My main question is how do you determine which motherboard will work best for you.
All of them seem quite similar: take a certain processor + memory with x number of PCI-e slots.
What I want is a computer that will not break my bank but be upgradable for the next few years.
I was looking at getting this motherboard:
ASUS P7P55D-E LX LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Reasons: Brand seems to be good, highly recommended.
High ram capacity
i5/i7/i9 intel processors (read that their performance was higher than AMD at the moment)
PCI Express 2.0 x16 (for video card)
PCI Express x1 ~ 4 of them
PCI Slots 2 slots
Not too sure about the hard drives but it looks like i can put 2/3 in there.
I would recommend going the AMD route for three reasons...
1) Cheaper CPU and allows for better upgrades else where.
2) The LGA 1156 socket is being replace later this year or early next, so upgrade path is limited. Also, it only supports the i3, i5 & i7 and not the i7/i9 on the LGA 1366 socket.
3) AMD has a better upgrade path as they tend to make CPU's backwards compatible on their newer platforms (I.e; AM3's work on AM2+ boards).
It is in my price range for sure but my only worries about the mother board is the PCI slots,
It has PCI-E 2 ( x16 or x8 + x8 ) - For video cards usually it seems
PCI Express x4 - what would this one be used for honestly? I'm not totally sure the point of all these different speeds of ports. I would probably just use the onboard sound and then put in a wireless card... and thats about it.
Are you saying the motherboard has more than you would need (I.e; No plans to ever overclock so don't need two PCIe 2.0 x16 slots...)? You could look to go with an mATX motherboard with fewer unused slots and just room for 1 graphics card. They are typically cheaper two
When I have looked around for PCI cards and such, I have not seen any specified for a x4 slot. As much of a dunce as I am, I was just curious what was the point of these. I don't believe a normal PCI card fits (maybe i'm mistaken). All I will throw in there is the wireless LAN card then possibly a sound card - but i have never ever used one so i dont know what I am missing.
There is a difference between PCI and PCI-E; you probably figured that out on your own. But the difference between the PCI-E slots is the number of lanes the slot can use. For example, smaller PCIe cards will fit into larger PCI-E slots. The computer simply ignores the extra connections. For example, a x4 card can plug into a x16 slot. A x16 card, however, would be too big for a x4 slot.
Wireless LAN cards and sound cards are installed into PCI slots, whereas video cards are installed into PCI-E slots.