Most PC builders pay a lot of attention to the CPU and GPU choice as well as how much RAM they are going to need. After that, they pick whatever motherboard works with the RAM and CPU they got. But how motherboard affect performance may be important too.
To directly address the question, the motherboard does not directly affect your system’s performance. It does play a role when overclocking, though. Moreover, the motherboard you get may limit you to slower RAM or your CPU choice. Also, the PCIe generation may be important when it comes to M.2 NVMe SSDs and, to some extent, GPUs (but that is not relevant with current GPUs).
The whole answer is a bit more complex. You can learn more about how motherboard affect performance and why you may want to buy a more expensive motherboard by reading the rest of the article.
How Motherboard Affect Performance?
The motherboard will not make your computer perform better or worse directly. It is there only to connect all the different components and to make them work. The power supply, the CPU, the GPU, the SSD, the HDD, the RAM, and all other components are attached to the motherboard. So, you might be surprised to learn that motherboards do not play a huge role in performance.
Instead, motherboards should have all the support and space you may need. For example, if you want to get two M.2 NVMe SSDs, make sure that you have 2 M.2 slots on your motherboard. And if you want to have 4 sticks of RAM, your motherboard has to have at least four slots to accommodate all that memory.
Speaking of memory, one interesting factor that may affect performance, especially for professional workstations, is the number of channels. Dual channel is common on all motherboards, but some high-end motherboards have triple channel and quad channel as well. But then again, this only matters for high-end workstations.
What might be of more importance is the PCIe generation. Newer motherboards typically have support for PCIe Gen 4, which is twice as fast as PCIe Gen 3. When you hear this, you will think that it is very important, especially when you get a PCIe Gen 4 graphics card to go with it.
But the truth of the matter is that even the most powerful graphics cards can’t really benefit much from PCIe Gen 4. M.2 SSDs, on the other hand, can use the extra bandwidth, which can reduce loading times and even improve performance in games, especially when it comes to loading assets. That for you means less stutter.
But the most important way in which your motherboard can affect the performance of your computer is through VRMs. A voltage regulator module, or VRM for short, is responsible for supplying your CPU and RAM with power. High-end motherboards usually have more and better quality VRMs.
Weak VRMs can make your system less stable. This is especially true if you are overclocking. You want to get a high-end motherboard that has plenty of high-quality VRMs to overclock your CPU and RAM by a significant margin. If a VRM supplies too much or too little voltage, it can crash the system or even cause permanent damage in some rare cases.
Speaking of overclocking, some cheaper motherboards do not even support it. You have to get a Z or X motherboard for Intel or a B or X motherboard for AMD to overclock your CPU and RAM. Again, higher-end motherboards will do a much better job at overclocking than a cheap motherboard that has only the job of connecting all the different components.
Building a PC and choosing the right motherboard is not easy. Now that you know how motherboard affect performance, you can get the motherboard that suits your needs. Make sure to get a motherboard that has good VRMs and large heatsinks if you want to do some overclocking.
You should also pay attention to the PCIe generation. Even if it does not matter much now for graphics cards, it may be important in a few years. Also, you can get a faster M.2 NVMe SSD that will speed up your games and eliminate stutter.