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Sense PC

SilverStone FARA 311 black case with mesh
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Sense PC 2

SilverStone FARA 313 Black case with mesh
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Sense mini PC

SilverStone SG12 case
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Sense mini PC 2

ASUS NUC 14 Pro Kit
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Sense mini PC 3

MSi Cubi N ADL
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Dream PC

SilverStone FARA 513
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Dream BIG PC

Fractal Design Meshify 2 RBG Black Tempered Glass Light Tint
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Speed WS

Fractal Design Focus 2 Black Tempered Glass Clear Tint
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Speed WS 2

Fractal Design Meshify 2 RBG Black Tempered Glass Light Tint
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Speed SV

Fractal Design Meshify 2 RBG Black Tempered Glass Light Tint
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How to choose a motherboard for a PC

The motherboard is the foundation of your build

The choice of motherboard (mobo) is critical because it determines which components you can or cannot install in your build. The mobo also determines how upgradeable and expandable your computer is in the future.


AMD or Intel platform


Before you even start you need to decide whether you want to use an Intel CPU or an AMD CPU. You can't install an Intel CPU on an AMD platform mobo and vice versa.

Motherboard chipset is key

Next you need to decide which chipset you want on your mobo. A chipset is a bundle of chips on the mobo that gives it different features. The more features in the chipset the more expensive the mobo. Chipsets in the past were two chips, a north bridge chip and a south bridge chip, now it's a single chip.

The Intel H110 Chipset for Intel 6th generation CPUs has all the features you might need for a mainstream performance computer.

For a power or gaming PC use an Intel H170 Chipset for Intel 6th gen CPUs. For extreme gaming builds we recommend the Intel Z170 Chipset, again for Intel 6th gen CPUs.

For an ultra gaming build with three or four graphics cards, or for a workstation or server for heavy work loads, consider the Intel X99 Chipset, which with a BIOS upgrade supports Intel Core i7 Extreme CPUs for Haswell-E and the upcoming Broadwell-E CPU architectures. The Intel X99 Chipset also supports certain Xeon CPUs for the Haswell-EP and Broadwell-EP CPU architectures.

From the Intel Skylake architecture onwards, Xeon CPUs now need their own chipset motherboards, that would be the Intel C232 Chipset and Intel C236 Chipset of which we recommend the Intel C236 Chipset.

For AMD Athlon X4 CPUs and AMD A-Series APUs the motherboard chipset to get is the A78 Chipset or A88X Chipset for gaming. For AMD FX CPUs get the AMD 990X Chipset or AMD 990FX Chipset for extreme gaming builds.

Motherboard features

A short list of features we think a mobo should support include:

  • A CPU socket that allows for an upgrade to a better CPU when prices fall. The socket LGA 1151 for Intel CPUs or the socket FM2+ for AMD CPUs are good options. Or better still for AMD, wait for the socket AM4 for their upcoming in late 2016 Zen CPU and APU architecture.
  • A PCI Express x16 slot for adding a separate video card now or later.
  • Dual channel DDR4 2133 MHz memory or DDR3 1600 MHz memory.
  • USB 3.0 header to connect to the front panel of your PC case (your case also needs two USB 3.0 front panel inputs).
  • The case rear USB ports can be USB 2.0 ports, but it's nice to have rear USB 3.0 port(s) as well in addition to the front 2.
  • 4 or more SATA 6 Gbps ports for your storage and DVD drives. For a mini PC at least 2 ports.
  • Gigabit LAN for your internet connection.
  • 5.1 channel HD Audio, though all you really need is HD 2.1 channels or even just HD 2 channels. The 0.1 is for the sub-woofer.
  • At least one open PCI Express x1 or x4 slot, preferably Gen 3.0.
  • Optionally a S/PDIF digital audio output jack for digital audio output.
  • Optionally a PCI Express x4 speed M.2 slot for a M.2 form factor Solid State Drive (SSD) to run in the new NVMe protocol as opposed to the AHCI protocol.



For computer enthusiasts it is important that the motherboard provides access to advanced BIOS settings to overclock our PC. Enthusiasts love to tinker to improve the performance of their PC and they can convert a great computer into an even better one through overclocking without spending more cash. You also need an overclockable CPU.

Upgrading and Expanding

The motherboard should also allow upgrading and expanding. For example if one chooses integrated graphics now, the motherboard should include a spare PCI Express x16 slot to add a video card at a later date, when prices have fallen. It should also allow for the expanding of the number of hard drives and other devices.

Motherboard form factor or size

Micro ATX form factor is our recommended motherboard size for a performance PC. An ATX motherboard is recommended for an extreme gaming PC, to potentially accommodate multiple video cards.

Smaller is usually better in tech. Mini ITX form factor, smaller than micro ATX, is also very appealing but strangely enough these ultra small motherboards are still more expensive relatively in some cases. When prices fall in proportionate to size this would be a good option for a performance PC or HTPC (home theater PC). Mini-ITX is the recommended form factor for a mini PC.


Linux interest and tech freedom articles!

Microsoft’s AI chatbot will ‘recall’ everything you do on its new PCs. The Guardian, Associated Press, May 20, 2024.

Elon Musk sues OpenAI and Sam Altman for allegedly ditching non-profit mission. A lawsuit claims that OpenAI has become a 'closed-source de facto subsidiary' of Microsoft. Engadget, Mar 1, 2024.

Google settles $5 billion privacy lawsuit over tracking people using ‘incognito mode’, The Associated Press, December 29, 2023

Epic Games wins antitrust lawsuit against Google over barriers to its Android app store, The Associated Press, December 11, 2023

Exclusive: Google pushes for antitrust action against Microsoft in UK cloud market, Reuters, November 30, 2023

Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible anticompetitive practices by Microsoft regarding Teams, European Commission, July 27, 2023

Read the letter: Twitter accuses Microsoft of using its data in unauthorized ways - CNBC, May 18, 2023

Exclusive: Google says Microsoft cloud practices are anti-competitive - Reuters, March 31, 2023

Microsoft's implementation of Bing Chat AI on Windows 11 is complete trash - Windows Central, Mar. 1, 2023

I wanted to try the new Bing with ChatGPT. Then, Microsoft went all Microsoft - ZDNET, Feb. 12, 2023

Microsoft to cut thousands of jobs across divisions - reports - Reuters, January 17, 2023

Elon Musk says he'd consider 'alternative phone' if Twitter is booted from Apple and Google app stores - Fox Business, November 25, 2022
CurrentBuild Computer and other Linux PC manufacturers have already done that with computers, provided an alternative to Windows and Apple computers. Kamil

Microsoft lays off hundreds of employees - Engadget, October 18, 2022

Microsoft: 'Software is ultimately the biggest deflationary force' for businesses - Yahoo Finance, October 17, 2022:
Open source free software like Linux yes is deflationary, others not really. Kamil

Microsoft’s greed is killing Windows 11 for me - TechRadar, April 21st, 2022:

March 21st, 2022: Windows 11 will add a watermark if you use unsupported hardware - Engadget

Dec 2, 2021: Microsoft’s new Windows prompts try to stop people downloading Chrome - The Verge

Oct 8, 2021: Amazon Delivery Partners Rage Against the Machines: ‘We Were Treated Like Robots’ - Yahoo Finance

Sep 10, 2021: Epic v. Apple ruling: Judge finds Apple's App Store restrictions violate antitrust law - Yahoo Finance

Aug 28, 2021: Why You Suddenly Need To Delete Google Chrome - Forbes

FTC says Facebook has been a monopoly ‘since at least 2011’ in amended antitrust complaint - The Verge

Windows 11 Is Making It Absurdly Difficult to Change Browsers - GIZMODO

What the Linux Mint developers have pulled off is nothing short of astounding - TechRepublic

Fired by Bot at Amazon: ‘It’s You Against the Machine’ - Bloomberg News

PC users are furious about the new Windows 11 design - Creative Bloq

Epic v. Apple fight: Billions at stake as judge determines fate of App Store - Yahoo!

Google reportedly made it difficult for smartphone users to find privacy settings - The Verge

I looked at all the ways Microsoft Teams tracks users and my head is spinning - ZDNet

Microsoft just force restarted my Windows PC again to install more unwanted apps - The Verge

Disastrous Windows 10 update is reportedly breaking some PCs - TechRadar

With Edge, Microsoft’s forced Windows updates just sank to a new low - The Verge

A million students and counting have learned Linux - ZDNet

Linux Mint 20: Still the best Linux desktop despite one quirk - ZDNet

What Operating System Is the Best Choice for Software Engineers? - Interesting Engineering
From the article "GNU/Linux is, hands down, the most highly acclaimed operating system for software engineering."

Microsoft: we were wrong about open source - The Verge

How to choose PC parts

CPU Video card Memory
Motherboard SSD/HDD DVD CD
Power supply Case OS
Speakers Monitor Linux

How to assemble a PC

PC assembly guide
PC assembly project
High Performance Everyday PC build
Premium Everyday PC build
Premium Everyday Mini PC build
Gaming PC build
Extreme Gaming PC build
Workstation Computer build
Save with Linux on a PC
How to choose PC parts
Dual boot Linux and Windows
Upgrade to SSD project
Transfer data from old PC to new PC

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