Motherboards and chipset: Which model is the most appropriate for me?

Motherboards and chipset: Which model is the most appropriate for me? The motherboard is one of the most important components of all those that make up a PC. On it we are going to connect each and every one of the basic components of it, so we must take into account its format, its compatibility, its expansion options, its construction quality and also the chipset that can be assembled.

Details of Chipset Used In Your Computer Motherboard

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The chipset serves to differentiate between motherboard ranges. Once inside a certain range we can distinguish by the product lines offered by each of the main manufacturers. For example the range of motherboards with chipset Z370 is considered as the top of the new Intel platform for general consumption, and within it is possible to find different ranges of signatures such as GIGABYTE, ASUS or MSI.

The use of a specific chipset limits the possibilities of each motherboard and not only in terms of connectivity and the support of certain components and configurations, but also can limit the possibilities of certain processors. Its importance is beyond doubt, so in this article we are going to delve into this question so that you have a clear idea which chipset is the most appropriate for you.

AMD motherboards with AM4 socket

Currently the motherboards sold by AMD for its AM4 platform are divided into three large chipsets:

Chipset X370: It is the top of the range at the level of general consumption and therefore is integrated into the high-end motherboards. It is the one that offers the greatest set of features since it allows to overclock any compatible processor and supports multiGPU configurations with NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards.

Chipset B350: In this case we have a solution that we can consider as mid-range. Its features are more than enough for most users as it allows to overclock compatible Ryzen processors and supports advanced components (including NVMe SSDs), but it does not allow two NVIDIA graphics cards to be mounted in SLI (it can with two Radeon AMD).

Chipset A320: It is the most basic level of all the chipsets that AMD currently uses in its AM4 platform. Supports NVMe SSD and has some pretty good features, but does not allow overclock and does not support multiGPU configurations.

Which chipset should I choose?

In general terms, the best quality-price option we have in the B350, since the motherboards that use this solution have a very economical price and reach a level of benefits more than enough for any average user. With a base bale B350 you can overclock your Ryzen CPU, mount high performance SSD units and if you use a Radeon GPU you can add a second unit without problems.

The motherboards with X370 chipset can be a good option if you are clear that you will use NVIDIA SLI configurations .As for the A320 chipset, I do not recommend it for a very simple reason; the difference in price compared to the B350 models is very small and their benefits are very limited.

Intel motherboards with LGA1151 socket

Intel has not yet released the motherboards with chipsets H310, B360 and H370, but we know that they will follow the bases of the H110, B250 and H270, so the summary that we leave below could be applied directly to those.

Chipset H110: It is the most basic level. It does not support multiGPU configurations nor are they ready for overclock and mount PCIE x16 2.0 connector. It is compatible with Skylake and Kaby Lake processors (previous BIOS update).

Chipset B250: It succeeds the B150 and is compatible with Skylake and Kaby Lake processors without the need for a previous update. Like the previous one, it does not support multiGPU or overclock configurations and the differences are limited to connectors, maximum USB ports, HSIO lines and  PCI x16 connector,which is 3.0. Supports Intel Optane.

Chipset H170: It comes to be an intermediate point that adds details like a maximum of four slots for RAM, RAID and support of advanced technologies like Intel Active Management, Trusted Execution and vProTechnology. Compatible with Skylake and Kaby Lake processors (requires BIOS update). It does not allow overclock or multiGPU.

Chipset H270: It is a minor update of the previous one that maintains all its basic keys, although it is compatible with Kaby Lake without the need for an update. Supports Intel Optane.

Chipset Z170: Supports overclock and NVIDIA SLI and CrossFire configurations. It is compatible with Skylake and Kaby Lake processors (update required).

Chipset Z270: As above it supports overclocking and NVIDIA SLI and CrossFire configurations. It is compatible with Skylake and Kaby Lake processors without the need for a previous update. Compatible with Intel Optane.

Chipset Z370: This chipset allows overclocking and NVIDIA SLI and CrossFire configurations. Supports Intel Optane and is compatible with Intel’s Coffee Lake processors.

Which chipset should I choose?

The choice is simple. If we are going to assemble a basic equipment with an economic processor type Celeron, Pentium or Core i3 the solutions with chipset H110 is our best option.If we plan to use Intel Optane technology but we will not incorporate a K-series processor, the H270 chipset should be our choice. This can cover the needs of any user who is not going to use solutions prepared for overclocking or multiGPU graphic configurations.

Finally we have the chipsets series Z170, Z270 and Z370. We should choose these if we are going to acquire an Intel K-series processor, since they are the only ones that allow overclocking and take advantage of the unlocked multiplier that these CPUs bring.

Note that the Z170 and Z270 chipsets are compatible with Skylake and Kaby Lake processors (Core 6000 and 7000), while the chipsets are only compatible with the Coffee Lake processors (Core 8000).We do not expect changes with the arrival of the H310 and H370 chipsets, so the first will be a good option to assemble inexpensive equipment with Pentium, Core i3 8000 and Core i5 8000 processors.

Before finishing an important point, and is that the difference between a PCIE x16 2.0 connector compared to a 3.0 in games is practically nil, which means that it is perfectly viable to opt for the H110 chipset when setting up gaming equipment.

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