The Best Motherboards for Gaming

The Best Motherboards for Gaming
The Best Motherboards for Gaming (Image: © Final Desktop)

While building a PC, you have to pick all the components compatible with each other. Still, the most critical decision is choosing the best motherboard for your PC because it connects all the peripherals, components and acts as an intermediary between all the parts. Model of CPU, type of RAM, number of hard drives, no. of external ports, and connections also impact your motherboard selection. The size (form factor) of your build also depends on your motherboard choice.

Selecting the right motherboard for your build allows your PC to achieve its utmost potential. Moreover, your body’s purpose, be it gaming or casual, heavily influences your motherboard selection. If you are building a gaming PC, you need a high-performing motherboard that packs high-end features like overclocking ability, extra ram slots, high bandwidth PCIe slots, etc. It fully unlocks your CPU and graphics card’s potential and acts as a backbone for the heavy lifting required during an intense gaming session. 

Our quick shopping tips will let you understand the key concepts and help you decide the best gaming motherboard that satisfies all your needs.

Quick Shopping Tips:

CPU SOCKET: The biggest CPU rivals AMD and Intel both contain diverse architecture, and each offers multiple sockets depending on their CPU generations. AMD Ryzen Zen 3 is the latest addition in AMD’s flagship processors with their higher number of cores for ultra-fast gaming & content creation alike. On the other hand, INTEL’s latest 10th gen Comet Lake CPU with its superb overclocking ability and higher clock speeds doesn’t cease to amaze us.

FORM FACTOR: The form factor depends on the type of PC you are building. If you are looking for a PC for smaller spaces, you need a micro ATX or mini ITX, but the smaller the size, the lesser ports, and the expansion slot it will contain. So if you are building a gaming PC, you would need a more significant form factor depending on your need for slots.

EXPANSION SLOTS & Multi GPU support: The motherboard contains expansion slots for all types of cards, including GPU, Sound card, network card, etc. But the most important for gaming is PCIe 3.0 (or 4.0 available in the AMD latest Ryzen series). They come in multiple sizes, x16 being the most popular for GPUs. If you are going to use two GPUs simultaneously in SLI mode for superior gaming performance, you would need a motherboard with multiple PCIe 3.0 slots.

RAM & STORAGE: Gaming is a memory-intensive task, and most modern gaming PCs require a RAM of 16 GB or more for decent gaming. You would look out for a motherboard with-multiple RAM slots, holding all your RAM sticks and some spare for future-proofing your rig. Also, it would help if you watched for the latest SSD/NVMe storage options for quicker loading and boot times.

Best Motherboards at a glance:

  1. Asus ROG Maximus XII HERO
  2. MSI MEG Z490 Godlike
  3. GIGABYTE Z490 Gaming X
  4. ASRock X299 Taichi
  5. ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming X
  6. Aorus X570 Master
  7. Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming
  8. Asus TUF Gaming B550M-PLUS

The Best Motherboards You Can Buy Today

Asus ROG Maximus XII HERO (Image credit: Amazon)

Asus ROG Maximus XII HERO

best Intel motherboard

SPECIFICATIONS

Socket: LGAS 1200, LGA 1155 | Chipset: Intel Z490 | Form Factor: ATX | Voltage Regulator: 14+2 | PCIe x16: 3| USB Ports: 6 | Warranty: 3 Years

REASONS TO BUY

Hi-speed 4800+ DDR4 support

Multi-GPU (SLI and Crossfire ) supported

14 phase VRM for stable 60A high output per phase

REASONS TO AVOID

No PCIe 4.0 Support

The rear cover needs to be removed for accessing M.2 Slots

The shiniest entry in the Asus ROG lineup is the Asus ROG Maximus XII HERO. It is most popular among gaming enthusiasts due to its powerful chipset, 128 GBs of faster memory support of up to 4800 MHz, and three heat sinks for superb cooling. It is preloaded with the latest AI overclocking feature, having 14-phase VRM for superior overclocking of Intel CPUs, ensuring optimal and efficient cooling configuration, making it a go-to motherboard for INTEL’s 10th gen CPUs.

Packed with the 14-phase VRM, the fastest Intel CPU  i9-10900K can reach the highest clock speed of 5.3 GHz via TVB on this motherboard. Moreover, it gains a +2% boost in multi-thread performance at somewhat lower power consumption. Other notable highlights include hi-speed WiFI 6 (9.6Gbps), dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, hi-speed USB 3.2 Gen 2 connection, and 3x M.2 SLots for the latest NVMe drives and 6x SATA ports, and you will never need to worry about storage again.

The ROG logo with RGB is placed at a 45-degree angle for pleasant visuals and provides optimum cooling for your chipset, power delivery module, and M.2 storage devices. All these features essentially make it the best motherboard for gaming.  Aesthetically speaking, one hell of a motherboard has a power delivery heat sink, chipset heat sink, and the rear cover containing.

MSI MEG Z490 Godlike (Image credit: Amazon)

MSI MEG Z490 Godlike

best high-end Intel motherboard

SPECIFICATIONS

Socket: LGA 1200 | Chipset: Intel Z490 | Form Factor: E-ATX | Voltage Regulator: 16 | PCIe x16: 3 | USB Ports: 9 | Warranty: 3 Years

REASONS TO BUY

PCIe 4.0 support

Stack fin array heat sinks for superior cooling

Support hi-speed triple turbo M.2 for NVMe SSDs

REASONS TO AVOID

Premium price tag

No metal shield on 8-pin EPS connectors

MSI MEG series is called the World record breaker series due to its numerous records for the highest overclock speed achieved on various top-end CPUs. MSI MEG Z490 Godlike is the elite of the elite. It is the flagship model of the top-end MEG series of MSI. With its 16 phase VRM and multi-GPU support, it is needless to say that it will provide extreme performance and overclocking capabilities when coupled with the right gear, making it the best gaming motherboard for Intel that money can buy.

Since this motherboard is built for the ultimate performance, it isn’t a surprise that it dissipates a lot of heat when in action. But MSI has got it all covered by installing a heatsink and cooling fan for the Power delivery module, a heatsink shield for chipset and M.2 devices, a large metal backplate on the motherboard to promote cooling and structural strength.

Being the top of the top, it contains all the bells and whistles within a motherboard. But all that comes at a hefty price tag, but the actual performance enthusiasts can never be scared away so easily. It offers a customizable onboard OLED that displays CPU frequencies and much more. Its exclusive features are 10G & 2.6G Ethernet, WIFI-6, 7.1 dual audio controllers, USB 3.2 gen-2, and dual Thunderbolt 3 ports for broader compatibility.

GIGABYTE Z490 Gaming X (Image credit: Amazon)

GIGABYTE Z490 Gaming X

best budget Intel motherboard

SPECIFICATIONS

Socket: LGA 1200 | Chipset: Intel Z490 | Form Factor: ATX | Voltage Regulator: 11+1| PCIe x16: 2 | USB Ports: 12 | Warranty: 1 Year

REASONS TO BUY

Latest USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports

Fast M.2 VNMe SSD support

Six SATA 6 ports for extended storage capability

REASONS TO AVOID

No PCIe 4.0 support

Motherboard runs a bit warmer

GIGABYTE Z490 Gaming X is advertised as an entry-level motherboard for gamers but offers many features that can match mid-to high-level gaming motherboards in performance and capability. It packs a 12 phase VRM for adequate overclocking ability, fast speed DDR4 RAM of 4600 MHz, multi GPU support, complemented by dual M.2 NVMe SSD support for ultimate delivery of power and performance. 

The main selling point of the Z490 gaming X is that it is an appropriately balanced motherboard with satisfactory gaming performance and well-rounded features set at a low price, making it very affordable and lucrative at the same time for gamers. It also offers fairly suitable storage capacity by its 6 SSD SATA 6Gbps ports and the latest dual USB 3.2 Gen 2 and USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, further adding to its value. 

This motherboard comes in a black and grey color scheme, coupled with the customizable RGB interface giving it an overall appealing look. For optimal cooling, it has Smart Fan 5 technology that allows users to customize their cooling schemes according to the gaming needs fully for optimal cooling. Its balanced feature set is undoubtedly a pocket-friendly motherboard with satisfactory performance for most gamers.

ASRock X299 Taichi (Image credit: Amazon)

ASRock X299 Taichi

best Intel Core X-series motherboard

SPECIFICATIONS

Socket: LGA 2066 | Chipset: Intel X299 | Form Factor: ATX | Voltage Regulator: 13 | PCIe x16: 4 | USB Ports: 10 | Warranty: 3 Years

REASONS TO BUY

3-Way SLI and CrossfireX support

10 SATA3 ports to support larger storage capacity

48 lane PCIe slot supported by 10th Gen Cascade Lake CPUs

REASONS TO AVOID

No 10 Gb Ethernet port

Hard to access M.2 slots

ASRock X299 Taichi is an ASRock’s technological marvel. It is made for the Intel Core X-series CPUs made for Content creators/Work stations and packs many cores/threads compared to the Intel Core i-series but at a significantly premium price. Due to their high processing power, they offer superb gaming performance. X299 Taichi enhances Core X CPUs’ prowess and offers 48 lanes of CPU-based PCIe slot supported by the latest 10th Gen ‘Cascade Lake’ CPUs.

X299 Taichi is a good-looking motherboard with shades of matt grey and black with RGB light on one side for elegance. It offers 13 VRMs of 60A, all covered with liquid cooling on top for optimum cooling & improved overclocking performance. Its prominent features include dual gigabit Ethernet & WIFI 6 for fast and reliable network connection and a Realtek ALC1220 audio codec, delivering superior sound quality. 

Since the X299 chipset is more focused on workstation use, it offers 10 SATA 3 ports for more extensive storage requirements. Moreover, hidden below the heatsink are three M.2 slots for hi-speed NVMe SSDs which provide faster load times during gaming. Overall, X99 Taichi is a suitably priced high-end motherboard that offers similar features to more expensive models. It is the best motherboard for gaming for Core X-series CPUs.

ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming X (Image credit: Amazon)

ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming X

best AMD motherboard

SPECIFICATIONS

Socket: AM4 | Chipset: AMD X570 | Form Factor: ATX | Voltage Regulator: 14 | PCIe x16: 3 | USB Ports: 11 | Warranty: 3 Years

REASONS TO BUY

PCIe 4.0 support

AM4 socket compatible

RAM supports overclocking up to 4666+ Mhz

REASONS TO AVOID

No Legacy Ports/Jacks

Mediocre overclocking capability

ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming X is an elite-grade X570 chipset gaming motherboard. Unlike Intel, AMD promises to support multiple generations of CPUs on the same AM4 platform, allowing wider compatibility for the consumer. This motherboard also allows for the latest PCIe 4.0  support for the newest Zen 3 Ryzen CPUs for twice as much bandwidth. However, the Zen 3 Processors have lower overclocking capability but offer reliable gaming performance and multi-tasking ability.

Phantom Gaming X packs some severe cooling capability. It has a 14 phase PWM equipped with a heatsink with a liquid heat pipe. Most of the motherboard, which is black, is covered with a heatsink which adds to its cooling performance and aesthetics. It consists of three M.2 slots covered in a single big heatsink covering all their cooling demand. Moreover, a metal plate on the back of the motherboard promotes cooling as well as sturdiness.

Some of its premium features include PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots that support the fastest GPUs and NVMe SSDs and 04 DDR4 slots that you can overclock up to 4666 Mhz. It has eight SATA 3 ports to meet more extensive storage needs and multiple USB 3.2 Gen 2 & Gen 1 ports for faster data transfer. This motherboard is undoubtedly a gem considering all its premium features and may well be the best motherboard for gaming on an AMD platform.

Aorus X570 Master (Image credit: Amazon)

Aorus X570 Master

best high performance AMD motherboard

SPECIFICATIONS

Socket: AM4 | Chipset: AMD X570 | Form Factor: ATX | Voltage Regulator: 14 | PCIe x16: 2 | USB Ports: 8 | Warranty: 3 Years

REASONS TO BUY

Support the latest PCIe 4.0

Impressive and flexible integrated IO shield

ECC (Error-correcting code) memory support

REASONS TO AVOID

No U.2 Ports

Only allow 6 SATA connections when 3rd M.2 Slot in use

Aorus X570 Master is a power-packed, solidly built motherboard with numerous high-end features. A strong network connection is ensured via dual Ethernet ports and faster WIFI 6 modules. It is one of the best motherboards in the Gigabytes family due to its optimized feature set for most gaming world people. It has a high-end 14 phase Power Delivery Module for stable overclocking ability. 

PCIe 4.0 support is becoming a bigger deal nowadays since the latest AMD CPUs, GPUs, and NVMe devices support it and offer double bandwidth than PCIe 3.0. So it’s a pleasant surprise that it contains 3 PCIe 4.0 slots for faster Multi-GPU gaming and up to four M.2 storage slots. Moreover, it also has 6 SATA storage options providing decent storage capability.

It provides stable 160 FPS in F1 and 90+ FPS in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey in the overclocked mode compared to 152 FPS and 89 FPS without overclocking, providing almost a 25% performance boost than the previous generation even without overclocking. Even in the most GPU intensive games, it offered slightly better performance due to the newer age.  Conclusively speaking, it provides better value for money than its higher-end Extreme version and is suitable for most gamers.

Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming (Image credit: Amazon)

Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming

best budget AMD motherboard

SPECIFICATIONS

Socket: AM4 | Chipset: AMD B550 | Form Factor: ATX | Voltage Regulator: 14 | PCIe x16: 3 | USB Ports: 10 | Warranty: 3 Years

REASONS TO BUY

Fast WIFI 6 module

Pair of dedicated fan headers for CPU cooler

Premium features with the sturdy build quality

REASONS TO AVOID

No SATA Controllers

Only one PCIe 4.0 M.2 Slot

B550 is said to be slightly inferior to X570 CPUs, but that’s not always the case. Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming is a premium B550 motherboard that offers superior performance with 14+2 phase PWM comparable to the X570 chipsets. Its 4400 MHz overclockable RAM and Multi-GPU support (2-Way SLI and 3-Way CrossfireX) gives a tough time to its bigger brother X570 chipset. 

Although the X570 has Gen 4 chipset, which offers twice as much bandwidth as B550 Gen 3 chipset, it supports one M.2 PCI 4.0 SSD rather than two X570 cases. But other than that, it offers the latest high-end features like 2.5Gb ethernet, USB 3.3 Gen 2 and Gen 1 ports, ROG supreme 7.1 surround audio, and numerous software features for customization and tweaking. 

In our overclocking test, it managed to achieve 4.5 GHz stable on all cores of Ryzen 3300X with the cooling profile well within limits, thanks to its shrouded heat sinks and fan control. It ensures optimum gaming performance without worrying about any burnouts. It delivered up to 90+ FPS in Civilization: VI in 1080p Ultra high settings comparable to high-end boards. Overall it is a reliable performing motherboard with a very reasonable price tag coupled with features you see in high-end motherboards.

Asus TUF Gaming B550M-PLUS (Image credit: Amazon)

Asus TUF Gaming B550M-PLUS

best AMD micro-ATX motherboard

SPECIFICATIONS

Socket: AM4 | Chipset: AMD B550 | Form Factor: Micro ATX | Voltage Regulator: 8+2 | PCIe x16: 3 | USB Ports: 14 | Warranty: 3 Years

REASONS TO BUY

Fast WIFI 6

Latest USB 3.2 gen 2 ports

The very reasonable price tag

REASONS TO AVOID

Diagnostics Panel

Limited PCIe 4.0 support

Asus TUF Gaming B550M-PLUS is a micro ATX B550 motherboard that you can use in smaller workspaces due to its smaller size. Just like its big brother X570, it offers PCI 4.0 Support but a slightly limited one. Another advantage of B550 is that it doesn’t require active cooling like the X570 chipset. The heatsinks provide sufficient cooling for the 8+2 PWM and the chipset for stable performance. 

This motherboard is targeted towards budget-oriented gamers, still offering performance and feature set comparable to mid to high-end motherboards. Premium features include 8+2 PWM, 2.5Gb ethernet, WIFI 6, USB 3.2 gen 2 ports, dual M.2 slots, and ASUS software for customization.

Our testing achieved an overclock speed of 4.3 GHz and performed reasonably well at stock speed. When compared to other B550 chipsets, its performance was well above average. Given its very affordable price tag coupled with all the premium features and reliable performance it offers, it is easily the best gaming motherboard at a bargain price.

Conclusion

Now you know all there is to learn to make a better decision for selecting your motherboard. For further help, we have provided you with multiple options for motherboards that our team has shortlisted after rigorous testing and research. If you are still confused, let’s make it more simple for you. The best performing motherboard for Intel  CPU is the MSI MEG Z490 Godlike which offers superior performance. It provides the most premium features like 16 VRMs, fin array heat sinks, multiple M.2 SATA slots for more extensive storage, and many other premium features.

Don’t be discouraged if you are an AMD fan. Our Aorus X570 Master doesn’t disappoint either. It may well be the best motherboard for AMD CPUs owing to its 14 power delivery modules, triple PCIe 4.0 Ports for multi GPU support, and overclockable RAM up to 4400 MHz makes it the best choice for gaming enthusiasts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which brand motherboard is best?

If gaming performance is concerned, ASUS makes the best motherboards and offers superior build quality, gaming performance, easier customization & broader compatibility. If you want a high-performing budget motherboard, Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming is the answer. It provides all the necessary features but at an affordable price tag.

Which motherboard is best for gaming?

Asus ROG Maximus XII HERO is the best gaming motherboard you pick to boost your gaming experiences. It offers 14 phases VRM for superior overclocking ability, achieving up to 5.3 GHz on Intel i9-10900K in thermal velocity boost. Moreover, the RAM can be overclocked up to 4800 Mhz for even better performance while gaming.

What is the best motherboard in 2021?

MSI MEG Z490 Godlike is the best motherboard for 2021 due to its impressive 16 phases PWM, top of the line CPU and RAM overclocking performance, state of the art features like M.2 slots, dual ethernet, fast WIFI 6, and USB 3.2 gen 2 and gen 1 ports for faster transfer speeds.

What is the most reliable motherboard manufacturer?

ASUS makes the most reliable motherboards. ASUS emphasizes reliability and providing better value to consumers at the same time. Asus TUF Gaming B550M-PLUS is one such example that offers high-end features like 8+2 phases NVM, PCIe 4.0, fast ethernet, and WIFI 6 modules. It’s the latest USB ports ensuring the same robust and reliable construction, which is part of the high-end motherboards.