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
Last update on 2021-11-22 // The links above are affiliate // Images from Amazon
LGA 1200 Motherboards
Last update on 2021-11-21 // The links above are affiliate // Images from Amazon
Last update on 2021-11-22 // The links above are affiliate // Images from Amazon
LGA 2066 Motherboards
|ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe II X299 Motherboard LGA2066 (Intel Core X-Series) ATX DDR4 M.2 U.2...||Check at Amazon|
Last update on 2021-11-22 // The links above are affiliate // Images from Amazon
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 1200, LGA 2066 and AM4. 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 Intel (which includes LGA 1151, LGA 1200 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 2400 and 4400 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.
M.2 slot has become one of the cornerstones of modern gaming machines and the place where the super-fast NVMe SSDs are placed. At least one M.2 slot is today’s norm. However, if you are a more demanding user, two, or even three M.2 slots are a much more preferable option.
This is where you’ll be connecting your mass storage devices (such as HDDs and 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
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 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 onboard 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
Best LGA 1200 Motherboards
ASUS Prime Z490-A
A Mid-tier Oriented Gaming Motherboard
ASUS Prime Z490-A is a solid, fair-priced LGA1200 gaming motherboard that is primarily made for users that are seeking a quality performance but are very careful about their spending at the same time.
This motherboard offers plenty of storage capacity (six SATA ports and two M.2 slots), it has respectable connectivity (four USB 3.2 Gen1 ports (two on the rear side), six USB 3.2 Gen2 ports (four on the rear side), six USB 2.0 ports (two on the rear side), one DisplayPort, one HDMI port, etc.) and provides a very good audio experience thanks to its Realtek S1200A audio codec.
When talking about RGB effects, you should know that ASUS Prime Z490-A offers plenty of options and comes with Aura Sync RGB lighting, as well as multiple RGB headers, including the Gen 2 ones. In other words, an attractive visual happening is guaranteed.
Unfortunately, there is also one serious drawback – the problems with its 2.5Gb Intel I225-V Ethernet. However, since this is a brand new board, that will probably be fixed with some BIOS update in the near future.
On the other hand, this motherboard offers very good cooling capabilities and comes fitted with VRM and PCH heatsink, as well as Fan Xpert 4 utility that should certainly help you find the perfect configuration in no time.
All in all, if you want one of the best gaming motherboards out there, but are not willing to spend a real fortune on it, ASUS Prime Z490-A is as made for you.
- A decent price
- A solid performance
- Good connectivity options
- Problematic Ethernet port
- No Wi-Fi
ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero
An Excellent, Well-Rounded High-End Motherboard
If you are looking for a high-end motherboard with plenty of features and excellent performance, at a more reasonable price, ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero is the device for you.
This is a well-rounded board, with great connectivity and expansion options that include multiple USB ports (six USB 3.2 Gen1 ports (four on the rear side), six USB 3.2 Gen2 ports (four on the rear side), six USB 2.0 ports (two on the rear side), DisplayPort, HDMI port, as well as three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, three PCIe 3.0 x1 slots, and many others. Moreover, ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero is fitted with dual Ethernet that includes both Marvell® AQtion AQC111C 5Gb and Intel I219V 1 Gb controller, and Intel WiFi 6 AX201 chip; therefore, you should have no problems staying online all the time.
Furthermore, this motherboard comes along with Aura Sync RGB lighting and addressable headers; it offers solid VRM cooling that is well paired with its 16 power stages, and equally importantly, it offers good storage capacity that involves six SATA ports and three M.2 slots.
ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero delivers impressive sound experience due to its SupremeFX S1220A codec and support for DTS Sound and Sonic Studio III, but more importantly, it provides very good gaming performance and overclocking capabilities that rightfully position it neck and neck with the best gaming motherboards on the market.
In other words, if you want an attractive-looking and well-performing motherboard with solid overclocking capabilities, ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero should be your number one priority.
- Good overclocking capabilities
- Attractive looks
- Good VRM design
- A solid power delivery
- Three M.2 slots
- A bit expensive
- PCIe 4.0 support
MSI MEG Z490 GODLIKE Gaming
An Attractive-Looking, Feature-Rich Motherboard
MSI MEG Z490 GODLIKE Gaming motherboard is a device that provides a great combination of features, cool looks and before anything else, solid performance.
It has everything that a high-end board should have, such as multiple USB ports, including two Thunderbolt 3 ports, three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and one PCIe 3.0 x1 slot, excellent storage capacity, with three M.2 slots and six SATA ports, and so on. Moreover, this motherboard is equipped with excellent networking capabilities and it offers two Ethernet connections (Realtek RTL8125B 2.5G LAN and Aquantia AQC107 10G LAN), as well as Wi-Fi 6 (Intel 802.11ax) connectivity that should satisfy even the most demanding users.
MSI MEG Z490 GODLIKE Gaming offers a very good VRM design, with 16+1 90A stages; it is very well built and altogether presents a great overall product and certainly one of the best gaming motherboards available. Although it is a bit expensive, this device offers everything that you need for high-end gaming and overclocking; therefore, if you are looking for something like that, MSI MEG Z490 GODLIKE Gaming should definitely be high on your list.
- Attractive looking
- Good connectivity
- Dual LAN
- Three M.2 slots
ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming
A Small, but Powerful Gaming Motherboard
ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming is a compact-sized motherboard, packed with features and capable of delivering high-end performance.
With this board, you are getting a full package, which involves 10 power stages, SupremeFX S1220A codec, and support for DTS audio and Sonic Studio III. Moreover, there is good storage capacity, especially for an ITX motherboard, which is represented through four SATA ports, as well as two M.2 ports.
When talking about other important aspects of this device, you should know that it offers good connectivity and that it is fitted with a whole variety of connectors, such as HDMI and DisplayPort, multiple USB ports – four USB 3.2 Gen1 ports (two on the rear side), five USB 3.2 Gen2 ports (four on the rear side), four USB 2.0 ports (two on the rear side), etc. making it suitable even for the high-end rigs.
ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming is equipped with Intel AX201 WiFi 6, as well as 2.5GB ASUS Ethernet, and it offers great support for RGB lighting that incorporates the availability of multiple RGB headers, but more importantly, Aura Sync RGB lighting support that would satisfy even the most demanding gamers among you.
All in all, for the value that it offers, this is pretty much the best gaming ITX motherboard you can find.
- Great looks
- Solid connectivity
- Good performance
- No PCI Express 4.0 support
MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Edge
Excellent Mid-Range Gaming Motherboard
If you are seeking a truly valuable motherboard that will satisfy you on the gaming front, as well as its feature-rich nature and its whole attractiveness, MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Edge is the motherboard for you.
This is the device that has everything that a mainstream gamer might need, such as good overclocking capabilities, great RGB lighting that includes an integrated chipset heatsink lighting zone, and good networking, with integrated Realtek RTL8125B 2.5G LAN controller, Intel AX201 Wi-Fi6 chip, and the BT 5.1 support.
Also, this motherboard provides a solid audio experience, due to the ALC1220 HD audio codec, as well as storage capacity that includes regular six SATA ports and two M.2 slots.
Furthermore, MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Edge comes equipped with multiple connection types that involve DisplayPort, HDMI connection, multiple USB ports, two PCIe3.0 x16 slots, etc., and it provides very good overall performance that rightfully places it among the best gaming motherboards in the mainstream market.
In other words, if you want a good build quality, solid performance, and attractive looks in one, MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Edge is definitely the device to seriously consider.
- Good RGB support
- Excellent design
- Good overall performance
- Great BIOS stability
- Good build quality
- A bit pricey
GIGABYTE Z490 AORUS Ultra
GIGABYTE Z490 AORUS Ultra is a high-quality gaming motherboard that is designed for gaming enthusiasts that are looking for a great-performing, feature-rich motherboard that will help them experience their gaming adventures to the max.
This is simply a great motherboard that provides not only excellent overclocking capabilities and plenty of features but great design as well, making this device rather desirable.
GIGABYTE Z490 AORUS Ultra provides 12 power stages and offers excellent networking capabilities that incorporate Intel 2.5 GbE LAN, Wi-Fi 6, and BT5.0. Moreover, this device has a nice storage and expansion capacity and is fitted with the usual six SATA ports, three M.2 slots, with Thermal Guard, as well as three PCIe3.0 x16 slots and multiple USB ports that include: four USB 3.2 Gen1 ports (two on the rear side), five USB 3.2 Gen2 ports (four on the rear side) and eight USB 2.0 ports (four on the rear side).
Moreover, there is an HDMI connection, Thunderbolt support (only headers), plenty of RGB headers, and on top of that, the fairly solid Realtek ALC1220-VB audio. Altogether, these features define GIGABYTE Z490 AORUS Ultra as one of the best gaming motherboards out there, with a more than great combination of performance, features, and looks.
- Attractive looking
- Easy setup
- Excellent build quality
- Very good overall performance
- Excellent overclocking capability
- Great connectivity
- No built-in Thunderbolt port
- Not the best following software
ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming
An Excellent All-Around Gaming Motherboard
ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming is a well-built, feature-rich motherboard that presents a great all-around device thanks to its esthetics and overall performance. It is perfect for both gaming enthusiasts and mainstream gamers.
This is a board that has everything that the best gaming motherboard should have, such as 16 power stages, good storage capacity (two M.2 slots and six SATA ports), Aura Sync compatibility, as well as multiple RGB headers for a wide variety of RGB lighting options. Moreover, there are three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and three PCIe 3.0 x1 slots, HDMI and DisplayPort, a variety of USB ports (four USB 3.2 Gen1 ports (two on the rear side), five USB 3.2 Gen2 ports (four on the rear side), eight USB 2.0 ports (four on the rear side)) and most importantly, excellent overclocking capabilities, as well as good gaming performance that are the key reasons for the success of a gaming motherboard in the first place.
ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming comes fitted with Intel AX201 WiFi 6 and Intel 2. 5 Gb Ethernet; it offers great audio experience due to the SupremeFX S1220A codec and DTS and Sonic Studio III support, and overall delivers more than a fair value for its price, which ultimately makes it one of the more desirable motherboards available on the market.
- Good overclocking capability
- A solid performance
- Good power delivery
- Only one LAN port
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
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.