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What features on a Motherboard do you require to even consider buying?

Ive had the LED Readout display save my butt so many times I don't think I could buy a MOBO without it.

 

Looking at these new MOBO's with latch systems for M.2 looks super handy and Asus models with the gpu slot latch release looks incredibly useful if you have a large GPU

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The amount of USB ports it has, and if it has thunderbolt or not, as I use a capture card that uses thunderbolt 3, so it must have it.
But yeah, generally the USB amount, I've got a ton of stuff.....

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I don't care about details like latch for M.2 because they're basically one time use for me, I don't replace drives often, so using a screw maybe twice a year don't bother me.

 

I mostly care about pci-e layout... the motherboard loses points if the only pci-e x1 slots are right under the video card pci-e x16 slot where you put a thick video card that would block those slots.

The board gets bonus points if there's no tall components in the path of the smaller x1 and x4 slots just in case i want to insert a long board in those slots.

 

Also look at how the pci-e lanes are routed... will the bottom x16 slot drop from x4 to become x1 if you use a nvme ssd in the 2nd m.2 connector? Points lost, maybe I'd want to use a capture card in that slot and x1 may not be enough.

 

Then I look for features that may be needed like for example Will I buy a case that has a 10g usb connector which requires that new 10g usb front panel header? I may care about picking a board that comes with that header so that I won't have to use adapters.

 

I also look at heatsinks on the VRM and how good these heatsinks are (how well they'd work, which is affected by size and shape, the fins, striations etc) it's a decent indicator of future upgrade-ability and increases a bit the resale value on the used market.

 

 

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It needs to have compatibility with a CPU I'd want to use or have a CPU already on the board, and slots for RAM that's compatible with said CPU or RAM already on board, and either at least one slot to put in a graphics card or video out if the CPU has integrated graphics or on-board graphics with a video out, and some way (expansion slot, SATA port, IDE port, USB header, rear USB, SD card slot, etc) to attach storage media or have storage media built onto the board. It should also have some type of power delivery on the board to give power to the various components, and a way to give the board power from a PSU or power brick, or have the PSU built onto the board so it can be hooked directly to AC power.

 

Those are the features that I require to even consider buying a motherboard. Without those features, the board is worthless to me, and I would assume to 99% of the people on these forums as well.

 

I think this question as presented is too broad. I have a Raspberry Pi 4 that I use as a little web server. You could argue that what I bought was a motherboard that happened to have the CPU and RAM already soldered to it. It lacks tons of features of the B550 Gaming Edge WiFi in my main computer, but for what I'm using it for, the Pi is fine.

 

Things like LED readouts are nice, sure, but they aren't a requirement for me to just consider a board. For my main computer, I'd need either debug LEDs or one of those 7 segment readouts, as I like tinkering with things and so I'm sure I'll run into problems. But for a budget build for a secondary system that I won't do a ton of tweaking to, if I can save $30+ on the motherboard by not having that, I might go for it. I'd at least consider it.

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For me:

- Good VRM. This is probably my top priority. Even if I use mid tier CPU, I want my MoBo able to handle a high-end CPU if I decided to upgrade my CPU down the road.

- I/O ports. USB ports are important, especially the high speed one that have high transfer rate (10Gbps or 20Gbps or 40Gbps).

- Expansion slots. I have quite a number of add-in cards such as network cards and SAS cards.

- SATA ports (at least 6) I have many SATA storage for backup and for NAS.

- Fan headers. I usually buy standard CPU fans and I want to individually control the fan curves without installing additionally accessories.

- Wi-Fi. This is optional, but a bonus if the MoBo has one.

 

On 5/22/2022 at 1:42 PM, Elijah Kamski said:

The amount of USB ports it has, and if it has thunderbolt or not, as I use a capture card that uses thunderbolt 3, so it must have it.
But yeah, generally the USB amount, I've got a ton of stuff.....

Ooo, you and me both, but I have a lot of SD cards to read and format as well as a few camcorders and cameras to hook up and transfer images and videos.

I have ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism_spectrum

 

I apologies if my comments or post offends you in any way, or if my rage got a little too far. I'll try my best to make my post as non-offensive as much as possible.

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It must be able to handle the CPU I want to use (and higher end ones for possible upgrade in the future), have good I/O (many USB ports, PS/2 for keyboard), good PCIe spacing, 8 or more SATA ports, preferably faster than 1Gb NIC for the future, 4 or more DIMM slots and support for at least up to 128GB RAM

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PC 2: Intel Xeon E5-2690 8c/16t @ 3.3-3.8GHz, ThinkStation S30 (C600/X79), 64GB (4x 16GB) DDR3 1600MHz, GeForce GT 640 GDDR5, 500GB HDD

PC 3: Intel Core i7-3770 4c/8t @ 4.22-4.43GHz, Asus P8Z77-V LK, 16GB DDR3 1854MHz, Asus GTX 760 DC2 OC, 250GB Crucial MX500 and 2x 500GB HDD

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General X58 Xeon/i7 discussion

Some other PC's:

Spoiler

Some of the specs of these systems might not be up to date

PC 4: Intel Xeon X5677 @ 3.47GHz, HP 0B4Ch (X58), 12GB DDR3 1333MHz, Asus GeForce GTX 660 DC2, 240GB SSD, 1TB HDD

PC 5: Intel Xeon W3550 @ 3.07GHz, HP (X58), 8GB DDR3, NVIDIA GeForce GT 640 (GPU: 1050MHz MEM: 1250MHz), 120GB SSD, 2TB, 1TB and 500GB HDD

PC 6: Intel Core2 Quad Q9550 @ 3.8GHz, Asus P5KC, 8GB DDR2, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470, 120GB SSD and 500GB HDD

HTPC: Intel Core2 Quad Q6600 @ 3.0GHz, HP DC7900SFF, 8GB DDR2 800MHz, Asus Radeon HD 6570, 240GB SSD and 3TB HDD

WinXP PC: Intel Core2 Duo E6300 @ 2.33GHz, Asus P5B, 2GB DDR2 667MHz, NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT, 32GB SSD and 80GB HDD

RetroPC: Intel Pentium 4 HT @ 3.0GHz, Gigabyte GA-8SGXLFS, 2gb DDR1, ATi Radeon 9800 Pro, 2x 40gb HDD

My first PC: Intel Celeron 333MHz, Diamond Micronics C400, 384mb RAM, Diamond Viper V550 (NVIDIA Riva TNT), 6gb and 8gb HDD

Server: 2x Intel Xeon E5420, Dell PowerEdge 2950, 32gb DDR2, ATI ES1000, 4x 146gb SAS

Dual Opteron PC: 2x 6-core AMD Opteron 2419EE, HP XW9400, 32GB DDR2, ATI Radeon 3650, 500gb HDD

Core2 Duo PC: Intel Core2 Duo E8400, HP DC7800, 4gb DDR2, NVIDIA Quadro FX1700, 1tb and 80gb HDD

Athlon XP PC: AMD Athlon XP 2400+, MSI something, 1,5gb DDR1, ATI Radeon 9200, 40gb HDD

Thinkpad: Intel Core2 Duo T7200, Lenovo Thinkpad T60, 4gb DDR2, ATI Mobility Radeon X1400, 1tb HDD

Pentium 3 PC: Intel Pentium 3 866MHz, Asus CUSL2-C, 512mb RAM, 3DFX VooDoo 3 2000 AGP

Laptop: Dell Latitude E6430, Intel Core i5-3210M, 6gb DDR3 1600MHz , Intel HD 4000, 250gb Samsung SSD 860 EVO, 1TB WD Blue HDD

 

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CPU support. 

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I like the aesthetics so an element of mobo "armour" and I/O cover features in my list, beyond the obvious basics of needing the right socket for my chosen CPU and so on. Basically means I end up mid tier, rather than at the lower end. Does it add anything in the way of performance, no, does it make me happy looking at it next to me for the 60hrs a week I spend at my desk, yes.

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Layers, VRM, memory support for overclocking, buttons 😄

 

Make my 105w CPU run at 235w 👌🏻

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