The backbone or a most integral part of a computer is the ‘motherboard’ that connects and allows seamless communication between all system components. The motherboard is known by many other names, such as the mainboard, system board, logic board, and main circuit board. 

Without a motherboard, none of the CPU, GPU, or hard drives could interact and make the computer functional. The type and specifications of the motherboard also help to determine the performance and efficiency of CPU and memory.

A whole array of hardware parts are connected with the motherboard that includes sound cards, graphics card, optical drives, hard drives, memory, and CPU. Different motherboards are designed and developed to suit different purposes. For example, a PC motherboard will be different from a server motherboard. 

Importance of Motherboards in Servers

Servers are dedicated or special purpose computers that provide services on behalf of clients, and a server is a computer that interacts with other computers connected over a network. Servers are built with robust hardware capabilities due to the critical functionality of applications.  

The three essential elements of a server motherboard are processor speed, memory capacity, and expansion capability. The most important feature of a server is a ‘Chipset’ that combines some primary chips that manage all the functionality: memory operations, compatibility, and connectivity with the motherboard. 

Chipsets are also used to determine memory capacity, memory speed, memory type, and memory channels. The second most important component one needs to consider when buying a motherboard for the server is CPU and memory support. 

When building a server, all three components, such as motherboard, CPU, and memory, are considered one, so you have to make a careful selection as a choice of anyone can, for example, a CPU can affect the performance of memory and motherboard. 

The premium quality motherboards come with varying features and range anywhere from $50 to $500 or more. 

Buying Guide of Server Motherboards.

Here we can help untangle some of the confusion when deciding on picking the best motherboard for the server. Some of the factors that you need to consider are

– Platform

The first and foremost decision concerns the CPU, and the two benchmark options come from Intel and AMD. The affordable or low-end CPUs of both brands are feasible for basic functions, but considering the critical applications being run on the server, one might want to go with the fastest core performance that may come at a premium price. 

Server systems are different from desktop systems and need to handle multiple functions and requests constantly. The dual CPU socket motherboards are quite popular these days in small businesses. Multiple cores (dual or quad) have gained popularity by offering faster processing speeds. You can easily pair the multi-cores CPU with motherboards having dual sockets. 

Before buying the CPU, you need to make sure that the proposed CPU socket type matches the motherboard’s CPU socket; otherwise, the installation would not be possible. The LGA 771, LGA 775, and Socket 603/604 are Intel-compatible sockets, while Socket AM2, Socket 939, and Socket 940 are AMD compatible. 

– Chipsets and Sockets

The chipset is a combination of hardware and software that allows the interaction of other computer components, while the socket is the connection of the CPU with the motherboard. The AMD 8151 and 8131, Intel Xeon 5000 series, and Nvidia nForce Professional 3600 and 3400 are some of the best server use chipsets.  

The two essential chips on the motherboard are called ‘Northbridge’ and ‘Southbridge.’ The communication or transfer of signals from and to CPU, memory, PCIe, and Southbridge is done by Northbridge, including a memory controller. 

The Southbridge provides a connection with PCI bus, SATA, PCIe, USB, and I/O devices. Southbridge also manages other functions such as power management, real-time clock, and interrupt controller. 

– Size or Form Factor

Motherboards come in various sizes or form factors, and it also determines the supporting components attached to the motherboard. The three common sizes in from smallest to largest, are 

– Mini ITX with only one expansion slot, 2 RAM slots, and supports one GPU and 6 SATA ports

– Micro ATX with only 4 expansion slot, 4 RAM slots, and supports 3 GPUs and 8 SATA ports

– ATX with only 7 expansion slots, 8 RAM slots, and supports 4 GPUs and 12 SATA ports

You can opt for micro or mini boards at an affordable cost, but they come with less RAM slots and less PCIe (peripheral component interconnect express) slots. If you want more slots, then you need to get expensive motherboards starting from $200. The best motherboard size is the E ATX that has many advanced features and 6 RAM slots.

– Memory

The unbuffered memory comes under the pump with an increase in performance and maintaining stability. The higher density systems mostly use registered memory that holds the data address before it is transferred. The popular options are the DDR (Double Data Rate) and DDR2 memory, but for server systems, another new version called FB-DIMM (Fully Buffered Dual in-line Memory Module) is used. 

The FB-DIMM is designed to improve the bandwidth, reliability, and density of the memory system. The best thing about FB-DIMM is that it is scalable and has a capacity of 192 GB with 6 channels. For servers, the capacity ranges of FB-DIMM range from 1GB to 128GB. 

– Expansion Options

The expansion slots in the motherboard are used to install network interface cards and RAID/HDD cards. You have to see if the motherboard you have selected gives adequate expansion slots according to your requirement. The three popular expansion slots in the motherboard include PCI, PCIe, and PCI-X. 

– GPU Support

There is little use of intensive graphics cards or 3D rendering, so expensive GPUs are not needed. The commonly used servers mostly have an onboard graphics controller that sends video signals to the user’s monitor displays. 

– SCSI/SATA/SAS Device ports

In servers, SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) is the most popularly used interface for hard drives. SCSI performs exceptionally well when multitasking is required and when more than one server is connected in a network. Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) is best for enterprise applications in big corporations. SAS delivers night bandwidth with the help of serial communication. Apart from SAS, SATA (Serial ATA) is also found on motherboards of most servers. 

– LAN Networking

Nearly all server motherboards support LAN (Local Area Network) function due to its seamless connection to a particular network. The speed is rated at 10/100 Mbps or 10/100/1000 Mbps. Most of the motherboards also have more than 2 LAN ports, so more than one network can be connected without any additional card. 

Best Server Motherboards 2021

The best motherboard manufacturers include Gigabyte, Asus, MSI, and ASRock. Some of the best server motherboards are Gigabyte GA-A320M-S2H, MSI B450 Tomahawk Max, ASRock Rack X470D4U Raspberry Pi 4 Model B. 

The server motherboards run continuously 24/7, so they must include robust and efficient components. Premium quality CPUs are used and feature 2 CPU sockets. The memory slots support ECC RAM along with SATA ports and high-speed LAN. 

We at Memoryclearance provide all the relevant technical assistance to all our valued business clients and customers. We can further assist you on the Best Server Motherboard for your business needs. 

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