If you’re a serious gamer who want only the best for your gaming desktops, it may be time to consider upgrading what had served them well over the last 12-18 months. Your kid brother can thank you for a hand-me-down gaming station while you move on to higher gaming challenges. Whether upgrading or building a new gaming PC, there’s no better place to start than with choosing the right motherboard that can give you the right options for a truly rewarding gaming desktop, and possibly future-poof your gaming for another 2-3 years..
Reasons to get the right motherboard
A motherboard is the heart and soul of your PC. It tells you how much system RAM you can have, what CPU you can put in, how many graphics cards you can use, what type of hard drives and how many you can use, how many peripheral; devices it can hooked to, and what data connections it can support, just to mention some. It makes sense to invest on one that not only meets your current needs reliably but do so at the longest time possible until your next upgrade. There are two things that are certain about your PC: it will break down sooner or later, and you will need to upgrade it.
More importantly, the right motherboard choice will answer your question: “What can I do with my PC. A simple word processing, spreadsheet or internet surfing will not demand the most versatile motherboard. And even low-enders can provide a reasonably satisfying multimedia experience with a good graphics card. But gaming is entirely another. You need at least a middle-of-the-road motherboard, and many serious gamers invest on the best motherboard they can afford.
Your current motherboard may not be able to support the latest generation of Intel and AMD processors and graphics cards and consequently fail to get the most satisfying experience from recent and forthcoming game releases. For instance, the third generation Ivy Bridge Core processors will need a new motherboard if your current one does not support the previous Sandy Bridge processor family. If you need multiple graphics cards, or if you need SSD drives or USB 3.0 support, it is unlikely that mid-priced motherboards released 3 years ago and which you thought were cool enough to buy at a bargain 18 months ago would have them.
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H for Intel
This ATX motherboard has Socket 1155 for Intel’s 3rd generation dual and quad core processors for a real bargain at $195.76 at Amazon. It features a Z77 chipset that supports multiple video cards in CrossFireX and quad-SLI configuration for the finest gaming performance at the highest frame rates.. It comes with the Creative X-F1 Xtreme Fidelity audio on board, and four USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2 ports on the front panel.. It also has five SATA ports with one disabled if you use its mSATA connection to a Solid State Drive. It also has a lone eSATA port at the back, along with video connections for HDMI, VGA, DVI and Display Port, allowing you to drive four monitors at the same time with its internal GPU.
Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 for AMD
Supporting the latest AMD AM3+ FX/AM3 Phenom II line of multicore processors, the AMD990FX+SB950 chipset in this ATX motherboard with dual BIOS is an outstanding value at a wallet–friendly $159.91. It offers four DDR3 slots for up to 32GB RAM on a dual channel architecture. It come with 4 PCIe expansion slots that can support a 2-way CrossFireX or SLI graphics configuration running at x16 bandwidth for exquisite graphics performance. It has six SATA 3 ports for up to 3 TB each that can be configured for RAID 0.1, 5 and 10.
Asus P9X79 Deluxe
Future proofing your gaming PC can be illusive but some motherboards are better at it than others. On an extended ATX form factor designed for a midtower case, the $395.17 Asus P9X79 Deluxe features Intel’s X79 Express chipset with an immense LGA 2011 socket that can support Intel’s six-core Sandy Bridge processor such as the i7-3960X. It has eight DIMM slots that can house up to 64GB 1,600 MHz DDR 3 systems RAM in a quad-channel architecture. There are two PCIe 3.0 x16, two PCIe 3.0 x8 and two PCIe 2.0 x1 expansion slots that can support AMD quad GPU CrossFireX and 3-way Nvidia SLI graphic card arrangement for the best in gaming graphics.
These three are just a small snapshot of some of the best motherboards available. While some were released more than a year ago, their potential for a high end gaming station remains unchallenged to this day and will likely be so in the next 2-3 years. Future reviews will include new iterations as they get released.