A motherboard is the most important part of your system. It is the centerpiece of your PC, hardware that connects all the components and makes them work together. Because of that, it is very important to choose it wisely. That is especially the case in gaming PCs that require a great performance and push the components to the max. The last thing you want in that kind of situation is to have an unstable system thanks to the wrong choice of a motherboard.
When you are choosing the best motherboard for gaming, it doesn’t have to be the most expensive one or the one with the biggest number of features, but the one that gives you a stable performance and lets you play your favorite titles without any problems.
Although more money usually means more quality, that doesn’t promise that you can’t enjoy the high-end games with a lower budget. Luckily, there is something for everyone. Of course, some features will be missing on cheaper boards, but you won’t be missing the important parts.
LGA 1151 Motherboards
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LGA 2066 Motherboards
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Sockets used to change with every new generation of processors. Today, that trend has changed and, for instance, LGA 1151 now supports three processor generations: 6th, 7th and the newest 8th generation of Intel processors. In other words, if your budget allows you to, always go for the newest possible socket. That way, you will not only gain better performance but also make future PC upgrades possible without changing the motherboard.
A socket or CPU socket is basically a component that houses the processor and provides both mechanical and electrical connections between the processor and the motherboard. There are two types of sockets: LGA (Land Grid Array), which is present in 1151, 2066 and TR4 sockets, and PGA (Pin Grid Array) present in AM4 socket.
The major difference between these two types is that PGA socket pins are placed on the CPU, and LGA socket has them on the motherboard. PGA type is more complicated since the pins on the CPU need to be put into the holes on the socket, while LGA requires you to put the processor on top of the pins. Therefore, if it is possible to go with the easier solution – LGA.
When talking about the sockets, you should also know that 2066 and TR4 sockets are reserved for high-end configurations, while 1151 and AM4 sockets are meant for the more mainstream machines. Of course, these sockets are not mutually compatible. Therefore, make sure that the processor and the motherboard can be put together before you purchase them.
A better chipset delivers a better performance. Yes, that means taking more money out of your pocket, but in this case, it pays off. Of course, you can get away with cheaper solutions such as choosing a B250 chipset over Z370 and still get a decent performance, but if you are into serious gaming and want to fully exploit all the capabilities of your processor, go for the more expensive “brothers”.
Lighting doesn’t really affect your gaming PC in any practical way, besides making it visually attractive. That is basically its only use – to make your motherboard look cool. But then again, who doesn’t want that?
Connectivity is an important issue. If you have enough connectors you will easily underrate their value. Their real importance is shown when you realize you won’t be able to connect your brand new water-cooling or another hard drive. In other words, always go for as much connectivity as you can. Maybe you don’t need it today, but tomorrow is a brand new day.
The Best LGA 1151 Motherboards
GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS Ultra
A Flashy Board with a Nice Price
GIGABYTE has plenty of boards on the market, but their AORUS line is one that gets our attention with each new release. The GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS Ultra is an excellent option if you need a motherboard with some flair and ideal if you’re running an 8th gen chip.
Whether you’re looking for RGB lighting or a board that’s ideal for overclocking, the Z390 AORUS should be on your list. The board has a Smart Fan cooling system with nine temperature sensors and a USB Type-C header for USB 3.2 Gen 2 connectivity. It has support for dual-channel DDR4 and triple M.2 with Thermal Guard as well.
We’re also fans of the ESS SABRE DAC which produces top-tier audio and the company’s vivid FUSION RGB system. It’s a multi-zone system with 16.8 million colors that pops in the dark and looks great in a case. The Armor is a nice touch as well and helps give it a more futuristic vibe.
This LGA 1151 motherboard if full of cool features and it definitely looks like it belongs in a gamers case. We feel it’s fairly priced considering what it brings to the table compared to similar models and a wise choice if you’re in the market for a board that lets you overclock at high speeds.
- 4,133 MHz Max OC
- RGB FUSION lighting
- Excellent audio and connectivity
- No Wi-Fi
ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero
The Best Choice for Overclockers
ASUS managed to crack our list multiple times, but our favorite board from the company comes from the Maximus lineup. The ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero is a big board with plenty of slots and one of the better-looking boards we’ve come across.
The Maximus XI Hero uses the 1151 socket and the Intel Z390 chipset. It’s compatible with 8th and 9th generation Intel processor and features OptiMem II for memory mapping across different PCB layers. It also has 5-way optimization which provides you with intelligent overclocking along with a dedicated onboard clock generator.
While the style of this board is evident, the Aura Sync RGB lighting with addressable headers helps set it apart. Cooling is also excellent, and it has support for up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM like most of the top boards. Other highlights include multi-GPU support for both AMD and NVIDIA cards, Bluetooth 5.0, dual-band Wi-Fi, a slew of ports, and the ESS ES9023P DAC.
The ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero is a solid upgrade over the previous version and an excellent value for the price considering it has extras missing from other boards in this range. It’s a great choice for ATX cases, and the RGB system adds a nice bit of color to the mix as well.
- Excellent connectivity options
- Addressable RGB headers
- Water cooling support and fan headers
- The price tag
- Only two M.2 slots
MSI B250M GAMING PRO
A Budget Motherboard with a Serious Arsenal
If you are into basic things, without a need for a fancy stuff, MSI B250M GAMING PRO might be exactly what you need. Its main goal is to compete for the place of the best budget motherboard for gaming and it does that pretty well.
This motherboard has EZ DEBUG LED that doesn’t give that detailed information but is good enough for you to know what stage the boot process is in. RGB lighting is modest, but it comes equipped with the Mystic Light Extension for easy connection of the RGB and LED solutions. B250 chipset is sufficient, and although it doesn’t deliver miracles, if you are not a heavy gamer you will probably be more than satisfied.
MSI B250M GAMING PRO also has a couple of aces up its sleeve. They include Killer GAMING LAN and Audio Boost 4 with an amplifier for a great gaming experience. Also, its primary PCIe slot is equipped with the Steel Armor, for the support of the heavier graphics cards, which is more than a welcomed bonus.
Tweaking and overclocking, on the other hand, are very limited, but the fact that this is a budget motherboard kind of explains that and makes it more acceptable.
- Good price
- Low power consumption
- Decent performance
- Lack of ports
ASUS Prime Z390-A
A Budget-Friendly Motherboard
Motherboard pricing varies depending on the features overall quality of components used. Well, you don’t need to break the bank for the ASUS Prime Z390-A, an affordable fan favorite built for LGA1141 sockets.
When Intel released the 9th generation of their processor lineup, plenty of gamers knew it was time for an upgrade. The newest iteration of the ASUS Prime Z390-A is perfect for LGA1151 sockets and can handle those chips with ease. You’re also getting a board that’s easy to overclock with 5-way optimization. The company’s FanXpert 4 dynamic cooling system makes an appearance here as well along with their popular Aura Sync RGB lighting.
Like most modern boards from ASUS, there are three PCI-E 3.0 slots and two M.2’s. They are Safe Slot protected against damage from bulky GPUs as well. Overall, it’s an easy board to deal with if you need to overclock although the RGB system isn’t quite as prevalent as systems found on other motherboards. The price is quite nice, however, and we dig those reinforced slots.
- Easy to manage
- Dynamic fan calibration
- Reinforced PCI slots
- No wireless
ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E
Another Excellent Board from ASUS
No, you’re not doing a double take as the ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E shares more similarities than differences with the XI Hero. Both boards are made for the 300 series platform with LGA1151 sockets, but the Z390-E is a bit cheaper if you can get by without a few BIOS buttons and a 4-pin connector.
The ROG Strix Z390-E is a high-tech board that’s smarter than most with AI Overclocking and 5-way optimization – it’s very user-friendly from an overclocking standpoint. OptiMem II is present as well along with a simple, but effective RGB system. In regards to the tech specs, it’s basically the same board as the XI Hero minus the aforementioned extras and a few other things like 3 RGB headers instead of 4. It’s a slick board no matter how you slice it, even if the price is somewhat puzzling.
Simply, put the Maximus XI has better VRMs and a few other bells and whistles that cater to the overclockers. The ROG Strix Z390-E is just a step below that, but the price gap is minimal so it may be a tough decision depending on your needs and build plans.
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0
- 8-channel SupremeFX audio
- Pre-mounted I/O shield
The Best AM4 Motherboards
ASUS ROG Strix B450-F
The Best AMD Motherboard for the Price
ASUS stays at the top of the charts for MOBO manufacturers each year for a reason – they make great boards. If you prefer Ryzen and Athlon chips to Intel’s processors, the ROG Strix B5450-F may be your next motherboard.
If you like what the ROG Strix boards bring to the table design-wise, but use AMD’s chips you’ll love this one. It’s decked out with Aura Sync RGB lighting with two extra RGB headers for total control and has a clean look with a pre-mounted I/O shield to make installation easy. It has the usual array of PCIe slots along with an M.2 socket, but no wireless connectivity options.
This board will look great in any ATX case, and just like the company’s chips, it sports an affordable price tag. There are more than enough ports to keep most gamers happy, and it’s straightforward to set up whether you’re a rookie or a pro.
- Easy to manage
- Quality audio
- Solid overclocked
- Quality control
MSI MPG X570 Gaming Edge WiFi Motherboard
Budget-Friendly Motherboard to Combine with AMD CPUs
If you are a full-fledged AMD fan and you want to combine multiple AMD components, such as GPU and CPU, with excellent gaming motherboard, then MSI MPG X570 Gaming Edge is the right motherboard for you.
It excels in supporting the 2nd and 3rd generation of AMD Ryzen by adding excellent Radeon Vega Graphics processor for desktops, which is fully compatible with the AM4 slot.
When it comes to connectivity, X570 Gaming Edge offers Wi-Fi 5 support (802.11 ac), which is further supported by MU-MIMO.
As for sound technology, you can use Audio Boost 4, which comes with NAHIMIC 3 software enhancement, which will make your games, music, and videos to sound amazing and you will really feel immersed in whatever you do.
Apart from that, this motherboard is designed to look pretty nice, with excellently designed fans and FROZR Heatsink.
And to make everything safe from electrostatic discharge, X570 Gaming Edge comes with already installed shielding that is used as a protection for IO ports from the outside influence.
- Full AMD support
- Excellent options for connectivity
- Enhanced audio software
- Great cooling technology
- Electrostatic damage protection
- Fan settings can only be accessed from BIOS, which resets all settings to default after every update
ASUS ROG Strix X570-E
Gaming Motherboard with Excellent Cooling System
ROG Strix X570-E from ASUS comes with an AMD AM4 socket, which is fully compatible with some of the best Ryzen CPUs from the 2nd and 3rd generation of AMD processors.
Along with two excellent M.2 drivers, USB 3.2 generation 2 ports and AMD stored, you will always have a maximum file transfer speed and connectivity needed to fuel your gaming needs.
When it comes to customization, this motherboard has pretty nice looks as well because it comes with Aura Sync RGB lighting, which is only offered by ASUS products.
Coming with that, there are two types of headers as well, both RGB headers and completely addressable generation 2 headers.
Where ROX Strix X570-E really shines is in offering excellent cooling options with always active PCH sink, MOS heatsink, which has pretty good 8mm pipes and onboard dual M.2heatsinks. Furthermore, there is a water pump header to further increase cooling capabilities.
Apart from that, this motherboard comes with a lot of networks and regular connectivity, with enough ports and slots for most modern and older connection types.
- Fully supported by modern AMD CPUs
- It looks amazing
- Comes with excellent cooling capabilities
- Pretty good connectivity options
- Great network connection options
- Certain slots tend to not work from time to time, such as PCIe or NVME
MSI MPG X570 Gaming PRO Carbon Wi-Fi Motherboard
Gaming Motherboard with Additional Sound Boost
As most X570 motherboards, MPG X570 Gaming PRO Carbon from MSI comes with complete support for AMD Ryzen processors, by utilizing AM4 socket.
When it comes to prettiness, this motherboard is amazing. It uses Mystic Light RBG technology, which you can use to completely customize the lighting you want to use because you can choose between 16.8 million colors and 29 different lighting effects.
If you really want to immerse yourself in your games, this motherboard can help you do that, by offering you excellent Audio Boost 4 technology.
Apart from that, MPG X570 comes with amazing FROZR Heatsink technology with fully patented fan design, which includes double ball bearings as well as the Propeller Blade system.
As for the network connectivity options, this motherboard comes with 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, which is fully supported by MU-MIMO.
In the end, MPG X570 Gaming PRO Carbon has complete support for Windows 10 64-bit operating system.
- Full compatibility with AMD components
- Excellent Wi-Fi 6 connection
- Perfect customization options
- Great audio technology
- A pretty good cooling system
- 4-Layer PCB, meaning that it might generate more heat than other motherboards with 6-layer PCB
The Best LGA 2066 Motherboards
GIGABYTE X299 AORUS Gaming 9
An Overclocking Masterpiece
GIGABYTE X299 AORUS Gaming 9 is an excellent motherboard that offers so much: a great number of PCIe x16 lanes, from which six have a steel reinforcement, three M.2 slots (each one comes with a heatsink), Rivet Networks Killer E2500 LAN, Killer’s 802.11ac solution, light zones and a lot more.
Its overclocking capability is tremendous and even includes the automatic overclock that can easily reach 4,6GHz values and keep them rock solid, without dropping to 4,3GHz, which is the case with other motherboards.
With this one there is no mistake, you will get a beautiful, solid design, a lot of storage and PCIe ports. Quality build, that is also obvious when you consider its weigh, which is significantly higher than at the competition. One of the best Intel motherboards for gaming without any doubt, but be prepared to pay a premium price for it.
- Amazing lightning
- Great network connectivity
- Excellent overclocking capability
- Overclocking can be easier
- The rear panel could have more ports
ASUS PRIME X299-A
A Motherboard that is a Safe Bet
ASUS PRIME X299-A is the more affordable X299 motherboard that delivers stylish looks and a nice set of features that include everything that is needed, from quad channel memory to RGB lighting. There is nothing not to like about this board. It is a solid product that, combined with i9, gives you solid performance. Overall, it’s a safe bet.
The lack of Wi-Fi, single Ethernet, and no onboard reset button, are its major flaws; everything else that exists on the premium X299 motherboards is there. On the other hand, when compared to a bit more expensive ROG Strix X299-E Gaming, that offers Wi-Fi, better lighting and more user-friendly overclocking capability, there is a serious question if you should invest a bit more and get a Strix, or stay with Prime.
If you are fine with only one Ethernet and have no real need for Wi-Fi connectivity, the choice is simple. Otherwise, there is a bit more thinking in front of you.
- Quad-channel DDR4 memory
- Attractive design
- Compatible with LGA2011v3 coolers
- Supports up to 18 cores/36 threads
- No onboard reset button
- No dual Ethernet and Wi-Fi
The Best TR4 Motherboards
Asus ROG Zenith Extreme Alpha X399
ROG Zenith Extreme Alpha X399 from Asus comes with an excellent AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2 (TR4) processor in order to give you the maximum connectivity and system speed.
Along with that comes really good memory support, with up to 128GB of DDR4, three separate M.2 drives and USB 3.1 generation 2 panel at the front.
To ensure that you get maximum stability and gaming performance there is an amazing 5-Way Optimization feature with Auto-Tuning and FanXpert 4, which will automatically overclock your settings to ensure the optimal performance.
If we talk about network connection and performance, it has to be said that this motherboard comes with Aquantia 10G LAN network with Intel Gigabit LAN, as well as ASUS LANGuard technology, alongside GameFirst V.
Apart from that, this gaming motherboard has space for two M.2 SSD devices and two separate heatsinks, that are there to stop additional throttling. Along with that come excellent 10K Black Metallic Capacitors.
To sweeten the whole thing, there 1.3” Livedash OLED, as well as ASUS Aura Sync RGB fully customizable lighting, which can be used through one RGB and two addressable headers.
- Excellent power options
- Automatic overclocking to ensure maximum performance
- Additional room for 2 SSDs
- Great customization options
- It has high-performance networking
- It is very expensive
Asus ROG Strix TRX40-E Gaming
Motherboard with the Best Optimization
Ready for the latest generation of AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors, TRX40-E gaming motherboard offers excellent speed with support of up to 3 M.2 SSDs and USB 3.2 generation 2 ports for additional connectivity options.
When it comes to personalizing your motherboard, TRX40-E comes with excellently-made OLED and specific Aura Sync RGB lighting, which comes with both addressable and RGB headers.
As for the power, this motherboard has 16 different stages of power thanks to the special ProCool II power connector, as well as Chokes of excellent quality and extremely durable capacitor, which all helps with increasing the performance of processors with multiple cores.
One of the really good things about TRX40-E is that it has always active cooling with VRM and Chipset heatsink, as well as stacked-fin heatsink combined with the water pump plus header.
There are 3 M.2 USB 3.2 generation 2 type-C ports, combined with Type-C connector on the front panel. As for network connectivity, there are 2.5Gbps LAN and Ethernet ports with ASUS LANGuard and MU-MIMO technology support.
Apart from that, thanks to the SupremeFX audio technology and Sonic Studio III, you will get sound that will completely immerse you in your games.
- A lot of personalization options
- Optimized power supply
- Excellent connectivity features
- Highly-immersive audio
- Easy to customize your build
- Price is high
Motherboards, as one of the most important components of a PC, should be chosen wisely. Therefore, give yourself some time and think through what your real needs are, and how deep can you reach into your pocket. Find the best combination of those two things and enjoy the pleasures of today’s gaming.