A critical part of any build.
Picking the best motherboard for your gaming PC is often a lower priority than finding the most extreme graphics cards and processors you can buy. However, your motherboard is arguably just as – if not even more – important because it connects each of your components (from the main CPU to the most insignificant case fan) to each other.
This essential component also determines how quickly your gaming PC can run and how far you can overclock your components. Depending on the specs of your motherboard, you also might only be able to support memory up to a certain speed or a certain number of storage drives.
There are a lot of specs to pore over, but we’ve done that work for you and picked out the very best gaming motherboards for a variety of budgets. Whether your system runs on an Intel or AMD CPU, we think you’ll find the best motherboards for you below.
TL; DR: These are the best gaming motherboards you can buy:
Best Intel Motherboard – Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra
The Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra is a fully-loaded motherboard that comes at a reasonable price. This mobo packs three M.2 PCIe slots for high-speed solid-state drives and three slots for connecting multiple graphics cards (3-way AMD Crossfire and 2-way Nvidia SLI). If your dream is to build a PC brighter than the sun, this motherboard will help you achieve it with a ton of onboard lighting and two RGB headers to control other illuminated components. What’s most impressive about the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra is it offers all the features found on high-end MSI or Asus models that cost much more.
Best High-End Intel Motherboard – Asus ROG Maximus XI Code
You can’t really ask for more in an Intel-based gaming motherboard than the Asus ROG Maximus XI Code. This motherboard is ready to unlock the full potential of any Intel 9th Generation (Coffee Lake Refresh) processor you socket into it, plus you can load it up with two NVMe solid-state drives, multiple graphics cards, and 64GB of memory clocked up to 4,400MHz. Asus and other brands may offer even higher-end motherboards with built in liquid-cooling blocks and other non-essential upgrades, but this is a high-end motherboard anyone can install to soup up their system
Best Mid-Range Intel Motherboard – ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming
Trying to save a buck on one of the best gaming motherboards doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to miss out on every single high-end feature. The ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming SLI/ac is half as expensive as the Asus ROG Maximus XI Code, but it still fully supports overclocking your processor, and you can increase your memory speed up to 4,300MHz. This motherboard will also let you pair together GPUs in Nvidia SLI and AMD Crossfire just as well as the best motherboards on the market.
Best Budget Intel Motherboard – Gigabyte B360 Aorus Gaming 3
Finding a full-sized ATX motherboard for close to $100 is tricky, but we think the Gigabyte B360 Aorus Gaming 3 is the best model for users on a budget. It won’t let you overclock components like the Z390 motherboard we’ve featured above will and you can’t forget about plugging in more than one graphics card, however, you can still install two NVMe SSDs for the fastest storage and it comes with Wi-Fi built in. Overall, this is one of the best and most affordable motherboards you can use to get started with PC gaming.
Best AMD Motherboard — MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon
You don’t need to spend a fortune to take advantage of the uncapped overclocking features of a X470 motherboard. MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon will allow you to kick your Ryzen-based system into overdrive while staying on a budget. Thanks to its support for modern AM4 processors and dual-channel DDR4, this mobo is a performer. The lightshow you’ll be able to generate on this part is also a spectacle to behold, even if it isn’t quite ornate as the Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WiFi. You’ll also find two M.2 PCIe slots for speedy SSDs, support for multi-GPU setups, and integrated Wi-Fi as well.
Best High-End AMD Motherboard — Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WIFI
If you’re building a new AMD-centric rig or just updating an existing PC with the new second (or first) generation Ryzen processors, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better motherboard than the Gaming 7 WIFI. With a modern AM4 socket designed to handle that speedy CPU, a X470 chipset, and support for both SLI and Crossfire graphics card setups, this is what you’ll need for a higher-end, modern AMD build. As the name implies, there’s Wi-Fi on-board and it supports superfast RAM speeds. Plus, its multi-zone lighting will look great in a stylish mid-tower PC case.
Best Mid-Range AMD Motherboard – ASRock X470 Master SLI/AC
The ASRock X470 Master SLI/AC costs half as much as most X470 motherboards, but it retains almost all the features a hardcore gamer will want. Thanks to its generous overclocking features you’ll be able to speed up your CPU as well as push your memory to 3,466MHz and beyond. With support for dual Nvidia graphics cards in SLI, the only corner ASRock has cut on this board is it only has one full-speed M.2 PCIe 3.0 slot for NVMe SSDs.
Best Budget AMD Motherboard — Gigabyte B450 Aorus Pro Wi-Fi
Getting a motherboard to work with the latest Ryzen 2nd Generation processors doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. The Gigabyte B450 Aorus Pro Wi-Fi packs a punch for its low price with surprisingly easy to configure overclocking options. Plus, its lighting scheme takes advantage of Gigabyte’s RGB Fusion to let you coordinate colors and lighting patterns across multiple components. There are also two M.2 PCIe slots and support for up to 64GB of DDR4 memory operating up to 3,200MHz.
What to Look for in a for in a Gaming Motherboard
Below we’ve broken down the various chipsets that Intel and AMD processors support along with what specifications and features you should look for in a motherboard.
You might be wondering what makes a motherboard good for gaming when you can pretty much game (to a limited degree) on an Ultrabook these days. Well, it comes down to choosing a gaming motherboard you’ll want to find one that can do everything you want whether that be overclocking your processor, having multiple M.2 slots for the fastest solid-state drives or supporting Nvidia SLI and AMD Crossfire to plug in more than one graphics card.
But let’s quickly go back to the most basic thing you should look for when buying a motherboard: chipsets. Intel and AMD processors are designed to work with a variety of tiered chipsets. The highest-end Intel motherboards will feature a Z390 chipset that supports the latest Intel 9th Generation processors with native 802.11ac Wi-Fi and USB 3.1 Gen 2 connectivity, and up to 24 PCIe lanes. Additionally, these high-end motherboards will be made of better materials and components to consistently deliver the power necessary for overclocking components attached to it.
Just below that you’ll find a Z370 chipset that nearly identical to the Z390 chipset, except it lacks the native 802.11ac Wi-Fi and USB 3.1 Gen 2 support. With an H370 motherboard, Intel CPUs will only have access to 20 PCIe lanes while losing the ability to overclock. Next up is the Intel B360 chipset, which drops the number of PCIe lanes to 12. Lastly, the Intel H310 chipset only supports six PCIe lanes.
AMD motherboards mostly follow the same tiered system, except you’ll be able to overclock your CPU on almost any motherboard. The highest-end chipset on this platform is X470 and it supports 28 PCIe lanes, meanwhile, B450 motherboard will only have access to 24 PCIe lanes. The A320 chipset is the only one that doesn’t support overclocking Ryzen CPUs, but honestly, you’d be better off buying a B450 or B350 motherboard instead.
We mentioned PCIe lanes before and these are important because they dictate how many high-speed components you can install into your PC. For example, a single graphics card can use up 16 PCIe lanes and each NVMe SSD needs four PCIe lanes to operate at its maximum speed.
You’ll also want to look for a motherboard with all the physical PCIe slots you need to plug in your components. Good news is that most boards come with at least two to three PCIe slots to slot in multiple GPUs using either Nvidia SLI or AMD Crossfire. M.2 PCIe slots will also be crucial for plugging in the fastest NVMe solid-state drives, should they be part of your build as well.
And those are pretty much the basics you need to know about buying yourself a quality motherboard. Be aware that we’ve primarily chosen only the best full-sized ATX motherboards in this guide, but there are also microATX and Mini-ITX motherboards to consider if you’re building a smaller PC.