top 5 best motherboards
In order to maximize the performance of your internals, you should invest in the best motherboard possible. It is vital to the performance of your computer, not to mention enabling you to overclock your CPU more easily since it is the backbone. If you end up cheapening out, you might get a computer that underperforms and even damage or destroy all those components you spent so much time and money on.
Spend the same amount of energy as you would on getting a good graphics card and processor when upgrading your computer or building a PC. You want your components running at their peak performance and a solid motherboard will enable that.
In this guide, we’ve compiled our best picks for the best motherboards for your computer, so that no matter what the situation is, you can find something that improves your computer instead of causing problems.
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MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi
CPU Socket: LGA1700 | Chipset: Z690 | Memory Support: 4 x DDR5 6,666Mhz 128GB | Expansion Slots: 2 x PCIe 5.0 x16 (shared lanes); 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (4 lanes) | M.2 Slots: 4 x M.2 slot PCIe 4.0 x 4 (Key M), 1 x M.2 slot PCIe 3.0 x 4 (Key M) | Wi-Fi: Intel Wi-Fi 6E
MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi welcomes the 12th Gen Core processor with its new LGA 1700 socket. It is hard to beat this standout motherboard for a price under $400 and packed with quality. You’ll be able to run the latest graphics cards with the new Z690 chipset, as well as DDR5 memory, which reduces power consumption while increasing bandwidth–what more could you ask for?
In addition to two PCIe 5.0 x 16 slots, there’s an additional PCIe 3.0 x 16 slot with four lanes, so you can run full bandwidth on either slot or split its lanes. In addition to the five M.2 slots (four of which are PCIe 4.0), the motherboard has great storage support. The PCI overclocking feature, WI-Fi 6E, and an awesome mid-range price point should help you decide if this is enough to convince you.
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Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Xtreme
CPU Socket: LGA1700 | Chipset: Z690 | Memory Support: 4 x DDR5 6,600Hz 128GB | Expansion Slots: 2 x PCIe 5.0 x 16 (single at x16, dual at x8/x8), 1 x PCIe 3.0 x 16 (4 lanes) | M.2 Slots: 4 x M.2 slot PCIe 4.0 x 4 SSD (M Key) | Wi-Fi: Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX210
This gaming motherboard is ready for the latest Intel 12th Generation processors, which means you will be able to max out on it to the maximum. If you like our first option, but need something more powerful, you’ll find the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Xtreme to be the perfect place to start. The VRM Design is powerful enough to pair with the highest-performance parts, and it features a 20+1+2 Phases VRM. Its exclusive tuning ability allows you to overclock higher with its four DIMM slots that support DDR5 memory, which increases bandwidth and reduces power consumption. By using DDR5 you can also increase your performance.
Besides the awesome features you’ve already heard, there are several more that will allow you to have the best gaming experience. With PCIe 4.0 SSD support, you can benefit from a high-speed storage capacity. The motherboard has three PCIe slots, two of which are PCIe 5.0, so it can handle the latest graphics cards. It has Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2, and USB Type C ports. The high-end motherboard is loaded with all the latest technology, including two Ethernet ports, one supporting 10Gb and another supporting 2.5Gb. Additionally, Wi-Fi 6E is built-in as well.
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CPU Socket: LGA1700 | Chipset: H670 | Memory Support: 4 x DDR4 5,333MHz 128GB | Expansion Slots: 1 x PCIe 5.0 x16; 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (4 lanes); 2 x PCIe 3.0 x1 | M.2 Slots: 4 x M.2 slot PCIe 4.0 x 4 (Key M) | Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 6
In addition, it features the LGA1700 socket and H670 chipset, so it will support the latest 12th Gen Intel Core processors. The TUF Gaming H670-PRO WIFI D4 is a modestly priced motherboard that gets your system up and running. It’s also got a PCIe 5.0 slot, which doubles the bandwidth of PCIe 4.0, so it’s perfect for gaming with the latest GPUs. In addition to the NVMe SSD support, there are four M.2 slots for PCIe 4.0. This allows for incredible performance and fast transfer speeds. Your processor should still have no problems cruising along with four memory slots, albeit limited to DDR4 only.
You can play online with the Asus TUF Gaming H670-PRO WIFI D4 since it has a 2.5Gb LAN port and a Wi-Fi 6 chip. Besides USB ports, you’ll also find plenty of other connections for your peripherals to make sure all that bandwidth is available. If you’re looking for the latest technology for your gaming PC at a price that won’t break the bank, this motherboard is an excellent choice.
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Asus Prime H670-Plus D4
CPU Socket: LGA1700 | Chipset: H670 | Memory Support: 4 x DDR4 5,000MHz 128GB | Expansion Slots: 2 PCIe 4.0 x16; 1 PCIe 3.0 x16; 2 PCIe 3.0 x1 | M.2 Slots: 1 x M.2 WiFi/BT (E Key), 3 x M.2 Slot PCIe 4.0 x 4 (Key M)
The Asus Prime H670-Plus D4 is the best way to get the latest performance upgrades for your Intel machine at an affordable price. It doesn’t sacrifice much in terms of performance potential, and it doesn’t cost much more than some of the top Intel motherboards. The best part of this board is that it supports Intel CPUs from the 12th generation. You won’t get PCIe 5.0 speeds, but you can still get a graphics card-ready slot with a PCIe 4.0 x16 speed, even though you won’t get PCIe 4.0. The graphics card slot is two, plus the PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, and the PCIe 3.0 x1 slot for all the other cards.
Aside from the USB ports, the Asus Prime H670-Plus D4 also has a Thunderbolt 4 connector, which increases connectivity to 40Gbps. It comes with plenty of additional connectors as well. In addition, there are 2.5Gb ethernet ports, but unfortunately, it doesn’t come with its own Wi-Fi module. However, you can easily attach a Wi-Fi card to the M.2 Key E port. The system also comes with three additional M.2 NVME slots. A great gaming setup is still possible with this motherboard even though it isn’t an ultra-high-end motherboard.
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Asus ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero (Wi-Fi)
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CPU Socket: AM4 | Chipset: X570 | Memory Support: 4 x DDR4 4 4,800MHz 128GB | Expansion Slots: 2 x PCIe 4.0 x 16 (single at x16, dual at x8/x8), 1 x PCIe 4.0 x 16 (4 lanes), 1 x PCIe 4.0 x1 | M.2 Slots: 2 x M.2 slot PCIe 4.0 x 4 (Key M) | Wi-Fi: Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
This Asus ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero is all you need to build the Ryzen rig of your dreams. The MSI MEG X570 Godlike motherboard is insanely high-performance without going over the top and breaking the bank – see that for an example. You get fast RAM that runs at up to 4,800MHz. So there’s a lot of headroom for overclocking and synchronizing memory and Infinity Fabric clocks.
A high-speed graphics card will look great on this board. It has two PCIe x16 slots that are capable of splitting sixteen lanes at PCIe 4.0 speeds or you can use just one slot at full PCIe 4.0 x16 bandwidth, which is ideal for high-speed add-ons. It’s even got a third PCIe 4.0 x16 slot with four lanes for full-length cards that don’t require as much bandwidth. You can use two PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD slots for storage as well. In addition, Wi-Fi 6 and 25Gb LAN connectivity ensure fast networking through a smattering of USB ports.
What’s Next For Gaming Motherboards
During the announcement of Ryzen Threadripper 3rd Generation processors, TRX40 motherboards were introduced. AMD’s new Threadripper 3rd Generation platform utilizes a new sTRX4 socket, which makes a new motherboard essential for any Threadripper 3rd Generation system, despite the fact that they seem to use the same socket as the first Zen-based HEDT chips.
You at least get PCI-Express 4.0 support with your X399 motherboards, even though this will be an inconvenience to those who wish to continue using their motherboards into the next generation. You get 48 PCIe 4.0 lanes directly from the processor and 24 from the TRX40 chipset—just be prepared to buy some pricey motherboards.
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What to Look for in a Gaming Motherboard
As you can see, we have outlined what specifications and features you should look for in a motherboard, as well as which chipsets Intel and AMD processors support.
To find the right gaming motherboard for you, you’ll have to find one that has everything you need, such as overclockable processors, multiple M.2 slots for SSDs and expansion slots for add-on cards.
It is important to look for a motherboard with a chipset that works with your processor. Intel and AMD processors work with a variety of tiers of chipsets. With native 802.11ac WiFi, USB 3.2 Gen 2 and up to 24 PCIe lanes, the most advanced Intel motherboards will come with the Z690 chipset that supports the latest Intel 12th Generation processors. Also, high-performance motherboards will be constructed from better materials and components so they can consistently supply the power required for overclocking.
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Do all motherboards support overclocking?
For Intel, Z-series boards (Z690, Z590) are designed to allow overclocking of both the CPU and the memory. You can check for overclocking capabilities by going to the product page on the vendor’s official website before purchasing the 12th-gen. It is best to overclock the mid-to-low-end B660, H670, and H610 with the introduction of the 12th-gen.
You don’t need to worry about which AMD motherboard you buy if it supports overclocking, outside of the super affordable A520 chipset. The X570 boards, however, feature the highest quality components, including better VRMs, which make them more suitable for safely overclocking AMD chips.
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Do I need to reinstall Windows after upgrading my motherboard?
If you are replacing your motherboard, you should reinstall Windows. It ensures compatibility with your new motherboard as well as ensuring your license key is tied to it. If you plan to upgrade your motherboard, you should have your Windows digital license or a product key handy. We also recommend reading Microsoft’s instructions on how to reactivate Windows after a hardware change.
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