Choosing a motherboard is the first thing you need to do when putting together a computer. It’s also one of the most important decisions you’ll make, as the motherboard determines what CPU it supports, what RAM you’ll use, the storage options available to you, and which expansion cards you can install. But, for your CPU, RAM, GPU, and storage to work together, you also need to make sure that the motherboard’s chipset is compatible with them.
What is a Chipset?
A chipset is a group of integrated circuits that manage communications between the various components of a computer system. It determines what kind of features the motherboard has and what kind of peripherals can be used with it. In short, the chipset is responsible for making sure that everything works together.
CPU manufacturers (Intel & AMD) present new chipsets and sockets with every new generation of processors. So, every time you buy a new CPU, there will be a new chipset for it. You need to choose the motherboard with that specific chipset.
For example, the latest Ryzen 7000 series of processors comes with a new AM5 socket and supports X670 and B650 chipsets. Both of these chipsets are compatible with the new CPUs. But, the X670 chipset is a high-end option that supports features like PCIe 5.0 while the B650 is a more budget-friendly option that supports PCIe 4.0.
Similarly, the Intel 13th Gen processors come with an LGA 1700 socket and support the latest Z790 chipset. It is also supported with the previous generation Z690 chipset because the socket of both 13th Gen and 12th Gen Intel processors are the same.
Difference Between Socket and Chipset?
The socket is the physical connection between the CPU and the motherboard. It is nothing but a slot with several hundred tiny pins that matches with the CPU’s pins. These pins can be either on the processors or on the motherboard.
The chipset, as explained above, is a group of chips that are responsible for managing the data flow between the CPU, RAM, and other components.
Does Chipset Matter in Motherboard?
Yes, the chipset does matter and you should pick a motherboard based on what CPU you want to use. Most motherboard chipsets are not compatible with the socket used in your processor. For example, if you buy any Intel 12th Gen processor, which comes with an LGA1700 socket, you have to buy a motherboard that comes with the supported socket type along with a chipset that can manage communications with the processor.
Motherboards are made with both enthusiast and budget-oriented users in mind, so there are chipsets different for both kinds of people.
Enthusiast chipsets offer better overclocking support, more PCIe lanes, and other features that may not be present in budget chipsets.
The chipset is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a motherboard. It’s responsible for managing communications between the various components of your computer, so you need to make sure that it’s compatible with everything you want to use. If you’re not sure which chipset to choose, you can always consult your motherboard or CPU manufacturer’s website for more information.