Best Server Motherboard

Best Server Motherboard

Unlike conventional motherboards, server motherboards feature robust components that enable them to run for days without the risk of damage or malfunction. Virtually all server motherboards offer server-grade CPU support as well as ECC and non-ECC RAM support. To add, these units typically feature plenty of SATA ports.

If you’re having a hard time pinpointing the ideal server motherboard for your needs, you should stick around, as we’re about to shed light on the best server motherboards on the market today. 

The 7 Best Server Motherboards in 2020

1. MSI B450 Tomahawk Max

MSI B450 Tomahawk Max

Starting off our list is one of MSI’s most popular mid-range motherboards, the B450 Tomahawk Max. This motherboard is equipped with all of the robust components that make it a perfect unit for server use. It’s also a very capable, cost-effective top gaming motherboard.

The B450 Tomahawk Max doesn’t have the wow factor that a lot of modern motherboards have with their over-the-top RGB motherboard lighting and vibrant colors. It’s more of a subtle motherboard with a lot of black-based aesthetics. Only a careful eye will appreciate the subtleness and sheer power packed in this unit.

The B450 Tomahawk Max features a black PCB that’s accentuated with hints of gray and white. If you look close to the southbridge area as well as the VRM, you’ll notice a host of radiators that add to the unit’s subtle aesthetics and help ensure effective cooling. Each radiator carries the MSI logo on the top, with more hints of white and gray for stylistic purposes. Is it considered to be the top motherboard for music production? Maybe not, but check out other benefits of this motherboard.

This motherboard features 4+2 power phases of the highest quality. This ensures smooth power delivery to the processor. With such components at your disposal, overclocking the processors won’t cause any issues whatsoever.

Speaking of the processor, according to the manufacturer, this motherboard can house up to an AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, which is quite impressive considering how cost-effective it is. The board is capable of housing lesser processors, of course, but we don’t recommend using a lesser CPU than the X570.

Like most motherboards within its class, the B450 Tomahawk Max features 4 RAM slots, an M.2 slot, and 6 USB ports (1 of which is Type-C). Additionally, you have the ability to connect up to 6 different storage units via SATA III ports. There are also 2 PCI-Express ports and 3 PCI-Express x1 ports for expansion boards. Check out another top B450 motherboard as well as the top B350 motherboard.

Key Features:

  • AMD B450 chipset
  • Multi GPU support
  • 6x SATA III ports
  • PCIe 3.0 and 2.0
  • Type-C USB port

Pros:

  • Houses 6 fan headers
  • USB 3.1 and USB Type-C
  • Reliable VRM
  • Robust components
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Lacks a secondary M.2 slot
  • No independent RGB control

2. Raspberry Pi 4 Model B

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B

For years, Raspberry Pi has been the leading example when it comes to reliable, inexpensive single-board computing. The Pi 4 Model B is a tiny unit that can power anything from robots to digital kiosks. This device’s capabilities enable it to double as a desktop computer. It’s even capable of providing a 4K video output at 60fps. It also flaunts dual-monitor capabilities. 

The Raspberry Pi 4 has a very similar layout to previous Pi models, but upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that the ethernet port and USB ports have switched places. To add, it flaunts new micro HDMI ports and a USB-C port.

The HDMI ports are capable of delivering 4K resolution at 30 frames per second when in dual screen mode. If you’re using a single screen, you’ll enjoy a 4K display at 60fps, as mentioned previously. 

The device flaunts the 1.5GHz ARM Cortex A72, which offers slightly faster performance than the Raspberry Pi 3B+. To be more specific, this tiny unit is about 3x faster than the Pi 3B+. It’s also compatible with LPDDR4 RAM, which enables it to deliver an entry-level PC performance while maintaining its compact form factor. 

Storage-wise, this motherboard relies on microSD cards. There’s also a neat option to boot from USB, which is convenient considering that the Pi 4 features USB 3.0 technology. Power-wise, the Pi 4 Model B is powered by a 5.2V 3A USB-C power supply that provides enough juice to power up the most demanding of CPUs while still being able to deliver 1.2A to USB 3.0 devices like a USB hard drive. 

Aside from utilizing this motherboard for a small home server, you can use it for a wide range of other activities, including robot building and code writing. The Pi 4 also excels when it comes to emulation and media centers. 

Key Features:

  • Quad-core Cortex-A72 
  • LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM
  • USB 3.0 and USB 2.0
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • USB-C power supply

Pros:

  • Super smooth user experience
  • Doubles as a desktop replacement
  • Compatible with older Pi models
  • Houses a powerful processor
  • Suitable for various activities

Cons:

  • CPU gets too warm with use
  • Occasionally buggy at launch

3. GIGABYTE C246-WU4

GIGABYTE C246-WU4

The Gigabyte C246-WU4 is arguably the top motherboard for building a NAS server. It’s one of the largest units on our list, with an ATX form factor. It’s also comparatively high-priced, so you must make sure it’s suitable for your exact needs before spending your pretty penny. 

We’re not saying this is the most capable or most expensive motherboard on the list, as you’ll see as you go further down the article, but it does a superb job of offering superior performance for NAS use at a pretty reasonable price. 

Why is it best suited for NAS servers? Well, because it features 10 SATA ports with which you can plug 10 different hard drives and build your ultimate NAS server at home. The downside to using this motherboard, however, is that you’ll need a larger-than-average chassis to house it because of its larger form factor. 

The Gigabyte C249-WU4 can support ECC and non-ECC RAM without any problems. Further, it supports the Xeon line of processors from Intel. The board features an LGA 1151 socket, which means that it can handle 8th and 9th-Gen processors from the i9 and Celeron line as well. With that in mind, the C249-WU4 can be used to build a budget gaming PC. 

Are 10 SATA ports not enough for you and you’re looking to expand even more? Well, the unit is equipped with various expansion slots that you can use for the SATA PCIe Card to increase the number of hard drivers your NAS server has. You have a 1x PCIe X16 slot, 1x PCIe X16 slot at X8 bandwidth, and 2x PCIe X16 slots running at 4X bandwidth. 

As you can see, the Gigabyte C249-WU4 has everything you could ask for to build the ultimate NAS server, which is why we recommend it for high-end NAS use. However, if you’re looking to build an average NAS server, this might not be the right unit for you because of how expensive it is. Don’t worry, though, we have a budget option for average NAS servers.

Key Features:

  • Large ATX form factor
  • 10 SATA ports
  • ECC and non-ECC support
  • LGA 1151 socket
  • Intel Xeon E support

Pros:

  • Can handle 10 hard drivers
  • Expandable via PCIe ports
  • Supports ECC and non-ECC RAM
  • Handles 8th and 9th-Gen i9 chips
  • Perfect for high-end DIY NAS

Cons:

  • Not the most budget-friendly option
  • Requires a large chassis to house it 

4. GIGABYTE X399 Aorus Pro

GIGABYTE X399 Aorus Pro

Want to take things a step further with a high-end motherboard? It doesn’t get more advanced than the X399 Aorus Pro. This is an ATX motherboard, like the C246-WU4, but you can easily fit it inside any case. The X399 Aorus Pro supports 1st and 2nd-Gen Threadripper CPUs, thanks to the use of the FOXCONN 4094 Pins TR4 socket.

The X399 Aorus Pro might not be the most efficient overclocker available on the market, but it’s very efficient at running Threadrippers smoothly. This board features premium fin-design heat sinks that are linked together via a hollow tube, which helps ensure optimal air circulation. 

The CPU phases feature a therm-padded layer to prevent the VRM from overheating since you only have 8 phases. RAM-wise, the board features the usual quad-channel configuration. It can support up to 128GB of DDR4 RAM at 3,600 MqHz. 

As far as storage, the board features 3x M.2 SSD connectors with direct access to the CPU, so you won’t need a boot stick emplacement. The connectors flaunt a speed of 32Gbps individually with 4x SATA ports. You also have your usual SATA 3.0 plugs that you can use for conventional storage solutions. Each plug flaunts a transfer speed of 6Gbps. Consider viewing another top X399 motherboard or a similar top X370 motherboard.

Key Features:

  • 1st and 2nd-Gen Threadripper support
  • ECC and non-ECC support
  • Front and rear USB 3.1 Type-C
  • 4-way graphics support 
  • 3x ultra-fast M.2 connectors

Pros:

  • Extremely stable performance
  • Supports ECC and non-ECC RAM
  • M.2 connectors are notably fast
  • Very efficient air circulation
  • Extremely durable construction

Cons:

  • Not the most budget-friendly option
  • Not the most impressive BIOS

5. ASRock X570M Pro4

ASRock X570M Pro4

If you’re looking to put together a capable DIY NAS server but the Gigabyte C245-WU4 is a bit too expensive for you, you ought to check out the ASRock X570M Pro4. This board has a micro ATX form factor of 9.6 x 9.6 inches. It’s fairly large, but it’s not as large as the C245-WU4. You’ll need a somewhat large chassis to house this motherboard. 

The X570M Pro4 is AM4-based, meaning it’s compatible with virtually all of the latest Athlon and Ryzen CPUs from AMD. This is great because most AMD processors aren’t that costly, which is right up your alley when trying to build a budget-friendly DIY NAS server. 

The board features 8 SATA ports, which enables you to integrate up to 8 different hard drives for reliable NAS storage. Moreover, you have 4x RAM slots that can handle a total of 128GB DDR4 RAM. The board supports both ECC and non-ECC RAM. Further, there are 2x PCIe X16 slots, the first works at full bandwidth, whereas the second slot works at X4 bandwidth. 

The 10 Power Phase design is incredible in this motherboard, so you’re guaranteed stable NAS performance 24/7 because it enables more VRM to pass through the board without resulting in any damage or malfunctioning. This is a superb alternative to the C246-WU4 if you don’t mind a large form factor. 

Regarding the X series make sure to look into top X570 motherboard as well as the top X470 motherboard for more options.

Key Features:

  • Houses an AM4 socket
  • 10 Power Phase design
  • 8x SATA III ports
  • 1st and 2nd-Gen USB 3.2
  • AMD Quad Crossfire

Pros:

  • Supports Athlon and Ryzen CPUs
  • Can handle 8 different hard drives
  • Supports ECC and non-ECC RAM
  • Remarkable phase power design
  • Suitable for budget NAS servers

Cons:

  • Requires a fairly large chassis
  • BIOS needs to be updated

6. ASRock H370M-ITX/AC

ASRock H370M-ITXAC

The ASRock H370M-ITX is a highly affordable mini ITX motherboard that flaunts 6 SATA ports, so you can connect up to 6 different hard drives. This alone makes the H370M-ITX an optimal motherboard for NAS servers. The mini ITX form factor means that you don’t need a very large chassis to house this unit.

The board flaunts an LGA 1151 socket that allows you to utilize common 8th and 9th-Gen Intel processors. You can go as low as a Pentium chipset or as high as a Core i9 chipset, it’s totally up to you. If you’re looking to build a simple NAS server, you don’t need a powerful CPU; you can simply opt for a Pentium or a Core i3. 

The ASRock H370M-ITX is the only motherboard on our list that lacks support for ECC RAM. It might be concerning if you’re looking for the most ideal server-grade build, but you can do with non-ECC RAM without problems, especially if your aim is to build a low to medium-duty server. 

One of the strongest selling points of this motherboard is that it features Wi-Fi connectivity. This gives you an edge when it comes to NAS connectivity options. For a motherboard that costs around $100, the H370M-ITX definitely has a lot of offer compared to other units in its class and print point. 

Key Features:

  • LGA 1151 socket
  • 6x SATA ports
  • 8th and 9th-Gen Intel CPU support
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Non-ECC RAM support

Pros:

  • Compatible with various processors
  • Ideal connectivity for NAS servers
  • Can accommodate 6 hard drives
  • Form factor doesn’t need much space
  • Highly affordable price tag

Cons:

  • Doesn’t support ECC RAM
  • Not suitable for heavy-duty servers

7. GIGABYTE TRX40 Designare

GIGABYTE TRX40 Designare

The final product on our list and the most expensive of them all is the TRX40 Designare from Gigabyte. This motherboard is the ultimate pick for anyone looking to build a heavy-duty DIY server for home or gaming purposes. The board is designed specifically for workstation users and content creators. 

This motherboard has all of the basic necessities that you should look for in a motherboard, from an Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller to Realtek ALC4050H pairing for onboard audio. What we love the most about this motherboard is that it looks like something acquired from an alien ship, with its elegant and futuristic black and silver theme. It simply looks incredible.

The TRX40 Designare is able to support up to a whopping 256GB of ECC memory using its quad channels. Further, it features 8 SATA ports, so you can easily integrate up to 8 drives for storage purposes. Not enough? It has 4x M.2, 2x PCIe X16, 1x PCIe X1, and 2x PCIe X8 slots that you can use to achieve endless possibilities of expansion. 

Taking a look at the back of the motherboard, you’ll find a ton of connectors that you can use to integrate as many peripherals as needed, and the dual LAN from Gigabyte. The Designare is different from the rest of the TRX40 lineup because it features a GC-Titan Ridge Thunderbolt 3 AIC, making it the perfect piece of technology for VM and workstation servers. 

Key Features:

  • ECC and non-ECC support
  • Flaunts 4x M.2 slots
  • 8x SATA ports 
  • Thunderbolt 3 AIC
  • Wi-Fi connectivity

Pros:

  • Supports up to 256GB of ECC RAM
  • Lots of slots for expansion
  • Suitable for heavy-duty workstations
  • Exceptional aesthetics
  • Lots of connectors for peripherals

Cons:

  • The most expensive board on the list

Server Motherboards FAQ

Can You Game on a Server Motherboard?

Server motherboards are featured in ATX and E-ATX form factors. The former can be used for gaming purposes, whereas the latter is too deep and too wide for gaming. 

Is Intel Xeon Better Than Core i9?

The two are completely different beasts. Xeon processors are server-grade CPUs, whereas i9 chipsets are intended for resource-intensive tasks like gaming and video editing. Xeon CPUs are best-suited for server motherboards that can accommodate more than one chipset. 

Can I Use Xeon for Gaming?

You can, but it’s not preferable since these processors cannot be overclocked. Overclocking is often required with resource-intensive games to keep them running smoothly at high fps.

To expand your knowledge make sure to check: