Intel Motherboard buyers guide

What is an Intel 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 INTEL PROCESSORS.

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.

Intel Socket

1Socket

Intel Chipset

2Chipset

Intel Size

3Size

Motherboard Sockets

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 Intel does change the socket design from time to time when designing new CPUs, most current Intel CPUs fall into three main sockets: Socket 1151, Socket 2066 and Socket 3647, where the number refers to the quantity of electrical connecting pins in the socket.

Motherboard Chipsets

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.

Motherboard Size

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.

Intel Motherboard Size Chart
Mini-ITX Micro-ATX ATX E-ATX SSI-EEB
170 x 170 mm 244 x 244 mm 305 x 244 mm 305 x 330 mm

Socket 1200 Motherboards

Socket 1151 Motherboards

The latest socket type is Socket 1200, and is used by two generations of Intel desktop CPUs based on the Rocket Lake and Comet Lake architecture. While some 400-series Comet Lake motherboards, will support Rocket Lake CPUs (you’d need to check if a BIOS update is available), we recommend opting for a 500-series motherboard to get the full benefit from a Rocket Lake CPU such as PCIe 4.0 support. Lower-end Core i3, Pentium and Celeron CPUs are best paired with

ROCKET LAKE MOTHERBOARDS

Z590
HIGH END
H570 AND B560
MID RANGE
H510
ENTRY LEVEL
Compatible Processors Compatible 1200 Processors

Latest achitecture ROCKET LAKE

View all 1200 Motherboards

Socket 2066 Motherboards

Socket 2066 Motherboards

The second main type of CPU socket is Socket 2066, which is used by two families of high-end Intel desktop CPU, Core i9 and Xeon W. The specs explain the most important differences between the two families so you can make the appropriate choice.

Cascade Lake X MotherboardsX299

Compatible Cascade Lake X Processors

Latest achitecture Cascade Lake X

System Use Home / Gaming / Workstation

View all X299 Motherboards

Cascade Lake W MotherboardsC422

Compatible Cascade Lake W Processors

Latest achitecture Cascade Lake W

System UseWorkstation

View all C422 Motherboards

Socket 3647 Motherboards

Socket 3647 Motherboards

The last major type of motherboard for current Intel CPUs is Socket 3647, which supports Xeon Scalable CPUs. These are designed for high-end workstations and SERVERS, with many, but not all Socket 3647 motherboards supporting two CPUs for massive amounts of performance.

Cascade Lake SP MotherboardsC621, C622, C624, C625, C626, C627 and C628

Compatible 3647 Processor

Latest achitecture Cascade Lake SP

System Use Workstation / Server

View all Intel 3647 Motherboards