The motherboard is the component that connects everything together, that includes the CPU, GPU, RAM, and many other components.
Furthermore, the motherboard is the component that provides a medium for components to communicate with each other, that includes the RAM, CPU, and GPU.
Performance wise, the motherboard does not have a direct influence on it, and the FPS being generated in games. The motherboard just provides components as a means to communicate and transfer data.
Does The Motherboard Affect GPU Performance
The motherboard does not have a direct impact on the graphics card’s ability to perform, this is considering you insert the GPU into the correct slot.
You should always aim to install your graphics card in the x16 slot as this ensures you get the most performance out of your card.
Installing the GPU into a x4 or even a x8 slot can result in noticeable differences in frame rate, especially at higher resolutions.
The video below demonstrates the differences in frame rate when you restrict your graphics card to a different PCI-E slot/mode.
The x4 and x8 slots displayed lower average frame rates, and lower 1% lows which will definitely be noticeable in an intense gaming situation.
PCIE x4 Vs x8 Vs x16 Average FPS
The x4 mode generated 110 FPS on average, the x8 mode generated 120 FPS on average, and the x16 mode generated 124 FPS on average across 11 games.
From the screenshot below, the x4 mode falls behind the x8 by around 10 FPS on average, and the x8 slow falls behind the x16 slot by around 4 FPS.
So, it’s clear that you should always be using the x16 mode for your graphics card as that gives the most performance, there’s no point bottlenecking yourself.
It seems that using the x16 slot at x16 mode allows for more FPS which seems quite obvious, the more data lanes means the more data is being transferred which means it’s less of a bottleneck.
Some Motherboards Support Multiple Graphics Card
Another way the motherboard indirectly affects performance, specifically gaming performance, is through its support for multiple graphics cards.
If your motherboard supports multiple cards, it means your PC has higher gaming potential due to the fact your MOBO can support more than one card.
This is usually referred to as SLI or Crossfire, although it’s not popular among gamers, it still boosts FPS in SOME games.
The motherboard’s ability to support SLI or Crossfire depends on the chipset of the board, AMD A series and Intel H and B boards do not support SLI/Crossfire.
PCIE x4 Vs x8 Vs x16
PCIE stands for peripheral component interconnect express, and it’s an interface used to connect high-speed PCIE components.
PCIE components include graphics cards, sound cards, WIFI cards, and much more. Every motherboard will have PCIE slots.
Each slot has a number of PCIE lanes available to transfer data, the number is usually at the end of the “x”. Each lane allows for 1 bit of data per cycle.
The x1 slot has one PCIE data lane, the x2 has two PCIE data lanes, the x4 has four data lanes, the x8 has eight data lanes, and the x16 has sixteen data lanes.
The x1 slot is usually used for smaller PCIE components such as sound cards and WIFI cards whereas the x16 slot is used for graphics cards.
Motherboard Matters For PCIE Version
The motherboard determines the version of the PCIE lanes being used, this is usually tied to the motherboard chipset.
The version of the PCIE lanes is important because it determines the throughput for each PCIE lane. Newer PCIE generations will be faster than their predecessor.
The table down below explains the throughput differences per PCIE generation, it follows a predictable pattern doubling each generation.
Newer PCIE generations can have a positive impact on the performance, specifically in games. For example, PCIE 5.0 may give you more performance in games compared to PCIE 4.0.
|Version||x1 Throughput||x2 Throughput||x4 Throughput||x8 Throughput||x16 Throughput|
|1.0||0.250 GB/s||0.500 GB/s||1.000 GB/s||2.000 GB/s||4.000 GB/s|
|2.0||0.500 GB/s||1.000 GB/s||2.000 GB/s||4.000 GB/s||8.000 GB/s|
|3.0||0.985 GB/s||1.969 GB/s||3.938 GB/s||7.877 GB/s||15.754 GB/s|
|4.0||1.969 GB/s||3.938 GB/s||7.877 GB/s||15.754 GB/s||31.508 GB/s|
|5.0||3.938 GB/s||7.877 GB/s||15.754 GB/s||31.508 GB/s||63.015 GB/s|
|6.0||7.563 GB/s||15.125 GB/s||30.250 GB/s||60.500 GB/s||121.000 GB/s|
The Number Of PCIE Lanes On A Motherboard Depends On The Chipset
Usually, the more premium the chipset you use, the more PCIE lanes are present on the motherboard, so if you can spare extra money for a better chipset, your motherboard will come with more PCIE lanes.
More PCIE lanes is a good thing, it means your motherboard and PC can physically support PCIE express components. This is usually obvious since the board will come with more SATA slots, and M.2 slots.
Quick note, there are two types of PCIE lanes, there are PCIE lanes that come with the chipset, and PCIE lanes that come with the CPU.
The GPU specifically uses the PCIE lanes that come directly from the CPU whereas the chipset lanes are responsible for SATA, M.2, and USB.
|Motherboard Chipset||Number Of PCIE Chipset Lanes|
So, the more premium motherboard offers more PCIE lanes which means you can install significantly more components such as SSDs, PCIE data components, and M.2 drives.
Also Read: PCIE Lane CPU Vs Chipset
The Motherboard Has A Huge Influence On CPU Overclocking
The motherboard plays a crucial role in the ability for a CPU to overclock, the motherboard can quite literally make or break overclocking for a processor.
Firstly, you need to ensure that your motherboard actually supports overclocking, some motherboard chipsets do not support overclocking.
So, if your motherboard chipset does not support overclocking, that means your motherboard is indirectly limiting your computer’s performance and ability to run faster.
Motherboard VRMs Play A Crucial Role In Overclocking
If your motherboard supports overclocking, that doesn’t mean that it can overclock well. The motherboard’s ability to overclock well completely depends on the VRMs on the motherboard.
VRM stands for voltage regulator module, and it’s responsible for delivering power to a processor, and regulating its voltage.
A motherboard with poor VRMs will have a harder time sustaining a stable overclock due to the VRMs sending poor quality power to the CPU.
The best way to find out whether a motherboard has decent VRMs is to check the reviews for the motherboard, and find out whether it’s a good candidate for overclocking.
So Does The Motherboard Influence Performance?
So for the long answer, the motherboard does not affect the performance directly, it only influences the performance indirectly.
The motherboard doesn’t offer performance because the motherboard is merely a device used to connect components together. The motherboard doesn’t process things, therefore it doesn’t impact performance.
However, the motherboard matters for overclocking which will definitely influence performance. Good motherboards will overclock well meaning you get more performance out of the system.
Premium motherboards allow overclockers to push their CPUs further, getting more performance out of their system, a bad motherboard may only allow you to go so far.
Also, if you use PCIE slots incorrectly, you may bottleneck your graphics card which will negatively impact your gaming performance.
Always ensure you install your GPU into the x16 slot at x16 mode so you get the maximum bandwidth for your graphics card.
In conclusion, you shouldn’t think too much about the motherboard affecting performance, just pick the board that supports features that you’ll be using such as overclocking, or SLI & Crossfire.