Let’s take a look at the best motherboards to gaming for December 2017. 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 2017
In 2017, the current and most popular line of processors is Intel’s new Kaby Lake processors which followed the Skylake line. 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 to 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 2017. Do note that all of the motherboards that are in this article support the Kabylake and Broadwell-E processors only with backwards compatibility with Skylake. 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? If you want to know more about choosing a motherboard for your PC, visit this comprehensive guide from Tom’s Hardware.
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 2017 – All Featured Motherboards
|MSI B250M Mortar||Check Latest Price|
|Asus H110-A/M.2||Check Latest Price|
|Gigabyte GA H270-HD3||Check Latest Price|
|Asus Z270F Strix Gaming||Check Latest Price|
|Gigabyte Z270 Gaming K5||Check Latest Price|
|MSI Z270 Pro Carbon||Check Latest Price|
|Asrock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 7||Check Latest Price|
|Asus ROG Maximus IX Formula||Check Latest Price|
|MSI Z270 XPower Titanium||Check Latest Price|
|Gigabyte Aorus Gaming 9||Check Latest Price|
|MSI X99A Godlike Gaming||Check Latest Price|
|Asus ROG Rampage V Edition 10||Check Latest Price|
Budget-Friendly Gaming Motherboards
I will start off with some of the best budget-friendly gaming motherboards. These motherboards are ideally 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.
1. MSI B250M Mortar
The MSI B250M Mortar is easily one of the best-looking motherboards in the affordable bracket which come packed with all the essential features you need to build a decent gaming build. This model features a black, gray and red theme with LEDs, launching it past its competitors in terms of aesthetics.
This model forgoes the top of the line Z270 chipset making it affordable by at least $50 when compared to the next best thing. You still get 12 PCIe lanes which are enough for a GPU and an M.2 SSD for snappy performance.
The MSI B250M Mortar is pretty well-equipped with since you get 2 PCIe slots for your components and an array of SATA and USB ports for your storage and peripherals enabling builders to create a fundamentally complete gaming rig.
Since this model is a Micro-ATX model, owners can explore more compact systems for smaller desk and energy footprints without a penalty to performance and satisfaction.
2. Asus H110M-A/M.2
The Asus H110M-A/M.2 is from the previous generation since it still utilizes the H110 chipset for Skylake. To use your new Kaby Lake Processor with this product, you will need to update its BIOS to the latest version to enable compatibility.
You may find it strange that we included this motherboard in between models with newer chipsets, but looking at its price and considering the quality and reliability Asus brings to the table, it makes it hard to ignore this cheap option.
If you choose the Asus H110M-A/M.2, you can forget about the newer features of the 2XX chipsets like Intel Optane memory, plus your RAM has a lower speed limit. Don’t fret though, because missing these extras are mostly negligible in gaming performance since you still get the essential features a regular PC should need.
The Asus H110M-A/M.2 now comes with an M.2 slot for that extra boost in read/write speeds so your loading times will be shorter, and games will start faster. You also get a complete range of connections you could possibly need, such as four SATA 3 and USB 3.0 slots and HD Audio codecs from Realtek.
The H110M-A/M.2 looks like a barebones model, but the money you save can go to a better GPU or an excellent aftermarket cooler, which makes reaching your tight-budget gaming rig goal all the more reachable.
3. Gigabyte GA H270-HD3
Spending a little a bit more in this category will get you the Gigabyte GA-H270-HD3, which sports an improved Kaby Lake chipset. This model is the only AMD Crossfire enabled model in this category, so if you are planning on a dual RX480 build to dabble in 4K gaming without spending too much, this is your best bet.
The Gigabyte GA H270-HD3 can now fit up to 64GB of DDR4 ram plus it also has two PCIe x16 slots for a dual GPU setup. You also get an M.2 slot for a hyper-fast storage device, plus six SATA 6Gbps ports for backup drives.
Gigabyte also added nifty extras such as Easy Tune compatibility, an easy to access UEFI bios, and an ambient LED for discrete lighting effects. For a sub-$100.00 price, this model packs a rich feature set which can almost rival some of the competing products who ask a whole lot more just for extra bling.
The Gigabyte GA H270-HD3 is an ATX motherboard, meaning it will fit medium-sized or standard PC cases. There is a lot more room on the all-black PCB, so you can fit bigger aftermarket coolers if you want to preserve your CPU’s lifespan by adding extra cooling.
4. Gigabyte AB350N Gaming Wifi
The Gigabyte AB350N Gaming Wifi is an ideal Ryzen motherboard for a low-cost build or if you want to explore LAN box building. For its sub $100 price, you get a sufficient set of USB 3.0 slots, built in wifi functionality, plus a little sprinkle of RGB bling for some aesthetic value. RAM slots, cooling options, and an awkward layout for cases other than MATX are some of the compromises you have to live with, but at least this little beast doesn’t sacrifice performance.
This model uses a 4+2 phase power design which is modest for overclocking boards, but the ATX 12V utilizes a 12-pin connector for stable power delivery. Gigabyte squeezed in a lot of features in the PCB which made the processor placement unusual for a board like this, but in return, it made the device comparable to a full-sized ATX.
In testing, the Gigabyte AB350N Gaming Wifi can overclock your chosen Ryzen CPU with little to no differences from its full-sized cousin; the Gigabyte X370 Wifi. This option loses out in some computational workloads such as benchmarking, but its gaming and media performance is reasonably good for a budget board. If you want a to push the performance of your LAN box by overclocking, know that as long as you have a well-planned cooling solution, this budget board will deliver.
Best Midrange Gaming Motherboards
The Midrange category is where the cutthroat competition happens between the different brands since this is where both enthusiasts and thrifty buyers search for the best gaming motherboards. Typically, the products included here and their many counterparts have a price tag which hovers above a hundred bucks.
All of the models in this category now have the top-end Z270 chipsets which allow for fantastic features such as multi-GPU support, higher PCIe, and memory bandwidth, plus a whole lot more. This section of the guide is the gateway into the world of enthusiasts and overclocking, but not at the prices of the extreme models.
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.
1. Asus Z270F Strix Gaming
The Asus Z270F Strix Gaming is one of the most player-centric products in this roundup thanks to its stunning portfolio of extras and undeniable performance in both benchmarks and games. To start, the sleek, black motherboard carries three PCIe 16x slots and four PCIe x1 sockets, two M.2 connectors and plenty of fan headers for your cooling.
While being one of the fastest motherboards in this category, the Asus Z270F Strix Gaming also edges out its competitors with its SupremeFX sound chip for substantially improved audio processing. Even without a dedicated sound card, this model packs enough punch to power high-end speakers and headsets without any issues.
Aside from the Asus Aura RGB lighting, another way to enhance the aesthetic of your build is to 3D-print your shield designs for the heatsinks and components. The modular nature of the Asus Z270 Strix Gaming allows numerous ways to upgrade your PC’s looks to match your theme or tastes. The package even comes with nifty extras such as coasters, cable labels, and covers for the SLI bridge, M.2 slots and wiring.
For less than the price of its high-end counterparts from the ROG line, the Asus Z270F Strix Gaming presents tremendous value in both performance and aesthetics. If you want an exciting rig, this is the midrange motherboard to get.
2. Gigabyte Aorus Z270 Gaming K5
The Gigabyte Aorus Z270 Gaming K5 is another fantastic entry for the midrange segment thanks to its plethora of features and aesthetics. This motherboard has a triple x16 and x1 PCIe layout providing enough juice for your multiple GPU setup plus PCIe accessories such as sound cards.
This option is a bit more expensive than the other inclusions in this bracket, but the additional cash you pay equates to a few aces up the Gaming K5’s sleeve. First up, this board has two M.2 slots and three SATA Express connectors for your storage, but it also includes a U.2 slot for future proofing. This model’s mix of storage features makes it one of fastest in read/write speeds in this line up, so if you have a ton of data to access, this is a great board to get.
The Gigabyte Aorus Z270 Gaming K5 also utilizes a Killer Ethernet controller and a Soundblaster X-Fi audio processor instead of vanilla chips for vastly improved performance. The X-Fi chip alone is an excellent value since it packs a lot of audio punch so you won’t need a dedicated unit for fantastic gaming sound.
Finally, if you value your rig’s looks, the Gigabyte Aorus Z270 Gaming K5 is one of the best-looking motherboards you can get for its price. This product includes massive matte-black heatsinks and shielding with angular designs, plus a plethora of RGB LED lights on the CPU socket, PCIe ports, and even on your DDR4 slots.
3. MSI Z270 Pro Carbon
Another excellent value option is the MSI Z270 Pro Carbon which ditches the typical red/black theme for a stealthy all-black carbon fiber appearance. But RGB fans shouldn’t fret since MSI’s LED Mystic Light is still in play despite the affordable price tag.
The MSI Z270 Pro Carbon builds on the success of its Z170 predecessor but the company switched up a few things to improve its utility. This model sacrifices its older USB slots to include more USB 3.1 ports, doubled M.2 slots, and a boosted audio processor from Realtek.
The Z270 Pro Carbon also improved its PCB layout when compared to the Z170 version, since the tighter layout was relaxed a bit making building a breeze. Although you lose a PCIe x1 slot due to this modification, we’re certain that it won’t be missed.
Finally, what makes this motherboard special aside from its features is its ability to overclock your unlocked Kaby Lake processor to 5Ghz easily. Even overclocking your DDR4 RAM past 3000Mhz is a breeze thanks to the user-friendly but powerful BIOS. This aspect makes the MSI Z270 Pro Carbon all the more attractive to enthusiasts with a tight budget.
4. Asrock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6
The Asrock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 isn’t the best Z270 motherboard out there, but it does offer excellent value for its affordable price. The black and red theme should suit a lot of gamer-centric builds and tastes. But what sets this option’s aesthetics apart from the others is its RGB LED lighting implementation, which is placed under the shield and heatsinks to provide an ambient glow instead of being readily visible. This method gives your build milder illumination which doesn’t just blindingly outshine your other peripherals.
One of the best things about the Asrock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 is it already includes dual Intel NICs for improved networking performance. You also get unique overclocking features such as the XMP button, dual BIOS option, power and reset buttons, and a POST code display. All of these inclusions are usually not included in something so affordable, making the Asrock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 an instant hit for the practical enthusiast.
This motherboard has a flair for doing its special features in doubles since you get double M.2 slots, dual USB 3.0 headers, and two extra SATA 6Gbps ports apart from the dual NIC and dual BIOS ROMs. the Asrock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 also provides an excellent audio solution which we consider to be on-par with sub-$100 cards in the form of the ALC1220. Your storage controller is also upgraded to a chip from Asmedia, meaning you get professional performance out of a mainstream price.
One of the main reasons we chose the Asrock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 is because it is an excellent overclocker. This talent is due to its 10-phase VRM layout with high-quality MOSFETs and components. The company used their 12K FP caps for this iteration, a part usually reserved for the top-end offerings. You can power your Kaby Lake processor beyond its stock clocks with confidence and enjoy the gaming benefits of the features of this model for a very competitive price.
5. Asus Prime X370-Pro
The Asus Prime X370-Pro is a practical choice if you want overclocking prowess and numerous features in a sub-$150 package. This model saves on cost by omitting unnecessary features such as oversized heatsinks but remains essentially similar to its upmarket cousin. Still, the silver and gray theme with a subtle RGB LED layout should appeal to minimalist enthusiasts who want a clean looking motherboard that doesn’t over exaggerate on aesthetics.
This model sacrificed U.2 functionality, but it still includes two PCI-E 16x lanes which are reinforced to handle even the meatiest GPUs and avoid sagging. There are four DIMM slots that can hold up to 64GB of 3200MHz OC memory, plus M.2 compatibility for lightning-fast storage devices. You also get an Intel LAN port instead of Realtek, plus USB-C connectivity for future proofing.
The Asus Prime X370-Pro includes easy to use software including a very friendly BIOS for easy tinkering to achieve an overclock. Features such as FanXpert help keep your temperatures at bay by intuitively controlling the fans, while AISuite should help you maximize your Ryzen processor’s maximum potential.
6. Asrock X370 Killer SLI/AC
The Asrock X370 Killer SLI/AC is a full-featured motherboard which is a practical choice if you want to pair it with a Ryzen 7 chip. This model allows you to make the most out of AMD’s latest processors by including USB-C functionality, a gigabit Ethernet port, and six USB 3.1 slots for convenience. It also offers both digital and analog audio solutions for your speakers, plus a built-in Intel Wifi antenna in case you want to go wireless.
This model is one of the first to offer AMD’s Agesa 22.214.171.124 Update which opens up a more mature memory compatibility. The patch enables users to run overclocked speeds on all four DIMM slots in speeds of up to 2933MHz, much to the delight of Ryzen users. The Asrock X370 Killer SLI/AC isn’t the fastest in synthetic benchmarks, but its efficiency and performance per dollar make it a top choice.
Reviewers and enthusiasts consider the Asrock X370 Killer SLI/AC as a fantastic alternative to high-end boards since the performance numbers are mostly the same. This offering doesn’t include the grandest RGB LED schemes in the market, but its white and black scheme fits in with most tastes and other component’s aesthetics. Get this board if you are after efficient performance packed with future-proof and proven accessories for seamless gaming and overclocking experiences.
Best High-End Gaming Motherboards
1. Asus ROG Maximus IX Formula
The competition in the high-end segment heats up starting with the uber-popular Asus ROG Maximus IX Formula, the latest iteration of the top mainstream motherboard from the Republic of Gamers. This model is one of the most expensive Z270 boards in the market, but its looks and performance cannot be denied.
The Asus ROG Maximus IX Formula is one of the best overclocking motherboards out there since it easily reaches the 5Ghz range which a lot of enthusiasts have been going nuts about for a few years. This aspect is the main focus of the ROG line of motherboards, so spending the extra cash if you have it on the Maximus IX Formula isn’t so bad.
Enthusiasts who want maximum power from their PCs will probably use water cooling instead of the usual. What makes the ROG Maximus IX Formula special is the Cross Chill EK II water block embedded into the PCB. You can easily integrate this motherboard into your cooling loop to keep its VRMs and safe from overheating, potentially extended your overclocking headroom and the lifespan of the device as well.
Of course, Asus did not forget to include an array of necessary features such as dual M.2 slots, multiple USB 3.1 ports including some for the front panel, plus onboard 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The I/O shield is integrated into the board, making it durable and neat looking. The PCB itself is reinforced with a backplate to ensure you don’t bend the board with the heft of your GPU or heatsinks. As sophisticated as the other features, your audio is also upgraded to SupremeFX with exclusive codecs for Sonic Studio III and Sonic Radar III.
The Asus ROG Maximus IX is a case of over-designing, but we can say that it isn’t in bad taste. Half of the board is covered in an aluminum armor which protects its sensitive components while looking mean. The two GPU slots are reinforced with metal so they can handle your monumental GPUs. As icing to the cake, this motherboard features Asus’s Aura Lighting aesthetic, which is spread all over the board in the right places making any rig worthy of the best build award.
2. MSI Z270 XPower Titanium
The MSI Z270 XPower Titanium is the top of the line Kaby Lake board from the company with a focus on professional overclocking and extreme gaming performance. This model is also unique since it uses a white and titanium color scheme instead of the typical black PCBs we see on competitors.
The MSI Z270 XPower Titanium is an overclocking expert with its 14-phase VRMs and high-quality titanium capacitors which are some of the best and highest-rated components in the industry. You can access this board’s overclocking prowess easily using the OC Dashboard, which also doubles as an external remote for conveniently tinkering with voltages and other settings.
Of course, this model is also full-featured since it includes dual Intel NICs, USB 3.1 ports both in Type-A and Type-C, three M.2 slots, a U.2 port for future proofing, plus eight SATA 6gbps ports. The MSI Z270 XPower Titanium also supports extreme graphics since it has four PCIe slots for four-way Crossfire or two-way SLI. You also get two PCIe 3.0 x1 slots for your accessories such as a Wi-Fi or Sound card.
This entry does not utilize RGB lighting for bling, instead, users rely on the perfectly matched color scheme and white LEDs for a streamlined look. Even the rear of the PCB features a printed white surface with trace line patterns, and if transparent cases were still a thing, the Z270 XPower Titanium will look the sexiest on all sides.
3. Gigabyte Aorus Gaming 9
The Gigabyte Aorus Gaming 9 is the representative for overkill in this line up since it isn’t only the most expensive, but also the most feature-packed. To start, the Gaming 9 includes 16 VRMs solely dedicated to providing power to your CPU Vcore, so overclocking is stable and safe. And like its Z170 Gaming G1 predecessor, this model also includes an EKWB G-Frost Hybrid water block to prevent overheating.
The Aorus Gaming 9 boasts of high-end components for maximum performance. With this model, you can utilize up to four graphics cards on the Dual Armor/Durable Design PCIe slots. You also get a pair of M.2 and U.2 slots for ultra-fast storage devices, plus an Intel Thunderbolt 3 controller for the USB-C ports.
Of course, your listening experience is also at a premium level since the Gaming 9 includes a 127dB BurrBrown DAC certifying this model for Creative’s 120dB+ category, giving it the Creative ZxRi label. In layman’s terms, the audio solution for the Aorus Gaming 9 is as good, if not better than a mainstream dedicated soundcard.
The utilitarian features don’t stop there. You also get eight fan headers with PWM auto-sensors, a four-digit POST code LCD which also displays temperatures and voltage, plus Gigabyte’s arsenal of OC features designed to help maximize your system’s capabilities. The white shielding is a pleasant change of pace from the typical red and black, but you can customize your rig’s looks further since the Gaming 9 includes the most RGB LED lights and controllers we have seen on most motherboards.
4. MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium
The Titanium series of motherboards from MSI have garnered preference and popularity in the enthusiast crowds for their excellent performance and feature packages with a unique white metal scheme. The X370 variant, like the option above, isn’t a slouch thanks to its flagship-grade functionality.
This offering is one of the first AM4 boards to offer dual m.2 slots for maximum storage capacity. The primary slot runs at maximum speed, while the secondary will only give you PCIE 2 operation which still is plenty at 2GB/s. For accessories and peripherals, there is a total of seven USB receptacles with one running at version 3.1.
If overclocking is the main concern, you can’t go wrong with the MSI X370 Xpower Gaming Titanium. Simply setting voltage to the recommended 1.45V enables your Ryzen CPU to reach 4GHz easily without too much fuss via the responsive and easy to use UEFI BIOS. there is also a Game Boost button if in case you want to slighly push the performance a bit without experimenting on voltage and other settings in the Bios.
Like all the XPower Gaming boards, the X370 variant includes one of the best aesthetics in the market. The oversized heatsinks make cooling the multi-phase VRMS easy as peas while giving the product its meaty look. This version also includes MSI’s Mystic Light Sync for full customization, unlike other variants which only have white LEDs.
Best Extreme Gaming 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 Kaby Lake/Kaby Lake 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:
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 power phases 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.
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. 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
3. MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC
The MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC isn’t as expensive as competitor offerings, but it is one of the best overclockers in the range. AMD’s modern processors benefit a lot more from RAM speeds, and thankfully, pushing for DDR4 3200MHz is easy as peas on this iteration. The four PCI-E slots with metal reinforcements support up to three-way SLI while the fourth is dedicated for SSDs and other non-GPU components.
Each of the PCI-E receptacles is reinforced with a metal armor which is stronger than most applications, so you can attach dual or triple slotted GPUs without worrying about sagging or damage. Speaking of storage, the MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC can support up to three NVMe SSDs in between the GPU slots. This arrangement minimizes latency and power consumption to reduce the loads these drives will use, while the individual heatsinks help to avoid heat throttle.
This enthusiast motherboard also includes a superb connectivity suite despite having a lower SRP than its competitors. There are six USB 3.0 headers at the I/O panel plus two USB 3.1 Gen2 for modern applications. The Intel-based LAN card provides gigabit networking with reduced ping, but there is also a reusable Intel 802.11 AC Wifi card with Bluetooth that you can use on one of the PCI slots.
One of the features we love on the MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC is the customizable heatsink covers which you can swap with MSI’s separately sold alternatives or your own 3D-printed version. This gives owners the chance to synchronize the motherboard’s scheme with planned cooling and lighting solutions to extend the aesthetic and personal value of your Threadripper PC.
Things to Look for When Buying the Best Gaming Motherboard
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 Kaby Lake and Kaby Lake 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, Kaby Lake 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.