Motherboards are an integral part of any PC. They are the circuit board that connects all of the components together, including the CPU, graphics cards etc.

There are numerous different motherboards on the market, with them being divided into two main categories. These are their CPU type, as well as their size (otherwise known as form factor).

CPU Type

When it comes to building a PC, there are two types of CPU you can get; Intel and AMD. Whilst they both bring about the same function, their workings are different. With respect to the motherboard, there is also a difference. This is due to the chipset on the motherboard needing to be able to talk to the CPU. Additionally, the socket on Intel motherboards are different from that on AMD motherboards. For Intel CPUs, there are pads on the underside of the processors, and these come into contact with the pins on the motherboard. In the case of AMD CPUs, there are pins on the processor which then slot into the socket on the motherboard. Therfore, it’s really important that you select the right motherboard for your CPU, otherwise it won’t fit!

Motherboard form factor

Another consideration that needs to be made is how big of a motherboard you’d like to use. There are three sizes available, which, from largest to smallest are ATX, mATX and mini ITX. If you are building a full sized tower, then you can use an ATX or mATX case. However, if you are wanting to build a small form factor system, or HTPC in a small case, then you need to purchase a mini ITX motherboard instead.