Building a custom PC is nowadays the best option to get the most value for money. For that, you have to buy all the primary and supporting hardware for a PC individually. The motherboard is one of the most important and expensive hardware required for the PC. So you may ask yourself how much should I spend on a motherboard?
Keeping the budget aside, the primary criteria for the expenditure lies in your future demands, requirements, and expectations from the PC. Spending around $250-$300 would allow you to build a decent PC for heavy and casual works as well.
Since motherboards do not come cheap, you have to think and make decisions wisely before getting it. In this article, you will get to know all the possible factors required for spending on a motherboard.
How Much Should I Spend On A Motherboard? – The right amount
Spending on a motherboard entirely depends upon your work requirements. For example, purposes such as Gaming, heavy simulation, official work, video editing, and composing define how much you should spend.
For each of such purposes, you have to compete and compare different motherboards before buying. It is because not all motherboards have similar features, durability, and upgradability. There are motherboards of different brands available in the market from $100 to over $600. That is why some major criteria have to be kept in mind before making a purchase.
What determines the cost of a Motherboard?
There are lots of major and major factors that ultimately determine the cost of a motherboard. Brand value is one of the most important factors among these. Besides, the long-term purpose of the PC you are going to install the motherboard also has an impact on the cost.
Size of the Motherboard
On a standard note, there are globally three sizes of motherboards available currently. These are ATX, Micro ATX, and Mini ATX respectively. The basic difference between these motherboards lies in the expandable slots. The smaller the size of the motherboard is, the fewer slots it will provide.
On the other hand, ATX boards have lots of extra expansion slots for you to upgrade in the future. This feature directly impacts the performance of the PC. The price of the boards depends upon the size also. If you are planning for heavy-duty work such as gaming then the ATX boards would do good though it may cost you more.
Random Access Memory (RAM) Slots
RAM size and number directly control the performance of the PC. The more RAM you install in your motherboard the better speed and compatibility you will get to run different software. In general, you will get two RAM slots in a cheap and typical motherboard for under $150.
But if you are planning to install more RAM in the future, then motherboards with four RAM slots will be better. In such cases, the price may rise up to $300 as well. Besides, the RAM type and size compatibility also depends upon the motherboard. Cheaper motherboards cannot accept more than 16GB RAM.
Another important feature that dominates the cost of the motherboard is the number and type of default connectivity ports. Average motherboards will only provide you with common and older PS2, audio input and output, VGA, ethernet, etc ports. Motherboards with these only come within $80-$100. But high quality and advanced motherboards possess more upgraded ports.
These are multiple USB 3.1, USB 3.2 Gen, HDMI, dual Ethernet, Type-C, and Thunderbolt ports for high-speed connectivity. The availability of these ports increases your day-to-day performance and so comes with a higher price than usual. These are the basic connectivity ports and don’t include the expandable slots.
Type of the CPU
Not all CPUs in the market are supported by every motherboard. More importantly, the CPU is the core hardware that controls the speed and performance of the PC. The latest generations of Ryzen and Intel CPUs require the latest motherboards.
It depends upon your purpose and what type of program you would run on the PC. Because along with the price and type of CPU you get the price of the motherboard depends upon it directly.
For example, if you want a PC for casual office work then an Intel i3 CPU would do the work. For that, you do not need to spend a lot on the motherboard. On the contrary, considering you are willing to build an advanced and high-performance PC for Gaming and Virtual simulation purposes.
Then you must get Intel i7/i9 10th generation K-series CPUs which require an expensive and compatible motherboard worth $500+. Therefore, your CPU selection proportionally determines the cost of the motherboard.
Expandable and Upgradable Slots
These expandable slots generally reside on the inner side of the Motherboard. These slots are very important if you want to upgrade your PC, increase storage size, add extra video or audio cards. Such slots are M.2 slots. SATA slot, video or graphics slot, etc.
Apart from that, the socket of the high-end motherboards is designed to support the latest generations of the CPU. Therefore, if you are willing to upgrade the CPU in the future then it is better to get a compatible motherboard. Though this will lead you to spend some extra money.
It is an important factor before getting a motherboard. The built-in audio card cannot provide high-definition audio output. Moreover, there remains a limited number of input and output ports in low-end motherboards. The cost-cutting for making cheap motherboards results in that.
That is why an additional slot for installing the audio card in the motherboard is mandatory. It is important if you want a PC for high-end gaming and editing. But, the motherboard with the additional slot for the audio card comes at a high rate. Although your sound experience would be enhanced with the up-gradation to sound card in the motherboard.
If you are planning to build an industrial or high-end gaming PC. Then you have to consider the VRM technology including the motherboard. VRM stands for Voltage Regulatory Module. Heavy gaming PC requires a lot of electrical current flow to different components installed in the motherboard.
Especially, heavy current flow happens in the CPU when you run high-end software or games. This is not good for the CPU if the voltage is not maintained. The VRM helps to maintain the voltage within the motherboard to enhance the life of the CPU. Besides, it keeps the motherboard safe from sudden voltage spikes. This feature adds cost to purchasing a motherboard.
Technology enthusiasts love the aesthetics and looks of the Motherboard. Building a high-end PC will require a quality motherboard that is better in both performances and looks. RGBs, design, color, etc increase the price of the motherboard. Therefore, if you want such a motherboard you have to pay the required amount.
Should you spend more on a motherboard?
A motherboard is the primary hardware for building a PC. It holds the CPU, RAM, Storage, Graphics card, Sound Card, etc hardware. Therefore, most of the components depend upon the performance of the motherboard. That is why you should spend enough on a motherboard without thinking about cost-cutting.
Frequently Asked Question
This section reveals the most commonly asked questions regarding PC building and spending on a motherboard.
What pieces should I spend more money on in building a PC?
You must spend more on CPU, Motherboard, and Ram without thinking about the budget extension. These are the main and primary components that give you a high-performing PC. spending more on these pieces will enhance your activity and work done by the built PC.
Are high-end motherboards worth it?
The motherboard is the ultimate piece for building up a high-end PC. It is because all other pieces are installed in the motherboard. Those are directly controlled and depend upon the motherboard for performance. That is why high-end motherboards are worth every penny.
Here we added a tutorial video about how much should you spend on a motherboard. Watch that if you still have any doubt:
Instead of buying a default PC, it is more fruitful to build a custom PC. The first and foremost thing to purchase building a PC is the motherboard. Therefore, it is important to think and research a lot before getting a motherboard. For that question may arise how much should I spend on a motherboard?
The answer could be, you should not cut the cost while getting a motherboard. For a medium-range PC, you have to spend about $250-$350. And for a high-end PC, you can set a budget of $400-$550 only for the motherboard.