If your last PC upgrade was a few years back, and you didn’t bother to keep yourself updated with developments in the mean time, you’ll find yourself clueless when it comes to choosing a motherboard for your Intel processor. As if keeping track of the socket type for the processor wasn’t bad enough, nowe there are around a dozen of chipsets on which current motherboards are built, and honestly speaking ,those numbers never made sense to common people like us. So why would they now? Well let us s try to make things a little clear and start from the beginning.
The latest family of Intel processors is the 3rd generation Intel core processors that are also known as Ivy Bridge processors. They come in three variants: i3, i5 and i7. While i3 and i5 are the mainstream processors, i7 are developed for enthusiasts looking to get the maximum out of their PCs. These are successors to 2nd gen Intel core processors (also called Sandy Bridge) which followed a similar naming system( i.e. i3, i5 and i7). Now both these processors are designed for LGA 1155 or Socket H2.
Since Ivy Bridge came after Sandy Bridge, their performance and power consumption is better compared to the latter. The chipsets designed for Ivy bridge are backward compatible and support Sandy Bridge processors too. Here’s a list of chipsets designed for Ivy Bridge processors.
As it is clear from the image above, each chipset comes with unique specifications and one may not be the best among all. You should choose the one depending on your needs. For example, B75 and Q75 support only one SATA 3.0 hard disk, but at the same time have a PCI slot. H77 on the other hand doesn’t offer PCI but supports two SATA 3.0 hard disks. Also, motherboards with these chipsets support a maximum of DDR 3-1600 only for Ivy Bridge processors.
On the other hand chipsets designed for Sandy Bridge are older and only some of them support Ivy Bridge processors. Also, they do not natively support USB 3.0, but manufacturers use other solutions to provide USB 3.0 Support.
Hence, it is advisable to go for either B75, Q75, Q77, H77, Z75 or Z77 instead of the older B65, H61, H67, Q67, P67 or Z68 chipsets. You should go for the older ones only if you are getting a cheap deal. Even then, make sure that the motherboard supports all the features you need.