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A motherboard is considered by many to be the most important component in a system. It will determine the overall performance of the computer and what future upgrades are possible; it is not possible to attempt to future proof your computer without the right motherboard! The motherboard is the largest component in a computer after the case and consists of many ports, slots and connectors that allow you to connect the processor, memory, hard drives, optical drive, graphics cards, USB devices and many more to the machine. Today’s high end motherboards will support connections allowing millions of components to be used in your dream computer.

Beginners Guide to Motherboards

What is a Motherboard and why do I need one?

A motherboard is considered by many to be the most important component in a system. It will determine the overall performance of the computer and what future upgrades are possible; it is not possible to attempt to future proof your computer without the right motherboard!

The motherboard is the largest component in a computer after the case and consists of many ports, slots and connectors that allow you to connect the processor, memory, hard drives, optical drive, graphics cards, USB devices and many more to the machine. Today’s high end motherboards will support connections allowing millions of components to be used in your dream computer.

How do I work out if the Motherboard will fit in my case?

Cases vary in external appearance and size; you can find cases that look like giant mobile phones or the sails from a ship. One thing is standard on the internals and that is the form factor. The form factor enables you to purchase components with confidence they will fit into the case, the screw spacing on hard drives and motherboards is standardised for example.

The main form factors you will encounter are the following, these have been organised in order of largest to smallest:

- E-ATX = Extended ATX form factor for use on the highest end motherboards and servers. Found normally on premium cases and motherboards only.
- ATX = The most common form factor that most motherboards and cases conform to.
- mATX – Micro-ATX form factor, usually found on pre-built computers or home media centres. mATX motherboards will fit in mATX cases and also into ATX cases.
- mITX – Mini-ITX is a very small form factor found in nettop PCs and Eco Computing. A Mini ITX motherboard will fit into a mATX or ATX case.

What do the different sockets on a Motherboard mean?

All motherboards will list a socket they are compatible with. Generally speaking this will give you a good idea of what processors are compatible with the motherboard; it is always recommended checking the supported CPU list of any motherboard before you purchase it or ask for advice.

What is the chipset?

On most motherboard specifications you will see reference to Northbridge and Southbridge chips. They refer to the main two chips that make up the motherboards chipset that is the technical backbone that determines the features and performance of a motherboard. The northbridge manages the high speed connections between the key components including CPU, RAM and PCI-Express devices. The southbridge is responsible for communication between lower speed components such as PCI devices, Optical Drives and Hard Drives.

What are rear-panel ports?

The rear panel ports on a motherboard are the external connectors you will see when the motherboard is installed into a case. It is common to see Ethernet ports, USB ports, PS2 ports to connect mice and keyboards and also VGA/DVI/HDMI connections if the motherboard or processor feature integrated graphics output.

How do I make sure my motherboard is ready for the technology of tomorrow?

When purchasing a motherboard you need to consider if you plan upgrading your system, it is worth looking at what higher powered processors are supported and if it has free slots to install extra memory. PCI-Express slots on motherboards with onboard graphics are a welcome addition to enable discreet graphics cards from manufacturers such as ATI and Nvidia to be installed onto the motherboard. A little thought into what you intended to use the system for throughout its lifespan will go a long way at this stage to ensuring you get the most out of your system.

What is overclocking?

On high end motherboards you will often see features mentioned such as overclocking and core-unlocking. These are terms that enable the motherboard to access performance from other components like the CPU that would normally be neglected. This can void warranties so it is worth checking specifics of what the motherboard is letting you access in the manual and in warranty documentation before beginning.

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Gigabyte 990FX-GAMING AMD Socket AM3+ Motherboard
  • Socket AM3+
  • AMD 990FX Chipset
  • 6 x SATA & 10 x USB Ports
  • DDR3 (max 32GB, 4 slots)
  • ATX Form Factor
  • In Stock for 2-3 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 1-2 Days
  • Free Delivery

£130.43 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD1855
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Part Number: GA-990FX-GAMING
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Manufacturer: Gigabyte
Biostar A68N-5545 AMD Integrated CPU Motherboard
  • Integrated CPU
  • AMD A70M Chipset
  • 4 x SATA & 4 x USB Ports
  • DDR3 (max 32GB, 2 slots)
  • VGA and HDMI
  • ITX Form Factor
  • Est. 3-5 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 2-4 Days
  • Free Delivery

£63.22 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD2110
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Part Number: A68N-5545
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Manufacturer: Biostar
New to CCL
MSI X370 GAMING PLUS AMD Socket AM4 Motherboard
  • Socket AM4
  • AMD X370 Chipset
  • 6 x SATA & 8 x USB Ports
  • DDR4 (max 64GB, 4 slots)
  • HDMI and DVI
  • ATX Form Factor
  • More expected 31/05/2017
  • Free Delivery

£121.43 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD2177
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Part Number: X370 GAMING PLUS
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Manufacturer: MSI
ASUS RAMPAGE V EDITION 10 Intel Socket 2011-v3

ASUS RAMPAGE V EDITION 10 Intel Socket 2011-v3

Get up to £170 Cashback from ASUS!
  • Socket 2011-v3
  • Intel X99 Chipset
  • 10 x SATA & 10 x USB Ports
  • DDR4 (max 128GB, 4 slots)
  • eATX Form Factor
  • In Stock for 2-3 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 1-2 Days
  • Free Delivery

£532.44 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD1951
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Part Number: 90MB0Q00-M0EAY0
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Manufacturer: ASUS
MSI B250M BAZOOKA Intel Socket 1151 Motherboard
  • Socket 1151
  • Intel B250 Chipset
  • 6 x SATA & 6 x USB Ports
  • DDR4 (max 64GB, 4 slots)
  • HDMI and DVI
  • mATX Form Factor
  • In Stock for 2-3 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 1-2 Days
  • Free Delivery

£75.90 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD1986
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Part Number: B250M BAZOOKA
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Manufacturer: MSI
MSI B250 PC MATE Intel Socket 1151 Motherboard
  • Socket 1151
  • Intel B250 Chipset
  • 6 x SATA & 8 x USB Ports
  • DDR4 (max 64GB, 4 slots)
  • VGA, HDMI and DVI
  • ATX Form Factor
  • In Stock for 2-3 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 1-2 Days
  • Free Delivery

£89.56 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD1987
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Part Number: B250 PC MATE
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Manufacturer: MSI
MSI B350M GAMING PRO AMD Socket AM4 Motherboard
  • Socket AM4
  • AMD B350 Chipset
  • 4 x SATA & 6 x USB Ports
  • DDR4 (max 32GB, 2 slots)
  • VGA, HDMI and DVI
  • mATX Form Factor
  • In Stock for 2-3 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 1-2 Days
  • Free Delivery

£79.99 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD2128
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Part Number: B350M GAMING PRO
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Manufacturer: MSI
New to CCL
MSI A68HM-GAMING AMD Socket FM2+ Motherboard
  • Socket FM2+
  • AMD A68H Chipset
  • 4 x SATA & 6 x USB Ports
  • DDR3 (max 32GB, 2 slots)
  • VGA, HDMI and DVI
  • mATX Form Factor
  • More expected 31/05/2017
  • Shipping from £3.95

£45.80 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD2173
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Part Number: A68HM-GAMING
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Manufacturer: MSI
MSI A320M GRENADE AMD Socket AM4 Motherboard
  • Socket AM4
  • AMD A320 Chipset
  • 4 x SATA & 6 x USB Ports
  • DDR4 (max 32GB, 2 slots)
  • VGA, HDMI and DVI
  • mATX Form Factor
  • In Stock for 2-3 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 1-2 Days
  • Free Delivery

£63.86 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD2159
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Part Number: A320M GRENADE
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Manufacturer: MSI
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Gigabyte Z270N-WIFI Intel Socket 1151 Motherboard
  • Socket 1151
  • Intel Z270 Chipset
  • 6 x SATA & 4 x USB Ports
  • DDR4 (max 32GB, 2 slots)
  • HDMI and DVI
  • ITX Form Factor
  • In Stock Now
  • Pickup Now
  • Free Delivery

Amazing Price!

CCL Price £131.95 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD2020
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Part Number: GA-Z270N-WIFI
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Manufacturer: Gigabyte