What Motherboard Do I Have? [Quick & Easy Check]

CG Director Author Christopher Harperby Christopher Harper   /  Published 

Have you ever asked yourself “What Motherboard do I have”?

In this article I’ll help you quickly identify your motherboard and the upgrades it should open up for you.

What Motherboard Do I Have? How To Check

Fortunately, this is actually pretty easy to do!

Just open the Start Menu and type “System Information”. Click it, and you should get a window like the one below showing you what motherboard you have.

System Information Motherboard Manufacturer Model

Screenshot of my PC’s System Information

One or both of the following two fields will show you your motherboard’s model:

  • Baseboard Product
  • (System Model)

The “BaseBoard Product” field should give you the exact model name and number of your motherboard. Use this information to find the manufacturer’s site and exact spec for your motherboard.

If the BaseBoard Product field doesn’t tell you your motherboard model, you may be using a prebuilt desktop PC. In this case, you’ll can try an internet search for the info in your “System Model” field or continue to your manufacturer’s site page for your specific prebuilt in order to find more info about your motherboard, which may be custom.

In the example above, I have the MSI Prestige X570 Creation Motherboard, also code-named MS-7C36.

How Motherboards Impact Desktop Upgrades

Let’s take a moment to talk about how your motherboard will impact your PC upgrade path.

Since the motherboard is more or less the “central nervous system”, every other component you use must be connected to it. Without a motherboard, big names like the CPU and GPU would have no way of interfacing and working together for your workloads.

It’s pretty difficult to overstate the importance of a solid motherboard, even though it’s one of the least thought-of components for new builders, especially those on a budget.

Make no mistake, though. Your motherboard is easily among the most important components in your PC since it determines compatibility with literally every other part of your computer and can even impact performance.

Certain features like CPU overclocking may also be limited to certain motherboards with higher-end chipsets, at least on Intel. High-end boards and chipsets are good on AMD, too, but you can overclock on nearly any AMD board so it’s not as big a deal for AMD CPU users.

I’ll break down more about how specific upgrade paths are impacted later in the article.

Most Important Info To Know About Your Motherboard

CPU Socket

The most important thing to identify about your motherboard will be your CPU socket.

Depending on your CPU socket, you could have support on your board for a new generation of CPUs, or at least compatibility with higher-end CPUs from the same generation as your current processor.


Motherboard Chipsets Impact on PC Performance

Another important thing to identify is the motherboard chipset, which determines many of the features present on your board. You can’t replace or upgrade your motherboard’s chipset, unfortunately.

However, the chipset will correspond to a number of important features, including CPU overclocking capabilities and other specifications we’ll discuss below.

PCI Express Lanes and Slots

Your motherboard chipset will also determine the number of electrical PCI Express Lanes available to you, which can occasionally differ from the physical slot layout.

This is more common on budget motherboards, but if you plan on using a multi-GPU setup, it may be worth investing in a high-end chipset that supports x16 operation for more than a PCIe slot at a time.

RAM Slots and Max Supported Speed

Now, let’s talk about how your chipset will impact RAM support.

The first and most obvious compatibility factor will be RAM slots, but this is one of the more obvious aspects of evaluating a motherboard since the slots are clearly visible to the naked eye and often completely full by the time the build is finished.

Where things get more interesting than the number of RAM slots is actually the supported RAM speed. With the advent of DDR4 and DDR5 RAM, it has become…surprisingly common to push cutting-edge RAM throughput past the likes of 4000 MT/s and beyond.

Generational Leaps in DDR RAM Generations

However, not all motherboards will support high RAM speeds! Just because your motherboard supports DDR5, for example, doesn’t mean it will support the fastest DDR5 sticks on the market running at their full speed. Your chipset must be able to keep up.

Of your other components, RAM has perhaps the strongest direct impact on your CPU’s performance. Most of the time, RAM is a simple capacity concern that the end user need not worry about.

But if you’re doing rendering or gaming on your PC, increasing your RAM speed with a supported motherboard can give you a meaningful performance increase in heavy-duty workloads.

M.2 and NVMe Slots

M.2 SSD Keys

Last but not least, M.2 and NVMe slots are used for M.2 form factor SSD storage. NVMe drives also come in an M.2 form factor, but a slightly different connector.

Since standard M.2 drives are based on the SATA SSD standard, they’re actually considerably slower than NVMe M.2 drives, so this is an important distinction to look out for on your motherboard.

Miscellaneous Info (Fan Headers, etc)

Besides the high-impact specifications mentioned above, you may also want to verify the number of fan headers, SATA HDD/SSD ports, etc that are available to you on your motherboard. This stuff will generally be easier to pick out of an official spec sheet, of course.

I recommend at least figuring out what your fan header situation is since your PC’s cooling is pretty important to its long-term operation.

If you find that you don’t have enough fan headers for the number of fans you want to add to your case, don’t sweat it— just get a fan splitter so you can use more than one fan-per-header! They’re pretty cheap, fortunately.

3-pin vs 4-Pin Fan Headers


What are Motherboards Made of?

Components of a Motherboard

Image Credit: ASRock

Motherboards have quite a few components, but are primarily composed of fiberglass and copper.

In this article, I primarily focused on the motherboard chipset, since that’s the one that’s going to have the biggest impact on your performance beyond the obvious physical limitations of your motherboard (slots, etc).

Feel free to follow the shiny text above if you want a more in-depth look at how motherboards are made and what components go into them, though!

What makes a Motherboard good for Overclocking?

Thermal Solutions of overclocking friendly motherboards

Typically, questions about a motherboard’s overclocking capabilities will boil down to the design of its VRMs. A VRM, or Voltage Regulator Module, is responsible for managing power delivery to your CPU.

The better-equipped your VRMs, the “cleaner” and more stable that power delivery becomes, allowing for higher CPU voltages if the processor and your cooling can keep up.

Over to You

And that’s it, at least for now!

I hope this article helped you determine what motherboard you’re using and, more importantly, what upgrade paths that motherboard opens you up to.

One of the coolest parts of having a PC is the ability to upgrade, replace, and repair your hardware to your heart’s content. Knowing your motherboard spec is needed to enable that experience.

But enough from me. Got any lingering questions about your motherboard or PC hardware in general?

Head down to the comments section and me or another member of the CGDirector Team will be happy to assist you. Alternatively, you can also join and browse our Forums to share your builds and projects with the rest of our community.

Whatever you end up doing, happy computing! And don’t forget to be discerning of your current motherboard’s VRMs before you consider slapping a higher-end CPU into it, especially if you’re trying to overclock.

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Christopher Harper

I have been a passionate devotee to technology since the age of 3, and to writing since before I even finished high school.

These passions have since combined into a living in my adulthood and have made writing about PC Hardware very satisfying.

If you need any assistance, leave a comment below: it’s what I’m here for.


Also check out our Forum for feedback from our Expert Community.

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