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:
1. Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra
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.
2. Asus ROG Maximus XI Code
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.
3. ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming
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 speeds 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.
4. Gigabyte B360 Aorus Gaming 3
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 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.
5. Asus ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero (Wi-Fi)
Best AMD Motherboard
Asus ROG X570 Crosshair Hero VIII (Wi-Fi)
The Asus ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero (Wi-Fi) gives you all the expandability and overclocking potential of a high-end AM4 motherboard, but without a price that completely empties your bank account. it still costs a pretty penny at $380, but it’s well worth the expense if you mean to take advantage of the uncapped potential of your Ryzen-based system. Thanks to its modern X570 chipset there support for a much wider range of dual-channel DDR4 memory, as well as PCIe 4.0 SSDs and GPUs. The light show you’ll be able to generate on this part is also quite the spectacle to behold, even if it isn’t quite ornate as the Gigabyte X570 Aorus Xtreme. This mobo is a hard-hitting performer.
6. Gigabyte X570 Aorus Xtreme
Best High-End AMD Motherboard
Gigabyte X570 Aorus Xtreme
If you’re building the ultimate AMD-centric rig with the latest third-generation Ryzen processors, you’re going to want the absolute best motherboard money can buy as your foundation. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better motherboard than the Gigabyte X570 Aorus Xtreme. With a modern AM4 socket designed to handle the extreme core counts and power demands of Ryzen 3rd Generation processors.
Its X570 chipset comes with full support for PCIe 4.0 storage and graphics cards like the AMD Radeon RX 5700 and 5700 XT. A couple of other niceties of the Gigabyte Aorus X570 Xtreme is every single connector is pitched at a 90-degree angle to make cable management seamless and you’ll also find plenty of RGB lighting onboard. This is what you’ll need for a high-end, modern AMD build.
7. MSI MPG X570 Gaming Plus
Best Mid-Range AMD Motherboard
MSI MPG X570 Gaming Plus
The X570 motherboards we’ve looked at up to this point have been pretty expensive, much more so than the cost of X470 boards. However, the MSI MPG X570 Gaming Plus is one option that takes AMD motherboard prices back to sane levels. For $170, this mobo costs half as much as most X570 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 4,400MHz—and beyond thanks to the new extreme memory overclocking support. What’s more, you get one PCIe 4.0 lane for both a graphics card and M.2 solid-state drive.
8. Gigabyte X570 Gaming X
Best Budget AMD Motherboard
Gigabyte X570 Gaming X
Getting a motherboard that can fully unlock the potential of AMD’s latest Ryzen 3rd Generation processors don’t necessarily have to cost a fortune. The Gigabyte X570 Gaming X packs an impressive overclocking punch for its low price thanks to its 12 True Phase Digital VRMs. For the low cost of $170, you also still get RGB lighting and all the important features that actually matter like dual M.2 PCIe 4.0 slots and a PCIe 4.0 x 16 slot for AMD’s newest Navi graphics cards.
What’s Next For Gaming Motherboards
All is calm in the motherboard world, which is suprising since Intel just announced a new line of Core-X series processors. For Cascade Lake-X Intel decided to stick to its tried and true X299 platform so you won’t have to buy a new motherboard to jump on Team Blue’s newest HEDT chips.
That said, it doesn’t seem like AMD is going to take a similar tactic with its forthcoming Ryzen Threadripper 3rd Generation processors. Based on an MSI leak and other rumors, it seems like we’ll soon see a new lineup of TRX40 motherboards. There aren’t many rumors that suggest what TRX40 will bring spec-wise, but 3rd Gen Threadripper chips are said to introduce quad-channel memory support while adding heaps of PCI-Express 4.0 lanes.
What to Look 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 Nvidia SLI and AMD Crossfire support 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 them.
Just below that, you’ll find a Z370 chipset that is 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 X570 and it complicates things a bit by having PCIe 4.0 lanes that support twice the bandwidth of PCIe 3.0 lanes. X570 comes with 16 PCIe 4.0 lanes and a Ryzen 3rd Generation CPU itself adds another 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes.
Older AMD AM4 platforms like X470 supports 28 PCIe 3.0 lanes, meanwhile, B450 motherboard only has access to 24 PCIe PCIe 3.0 lanes. The A320 chipset is the only one that doesn’t support overclocking Ryzen CPUs, but honestly, you’d be better off spending a little more on 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 ATX 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.
Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam