If you’re a gamer in the process of building your ultimate gaming PC, you’re, most likely, looking for the best motherboard for gaming. A motherboard holds all of the core components of a PC together, but not all motherboards are the same and some will only be compatible with certain components.
Whether you’re looking for an Intel or AMD motherboard, there are plenty of options available. With this guide, we’ll show you the basics of how to choose the best gaming motherboard along with a list of some of the best motherboards currently available.
LGA 1151 Motherboards
LGA 2066 Motherboards
What is a Motherboard?
A motherboard is a printed circuit board where all the other components of a computer or device are connected or “plugged” into. It’s like the backbone of the computer that holds all the parts together. However, it also plays an important role in distributing power and making connections between the RAM, CPU, hard drives and all the other components. A motherboard may also contain spaces for expansion in case you’d like to make upgrades to futureproof your PC.
PCs, laptops, phones and other devices all have motherboards in various sizes and complexities. When searching for the best motherboard for gaming, here are a few features to look out for:
Motherboards can come in a variety of different form factors, but the most common include ATX and microATX. Form factors in a motherboard refer to various specifications that describe the dimensions, type and position that a given motherboard has. Without having compatible form factors, you won’t be able to properly put together all of your PC’s components onto your motherboard.
A chipset manages the flow of data between the different components of the PC. It can be nicknamed a “communications hub”. Newer chipsets have the potential to reduce latency and increase the responsiveness of a system, which is a great advantage for PC gamers. The type of chipset in your motherboard also has a major impact on the system’s overclocking capability, with newer series generally more adept at supporting overclocking and heavy gaming.
There are four main socket categories discussed in this guide: LGA 1151, LGA 2066, AM4 and AM3+. The type you choose will fully depend on a CPU that you want to use. It all comes down to the size and fit of the sockets where the processor plugs into the motherboard. The size and fit will vary among manufacturers and it’s essential to make sure your motherboard has a compatible socket for the type of CPU you want to use, otherwise, all of the components simply won’t function.
How to Choose The Best Motherboard For Gaming
Once you’ve picked out an SSD, graphics card and RAM, you’ll need a motherboard that will be able to support all of those things. If you’re searching online for the best motherboards and reading product descriptions, pay close attention to the specifications of the motherboard you’re interested in. Due to the large complexity of motherboards and their wide array of features, the best way to choose one for your needs is to start by looking at socket type and narrowing down by specifications and added features.
CPU and socket type
Pick your CPU first, as this will be the brain of your computer. Once you’ve found the best CPU for your needs, the type of CPU you have will only be compatible with certain types of motherboards. AMD (which includes AM4 and AM3+) and Intel (which includes LGA 1151 and LGA 2066) are the two primary types of CPU, with socket shapes being one of the most important differences to consider when looking for a compatible motherboard.
RAM, your computer’s storage space for temporary data, comes in many types. When thinking about RAM, the best features to look for is the minimum and maximum RAM speeds of your motherboard (normally between 2133 and 4000 MHz). You do not want to get RAM slower than your motherboard’s capabilities as it will cause complications.
You also want to make sure your motherboard’s DDR type matches your RAM. The types of RAM channels that the motherboard can hold is also important if you’re looking to get a speed boost when using multiple sticks of RAM in the right slots. The two different types of channels are dual and quad, with quad channels having the potential to better deal with memory bandwidth loads.
This is where you’ll be connecting your mass storage devices (such as SSDs) and other optical drives (such as a Blu-ray player). Generally, a mid-range motherboard will have 6 SATA ports, with higher-end motherboards having more room for storage (ideal for hardcore gamers and enthusiasts).
USB slots and Ethernet ports
Different motherboards may have varying amounts and types of USB slots and Ethernet ports. The numbers to look for should be based on your personal preference for how much use you think you’ll need out of these components.
PCI express (PCIe) slots
This is a section of the motherboard where expansion cards are placed. This not only includes graphics cards but also sound cards, Ethernet adapters and other cards that can give your PC additional capabilities. If you’re looking for the best possible gaming experience, you should be on the lookout for a motherboard that allows you to have multiple graphics card connections (this is usually called “crossfire” or “SLI”).
Overclocking and thermal management
If you plan on pushing your PC to its limits beyond the specifications of the manufacturer, you’re going to need to make sure your motherboard can handle it. Your motherboard should also have water cooling or a very high-performance air cooling system to avoid hardware damage while overclocking.
Sound and audio
Most motherboards have integrated sound capabilities to reduce the need for buying extra audio components. One of the most important things to look for in onboard audio is the codec because, the better the codec, the better the sound quality played through your speakers or headphones.
Build quality and reliability
Always ensure that you’re buying a motherboard with a long warranty from a reputable manufacturer. Some models are prone to being DOA (“dead on arrival”), so look over product reviews ahead of time and choose newer, well-tested models. Solid capacitors and reinforced slots are other qualities that generally reflect durability and added protection, although too much covering can add bulkiness.
Many motherboards have unique and attractive designs that can take your setup to the next level of superiority. Mystic Light Extension and AURA Sync RGB lighting are some of the most popular lighting features that enable you to add custom lighting to your motherboard in different places and colors for personalized aesthetics.
BIOS stands for “Basic Input/Output System”. It’s a built-in software that allows you to access and change your computer on a very technical level. This is where you would access overclocking settings. UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) is the newer version of BIOS that you may also come across in newer motherboards.
Best LGA 1151 Motherboards
ASUS Prime Z390-A
An Affordable, yet High-Performing Board Built to Last
When talking about motherboards, ASUS has been a sure thing for a long time, and ASUS Prime Z390-A is no exception to that rule. With its quality build and a ton of features, this motherboard will perfectly fit any overclocking rig, and more importantly, deliver a top-notch performance.
Equipped with a Z390 chipset, this board brings the native USB 3.1 Gen 2 support and comes with plenty of USB ports (three USB3.1 Gen2, one USB3.1 Type-C, five USB3.1 Gen1 and six USB 2.0 ports), as well as two display outputs (1xHDMI and 1xDP) on the back panel. Also, ASUS Prime Z390-A is outfitted with three PCIex16 slots, two of which provide full x16 mode, and one only provides x4 mode, three PCIex1 slots, two M.2 sockets (one has its own special heatsink) of which only one offers SATA support and six SATA ports (they support RAID 0, 1, 5, 10).
Other than the great connectivity, there are also many tuning and protection features, such as the overclockers “dreamland” ASUS AI Overclocking, Overvoltage Protection, Safe Slot Core (intended for safe holding of the heavyweight GPUs in the slot) and a lot more.
All in all, if you want a durable product, with many options and great performance, ASUS Prime Z390-A comes as a great solution, especially considering its very competitive price.
- Overclocking potential
- Plenty of features
- Not that great chipset improvement over its predecessor Z370
ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero
An Absolutely Gorgeous Motherboard according to Both Performance and Looks
ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero is a board that is packed with a large number of features and connectivity options that will satisfy even the most demanding enthusiasts. Although it is the least expensive of all the motherboards in the ASUS ROG Maximus family, this device delivers exceptional performance even with all the tuning options turned off. With the help of the ASUS 5-way Optimization that includes automatic tuning, AI Overclocking, pre-made cooling modes, etc. this motherboard turns into a real “beast”.
Aside from the enhancement tools, this motherboard is also equipped with SupremeFX and Sonic Studio III for better gaming audio experience, ASUS Safe Slot and RGB LEDs that create an utterly different impression about the board itself when activated.
Very stable, with improved BIOS and based on VRM design, ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero delivers everything that would be expected from a hardware of this class. There are numerous USB ports (four USB 3.1 Gen 2 (one of which Type-C), two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.1 Gen1), HDMI and DP output, even two Intel® Wireless-AC 9560 Wi-Fi connections. Aside from that, there are also two M.2 sockets (each with a heatsink), three PCIe slots, of which the first two share the lanes and support for one x16 Gen 3 graphics card, and much more.
Simply said, a masterpiece!
- Exceptional overclocking
- Superb efficiency
- Numerous features
- A bit pricey compared to the competition
GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS Ultra
A Quality, But Just Too Expensive Motherboard
Gigabyte, alongside ASUS, is the key player in producing quality gaming boards, and Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra fits in that pattern well. Dedicated for high-end mainstream gaming rigs and devotees who are planning on using multiple graphics cards and M.2 devices, this motherboard offers great CPU overclocking capabilities and a lot of storage options, accompanied by a great software package.
Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra brings the new Z390 chipset, but keeps most features of its predecessor Z370 Aorus Gaming 7, not delivering anything that would back its higher price compared to the previous Z370 generation. Outfitted with 17 USB ports (five USB 3.1 Gen2 (two Type-C), four USB 3.1 Gen1 and eight USB 2.0), six SATA ports, three M.2 sockets with their own heatsinks (two of them offer SATA support), eight fan headers, alongside the three x16-length PCIe slots that offer two work modes (x16-x0-x4 or x8-x8-x4), this motherboard offers storage and connectivity options up to the standards of the class.
Unfortunately, there is only one video output (HDMI), but since the majority of users won’t use the integrated graphics that isn’t such a big deal. The bigger problem is that its full potential can be managed only under processors such as Core i9-9900K, while this motherboard is just too expensive for i5 or i7 CPUs, and Z370 Aorus Gaming 7, for instance, comes as a much better solution.
- Great software
- Excellent CPU overclock
- Price is too high
- Only one video output (HDMI)
ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E
A Motherboard that Doesn’t Bring Anything Revolutionary, but Does a Quality Job
Tough competition, with a lot of similar products on the market, makes it hard for motherboards to bring anything that will be a surprise. ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E is among those unlucky, quality products that do a great job, but don’t bring such a huge improvement over the previous generation, and more importantly, don’t make your eyes sparkle.
Highly efficient, stable, with a quality cooling and a great potential for gaming and overclocking, ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E comes with six SATA ports (support RAID 0, 1, 5, 10), two M.2 sockets, 15 USB ports (five USB 3.1 Gen2) and excellent wireless connectivity thanks to the Intel® Wireless-AC 9560 device. Similar to every other ASUS gaming motherboards, this one also brings a 5-Way Optimization and many quality features such as AI Overclocking, AURA RGB Lighting software for the control over its RGB light zone, ASUS Optimum II, etc.
There are also three x16-length PCIe slots that, similarly to the other products in the class, offer support for only one full x16 Gen 3 graphics card and work in two configuration modes (x16-x0-x4 or x8-x8-x4).
Overall, ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E is a great product, but it doesn’t bring anything innovative and amazing, as the ROG brand should do. Important features and options are there, but it just lacks that special “touch”.
- Excellent audio quality
- Compatibility problems with the AURA RGB software
- Too little RGB lighting
MSI MEG Z390 GODLIKE
One of the Most Expensive and Feature-rich Motherboards on the Market
If you are into big things, considering cost, features and performance, you can’t go any higher than MSI MEG Z390 GODLIKE. This motherboard offers so many options that the regular users will never use most of them. In other words, if you are not into breaking overclocking records, this device is a huge overkill.
The list of its amazing features includes two additional cards (Streaming Boost capture card and M.2 Expander Z-card), four RGB headers, 16-phase power delivery, dual HD audio codec, dual Realtek ALC1220 LAN, 16 USB ports of various types, four PCIe slots, three M.2 sockets, dual Killer 1550 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter, even the U.2 connector and much more.
In the case of MSI MEG Z390 GODLIKE, everything is big and shiny: dimensions (this is an extended ATX board), price, features, even design – but considering the price tag this is something expected and even welcome. This is simply a one-of-a-kind product that delivers exceptional overall package suited only for the most demanding users and those who want the best of the best no matter what the cost is.
If you are among those lucky ones, feel free to purchase it and enjoy all the benefits, but be aware that you can get a similar-performance board, with more sensible features that you would really need, for a significantly smaller amount money.
- Exceptional overclocking
- Rich with features
- Great RGB lighting
- High price
GIGABYTE B360 AORUS Gaming 3
A Decent Motherboard Dedicated to Gamers that Are not into Overclocking
Coming with a B360 chipset that has many limitations compared to Z370, and especially Z390 chipset, GIGABYTE B360 AORUS Gaming 3 has no intention to compete with the high-end boards, but be a reasonable option for gamers that are not overclocking fans, but are looking for a quality motherboard, with a lot of features.
Six SATA ports, two M.2 sockets (one equipped with a heatsink), reinforced PCIe slot, TB3 support, 12 USB ports (one USB 3.1 Gen2), Intel CNVi Wi-Fi are just some of the more important features of this quality mainstream gaming board. There are also three PCIe slots, with support for only one full x16 graphics card, two RGB lighting zones and multiple headers for expansions, one DVI and one HDMI video on the back plate and much more.
Considering performance, GIGABYTE B360 AORUS Gaming 3 isn’t impressive, but it delivers results similar to the other boards in the class. In other words, if you are looking for a decent performance, good looks and quality connectivity over the overclocking capability, GIGABYTE B360 AORUS Gaming 3 is more than a good choice and a great value for the money.
- Great RGB lighting
- Wi-Fi module
- Wi-Fi antennas take an expansion slot place
- Not that great positioning of the ports and the connectors
MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC
A Premium-Performance Motherboard with a Mainstream Price Tag
Finding the best compromise between the price, performance and features is never an easy task, but in the case of MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC, designers have obviously done a terrific job. This board has exactly what you need, without the unnecessary “bling” that raises the cost but has no real purpose for the majority of users. In the case of MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC, everything is perfectly measured and packed into an affordable and very attractive package according to both performance and design that incorporates user-friendly architecture with an appealing on-board Mystic RGB light.
Without any real negative sides, this motherboard brings numerous everyday features such as the Audio Boost 4 with Nahimic 3 amplifier, Core Boost, PCIe Streel Armor, Twin Turbo M.2, great connectivity with 15 USB ports (three of which are USB 3.1 Gen2) , dual M.2 socket, six SATA ports and a lot more. There are also dual Wi-Fi and the Bluetooth, numerous fan headers, three x16 PCIe slots with support for one full-length x16 graphics card… basically everything that you may ever need.
MSI got it right with this one, delivering a great product for both gamer devotees and mainstream users. You just can’t go wrong with purchasing MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC.
- Great value for the money
- RGB lighting
- Attractive design
- Power consumption
ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I
Proof that Great Performance Can also be Put into a Small Package
ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I is a mini-ITX board that offers similar performance and features to its larger Z390 counterpart. According to performance, it is better than, for instance, MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC that is a full ATX board. Generally, with a solid work and a great overclocking potential, this device is a great option for the gamers looking for a rig that will take the smallest possible amount of space, but deliver a full gaming experience at the same time.
Although small in dimensions, this motherboard has all the important stuff: full length x16 PCIe slot, dual M.2 socket, four SATA ports, 12 USB ports (three USB 3.1 Gen2), great sound thanks to its ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio that delivers performance very near to the ROG Maximus XI Hero, Intel® Wireless-AC 9560 adapter, even a massive VRM heatsink and an RGB lighting.
Nevertheless, there are some minor things that could be better, such as the power consumption that can surely be more efficient and auto-overclocking that demands a bit more tuning from ASUS, but other than that, this is one high-quality product. Actually, this motherboard presents the best option for the mainstream mini-ITX PC there is, that offers a more than pleasing performance, and numerous features at the same time, that guarantee for easy and trouble-free work.
- Quality performance
- Good I/O shield
- Nice RGB lighting
- High power consumption
- Auto overclocking
Best AM4 Motherboards
ASUS ROG Strix X570-E
A Gaming Motherboard that Delivers an Excellent Value for the Money
ASUS ROG Strix X570-E motherboard is a device that delivers quality performance and a good set of premium features at a reasonable price.
This is an AM4 socket-based motherboard that offers good connectivity, with two Ethernet connections (Realtek 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet and Intel Gigabit Ethernet), Wi-Fi 6 connection, with MU-MIMO functionality and BT5.0. Furthermore, it comes with two M.2 slots, eight USB3 Gen2 and two USB2.0 ports, eight SATA ports and a lot more.
Also, it has three PCIe 4.0 x16 expansion slots, the third of which support only x4 mode, while the first two support for either a single x16 or dual x8 mode. It offers a three-year warranty. In addition, it comes with SupremeFX S1220A HD audio codec and support for both two-way NVIDIA SLI and Asus Aura.
More importantly, this ROG Strix X570-E delivers an excellent performance that can be compared with MSI Prestige X570 Creation that offers similar efficiency, but at a drastically higher price. Moreover, its good overclocking capacity allows it to boost Ryzen 9 3900X to 4.4 GHz without much trouble, which is less than the official maximum boost clock of 4.6GHz, but still pretty respectable.
All in all, ROG Strix X570-E is one hell of a product that is a perfect fit not only for die-hard gamers, searching for the best gaming motherboard, but also for power users. In other words, this motherboard is an amazing buy that will surely not disappoint you.
- Solid overclocking capabilities
- Cheaper than the competition
- Great connectivity
- Only two M.2 connectors
MSI MPG X570 Gaming Edge Wi-Fi
A Fair-Priced Solid Performing Midrange Motherboard
If you are into more affordable, but still pretty efficient motherboards with a lot of expandability options, MSI MPG X570 Gaming Edge Wi-Fi is a motherboard for you. It is pretty similar to the more expensive X570 Gaming Pro Carbon WIFI, but with some minor differences such as, for instance, installment of Realtek 8111H Gigabit LAN Controller instead of Intel I211AT controller, a lack of additional decorations, etc.
Gaming Edge Wi-Fi comes with a solid set of features that include Realtek 8111H Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 5 with MU-MIMO function, Audio BOOST4 and MSI Mystic Light that offers a variety of color styles and options. Moreover, it offers good expandability, with two M.2 slots, six SATA ports, eight USB3 Gen2 ports, two USB3 Gen1 ports and many other connectivity options.
Furthermore, there are also two PCIe4.0x16 expansion slots that can work in a single x16 or dual x8 mode and three PCIe3.0x1 slots. In other words, everything needed for decent gaming is there.
MSI MPG X570 Gaming Edge Wi-Fi offers decent performance and is capable of pulling, for instance, Ryzen 3600 to about 4.0GHz (4.2GHz is the official boost clock speed), which is pretty satisfactory, especially considering issues with AMDs declared boost speeds.
In other words, if you are looking for the best reasonably-priced motherboard, this one is probably among the best you can find.
- Good expendability
- Fair price
- No support for Nvidia SLI
- Not the best Wi-Fi connection
MSI MPG X570 Gaming PRO Carbon Wi-Fi
A Solid Mainstream Motherboard that will Please Most Gamers
Competition among motherboard has never been tougher than today and only small differences are separating the motherboards between each other in the same market segment. However, true quality always finds its ways to be spotted and MSI MPG X570 Gaming PRO Carbon Wi-Fi is a good example of that.
Although it has a few flaws here and there, such as, for instance, a lack of 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet, or a smaller number of USB3 Gen2 ports than the competition, this motherboard still offers plenty of quality features that will surely attract you to its side. There is an Audio BOOST 4 with Nahimic software, Mystic light with 29 effects and support for additional LED strips, two PCIe4.0x16 expansion slots (they support single x16 or dual x8 mode), two PCIe3.0x1 expansion slots and a lot more.
Gaming PRO Carbon Wi-Fi also has six SATA ports, two M.2 slots, four USB3 Gen2 ports and six USB3 Gen1 ports. It offers decent connectivity with Intel I211AT Gigabit Ethernet and Intel WiFi 6, with MU-MIMO function and BT.
Similar to the other motherboards of the class, it can boost Ryzen 9 3900X to around 4.4GHz and, more importantly, provide a fairly solid performance.
Altogether, if you are searching for the best reasonably-priced motherboard that will give you all the functionality that you need, Gaming PRO Carbon WiFi is a great option for you.
- Solid performance
- Good connectivity
- Great lighting capabilities
- It has fewer USB3 Gen2 ports than the competition
- No 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet
ASUS ROG Strix B450-F
A Motherboard Destined for Mainstream Users
The chipset that currently gives the most value for the money in the Ryzen market is definitely B450. ASUS ROG Strix B450-F, which works with this chipset, is presented on the market in the same manner, giving you a lot for your bucks.
Although it doesn’t deliver so many tuning options as the X470 based motherboards and lacks some of its features that advanced users will miss, ASUS ROG Strix B450-F still presents a very appealing solution for the majority of mainstream gamers, especially considering that the B450 and the X470 have a very similar performance.
Dual M.2, three PCIe slots with support for one heavy duty graphics card, 10 USB ports (two USB 3.1 Gen2), six SATA ports and two video outputs (one HDMI and one DP) are more than enough for a large portion of users, particularly those attracted to the more affordable part of the market. On the other hand, ASUS ROG Strix B450-F also has some of the premium features that can be found on much more expensive boards such as ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel Audio, Aura Sync RGB lighting, 5-way optimization, etc.
Overall, if your budget is limited and you don’t suffer from the need to have all the premium features, but still demand quality performance and a decent set of tools, ASUS ROG Strix B450-F comes as a great alternative that won’t disappoint you.
- Quality performance
- Great audio
- Not that great BIOS
MSI Arsenal Gaming B450 Tomahawk
A Decent Performing Motherboard that Delivers a Great Value for Money
MSI Arsenal Gaming B450 Tomahawk is not a premium, shiny product that will make you enthusiastic about the purchase and surely won’t make you feel like you are at the top of the world. This one will do the job and, more importantly, you will be able to purchase it without taking out a mortgage.
There is nothing exceptional about this board: one M.2 socket without a heatsink, two x16 PCIe slots with support for one x16 Gen3 graphics card, 12 USB ports (two USB 3.1 Gen2), six SATA ports and the decent, but not great ALC892 Audio Codec. Nice discrete RGB lighting, excellent power efficiency, all in all, average.
What is the key point of this product is that it actually offers everything that the regular, mainstream user might need, but not a zip more than that, and that is the main reason for its great price. MSI Arsenal Gaming B450 Tomahawk is a simple motherboard that brings just enough features for decent gaming and overall presents a good base you can build your configuration on.
You won’t get any extras for showing off or numerous advanced features, but on the other hand, what are the odds that you are going to use them anyway?
- Great power consumption
- Good price
- RGB lighting
- Issues with the XMP memory compatibility
- Not that great audio performance
Best LGA 2066 Motherboards
ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe II
A Lot of Features and Quality Performance in One
If you are looking for numerous features, followed by excellent performance, and the budget doesn’t present too much of an issue for you, ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe II is a perfect choice for you.
Yes, it is a bit more expensive; however, considering the long list of functionalities and features, it is certainly worth it. There are numerous AIO, fan and pump headers for quality cooling, ASUS Node header, Intel Gigabit Ethernet and support for 5G LAN via the Aquantia AQC-111C RJ45 port. Moreover, there is an Intel Wireless AC-9260 with MU-MIMO, BT5 and support for Nvidia SLI and Asus Aura.
Expansion slots include three PCIex16 ports (they can work in single x16, double x16 or x16/x16/x8 mode), two PCIex1 ports, two M.2 slots (each with a heatsink) and eight SATA ports, while there are also eight DIMMs, two Thunderbolt ports and even two DisplayPorts. Altogether, there are plenty of things to party with.
When talking about performance, ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe II doesn’t really shine under stock performance, its real area of work is with overclocked CPUs where it shows all of its qualities and can easily boost Core i9-7900X up to 4.6 GHz, without any trouble.
In other words, if you want the best possible motherboard for gaming, ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe II is surely one of the better options out there.
- A Good overclocking performance
- Nice set of features
- Not the best stock performance
MSI Pro Series X299 Raider
A Motherboard Created for a Professional Use
Designed for premium PC builds, MSI Pro Series X299 Raider presents a good value for the money, with some specific, unusual features such as Turbo U.2 port, eight RAM slots, etc. that may not be needed by many, but make a feel about this board a bit special.
Its other features include two M.2 sockets (share lanes with two SATA ports), discrete RGB LEDs, the very popular ALC1220 audio codec, 11 USB ports (three USB 3.1 Gen2), dual Intel Gigabit NICs, Eight SATA ports, but also four PCIe slots with three-way SLI and Crossfire gaming support.
Although MSI Pro Series X299 Raider is primarily made for professional use. Both its system and gaming performance are somewhere in the middle when compared to the other X299 boards. For instance, it is bellow ASRock X299 Taichi, but above MSI X299 Tomahawk Arctic – both of these are much more expensive products. Overall, MSI Pro Series X299 Raider delivers the right amount of features and performance for this price range and definitely presents a reasonable option for a wide base of users, including gamers, but also professionals it was intended for in the first place.
- U.2 port
- Eight RAM slots
- Dual LAN
- Power efficiency
GIGABYTE X299 AORUS Ultra Gaming Pro
A High-End Motherboard Rich in Features
Gigabyte, the Taiwanese motherboard giant, recently released a new series of X299 motherboards. Of the several boards to make their lineup, the X299 AORUS Ultra Gaming Pro is one of our favorites.
One of the stand-out, improved features of the latest Ultra Gaming Pro board from Gigabyte is the added networking module. Whereas the original board required additional hardware to connect via Wi-Fi, this latest generation board has Wi-Fi connectivity built right in.
The Gigabyte X299 comes bundled with a driver disc, installation guide, a user manual, SATA cables, IO shield, temperature probes and few other accessories.
The GIGABYTE X299 AORUS Ultra Gaming Pro isn’t the most affordable motherboard on the market, which is the biggest complaint. However, any builder looking for the latest, bleeding-edge features and capabilities will be happy with this board.
- Dual 8-pin CPU power
- Three M.2 slots
- Supports Thunderbolt 3
- Reasonably priced
- Not a very high-quality BIOS
- The drivers on the website reportedly don’t always download
- No USB 3.0 or 3.1 front panel connectivity
If you don’t mind paying more for the best and most extreme motherboard for gaming, look for:
- A motherboard that’s compatible with the latest processors, preferably with a LGA 1151 or newer socket type (depending on your CPU). While AM4 is an updated choice from AM3+, the LGA 1151 and LGA 2066 are generally better options for high performance gaming.
- A motherboard with an Z390 (or even X299) or X470 chipset.
- A motherboard with built-in temperature control, customizable lighting and overclocking capabilities.
- A motherboard with lots of additional slots and ports for RAM, PCIe, USB and so on.
If you’re searching for a mid-range budget motherboard for gaming, look for:
- A motherboard with a Z270 (for Intel) or B350 (for AMD) chipset, at the oldest.
- A relatively new motherboard, at least AM4 or LGA 1151, that fits your budget.
- An affordable and reliable motherboard suitable for your PSU and RAM needs. If you don’t care about lots of extra features that you don’t need, don’t pay for them.
Whether you’re building your first PC on a budget or you’re searching for the highest quality components to put together a powerful gaming system, finding the best motherboard for gaming is essential.
While a motherboard shouldn’t be the first thing you buy, your motherboard will be the major component that connects everything together. That’s why it’s important to look at specifications and read reviews so you can purchase a motherboard that will work for your personal tastes and plans for upgrading in the future.