When you’re setting out to build the best PC you can muster, the best motherboards don’t get the love that the best processors and graphics cards do, and that’s a shame. The best motherboards are the most important part of your entire PC. They’re the backbone of the best PCs that help make your PC hardware reach its full potential by pushing it to its limits – utilizing and optimizing every ounce of performance – in other words, overclock better.
But, because they’re so important to your PC build, you should only opt for the best motherboard you can get your hands on. If you cheap out and get a sub-par motherboard, it could die and force you to rebuild your entire computer from scratch – and that’s not a good time, trust us. So, do yourself a favor and pick up the best motherboard today, so you won’t have to replace it tomorrow.
There are dozens of motherboards out there, and the marketplace can get confusing. That’s why we went ahead and created this list of the best motherboards on the market. So, let us help you find the best motherboards that we’ve tested ourselves. Not only will they do everything you need them to and more, the best motherboards are built to last.
When Intel launched its Coffee Lake Refresh platform, and promised that they’d be the best processors for gaming, we knew we were going to get some kitted out motherboards that put that theory to the test. And, lo and behold, the Z390 Aorus Gaming Pro Wifi – one of the best motherboards on the market today. Packed to the brim with gamer-centric features like reinforced PCIe slots and enough RGB lighting to blind you – this is the best Intel motherboard on the market right now.
Sometimes, when building a new PC, you’re just want to throw your hands up and say “just give me everything.” In times like this, you’ll want the Asus ROG Maximus XI Code Z390 Gaming. Packed with every feature that Intel’s new Coffee Lake Refresh processors support and then some with a RGB-lit shroud covering every inch of circuitry on this motherboard.
So, Coffee Lake Refresh is out, and you want to take advantage of all the performance it has to offer, but those more exotic motherboards are out of reach. If that sounds familiar, you might want to take a look at the Gigabyte Z390 UD. This doesn’t have the same level of RGB bells and built-in Wi-Fi whistles, but what it does have is great value. You’re getting all of the essential features that Z390 has to offer, while sacrificing some unnecessary features like SLI or extra M.2 slots. If you’re a budget gamer, the Gigabyte Z390 UD is the best motherboard out there.
If you’re looking for an edge on the competition, and you don’t have a lot of extra room on your desk, you’re going to want a Micro-ATX motherboard – you’re going to want the MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC. What you’re getting here is a Micro-ATX motherboard with all the features a full-sized ATX part, but a fraction of the price. Despite it’s reduced size, you still get getting dual M.2 slots, SLI and Crossfire support and all the scalding performance that Intel Coffee Lake Refresh has to offer. If you’re looking for a smaller motherboard, you can’t afford not to get the MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge MC.
If you need the smallest motherboard that you can get, without compromising on key features of your CPU, you should consider the Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming. With this motherboard you don’t have to compromise on features or power. You don’t even need to settle for a measly 32GB of RAM, thanks to Asus’ double capacity memory compatibility – you can have up to 64GB of memory in the tiniest motherboard you’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, like most Z390 boards, it’s a bit pricey, so prepare yourself for that.
With the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 Wi-Fi, Gigabyte further illustrates is mastery of motherboard design. Rocking the new AMD X470 chipset, allowing full support of the new AMD Ryzen 2nd Generation processors, this is the best motherboard if you’re looking to side with Team Red. What’s more, it supports Quad-GPU SLi and extremely fast RAM (up to 3,600 MHz) for peerless expandability, and thanks to its multi-zone RGB lighting, it looks good while kicking butt.
For the longest time, AMD has been the reigning champion of budget builds, and in 2018 that doesn’t seem to be changing. Marketed exclusively to gamers, the MSI X470 Gaming Plus is loaded front to back with features like two PCIe M.2 slots and quick performance tweaking buttons to make sure you’re on the top of the leaderboards at all times. And, since it’s a gamer-focused motherboard, it comes with all kinds of flashy RGB lighting that you can even customize it from your smartphone.
These days, small form-factor PCs are all the rage and with motherboards like the ASRock B450M-HDV, we think they’re going to stay that way. Now, while this motherboard doesn’t do SLI and supports only up to 32GB of RAM– it is a B450 unit, after all – it is still compelling due to its low price. Outside of these omissions, you still get a slot for a NVMe SSD and four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports around back. If you’re looking to build a solid budget gaming PC, this is going to be the best motherboard for you.
Asus aims to prove that big things can come in small packages with the ROG Strix X470-I. Featuring the latest and greatest AMD chipset, everything in this tiny board is designed with performance in mind. Even down to the BIOS, where you can find a stress test for overclocks before you even boot into Windows. This board even elevates beyond the constraints of the Mnii-ITX form factor by including an M.2 Audio Combo riser, so that you can install your M.2 NVMe SSD without getting in the way of other components.
The X-series processors are here and they’re spectacular, so if you want to take advantage of all they have to offer, you need an X-series motherboard. This ASRock X299 is an excellent choice, with support for overclocked memory speeds up to 4400MHz(!!!) and 8 different slots for memory modules. It also supports up to 128GB of RAM, so with an X-series processor and a good graphics card (or 3…) this thing will absolutely tear apart anything you throw at it.
If you’re the type of builder with lots of cash to burn and an ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ build method, the Ryzen Thredripper X399 Professional Gaming board is for you. Not only does it support 4-way SLI or Crossfire configurations, but you can also pack this thing with up to 128GB DDR4 memory. It even features a ton of flashy RGB lighting, so that people can’t help but stare at your rig when they walk in the room. And, if you upgrade to Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation, you can use this board, but keep in mind you may have to update your BIOS.
Coming to terms
If you’re unfamiliar about what makes the best motherboards, well, better than the rest, we’d like to include a primer for anyone who might not know that much about them. Motherboards are available in a broad range of different form factors, the most common of which being ATX and Micro ATX. However, there are plenty of more less common form factors including mini ITX and E-ATX. Don’t worry though, most of the best PC cases will support multiple form factors.
Moreover, in our rundown of the best motherboards, we detailed the socket type that each mobo adheres to. For those not in the know, the socket is the part on the motherboard that the CPU locks into. Typically, newer Intel processors use either LGA 1151 or 2066 while the latest AMD Ryzen architecture is designed for the AM4 chipset.
- Next up, these are the best gaming monitors you can buy this year