Let’s take a look at the best motherboards for gaming in 2016. When you’re talking about gaming PCs, most people always point out the best graphics cards they could buy but they often overlook one important component in a gaming PC: the motherboard. The motherboard is an essential part of the PC as it houses your computer’s most important components such as the graphics card, CPU, etc.
– Check out the Best Gaming Monitors in 2016
In 2016, the current and most popular line of processors are Intel’s new Skylake CPUs with the Kabylake following later this year and in early 2017. Both of them use the same motherboard chipset so you can just buy a motherboard that supports the LGA 1151 socket and you’re going to be good to go.
Now, as with all other gaming components, there are a lot of motherboards out there that caters for the mass consumer market. There are cheap and inexpensive motherboards that are perfect for people who are on a budget. There are also some mid-tier gaming motherboards that sport some nifty features and, of course, there are also some expensive motherboards that are perfect for overclockers.
In this article, I will go over some of the most popular gaming motherboards in 2016. Do note that all of the motherboards that are in this article support the Skylake, Kabylake, and Broadwell-E processors only. I will separate the gaming motherboards based on the price so that you can instantly look for what’s best for you based on your budget. But before buying motherboards, what do you actually need to look at when you’re going to get one? Here are some of the things to look out for when buying a Motherboard for Gaming PC:
Now that you know the factors that you need to look at before buying your gaming motherboard, I am now going to suggest some of the most popular ones in the market. I will group them in different price brackets so that you can easily browse through them. The gist here is that there are motherboards for everyone. Do you want a budget motherboard so you can spend more money on a graphics card? There is a motherboard for you. Do you want a motherboard that bridges the gap between price and performance? There is also one for you. Or how about those high-end gaming motherboards that offer everything on the table? There are high-end gaming motherboards as well. So, without further ado, here are my recommendations for different gaming motherboards based on different price points:
Best Motherboards for Gaming PC 2016 – All Featured Motherboards
|MSI H110M Pro-D||Check Latest Price|
|Gigabyte H170 Gaming 3||Check Latest Price|
|Asus H170M- Plus||Check Latest Price|
|MSI H170A Gaming Pro||Check Latest Price|
|Asus Z170-Pro||Check Latest Price|
|MSI Z170A Gaming M7||Check Latest Price|
|Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7||Check Latest Price|
|Asus ROG Maximus VIII Hero||Check Latest Price|
|Asus ROG Maximus VIII Extreme Assembly Edition||Check Latest Price|
|Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1||Check Latest Price|
|MSI X99A Godlike Gaming||Check Latest Price|
|Asus ROG Rampage V Edition 10||Check Latest Price|
I will start off with some of the best budget-friendly gaming motherboards. These motherboards are perfectly suited for people who do not want to spend a lot of money on a gaming motherboard as they will want to spend it on something else, like the graphics card, for example. I am going to start off with an offering from MSI.
1. MSI H110M Pro-D
The MSI H110M Pro-D is truly for those people who are on the budget. For a price of only $60, you get a gaming motherboard that supports the Skylake line of processors as well as the new Kabylake processors (but the latter requires a BIOS update).
This gaming motherboard is a micro ATX board which sports a smaller form factor compared to the standard ATX design. It supports DDR4-2133 memory and it is made of sturdy parts so you’ll know that this motherboard will last for a long time. The design might be dull and boring but for the price, you really can’t complain.
This motherboard also has a slew of USB 3.1 ports and it also has 4 SATA 6GB/s ports for your storage needs. It has voltage protection so you don’t have to worry about frying your motherboard and it also has an EZ Debug LED so that you can easily pinpoint problem components for easy troubleshooting.
The MSI H110M Pro-D also supports the latest MSI Click BIOS 5 which now has a more streamlined interface and it is pretty easy to navigate. It has an easy mode where you can easily toggle some of the most commonly tweaked settings and there is also an advanced mode that allows you to go down the depths of what the motherboard can do.
Probably, the two things that people will not like about this motherboard is that it only has 2 RAM slots and the design is just pretty basic. But, if you do not mind these quirks, the MSI H110M Pro-D Gaming motherboard is one of the most inexpensive Skylake/Kabylake processors you can buy.
2. Gigabyte H170 Gaming 3
Gigabyte is one of the brands that you can trust. They make exceptionally sturdy PC components through the years and it is continually being improved in every generation. The Gigabyte H170 Gaming 3 is another great budget gaming motherboard that has a lot of features that you would want. The H170 Gaming 3 is a standard ATX motherboard and it has loads of features for its price.
Some of these cool features include Two M.2 connectors if you want to plug in some of those speedy M.2 SSDs, 115dB SNR HD Audio Amplifier, Killer E2200 Network Adapter that prioritizes gaming packets among other things, USB DAC-UP ports, Two SATA Express Ports, 4 RAM slots that can support up to 64GB of DDR4 memory (although, it will only have the default speed of only 2133MHz), and an intuitive BIOS.
One thing that gamers will really love is that it supports AMD Crossfire, allowing you to put two AMD graphics cards on the motherboard for superb gaming performance. Now, most graphics cards are big and it might cause some slight sagging. People are always scared about this as it might damage the motherboard. Fortunately, the Gigabyte H170 Gaming 3 has two reinforced PCIe Slots so that if you plan on doing a Crossfire setup, the graphics cards will stay in place and you will not have to worry about it sagging and destroying the said slot.
The Gigabyte H170 Gaming 3 was originally priced at $115 but it now has its price slashed to only $90. If you want a really good gaming motherboard under $100, then the Gigabyte H170 Gaming 3 gaming motherboard is a good choice.
3. Asus H170M- Plus
If you want a durable gaming motherboard, the Asus H170M-Plus is the one for you. From its product description, the company is not shy of always reiterating the durability of this particular motherboard. They boast of a sturdy build that is 5x more durable than its competitors and it also comes with ESD (electrostatic discharge) protection to prevent it from getting damaged from inconsistent voltages and currents.
The Asus H170M-Plus has 4 DIMM slots that can support up to 64GB of DDR4-2133, it has a total of 4 PCIe slots, 6 USB ports, Intel Gigabit LAN interface, M.2 slots, a USB Type-C connector, and a host of ASUS-exclusive features including but not limited to AI Suite 3, GPU Boost, Ai Charger, among others.
The motherboard’s design is stylish as it sports an overall black design with some gold accents scattered throughout the motherboard. It also uses the latest UEFI BIOS which is continuously touted by many people as one of the most user-friendly BIOSes out there.
People who care about gaming performance will be happy to know that the Asus H170M- Plus supports Quad-GPU AMD Crossfire support. Since there are a lot of enticing and affordable AMD graphics cards that were recently introduced, this gaming motherboard is highly recommended.
The Asus H170M-Plus is currently priced at $99.75. If you want a gaming motherboard that is not only durable but also supports up to 4x graphics card support via AMD’s Crossfire technology, then look no further than the Asus H170M-Plus.
4. MSI H170A Gaming Pro
The last one on the list of budget gaming motherboards is the MSI H170A Gaming Pro. Most gaming rigs nowadays are housed in a case with glass side panels. This allows people to glance at their rig’s innards and so that they can enjoy the different lighting mechanisms that are commonplace in today’s gaming components.
Since RGB lighting has become mainstream, MSI has created a gaming motherboard that has their “Mystic Light” functionality (it is just their fancy term for RGB lighting). This gaming keyboard has an RGB lighting strip at one part of the gaming keyboard and you can tweak it using MSI’s proprietary software.
Aside from its main selling point which is the RGB lighting, this gaming keyboard also has a lot of amazing features that warrant your money. It has 4 RAM slots that support up to 64GB of memory, Intel’s Gaming LAN that optimizes internet packets so that you won’t experience lag in any of the online games you play, Audio Boost 3 that enhances the audio; whether you’re plugging in a speaker system or using a pair of headphones, USB 3.1 Gen2 ports which promise faster performance compared to its first generation counterparts, Click BIOS 5, Military Class 5 components for maximum durability, and AMD Crossfire support.
To ensure that the graphics card you’re going to use will not sag, MSI included a “VGA Armor” that will help keep the graphics card in place. No more sagging graphics cards! Do remember that most, if not all, H170 chipsets only support AMD Crossfire technology. So, Nvidia users might want to opt for the Z170 gaming motherboards instead. Don’t worry as I will talk about them later in the article.
A little note: you might notice that there is no mentioning of any B150 motherboards in the budget-friendly list. As per my research, current H170 motherboards offer more bang for the buck compared to B150 motherboards and their price difference is minimal. That is why opted for H170 gaming motherboards instead of the B150 motherboards.
Midrange Skylake Best Gaming Motherboards
Now, I am going to recommend some gaming motherboards that are considered to be in the “midrange” category. These gaming motherboards are priced at $150 and just under $300. Since prices have dropped considerably, I will only talk about Z170 motherboards since that is what most people look for nowadays. For those of you who do not know, Z170 motherboards are overclockable motherboards and offer more features than the B150 and H170 motherboards.
Furthermore, they are much easier to find since it is currently the most popular motherboard chipset on the market and support for these motherboards are much better compared to any other motherboard chipset.
So, without further delay, here are some of the best midrange gaming motherboards:
1. Asus Z170-Pro
The Asus Z170-Pro is one of the most popular gaming motherboards on the market. That is thanks to its amazing gaming and overclocking performance. More on that later. Let’s start off with the aesthetics first.
This gaming motherboard sports an overall black design with some white and gray accents. This motherboard is perfect for white gaming rigs and it is very clean to look at. If you want a simple-looking motherboard, the Z170-Pro should definitely be considered.
One of the main reasons why a lot of people want this gaming motherboard is its overclocking performance. Overclocking the CPU is a time-consuming process as you need to not only set certain parameters but you also need to stress test the overclock to ensure that it is stable.
A lot of people do want to overclock but they do not have the time nor the patience to do it. Luckily, Asus has integrated their “5-Way Optimization” feature which not only overclocks the CPU but also does a lot of things such as tweaking the system fans, making sure that the system gets stable and consistent power delivery, optimizing audio and network settings, and so much more.
With the use of Asus’ own AI Suite 3, you can easily overclock your processor to its optimum performance. This is a great way for people to overclock their CPUs without them having to constantly go back to the BIOS to change certain settings.
Aside from the 5-Way optimization feature, the Z170-Pro also has 4 RAM slots that support up to 3866MHz frequency. You can do this by either enabling the XMP profile of your RAM sticks or manually overclocking them.
Asus knows that gamers require amazing sound quality in order to give them the edge in their games. The company includes the Realtek ALC1150 8-Channel HD Audio Codec with Crystal Sound 3 to ensure that gamers are immersed in high-quality sound.
Lastly, the motherboard is also equipped with highly durable components that, according to Asus, lasts 5x longer than any other gaming motherboard in the market. That might just be a marketing ploy but a lot of people swear by the company’s durable PC components.
This gaming motherboard is currently priced at $189.39. If you are an overclocker that wants a good gaming motherboard without breaking the bank, the Asus Z170-Pro is an enticing option.
2. MSI Z170A Gaming M7
When it comes to the design, MSI is one of the best manufacturers out there. If you want a gaming motherboard that has a red/black color scheme, then the MSI Z170A Gaming M7 is the one for you. This is one of their gaming motherboards that are sub $200 as the higher version of this costs a whopping $400.
Anyway, what makes the Z170A Gaming M7 special? I just want to touch on this again and say that the design is just absolutely amazing. If I were to describe the motherboard’s design in one word, it would be sexy.
Aside from its sexy exterior, the MSI Z170A Gaming M7 is packed with some gamer-centric features. For one, it supports 64GB of RAM up to a max frequency of 3600MHz, it has Gaming LAN power by Killer Networks, and Game Boost which allows you to overclock your Skylake K processor with just one click. Do note that this isn’t the same as Asus’ 5-Way Optimization. Game Boost just gives you modest overclocks compared to what Asus has to offer.
Despite the lower supported maximum RAM frequency of the Gaming M7, this motherboard ensures that you get a consistent frequency thanks to its DDR4 Boost. According to MSI, there are times that some RAM modules might not be able to dish out its full performance. With DDR4 Boost, however, you are always assured that you get consistent RAM frequencies depending on the setting you put in the BIOS.
For its audio, the Gaming M7 comes with the Realtek HD audio and it also comes with Audio Boost 3. Furthermore, you can also enhance the sound output thanks to the Nahimic Sound Technology support. Although some people might not like Nahimic, its performance is considerable. It is not bad at all but it is not that good either.
This gaming motherboard comes with 3 PCIe 16 slots, 4 PCIe slots, 2 SATA Express slots, 6 SATA ports, and two M.2 Slots. Another interesting feature of the MSI Z170A Gaming M7 is that it supports MSI’s Super Charger. This feature allows you to charge your devices much faster than relying on the normal USB power. You can quickly charge your smartphones, tablets, and other devices just by using your USB port.
Speaking of USB ports, the Gaming M7 comes with a wealth of USB 3.1 Gen1 and USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports. Not only that but it also comes with a USB Type-C connector as well. You also do not have to worry about durability as MSI said that the motherboard is made of military-grade components. Whether you live in a very hot or very cold place, the motherboard will perform exceptionally well.
The MSI Z170A Gaming M7 supports 2-Way SLI and Dual-Crossfire configurations and the PCIe slots are reinforced by the company’s MSI Steel Armor. Not only does it provide protection from sagging but it also protects your graphics cards from any Electrostatic interference as well.
With its sexy looks, some gamer-centric features, and good overall performance package, the MSI Z170A Gaming M7 will not disappoint. This gaming motherboard retails for $194.
3. Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7
If you like having a motherboard that looks like a piece of a Gundam mobile suit, then the Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 is for you. Although its aesthetics might not be for everyone, it does have loads of features that are welcome below the $200 price point.
Let’s start with the motherboard’s lighting scheme. The Z170X-Gaming 7 sports a “Trace Path LED” lighting mechanism that not only provides lighting in certain parts of the board but it also provides lighting on the rear IO panel as well. Gone are the days where you need a flashlight just to have a clear look of the IO ports at the back of the motherboard.
Aside from that, the motherboard is perfect for people who love overclocking. It has a 12-phase power circuit for increased stability when overclocking and it also has an onboard power and reset buttons for easier troubleshooting. To help overclockers troubleshoot certain parameters, there is also some front panel headers that are color-coded and all of the other headers are labeled clearly so you won’t have trouble discerning one from the other.
This is also one of the only gaming motherboards that come with a Thunderbolt 3 port. This allows you to daisy-chain up to six different peripherals but you need to make sure that all of them support the Thunderbolt functionality.
The Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 also boasts of impressive audio output thanks to its Creative Sound Core 3D Audio processor which not only provides unparalleled audio performance but it also takes off some of the load on the CPU as well. This means that performance will not be hampered while still having the best sound output from the motherboard.
If you are planning to do some multiple GPU setups, the Gigabyte Z170X allows you to do either a 2-Way SLI or a 3-Way Crossfire configuration. People should not be worried about multiple GPU setups with this gaming motherboard because it comes with a reinforced metal shielding that makes sure that the GPU stays in its place.
For storage, this gaming motherboard comes with 6x SATA ports, 3 SATA Express Connectors, and Two M.2 Slots for M.2 SSDs. It also comes with two LAN interfaces: the Killer E2400 and the Intel GbE LAN. Both of them are centered for gamers but you can choose the one you really like the most.
It has 4 RAM slots and what is good about this gaming motherboard is that it can support up to 3866MHz frequencies. Of course, RAM sticks which have default 3866MHz frequencies are expensive but at least, you know that this motherboard supports it.
All in all, the Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 motherboard offers amazing features for the price of only $198.96.
4. Asus ROG Maximus VIII Hero
The last one on the list of midrange gaming motherboards is also another crowd favorite. The Asus Maximus VIII Hero is nearly the same as that of the Z170-Pro highlighted above but this one has more USBs, more SATA and SATA Express slots, and a slightly better power phase design. Of course, there are some unique features that separate the Hero from the Pro.
The Asus Maximus VIII Hero is favored because of its overclocking potential. Although the motherboard supports the 5-Way optimization feature, what makes this motherboard great for overclocking is that it gives you full control. From BCLK overclocking to the voltage controls, you are in complete control of the Hero.
As mentioned earlier, the Asus Maximus VIII Hero has some unique features that cannot be found on the Z170-Pro. One of these features is the SupremeFX 2015. If audio is a top priority for you, then you will be happy with the VIII Hero. Thanks to the Japanese Nichicon capacitors and the ESS ES9023P DAC with Hyperstream technology, you can enjoy high-quality sounds from the motherboard without ever needing an external sound card. Also, it also contains a 2-Vrm headphone amp and the SonicSense app so that even if you’re using a gaming headset, you will still experience awesome sounds coming from the motherboard.
If you’re playing a lot of online games, you know that having high latency can spell doom for you. Fortunately, the Asus Maximus VIII Hero comes with Intel’s I219-V gigabit ethernet port that helps reduce CPU overhead whilst providing high TCP and UDP throughput. Asus also incorporated their Gamefirst 3 technology which further lowers your latency in online games.
The Asus Maximus VIII Hero also has some RGB lighting as well. You can control the RGB lighting using the Asus software and what’s cool is that you can set it to react to the music that you’re currently listening to. Of course, you are not limited to just the music effect as there are a total of 6 lighting schemes you can choose from.
Lastly, the Asus Z170-Pro only supports 2-way SLI but with the Maximus VIII Hero, you can choose between a Quad-GPU SLI configuration or a 3-Way Crossfire. If you plan on putting more than two graphics cards, definitely get the Hero.
The price of the Asus Maximus VIII Hero has dropped from $217.41 to $199.99 which to me is a steal. If you want a motherboard that has the looks and premium features, then the Asus Maximus VIII Hero is a prime choice.
Now that wraps up the midrange category. All of the gaming motherboards in this category are all standard ATX motherboards so you will need to have a case that can fit it. Luckily, standard-sized cases are plentiful in the market.
The midrange gaming motherboards are already good below $300 but what if you have the money to spend on an even pricier gaming motherboard? Well, in the last category, I will suggest some of the most popular high-end gaming motherboards.
High-end Skylake Top Gaming Motherboards
If money is never an issue for you, then you may want to buy a high-end gaming motherboard. For most people, the budget and midrange gaming motherboards are already pretty good but some people do want more.
In this category, I am going to suggest gaming motherboards that are priced more than $300. I know that there are some gaming motherboards that are just pricey without those premium features. Fortunately for you, the gaming motherboards I am going to recommend in this category are popular and do warrant their price tags.
If you are looking for some high-end gaming motherboards, here are some popular choices:
1. Asus ROG Maximus VIII Extreme Assembly Edition
I came across a quote before that said: “Rules are powerful only when you know when to break them”. Asus is up to something with the new Asus ROG Maximus VIII Extreme Assembly edition. The company aims to break the “rules” of the Z170 motherboard chipset to bring you unparalleled performance. Of course, this comes at a hefty price but if you’re still reading the high-end gaming motherboards category, money isn’t an issue for you, right?
Anyway, the design of the Asus Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly is unlike any other ROG line of gaming motherboards on the market. Yes, it still has that predominantly black PCB and gray accents but there are also some added new colors such as the orange and red accents as well. This is probably to signify that this gaming motherboard is a total badass. Also, note that this motherboard is an EATX motherboard.
If you buy this gaming motherboard, you will have two amazing additions. The first one is the SupremeFX Hi-Fi USB DAC/Amplifier. This is unlike any other as it provides supreme sound quality that cannot be found on any other gaming motherboard on the market.
The USB DAC adapter can be attached to your PC’s case and it allows you to plug in a 6.3mm headphone or a 3.5mm headphone and it is also coupled with a mic/line in as well. What makes this included DAC adapter special is its ESS ES9018K2M digital-to-analog converter, dual Texas Instruments LM4562 op-amps, and the TPA6120A2 headphone AMP. All of these will work in conjunction to deliver unprecedented sound that cannot be found on any other gaming motherboard. This not only satisfies gamers but audiophiles as well.
Another addition when you’re going to buy the Asus ROG VIII Extreme/Assembly is the ROG 10G Express. The company boasts of impressive transfer speeds of up to 10 Gigabits per second. Moreover, this ethernet adapter runs at 5 different speeds to support current generation hardware. It can run at the 100Mbit/s, 1Gbit/s, 2.5Gbit/s, 5Gbit/s, and the 10Gbit/s speeds. According to Asus, the ROG 10G Express delivers 10x more performance and speed than any other gaming motherboard out there on the market.
Aside from these unique additions, the ROG VIII Extreme/Assembly also has the same features to that of the Asus ROG Maximus VIII Hero mentioned above. Features like 5-Way optimization, BCLK overclocking, 64GB DDR4-3866MHz frequency support, and much more.
Now, the two additions I’ve mentioned above can be attached to the motherboard but you might be asking if there are some really unique features that are already built into the motherboard itself. I am glad you asked because yes, there are some unique features already on the motherboard.
If you want to use your WiFi connection, the Asus ROG Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly has onboard WiFi antennas that can support speeds of up to 1300 Mbit/s. This gaming motherboard also has a built-in U.2 connector that allows you to attach an NVMe storage of your choice. Enjoy blazing fast speeds without the hassle of attaching the storage on the motherboard.
This gaming motherboard also comes with the company’s ROG RGB lighting scheme and there are six lighting modes you can choose from. I really like the Music effect the most because I listen to a lot of music when I am either working or playing games. But, if you’re an overclocker, you might want to opt for the CPU temperature mode that flashes a certain light to indicate the system’s overall CPU temperate and load.
Overall, the Asus ROG Maximus VIII Extreme Assembly edition not only has a stellar design but it also has some damn nice features that any gamer would want. Again, this motherboard comes at a hefty price of $571. But really, if you have the money, I would highly recommend this gaming motherboard.
2. Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1
Now, you might be thinking why there is another Gigabyte motherboard in this list with a hit-or-miss design. Although the design is not sexy compared to the Asus Assembly edition, the Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1’s performance cannot be overlooked.
Out of all the premium Z170 boards, the gaming G1 is probably the most feature rich. Gaming motherboards always make sure that the audio quality is top notch and thanks to Gigabyte, they’ve included a Creative Sound Blaster ZxRi 120dB audio onboard. This sound chip offers impressive audio performance that you normally only get from a discrete sound card. Couple that with the Creative SBX Pro Studio suite, you’ll be immersed in an amazing sound stage. And that is all thanks to the onboard sound chip!
Internet connectivity is important not only for gamers but also for people who work and shop online. The Gigabyte Z170X Gaming G1 comes equipped with three LAN interfaces; one with the Killer Doubleshot X3 Pro, one Killer Ethernet E2400, and one wireless antenna (the Killer 1535). The Killer Doubleshot X3 Pro is the one you should use as it is much better than the previous version (E2400).
How much better is it, you ask? Well, let’s just say that it knows everything about the packets and that it prioritizes the gaming packets more than anything else. You could, say, stream a video, download a huge file, and play games at the same time. Which one do you think will get prioritized? You guessed it right, the online game you’re playing.
Aside from the wealth of ports that you’re going to get, the Gaming G1 motherboard can also be overclocked using the App Center. Much like Asus 5-Way Optimization, the App center allows you to overclock your PC as well as giving you the power to tweak other system settings right from within Windows as well.
Speaking of overclocking, Gigabyte knows that overclocking can be risky. There might be times where your BIOS gets corrupted, especially if you’ve done an incorrect overclock. Luckily, the Gaming G1 motherboard comes with the Q-Flash Plus feature that allows you to flash a fresh BIOS firmware without having a CPU or RAM installed. This allows you to troubleshoot everything before putting all of your other PC components in place.
This gaming motherboard also has a number of sturdy VRMs and it also has an optimal power phase design for stable overclocking and so that you are assured that this motherboard won’t just die on you easily.
Since this is a high-end gaming motherboard, most people would opt to have a custom watercooling loop installed. Fortunately, the Gigabyte Z170X Gaming G1 comes with optimal threaded fittings that allow users to install a waterblock without any hassle.
If you are the type of person who wants a gaming motherboard with loads of features to warrant a high price, then the Gigabyte Z170X Gaming G1 is for you. This gaming motherboard currently costs $499.
Best X99 Motherboards
The X99 Motherboards support the Broadwell-E line of processors. These motherboards are not for the mainstream consumers because it has a lot of features and the processor itself is, well, more expensive than its Skylake/Kabylake counterparts. If you want to build an enthusiast rig with the best features a motherboard can offer, the X99 motherboard is your sure bet. Again, x99 motherboards are the most expensive motherboards in the market but do not worry, their price tags are warranted given that they have a lot to offer. Some X99 motherboards might be priced lower than the high-end gaming motherboards I’ve already mentioned, but take note that this is just the motherboard we are talking about here; the processor is sold separately and Broadwell-E processors are really expensive. Anyway, here are my recommended x99 motherboards:
1. MSI X99A Godlike Gaming
What usually comes to mind when you hear the word “Godlike”? Well, in the context of gaming motherboards, when a company uses the Godlike term, they usually refer to a motherboard that has all the features that you could ever want.
That is evident in the new MSI X99A Godlike Gaming motherboard. When you look at the product page for this motherboard, you will instantly see that it has won an award for the highest RAM overclock possible (at 4351 MHz). Not only that but this motherboard has been consistently ranked at the top when it comes to overclocking the processor. Part of the reason why the X99A Godlike Gaming can beat other X99 motherboards in the market is because of their “Turbo Socket”, which adds additional pins to further enhance the overclock on the RAM. This translates to higher Ring and Frequency outputs across the board.
The MSI X99A Godlike Gaming motherboard also comes with a much higher number of powerphases and the parts used have an improved OC Thermal design which makes sure that the cooling solution you install on your motherboard will be utilized to its fullest extent. MSI’s OC Engine further enhances the motherboard’s overclocking potential as it allows you to do fine BCLK adjustments. According to the company, you can tweak the BClK from 100, 125, and 167MHz. To ensure that the OC will be stable, the motherboard comes with a clock generator that makes sure that there is low jitter and that the power consumption is minimal.
Now, I have some experience overclocking the processor and I’ve experienced plenty of times that my settings were not ideal. There were times that my computer would go on a bootloop and it turned out that some of the overclocking settings I’ve used were the culprit. The only way to reverse the error is by clearing the CMOS. Since my motherboard was one of those budget overclocking motherboards, it didn’t come with a convenient clear CMOS button. So, the only way for me to reset the CMOS was by doing it manually (removing the CMOS battery, wait a couple of minutes, and putting it back in). With this motherboard, however, there is a convenient clear CMOS button which allows you to clear the CMOS without all of the hassle. This also eliminates the need to open your case as the clear CMOS button is located on the rear IO panel.
What about BIOS flashing? I know that most people are not fond of flashing the BIOS as it can brick your motherboard if done incorrectly. When you do flash the BIOS, it is imperative that the flashing process will not be stopped at any time. But, in the real world, sometimes the conditions are not ideal. What if you experience a power outage whilst updating the BIOS? That could corrupt the BIOS, rendering your machine inoperable. Thankfully, the MSI X99A Godlike Gaming motherboard comes with a MultiBIOS II functionality. With a quick flick of the switch, you can switch between BIOS A and B. An LED indicator also helps you to discern which BIOS is currently active. If you update the BIOS and it is stopped for some reason resulting it to get corrupted, the BIOS B will help you get out of that slump. All you have to do, then, is to flash a fresh copy of the BIOS and make sure that it won’t get interrupted again.
This gaming motherboard also comes with the company’s Mystic light feature which allows you to enjoy the aesthetics of the motherboard thanks to the RGB lighting. The cool thing about the Mystic light is that it comes with a companion software and app. If you do not want to toggle it via your computer, you can change the lighting directly from the smartphone app. Both iOS and Android devices are supported.
Speaking of the design, the MSI X99A Godlike Gaming motherboard sports a sexy matte black finish with red accents. You can also see the “Godlike” wording near the IO panel which signifies that this motherboard is one of the best. If there is one thing I would like to add, the motherboard is reinforced all throughout. What I mean by that is that this motherboard comes with enhanced cooling capabilities and the materials used in the construction are durable. MSI also included a graphics card armor to prevent it from sagging and deformity.
When it comes to connectivity, the Godlike Gaming motherboard has Rivet Network’s Killer Doubleshot-X3 Pro mechanism. Basically, you will get two Ethernet ports and a Wifi adapter. All of these will work together to give you lag-free gaming. Of course, the lag you will experience (if there are any) will also depend on other factors such as your location to your game’s server, among other things.
A pretty interesting point when it comes to the audio output of this motherboard: if you happen to use a pair of USB-powered headphones, you are ensured that when you connect other USB devices to your PC, that the audio output will remain stable. That is thanks to MSI’s “USB Audio Power” which gives all of the USB ports a consistent 5v of power at all times.
The MSI X99A Godlike Gaming Keyboard is one fantastic looking board and it does boast of good overclocking performance. This gaming motherboard costs $489.99.
2. Asus ROG Rampage V Edition 10
Asus really knows how to beautify a particular PC component and that is truly evident in their Asus ROG Rampage V Edition 10. Because this is the 10th-anniversary edition, the company made sure that it not only has some pretty impressive features but they also made sure that the aesthetics department is top notch as well.
The Rampage V Edition 10 supports the LGA 2011-V3 socket (Broadwell-E) and has some pretty impressive specs. The first thing I want to talk about is the design. The Asus ROG Rampage V Edition 10 just looks absolutely amazing. Black seems to be the norm when it comes to the color of the PCB and there are gray and orange accents scattered throughout the board.
Next, Asus knows that RGB peripherals and components are slowly becoming mainstream, so they also included a 4-pin “Aura” RGB strip header. Basically, what this does is it allows you to plug in 12v RGB strips on it so that you can further improve the aesthetics of your gaming rig. This is a welcome addition since most people are buying RGB LED strips to further enhance the look of their gaming PC.
There is some great news for overclockers as well. Did you know that the Asus ROG Rampage V Edition 10 has won numerous overclocking world records? Furthermore, the company states that this specific motherboard has won 12 global first places in overclocking. If you don’t believe the company, head on over to HWBOT.org to see for yourself.
What makes this particular motherboard a great overclocker? For one, there are handy switches and buttons on the motherboard itself to allow you to quickly troubleshoot problematic overclock settings. For example, if your computer doesn’t POST (power-on self-test), you can just push the “ReTry” button and it will instantly reboot the computer without any hassle. Or, if you suspect that a particular RAM stick is faulty and you do not want to remove them one by one, you can easily flick a specific DIMM switch on the motherboard to disable that faulty RAM module.
Furthermore, Asus gives the power to you as the Rampage V Edition 10 is engineered to squeeze out the performance of the Broadwell-E processor you’re using to the last drop. According to the company, you can experience up to 44% increased core performance, 62% more efficient memory, and 28% improved score in synthetic benchmarks. Of course, RAM can also be overclocked up to a maximum of 3333MHz thanks to Asus’ second generation T-Topology. This feature allows the RAM to perform at its peak without compromising performance and stability.
A rig that is made for overclocking tends to require a lot more fans to quell the heat. Asus knows this and thus, they’ve included multiple fan headers on the motherboard so you can attach 4 or more fans depending on your needs.
Of course, audio is important for gamers too. That is why the Rampage V Edition 10 gaming motherboard is fitted with the ESS ES9018K2M DAC as well as TPA6120A2 headphone AMP and LM4562 Op-Amps to really give you an immersive sound experience. And, if you stream games a lot, I am sure you will be happy to know that this motherboard also comes with the SupremeFX Hi-Fi Cirrus Logic ADC that helps improve audio recording quality.
For SLI and Crossfire geeks, the motherboard supports 4-Way SLI and 4-Way Crossfire support as well. Graphics card sagging is nonexistent thanks to the patent pending “SafeSlot” feature that promises 1.6x stronger protection against retention force and 1.8x stronger protection against Shearing.
The company’s ROG lineup of PC components never fails to amaze me and that is true with the latest Asus ROG Rampage V Edition 10 gaming motherboard. This motherboard currently costs $568.99.
Side note: Before you slap in your preferred Broadwell-E processor, make sure to update the BIOS of your X99 motherboards. Although some newer X99 motherboards already support the new processor right from the get go, others do not. So just update the BIOS to the latest one and enjoy your new powerhouse gaming rig!
1. Form Factor. The first thing to consider when buying a gaming motherboard is its size. There are currently 3 popular motherboard sizes although there is also one that is much bigger but not really something that people would want to buy. The three popular motherboard sizes are the ATX, mATX, and the mITX. The ATX is the standard sized motherboard which contains the usual stuff like complete PCIe slots and a whole lot of other features. mATX, or microATX, is a much smaller motherboard that sacrifices some things like PCIe slots in favor of a smaller motherboard. They also tend to be much cheaper than the standard ATX. And finally, the mITX, or mini-ITX, is the smallest of the three and typically measures about 170mmx170mm. They are relatively power efficient and because of its small form factor, there are plenty of cases you can choose from. Of course, the drawbacks is that it has much fewer features than the previous two motherboard sizes but to each his own. There is also another motherboard size called the eATX which is much larger than the standard ATX motherboard. Because of its much bigger size than the original, most people veer away from it. But, with bigger size comes more features. Choose which things you are willing to compromise and when you’re buying a motherboard, always look at the case you’re going to put it in.
2. Socket. Have you noticed the word “socket” followed by a number right beside it when you’re shopping for motherboards? Every motherboard has that because it signifies that it only supports this type of processor socket. In the case of the Skylake and Kabylake processors, for example, they use the Socket 1151. Therefore, you need a motherboard that supports this socket so that you can use the latest processors on the market.
3. DIMM/RAM. The next thing you need to look at is the DIMM or RAM slots. It usually depends on the motherboard size you’re going to buy. For standard ATX motherboards, you will usually get 2-4 RAM slots. For mATX and mITX, it usually has only two DIMM slots although some mATX motherboards come with four. As much as possible, get a motherboard with at least four RAM slots. Even though you’re going to buy one or two RAM sticks for now, having additional RAM slots will allow you to add more in the future.
4. SATA and M.2 Ports. Storage like SSDs and HDDs are also important for the computer. Therefore, you need to have enough SATA ports to plug them all in. For every storage device you have, you will need one SATA port. For example, suppose you have three HDDs and one SSD, you will need a total of 4 SATA ports available. If you really want to have better performance, you will want to get an M.2 SSD. If you’re going to buy one, make sure to check if the motherboard of your choosing supports it and if it has the appropriate slots.
5. PCIe Slots. Since we’re talking about gaming motherboards, I know that you want a discrete graphics card to enjoy the superb graphics of modern games. In this case, you will need a motherboard that has enough PCI Express slots. Typically, you would want a PCIe x16 for the main graphics card and if you want to do multiple GPU setups, you will need more PCI Express slots. You will also find PCI slots that are smaller. They are usually used for other things like sound cards, wifi adapters, etc.
6. USB Ports. We now live in a world where USB ports are highly beneficial. We use external HDDs, USB flash drives; heck, most of the modern gaming peripherals now require USB ports as opposed to the now defunct PS/2 ports. Luckily, Skylake motherboards offer plenty of USB ports. For most of them, they offer at least 6 USB ports but motherboards like the Z170 gaming motherboards offer 10 or more.
7. Durability. Motherboards are important because it houses the graphics card, CPU, and a host of other things that your computer needs to run. If the motherboard dies, all of the other components in your gaming PC will not function. Durability is also a thing to consider when buying a gaming motherboard. For the most part, motherboard manufacturers are already using durable parts in the construction of their products, so you need not worry too much about durability anymore. But if you want a motherboard that can last for more than 3 years, better look at the spec sheet to see if it is made of highly sturdy materials.
8. Extra Features. And lastly, you would want to have a gaming motherboard that has a ton of extra features. Usually, gaming motherboards have good onboard audio solutions and there are some motherboards that are perfect for overclockers as well. Although they are completely optional, you will want to have a gaming motherboard that has a lot of welcome features that you want.
Gaming motherboards always complement gaming PCs as they house all of the most important components of your rig. What makes them different from the standard motherboard is that they provide the owners’ features that are not normally present in normal mobos.
I just love the fact that gaming motherboards are affordable now. Before, you can equate gaming motherboards to premium-priced stuff. Now, there are gaming motherboards that cater the vast consumer market. Whether you’re a heavy overclocker, a rig enthusiast, or if you’re just someone who wants to dish out minimal amounts of cash, there is a gaming motherboard for you.
I hope that this article can help you decide which gaming motherboard you’re going to buy. I know that not all of you will agree with my recommendations in this article. So, if that is the case, feel free to suggest what gaming motherboards people should buy and why in the comments. Now, Go back up to choose the best Motherboards for Gaming for you from our handpicked choices.
Learn about Motherboard in Wikipedia