Best Gaming Motherboards

Best Gaming Motherboard

Think of a gaming motherboard as the fundamental base that ties all other hardware components of your gaming rig and ensures everything works in harmony to deliver smooth, high-fidelity gameplay.

If you browse the different options available without having a preliminary frame in mind about which direction your gaming PC is going to take, the process of picking one board over the others will quickly get out of hand. Read the best motherboard for VR to expand your views.

We’re here to present you with some of the most reliable PC builds dedicated to gaming with informative insights about which board makes the most sense in every particular situation, so let’s dive right into the reviews!

Best Gaming Motherboard (Our Review)

1. MSI MPG Z490 – Best Overall

MSI MPG Z490

MSI delivers a motherboard that nails the main specs that gamers care about without including many over-the-top features that will push the price to luxury territories. The MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon features the LGA1200 socket, the new standard adopted by all the new Intel processors, including their latest 10 generation lineup. Check out the Best Motherboard for Hackintosh for Intel motherboards.

In terms of I/Os, the board comes with pre-mounted rear shielding that makes the installation process to your PC tower a walk in the park. Beyond the user-friendly mounting, the shielding serves an even more critical role. It prevents your board from short-circuiting by cutting down any stray electrostatic discharge.

It won’t be a proper gaming motherboard without some impressive memory and storage features. The MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon doesn’t disappoint with its 128GB maximum memory that can be overclocked to a whopping 4800MHz when running demanding games.

The board also offers versatile storage options to sweeten the deal. You can opt for NVMe or SATA-based SSDs as you have two M.2, together with six SATA slots available. The former enables data transfer speeds of 32 GB/s, while the latter offers speeds of 6GB/s.

Finally, the graphical performance is on par with the high standards that MSI has set for itself. You get multi-GPU support through the three PCIe 3.0 slots, allowing you to add up the horsepower of different graphics cards to deliver the ultimate gaming experience.

Key Features:

  • Well-optimized for Intel’s 10th generation CPUs, particularly i5 and i7 processors
  • Lightning-fast connectivity through Wi-Fi 6 or 2.5Gb LAN
  • Features four DIMM slots that support unbuffered DDR4 RAM with a maximum capacity of 128GB
  • Offers dual display support whether through HDMI or DVI-D

Pros:

  • Offers excellent value for its price tag
  • Pre-mounted rear shielding
  • Comes with fast USB 3.2 Gen 2 controllers, in addition to a rear Type-C port
  • The M.2 slot features a dedicated heatsink to prevent SSD throttling

Cons:

  • Overclocking performance with Intel i9 processor could be better
  • The USB 3.2 connectors are placed sideways, which might make it hard to connect flash drives if your PC tower is placed in a tight corner 

2. Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Master – Best for i9 Processors

Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Master

If you’re searching for the best motherboard to go along with your shiny, new i9 processor, look no more, as the Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Master offers exactly what you’re looking for. The board is designed to take advantage of all the ten cores that those processors have to offer at their maximum clock speeds. 

To ensure your processor maintains a reliable, stable performance with no hiccups even while overclocking, the board comes with extra 8+8 solid-pin CPU connectors. These precise connection points deliver just the right voltage to the board’s most power-hungry components.

A well-thought-out thermal architecture goes hand in hand with the board’s power control module to ensure heat doesn’t build up to the point of impacting the processor’s performance. You get specially engineered fan arrays, nanocarbon insulating coating, and robust heat pipes.

That’s not all, as passive heat sinks have a role to play. The VRM (voltage regulator module) features 14 different phases to meticulously regulate the current voltage across your board and ensure overheating never becomes an issue.

It’s worth mentioning that the board doesn’t hold back in terms of connectivity. Wi-Fi 6 allows you to maintain a stable connection on crowded networks, while Bluetooth 5.0 provides the option to connect multiple wireless devices simultaneously. 

People leaning towards a wired connection will also be pleased with the Gigabit Ethernet that eliminates any input lag during your online gaming sessions. Finally, you hook a Thunderbolt 3.0 add-in card and enjoy the tons of versatility that these ports deliver.

Key Features:

  • Designed to push i9 processors to their very limits
  • Shielded Xtreme DIMM slots to deliver uncompromising memory performance
  • Robust power circuit to meet up with the needs of high-performance board modules
  • state of the art thermal architecture with dedicated heat pipes and water cooling pumps

Pros:

  • Excellent connectivity options thanks to Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 6
  • Optional Thunderbolt 3 add-in card offers one port for power, video output, and data transfer
  • Features four DIMM slots with a maximum memory speed of 5000MHz
  • Realtek ALC1220-VB Audio chipset for a crisp, noise-free sound experience
  • Future-proof PCIe 4.0 slots with double the bandwidth

Cons:

  • On the pricey side
  • Some M.2 slots are only accessible after the removal of the entire heat sink

3. ASRock B460 Steel Legend – Mid-Range Pick

ASRock B460 Steel Legend

ASRock sticks to what matters the most to the majority of gamers and removes any unnecessary fluff with its B460 Steel Legend. This motherboard strikes just the right spot with its affordable price and high-end performance, delivering a mid-tier board that packs just the best set of features for most users. But is it the best workstation motherboard?

For instance, the ATX board adopts Intel’s latest socket technology: the LGA1200, to support all the latest 10th gen processors. Add this to the two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, and you get a capable CPU and GPU combo to run any modern game you throw at it.

Since it’s a 10th gen Intel motherboard, you can expect advancements in the VRM power phase design. The board features a 9+1 phase controlled by a single 8-pin connector. These numbers might not be mind-blowing; however, you have to bear in mind that the B460 chipset isn’t built for overclocking, so at basic clock speeds, such a passive cooling circuit will suffice.

We can’t forget how SSD can transform the gameplay experience with its blazing fast loading speed, allowing games to run smoothly with no texture pop-ins. Since the B40 Steel Legend offers two M.2 and six SATA slots, you can plug the SSD of your choice and forget about the time you spend staring at a loading screen.

Our only complaint is the absence of an onboard Wi-Fi module. This can be easily mitigated by installing your own Wi-Fi card. Even with the cost of the extra card on top, you’re still saving tons of money for the features you get with the B460 Steel Legend. Consider checking Best RGB Motherboard for a full overview.

Key Features:

  • Supports AMD’s CrossFire with support for dual graphics cards
  • Stable performance with Intel’s 10th generation CPUs
  • Integrated RGB onboard with plenty of customization options
  • Front, accessible USB Type-C port 

Pros:

  • The perfect balance between features and price
  • Supports fast DDR4 memory with clock speeds up to 2933MHz
  • Features an M.2 (Key E) slot for Wi-Fi cards
  • Fast wired connectivity through the 2.5Gb LAN unit

Cons:

  • The thermal architecture isn’t optimized for vigorous overclocking
  • Absence of an onboard Wi-Fi module, requiring a separate Wi-Fi card

4. ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero – Best Overclocking

ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero

If you’re an enthusiast who runs to adopt bleeding-edge technologies, the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero offers a future-proof architecture that allows you to experiment with the latest advances in processing and graphical performance.

The board is killing it in terms of overclocking, as it offers built-in profiles that automatically detect your CPU’s potential and works the best settings profile to deliver the most efficient, high-end performance. This is made possible by the two 8-pin connectors that control the board’s power supply.

The connectivity options you get here ensures you get a future-proof build ready to tackle the new advancements in radio wave technologies. With Wi-Fi 6 AX201 and Bluetooth 5.1, you get the best wireless tech to enhance your internet speed and give you a seamless connection to all your different wireless devices and accessories.

Furthermore, the two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots have a dedicated x8 mode that enables you to take advantage of two GPUs working hand in hand. This can be a transformative feat to your gameplay experience, giving you superior graphical fidelity with high-quality textures and smoother animations.

When it comes to the board’s cooling system, ASUS doesn’t disappoint with its AI-powered thermal design. Using complex machine learning algorithms, the fan headers are capable of optimizing fan speed and noise, giving you quiet performance. Forget about the days when your PC used to sound like a jet engine whenever you run demanding games.

Key Features:

  • Features an LGA1200 socket to run the latest 10th generation Intel CPUs
  • An AI-powered thermal design combining robust cooling and quiet operation
  • Industry-leading surround audio to further immerse you into your games thanks to the Sonic Studio III Audio codec
  • Advanced wireless connectivity options using Wi-Fi 6 AX201 and Bluetooth 5.1

Pros:

  • A 14+2 phase VRM for efficient power consumption even on overclocking
  • Impressive wired internet connectivity through dual 5Gb and Gigabit Ethernet
  • Aura Sync RGB with plenty of customizable tools to personalize your board’s aesthetics
  • Pre-installed I/O shields for easy mounting to your PC tower

Cons:

  • Offers only two DIMM slots with a 64GB cap on maximum memory
  • The M.2 slots are buried under the chipset cooler and the GPU, making them hard to access

5. MSI MPG X570 Gaming Pro Carbon (Wi-Fi) – Best AMD Pick

MSI MPG X570 Gaming Pro Carbon (Wi-Fi)

Let’s shift our gears to AMD processors for a minute, as the Ryzen lineup is quickly climbing the ranks of the most powerful gaming CPUs, delivering literally a game-changing performance. If you want to see for yourself what all the fuss is all about and start your own Ryzen 3000 PC build, the MSI MPG X570 Gaming Pro Carbon has got your back. Is this the best x570 motherboard? Read and check out, and don’t forget to look at the best x470 motherboard, the best x399 motherboard, as well as the best x370 motherboard.

Before diving into deeper details, it’s worth noting that the motherboard is built with Ryzen upcoming 4th gen chips in mind. So, whenever the newer processors hit the market, and you feel like upgrading, you don’t need to start from scratch and get a completely new motherboard to take advantage of the new technology.

In terms of memory, the Gaming Pro Carbon offers four DIMM slots with support for 128GB total RAM up to speeds of a whopping 4400MHz. The storage specs are as impressive, with two M.2 slots adopting the latest PCIe 4.0 standard to run NVMe SSDs and allow for data transfer speeds of 32GB/s.

Finally, MSI brought new innovations to its board’s thermal design. With patented fan propellers working together with Frozr heatsinks, you can push your Ryzen processor to the very limits without ever worrying about overheating.

Key Features:

  • Supports Ryzen 2nd, 3rd, and upcoming 4th generation processors
  • Robust connectivity options with onboard Wi-Fi 6 modules and Bluetooth 5.1
  • Mystic Light RGB offers 16.8 different colors for a personalized look
  • Makes use of Audio 4 Boost technology to deliver a crisp, immersive sound experience

Pros:

  • Features two PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots to support the latest SSD technology
  • Unlike many X570 chipset boards, you get two HDMI ports that support dual display
  • Offers USB 3.2 Gen 2, in addition to USB Type-C
  • Robust thermal architecture built to handle overclocking

Cons:

  • PCIe slots that house the GPU can be hard to reach due to the tight board interface
  • The Mystic Light software for controlling the board’s RGB doesn’t always work as expected

6. ASRock A520M ITX/AC – Compact AMD Pick

ASRock A520M ITXAC

ASRock has a treat for AMD fans looking for a compact motherboard that doesn’t present with any deal-breaking compromises. The A520M ITX/AC delivers just that with its Mini-ITX form factor that fits in a small-sized PC case. The small footprint is liberating, making you quickly forget that your PC is sitting there on your desk.

In terms of performance, the board comes with AMD’s standard AM4 socket that works perfectly with the 3rd and 4th gen Ryzen CPUs. The graphics half of the story leaves much to be desired, as the board only offers one PCIe x16 slot, which is understandable considering the limited area that ASRock had to work with. To fully exploit the Ryzen, make sure to pick either the best B350 motherboard or even the best B450 motherboard.

Just like the ROG Maximus XII Hero, you only get a maximum memory of 64GB, which should be fine for most gamers. Finally, the board still comes with some bells and whistles in the form of Gigabit Ethernet and a Type-C port, giving you some added functionality that is sometimes omitted from even the full-sized ATX boards.

Key Features:

  • Well-optimized for 3rd and 4th gen Ryzen processors
  • Supports DDR4 RAM with clock speeds over 4733MHz
  • Offers one M.2 slot with a data transfer speed of 32GB/s, in addition to six SATA variants with 6GB/s speed
  • Delivers Gigabit Ethernet for virtually no input lag in online games

Pros:

  • Feature-packed Mini-ITX board with few compromises
  • Offers HDMI and DVI-D ports for video output
  • Features 7.1-channel Audio codec for a surround audio experience
  • Comes with USB Type-C

Cons:

  • Comes with only one PCIe x16 slot for a single graphics card
  • The maximum memory capacity is only 64GB

7. MSI MAG B460M Mortar (Wi-Fi) – Compact Intel Pick

MSI MAG B460M Mortar (Wi-Fi)

We’ll wrap up our list with yet another Mini-ITX motherboard, and this time around, our pick is for gamers living within Intel’s ecosystem. The MAG B460M Mortar features the familiar LGA1200 socket to play nicely with Intel’s 10th generation CPUs.

Let’s get the shortcomings out of the way first. Given its compact footprint, the board doesn’t deliver the best overclocking experience. This shouldn’t be a big deal if you’re a casual gamer using i5 or i7 processors.

Furthermore, the memory speed is only limited to 2933MHz, which might present you with some compatibility issues when running games on high settings.

Other than that, you get a decent package, featuring Wi-Fi 6, 2.5Gb LAN, and plenty of I/Os, including USB Type-C. Also, the board delivers when it comes to storage technology, as you get two M.2 and six SATA slots, opening the doors for choosing the SSD that suits your budget and speed expectations.

Key Features:

  • The LGA1200 socket enables support for the 10th gen Intel processors
  • Advanced wireless technology through Wi-Fi 6
  • Features four DIMM slots that can house 128GB of total memory
  • Lag-free online gaming using the 2.5Gb Ethernet

Pros:

  • The Micro-ATX form factor allows for an overall more compact PC
  • Comes with HDMI and DVI-D for video output
  • Offers four USB 3.2, in addition to a Type-C port
  • Features two M.2 and six SATA slots for expandable SSD storage

Cons:

  • Overclocking performance isn’t the best
  • Limited memory speed, sitting at around 2933MHz when using an i7 or i9 CPU

Best Gaming Motherboard (FAQ)

Which From Factor Is the Best?

It all boils down to personal preference as the form factor determines the motherboard’s overall dimensions. If you want the most feature-packed package, go for the full-sized ATX boards. On the other hand, Mini-ITX boards are perfect for gamers who prefer a more compact PC tower.

How to Tell Intel and AMD Motherboards Apart?

Just check the board’s socket! The latest Intel motherboards feature the LGA1200 socket, while their AMD counterparts come with the AM4 socket. Compatible processors will clip right onto their respective sockets, giving you their best performance.

What’s the Difference Between SATA and M.2 Slots?

It’s all about data transfer speeds. The SATA-based SSDs are only capped at 6GB/s, while M.2 slots offer support for NVMe SSDs capable of reaching speeds of 32GB/s. Such numbers can significantly impact your games’ loading time, offering fewer interruptions to the gameplay experience.

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