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There has been a lot of debate about whether the gaming motherboards are worth it or not, and it often divides the people in PC community.
But If you are building an expensive gaming PC, you would definitely want to buy a good gaming motherboard.
However, over the past couple of years, there has been a surplus of some budget gaming motherboards as well. The purpose of this roundup is to look at those best gaming motherboards available in the market.
Best Gaming Motherboards 2020
To keep things normal, we are going to be reviewing some of the higher end motherboard options, as well as some of the mid-range motherboards, and lastly, some options that are for people who are on the low budget.
In addition to that, considering how AMD is back in the game, we thought it would be a wise decision to look at both AMD and Intel supported motherboards to ensure that the readers have the proper choice when it comes to choosing a good motherboard for their upcoming gaming build.
Best Gaming Motherboard 2020 Review Guide
So, let us not waste more time, and start looking at all the options available in the market.
(30-12-18 Update: I have updated the original list and added the Asus ROG Strix Z390-E motherboard)
ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E: Check Price On Amazon
Best Z390 Motherboard For Gaming
The first motherboard in front of us is the ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E.
This is rather cheap, but don’t let the price fool you as it comes with a lot of amazing features that are more or less reserved for the higher end options.
To start, we have a great number of fan headers, and if you are someone who wants to install a lot of fans on in your chassis, it's going to help you a lot.
Additionally, Asus has kept things covered for those looking for a good number of USB ports as there's 1 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, 3 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, and 2 USB 2.0 ports on the rear side.
You even have LED expansion header on the motherboard that will help you get the most out of your board. For those looking for Wi-Fi functionality, the motherboard also comes with onboard Wi-Fi, making it one of the cheapest motherboards to offer this feature.
You also get dual M.2 slots that are properly cooled. Asus has also included diagnostic LED as well as a MemOK switch for those who are looking for proper diagnostics.
Design wise, the motherboard offers a rather neutral design language, has great audio implementation, and you even get a fan accessory to cool down the VRMs of your motherboard.
On the downside, there are a few points where you feel like that Asus has cut corners. For starters, the motherboard only offers a 4-phase VRM design, meaning it is not the best option for overclocking.
If you are looking forward to getting a lot of RGB with the motherboard, you are only going to get a single lighting zone. However, the compensation is provided in the form of onboard headers.
Overall, the ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E is more than what the price says about the motherboard. It certainly is a great thing, and the best part is that the motherboard does not even cost a lot of money.
You get a ton of features that will certainly make your overall experience with this motherboard a lot smoother, but the thing is that if you happen to be a heavy overclocker, then this motherboard is not for you.
However, if you are a budget-oriented user who just wants to enjoy some Republic of Gamer features, then this motherboard is the way to go.
- Excellent value for money.
- Built-in WiFi.
- Decent build quality.
- Plenty of fan headers.
- A great number of USB ports.
- VRM design is only 4-phase.
- One lighting zone.
Asus Maximus X Formula: Check Price On Amazon
Best High-End Gaming Motherboard 2020
Next one is again from the Asus but from previous Z370 generation.
If you are in the market to buy the highest end gaming motherboard for the Intel Z370 platform, then this is the best one you can have, and for all the right reasons as well.
There are a number of things I love and admire about the Asus Maximus X Formula. For starters, it has one of the most stylish designs you can find in a gaming motherboard.
Now I was a bit concerned before because I did not want any over the top gamer aesthetic, but the good news is that this is not the case with the design language on the Maximus X Formula.
It has a nice touch of monochrome and black shielded PCB that looks wonderful.
The top and bottom shields add heft, but that is fine.
The motherboard also comes with dual M.2 slots, and the cooling for them is ample. However, the one thing that I did not like was the vertical position M.2 slot. Sure, it works perfectly fine, but it does not look all that appealing.
Asus has done a great job with VRM implementation along with the CPU VRM waterblock, which was made by EK Waterblocks. Needless to say, this motherboard is for gamers who take their water cooling seriously.
While onboard audio is not something that everyone loves, Asus has done a great implementation, and you will be able to enjoy decently powerful headphones without needing an external DAC/Amp.
Asus has made sure that the Maximus X Formula is packed with a lot of overclocking options, and not just that, you also have an abundance of diagnostic tools, and while it is not necessary that you are going to need them all the time, they are still nice to have.
If you are a fan of RGB lighting, then Asus has that covered for you as well, as the Maximus X Formula comes with plenty of lighting options.
There are dual USB 3.1 headers for people who want no shortage of USB connections. In addition to that, Asus is back with an ample amount of fan headers that also happen to provide a granular level of control over how you want your fans to behave.
The one thing that I really love about the Maximus X Formula is that there's a “LiveDash” OLED display that you can customize with GiFs, or make it display some of the other important information. Sadly, the OLED display is monochrome only, and it might not go with the rest of your lighting implementation.
Last but not the least, the Asus Maximus X Formula also supports high-speed WiFi and Bluetooth, so if you are concerned about having limited connectivity options, then you really should not worry about not having enough.
Overall, I do not think I can find anything wrong with the Asus Maximus X Formula; it is one of the best gaming motherboards you can find in the market, and if you are looking forward to going all guns blazing, this is the way you should be going.
My only concerns are the vertical M.2 slot, and in addition to that, the LiveDash OLED display; which is a very clever implementation, but it is only monochrome, and that does not make much sense to me.
However, these small inconveniences are not convincing enough to put someone in a second thought because this motherboard offers so much more, and that is the beauty of it.
- One of the best overclocking motherboards.
- Looks amazing.
- Plenty of fan headers, and other connectivity options onboard.
- Built-in Bluetooth and WiFi option.
- The vertical mounted M.2 slot looks out of place.
- The LiveDash display is only monochrome, limiting some cool possibilities.
ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Extreme: Check Price On Amazon
Best AM4 Gaming Motherboard 2020
AMD’s X370 platform was a huge success, and people who wanted some sweet overclock potential realized that they will be at home with the ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Extreme, and for all the right reasons.
You might be wondering why we are not reviewing the newer ASUS ROG Crosshair VII, and that is simply because the ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Extreme is much better, and it does support the Ryzen 2 CPUs with just a bios update.
Now we already know just how good Asus is when it comes to choosing premium materials, and same is the case with the Crosshair VI Extreme. Everything ranging from the chokes to VRM is designed with premium quality components.
This ensures that the motherboard is going to remain stable regardless of the type of load you put on it, which is a great thing.
If you are worried that you might run out of fan headers, then do not worry as the Crosshair VI Extreme comes with a total of 12 fan headers. But if you use the fan extension card that is supported by the motherboard, you can run 15 fans through your motherboard.
And if you do not know it already, Asus has one of the best fan controller software and hardware combination you can think of.
For all the RGB lovers, Asus has done a great job in making this motherboard with aesthetics in mind. Whether you have turned the motherboard on or off, it looks stunning.
However, the real difference comes in when you turn on your PC. You have RGB lighting on the IO shield, but there are addressable LEDs into the rear side of the PCB, as well as the heat sink. The RGB implementation is one of the best I have seen.
Asus Crosshair VI Extreme is that it offers you plenty of storage options. You have 4 PCI-E 3.0 M.2 slots, for ultra-fast storage.
Now I know that you might be wondering how Asus made this possible without sacrificing the lanes, and that was done by taking x4 PCI-E 3.0 from the CPU’s x16 PCI-E 3.0 lane
Normally these lanes are meant for the GPUs, but in our testing, we found out that there is no performance impact to that either.
So, technically, you are getting the best of both worlds.
For the fans of overclocking, another great thing about the Asus Crosshair VI Extreme is that it overclocks like a champion.
At first, I thought it would be not possible, but it gives you so many features to overclock that it is more or less a paradise for overclockers. I love Asus for putting granular control over the overclocking features.
From basic overclocking to LN2 overclocking, you have all the options available to you, and they work wonderfully as well.
Honestly, if you are looking for a Ryzen or a Ryzen 2 motherboard and you are in the mood to splurge some money, then I do not think I can give you a better suggestion than the Asus Crosshair VI Extreme.
However, do keep in mind that it is one of the more expensive X370 motherboards available in the market.
Therefore, as long as you are okay with the high price, you should not have any issues with buying this motherboard.
In conclusion, the Asus Crosshair VI Extreme is the best AM4 motherboard you can find if money is not the issue. It gives you great overclocking with a long list of features that you will surely admire as an enthusiast and a gamer.
- Excellent performance.
- Plenty of aesthetics with or without lighting.
- Top of the line VRMs and chokes.
- Supports both Ryzen and Ryzen 2 processors.
- A total of twelve fan headers that can be expanded to fifteen with an expansion card.
- Ample slots for super-far PCI-E based storage.
- Great for overclocking regardless of the type of cooling you want to use with this motherboard.
- Enough RGB options to keep you entertained for a long time.
- The motherboard is not built for people looking for cheaper options.
Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 5: Check Price On Amazon
Best Midrange Gaming Motherboard 2020
Gigabyte is a company who has long preceded the reputation it once used to have.
The company is now considered one of the leading PC hardware manufacturing company. They are behind some great motherboards, graphics cards, RAM modules, as well as some peripherals that are doing great in the market.
For those who do not know, Aorus is one of the higher end divisions of Gigabyte that targets the gamers who are looking for the best bang for the back.
Today, we look at the Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 5, a great mid-range motherboard made for people who do not want to spend a lot of money on a motherboard but are still in the search of some great features, and decent overclocking headroom.
The Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 5 is a great overclocker and had no issues maintaining stability when I pushed my Core i7 8700K to 5.0 GHz.
Of course, when testing the OC, both the motherboard and CPU have to be good, but as far as the motherboard-part of things were concerned, it worked like a charm.
Another important thing that I have to tell you is that the Aorus Gaming 5 is one of the mid-range motherboards that come with three M.2 slots, which is great if you are looking for ultra-fast PCI-E storage.
Another thing that really surprised me about this motherboard was the fact that this comes with a total of eight 4-pin fan headers. The reason why I am calling this a surprising thing is because you do not get this many fan headers on the mid-range motherboards.
In addition to the excellent fan configuration, you will have no issues as far as controlling the fans are concerned. The Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 5 does offer you enough ways to control the fans and adjust them with deep, granular controls.
I don’t understand how, but Gigabyte also managed to squeeze WiFi and Bluetooth onto this motherboard. This option is usually reserved for the higher end motherboards, and many more expensive motherboards than the Aorus Gaming 5 do not have this facility.
For all the RGB lovers; Gigabyte has left no stone unturned, and ensured that you get as much as RGB lighting as you want. Aside from the usual spots for the RGB LEDs, you get them on the shields, under the PCB, the heatsinks, and even the RAM slots, and PCI-E slots.
I know this might be a bit too much RGB for some people, but you can easily disable them if you want. Though I have to admit, these do look stunning. You also get two D-LED headers and two RGBW headers.
There are some shortcomings that I would like to address here.
Firstly, there are not enough SATA ports on the motherboard, and additionally, if you do end up using the third M.2 slot that is available, then the bottom PCI-E slot will be dropped by two lanes.
If you are okay with these minor inconveniences, then I would wholeheartedly suggest you the Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 5 motherboard.
Not because it looks great, but because it does give you a lot of options in terms of stability, overclocking, aesthetics, and overall great user experience.
- The motherboard is an excellent overclocker
- Triple M.2 slots are a great blessing for those who are looking for ultra-fast storage.
- A total of eight 4-pin fan headers available.
- Great RBG lighting with plenty of control.
- Total of 4 RGB headers; two D-LED, and two RGBW.
- Great for people who do not want to spend a lot of money.
- Bluetooth and WiFi support.
- Using the third M.2 slot will reduce the PCI-E lanes by two on the bottom PCI-E slot.
- For all the storage enthusiasts, the motherboard does not offer enough SATA ports.
MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon: Check Price On Amazon
Runner Up: Best Midrange Gaming Motherboard
For the longest time, MSI has been serving the gamers across the globe by bringing in some of the finest components one could ask for. If you look at their portfolio, they have a long history of releasing some of the best components.
Some that I have personally used as well, and the one thing I associate with MSI is that they are consistent, and additionally, they have everything for everyone regardless of the amount of money you are willing to spend.
Today, we review the MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon; it is one of the mid-rangers from MSI that is definitely punching above its pay-grade, but is it good enough?
Well, that is the thing that we need to find out.
If you are going in with aesthetics in mind, then the MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon is definitely the greater choice here. However, you do need to keep the color coordination in mind, if you have one.
The motherboard looks great with its black PCB and white accents. I know black and white builds are becoming a norm now, but a motherboard that takes the color combination to next level was not available in the market until now.
Complementing the tastefully done color scheme, you also get some RGB LEDs on the motherboard, and these are by far some of the best implementations of LEDs I have seen; thanks to the amazing diffusion because of the color of the PCB.
Another strong suit of the MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon is the network interface card that MSI has decided to choose. The thing with NICs is that for years, Intel has been one of the best for a long time. The MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon uses Intel’s latest NIC, which is the i211AT.
MSI has also done a great job with the audio on the motherboard, as this one uses the Realtek ALC1220, one of the top-notch audio chip, but aside from that, the motherboard also uses a pair of Texas Instruments amplifiers that are coupled with Nichicon gold capacitors.
I know these terms might be confusing for an average user, but if you are in search of a motherboard that delivers a spectacular performance, then the good news is that you are in safe hands.
Last but not least, there is more good news for people who are always in search of having the most connectivity options. You get dual USB 3.0 headers which are surprising because not a lot of motherboards in this price range offer you that.
Not only that, but you also get USB 3.1 by Asmedia, which controls the Type C and Type A port located on the rear. This means you will be getting a lot better performance, thanks to Asmedia, as well as AMD’s own controller, making the best out of both worlds
Sadly, not everything is fine and dandy when it comes to the MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon; there is an expected shortcoming. The overall VRM quality is not as good as I had wished in the first place.
Sure, the motherboard can surely overclock but do not expect crazy high and impressive clock speeds because when it comes to those, the motherboard is simply not capable of that.
If you are just building a good gaming PC, and you are not in the mood to overclock your CPU by a greater degree, the MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbon is something that you should definitely consider.
It is a mid-range motherboard that offers more than it costs, making the entire package very attractive.
- Great aesthetical value.
- The RGB lighting is tastefully done.
- The motherboard comes with dual M.2 slots.
- Great audio codec.
- Two USB 3.0 headers are a great addition.
- Supports both X370, as well as X470 processors.
- The VRM quality is not as good, meaning you will not be able to overclock the CPU that higher.
ASRock H370M Pro4: Check Price On Amazon
Best Budget Gaming Motherboard 2020
Now when it comes to budget oriented motherboards, there are two types of users, there are people who are only looking for a cheap motherboard so they can build and use a PC for the meantime, and at the other end of the spectrum, there are people who want a budget-oriented motherboard regardless of the features they are getting.
Striking the perfect balance between both types is not an easy thing to do.
So far, the list has been dominated mainly by two companies; Asus and Gigabyte. However, we are finally taking a look at something different from ASRock.
The company has been around for long enough to make some great motherboards available in the market, but this time around, we are not looking at high-end motherboards or even the mid-rangers.
Instead, we are focusing on a cheap, entry-level motherboard that you would want to buy to get the job done, but would also want to keep up with you.
We are reviewing the ASRock H370M Pro4; this is a micro ATX motherboard, so you must keep this mind before you go ahead and buy this. Normally, when I talk about people buying anything smaller than a standard sized ATX board, I do not get the welcoming looks.
However, the micro ATX motherboards are a lot more useful than you might think. Especially when you are planning to have a smaller build and want to be able to easily place wherever you want.
With that out of the way, the H370 is based off Intel’s 370 platform, and the H means that you will not be able to overclock the processors, but then again, at the given price, you are getting so much more.
For starters, you get an impressive black and grey PCB. I thought ASRock would completely ditch the aesthetics to keep the cost low, but the ASRock H370M Pro4 is impressively gorgeous, and for those who love muted colors, this is a great motherboard.
There are a lot of other positive aspects. For starters, you get two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports as well as two Gen1 USB 3.1 ports on the back I/O, and additionally, you get four USB 3.0 front panel ports.
This is great because not a lot of motherboards in the market offer this level of connectivity. Especially when you consider the fact that you are buying a micro ATX motherboard, and that in addition, an H370 motherboard that costs as low as a B360 motherboard.
Another upside, or downside, about this motherboard is the absolute lack of RGB lighting or headers for that matters. Now I am not sure what rocks your boat, but if you decide to head over to a number of different forums, you will realize that the whole RGB fiasco has sort of divided the fan base.
There are people who absolutely love the RGB lighting, and at the same time, there are several people who do not like the lighting at all, no matter how clever the implementation is. The thing about the ASRock H370M Pro4 is that this is without any RGB whatsoever.
I kind of expected that seeing the low cost, and I have no issues with it since my views on RGB have always been very neutral.
However, I do not speak for the general public as there are a lot of people who would be in the favor of having no RGB, and at the same time, there are a lot of people who would not buy this motherboard mainly because it lacks the RGB lighting options.
We are into 2020, and most of the devices that are coming out now are USB Type C. Needless to say, Type C is the new standard in town. However, I do not understand why most manufacturers are trying to cut down on the minor costs and are not adding the USB Type C in their components.
Also, it does not come with a front panel 3.1 Gen2 header. I know that the low cost of the motherboard could serve as a justification, but honestly, it does not take a lot of costs to implement a basic feature like that.
Still, ASRock H370M Pro4 is a great motherboard if you are on a budget and your main concern with the most amount of basic features rather than having other frills.
- Great stability.
- A host of features that are intended for more expensive motherboards.
- H370 chipset for the price of a B360 chipset.
- Great, muted color scheme.
- Plenty of USB ports.
- No onboard RGB lighting or RGB headers present.
- There is no USB 3.1 Gen2 front panel header for the casings that support it.
Finding a gaming motherboard in this day and age is not something that is difficult. However, due to the technology moving so rapidly, there is a surplus of gaming motherboards available in the market, and simply put, this can end up resulting a confusing for the consumers.
More often than not, a lot of my friends ended up buying the wrong mobo because they did not know what they should be going for. This is where the roundups like this one come into play.
Here you will find the best gaming motherboards available in the market at the moment.
To keep things fair and simple, we reviewed motherboards from both Intel and AMD; this was to ensure that the readers have plenty of choices.
Plus, ever since AMD became such a hit with their Ryzen and Ryzen 2 CPUs, it would have been a biased thing to do if we had not included the Ryzen based motherboards as well.
Things To Look For In A Motherboard
Below are some of the important things you need to keep in mind while looking for a new motherboard.
1. CPU Compatibility
Most people buy a motherboard after they've bought the CPU.
If that is the case, the first thing you need to do is to make a list of motherboards compatible with your CPU. It's because there are some CPUs which are completely incompatible with a particular board model.
Here are some things you'll need to check the compatibility between your board and CPU.
a) Intel vs AMD
Intel and AMD are the only two manufacturers of the computer processors around us. And both of these companies design their CPUs to work with specific boards.
It means that an AMD processor can only work with a motherboard specifically designed for AMD processors, and the same goes for Intel processors and their suitable boards.
So if you've picked an Intel processor earlier, you can only look for Intel-specific motherboards now.
b) CPU Socket
The CPU socket is the area of a motherboard where a CPU fits in.
When Intel and AMD launch their new gen processors, more often than not, they also release their newer-gen motherboards for those processors.
And there is a good chance that the CPU socket on the motherboard will be different from the one on previous generation boards.
Since these sockets don't support backward compatibility (you can't fit a new Ryzen CPU on an older AM3 socket), you have to be extra careful not to waste your time and money here.
For this, you can go to the specs sheet of your CPU and the motherboard you're looking to buy, and look for Socket section to make sure they are both compatible with each other.
2. PC Case compatibility
Once you've found the CPU and boards compatible with each other, it's time to find out a compatible case for your board.
It's because, like CPUs, you can't fit every motherboard in every PC case.
Motherboards come in different sizes like ATX, Micro-ATX and mini-ITX boards etc, and while we have written the detailed differences between them in a separate post, here's a quick comparison image for you.
In order to find out case compatibility, you just need to check the product listing of that product. It will be mentioned in the listing that what motherboard-type and form-factor that a PC case supports.
The motherboard is a hub through which different PC components and accessories communicate with each other, in order to give your optimal results.
More ports mean more components can be attached to the motherboard, and while it won't necessarily give you better results, you'll certainly get more options.
Here are some of the most common Ports/Slots available in a motherboard.
These slots are used to accommodate the memory aka. RAM. In high-end boards, four DIMM slots are usually present but in smaller form factors like mini-ITX boards, this number reduces to two.
But this is not the end of the world if you've chosen the latter. You can easily have 32 GB RAM memory in a mini-ITX board, which is more than enough for any task out there.
SATA ports are used to connect the storage devices (like SATA SSDs, Hard drives etc) to the motherboard.
For most people, one or two Storage devices will be enough so they won't need any extra SATA ports. But if anyhow you're interested in RAID configurations, more SATA ports are always better.
PCIe Slots are used to connect different types of components, but the most important of them all is the graphics card.
At the minimum, motherboards come with 1 PCIe Slot, but if you go higher, there are boards with much more of these slots which mean you can have multiple graphics cards fit on those boards.
But for most people, multiple graphics card won't bring any benefit whatsoever.
Those people can utilize these extra slots by having PCI-e based WiFi adapters, PCI-e SSDs (faster than SATA based SSDs), USB Hub adapters and internal sound cards etc.
USB ports are used to connect any USB-based device (such as your keyboard) to the motherboard.
Here you need to make sure that a board has the necessary amount of USB ports that you need for connecting your devices.