16 Best Motherboards for Gaming in 2019

best motherboards for gaming
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

AM4 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:

Form Factors

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.

Chipset

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.

Socket Type

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

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.

SATA ports

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.

Aesthetics

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

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

asus prime z390-a
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.

Pros:

  • Overclocking potential
  • Plenty of features
Cons:

  • Not that great chipset improvement over its predecessor Z370

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ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero

An Absolutely Gorgeous Motherboard according to Both Performance and Looks

asus rog maximus xi hero
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!

Pros:

  • Exceptional overclocking
  • Superb efficiency
  • Numerous features
Cons:

  • A bit pricey compared to the competition

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GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS Ultra

A Quality, But Just Too Expensive Motherboard

gigabyte z390 aorus ultra
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.

Pros:

  • Great software
  • Excellent CPU overclock
Cons:

  • Price is too high
  • Only one video output (HDMI)

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ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E

A Motherboard that Doesn’t Bring Anything Revolutionary, but Does a Quality Job

asus rog strix z390-e
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”.

Pros:

  • Excellent audio quality
  • Efficient
Cons:

  • Compatibility problems with the AURA RGB software
  • Too little RGB lighting

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MSI MEG Z390 GODLIKE

One of the Most Expensive and Feature-rich Motherboards on the Market

msi meg z390 godlike
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.

Pros:

  • Exceptional overclocking
  • Rich with features
  • Great RGB lighting
Cons:

  • High price

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GIGABYTE B360 AORUS Gaming 3

A Decent Motherboard Dedicated to Gamers that Are not into Overclocking

gigabyte b360 aorus gaming 3
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.

Pros:

  • Great RGB lighting
  • Wi-Fi module
Cons:

  • Wi-Fi antennas take an expansion slot place
  • Not that great positioning of the ports and the connectors

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MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC

A Premium-Performance Motherboard with a Mainstream Price Tag

msi mpg z390 gaming edge ac
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.

Pros:

  • Great value for the money
  • Performance
  • RGB lighting
  • Attractive design
Cons:

  • Power consumption

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ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I

Proof that Great Performance Can also be Put into a Small Package

asus rog strix z390-i
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.

Pros:

  • Quality performance
  • Good I/O shield
  • Nice RGB lighting
Cons:

  • High power consumption
  • Auto overclocking

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Best AM4 Motherboards

Gigabyte X470 Aorus ULTRA GAMING

Great Gaming Motherboard Under $200

gigabyte x470 aorus ultra gaming
AMD released 2nd Gen Ryzen CPUs and with the improved processors comes improved motherboards, more specifically X470 motherboards. Thankfully, rig builders have a pleasant number of options to choose from. Among the leaders is Gigabyte’s AORUS ULTRA GAMING, one of the best gaming motherboard under $200.

After seeing this board in person, the first thing to catch users’ eye is its refined, more rugged look. Last generation motherboards from Gigabyte were heavily criticized for awful, cheap-looking styling. It’s clear that Gigabyte heard the calls for something more tasteful than plastic molding.

As far as capabilities, one of the primary advantages of the X470 chipset as compared to its predecessors is the improved memory capabilities. When it comes to PCB layer count, DDR4-2933 will work with anything over six layers, while single-rank DDR4-2668 is used for four layer chips.

Another noteworthy improvement revolves around the StoreMI multi-drive technology. Essentially, StoreMI enables SSDs to work on data caching operations with older disk drives to improve overall performance.

The back panel furnishes (1) Type-A USB 3.1, (1) Type-C USB 3.1, (6) USB 3.1 Gen1 ports. Many other motherboards trump this one in terms of speed, but overall, the Gigabyte X470 Aorus is one of the best reasonably-priced motherboards.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive compared to other motherboards on the market
  • Sleeker look than previous generations
  • Attractive lights and plenty of fan slots
Cons:

  • Overclocking issues
  • Not a very high-quality BIOS

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MSI X470 GAMING PLUS PRO

Exceptional Budget Friendly Gaming Motherboard

msi x470gplus performance gaming
The MSI X470 GPLUS is another fantastic motherboard for gaming enthusiast, and in our opinion, it’s one of the best budget motherboards on the market. Just like the X470 AORUS from Gigabyte, the MSI’s Gaming Plus motherboard is built to support AMD’s latest generation AM4 processors such as the all-new Ryzen.

As far as hardware specs, the Gaming Plus motherboard has four dual-channel RAM slots which hold up to 64GB. On the storage front, there are six different SATA III inputs as well as two M.2 slots. Some users are disappointed that neither of these is furnished with a heat shield, however, they’ve been engineered to operate at blazing fast speeds of 32Gb/s when used with compatible hardware.

There are quite many PCIe slots. Two slots are PCIe 3.0 x16 which are perfect for state-of-the-art graphics units. There’s also a PCIe 2.0 x16 and three PCIe 2.0 x1 slots.

All in all, considering its low price, the MSI X470 is highly recommended for anyone in the market for a budget motherboard.

Pros:

  • Reasonably priced
  • Not a lot of reported overclocking issues
  • Great M.2 heatsink
Cons:

  • Not a very high-quality BIOS
  • Can be slow
  • No USB 3.0 gen 2 header

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MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon

A Motherboard Designed with Only One Purpose in Mind: Gaming!

msi x370 gaming pro carbon
If your primary intention when purchasing a motherboard is to build your own ultimate gaming PC build that will allow you too fully enjoy all the latest titles, MSI X370 GAMING PRO CARBON comes as a very attractive option. Equipped with numerous gaming-dedicated features such as the Military Class VRM, DDR4 Boost, double ESD protection, Steel Armor for the protection of the PCIe and DDR4 slots, optimized BIOS, amazing sound and much more, this motherboard is the right pick for all the Ryzen fans, and one of the best offerings on the market for the AM4 socket.

Other features of MSI X370 GAMING PRO CARBON include dual M.2 socket, six SATA connectors, three full-lengths x16 PCIe slots, 16 USB ports, numerous fan headers…. overall, everything that is expected from the motherboard of this class.

Unfortunately, everyday work on various applications has proven not to be one of the MSI X370 GAMING PRO CARBON’s stronger points; on the contrary, its efficiency in this department is average, which is not that great for a board that presents one of the flagship products of MSI. Nevertheless, this board is made primarily for gaming and therefore, its weaknesses in the app work should be observed from that perspective.

Pros:

  • Performance
  • Software package
  • Quality build
Cons:

  • Overclocking only through the change of the multiplier
  • High power consumption

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ASUS ROG Strix B450-F

A Motherboard Destined for Mainstream Users

asus rog strix b450-f
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.

Pros:

  • Quality performance
  • Price
  • Great audio
Cons:

  • Not that great BIOS

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MSI Arsenal Gaming B450 Tomahawk

A Decent Performing Motherboard that Delivers a Great Value for Money

msi arsenal gaming b450 tomahawk
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?

Pros:

  • Great power consumption
  • Good price
  • RGB lighting
Cons:

  • Issues with the XMP memory compatibility
  • Not that great audio performance

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Best LGA 2066 Motherboards

ASUS PRIME X299-DELUXE

Most Feature Packed Motherboard

asus prime x299-deluxe
According to the company’s official marketing material, the ASUS Prime has “been expertly engineered for professional content creators and power users who work hard by day and play harder by night.”

These new boards have been designed to take full advantage of Intel’s 7th generation X-Series processors. Unlike previously released motherboards, new boards based on the latest X299 chipset allow users to squeeze every ounce of capability from their devices that connect via U.2, M.2 Thunderbolt EX 3, and USB 3.1.

Unfortunately, many users have reported that this motherboard stopped recognizing the RAM as well as slowed down greatly. Also, some of the pins on the boards headers can get stuck and the audio ports can stop working. Users who do not have these issues, however, report they are extremely satisfied with this motherboard and would buy it again.

The Prime X299 from ASUS has a hefty price tag of around $500. Such a price point puts the board out of reach for many beginner/entry level builders, however, when you take a moment to review all of Prime’s capabilities, the price looks justified.

Pros:

  • Ability to connect via U.2, M.2 Thunderbolt EX 3, and USB 3.1.
  • Well-made UEFI BIOS design
  • Strong Wi-Fi
Cons:

  • Not very budget-friendly compared to competing motherboards
  • Poor design of the MOSFET heatsink

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MSI Pro Series X299 Raider

A Motherboard Created for a Professional Use

msi pro series x299 raider
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.

Pros:

  • U.2 port
  • Eight RAM slots
  • Dual LAN
Cons:

  • Power efficiency

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GIGABYTE X299 AORUS Ultra Gaming Pro

A High-End Motherboard Rich in Features

gigabyte x299 aorus ultra gaming pro
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.

Pros:

  • Dual 8-pin CPU power
  • Three M.2 slots
  • Supports Thunderbolt 3
  • Reasonably priced
Cons:

  • 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

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Additional Tips

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.

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