The Greatest Motherboards for Gaming

When building a powerful computer, it is important to couple a powerful CPU with a powerful graphics card. When it comes to motherboards, they won't do much for your frame rates. However, if you want features, a high-end motherboard can do what a low-end model can't – especially if you're overclocking. The best motherboards for gaming and everything else have better power design, excellent on-board audio, and a range of connectivity options. A good gaming motherboard may not increase the frame rates in games, but it does ensure that your parts will remain functional for many gaming sessions to come.

Instead of comparing AMD to Intel, we selected motherboards for both CPU manufacturers at different prices. Whether you're looking to spend $ 100 or $ 1,000 on a motherboard, we have an option for you.

Best motherboard for games under $ 100

You can get most of the functionality of the flagship chipsets from AMD and Intel with their budget chipsets, though there are some notable exclusions. This price range is best for gamers on a budget who don't need a lot of expandability and aren't interested in overclocking.

However, one of the biggest money savers is buying a smaller board. Both our Intel and AMD selections are Micro ATX sized, which is usually a good rule. There are many expensive micro ATX boards out there, but also many cheap ones. You can usually find a micro ATX version of a full ATX board for $ 20 to $ 40 cheaper.

ASRock B460M Pro4 Gigabyte B550M DS3H
CPU support: 10th generation Intel Core processors Ryzen 3000 and 5000 series processors
Form: Micro ATX Micro ATX
Socket: LGA1200 AT 4
Chipset: B460 B550
Storage support: Up to 128 GB up to 2,933 MHz Up to 128 GB up to 4,600 MHz
PCI Express slots: 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x1 2 x PCIe 4.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 4.0 x1
Storage options: 6 x SATA 3, 2 x M.2 (PCIe 3.0 x4) 4 x SATA 3, 2 x M.2 (PCIe 4.0 x4)
USB ports: 4 x USB-A 3.2, 1 x USB-C 3.2, 2 x USB-A 2.0 4 x USB-A 3.2, 4 x USB-A 2.0
Audio: Realtek 7.1 ALC1200 Realtek 7.1 ALC88
VRM: 9 phase 5 + 3 phase
Networking: Intel I219V Gigabit Ethernet Realtek Gigabit Ethernet
Price:

The Gigabyte B550M DS3H is the simpler of the two. The B550 chipset offers almost all of the features of the high-end X570 chipset, including support for overclocking. Despite the withdrawal, the gigabyte board we selected continues to support PCIe 4.0, although it can only process PCIe 4.0 in a single slot. Likewise, PCIe 4.0 can only be used in a single M.2 slot (X570 cards can support two slots). The remaining connections use PCIe 3.0, which shouldn't make a difference for many years, especially at this price point.

Despite the small form factor, the Gigabyte B550M DS3H still offers numerous connectivity options, including four RAM slots that can hold up to 128 GB at 4,600 MHz (with XMP enabled). The 5 + 3 phase VRM design is a step down from the boards by $ 200 but should still offer clean, stable performance for moderate overclocks.

It should be noted that the B550 chipset only supports Ryzen 3000 and 5000 series processors, as opposed to X570, which also supports 2000 series processors.

For Intel, we selected an ASRock B460M Pro4, which is an excellent board considering the chipset. In contrast to AMD, Intel limits overclocking to its high-end chipset (Z490 for the current generation). This includes overclocking the CPU, but also overclocking the RAM with 2,933 MHz. Even if you buy a faster kit, your memory will only run at 2,933 MHz even with XMP enabled.

Overclocking is a big feature to give up, but that has been the case with Intel's budget-conscious chipsets for a while. Even without overclocking, the ASRock B460M Pro4 offers numerous other functions, including the Realtek ALC1200 7.1 audio chip on the MSI card above.

Best motherboard for games under $ 200

Unless you have a special need, there's little reason to spend more than $ 200 on a gaming motherboard. At this price, you can buy the best and latest chipset from AMD or Intel and have access to premium features like USB-C on the front, better VRM power design, overclocking support and support for high-speed storage.

MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk Asus TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi)
CPU support: 10th generation Intel Core processors AMD Ryzen 2000, 3000 and 5000 series processors
Form: ATX ATX
Socket: LGA 1200 AT 4
Chipset: Z490 x570
Storage support: Up to 128 GB up to 4,800 MHz Up to 128 GB up to 4,400 MHz
PCI Express slots: 2x PCIe 3.0 x16, 3x PCIe 3.0 x1 2 x PCIe 4.0 x16, 3 x PCIe 4.0 x1
Storage options: 6 x SATA 3, 2 x M.2 (PCIe 3.0 x4) 8 x SATA 3, 2 x M.2 (PCIe 4.0 x4)
USB ports: 1 x USB-C 3.2, 1 x USB-A 3.2, 4 x USB-A 3.2, 2 x USB-A 2.0 4 x USB-A 3.2, 1 x USB-C 3.2, 2 x USB-A 3.2
Audio: Realtek 7.1 ALC1200-VD1 Realtek 7.1 ALC S1200A
VRM: 12 + 1 + 1 phase 12 + 2 phase
Networking: 1x Realtek RTL8125B 2.5 Gbit Ethernet, 1x Intel I219V Gigabit Ethernet Realtek L8200A 2.5 Gbit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0
Price:

The MSI MAG Z490 has the LGA 1200 socket for Intel processors of the 10th generation as well as a large number of USB and memory connections. Two LAN ports are impressive – one for Gigabit and one for 2.5 Gbit. It also supports high-speed RAM kits up to 4800 MHz with XMP and has the usual array of two PCIe x16 slots and three PCI x1 slots.

However, these are PCIe 3.0 slots with half the bandwidth of the new PCIe 4.0 generation. That shouldn't really make any difference to gaming, at least not for the next few years. PCI 4.0 may have twice the bandwidth, but modern GPUs are only just beginning to maximize the bandwidth of PCI Express 3.0. As such, it will likely be a few more years before PCIExpress 4.0 is a must have for everyone except those with the highest priced GPUs.

If you're on Team Red, you don't want to worry about the PCIe generation anyway. The latest X570 chipset from AMD supports PCIe 4.0, and the Asus TUF gaming card we selected is the same as the MSI card in terms of connectivity (two PCIe x16, three PCIe x1). It also has a range of USB options and eight SATA 3 slots – two more than most other ATX cards.

The TUF Gaming x570 comes from the TUF line from Asus and is designed for durability and reliability. Reviews show that the board is actually both durable and reliable. The board supports Ryzen 2000, 3000, and 5000 series processors, although you may need to update your BIOS (you can request a boot kit from AMD).

The most powerful game motherboards

Expensive, over the top, and unnecessary – but undeniably cool – the world-class gaming motherboards are all of that and more, and we love them for that. RGB lighting, a wide variety of ports, improved cooling, high-end overclocking features, and all sorts of extras that make these boards the envy of gamers around the world. Few can and should pay that much for a motherboard, but if you want the most extreme performance from your gaming system, these boards can deliver.

Asus ROG Maximus XII Hero (Wi-Fi) Gigabyte X570 Aorus Extreme
CPU support: 10th generation Intel Core processors AMD Ryzen 2000, 3000 and 5000 series processors
Form: ATX ATX
Socket: LGA 1200 AT 4
Chipset: Z490 X570
Storage support: Up to 128 GB up to 4,800 MHz Up to 128 GB up to 4,400 MHz
PCI Express slots: 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 1 x PCIe 4.0 x16, 1x PCIe 4.0 x8, 1 x PCIe 4.0 x4
Storage options: 6 x SATA 3, 3 x M.2 (PCIe 3.0 x4) 6 x SATA 3.0, 3 x M.2 (PCIe 4.0 x4)
USB ports: 7 x USB-A 3.2, 1 x USB-C 3.2, 2 x USB-A 2.0 2 x USB-C 3.2, 5 x USB-A 3.2, 6 x USB-A 3.1, 6 x USB-A 2.0
Audio: ROG SupremeFX S1220A Realtek 7.1 channel ALC1220-VB
VRM: 14 + 2 phase 16 phase
Networking: Intel Gigabit Ethernet, 5 Gbit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1 Aquantia 10 Gbit Ethernet, Intel Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
Price:

Both boards represent the pinnacle of gaming motherboards for their respective platforms and show off in their extensive specs and features. The Asus ROG Maximus board for Intel CPUs supports ultra-fast memory, multiple graphics cards and huge storage arrays and has tons of USB ports for connecting all of your various devices. It also has a stylized shielding all over the board, creating an attractive and functional high-end motherboard.

The Maximus series has always been known for exceptional VRM quality, and the Maximum XII Hero is no different in its 14 + 2 phase design. It also supports multiple out-of-the-box network connections including high-speed WiFi and Bluetooth. The RGB lighting is fantastic and gives you full control over what the inside of your PC looks like.

The Gigabyte X570 Aorus Extreme board has a lot to offer AMD users familiar with the new generation AMD CPUs. It's also a very capable gaming board with lots of storage options and more USB ports than almost anyone could need. It supports the same high speed memory and has an excellent audio chip.

However, what sets it apart from Intel is its support for PCIe 4.0. This gives it more bandwidth on its PCIe ports and gives new generation solid state drives what they need to deliver the fastest mainstream storage ever released. It also offers native support for Wi-Fi 6 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet for high-speed networks. This is also one of the few x570 motherboards that is so well cooled that its chipset doesn't need a fan. The VRM also has plenty of conductive metal, which keeps the 16-phase setup cool for advanced overclocking and extreme system stability.

Both boards also offer full support for multiple graphics cards for Nvidia and AMD GPU owners. Their PCIe slots are "armored," which means that they are reinforced to prevent sagging on high-end and heavy graphics cards.

They're more than most will ever need, but if you want the top motherboard to match your other high-end components, these boards are the place to look.

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