How to choose Intel mainboard


Intel mainboard
Image by source intel

Motherboards are very complicated. Let's break down the components one by one and explain how they work.

The motherboard is an important part of building a personal computer (PC).

What function does the motherboard have? The printed circuit board is what connects all the hardware to the processor, distributes power from the mains, and determines the type of storage device, memory module, and graphics card (among other expansion cards). ) can connect to your computer.

Below, we'll dive into motherboard specs and give you all the information you need on how to choose a motherboard for your configuration.

Structure of the motherboard

The motherboard is the basic circuit board of a computer. Although the look of motherboards changes over time, their basic design makes it easy to connect expansion cards, hard drives, and memory modules, and replace old ones.

Let's take a look at some of the terms you'll come across when comparing motherboards.

Processor dock 

socket cpu

Motherboards usually include at least one processor socket, allowing your CPU (the "mechanical" brains of your computer) to communicate with other critical components. These include memory (RAM), storage, and other devices installed in expansion slots - both internal devices such as GPUs and external devices such as peripherals.

(However, not every motherboard has a socket: in systems with small spaces, like the Intel® NUC and many laptops, the CPU is soldered to the motherboard.)

When choosing a motherboard, check your CPU's documentation to make sure it's compatible with your CPU. Various socket types are available to support different products based on generation, performance, and other factors by varying the pin range. (The socket's name is derived from the pin array: for example, the LGA 1551 socket, compatible with 9th Gen CPUs, has 1,151 pins.)

Modern Intel motherboards connect the CPU directly to the RAM, thereby collecting instructions from various software, as well as several expansion slots that can accommodate performance-critical components such as the GPU and storage drive. The memory controller resides in the CPU, but many other devices communicate with the CPU through the chipset, which controls the many expansion slots, SATA connections, USB ports, and audio and network functions.

How do processor sockets work?

Some pins connect the CPU to memory via traces (conductive metal lines) on the motherboard, while others are groups of power or ground pins. If your computer is having trouble booting up or getting installed memory, it could be due to a bent pin that hasn't made contact with your CPU, among other potential problems.

The pins can be located on the motherboard or right on the processor package, depending on the socket model. Older sockets (such as Intel's Socket 1) are usually pin Grid Array, where the pins on the CPU are placed in the conduction area on the socket.

Grid-to-ground (LGA) array sockets, used in many modern chipsets, work essentially the opposite way: the pins on the socket connect to conduction regions on the CPU. LGA 1151 is an example for this type of socket.

Today's processor sockets use a ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) setting That means you can simply snap the processor into place and secure it with a pin, with no additional pressure that can break. Bend the leg from its original position.

This improvement was used in Intel's Socket 1 in 1989, working with 80486 (or 486) CPUs. Although early designs for Socket 1 may have required up to 100 pounds of pressure to mount the CPU, within that same generation of CPUs, manufacturers were able to develop user-friendly designs without It requires almost no effort or tools to install.


A chipset is a pillar made of silicon, attached to the motherboard that only works with specific CPU generations. It relays communication between the CPU and multiple connected storage and expansion devices.

While the CPU connects directly to the RAM (via the memory controller attached to it) and to a limited number of PCIe lanes (expansion slots), the chipset acts as a control center. other buses on the motherboard: additional PCIe lanes, storage devices, external ports such as USB slots, and many peripherals.

High-end chipsets can have more PCIe slots and USB ports than standard models, as well as newer hardware configurations and different PCIe slot allocations (with more slots connecting directly to the CPU).

Choose Chipset

Modern chipsets unify many features that used to be separate components connected to the motherboard. Integrated audio technology, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth®3, and even cryptographic firmware are now built into the Intel chipset.

High-end chipsets like the Z390 can provide many benefits, including overclocking support, and higher bus speeds. But Intel's chipsets also offer other improvements.

Here is a brief breakdown of the differences between Intel's chipset lines:

Series Z

Overclocking support for CPU named "K"
Up to 24 PCIe threads
Up to six USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports

Overclocking is not supported
Up to 20 PCIe threads
Up to four USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports
Series BUT

Overclocking is not supported
Up to 20 PCIe threads
USB 3.0 port only
These different options allow access at versatile price points, while taking advantage of the benefits of the 300 series chipset.

Expansion slot


The high-speed peripheral component local link (PCIe) is a group expansion bus that is integrated into the CPU, motherboard chipset, or both. It allows the installation of devices such as graphics cards, hard drives, network adapters, RAID controllers, signal receivers, and many other expansions into the PCIe slots on the motherboard. The built-in peripherals found on many motherboards also connect via PCIe.

Each PCIe link contains a specific number of data sources, listed as x1, x4, or x16 (commonly referred to as "multiply one," "quad," etc.). Each stream contains two pairs of wires: one pair transmits data and the other receives data.

With this generation of PCIe forms, a PCIe x1 link has one data stream with a load rate of one bit per cycle. A single PCIe×16 stream, usually the longest slot on a motherboard (and also the most used slot for graphics cards), has 16 data streams capable of transferring up to 16 bits per cycle. However, future iterations of PCIe will allow double the data rate per clock cycle.

Each revision of PCIe has nearly doubled the bandwidth of the previous generation, and that means better performance for PCIe devices. A PCIe 2.0x16 link has a theoretical maximum bidirectional bandwidth of 16GB/s; a PCIe 3.0x16 link with a maximum of 32 GB/g. When comparing PCIe 3.0 streams, the ×4 link is typically used on hard drives with a theoretical maximum bandwidth of 8 GB/g, while the ×16 link used by the GPU provides four times the speed. there.

Another feature of PCIe is the choice to use slots with multiple threads as an alternative to slots with fewer threads. For example, a ×4 expansion card can be inserted into the ×16 slot and function properly. However, this throughput would be equivalent to one ×4 slot — the remaining 12 threads simply go unused.

Some motherboards have M.2 and PCIe slots that can utilize more PCIe threads than are actually available on the platform. For example, some motherboards may have seven PCIe x16 slots and the theoretical ability to use 112 threads, but the processor and chipset may only have 48 threads.

If every thread is in use, the PCIe slots usually switch to a lower bandwidth configuration. For example, if a pair of GPUs is inserted into two PCI x16 slots, the links can run at x8 instead of x16 (modern GPUs are unlikely to experience bottlenecks caused by PCIe 3.0x8 connections). Some high-end motherboards may use physical stream propagation PCIe switches, however, the thread slot configuration may remain the same.

Enthusiast motherboards, like the Z series, offer more PCIe lanes and greater flexibility for computer builders.

M.2 and U.2

M.2 is a compact form factor suitable for small expansion devices (16-110mm long), including NVMe solid-state drives (high-speed nonvolatile memory), Intel® Optane™ memory, Wi-Fi cards and other devices.

M.2 devices have different "keys" (golden connection arrangements at the end) that determine socket compatibility on the motherboard. While they can use a variety of interfaces, the most common M.2 cards use four low-latency data streams or the legacy SATA bus.

Because M.2 cards are relatively small in size, they provide an easy way to expand storage capacity or system capabilities in a smaller system. They plug directly into the motherboard, thus eliminating the cables needed for traditional SATA-based devices.

U.2 connectors are an alternative interface for connecting to 2.5" SSDs using PCIe connectors.U.2 storage drives are commonly used in professional environments such as data centers. and the server, but is rarely used in the configuration of the user machine.

U.2 and M.2 have comparable PCIe threads and comparable speeds, although U.2 supports hot-swapping (i.e. the drive can be removed while the system is in use. it stays on) and can support more power configurations than M.2.
Intel mainboard

SATA (Serial ATA) is an old computer bus that is rarely used today to connect to 2.5" or 3.5" hard drives, and optical drives that run DVD and Blu-ray.

Although slower than PCIe, the popular SATA 3.0 interface supports data transfer speeds of up to 6Gbit/g. The new SATA Express (or SATAe) format uses two PCIe streams to achieve speeds of 16Gbit/g. Not to be confused with External SATA (eSATA), an external port that allows (compatible) portable hard drives to connect easily.

Intel mainboard
Random Access Memory (RAM)

Motherboards also have RAM slots: static electrical memory sticks that store data for quick retrieval. Countless high-speed RAM sticks can help the computer handle software simultaneously without slowing down.

Full-size motherboards (like the ATX form factor) typically have four slots, while size-restricted circuits like the mITX use two. However, like motherboards for the Intel® Core™ X Series Processor family (as well as Intel® Xeon®-based server/workstation motherboards), up to eight motherboards are possible. HEDT.

Current Intel motherboards support a memory architecture, which means that there are two independent channels for data transfer between the CPU's memory controller and a RAM DIMM (double-row memory module). Once RAM modules are installed in pairs with equal frequency, data transfer will be faster and performance will be better on some applications.

Form factor 
mainboard port

The form factor of the motherboard determines the size of the player you need, the number of expansion slots you need, and many aspects of the motherboard's layout and cooling system. All in all, the large form factor provides additional DIMMs, full-size PCIe, and two M.2 slots for builders to work with.
To make things easier for both consumers and manufacturers, the motherboard display dimensions have been highly standardized. Laptop motherboard form-factors, on the other hand, often vary from manufacturer to manufacturer due to unique size limitations. The same can be said for pre-built dedicated desktops.

Common monitor motherboard form factors are:

ATX (12" × 9.6"): The current standard for full-size motherboards. A standard ATX user motherboard typically has seven expansion slots, spaced 0.7" apart, and has four DIMMs (memory) slots.
Extended ATX or eATX (12” x 13”): A larger variation of the ATX form-factor, designed for professional and recreational use, these boards have additional space for Hardware configuration is more flexible.
Micro ATX (9.6” × 9.6”): A more compact variant of the ATX, consisting of two full-size expansion slots (×16) and four DIMM slots. Fits upright, but still compatible with sockets in larger ATX consoles.
Mini-ITX (6.7” × 6.7”): Small form factor designed for use in lightweight, fanless PCs. Offers one full-size PCIe slot and usually has two DIMM slots. Reassembled drives are compatible with ATX players.

What you need to know about BIOS

The first thing you see when your computer boots up is the BIOS, or Basic Input/Output System. This is the firmware that is loaded before the operating system boots, and it takes care of booting and testing all connected hardware.

Although often referred to by users and similar motherboard manufacturers as BIOS, the firmware on modern motherboards is usually UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) This dynamic environment offers many user-friendly improvements. users, for example support for larger storage partitions, faster booting, and a modern GUI (Graphical User Interface).

Motherboard manufacturers often add UEFI utilities that streamline CPU or memory overclocking and provide useful presets. They can also have a stylish look, add login and screen capture features, simplify processes such as booting from another drive, and display computer memory, temperature, and fan speed.

UEFI also supports older BIOS features. Users can boot into Legacy mode (also known as CSM, or Compatibility Support Module) to access the classic BIOS, which can resolve compatibility issues with firmware programs. old practices and utilities. However, when users boot in Legacy mode, they obviously lose the modern benefits of UEFI, such as disk partitioning over 2TB. (Note: always back up important data before switching boot mode).

Internal connector 

mainboard ATX
To start up every part of the motherboard, the cables from the power supply and the machine head must be plugged into the internal connectors and terminals (contacts) on the motherboard. Refer to the graphic documentation in your manual, as well as the small screen printed text on the motherboard (e.g. CPU_FAN), to connect each cable to the corresponding connector.
Power and data connectors

24 pin power connector
12V 8 or 4 pin CPU power connector
PCIe power connector
SATA Express/SATA 3 . Connector
M.2 . Connector

Front-panel header: a group of pins for the power button, reset button, hard drive LED, power LED, internal speaker, and machine features.
Front-panel audio jack: provides power for the headphone and speaker ports
Fan and pump headers: for CPU, system, and watercooling
2.0, 3.0 and 3.1 . plugs
S/PDIF jack (digital audio)
RGB strip header

Outer Gate

mainboard port ,Outer Gate mainboard
Your motherboard is the hub for which external devices connect to, and its I/O controller operates these devices. User motherboards provide ports for connecting the CPU's integrated graphics to monitors (useful if you don't have a discrete graphics card or have display problems), peripherals such as keyboards and mice, audio devices, Ethernet cables, and more. Different versions of these ports, like USB 3.1 Gen 2, can provide higher speeds.

The motherboard group of ports outside the back panel, covered with a portable or integrated "I/O shield", which is attached by contact with the head unit usually made of metal. It is sometimes attached to the motherboard, or goes separately to be installed when assembling the system.

Peripherals and data transmission

USB port: A common port for connecting mice, keyboards, headsets, touchscreen phones, camcorders, and other peripherals. It provides both power and data (at speeds up to 20 GBit/g when using USB 3.2). Motherboards today can have both a USB Type-A connector and a thinner, reversible USB Type-C connector.
Thunderbolt™ 3: A high-speed port using a USB-C connector. Thunderbolt™ 3 technology transfers data at speeds up to 40 GB/g and also supports DisplayPort 1.2 and USB 3.1 standards. DisplayPort support allows for the ability to "chain" multiple compatible displays and operate them from the same computer.
PS/2 port: A legacy port, this colored six-pin connector connects to a keyboard or mouse. 


These display ports connect the motherboard's onboard graphics solution; a graphics card installed in one of your expansion slots will provide different graphics port choices.

HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface): This popular digital connection supports resolutions up to 8K at 30Hz for the HDMI 2.1 enhancement.
DisplayPort: This display standard supports configurations up to 8K at 60Hz for DisplayPort 1.4. While more common for graphics cards than motherboards, many boards have DisplayPort support through their Thunderbolt™ 3 ports.
DVI (Digital Video Interface): A legacy port introduced in 1999, this 29-pin connector can be either single-link DVI or higher-bandwidth dual-link DVI. Dual link supports configurations up to 2560×1600 at 60Hz. It easily connects to VGA using an adapter.
VGA (Graphics Card): A 15-pin analog connector with the ability to support configurations up to 2048 × 1536 at 85Hz. This normal next port is sometimes still present on the motherboard. Often suffers from signal degradation with higher configurations or shorter wires.


The front of the computer head usually has two 3.5mm analog audio ports labeled for headphones (external headphones) and mic (internal mic).

The back of the motherboard usually has a row of colored and labeled 3.5mm analog audio ports, used to connect to multi-channel speaker systems.

Your motherboard may also include S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface) connectors, such as coaxial and optical audio ports, that work with digital speakers, radios, and receivers. home theater, and other audio equipment. This can be a useful option if the device you are using does not support HDMI audio transmission.


Most user boards have an RJ45 LAN port, which can be connected to your router or modem via Ethernet. Some boards have dual ports for use with WiFi antennas, as well as other high performance connectivity features, such as dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

mainboard port,Outer Gate mainboard
What is PCB?

It is helpful to know a few terms related to motherboard manufacturing as manufacturers' advertisements and instructions often refer to their PCB construction methods.

A modern motherboard is a printed circuit board (PCB) that is composed of several layers of fiberglass and copper, with other components attached or plugged into it.

Modern PCBs typically have around 10 layers, making them more interconnected than they seem.

Each conductive "trace" - the visible lines that cover the surface of the board - is a separate electrical connection. If one of these traces is damaged, the circuitry will no longer be complete, and the motherboard components will stop working properly. For example, if a trace leading from a PCIe link to the PCH is badly scratched, the PCIe slot may no longer be able to supply power to the expansion card installed there.

After conductive traces are created through chemical etching, manufacturers add solder masks, a green coating that helps prevent oxidation. It also helps prevent damage, making sure the tracks won't be affected by a small scratch or bump when installing the motherboard to the chassis.

What else do manufacturers add?
Although motherboard manufacturers do not create their own chipsets, they make countless decisions regarding manufacturing, aesthetics, and layout, as well as cooling, BIOS features, and board software. Windows motherboard and premium features. While the range of these features is too broad to cover them all, popular additions fall into several general categories.


High-end motherboards often offer automated testing and tuning for CPU, GPU, and memory overclocking, providing an easy-to-use alternative to manual frequency and voltage adjustments in UEFI environments. . They may also have an onboard clock generator for stable control of CPU speed, an enhanced VRM (Voltage Regulatory Module), additional thermal sensors near the overclocked components, and also physical buttons on the motherboard to start and stop overclocking.

Motherboard components such as PCH and VRM produce large amounts of heat. To keep them at safe operating temperatures and prevent performance bottlenecks, motherboard manufacturers have installed a variety of cooling solutions. These solutions range from passive cooling by cooling fans to passive solutions, such as small fans or integrated water coolers.


Motherboard software suite makes it easy to manage your motherboard in Windows. The feature set will vary by manufacturer, but the software can scan for outdated drivers, automatically control the temperature, securely update the motherboard's BIOS, allow easy control adjust fan speeds, provide more in-depth power-saving profiles than those found in Windows 10, or even monitor network traffic.


Advanced audio encoders, built-in amplifiers, and booster capacitors can improve the output of an onboard audio system. Different audio channels can also be divided into separate PCB layers to avoid signal interference.


Many manufacturers advertise PCB construction techniques that claim to help isolate memory circuits and improve signal integrity. Some motherboards even add a steel coating on the PCB that protects the connectors or supports the graphics card (usually fixed with a simple latch).

RGB Lights

High-end motherboards often have RGB leads to power an array of LEDs with customizable colors and effects. The unreachable RGB header powers LED strips that display one color at a time (with varied intensities and effects). Accessible RGB leads power LEDs with multi-color channels, allowing them to display multiple colors at once. Built-in software and touch phone apps often make LED configuration a breeze.

Please make your choice

Whether you're planning to build your next computer or upgrading an existing one, it's important to understand the components of a motherboard. Once you understand how everything works, you'll know how to choose the right motherboard for your configuration.

You need a socket that matches the CPU, a chipset that maximizes the potential of your hardware, and ultimately a range of features to meet your computing needs. Take the time to list some compatible motherboards and compare their key advantages before making a decision, and you should find exactly what you're looking for.

                                                                                                                           Articles collected by Intel


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