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.
|ASUS ROG IX Hero||Z270||Standard ATX||9.4/10|
|MSI X370 XPOWER||X370||Standard ATX||9.4/10|
|ASUS RAMPAGE V||X99||Extended ATX||9.3/10|
|ASUS M5A99FX PRO||990FX||Standard ATX||8.6/10|
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 2017. I’ve broken down the categories into five different motherboard socket categories: the best AM4 motherboards (AMD), 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 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.
While AMD’s new Ryzen CPUs have finally presented a real challenge to Intel’s high-end processors, most benchmarks show that, for gaming, Intel is still the better option.
And, of the best platforms to build a new gaming computer around, your best option is Intel’s LGA 1151 CPUs. Socket LGA 1151 is not quite as extreme as Intel’s LGA 2011 socket, but it does bring enough to the table to make it worthy of pretty much any high-end gaming computer build.
Ultimately, if you have a moderate budget and your goal is to build a 4K or VR-friendly gaming computer, you will likely want to look into an LGA 1151-based build.
In the chart below, I’ve listed the top motherboards available in the LGA 1151 socket 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)
AMD’s Ryzen CPUs have arrived and with them have come new AM4 motherboards. 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 benchmarks showing that Intel’s Kaby Lake CPUs are still outperforming AMD’s Ryzen processors in gaming, for other purposes like video editing, graphics design, and streaming, Ryzen’s extra cores and threads help push it ahead.
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.
As of right now, there aren’t a ton of options, but that should change in the coming months as motherboard manufacturers catch up with the release of the new chips.
AM4 MOTHERBOARD COMPARISON CHART (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
If 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, if you still want to build an Intel-Extreme-based PC, here is a list of the best Intel motherboards for the LGA 2011 socket…
LGA 2011 MOTHERBOARD COMPARISON CHART (CLICK ‘READ REVIEW’ TO EXPAND)
Unfortunately, the AM3+ socket is on its last legs. I wouldn’t have even included this section if AMD had released its quad-core CPUs alongside its new eight-core CPUs, but I suppose since the quad-core processors won’t be here for a bit, I can include these AM3+ options for anyone who is looking to do a cheap build with an FX-6300 or even an FX-8350, as both are pretty cheap right now.
The one downside of the AM3+ socket is that if you want to run its higher end processors, you need to spend at least ~$100 on your motherboard. That’s because the lower-tier motherboards just don’t have enough power to push the big eight-core CPUs in the AM3+ line.
However, you can save money and choose a cheap AM3+ motherboard if you are going to go with a CPU like the FX-6300. And, ultimately, in my opinion, if you are going to go with an AM3+ build, it should probably be with an FX-6300 (because it’s so cheap). Just know that there really isn’t a great upgrade path on the AM3+ socket right now as everything is now being made for the AM4 socket.
But if you must choose AM3+, the options below will do the trick.
AM3+ 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.