A few years ago, we had to contend with just one socket from Intel and AMD each and it was pretty easy to choose motherboards and processors as there wasn’t any chance of you messing up with the type of socket. But from 2006 onwards, the numbers of sockets has exploded and has left the consumers very confused.
Intel has the LGA 775, Socket M, LGA 771, LGA 1366, LGA 1156 Socket H and, as of next year, the LGA 1155 Socket H2 aka Sandy Bridge. AMD on the other hand had socket AM2/ Socket F, AM2+ and the latest socket AM3. Choosing a proper motherboard for your processor can turn into a real palaver. Even the processors can be a real pain in the neck as both Intel and AMD giving you tons of processors to choose from. While Intel has clearly taken the lead when it comes to performance, AMD has carved a nice market for itself, thanks to Value for Money processors in the mid range arena. Not to mention AMD boasts of the cheapest Hex-core processor.
These are the reasons narrowing down motherboards has turned into such a difficult task. Make one mistake when choosing your motherboard and see your second GPU or your tri-channel memory kit become useless.
Even so, there were some motherboards that came out this year which rose above the others in a very cluttered market and proved their mettle. They are as follows:
Best Performer: ASUS Rampage III Extreme
The Asus Rampage III Extreme has managed to deliver across the board. Aside from looking super awesome in the flesh, the amount of features packed into it along with its overclocking ability easily put it in our top spot.
Designed and built for hardcore gamers and extreme overclockers, the ASUS Rampage III Extreme provides a strong foundation to build a beast of a rig. The only downside is that at Rs 25,500(MRP), the performance comes at a steep price.
Good: The best board out there for extreme overclocking and is the best performer hands down. The 4-way SLI/Crossfire and tri-channel memory support makes it the base for a killer rig.
Bad: The performance comes at a price. A steep one.
Mid-Segment Winner: GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H
The Gigabyte 890GX is the clear winner in the mid range-segment. With AM3 support, it supports AMD’s awesome hex-core processors which sell for an unbeatable price. The motherboard also features USB 3.0 and SATA 6 ports and at Rs. 9,500 it's the mid-range king.
Good: AM3 support along with USB 3.0 and SATA 6. Great pricing.
Bad: PCI-E slots run at 8x when running dual GPUs. While 8x/8x isn't very much worse than 16x/16x when it comes to performance thanks to PCI-E 2.0's massive bandwidth, it would've been nice to see two slots running at 16x.
Entry Level Winner: Intel DH55TC
The Intel DH55TC is Intel’s default offering for the H55 chipset. While it may miss out on the frills such as USB3.0 and SATA 6 Ports, it provides you with a Value for Money option in building a great rig with some pretty powerful processors. Along with Lynnfield support, the Motherboard also supports the Clarkdale line of processors which have integrated GPUs. This makes them a great choice for HTPC builds, too.
Good: Gives you access to powerful PCs at a very cheap price. Also provides support for the Integrated CPU/GPU (i3 and i5) which makes it the perfect the HTPC board. Available in killer combo deals with certain processors.
Bad: Only one PCI-E slot at 16x.
So there you have it, our choices for the top motherboards in each segment this year.