The Best Intel Gaming Motherboards for 2014

One of the most overlooked–but most important–components inside of your computer is your motherboard. In today’s post, we’re going to take a look at the best Intel gaming motherboards, so that you can make an informed decision when you go to choose your parts.

Best Gaming Motherboards 2013The motherboard is the central communication center for your computer. It’s where all of your components plug into and are able to communicate with each other.

The motherboard you choose for your gaming computer will have a huge impact on the quality of your build.

If you choose a low-end cheap motherboard, you will be stuck having to get low-end cheap components.

However, if you choose a feature-rich and powerful motherboard, you will not only experience the benefits now, but you will also set yourself up with plenty of room to upgrade in the future.

While a motherboard isn’t going to have a direct impact on your gaming experience, it does play a huge role in your computer. Therefore, you need to consider allotting a decent portion of your budget towards your motherboard.

In this post, I will take a look at the best Intel gaming motherboards for 2014. I’ve broken down the categories into five different price ranges: motherboards under $100, motherboards between $100-$150, motherboards between $150-$200, motherboards between $200-$300, and motherboards over $300. I’ve also covered both socket LGA 1150 motherboards and socket LGA 1155 motherboards since some people will choose the new Haswell CPUs over the Ivy Bridge CPUs.

I chose only one motherboard for each price range and while there are many other motherboards out there that are worthy of praise, I believe these ones offer the most for gamers.

More From This Series:

Best Socket LGA 1150 Motherboards

Intel’s socket LGA 1150 is currently the most sought-after platform for new gaming computers. While socket LGA 1150 is not quite as extreme as socket LGA 2011, it does bring enough to the table to make it worthy of pretty much any high-end gaming computer build.

The one downfall of socket LGA 1150 may be in its longevity. While the previous socket LGA 1150 spanned a few different CPU architectures, it’s possible that socket LGA 1150 may only see one more CPU upgrade option before switching to a new socket. This is important if you like to stick with the same motherboard for awhile and upgrade to the new CPUs as they become available.

LGA 1150 Motherboard Comparison Chart

Picture Motherboard Chip Form SLI/CF War. Price
MSI H97-G43 H97 mATX CF 3 YRS Hover
Asus Z97-A Z97 ATX Both 3 YRS Hover
Asus Z97 PRO Z97 ATX Both 3 YRS Hover
Asus Sabertooth Z97 Z97 ATX Both 5 YRS Hover
EVGA Z97 Classified Z97 E-ATX Both 3 YRS Hover

MSI H97-G43 Motherboard ($80-$90)
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

With the recent release of Haswell chips, the current prices for anything related to the socket LGA 1150 are still pretty high. So, finding a solid LGA 1150 motherboard under $100 isn’t the easiest thing to do… especially if you’re looking for a motherboard with a good amount of features.

Fortunately, though, the MSI H87-G43 mATX motherboard is a good option for anyone looking for a quality LGA 1150 motherboard under $100.

It’s a micro ATX motherboard that features the H97 chipset (which is the same as the Z97 chipset, except it doesn’t allow you to overclock), six USB ports (including two USB 3.0 ports), and gives you the ability to run dual video cards in CrossFireX configuration. (SLI is not supported with this board.)

So, if you’re working with a budget and you’re not looking to overclock then the MSI H97-G43 is a good option.

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MSI H97-G43 Specs

  • LGA 1150/H97 Chipset
  • Military Class 4: Top Quality & Stability
  • Supports Dual Video Cards (CrossFireX Only)
  • Two USB 3.0 Ports and Four USB 2.0 Ports
  • Fast Boot allows you to get into your OS in a few seconds

Customer Reviews

From Werdna on Amazon:

Installed without issue. Slightly longer than some other Micro ATX motherboards which is actually good since the shorter ones often don’t hit the standoff points on cases and you end up not supporting them as well as you might. Has good display output options and an m.2 slot which might come in handy, although it does disable sata ports five and six when in use.

From Christopher C. on Newegg:

Great price. This was the only micro ATX 9 series motherboard I could find with a displayport connector. Although I don’t currently have a 4K display, driving a 4K display at 60Hz with Haswell / 9 series chipsets requires a displayport connector and this was literally the only mATX board with displayport I could find when I purchased this board. I plan on adding a 4K display once prices come down so having a displayport connector was a must have feature.


ASUS Z97-A Motherboard ($130-$140)
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

The $100-$150 range for motherboards is really when you start seeing some of the more advanced features.

For right around $140 (give or take a few bucks depending on prices) you can snag the ASUS Z97-A motherboard. And, in this price range, it really is one of the best options.

Featuring the new socket LGA 1150 and the Z97 chipset, the ASUS Z97-A is perfect for gamers who are building an overclocking rig on a moderate budget. And, with the easy-to-use BIOS on this motherboard, overclocking is a piece of cake.

This board is also perfect for running dual video cards in either CrossFireX or SLI configuration.

So, if you’re putting together a new Haswell build and you want to do some overclocking and/or a dual video card setup, then the ASUS Z97-A is an excellent option for you.

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ASUS Z97-A Specs

  • LGA 1150/Z97 Chipset
  • Good Overclocking Board
  • Easy-To-Use BIOS Makes System Tuning Simple
  • Six USB 3.0 Ports
  • Two PCIe 3.0 Slot
  • SLI and CrossFireX Support

Customer Reviews

From Steve W. on Amazon:

Overall, this is a great level of refinement and improvement over prior Asus z87 boards. The Intel NIC, M.2 slot, SATA Express, improved UEFI BIOS, improved RAM VRM, and other features I’m sure I’ll soon discover makes this an excellent choice for most haswell builds. Honestly, I’m thinking about swapping my board in my case for this one and hope my gf doesn’t notice. Sure it’s not an ROG board, but how many people actually gain any benefit from additional phases on haswell since it’s a crapshoot with the integrated VRM and crappy TIM under the heat spreader?

From John B Smith on Amazon:

I researched upgrading a family member’s “gamer PC” and landed on this platform for the best price/performance solution. Coupled with the Intel Core i7-4790 Processor and Corsair Vengeance memory, this thing screams!! Easy Bios setup, and GREAT performance are the result.


ASUS Z97 Pro Motherboard ($200-$210)
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

For a high-end experience, you can’t go wrong with an ASUS motherboard. The same is true for the ASUS Z97 PRO.

It’s not the absolute best board on the entire market, but for just above $200 it is one of the best boards in the tier just below the more extreme boards.

With the new Z97 chipset, the ASUS Z97 Pro is the perfect board for overclockers who have a medium-to-high budget for their build.

It comes with six USB 3.0 ports, is multi-video card compatible (supports both SLI and CrossFireX), and has an incredibly easy to use BIOS.

The bottom line is, if you’re looking for ideal performance from your motherboard, but you don’t want to spend a couple hundred dollars on the fancy top-of-the-line boards, then the ASUS Z97 Pro is probably one of the best Intel gaming motherboards right around $200.

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ASUS Z97 Pro Specs

  • LGA 1150/Z87 Chipset
  • Excellent Board for Overclocking
  • Easy-To-Use BIOS for Simple System Tuning
  • Six USB 3.0 Ports
  • SLI and CrossFireX Support
  • Memory Can Be Overclocked To Up To 3200MHz

Customer Reviews

From mwrams on Amazon:

Great board! Nothing bad to say. I’ve had it over a month now and no problems. I game a lot and it works great for me. I have a i7 4790k running at 4.4. 16gb RAM Wi-Fi works great for me. I would buy again if i do another build.

From Roger J. Fish on Amazon:

This thing has everything needed for your newest MOBO. Setup on first book is simple and straight forward.2 weeks afterset this is a very stable setup for a solid state hard drive and EVGA 770GTX. Boot time is 21 seconds with a I5 CPU. I Love this motherboard


ASUS Sabertooth Z97 ($230-$240)
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

In the past, I’ve always praised ASUS’ Sabertooth motherboards despite the fact that they aren’t the most performance-driven boards on the market. So, why do I promote them?

Quality.

The ASUS Sabertooth Z97 picks up where the Z87 version left off. It’s made with high-quality military-strength components and it is a superior option for anyone looking to get the most out of their motherboard.

With its TUF Armor and high-end cooling system, the Sabertooth is better protected against the elements than just about any other board on the market. And, with a 5-year warranty, you better believe that ASUS went all out in designing this board to be as efficient and durable as possible.

However, aside from the quality and durability that the Sabertooth brings to the table, it has all of the features of a high-end motherboard as well. It will support multiple video cards, it comes with six USB 3.0 ports, and it has a very well-designed BIOS for quick and easy overclocking and system tuning.

The bottom line is, the ASUS Sabertooth is built to last. And, while there are some more extreme boards on the market in terms of performance, the Sabertooth still gives plenty of performance and adds in the bonus of superior durability and build quality. So, if you’re looking for a guaranteed winner, go with the ASUS Sabertooth Z97.

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ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Specs

  • LGA 1150/Z97 Chipset
  • Industry-Leading 5-Year Warranty
  • Solid Overclocking Board
  • Six USB 3.0 Ports
  • TUF Armor Keeps Your System Protected Against the Elements
  • SLI and CrossFireX Support

Customer Reviews

From prongATO on Amazon:

Great motherboard. I wanted to upgrade my HTPC and get it to a higher level for gaming from the couch since I am disabled now. Typical Asus quality bit durability that makes it even better. I plan on liquid cooling the system. I made the mistake of thinking a corsair AiO would be somewhat like custom… Not even close.

From Blake on Amazon:

This board is a monster. Looks great, overclocks like a champ. The BIOS is very intuitive and is an improvement over the last version. I simply used the preset overcooking and hit 4.6 GHz on my i7-4790k. Gone are the days of spending hours tweaking everything and having to get on the floor to pull the microscopic jumper every time you pushed it too far. Would recommend.


EVGA Z97 Classified ($390-$400)
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

Some people need more power and more functionality than others. Some people have to have four video cards, instead of two or three (or even one). Some people just need to go balls to the wall…

If you’re one of those people, then you’ll probably need the EVGA Z97 Classified.

The Z97 Classified is definitely one of the best motherboards on the market. It has incredible high-end features, including superior support for overclocking, quad-GPU support (for SLI and CrossFireX configurations), and a ton of other system-tuning options.

Ultimately, the list of features that the Z97 Classified comes with is a long one. So, if you have a huge budget and you’re looking to get one of the best Intel gaming motherboards on the market, then you would do well to choose the Z97 Classified.

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EVGA Z97 Classified Specs

  • LGA 1150/Z97 Chipset
  • One of the Best Overclocking Boards on the Market
  • BIOS is Easy-To-Use and Very Functional
  • Support for Quad-GPU Setups (SLI only)
  • Six USB 3.0 Ports
  • Memory Can Be Overclocked To Over 2666MHz

Customer Reviews

From Anonymous on Newegg:

Love this bord, great quality you can feel right out if the box. Packaging is awesome, may not say anything about the bord but it says a lot about the company. Solid build, no flex in any of the components. Great tight angle connectors and plenty of nice ports and plugs. Boots quick, BIOS is easy to work with. Overclocks like a champ, 4790k at 4.5ghz, NO problem, doesnt break a sweat. Epicness in a box

From Steven H. on Newegg:

Really solid components used to make the board and get very stable experience, overclocking and performance.


Best Socket LGA 1155 Motherboards

While socket LGA 1155 is a little dated with the recent release of socket LGA 1150, that doesn’t meant that is isn’t still a viable socket to build off of. However, for brand new builds, there are only a couple of scenarios where I’d recommend going with an LGA 1155 setup over an LGA 1150 one.

The first scenario is if you’re building on a budget and you want to put an Intel build together. LGA 1155 has a larger selection of affordable motherboards and makes it a little easier to fit an Intel CPU into a budget build.

The other scenario is if you already have an LGA 1155 setup and you need to replace the motherboard.

For any other scenario, I’d recommend going with socket LGA 1150.

LGA 1155 Comparison Chart

Picture Motherboard Chip Form SLI/CF War. Price
AS Rock PRO3 Z77 ATX CF 3 YRS Hover
ASRock EXTREME4 Z77 ATX Both 3 YRS Hover
ASUS P8Z77-V Z77 ATX Both 3 YRS Hover
ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 Z77 ATX Both 5 YRS Hover

AS Rock LGA1155 Intel Z77 CrossFireX PRO3 ($90-$100)
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

Best Gaming Motherboards 2013

ASRock has always been known to deliver high-quality motherboards at a very affordable price. The LGA 1155 Z77 PRO3 board is no different.

For under $100 you really can’t go wrong with the PRO3. It has all of the necessary features that a high-end gaming computer needs, making it one of the best motherboards in 2014. It will allow you to overclock your processor and memory (can reach speeds up to 2800+MHz on your RAM), and supports running multiple AMD video cards in CrossFireX configuration.

So, if you’re looking for a performance-driven board at an affordable price, then the PRO3 is the perfect Intel gaming motherboard for you.

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ASRock Pro3 Specs

  • LGA 1155/Z77 Chipset
  • Supports Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology
  • Works Great for Overclocking
  • Four USB 3.0 Ports
  • PCIe 3.0 Slot
  • SLI and CrossFireX Support

Customer Reviews

From Kjellmaster9000 on Newegg:

Does everything you need it to do from a Z77 chipset. UEFI bios is simple and everything you ask it to do gets done. No “Hyper Omega Laser Guided Turbo Infused Kryptonite Fusion” vibe I get from a lot of overpriced Z77 boards. I got it for $90… it works… I’m happy.

From Mike K. on Newegg:

I got this board and an i5 3570K to replace an MSI Z68A-G45 and i5 2400 that I was having issues with. The install was a sinch, and it’s been working great ever since. I have no complaints about this board, and my next board will most likely be another ASRock.


AS Rock LGA1155 Intel Z77 Quad CrossFireX and Quad SLI EXTREME4 ($130-$150)
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

Best Gaming Motherboards 2013A step up from the PRO3, the ASRock EXTREME4 is priced for a mid-range system, but plays like a high-end board. It’s the perfect option for gamers who are trying get as much performance out of their budget as possible.

It has all of the features you could ever want: quad-video cards (both CrossFireX and SLI), overclocking, USB 3.0, PCIe 3.0, etc. You name it, this board has it… which is crazy considering how affordable it is.

So, if you’ve got a medium budget, and you want to save money so that you can put it into your video card or processor, the EXTREME4 will give you the option to do that.

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ASRock Extreme4 Specs

  • Can run Video Cards in Quad CrossFireX or Quad SLI Configuration
  • Perfect Board for Overclocking
  • LGA 1155/Z77 Chipset
  • Four USB 3.0 Ports
  • Two PCIe 3.0 Slots

Customer Reviews

From D. Marchenko on Amazon:

Loved the board, truly plug and play. Assembled in 30 minutes, BIOS setup autodetected and configured everything, the only thing I had to change is boot drive assignment. Multiple options, similar features from ASUS would be double this price. A+++

From Zach on Amazon:

At first I was a bit leary not knowing much at AS Rock MBs and reading some reviews on some websites however after using multiple of these boards would highly recommend them. They are an excellent budget MB for 1155 socket set that has a plethora of OC abilities for the price. Even supporting higher frequency RAM compared to several other boards.


ASUS P8Z77-V LGA 1155 ATX Motherboard ($170-$200)
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

Best Gaming Motherboard 2013The ASUS P8Z77-V Z77 motherboard has everything you could ever want out of a motherboard and then some.

It’s perfectly priced for gamers who want to have a good gaming computer now, and one that has the potential to be upgraded in the future. And, with ASUS quality, not only are you getting a very stable board, but you’re also backed by a great warranty and excellent product support.

So, if you nee optimal performance now, and you have big ideas for your build in the future, then the ASUS P8Z77-V is the board for you.

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ASUS P8Z77-V Specs

  • LGA 1155/Z77 Chipset
  • Excellent Board to Overclock With
  • Built-in Wireless
  • SLI and CrossFireX Support
  • Dual Intelligent Processors 3
  • DIGI+ Power Control Allows for Easy Overclocking

Customer Reviews

From D. Brown on Amazon:

There are way too many features to discuss here that this board does. I highly recommend this board, plus it looks great and overclocks very well when desired to do so.

From BaraCubra on Amazon:

I really love this board! The design is great and very sleek especially after my old P55 board. I’m running a brand new i7 3770K and a gtx 670 in it with 8GB of G-Skill RipJaws DDR3 1600mhz RAM (which it recognized imediately and set correct speed/timmings#. The UEFI is a breeze to navigate through with a lot of good features.


ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 LGA 1155 ATX Motherboard ($230-$250)
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

Best Gaming Motherboards 2013The ASUS Sabertooth Z77 not only delivers excellent performance and a ton of features, but it looks pretty damn cool, too. The plastic covers over the motherboard give the Sabertooth a slick look that you won’t find anywhere else.

However, that nice-looking cover that goes over the top of the motherboard is doing more than just looking cool… it’s also improving the cooling on your board and protecting your system from dust. And, those are two things that are huge in preserving the longevity of your motherboard and your entire system.

In the end, the Sabertooth is the perfect motherboard for anyone working with a high-end budget and who wants all of the features. So, if money isn’t an issue, the Sabertooth is one of the best motherboards you can get. For more information on the Sabertooth Z77, read Justin’s review on it.

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ASUS Sabertooth Z77 Specs

  • LGA 1155/Z77 Chipset
  • Thermal Armor Technology
  • Improved Air Flow
  • Excellent for Overclocking
  • Dust Defender
  • Dual Intelligent Processors 3
  • DIGI+ Power Control Allows for Easy Overclocking
  • Two PCIe 3.0 Slots
  • Four USB 3.0 Ports

Customer Reviews

From Jonathan G. on Amazon:

I have owned ASUS motherboards for the last 10 years or so. This is runs smooth, overclocking when need and under clocking the rest of the time to save power. You will need to do a BIOS update to get it running the best. I had some strange things happening until I updated the BIOS. Afterwords everything worked great. It’s been running for 3 months without a hitch. Lots of features, I wish I had more time to play with them.

From Albert W. Thomas on Amazon:

Absolutely no problems with the install. Lots of little extras come with the board. Manual is good and addresses most issues. I was using an EVGA X58 motherboard before this and the new UEFI BIOS in the Sabertooth is so much easier to use!! Four Sata 6.0GB and four fan connectors are a plus as well. Seems to be good build quality. After several weeks of running conservatively o/c it’s been rock solid!


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Comments

  1. ashwin says

    Hi Bren,
    My name is ashwin from india. I wisht o buy core i 3 third generation processor, motherboard which i can upgrade core i 7 in future, upto 16 or 32 gb ram support, my use is video editing. What is diffrent between gaming hardware & Graphic hardware? Can i get both in one hardware?

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