between ATX and Mini-ITX lies the mATX, the middle ground and often also the input size of the budget options.
If your specific construction does not require it, we advise you to always aim for an ATX motherboard if you can afford it, but whatever your choice, always make sure your case is size compatible.
Below we have combined the different form factors into a table with estimated dimensions to help you compare them:
|Form factor||Dimensions (in inches)|
|Mini-ITX||6.7 x 6.7|
|Mini phone system||5.9 x 5.9|
|microATS||9.6 x 9.6|
|ATX||12 x 9.6|
|eATX||12 x 13|
The power outlet is the physical connector on your motherboard that holds your processor in place. Each socket works with a different generation of processors and goes from CPU to HEDT. This means that some processors only work with certain motherboards.
Because we focus on the best motherboards for the Ryzen 5000, there is only one power outlet to pick up: AM4. AMD promised us five years of support for AM4, and they kept their word. For every potential buyer of a Ryzen 5000 processor, this means that you will need a new motherboard for your next major upgrade if you buy a next-generation processor from AMD, because it is likely to use the new socket.
For example, never force the processor into the power outlet, check its compatibility when you buy it and always make sure you have not damaged anything by aligning the arrows on your processor and power outlet.
Chipset – X570 Vs B550
One of the most important factors when choosing a motherboard is the chipset. The chipset is responsible for the properties of your motherboard. The functionalities can be very varied: Power Delivery, Beefy VRM, overclocking support, PCIe 4.0, a few extras such as Wi-Fi, 10Gb adapters and m.2 expansion slots.
It’s the features of the motherboard you buy that deserve special attention, because that’s what you spend your extra money on if you choose a high-end motherboard. For example, if you’re a low-budget gamer who never overclocks, a motherboard over $300 is probably too good.
Because we are dealing with the new Ryzen 5000 processors, we have reduced the two closest chipsets to the X570 and B550. These two chips are the latest AM4 compatible, but unless you have a strict budget, you should always choose the X570.
When the B550s first came on the market, they were priced close to their X570 counterparts, making the motherboard upgrade quite obvious, but after the price drop they now offer another option for budget-conscious manufacturers. To find out more about the differences between compatibility, price and specifications, read our in-depth comparison of the X570 Vs. Listen to B550.
The B450 and X470 chips, which are technically compatible with the new Ryzen processors, with manufacturer-released BIOS updates, may be of interest to you. While these older chipsets offer solid budget options, make sure you have the features and support you need.
Whether it’s a motherboard for Ryzen 5000, 3000 or Intel processors, enough RAM will increase performance. Therefore, you need to make sure your motherboard is suitable for the size of your RAM kit, the speed your RAM kit can reach, and that it has enough channels to customize your RAM kit.
To start with, we recommend using a 16 GB DDR4 RAM kit, and while 3000 MHz to 3800 MHz RAM will be more than enough for your games, there is actually a highlight for the new Ryzen 5000 CPU: 4000 MHz, the speed of which complies with all the recommendations of this list. The disadvantage of such a fast kit is the extra cost. So think about what you personally need and choose something slower if fast RAM is not in your budget.
Overall, the difference in performance at the above speeds is minimal and not a cause for concern.
A quick tip when buying RAM is to simply make sure your motherboard is compatible by double-checking the specifications.
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