How do I Choose the Best Cheap Motherboard?

G. Wiesen

To find the best cheap motherboard, you should probably focus on older motherboards that can still be quite functional, but may not offer all of the benefits and options newer motherboards will include. The rate of changing technology typically means that the most expensive motherboard right now can be fairly inexpensive in only a few months or a year, depending on what develops regarding hardware and performance options. The biggest concern you should probably have while looking for a cheap motherboard is that it will be able to utilize any hardware you already have or specifically want to use.

A RAM card, which works with the motherboard.
A RAM card, which works with the motherboard.

A motherboard is the backbone of a computer. All other hardware inside of a computer is in some way connected to the motherboard, and the external components of a computer typically connect to a motherboard through something like a universal serial bus (USB) port. If you are building a new computer or looking to upgrade what you already have, then you should typically begin and end with the motherboard.

A motherboard or mainboard is the backbone of any computer, as it allows all necessary hardware to communicate.
A motherboard or mainboard is the backbone of any computer, as it allows all necessary hardware to communicate.

You may want to start your search for a cheap motherboard by looking on various Internet websites that sell hardware components. Your best bet will usually be around holidays or watching for sales to clear out inventory the site may have. You can also go to computer supply retailers that sell components such as motherboards, and watch for items to go on clearance or be reduced in price as part of a sale. If you have any friends looking to upgrade their computers, you may want to ask about the motherboard they currently have and if it is enough of an improvement, then buying it can be a great way to find a cheap motherboard.

Once you find a cheap motherboard you are interested in, however, you may not want to buy it right away. You should be sure that it will be compatible with whatever components you have right now that you still want to use, and with anything else you are looking to upgrade to. This is why you should try to both begin and end with choosing a cheap motherboard.

If you are looking to upgrade your video card, then you should be sure to find a cheap motherboard that has the right sort of slot on the board, typically a PCI Express or PCI-E card slot for newer video cards. You should also be sure that any random access memory (RAM) you are looking to use will be compatible with the motherboard. If you can take the time, you should find a cheap motherboard that will work for you, then find components you want that should be compatible with the motherboard, and then double-check the compatibility before finally purchasing the motherboard.

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Discussion Comments


@Vinzenzo -- Before going that route, you had better do some research and make sure you can get what you want with one of those other brands.

Frankly, I like the advice in the article of finding a motherboard that's a generation or two old and can handle what you need. You might find that you can get a whole lot more bang for your buck that way no matter what brand of CPU you choose to use.


You don't necessarily have to find an older motherboard. You can probably do just fine by purchasing an inexpensive motherboards made for one of the "other" CPUs out there that is trying to gain some ground against the industry leading Intel.

You will find some of those CPUs are great and run on cheaper chipsets and motherboards. Are they better? That's for consumers to decide for themselves, but it is worth mentioning there are some competitors out there well worth considering.

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