AMD motherboard buying guide

Find out all you need to know about choosing the right AMD motherboard.

14 Dec 2009
AMD motherboard buying guide

Find out all you need to know about choosing the right AMD motherboard.

Recommended minimum specifications

Processor socket: AM3

Motherboard chipset: AMD 790GX

Onboard graphics: Yes

Graphics card slot: One PCI-E x16

Follow the steps to find your ideal specs

  1. A basic motherboard with the above specifications costs around £55. It will support all AM3 processors (the newest kind), but you will not be able to fit older AM2 or AM2+ processors. If you need to do this, look to buy a motherboard with the same chipset, but an AM2+ socket instead.
  2. If you want to play games at anything other than the lowest resolutions and lowest detail settings, a PCI-E x16 slot will let you install a dedicated graphics card. If you want to use dual graphics card, you'll need to choose a motherboard that has two PCI-E x16 slots and is compatible with ATI's CrossFire technology or Nvidia's SLI technology.
  3. If you want to build a media centre PC, look for a motherboard with on-board graphics capable of H.264 playback, such as the 790GX chipset, and one with an HDMI output. You may also want to opt for a microATX motherboard, as this will let you build your PC in a smaller case.
  4. Make sure your motherboard supports the processor you want. Be wary of motherboards that require a BIOS update to support your chosen model, as you'll need to install a processor that's currently compatible to run the update.
  5. If you're installing lots of expansion cards, look for a motherboard with plenty of PCI and PCI-E x1 slots. If you're going to install a lot of storage in your PC, a motherboard with plenty of SATA ports is essential. Ideally, it should be one that supports RAID, as this gives you a simple way of improving performance or protecting your data. Finally, ensure that any extras you want are included, like FireWire, eSATA and S/PDIF outputs.

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