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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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ASRock H81M-DGS R2.0 Intel Socket 1150 Motherboard
  • Socket 1150
  • Intel H81 Chipset
  • 4 x SATA & 6 x USB Ports
  • DDR3 (max 16GB, 2 slots)
  • VGA and DVI
  • mATX Form Factor
  • More expected 29/03/2017
  • 1st Class Delivery - £2.99

£39.84 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD1919
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Part Number: H81M-DGS R2.0
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Manufacturer: ASRock
ASRock Z97 Anniversary Intel Socket 1150
  • Socket 1150
  • Intel Z97 Chipset
  • 6 x SATA & 6 x USB Ports
  • DDR3 (max 32GB, 4 slots)
  • HDMI
  • ATX Form Factor
  • In Stock for 2-3 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 1-2 Days
  • Free Delivery

£77.64 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD1482
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Part Number: 90-MXGVH0-A0UAYZ
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Manufacturer: ASRock
ASRock H110M-HDV Intel Socket 1151 Motherboard
  • Socket 1151
  • Intel H110 Chipset
  • 4 x SATA & 6 x USB Ports
  • DDR4 (max 32GB, 2 slots)
  • VGA, HDMI and DVI
  • mATX Form Factor
  • Est. 3-5 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 2-4 Days
  • Shipping from £3.95

£49.99 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD1916
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Part Number: H110M-HDV
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Manufacturer: ASRock
ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Killer Intel Socket 1150
  • Socket 1150
  • Intel H97 Chipset
  • 6 x SATA & 8 x USB Ports
  • DDR3 (max 32GB, 4 slots)
  • VGA, HDMI and DVI
  • ATX Form Factor
  • Est. 3-5 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 2-4 Days
  • Free Delivery

£111.30 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD1502
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Part Number: 90-MXGTX0-A0UAYZ
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Manufacturer: ASRock
ASRock 970M Pro3 AMD Socket AM3+ Motherboard
  • Socket AM3+
  • Chipset Type: AMD 970
  • 6 X SATA & 8 X USB Ports
  • DDR3 (max 64GB, 4 slots)
  • mATX Form Factor
  • In Stock for 2-3 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 1-2 Days
  • Free Delivery

£67.68 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD1597
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Part Number: 970M PRO3
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Manufacturer: ASRock
ASRock B85M Pro4 Intel Socket 1150 Motherboard
  • Socket 1150
  • Intel B85 Chipset
  • 6 x SATA & 6 x USB Ports
  • DDR3 (max 32GB, 4 slots)
  • VGA, HDMI and DVI
  • mATX Form Factor
  • Est. 3-5 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 2-4 Days
  • Free Delivery

£61.55 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD0940
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Part Number: 90-MXGQ20-A0UAYZ
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Manufacturer: ASRock
ASRock 970A-G/3.1 AMD Socket AM3+ Motherboard
  • Socket AM3+
  • Chipset Type: AMD 970
  • 6 X SATA & 8 X USB Ports
  • DDR3 (max 64GB, 4 slots)
  • ATX Form Factor
  • In Stock for 2-3 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 1-2 Days
  • Free Delivery

£77.99 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD1969
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Part Number: 970A-G/3.1
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Manufacturer: ASRock
ASRock H110M-ITX Intel Socket 1151 Motherboard
  • Socket 1151
  • Intel H110 Chipset
  • 4 x SATA & 6 x USB Ports
  • DDR4 (max 32GB, 2 slots)
  • HDMI and DVI
  • ITX Form Factor
  • In Stock for 2-3 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 1-2 Days
  • Free Delivery

£69.49 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD1917
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Part Number: H110M-ITX
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Manufacturer: ASRock
ASRock B250 Pro4 Intel Socket 1151 Motherboard
  • Socket 1151
  • Intel B250 Chipset
  • 6 x SATA & 5 x USB Ports
  • DDR4 (max 64GB, 4 slots)
  • VGA, HDMI and DVI
  • ATX Form Factor
  • Est. 3-5 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 2-4 Days
  • Free Delivery

£84.50 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD2034
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Part Number: 90-MXB3S0-A0UAYZ
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Manufacturer: ASRock
ASRock H81TM-ITX R2.0 Intel Socket 1150
  • Socket 1150
  • Intel H81 Chipset
  • 2 x SATA & 4 x USB Ports
  • DDR3 (max 16GB, 2 slots)
  • HDMI and DVI
  • ITX Form Factor
  • In Stock for 2-3 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 1-2 Days
  • Free Delivery

£61.06 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD1522
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Part Number: H81TM-ITX R2.0
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Manufacturer: ASRock
ASRock N68C-GS4 FX AMD Socket AM3+ Motherboard
  • Socket AM3+
  • 4 x SATA & 4 x USB Ports
  • DDR3 (max 16GB, 2 slots)
  • VGA
  • mATX Form Factor
  • In Stock for 2-3 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 1-2 Days
  • Free Delivery

£50.32 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD1523
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Part Number: N68C-GS4 FX
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Manufacturer: ASRock
ASRock Z170 Gaming K4 Intel Socket 1151

ASRock Z170 Gaming K4 Intel Socket 1151

ASRock Super Alloy with smooth power delivery
  • Socket 1151
  • Intel Z170 Chipset
  • 6 x SATA & 12 x USB Ports
  • DDR4 (max 64GB, 4 slots)
  • HDMI and DVI
  • ATX Form Factor
  • In Stock for 2-3 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 1-2 Days
  • Free Delivery

£112.21 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD1702
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Part Number: Z170 GAMING K4
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Manufacturer: ASRock
ASRock N68-GS4/USB3 FX R2.0 AMD Socket AM3+
  • Socket AM3+
  • 4 x SATA & 4 x USB Ports
  • DDR3 (max 16GB, 2 slots)
  • VGA
  • mATX Form Factor
  • In Stock for 2-3 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 1-2 Days
  • 1st Class Delivery - £2.99

£45.96 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD2092
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Part Number: N68-GS4/USB3 FX R2.0
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Manufacturer: ASRock
ASRock B150M-HDS Intel Socket 1151 Motherboard
  • Socket 1151
  • Intel B150 Chipset
  • 4 x SATA & 6 x USB Ports
  • DDR4 (max 32GB, 2 slots)
  • HDMI and DVI
  • mATX Form Factor
  • In Stock for 2-3 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 1-2 Days
  • Free Delivery

£54.98 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD1905
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Part Number: B150M-HDS
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Manufacturer: ASRock
ASRock FM2A88M-HD+ R3.0 AMD Socket FM2+
  • Socket FM2+
  • AMD A88X Chipset
  • 4 x SATA & 6 x USB Ports
  • DDR3 (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
  • 1st Class Delivery - £2.99

£47.91 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD1910
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Part Number: FM2A88M-HD+ R3.0
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Manufacturer: ASRock
ASRock 970 Pro3 R2.0 AMD Socket AM3+ Motherboard
  • Socket AM3+
  • AMD 970 Chipset
  • 6 x SATA & 8 x USB Ports
  • DDR3 (max 64GB, 4 slots)
  • ATX Form Factor
  • In Stock for 2-3 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 1-2 Days
  • Free Delivery

£64.34 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD0843
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Part Number: 970 PRO3 R2.0
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Manufacturer: ASRock
ASRock Z170M Pro4S Intel Socket 1151 Motherboard
  • Socket 1151
  • Intel Z170 Chipset
  • 6 x SATA & 8 x USB Ports
  • DDR4 (max 64GB, 4 slots)
  • HDMI and DVI
  • mATX Form Factor
  • Est. 3-5 Day Delivery
  • Order for Pickup in 2-4 Days
  • Free Delivery

£104.53 inc VAT

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CCL Code: MBD1699
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Part Number: Z170M PRO4S
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Manufacturer: ASRock