What makes a great gaming motherboard? This is a tough question since it cannot be answered within a simple sentence.
The answer tends to get a bit complicated since there are many aspects that need to be taken into account. You have to keep your eye on a variety of specs before deciding which motherboard would work for you and which wouldn't.
Does the motherboard support the latest processor socket?
The CPU socket is one thing that you might want to look for in such a motherboard. It should allow you to install the latest processor, or even a decent processor that comes in that specific CPU line.
All motherboards come with the option to accommodate either an Intel or the AMD processor. It’s mostly up to you to go with either one, but if you’re on a budget, then you’ll most likely choose the AMD version over the Intel, since these come a lot cheaper.
How much system memory can the motherboard handle?
RAM or system memory is a very important spec you should not overlook. Most modern games demand somewhere in the range of 2-4GB of RAM installed to run properly, so you should have this aspect covered.
One good idea is to look for a motherboard which supports a large amount of system memory and has an ideal number of 4 memory module slots, so you can first add a module and later, if you decide to upgrade further to catch up with the newest advances, you can add more.
Also, when buying RAM, don’t get a lot of small capacity modules, but instead try to get one large capacity so you’ll have extra free modules for future upgrades.
Included PCIe Slots
Your motherboard needs to have at least one.
This is a feature that should never be overlooked. A PCI Express slot descends from the old AGP slot used to house older video cards with lots of improvements made.
Most gaming grade motherboards will carry one or even more such slots. Look for those that support SLI (Nvidia) or Crossfire (ATI) configurations since these can help you set up 2 or more graphics cards on a single motherboard.
While this is not such an affordable option at first, just being able to make an SLI or Crossfire configuration later does prove the minor extra cost.
Can you do basic overclocking on your motherboard?
This might seem like an advanced feature, but once you do some simple research, you’ll know how your computer can handle itself if it were to get overclocked.
Some motherboards for gaming allow you to manipulate the voltage your CPU gets via the BIOS utility. This way you can increase the operating frequency of your processor.
Overclocking will be a great addition to a standard gaming system if you do some proper research beforehand.
Are there any extra ports and features included with the motherboard?
Manufacturers like to throw in more features and ports in most of their builds, so make sure you look for these when you’re researching your options.
Some might include extra USB ports, built-in LAN, FireWire ports and so on. These can help you improve your gaming experience since you will be able to connect a lot more peripherals if you should decide to do so.