AMD Motherboard buyers guide
What is an AMD Motherboard ?
If the CPU is the brain of the PC, then the motherboard is like the nervous system, connecting all the other components together, such as the GRAPHICS CARD, memory and drives, enabling them to communicate with one another.
Just like with any component you need to make sure that you choose a motherboard that is compatible with your CPU. In this guide, we will be focussing our attention on motherboards for AMD CPUs.
Three main factors
There are three main factors to consider when choosing a new motherboard, the socket, the chipset and the size. You can see each of these three characteristics listed on the motherboard homepage on the Scan website and this guide will explain what you need to look out for.
The first thing to look out for is the socket, which is where the CPU physically connects to the motherboard. CPUs are available in all sorts of shapes and sizes, each with their own socket, so it’s critically important to make sure that the socket of the CPU and motherboard is the same. While AMD does change the socket design from time to time when designing new CPUs, most current AMD CPUs fall into two main sockets: Socket AM4 and Socket TRX4.
After checking the socket type you also need to consider the chipset. The chipset determines a lot of the capabilities of the motherboard, such as the number of add-in cards, the number of memory slots and USB ports. Some CPUs are only served by one chipset while other times you have a choice of chipsets, so you can strike the right balance between features and budget.
The last thing you need to consider when choosing a new motherboard is the size. Size is important because you need to make sure that the motherboard you buy can fit in your case. Larger motherboards are beneficial because they support more add-in cards and memory, but you can still build very capable and high performance systems with smaller motherboards.
The computer industry uses codenames to refer to the size of the motherboard, but the good news is that those same codenames are used for the size of cases too. This diagram illustrates the dimensions of the most common motherboard sizes.
|170 x 170 mm||244 x 244 mm||305 x 244 mm||305 x 330 mm|
Socket AM4 Motherboards
The most common socket type is Socket AM4, and is compatible with a huge range of modern AMD DESKTOP CPUs. This includes three different AMD CPU families, entry-level Athlon APUs and Ryzen processsors. Some but not all AMD CPUs include integrated graphics, so you intend on using these instead of buying a graphics card make sure you choose a motherboard that has graphics outputs as not all models have them. Rest assured though that most Socket AM4 motherboards will support any Socket AM4 CPU, the only exception to this are older A320 motherboards which lack support for the latest Ryzen 5000-series processors.
Latest achitecture Ryzen 5000
Socket TRX4 Motherboards
The second main type of CPU socket is Socket TR4X, which is used by the high-end Ryzen Threadripper CPU-series. These are super-high CPUs with lots of cores, cache and PCI-E lanes and so are a great choice for a WORKSTATION PC.
Latest achitectureThreadripper 3000
System UseGaming / Workstation