Use this quick navigation bar to select the desired section of the article:
There’s usually less time dedicated for the motherboard when shopping for computer parts to build a brand new PC. Although it’s more exciting to pick a powerful CPU or video card, motherboards deserve some more attention too because they’re important components. Everything you’re planning on using will connect to its circuit board. As motherboards can be fairly complicated pieces of hardware with various processor mounts or connectivity options, finding the right one is not a very easy task. This is why you have to carefully consider your needs and the kind of rig you plan on building. Some essential features that anyone who’s searching for a reliable motherboard should take into account are:
Everyone who’s experienced when it comes to building computers should already know this. The motherboard has to be compatible with your processor, and that’s why you should always make sure that you select the right type of motherboard. It needs to have the correct socket and the supported onboard chipset for your particular CPU. Motherboards with AM4 sockets work with AMD Ryzen while LGA 1151 sockets accept only Intel processors. Keep in mind the specific generation of the chips in these motherboards to ensure the best compatibility with the latest Intel Core CPUs.
Beyond compatibility is there anything else to consider when choosing a particular motherboard chipset? For most users, technical details aren’t important. As long as your chosen board provides all the connectivity options needed, everything will be fine.
3. Form factor
Not all motherboards have the same size and shape. The most common formats are ATX, micro-ATX, and mini-ITX of which the ATX is the largest and mini-ITX is the smallest. As you’ve probably guessed, bigger boards come with extra space offering more slots and features while smaller motherboards are designed to cover the needs of those who favor more compact builds. No matter what motherboard interests you, make sure it fits well in the computer case you choose.
These are the main aspects to consider in a motherboard. There are probably others too if you really care about particularities. For most users, these aspects are the most relevant when shopping for a motherboard. Whether you’re planning on getting a high-end gaming motherboard or a more entry-level unit, it’s important to get your money’s worth. For this reason, you should check out the following list. This is where the best motherboards on the market have been assembled based on their performance, connectivity options, and overall features per cost ratio. You might also be interested in our articles about the best sound cards and the best computer cases.
If you’re building a more entry-level PC, you need a motherboard that’s inexpensive and provides decent performance. One model that seems to satisfy precisely these conditions is the Gigabyte GA-78LMT. It’s designed to work with various AMD processors and supports dual channel DDR3 memory.
This motherboard is designed to incorporate many great technologies such as Gigabyte Ultra Durable for enhanced performance and more efficient operation. This level of stability comes from the solid AMD 760G chipset which allows this model to work with the latest AM3+ FX processors.
With the help of DualBIOS, this motherboard delivers an excellent level of protection for the BIOS. What this technology does is basically maintaining both a ‘Main BIOS’ as well as a ‘Backup BIOS’. In case of BIOS failure, which can happen due to many reasons such as hardware malfunctions or virus attacks, your BIOS will be safe.
When it comes to sound quality, this motherboard delivers some nice performance. Its professional Nippon Chemicon audio capacitors are capable of expanding the sound to boost the user experience by creating a more immersive effect. All capacitors of the motherboard are rated for withstanding intense work as they rely on a Low RDS MOSFET design.
Other interesting features of this motherboard are the DDR3 memory controller, HDMI 1.3, and DVI support. A power technology worth mentioning is the Hybrid EFI technology which provides excellent support for larger HDDs (3TB+). With the On/Off charge technology you can charge smartphones even if the PC is completely turned off, a very convenient feature.
Considering the design, technologies, and overall performance for the cost, the Gigabyte GA-78LMT is a solid all-around motherboard. When compared to more advanced models it may not seem as impressive, but its cost-effectiveness is tough to beat. The BIOS is intuitive, and the construction is highly durable. Recommended.
- 4+1 Phase Power Design
- Dual Channel DDR3
- Integrated graphics Radeon HD 3000
- Support for DirectX10
- HDMI, D-sub, DVI ports
For those who plan on creating an extremely high-end PC, a solid option for a motherboard could be the ASUS ROG Maximus IX Apex. This model is packed with impressive features including a special overclocking design, 5-way optimization, and Three Safe Slots feature to handle heavyweight GPUs.
This unit is designed to work with Intel’s 7th generation of Core CPUs. It boasts lots of connectivity options including USB 3.1 both type A and C. With the help of a sophisticated design for its DIMM.2 module, the motherboard can accommodate on the latest DDR4 memory interface two M.2 drives that are mounted vertically. Air from a DRAM fan cooler goes directly to the M.2 drives in this way.
In terms of design, this model feels very premium thanks to its asymmetrical X-shaped PCB. The radical appearance is nicely complemented by the sharp-looking heatsink which doesn’t disappoint when it comes to making a visual impact. Still, if that’s not enough for you, Asus equipped this motherboard with a bundled DIY kit for capable RGB lighting customization via Aura Sync technology.
Controlling this motherboard is a simple task when all the necessary utilities are just a few clicks away. Thanks to 5-Way Optimization, you can benefit from the full potential of the motherboard without going through the hassle of setting up every little detail.
The system works dynamically to keep the most important aspects permanently optimized always considering real-time use. Cooling and overclocking are precisely adapted for the applications you use. No compromises on safety, stability, and energy savings.
Taking into account what it can do for this cost, the final verdict for the ASUS ROG Maximus IX Apex is that it’s worth the investment. If you crave superior performance and stability to handle intensive tasks such as high-end gaming, this could be a superb solution. It’s particularly recommended for those who have overclocking plans.
- Compatible with Intel Core 7th generation CPUs
- Overclocking design
- Very Optimized
- Aura Sync RGB lighting
- Three SafeSlots
- Auto-Tuning and FanXpert 4
A relatively affordable option for gamers who look for a powerful motherboard to handle their needs is the MSI B250 GAMING M3. This unit can support either 7th or 6th Generation Intel processors and can handle DDR4 RAM at 2400 Mhz. There are other exclusive gaming features available including the Mystic Light Sync RGB lighting.
Keeping the right level of coolness is critical for anyone who’s into high-end gaming. This is why this motherboard relies only on the most high-quality materials for its components. It also comes with intelligent fan optimizations for ensuring that your system runs stable at peak performance no matter the intensity of its tasks.
This unit provides excellent support for the most relevant storage standards right now. It’s compatible with the Intel Optane technology which boosts the performance of any HDD to make it similar to an SSD. Steel armor enhances the level of protection for your M.2 slot while at the same time ensuring that the signal from the M.2 SSD to the motherboard is perfectly clean from electromagnetic interference.
At a simple glance over construction details, you can see that MSI doesn’t mess around. The DDR4 memory circuitry has been isolated to work in the optimal manner possible. Steel armor is found not only for the M.2 SSD as it also protects PCI-E VGA cards. The heatsinks are heavy plated and covered I/O ports come with a stylish gaming design.
Connectivity-wise, this board provides pretty much everything a gamer needs including ports such as USB 3.1 Type-C, GAMING Device Port, Killer Gaming LAN, and second generation Lightning USB 3.1. Because for many people customization matters, this model is compatible with external RGB strips thanks to its Mystic Light Extension.
There are few motherboards on the market as well designed, with so many balanced features, and for such a relatively low price than the MSI B250 GAMING M3. If you wish to get a strong piece of hardware that promises excellent value for the cost, don’t miss this one.
- 7th or 6th Gen Intel Core support
- Heavy plated gaming heatsinks
- DDR4 Boost
- PCI-E Steel Armor
- Audio Boost 4 with amplifier
- Optimized for water cooling
Best Ryzen Motherboard
Asus is a strong player on the market for gaming motherboards, and another solid option to take into account is the ROG Crosshair VI Hero. This model features compatibility for the latest processors from AMD managing to find that sweet spot between performance in games and simple system control.
As this model is intended for gamers, it will most likely be paired with an expensive graphics card, so this is why protecting it takes priority. This model makes use of premium components specially selected for their durability. Some smartly designed features like SafeSlot, Q-DIMM, and QSLOT are included precisely for this reason as they guarantee a safe and enjoyable gaming experience.
Having fast connectivity is the kind of job that a motherboard should excel at. This model features solid USB 3.1 Type A and C connectors which deliver speeds of 10 Gbps maximum. SSDs can also benefit from a staggering top speed of 32 Gbps.
This motherboard features the exclusive ROG technology designed with hardcore gamers in mind who prefer fine and optimal tuning for every essential aspect of their system. Data from your real-time usage is collected by the motherboard, and complex adjustments related to things like cooling, CPU performance, and power stability are made.
You can also control various parameters by yourself with simple clicks. Asus is known for the premium audio hardware included in their motherboard, and this model doesn’t disappoint in that regard. The SupremeFX audio technology is geared towards audiophiles or atmospheric gamers who like hearing every tiny detail. The recording quality is impressive too.
To conclude, the ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero is an excellent Ryzen motherboard especially when you consider how the manufacturer delivers constant BIOS updates to keep the board working in peak condition. Other motherboards have still not caught up to the new technology platform, but it seems that this unit is getting close to an ideal AM4 motherboard.
- 5-Way Optimization for overclocking
- AIO and water-cooling headers
- Two patent-pending SafeSlots
- Aura Sync RGB lighting
- 8-channel HD Audio
- Gaming connectivity
Best Motherboard For i7
The GIGABYTE GA-B250-HD3 is an extremely reliable motherboard equipped with many features to please users who value excellent value per money. This Intel Octane ready motherboard supports dual channel DDR4 RAM and works well when paired with an Intel Core processor from either the 7th or the 6th generation.
Thanks to the Smart Fan 5 feature, users can benefit from the maximum performance of their unit while remaining within acceptable temperatures. This ability allows you switch fan headers according to thermal sensors placed in various locations on the board. Another great aspect is that you can take advantage of more hybrid fan headers which offer nice liquid cooling compatibility.
There are many features of the motherboard you can manage via the BIOS interface which enables users to adjust certain temperature interval settings or to set triggers according to various temperature sensors. It’s important to mention that you don’t even have to load Windows to obtain this level of control.
A great networking feature included in this motherboard is the cFosSpeed which manages the network traffic ensuring superior responsiveness even in the most crowded LAN environments. It optimizes bandwidth automatically offering high priority to the applications that matter such as online games, for example.
When it comes to the M.2 interface, Gigabyte offers for this motherboard strong storage performance with support for multiple interfaces such as PCIe and SATA. The speeds you can expect are clearly better than anything SATA3 could theoretically achieve. Onboard LEDs are provided for troubleshooting hardware and quickly see which major component is malfunctioning.
Overall, the GIGABYTE GA-B250-HD3 could be a solid match for a powerful CPU such as an i7 7700K. It won’t require any BIOS update working flawlessly straight out of the box. The motherboard is user-friendly offering an intuitive software but enough performance to satisfy both beginners and more advanced users.
- Accepts 7th and 6th Generation Intel Core CPUs
- Dual Channel Unbuffered DDR4
- Intel Octane Memory Ready
- 2-Way Crossfire Support
- High-quality audio capacitors
Best AM4 Motherboard
If you prefer AMD Ryzen processors and you’re looking to get a great companion motherboard, the MSI X370 GAMING PLUS seems to be an attractive choice. There are lots of features supported by this unit, including DDR4 3200+ memory, multiple GPUs, and both Nvidia SLI and AMD Crossfire.
This unit promises a quick system boot up thanks to the Turbo M.2 which delivers approximately five times faster speeds compared to a conventional SATA III connection. It’s also worth noting that MSI equipped the Turbo M.2 as well as the PCI-E slots with steel armor which delivers protection against EMI.
There are six fan headers provided for this motherboard, and they’re fully controllable to ensure both a cool and silent computer. The headers can run in DC, or PWM modes for customized tuning. This unit also provides the right optimizations for AIO and water cooling support.
As this is a gaming motherboard, it’s not surprising to see many capable features to create a more enjoyable gaming experience. MSI provides a solid Gaming App software with a Game Boost feature that allows for quick and efficient overclocking. This acts as an adrenaline shot for your PC providing an instant performance boost.
If you’re not satisfied with just one GPU, this motherboard allows for multi GPUs to get even more video performance out of your system. The PCI-E slots have been placed to match the needs of multiple graphics cards users. Those who are ready to delve into the world of VR with a special headset will appreciate the VR boost chip and dedicated USB port.
As with other MSI boards, the X370 GAMING PLUS is a very reliable motherboard which has enough potential to take your AMD Ryzen processor to the next level. The number of features found here is decent, and considering the overall stability, it’s safe to say that this product is well worth the cost.
- Compatible with AMD Ryzen/7th Gen A-series/AthlonTM CPUs
- DDR4-3200+(OC) Memory support
- Steel Armor PCI-E slots
- Studio-grade sound quality
- NVIDIA SLI & AMD Crossfire support
Best Motherboard For Gaming
Anyone who’s serious about gaming shouldn’t miss the Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 from Gigabyte. This is the ultimate motherboard that packs the latest cutting-edge features including support for Intel 8th Gen processors, Triple M.2 with Thermal Guard, and an absolutely impenetrable armor to handle the most demanding needs.
The AORUS brand from Gigabyte clearly needs no more introductions. This model has been built for superior performance and amazing precision to work seamlessly with your other premium gaming components. Cooling is ensured by the Smart Fan 5 technology which provides 9 strategically placed temperature sensors so your gaming PC will never suffer from overheating.
As this unit’s compatible with DDR4 XMP profiles that can reach 4133 MHz or more, this looks like will give you an edge in any demanding application. For fans of overclocking, this model provides the Turbo B-Clock feature for increased tuning performance. Connecting devices to your system is a breeze thanks to the front USB Type-C header.
The ESS Sabre DAC incorporated in this motherboard allows you to benefit from a pure sound which is sure to blow you away with its spectacular dynamic range. It’s great to see that Gigabyte pays particular attention to details. The motherboard comes with triple M.2 support and throttling or bottlenecks will be issues of the past thanks to the reliable Thermal Guard. It reduces and dissipates heat more efficiently.
Another detail that’s relevant for users who prefer a more customized experience is the RGB Fusion lighting app that provides support for many digital LEDs and enables personalization of every zone of the motherboard.
A great investment for any dedicated gamer, the GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 works just as expected and will amaze anyone with its stability. From the construction and smart design choices to the cooling and audio performance, this motherboard has everything you need and despite the considerable expense, you’ll definitely have a blast with it.
- Compatible with the latest 8th Generation Intel Core Processors
- Server-Class Digital Power Design
- Dual Channel DDR4
- RGB Fusion Lighting
- Triple M.2 with Thermal Guard
- ESS Sabre DAC Audio
If you’re planning on using a strong CPU from Intel’s latest generation – Coffee Lake, you will need a solid motherboard to create a performant system. A great option in that regard is the MSI Z370 PC PRO which has been designed on the newest Intel Z370 chipset and provides support for fast 4000+MHz DDR4 memory.
This model promises an incredible level of video performance if you intend to use multiple graphics cards. The placement of the PCI-E slot has been strategically thought-out to ensure the most reliable thermal performance. Multi GPU technologies are compatible with this motherboard including playing 4K UHD content.
For a more distinctive gaming rig, this model provides various LED effects to personalize the looks exactly to your liking. The Mystic Light Extension pin-header enables the installing of extra RGB strips or other colorful peripherals creating a central RGB controller for all of them. You can start syncing colors to your preferred style right away.
With an advanced software for cooling adjustments like Total Fan Control, this motherboard provides a simple way to see all the relevant system characteristics in a very intuitive interface. Place certain temperature targets for components and fan speeds will begin to adjust automatically. The motherboard works great for air fans but it also offers compatibility with AIO and custom water coolers.
One technology that could be considered a game changer for memory and storage devices is the Intel Optane technology. This marvel provides faster SSD/HDD performance and the motherboard is fully compatible with it. You can benefit from quick system boot up and fast storage speeds thanks to 2x Turbo M.2.
The Pro Series from MSI is geared towards offering the right mix of performance to satisfy more demanding users. It’s created to take advantage of the outstanding performance of Intel Coffee Lake processors with six cores. Whether for gaming or professional content creators, this seems to be a very capable option.
- Chipset Intel Z370
- 4x DDR4-4000+(OC)
- 6x SATA3 Ports
- CrossFireX Technology support
- 2x PCI-Express
- Mystic Light APP
Best Budget Motherboard
Those with less generous budgets should check out the Asus H110M-A/DP, a motherboard which provides a decent level of performance for its low cost. Finding a less expensive motherboard that’s not plagued with various limitations is not easy but this model appears to have a very reliable and balanced set of abilities.
One of its most appreciated features is the 5X Protection II system which makes use of advanced safeguards to allow the motherboard to withstand the test of time. The unit comes with all-around protection against overcurrent and overvoltage. The supply of power remains within stable limits.
Networking is also surge-protected with the help of the LANGuard feature. This technology combines signal-coupling with special surface-mounted capacitors that don’t suffer from any possible interferences. Your connection should be more reliable and there’s also better tolerance to static electricity.
As this model is a micro-ATX motherboard, it’s definitely more compact compared to the usual ATX variety. It’s a very easy motherboard to install for an entry-level build and Asus enhanced it with a safe mounting design for convenient PC DIY. There are safe zones in place which will make you aware of the correct way to place the motherboard.
Thanks to DDR4 support, you can still enjoy fast RAM with top frequencies reaching 2133MHz, even if your build is more basic. For memory removal, you can rely on the Q-DIMM feature to easily take RAM modules out or to pull them in. Controlling every detail of the BIOS is done through an elegant interface which will be a huge help if you’re a PC novice.
There’s not much else to say about this budget motherboard. The H110M-A/DP has basic features but it can be a nice addition for more inexpensive PC builds. It’s packed with great connectivity, safety features, and is very easy to use. Recommended for anyone who needs a compact and reliable motherboard solution without any frills.
- 5X Protection II
- UEFI BIOS with EZ Flash 3
- Fan Xpert 2+
- DDR4 memory compatibility
- DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI-D and VGA onboard
Best Asus Motherboard
Asus has lots of high-quality motherboards in store but their best model is probably the ROG Maximus X Hero which delivers a truly monstrous level of performance. It’s designed to pair with the latest generation of Intel processors and to take connectivity and overall performance to new levels. Let’s see in more detail what’s packed in this outstanding high-end motherboard.
While this model is a complex piece of hardware, using it isn’t actually such a complicated task you’d expect. It’s designed with user-friendliness in mind so it can take care of all that difficult tuning by itself. Your computer gets smarter through the 5-Way Optimization which handles the most relevant aspects like cooling and overclocking with just a few clicks.
One feature that received some more attention from Asus is the incorporated audio technology. Gamers and audiophiles are sure to appreciate the SupremeFX performance which promises a clean 113dB SNR on the line-in connection. The front-panel output is managed by the powerful ESS Sabre DAC and for cleaner power, this motherboard features a low-dropout regulator.
With the help of its beautiful M.2 heatsink that has an angular design, the SSD won’t have any overheating issues. The cooling for the M.2 area is done very efficiently to minimize the risk of throttling which reduces storage performance for heated SSDs. To further enhance the abilities of your SSD, this model comes with compatibility for Intel’s Optane Memory boost.
If you plan on adding some particularly heavy GPUs, this motherboard comes with a strong combination of an injection molding process and durable metal frame to anchor the PCIe slot firmly in place.
All in all, the ASUS ROG Maximus X Hero is a very strong candidate on the market for high-end motherboards. It’s one of the best Asus motherboards which promises a straightforward setup and more performance than you could probably need. Its only drawback is the price tag which is not exactly low. Still, if you have the budget, this is fully recommended.
- Exclusively designed to work with Intel’s 8th Gen processors
- 5-Way Optimization
- FanXpert 4
- Aura Sync RGB lighting
- Two SafeSlots
- SupremeFX S1220 audio
Best Z370 Motherboard
For those interested in getting a motherboard with the strong Intel Z370 chipset, there’s hardly a better option out there than the Asus Prime Z370-A. At this cost, you can expect some advanced features including 5-Way Optimization, Aura Sync RGB lighting, and two SafeSlots.
This motherboard takes cooling very seriously, so that’s why it’s equipped with a special Fan Holder to boost the airflow while keeping the VRM area simple and efficient. For targeted cooling, all you need to do is to screw on either a 40 or 50 mm fan and hook it up to a header.
The SSD also needs to maintain reduced temperatures. This is why the manufacturer installed a powerful heatsink which has been shown to reduce M.2 SSD temperatures by approximately 20 degrees Celsius. This can translate to maintaining your SSD in peak condition for longer while benefiting from consistent storage performance.
Thanks to the SafeSlot technology, the slot is integrated with a much sturdier construction and manufactured with a powerful insert-molding process. As with other high-end Asus motherboards, you can take advantage of 5-Way Optimization for taking care of essential aspects in one click, whether we’re talking about cooling or overclocking.
This motherboard is compatible with the efficient 8th generation of processors from Intel. It performs as you’d expect but customization isn’t left out. With the Aura Sync RGB lighting, you can control the built-in LEDs for a more immersive experience. To take it a step further, you also have the option to add more LED strips to the onboard RGB headers and adjust their settings with the same level of control.
Factoring in the staggering value brought by this motherboard, it can be said without any shred of doubt that the ASUS PRIME Z370-A is truly a winner on the market for high-performance motherboards. It’s not as easy to install and use compared to other models, so this unit is recommended for more advanced users.
- Ideal for 8th generation Intel Core CPUs
- Auto-Tuning and FanXpert 4
- AURA Sync RGB lighting
- 4096 x 2304 at 60 Hz support
- 8-channel HD audio
- Two SafeSlots
Best AMD Motherboard
Anyone who prefers AMD CPUs should check out the ASRock X370 TAICHI, a model that comes with an AM4 socket and DDR4 3200+MHz support. Some of the goodies included in this motherboard are the Hyper BCLK Engine II, RGB LED, 16 Power Phase design, and the onboard IR Digital PWM controller.
With the help of the Hyper BCLK Engine II, your overclocking needs are taken care of more swiftly. There’s an extra base clock generator found externally that delivers a larger frequency range and which can be characterized by superior precision when it comes to its clock waveforms. This allows any user to take advantage of the full potential of their CPU via stable overclocking.
Thanks to a capable 16 Power Phase design, you can expect to find very premium components in this motherboard. Their sturdiness is nicely complemented by the ability to deliver clean power to the processor. Gamers will particularly like the enhanced performance of this design which promises much lower temperatures compared to 12 or 10 Power Phase.
When it comes to power and overall stability, this motherboard is enhanced by its IR Digital PWM controller. It provides a more precise level of power. With the help of its dual M.2 interface, you can reach impressive speeds of up to 32Gbps for your SSD. A pair of onboard Types A and C USB 3.1 ports deliver more powerful connectivity for the next generation of compatible devices.
One technology from ASRock that stands out is Super Alloy which guarantees for superior durability as all the components of the motherboard have been constructed with a premium aluminum alloy. Particularly the heatsinks could benefit from this feature to enable better cooling performance.
Taking into account its value per cost, the ASRock X370 TAICHI deserves an honorable mention on this list of the best motherboards. The software is not as user-friendly compared to the ones from other manufacturers but in the hands of an experienced user, this could be a potent addition to any high-end AMD rig.
- ASRock Super Alloy
- DDR4 3200+ (OC) support
- Compatible with AMD AM4 Ryzen Series
- 7.1 CH HD Audio
- Great connectivity