Many users prefer to build their computers from scratch rather than buy a branded one. It gives them better flexibility and a better chance to meet their desired specifications. However, you must note that building a custom PC means buying each component separately. That means you’ll have to devote considerable time to each purchase decision.
For gamers and power users, CPU and GPU are top-priority components for their custom PCs, and they tend to spend more on these units. While custom PC builders generally focus on what component they’d like in their setup, they also want a motherboard that can support them effectively. As such, users see motherboards as secondary components that nicely tie up other computer parts.
However, you must understand that while motherboards don’t contribute to the PC’s performance, they are still essential for a successful custom build. Motherboards are responsible for the electronic transmission, connection, and interplay between other components. They also help to transfer the power supply around the computer. It’s essential to pick good-quality motherboards from the various alternatives on the market. But how much should I spend on a motherboard in 2022?
This article highlights some key details to consider when buying a new motherboard for your custom PC build. It also provides tips on avoiding overspending on a circuit board.
For anyone asking, “how much should I spend on a motherboard?” the answer lies in the number of features you’d like to have. Essentially, the more functions and support a motherboard has, the pricier it is. But the secret is that you may not need all of them. Manufacturers would always sway users to buy higher-end motherboards, even when you can’t fully utilize them.
Therefore, going through some of the standard motherboard features is imperative to save you from overspending on a board. They include:
Primary storage is one of the most crucial considerations at play when trying to buy a motherboard. That’s because your computer needs enough RAM to perform the operations required, and the circuit board has adequate slots to support it.
How many RAM slots do you need for your custom PC build? Generally, most motherboards come with four ports. That’s perfect for gaming and professional desktop setups, as you can utilize one of the slots for regular use and extend the temporary storage whenever you want.
However, if you’re on a tight budget and would only use the PC for light tasks, you can settle for a two-RAM port motherboard. Bear in mind that you get limited expansion support with this configuration.
Another fundamental detail users have to consider when buying a motherboard is the connectivity options. You’d want to ensure that your preferred board has all the basic input/output connection ports you might need. On the other hand, you also don’t want excessive connectivity slots that you might not use to avoid overspending on the motherboard.
Common I/O connections include USB ports, SATA, and M.2 slots. It’s essential to check through the motherboard’s manual to see how many connections it supports, with their respective specifications. Some brands offer extra connection ports such as gigabit Ethernet ports and WiFi and may mention them on their product pages.
A motherboard’s power capabilities are also worth considering when deciding how much you can spend on one of them. Typically, the VRM (Voltage Regulating Module) component on a motherboard allows it to effectively manage the power needs of the processor for overall efficient performance.
VRMs are a crucial motherboard piece, especially when you intend to build a gaming PC. The components help deliver an uninterrupted power supply to the processor whenever it requires higher voltage, as is the case when the CPU overclocks. You can find motherboard VRMs measured in phases to indicate their performance levels.
The higher power phase a motherboard’s VRM has, the more capable it is to deliver power for heavy CPU tasks like high frame rate gaming or video editing. For instance, a 14+2 phase VRM is more powerful than a 10+2 one. You can pick a lower specification if your custom PC build isn’t heavy-duty.
Whatever amount you decide to spend on a motherboard, you need to be certain how long it will last before you have to replace it. Expectedly, motherboards with longer upgrade support are more cost-effective. That’s because they allow you to swap out components for newer ones instead of changing the entire board.
However, manufacturers like Intel have motherboards that only support two upgrade cycles. It’s in a bid to get the users to buy their newer models. Also, the brand would offer these boards at cheaper rates, while you pay more as you change them after two iterations. As you might guess, such options are only suitable if you don’t care about upgrades altogether.
Thankfully, other brands like AMD allow for a wider upgrade cycle, allowing you to swap out the motherboard’s CPU for up to four generations. It bears mentioning that motherboards with longer upgrade support would have higher initial costs and a lower long-term outlay.
How Much Should I Spend on a Motherboard that comes with optional features? It depends on whether the add-ons would improve the custom PC experience. As a rule, you don’t have to pay more for a motherboard with features you may not use.
A board can have optional features like PCI-e 4, WiFi 6E radio, or gigabit Ethernet ports. They are advanced versions of the standard components on a motherboard, delivering advantages like faster connectivity and better storage. However, optional add-ons are often experimental and cost extra for the mere sake.
You may wait for these options to become mainstream and get a price drop, or take the plunge and buy a motherboard without them.
Motherboards are the central lode in any computer, holding and managing every other component and peripherals in the system. For custom PC builders, the goal is to get the right individual components and a motherboard that supports them.
Since components like CPU and GPU would likely come first on your shopping list, you might have questions like, “How Much Should I Spend on a Motherboard” along the way. Getting the right board for your computer’s parts and peripherals is important without feeling you’ve overspent on the product.
That’s why we’ve highlighted some essential motherboard details you need to consider to make the right purchase. You can adjust these features depending on your budget.
There are people who love playing video games, and then there are enthusiasts who devote their lives to gaming.
Corey has been playing games since The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy III were still young.
Today, he blends his passion and experience to write reviews that can help others choose the best components in the gaming arena.