We rated, reviewed, & compared 17 of the best motherboards for gaming across various budgets, including the best AM4 motherboards and the best Coffee Lake motherboards.
|MSI Z370 GODLIKE||Z370||Extended ATX||9.5/10|
|MSI X370 XPOWER||X370||Standard ATX||9.4/10|
|GIGABYTE X299 Gaming 7||X299||Standard ATX||9.3/10|
OLD LGA 1151
|ASUS ROG IX Hero||Z270||Standard ATX||9.2/10|
Check Update History »
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 2018. I’ve broken down the categories into four different motherboard socket/chipset categories: the best AM4 motherboards (AMD), the best Coffee Lake motherboards (Intel), the best LGA 2066 motherboards (Intel Extreme), and the best older LGA 1151 motherboards (Intel 100 and 200 series).
I’ve taken a look at multiple motherboards within each socket and looked at the best options 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 finally stepped up and delivered more cores to its fanbase. Where quad-core processors were the norm for their mainstream CPUs before, Intel’s new Coffee Lake chips (other than their Core i3 CPUs) are all six-core processors.
And, even their Core i3 processors got a boost, going from dual-core CPUs, to quad-core CPUs, making them more viable than they have ever been before for building a budget gaming PC with.
However, while the chips have been met with much applause, the biggest problem with the new Coffee Lake processors is the fact that there are no budget-friendly motherboards currently available for the platform.
Right now, you can only get a Z-series motherboard for Coffee Lake, which is designed to accommodate unlocked processors. The problem is that Intel’s champion budget chips—like the i5-8400 and i3-8100—can’t be overclocked.
And, so, with only Z-series motherboards available, in order to get one of the best value chips from Coffee Lake (the i3-8100 or i5-8400) you have to overspend on your motherboard, making the platform not as suitable for entry-level and slightly higher-budget gaming PC builds.
So, ultimately, Coffee Lake isn’t the greatest option currently out there for budget builds. However, if you have a moderate-to-high-end budget, Coffee Lake is the platform to be on. And, below, we go over the best Z370 motherboards currently available on the market.
COFFEE LAKE MOTHERBOARD COMPARISON CHART (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
AMD’s Ryzen CPUs their new AM4 motherboards released earlier this year. The brand new AMD architecture is exciting because it has been a long while before AMD has pushed the high-end of the CPU market.
And, despite the fact that Intel’s Coffee Lake CPUs are outperforming AMD’s Ryzen processors in gaming-specific use-cases, for other purposes like video editing, graphics design, and streaming, Ryzen’s extra cores and threads help make them viable options.
So, if you’ve been waiting a long time for AMD to finally offer something worthwhile at the top of the desktop CPU market, you now have what you have been waiting for.
If that’s the case and you are looking at a Ryzen CPU, then you will also need a new AM4 motherboard to pair with it. In this section, I’ve listed the four best AM4 motherboards currently on the market.
And, unlike the problem that is plaguing Intel’s Coffee Lake motherboards right now, there are plenty of high-end and affordable (but quality) motherboard options available for the AM4 socket.
AM4 MOTHERBOARD COMPARISON CHART (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
If you’re looking for a cheap LGA 2066 motherboard, you can forget about it.
The LGA 2066 socket is not for the casual PC builders who are just looking to build a typical gaming computer.
Rather, LGA 2066 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 2066 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 2066 socket unless you’re planning on spending at least $1,500 total on your system.
With that being said, if you still want to build an Intel-Extreme-based PC, here is a list of the best Intel motherboards for the LGA 2066 socket…
LGA 2066 MOTHERBOARD COMPARISON CHART (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
With the release of Intel’s new Coffee Lake chips, we have seen Intel shy away from making their chips backwards compatible with older sockets.
That’s because the new Coffee Lake chips are not compatible with Kaby Lake or Sky Lake motherboards, despite the fact that they are all on the same socket.
This means that anyone who built a Kaby Lake or Sky Lake gaming PC will not be able to simply swap out their CPU for a new Coffee Lake chip.
Still, though, if you are looking to build a new gaming PC, you might be able to find some decent deals on those older LGA 1151 processors.
And, so, in the chart below, I’ve listed the top motherboards available for the LGA 1151 socket (prior to Coffee Lake) at various feature sets and price points. The price is sorted from high-to-low, as well, to make it easier for you to find a board that meets your exact requirements.
LGA 1151 MOTHERBOARD COMPARISON CHART (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
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 the time to choose one that will serve your needs and even will give you upgrade options in the future.