It is important to be very responsible when choosing a motherboard, since it is one of the main elements connecting computer components. Even the mouse and keyboard are connected to the motherboard connectors, not to mention the organization of communication with the main components of the PC. The motherboard must be compatible with the processor, so you should choose them together or select one of the devices for the other. In addition, it will not be superfluous to take care of a further upgrade in advance if it is planned in the future. Often the assembly of a computer begins with the purchase of a processor and video card. The motherboard is selected appropriately, for example, when you purchase an Intel CPU with an K index, that is, for overclocking, the motherboard chipset should have an Z index that supports this feature. Certain boards fit each processor model, and it's not just the manufacturer and the socket. There are exceptions, when at the appropriate connector the interaction of devices is not provided. When buying a motherboard, many parameters are defining, including sockets (a socket for the processor, which determines which model can be installed), chipsets, form factor (dimensions also matter), interfaces (number and type of connectors), memory slots and other nuances. Let's take a closer look at the chipsets, which are the main component of the motherboard, what are their functions, and what chipset is better to choose in this or that case. This element of the motherboard can also be purchased separately, if circumstances so require.
The right choice of the motherboard chipset in 20148.
What is a motherboard chipset
Chipset motherboard PC or laptop is a chipset, its mission in ensuring the smooth operation of all components, including the processor, video card, hard drives, memory cards and other peripheral devices. In the architecture of the motherboard in its classical version there are the south and north bridge (relevant for AMD platforms, Intel has integrated the lion's share of the functions of the north bridge in the CPU), slots for installing operatives (DDR4, DDR3). The north bridge connects the processor with a graphics adapter, a memory card and a south bridge, the parameters of the system bus, operatives and video controller also depend on it. Despite the fact that in modern assembly the performance of the computer does not depend on the chipset, since the north bridge migrated to processors to increase the speed of data exchange and reliability, the role of the south bridge should not be underestimated either. It depends on it the functionality of the motherboard, thanks to which it provides communication with the periphery.
Often, a cooling chip is placed in the appendage to the north bridge, as overheating is possible from excess load. The south bridge fails due to other reasons, such as the closure of the USB port, contact with a faulty drive, etc. It is not necessary to change the entire board. If the motherboard is from a number of top, it makes sense to change only the chipset, with budget options such actions are not appropriate. The main chipset manufacturers are Intel and AMD, familiar to everyone from processors. They make up the largest market share. NVidea was also engaged in production, more familiar with its video cards, the role of other manufacturers is not so significant.
How to choose a chipset
The main condition for a successful acquisition is the complete compatibility of components, therefore, when deciding on which chipset to select a motherboard, you must take into account the processor model that is installed or planned for installation. Initially, having decided on the platform, Intel or AMD, proceed to the choice of the CPU. Since the processor and the motherboard are closely related, we select them simultaneously or under each other. The question of which manufacturer is better is incorrect in this case, so there will be no answer to it, we will look at both AMD and Intel chipsets. Both corporations produce quality products and have long established themselves in the market.
In cases where the CPU is already available, the range of options is narrowed. If the choice is most often predetermined with the platform, then the other parameters of the board will have to be carefully reviewed so that the purchase meets the requirements. So, the cost of a top model does not make any sense if the computer will be used in the office or at home with minimal use of resources, so first of all it is necessary to decide for what tasks the board is selected, the same applies to the processor or other components involved in the assembly. It is not good if a device with great potential will not use even half of its capabilities, and you need to take into account the material side of the issue, because you have to pay for power and additional functionality. As all elements go together, they must be in harmony for better joint functioning.
The top motherboards are built on the Z chipset, but this does not mean that you need to chase devices from the first lines of the rating. After all, compatibility of elements and expediency of purchase are more important. To determine which motherboard chipset will be better, you can look at the parameters of the processor, the decisive factor is also a clear idea of what tasks the computer is used for. Having designated the purposes, we begin selection. In general, it looks like this:
- For an office or home computer (on the condition that it is not a computer gamer), a low-end assembly is appropriate, because equipping a device with high-power components is simply unnecessary. The motherboard, which interacts with the CPU with the integrated graphics core, is quite suitable for working in conjunction with the same processor. For a budget assembly, the H110 or H310 chipset is the optimal choice. From the motherboards on chipsets of this level one should not expect a lot of functionality, but this does not mean at all that they are bad;
- If the user works more seriously with graphics, for example, uses graphics applications, plays games with average system requirements, an additional video card is purchased, then there is no need for the graphics chipset, it only needs to support the functioning of the installed video adapter. Motherboards on B 150, B 250 chipsets are suitable for an average power build.
The range of motherboards on mid-level chipsets is quite wide. Here you can find models with decent equipment among representatives of Intel, and AMD;
- For a powerful computer that runs professional work with graphics, demanding programs, heavy games are launched, a high-performance processor is selected, as well as the corresponding board, which also supports several video cards. Chipsets Z 270 or Z 170 are ideal for overclocking operatives, processors. For some boards on the Z170 there is a modified BIOS, due to which you can overclock processors that do not have an K index on the bus (relevant for Skylake 6th generation). Overclockers will find a suitable motherboard model for themselves among the range of motherboards with older chipsets. Such motherboards have the best equipment, so finding a copy with an integrated Wi-fi or Bluetooth module (if necessary) or other additional buns in this category of models is not difficult. By the way, if the board and the processor do not support overclocking, this does not mean that a computer with such equipment will not be gaming. For an Intel gaming computer, the Z370, H370, and B360 chipsets are suitable.
The best chipsets from Intel and AMD motherboards
As mentioned above, the concept of "best chipset" is very conditional. The best choice will always be the most suitable option for a particular assembly. Nevertheless, Intel has designated chipset for motherboards with an index Z at the top of the food chain, as a rule (although not always), equipped with more functionality, so they will be the ones who will lead the rating.
In addition to lettering, the chipsets are broken down by series (the 300th, 200th, 100th series are relevant today). The 300th is adapted for the eighth generation of processors, the 200th is suitable for the seventh and sixth, the 100th is for Intel Core, Pentium and Celeron. Z, H, B, Q indices denote chipset categories (Z - gaming with overclocking, H - functional mainstream chipsets, B - for office or home, Q - for business).
The list of Intel chipsets will start from the "top". Motherboards equipped with these particular chipsets are shining today in the ratings.
- Z370 / 390. The difference between chipsets is not so great. The Z370 chipset is a pioneer of the series, one of the best, but, despite the possibility of overclocking, there is some functionality inherent in subsequent instances of the 300th (take the H370 with the new USB1 Gen 2 and wireless network support in comparison). The new Z390 is a slightly more modernized analogue of the Z370 with the same configurations of PCI-Express channels and USB drives, but with the addition of USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Intel Wireless-AC MAC;
- Q As with Z-chipsets, the use of multiple video cards is supported, but there is no overclocking option. It is adapted for business needs, so it’s not necessary to count on the assortment of motherboards;
- H370, located a step lower, is very similar to its fellow Z370, and although it does not have overclocking, it has a little less PCI-Express and USB channels, while the H370 is superior to USB1 Gen 2 and supports Wi-fi and Bluetooth 5.0. If the mainland is not acquired for the purpose of overclocking, then this chipset is worth paying attention to when building a productive computer;
- B360 is not such a sophisticated chipset as discussed above, but is not as limited in functionality as the H310, has a dual-channel memory controller, USB1 Gen 2, supports bus version 3.0, and also allows you to use a graphics core integrated into modern Intel processors;
- H310 is a budget version of the series with a minimum set of functions for undemanding users. The chipset does not support the PCI-Express bus version 3.0, like the rest of the series, there is a second one, which has lower bandwidth. The situation is the same with the DMI version, the single-channel memory controller, and in general, many possibilities have been cut.
100 and 200
There is no strong difference between the series, even though the 200th and more modernized.
- X299 is worth special attention, it is designed for a line of high-performance CPU Kaby Lake-X and Skylake-X without integrated graphics and supports the possibility of overclocking;
- Z170 / 270. Like other Z-index carriers, chipsets are ideal for overclocking processors and are equipped with good functionality;
- H170 / 270. With motherboards equipped with H chips, the user has much more opportunities than using B, and there is no overclocking on such motherboards;
- В150 / 250 is the golden mean between the budget option and the game. The boards on these chipsets are set when assembling an average power sufficient to perform various daily tasks on a PC;
- H110 has limited functionality, while great for budget assemblies, because buying an expensive motherboard with many features is unreasonable, for example, in the case of office work, etc.
Chipsets with the Q index are not too different from H, and at the same time they have a certain set of corporate buns. In all Intel series, a certain structure can be traced, ranking the models according to their inherent bells and whistles. The announced chip X399 may soon become a Cherry on an Intel cake (the name echoes the AMD model for the CPU Ryzen Theadripper).
The company offers two variants of chipset configurations - chipsets, where the south and north bridges coexist in the same set and existing separately. The combined variations are oriented for processors with new sockets AM4 and TR4; a separate configuration is used for earlier connectors.
Under the powerful CPU AMD Ryzen Theadripper, the company released the X399 chipset. A significant proportion of controllers migrated now to the processor, which made it possible to increase performance and reliability (it’s no secret that the processor cools better). The equipment includes 4-channel RAM, device connection via NVMe, and other utilities. Acceleration is supported.
Chipsets for AM4 also have a combined version, and the lion's share of controllers moved to the processor, only the periphery remained to the chipset.
- X470 - a new top-end chipset, which is a more modernized version of the X370. The chipset is perfect for gamers, overclockers. Among the possibilities are overclocking, support for several video cards, booting from NVMe RAID, etc. In addition, the X470 supports AMD StoreMI technology, which allows you to combine hard disks into one volume and automatically move frequently used files on the SSD .;
- B350 is a more modest representative of chipsets for motherboards of gaming computers, while also providing an opportunity to overclock and work with several video cards;
- A320 is an option for “workhorses” that operate with one video adapter. Overclocking is not supported in this case, but the capabilities of the chipset are quite enough for solving urgent problems.
For motherboards of small form factor, X300 chipsets (analogue gaming X370) and A300 (analogue A320) are available. The difference lies in the reduced support for connection interfaces.
Processors AM3 +
Chipsets for AM3 + sockets are available in the “North and South Bridge” configuration.
- The 990FX and 990X chips are designed for gaming platforms, support overclocking and OverDrive control, there is no integrated graphics. 990FX supports 4 video cards, 990X supports two;
- With similar characteristics, there is also an AMD 970 chipset, but it supports one video adapter;
- 980G with integrated graphics is ideal for office and low-power home PCs without a video card connected. It will be possible to play in not too demanding games, if the processor power permits, one slot for a video card is available.
FM2 + processors
Chipsets for FM2 + and similar sockets are suitable for working in conjunction with hybrid processors A-series and Athlon.
- A88X provides overclocking, supports the connection of two video cards, RAID functionality (it is advisable to use with AMD A8 - A6);
- The A78 also has an arsenal for overclocking, supports one video adapter (it is better to use the A6 - A4 CPUs on the CPU);
- A58 and more advanced fellow A68N. Both chipsets support dual graphics (improving graphics performance is achieved through the use of hybrid processors in conjunction with some graphics adapters from AMD).
Considering the modern market, it is necessary to take into account that the processors of the Intel generation Coffee Lake are compatible only with the new 300 chips and the LGA1151v2 socket, while the new AMD processors, including the second generation Ryzen, are compatible with AM4. Intel's chipsets labeled Z or X allow you to overclock the machine, while others do not, even with a processor with a free factor, suggesting similar manipulations with its frequency. With AMD, overclocking can be performed on a motherboard with an X or B chipset.
When the fundamentally different goals and unnecessary waste of funds are not justified or the crucial role played by a very limited budget for the assembly, you can get by with not particularly prominent motherboards. By the way, among them you can find interesting specimens with a good set of interfaces and connectors.