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 motherboards for gaming, so that you can make an informed decision when you go to choose your parts.
The 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 gaming motherboards for 2016. I’ve broken down the categories into four different motherboard socket categories: the best LGA 1151 motherboards (Intel), the best LGA 2011 motherboards (Intel Extreme), the best AM3+ motherboards (AMD FX), and the best FM2 motherboards (AMD APU).
I’ve taken a look at multiple motherboards within each socket and looked at the best gaming motherboards in different price ranges as well. So, whether you’re looking for a cheap gaming motherboard, or a high-end overclocking motherboard, there will be a motherboard option for you on this list.
Intel’s socket LGA 1151 is currently the most sought-after platform for new gaming computers. While socket LGA 1151 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 1151 may be the fact that since it is so new, prices are somewhat high and have not come down to the levels of the previous LGA 1150 prices yet.
The LGA 1150 socket is still very viable, however for the sake of keeping everything as fresh as possible, I have decided to only include LGA 1151 motherboards. Because if you have the money to build a new Intel-based system, then you might as well pay a little bit extra to get the newest Intel architecture and motherboard chipset.
In the chart below the best Intel motherboards for gaming will be sorted from the most affordable (but still high-quality) board to the most expensive (and extreme) board. This will help you sort out your motherboard choice by price as well.
LGA 1151 Motherboard Comparison ChartIf you’re looking for a cheap LGA 2011 motherboard, you can forget about it. The LGA 2011 socket is not for the casual PC builders who are just looking to build a typical gaming computer.
Rather, LGA 2011 is designed to handle Intel’s extreme edition processors and therefore is only recommended if you want to go all out on your next PC build.
Prices for LGA 2011 motherboards start in the $200s and go well into the $300s and $400s. And, as such, I really wouldn’t recommend going with the LGA 2011 socket unless you’re planning on spending at least $1,500 total on your system.
With that being said, here is a list of the best Intel motherboards for the LGA 2011 socket…
LGA 2011 Motherboard Comparison ChartEven though the AM3+ socket from AMD is a few years old, it is still a relevant option for gamers who are looking to build a high-end AMD-based system, or who have a limited budget and want to build a more economical system.
There are many layers to the AM3+ socket, with a few different chipsets ranging from low-end boards all the way to high-end extreme motherboards. So, while AM3+ boards may not have as fresh of technology as the newer Intel boards, they definitely have options that will meet just about anyone’s needs.
Here is a list of some of the best AMD motherboards for the AM3+ socket…
AM3+ Motherboard Comparison ChartI’m not the biggest fan of AMD’s FM2+ socket as a base to build your gaming computer off of. In my opinion, the APUs are best left for OEMs to build cheap pre-built computers for the masses.
However, AMD’s APUs do sport a newer architecture and their APUs do have decent enough graphics to make them somewhat viable as processors for an entry-level gaming computer.
So, with that being said, I guess I will give you four motherboard options you can choose between if you absolutely must go with an AMD APU-based build.
FM2+ Motherboard Comparison Chart
WHICH MOTHERBOARD IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
While your motherboard isn’t going to have any kind of direct impact on your in-game experience, it will play a large role in determining what components you can put into your build. The cheaper the motherboard you choose, the more limited you will be.
However, if you are working with a tight budget, you can definitely choose a less-expensive motherboard. And, if all you are planning on doing is building a single video card setup then you don’t necessarily have to spend hundreds of dollars on a quality motherboard.
Ultimately, though, your motherboard is an important part of your computer and you should definitely take time to choose one that will serve your needs and even will give you upgrade options in the future.