Useful acticle on Motherboard Specs

  frybluff 15 Jun 12
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Can anyone point me in the direction of an article which actually EXPLAINS motherboard specs, in terms for which I don't need an electronics degree?

In spec-ing a new PC, I'm presented with a list of a dozen motherboards, from which to choose. Yes, I can look up the specs on each, but without a reasonable knowledge of what those specs mean, and the significance of particular characteristics, it doesn't really help.

A point in the right direction would be much appreciated.

  rdave13 15 Jun 12

To be honest you need to study this for yourself. Mobos come in all forms and usually you pick one for the CPU and affordability. This link may be useful, just to get started, but start with the CPU then motherboards that support it. Check sockets,ram slots and compatibility, physical size for supporting GPU cards etc. ATX or mATX and so on.

  daz60 16 Jun 12

Take a look through these youtube videos a good visual introduction.

  KRONOS the First 16 Jun 12

Post what you do not understand here, or just Google the particular mobo spec.

  frybluff 20 Jun 12

Like, I'm sure, many before me, my wish list, and my budget, don't necessarily meet in the middle. Have to make some compromises, and basically spec for what I really need, at the moment, rather than what I might like, in the future.

Having said that, it makes sense to slightly over-spec some things, to make it simpler to, eventually, upgrade without having to "rip it up and start again".(casing, primary cooling, power unit, mobo).

Provided my mobo supports it, I could add a second graphics card, later, in crossfire (or SLI). What I'm not sure of, is whether I can do that with ANY two Radeons (or nVidias), or do they have to be matched in some way, or are only certain cards suitable. Also, I presume, it's not as simple as plug in a second card, and "off you go"! Given the benchmarks for the individual cards, is it possible to "work out" their combined performance.

  KRONOS the First 21 Jun 12

Sli or Crossfire, I believe that it is preferable to have the same cards but at least the same series. To be honest one decent GPU is far less troublesome than two GPU's. I have had both SLI and Crossfire in my time but each time I had driver issues and I seem to spend far to much time trying to solve problems. I now buy the best I can afford, my recent upgrade from a 6870 was to the GTX 670 and to SLI that particular card would be a totally waste of time as the benefits, if any, would not justify the cost.

I agree with your statement to "overspec" some components. A decent motherboard, either Sandy bridge or Ivy bridge is a must as well as a decent PSU. I assume you mean by "primary cooling" you are referring to CPU heat-sink. These days the stock cooler supplied with the CPU are pretty good, but should you want to over-clock then an upgrade is recommended.

This is a pretty good site for benchmark stats. Anandtech

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