We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. Learn more

Desktops & Components

Best AMD Motherboards

There are a wide range of AMD motherboards available, depending on your particular needs and goals for your computer. Along with Intel, AMD is the leading manufacturer for CPUs and motherboard chipsets, which determine many of the basic functions and operation speeds of your computer. Your choice in motherboard is extremely important, since many other component decisions are often based on it.

Everything, from the type of RAM you can use to the number of video cards you can install, all depend on the motherboard you choose and its specifications. AMD has a number of solid chipsets and CPU sockets to choose from, including the older FM2 board, as well as newer models like the FM2+ and AM3+. Check out the AMD motherboard buyer’s guide below for more information and tips to help you pick the best model for your computer.

ASRock Micro ATX DDR3 1066 Motherboards 970M PRO3

Built around AMD's 970 and SB950 chipset, this is an outstanding AM3+ micro-ATX motherboard from ASRock. For starters it offers four DIMM slots supporting sixty-four megabytes (Mb) of DDR Ram at speeds up to twenty-four hundred megahertz (Mhz). It offers two PCI Express Gen 2.0 x16 slots that allow multi-GPU setups along with an excellent southbridge with six SATAIII ports running at speeds up to six gigabytes per second (Gb/s). This board also provides a full range of RAID functions and comes with a Realtek ALC892 audio chipset for full high-definition (HD) 7.1 channel support. With little in the way of downsides, this is an outstanding motherboard at a very reasonable price.

ASUS M5A97 R2.0 AM3+ Motherboard

This is a best of the best ATX budget offerings from Asus in the AM3+ socket class. This motherboard starts things off with a UEFI bios replete with a full range of overclocking options which are easy to use for even novices. The board is bundled with Asus's excellent AI Suite II software so users can access the many bios options from inside Windows. It’s equipped with four DIMM slots that allows up to thirty-two gigabytes of DDR3 Ram running at speeds up to twenty-one hundred thirty-three megahertz (Mhz).

This motherboard also provides one PCI Express Gen 2.0 x16 slot, two PCI Express x1 slots, and three legacy PCI slots. Although this means multi-GPU setups aren’t possible, this is still a good array of slots for those interested in picking up a budget board. Finally, it offers six SATAIII ports with support for drives running at up to six Gigbytes per second (Gb/s).

Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3HP Motheboard

This micro-ATX offering for the FM2+ socket from Gigabyte brings a lot to the table such as on-board graphics in addition to D-Sub, DVI and HDMI ports with resolutions up to 4096x2160 pixels. However, you probably won't want to run resolutions that high on integrated graphics for much more than standard office applications and internet browsing. This board also supports discrete GPU's and two-way multi-GPU setups with one PCI Express gen 3.0 x16 slot and one PCI Express x16 slot running at x4 speeds. It has four DIMM slots supporting up to sixty-four gigabytes of DDR3 Ram at speeds up to twenty-four hundred megabytes per second (Gb/s). Finally, It has a Realtek ALC887 audio chipset supporting 7.1 channel audio. With few downsides and a good price, this board rightly finds it's place among best of class budget offerings.

MSI Computer Micro ATX DDR3 1333 NA A78M-E35 V2 Motherboard

This board from MSI for the FM2+ socket is built around AMD's A78 chipset, offering two DIMM slots supporting up to thirty-two gigabytes (Gb) of Ram running at speeds up to twenty-one hundred thirty-three megahertz (Mhz). It has one PCI Express Gen 3.0 x16 slot for full support of the latest discrete GPU's although it has no allowances for multi-GPU builds. It has six SATAIII ports supporting drives at speeds up to six gigabytes per second (GB/s) with support for RAID 0, 1, and 10 configurations. Additionally, it has a Realtek ALC887 audio chipset for full support of eight channel sound.

MSI 760GMA-P34 (FX) Motherboard

This micro-ATX offering from MSI for the AM3+ socket is built around the AMD 760G/SB710 chipset. It offers users two DIMM slots supporting up to sixteen gigabytes of Ram at decent speeds up to eighteen-hundred sixty-six megahertz (Mhz). This motherboard has one PCI Express gen 2.0 x16 slot for support of discrete GPU's but sadly there aren’t allowances for multi-GPU setups. It offer six SATA ports at speeds up to three gigabytes per second and two SATA ports running at six gigabytes per second (Gb/s). Finally, it has aRealtek ALC887 audio chipset for full support of 7.1 channel audio.

ASUS F1A75-M PRO USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

This fine FM1 board from Asus is a micro-ATX features a socket design along with several other great features. It uses four DIMM slots supporting up to sixty-four megabytes (Mb) and speeds up to twenty-two hundred fifty megahertz (Hz). It has two PCI Express 2.0 slots, one running at x16 and the other at x4 mode, allowing full multi-GPU support. This board also allows use of the integrated AMD Radeon graphics adapters in supported AMD APU's and features aRealtek ALC892 audio chip for full eight channel audio. With an AMD A75 FCH with six SATA ports running at up to six gigabytes per second (Gb/s), the only downside to this feature-laden offering is its steep price of admission.

ASRock A75M-ITX Motherboard

This is a mini-ITX offering from top tier manufacturer ASRock which is based on the AMD A75 FCH and offers two DIMM slots which support up to sixteen megabytes of DDR3 RAM. This might seem a bit low but this is typical for a mini-ITX offering. It supports memory sticks running at speeds up to twenty-four hundred megahertz (HZ) and also supports AMD integrated graphics on AMD APU's. Additionally, it has a single PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot allowing users to run AMD Dual graphics and aRealtek ALC892 audio chip for 7.1 channel sound. All-in-all, this is an outstanding offering for the mini-ITX form-factor class.

ASUS F1A55-M Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

This is an outstanding micro-ATX offering from Asus based on the A55 chipset. It is equipped with two DIMM slots supporting up to thirty-two gigabytes of memory running at speeds up to twenty-two hundred fifty megahertz (Hz). It has a single PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot and one PCI Express x16 slot running at x4 speeds which gives it full support for multi-GPU setups. There are also six SATA ports and support for drives at speeds up to six gigabytes per second (Gb/s). Finally, it has aRealtek ALC887 audio chip for some impressive eight channel sound. In the end, this is an outstanding offering in the micro-ATX form factor that comes at a reasonable price.

Asus F1A75-I DELUXEMotherboard

This is an excellent mini-ITX offering from Asus that packs a lot into a small package. Based on the AMD A75 FCH, it offers two DIMM slots for up to sixteen gigabytes of memory which is typical for this motherboard layout. It supports DDR3 speeds up to eighteen-hundred sixty-six megahertz (Mhz) which is excellent falls a little short compared to some other picks on this list. It offers a single PCI Express x16 slot, so if you’re looking for a multi-GPU build you will have to look elsewhere. Finally, it has four SATA ports running at up to six gigabyte per second (Gb/s) and additional eSATA port running at the same speed.

MSI A55M-P33 FM1 AMD A55 Motherboard

This micro-ATX board from MSI is based on the AMD A55 FCH. It offers two DIMM slots supporting up to sixteen megabytes of memory while supporting a satisfactory DDR3 speed up to sixteen hundred megabytes per second (Mb/s). This motherboard has one PCI Exprss 2.0 x16 slot so you cannot use multi-GPU builds but since it supports integrated graphics on supported AMD APU's, you can use dual graphics using the on-board GPU in conjunction with a discrete GPU. It offers six SATA ports and supports drive at up to six gigabyte per seconds (Gb/s) speeds. This board has few downsides so long as you don't want to use memory that runs at high-speeds but it’s a solid option overall.

ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

When it comes to toughness, high quality and overclocking stability, this is board is second to none. This AM3+ 990FX board has been around a few years, and is in fact the same board I use in my own PC. It features four DIMM slots supporting up to thirty-two gigabytes of DDR3 memory running at speeds up to twenty-four hundred megahertz (MHz). It features four PCI Express slots for GPU's that can be used in several combinations of x16, x8, and x4 speeds for full multi-GPU support.

This board also has UFI BIOS with a comprehensive range of overclocking options that won't disappoint veterans or casual overclockers alike. Although lacking some of the features of newer AMD motherboards, this offering is unsurpassed when it comes to overclocking. The downside is this top notch performance comes at a high price.

Asrock AMD 990FX Extreme9 AMD 3-Way CrossFirex

This is a top notch AM3+ offering from ASRock with a plethora of features catering to both novice and veteran overclockers alike. It offers four DIMM slots allowing up to sixty-four megabytes (Mb) of DDR3 Ram at speeds up to twenty-four hundred fifty megahertz (Mhz). It has a full featured UEFI BIOS with a comprehensive range of overclocking options as well as an a12 + 2 power phase design for extra overclocking stability and endurance. Four PCI Express slots provide full support of three-way multi-GPU setups and there’s an additional eight SATAIII ports with support for drives at up to six gigabytes per second (Gb/s). Best of all, its high quality comes at a price that won't break the bank.

Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 R5 Motherboard

This fine AM3+ board from Gigabyte features four DIMM slots allowing up to thirty-two megabytes (Mb) for Ram at speeds up to two thousand megahertz (Mhz). It features three PCI Express Gen 2.0 x16 slots for full support of the highest performance three-way GPU setups along with eight SATAIII ports for hard drive support and SSD's running at up to six gigabytes per second (Gb's). It also offers support of RAID modes 0, 1, 5, 10, and JBOD in addition to a Realtek ALC1150 audio chipset for support of high-definition (HD) 7.1 channel sound. With outstanding build quality, high-end features and an excellent price, this offering has few downsides.

ASUS ATX DDR3 2600 FM2 Crossblade Ranger Motherboard

With a full range of overclocking features, this ATX FM2+ board from Asus has little competition from other boards using this socket. First of all, it has a robust Extreme Engine Digi+ III VRM subsystem that features alloy chokes and full digital CPU and DIMM control which is very important for stable overclocking at high CPU and RAM speeds. Next, it offers an unsurpassed UEFI BOIS with a comprehensive selection of overclocking features for both casual and hardcore users.

This board also offers a LED q-code display on the board for simple troubleshooting of any boot-up problems as well as two gen 3.0 PCI Express x16 slots and an additional Ggen 2.0 x16 slot for support of three-way GPU setups. It offers an Intel GameFirst III Gigabit network chip to help ensure lag-free gaming in addition to a Supreme FX 2014 audio subsystem for support of eight channel sound. However these kind of features come at a high price, especially for socket FM2+ boards.

ASUS Sabertooth 990FX GEN3 R2.0 Motherboard

This offering from Asus features extensive overclocking options and a reputation that is second to none although it lacks some of the features of newer boards. It features TUF ceramic heatsink coating which gives it fifty percent more dissipation area on the boards VRM circuits which are crucial for handing the high wattage’s used when overclocking AMD CPU's. It has three PCI Express x16 slots and an additional PCI x4 slot allowing a full support of three-way GPU setups.

This motherboard also features four DIMM memory slots for up to thirty-two gigabytes (Gb) of memory running at speeds up to eighteen hundred sixty-six megahertz (Mhz). This represents excellent performance but it’s not quite as fast as some of the other boards which made our list. All-in-all, this is a top notch offering which definitely needs to be on your short list.

Gigabyte AM3+ GA-990FX-Gaming Motherboard

Introduced in late 2015, this outstanding offering from Gigabyte is a new player on the scene that brings AM3+ motherboards more up-to date with the competition from Intel. First, it offers support for USB 3.1 type C connectors. It also features an M.2 connecter that supports PCIe NVMe and SATA SSD's with up to twenty gigabyte per second (GB/s) transfer rates. These two class-leading features have been virtually absent from offerings based on AMD's 990FX chipset until recently.

This motherboards outstanding feature-set continues with four DIMM slots supporting up to thirty-two gigabytes of DDR3 memory. It also offers 7.1 channel sound provided by a top notch Texas Instruments operational amplifier yielding a signal to noise ratio of one hundred fifteen decibels (dB). It also features a Rivet Networks Killer E2201 LAN chip for the best Gigabit network support. Finally, it features two PCI express x16 slots and an additional PCIe x4 slot for full support of multi-PGU setups. Add to all that a great price and you have the recipe for a best of the best motherboard.

ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

This is another AM3+ motherboard offering several features usually only seen on Intel boards and designed to accommodate the devoted PC gamer. First, it features M.2 Gen 2 slots for support of newer, ultra-fast PCIe NVMe and SATA SSD's drives in addition to the latest USB Type A and type C connecters at speeds up to ten Gigabytes per second (Gb/s). It has four DIMM memory slots allowing up to sixty-four gigabytes (Gb) of DDR3 running at speeds up to twenty-four hundred fifty megahertz (MHz). This motherboard is also equipped with a Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 LAN chip for lag-free networking. Finally, it features three PCI Express x16 slots for full multi-GPU support. Great looks and a good price round out this excellent motherboard offering.

ASUS ATX DDR3 2600 FM2 Crossblade Ranger Motherboard

With a full range of overclocking features, this ATX FM2+ board from Asus has little competition from other boards using this socket. First of all, it has a robust Extreme Engine Digi+ III VRM subsystem that features alloy chokes and full digital CPU and DIMM control which is very important for stable overclocking at high CPU and RAM speeds. Next, it offers an unsurpassed UEFI BOIS with a comprehensive selection of overclocking features for both casual and hardcore users.

This board also offers a LED q-code display on the board for simple troubleshooting of any boot-up problems as well as two gen 3.0 PCI Express x16 slots and an additional Ggen 2.0 x16 slot for support of three-way GPU setups. It offers an Intel GameFirst III Gigabit network chip to help ensure lag-free gaming in addition to a Supreme FX 2014 audio subsystem for support of eight channel sound. However these kind of features come at a high price, especially for socket FM2+ boards.

Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3HP Motheboard

This micro-ATX offering for the FM2+ socket from Gigabyte brings a lot to the table such as on-board graphics in addition to D-Sub, DVI and HDMI ports with resolutions up to 4096x2160 pixels. However, you probably won't want to run resolutions that high on integrated graphics for much more than standard office applications and internet browsing. This board also supports discrete GPU's and two-way multi-GPU setups with one PCI Express gen 3.0 x16 slot and one PCI Express x16 slot running at x4 speeds. It has four DIMM slots supporting up to sixty-four gigabytes of DDR3 Ram at speeds up to twenty-four hundred megabytes per second (Gb/s). Finally, It has a Realtek ALC887 audio chipset supporting 7.1 channel audio. With few downsides and a good price, this board rightly finds it's place among best of class budget offerings.

MSI Gaming 990FXA-Gaming Motherboard

This recent AM3+ offering from MSI is a top notch board aimed at gamers. It uses AMD's 990FX chipset but adds several features to bring it more up to date with board offered for Intel CPU's. First, it features a killer E2205 Gigabit LAN chip for lag-free gaming. It features four DIMM slots supporting up to thirty-two gigabytes (Gb) of memory running at speeds up to a class leading twenty-four hundred megahertz (MHz). It also has Sound Blaster Cinema 2 eight channel sound for outstanding audio. It also features three PCI Express x16 slots for full support of multi-card GPU setups. If you’re in the market for an AM3+ board with almost nonexistent downsides, this one deserves a close look.

Gigabyte AM3+ GA-990FX-Gaming Motherboard

Introduced in late 2015, this outstanding offering from Gigabyte is a new player on the scene that brings AM3+ motherboards more up-to date with the competition from Intel. First, it offers support for USB 3.1 type C connectors. It also features an M.2 connecter that supports PCIe NVMe and SATA SSD's with up to twenty gigabyte per second (GB/s) transfer rates. These two class-leading features have been virtually absent from offerings based on AMD's 990FX chipset until recently.

This motherboards outstanding feature-set continues with four DIMM slots supporting up to thirty-two gigabytes of DDR3 memory. It also offers 7.1 channel sound provided by a top notch Texas Instruments operational amplifier yielding a signal to noise ratio of one hundred fifteen decibels (dB). It also features a Rivet Networks Killer E2201 LAN chip for the best Gigabit network support. Finally, it features two PCI express x16 slots and an additional PCIe x4 slot for full support of multi-PGU setups. Add to all that a great price and you have the recipe for a best of the best motherboard.

ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

This is another AM3+ motherboard offering several features usually only seen on Intel boards and designed to accommodate the devoted PC gamer. First, it features M.2 Gen 2 slots for support of newer, ultra-fast PCIe NVMe and SATA SSD's drives in addition to the latest USB Type A and type C connecters at speeds up to ten Gigabytes per second (Gb/s). It has four DIMM memory slots allowing up to sixty-four gigabytes (Gb) of DDR3 running at speeds up to twenty-four hundred fifty megahertz (MHz). This motherboard is also equipped with a Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 LAN chip for lag-free networking. Finally, it features three PCI Express x16 slots for full multi-GPU support. Great looks and a good price round out this excellent motherboard offering.

ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

When it comes to toughness, high quality and overclocking stability, this is board is second to none. This AM3+ 990FX board has been around a few years, and is in fact the same board I use in my own PC. It features four DIMM slots supporting up to thirty-two gigabytes of DDR3 memory running at speeds up to twenty-four hundred megahertz (MHz). It features four PCI Express slots for GPU's that can be used in several combinations of x16, x8, and x4 speeds for full multi-GPU support.

This board also has UFI BIOS with a comprehensive range of overclocking options that won't disappoint veterans or casual overclockers alike. Although lacking some of the features of newer AMD motherboards, this offering is unsurpassed when it comes to overclocking. The downside is this top notch performance comes at a high price.

MSI Computer ATX DDR3 1066 Motherboards 990FXA GAMING

This recent offering from MSI is aimed at gamers and designed to compete with similar motherboards from competing manufacturers. It uses AMD's 99FX chipset and adds several features to bring this pick more up to date with motherboards offered for Intel CPU's. It’s equipped with Sound Blaster Cinema 2 eight channel audio and features three PCI Express x16 slots for full support of multi-card video setups. It’s also been designed with an E2205 Gigabit LAN chip for worry free networking and four DIMM slots supporting up to thirty-two gigabytes (Gb) of memory running at speeds up to twenty-four hundred megahertz (MHz).

ASUS Sabertooth 990FX GEN3 R2.0 Motherboard

This offering from Asus features extensive overclocking options and a reputation that is second to none although it lacks some of the features of newer boards. It features TUF ceramic heatsink coating which gives it fifty percent more dissipation area on the boards VRM circuits which are crucial for handing the high wattage’s used when overclocking AMD CPU's. It has three PCI Express x16 slots and an additional PCI x4 slot allowing a full support of three-way GPU setups.

This motherboard also features four DIMM memory slots for up to thirty-two gigabytes (Gb) of memory running at speeds up to eighteen hundred sixty-six megahertz (Mhz). This represents excellent performance but it’s not quite as fast as some of the other boards which made our list. All-in-all, this is a top notch offering which definitely needs to be on your short list.

ASUS ATX DDR3 2600 FM2 Crossblade Ranger Motherboard

With a full range of overclocking features, this ATX FM2+ board from Asus has little competition from other boards using this socket. First of all, it has a robust Extreme Engine Digi+ III VRM subsystem that features alloy chokes and full digital CPU and DIMM control which is very important for stable overclocking at high CPU and RAM speeds. Next, it offers an unsurpassed UEFI BOIS with a comprehensive selection of overclocking features for both casual and hardcore users.

This board also offers a LED q-code display on the board for simple troubleshooting of any boot-up problems as well as two gen 3.0 PCI Express x16 slots and an additional Ggen 2.0 x16 slot for support of three-way GPU setups. It offers an Intel GameFirst III Gigabit network chip to help ensure lag-free gaming in addition to a Supreme FX 2014 audio subsystem for support of eight channel sound. However these kind of features come at a high price, especially for socket FM2+ boards.

Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3HP Motheboard

This micro-ATX offering for the FM2+ socket from Gigabyte brings a lot to the table such as on-board graphics in addition to D-Sub, DVI and HDMI ports with resolutions up to 4096x2160 pixels. However, you probably won't want to run resolutions that high on integrated graphics for much more than standard office applications and internet browsing. This board also supports discrete GPU's and two-way multi-GPU setups with one PCI Express gen 3.0 x16 slot and one PCI Express x16 slot running at x4 speeds. It has four DIMM slots supporting up to sixty-four gigabytes of DDR3 Ram at speeds up to twenty-four hundred megabytes per second (Gb/s). Finally, It has a Realtek ALC887 audio chipset supporting 7.1 channel audio. With few downsides and a good price, this board rightly finds it's place among best of class budget offerings.

Asus A88XM-A Socket FM2

This is a fine offering from Asus that will appeal to builders on a budget as it offers a comprehensive UEFI BIOS with features for both casual users and overclockers alike. This motherboard is bundled with Asus's in-house AI Suite 3 software for full access to many features from the Windows desktop. It has four DIMM slots offering support for up to sixty-four megabytes (Mb) of DDR3 Ram at speeds up to twenty-one hundred thirty-three megahertz (Mh). It has a gen 3.0 PCI Express x16 slot and offers dual-GPU support when combined with an AMD APU featuring integrated graphics. However, these sort of GPU setups don't offer as good of software compatibility as more conventional multi-GPU setups.

Gigabyte GA-F2A68HM-H Motherboard

This micro ATX offering from Gigabyte makes our list thanks to its high build quality and a good feature set. It offers two DIMM slots supporting up to sixty-four megabytes (Mb) of DDR3 RAM at speeds up to twenty-four hundred megahertz (Mh), easily putting it at the top of its class especially for a board with only two slots. This board has one PCI express gen 3.0 x16 slot for full compatibility with the newest GPU's although you'll need to look elsewhere if you want to run multiple discrete GPU's. It uses a Realtek ALC887 audio subsection supporting7.1 channel sound although you must use a front panel module on your PC for access to all 7.1 channels. Finally, it offers Realtek GbE LAN chip for full Gigabit LAN support.

MSI Computer Mini ITX DDR3 1333 NA A88XI AC V2 Motherboard

This is a great mini ITX offering from MSI which brings a slew of outstanding features to the table. First, it offer an excellent UEFI Bios with a good selections of overclocking and hardware options. It’s bundled with MSI's in-house OC Genie 4 software which allows access to many BIOS features from in Windows, although some features are available only when using AMD sixty-five watt K-series APU's.

It offers two DIMM slots that support up to sixteen megabytes of DDR3 RAM running at speeds up to twenty-one hundred thirty-three megahertz (MHz). However, the amount of RAM allowed isn’t as great as some of the other boards to make this list. Finally, there’s a gen 3.0 PCI express x16 soft for excellent compatibility with the newest video cards although if using multi-GPU setups you’ll need to look elsewhere. All-in-all, this is a high quality board for those interested in PC builds that don't utilize large amounts of RAM or multiple GPU's.

Buyer's Guide

 


AMD Motherboards Buyer’s Guide

Although there are a lot of technical aspects and numbers to consider when looking at different motherboards, they are ultimately pretty simple to understand. Your motherboard basically acts as a nervous system within your computer, connecting all the components and hardware together. If you already have components you want to use, such as a processor, memory, and hard drive, then make sure you pick out a motherboard which is compatible with all of them. On the other hand, if you’re building a new system from scratch, then your motherboard impacts all the other pieces of hardware you can choose. Either way, look at the different elements of a motherboard and consider all your components as part of a whole.

Socket Type

The socket type on a motherboard indicates what types of CPUs can be installed onto it. For AMD models, the major socket types are FM2, FM2+, and AM3+. Within those major types, however, there are a number of different CPU types and models that can be installed in each socket.

For example, an AM3+ socket can work with different AMD Phenom II and Athlon II CPUs. If you already have a processor you want to use, make sure you choose a motherboard with a socket type that it can fit into. For a new system, pick out a motherboard and processor that are compatible. For more information about different types of AMD CPUs, check out the processors/CPUs buyer’s guide.

Manufacturer

The manufacturer is who actually assembles the motherboard, using AMD’s chipset and specifications. Common manufacturers include ASRock, Gigabyte, ASUS, and MSi. Each manufacturer has different motherboard series and models to choose from, but you can’t usually tell a lot about a board just from the name.

Looking at the specifications and details of a board is much more useful, so make sure you consider everything about a motherboard before making your choice. However, different manufacturers offer warranties of varying lengths, so look for a manufacturer and model with a 2-3 year warranty for the best protection possible.

CPU Type and Chipset

While the CPU type might seem similar to the socket type on a motherboard, they’re different specifications and should both be considered. An AMD Phenom II X6 is a recent processor that runs quite fast, while an older model like an AMD Sempron is slower. Both of these CPUs can fit into the same socket type, however, so it’s important to look at both the socket and processor type. For even more information about processors, check out the processors/CPUs buyer’s guide.

Different AMD motherboards also have different chipsets installed on them, like the south bridge. For most computer users, this isn’t a major issue and the chipset usually relates to the socket type and when a board was made. For enthusiast computer builders, however, you’ll want to consider the chipset on a board and choose a model with the best south bridge available to reduce potential bottlenecking.

Memory Type and Quantity

Since the memory or RAM in a computer is installed directly into the motherboard, it’s very important to consider how much RAM you want and how fast you want it to be. Motherboards have a set number of memory or DIMM slots on them, and the board will also have a maximum amount of memory it supports, measured in gigabytes or GB. A board with four slots that supports up to 64GB of memory can handle four 16GB sticks of RAM, while a board with four DIMM slots and support for up to 32GB of RAM can only handle four 8GB sticks or two 16GB sticks of RAM.

The speed of your memory is also important, measured in megahertz or MHz, and you should consider what type of RAM you have. Most AMD motherboards support DDR3 memory, so look for that type of RAM. If you want the best performance, then look for a motherboard that supports fast memory such as 2133MHz DDR3, which is going to be much faster than something like 1600MHz RAM.

Expansion Slots

The expansion slots on a motherboard are used to install additional components inside of a computer directly onto the board. While these slots can be used for sound cards or networking cards, expansion slots are frequently used for video cards. PCI Express or PCIe slots are best for modern video cards, and though PCIe 3.0 is the fastest current standard, you’re more likely to find PCIe 2.0 slots on an AMD motherboard.

To run multiple video cards together in CrossFire or SLI, make sure you choose a board with multiple PCIe 3.0 or 2.0 slots. The bandwidth of expansion slots is indicated by a number such as x4 or x16. For the best performance, look for a board with multiple x16 PCIe slots, although you can still get good speeds from a board with slots which share bandwidth. For more information on video cards and running multiple cards together, take a look at the graphics card buyer’s guide.

Storage Connections

Storage refers to hard drives that can be installed into a computer and connected to the motherboard. Older hard drives require Parallel or PATA connections, while newer models use Serial or SATA ports. The speeds of hard drive connections are indicated in gigabytes or GB. Motherboards with higher speeds reduce potential bottlenecking, so you can take full advantage of faster hard drives. Look for a motherboard with a good number of fast ports so you can connect as many hard drives as needed to your motherboard.

Back Panel Ports
A motherboard’s back or rear panel gives you ports and connections for external hardware and devices to connect to your system. This panel is exposed on the back of a computer system and includes connections like ports for a mouse and keyboard. There are usually a number of USB ports of various generations on the back panel of a motherboard, so look for a board with numerous USB 3.0 ports. Most boards also have USB 2.0 ports, so consider how many ports of each generation you need, then pick an appropriate motherboard.

You’ll usually find audio ports on the rear panel, and some of them have optical or video ports, especially models with onboard graphics chips. Some motherboards also have an external SATA port for an external hard drive. Ultimately, look at how many other devices and components you want to connect to your computer, and pick a board with enough of the right connections for your setup.

Additional Onboard Features

In addition to the ports on the rear panel, there are also numerous onboard connections on a motherboard. Motherboards often have USB connections for ports on your computer case, so make sure you choose a board that supports as many additional USB ports as your system includes.

Connectors for a CPU and case fans are important, giving you control over fan speeds and system cooling. There are also typically front-panel audio and power connections on a motherboard, but these are pretty standard, so you don’t need to look for them specifically.

Physical Form Factor and Power Requirements

You’ll want to consider the physical size or form factor of your motherboard before picking the right model for your system. For a full computer tower, an ATX board will fit perfectly, but you can also use a MiniATX board. Midsize towers are usually a better fit for MiniATX boards, but you might be able to fit a full ATX board into it. Smaller towers and computer cases are good for MicroATX and NanoATX boards, so consider how large your computer case is and choose the right form factor to fit into it.

You’ll need at least a 350-400 Watt power supply for your computer system, so make sure you choose a motherboard that works with your PSU. Look at the power ports the motherboard has, and pick a power supply with the same connections and wattage necessary for your board. To learn more about PSUs, check out the power supply buyer’s guide.

Overclocking Options

While you might consider the processor and video card to be more important components for overclocking, there are certain motherboard features that can make a board ideal for overclocking. Heat dissipation is important, so look for a board that supports liquid cooling and has excellent heatsinks to help deal with high heat generated from overclocking your system. If you’re really interested in overclocking your system as much as possible, consider a motherboard with voltage regulators and test points that let you detect power spikes and keep your system running safely.

Dewey Dirks
I've been involved with computers for over thirty years. I've always been fascinated most by the hardware, so I became involved in building computers pretty early on. The first machine I built was a 80386 in around 1988 and I've been building them ever pretty much ever since. From 1992 up until 2010 I ran a small company called Redline Systems that built gaming systems. I’ve also been heavily into overclocking since around 1999. I've had a great deal of overclocking experience with both Intel and AMD machines using high end air cooling, DIY water cooling and phase change cooling using a Vapochill LS. I've also been also quite active in the competitive overclocking scene for many years. Although Intel CPU's are generally more powerful, for the last few years I've been clocking primarily AMD hardware as there is a lot of challenge there. I've also been gaming on computersfor many, many years and keep up on that scene too as all that hardware begs for something to do with it.
Related
Go to top