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When choosing components for your new PC, motherboards don’t get the same attention as the graphics cards and processors, and that’s a shame. The motherboard is the most important component of the entire build since it represents the foundation where all other components sit. Its role, that of “central nervous system”, is to ensure that all other hardware can reach its full potential. In other words, a good motherboard ensures a better performance.
You shouldn’t try to save money by opting for a cheap motherboard, instead you should get the best one you can afford in respect to your other hardware.
Searching online you will find dozens and dozens of different motherboards, so it can be difficult to choose the right one. That’s why we compiled this list that contains the best ones on the market.
Let’s start with the best motherboards for Intel processors
Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming: best “cheap” Intel Mini-ITX motherboard
With the recent fall in prices and the previous model (based on the Z370 chip) beginning to disappear from the market, the Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming (Check on Amazon) wins first place in the ITX segment.
Despite its small size, the ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming offers excellent performance. Capable of stable 5GHz overclocking and memory speeds that can reach 3600MHz, its single PCIe x16 slot can push high-end graphics cards at speeds that match or exceed most other Z390 motherboards.
The small Strix also has a long list of features, including two PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 slots, Intel v219 Ethernet, Wi-Fi AC, and the ALC1220A audio codec.
If all this wasn’t already enough, its clean design also allows for a quick assembly.
Note: while it’s getting harder to find, the previous generation ROG Strix Z370-I (Check on Amazon) remains a great alternative, especially at a discounted price.
MSI MEG Z490 Godlike: best premium Intel motherboard
Premium motherboards cost a small fortune, but if you can afford one like the MSI MEG Z490 Godlike (Check on Amazon), you can rest assured that you’ll get the best possible performance, at least among Intel’s range.
The MSI MEG Z490 Godlike is in fact the best Z490 motherboard and the best Intel motherboard yet. It has a solid built, it’s easy to install and customize, offers excellent thermal performance, and has extraordinary overclocking possibilities.
It is very similar to the previous MSI MEG Z390 Godlike motherboard but boasts the new Z490 chipset that implements more features and controllers like 10GbE Ethernet, three PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots (each with its own M.2 heat shield), and Thunderbolt 3 Type-C connectivity.
In addition, the MSI MEG Z490 Godlike includes two Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports on the rear panel and support for up to five PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots using the Xpander-Z Gen4 M.2 add-on card (included among the motherboard’s accessories) which adds two extra M.2 slots.
The rest of the spec are similar to the previous MSI MEG Z490 Godlike: this motherboard also uses an E-ATX format and sports Mystic Light RGB and an OLED display showing all debugging codes and temperatures. The connectivity module on the back panel includes (beyond the two Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports that we already listed) two USB 3.2 G2 Type-A ports, four USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports and two USB 2.0 ports. We also find two buttons for USB BIOS Flashback and CMOS reset.
Network connectivity is entrusted to an Aquantia AQC107 10G and a Realtek RTL8125B 2.5G controller, while the Intel AX201 module is responsible for Wi-Fi 6 and BT 5.1 connectivity. As for SATA devices, MSI includes six SATA ports with support for type 0, 1, 5, and 10 RAID. Finally, the four dual-channel DDR4 memory slots support a total capacity of 128GB and can now handle speeds of up to 5000MHz.
This is an incredible motherboard that finishes in front of the similarly priced Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme (Check on Amazon) and Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme (Check on Amazon). If you think that you will use all of its extra features, then this is definitely the best Intel motherboard you can buy right now.
Asus ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming: best Intel motherboard
If you are looking for the best Z390 motherboard for your high-end gaming PC, then look no further than the Asus ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming (Check on Amazon).
This ATX motherboard supports Intel’s 8th and 9th generation CPUs and features two M.2 slots, 2nd generation USB 3.1 ports, addressable RGB, built-in 802.11AC Wi-Fi, and sports a cutting edge thermal design with M.2 slot heatsinks and glorious AURA RGB lighting that give it a fantastic look.
Overclocking performance is also best in class, with Asus including its PRO clock technology (AI Overclocking, FanXpert 4, OptiMem II, TPU insight, EPU guidance, DIGI+ VRM, turbo app, etc) which makes overclocking a child’s play.
The Z390-E also features three PCIe 3.0 lanes and support for multi-GPU configurations (2-way SLI and 3-way CrossFireX). You can also install up to 64GB of DDR4 memory in dual-channel mode and overclock it up to a maximum of 4266MHz.
Yes, it’s an expensive motherboard, but the build quality, features, and aesthetics are something to be marveled at and definitely worth the price.
Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra: best mid-range Intel motherboard
This Gigabyte motherboard is not as flashy as other well-known motherboard manufacturers (ASUS and MSI) but has managed to accumulate a lot of recommendations lately. Combined with an affordable price, the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra (Check on Amazon) is the clear mid-range winner.
The Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra features three M.2 slots, Intel Wi-Fi Wave2 and Ethernet, full RGB lighting, and ALC1220 audio. Both ASUS and MSI offer similar features only with their premium motherboards. Thus this motherboard offers the best value for money.
It is perhaps a little too flashy for a more sober (not gaming) look. Fortunately, you can disable all RGB lights from the BIOS. This is a small criticism of an otherwise excellent card.
Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro Wi-Fi: a valid alternative
When Coffee Lake Refresh processors came out, Intel promised they would be the best gaming processors ever, and that also meant the arrival of motherboards equipped for gaming. Here comes the Z390 Aorus Gaming Pro Wi-Fi (Check on Amazon) – one of the best Intel motherboards right now.
If you have up to $200 to spend on a motherboard, your best options are the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Elite (Check on Amazon) and the Z390 Aorus Pro Wi-Fi. They’re pretty much the same board, with exceptional VRM thermal performance that beats many Asus models costing more than $300. The Pro variant costs a little more as it adds some extra features, such as thermal protection on both M.2 slots, two reinforced PCIe slots and a USB Type-C port on the back panel.
The Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro is obviously packed with game-centric features, such as integrated RGB lighting and support for addressable LED light strips through Gigabyte’s RGB Fusion 2.0 app. Even if you’re not a gamer, the light show can be a way to refresh and accentuate your home or work office.
It also provides four RAM memory slots that support up to 128GB of DDR4 memory that can overclock up to 4.266MHz.
It’s hard to find a better Intel motherboard, especially at this price.
MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC: best Intel Micro-ATX motherboard
If you want a good mid-range Intel motherboard but don’t have much space on your desk, then you’ll need the best Micro-ATX motherboard you can find, i.e. the MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC (Check on Amazon). It has all the features offered by a full-size ATX model but at a fraction of the size and price.
It comes with the latest Intel Z390 chipset, some useful extra features, and as is the norm for premium motherboards is complete with RGB lighting. Despite its smaller size, you get the same two M.2 slots, support for SLI and Crossfire configurations (it has two PCIe x16 slots), and all the performance Intel’s Coffee Lake Refresh processors have to offer.
ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming: best Intel Mini-ITX motherboard
Even if you’ll never use the Thunderbolt 3 port, it’s hard to not praise a motherboard that does everything better than the competition and can be found at a lower price. If you are looking for a Mini ITX motherboard to pair with a high-end Intel processor (such as the Intel Core i9-9900K), the Z390 Phantom Gaming (Check on Amazon) should be your first choice.
And these are the best motherboards for AMD processors
MSI B450 Tomahawk: best AMD motherboard for most users
If you intend to build a mid to high-end AMD PC the MSI B450 Tomahawk is the best choice for most users. It costs (Check on Amazon), but offers some high-end features such as the possibility of light overclocking – even if you’re not interested in overclocking right now, having a B450 board at least gives you the ability to overclock later along the way – and support for AMD dual graphics card configurations connected in CrossFire.
Its B450 chipset was built for second-generation Ryzen processors but is ready for the latest third-generation Ryzen processors – although there are reports of minor problems with them.
Essentially you get everything you need from a mid-range motherboard with the addition of quality VRMs and large heatsinks on both the Vcore and the VRM SoC that can handle even a slightly overclocked Ryzen 9-3950X processor without problems.
In the end, if you don’t need multiple M.2 slots or support for PCIe 4.0 (available on motherboards with the X570 and B550 chipsets) and don’t want to pay a fortune for a solid AM4 motherboard, the MSI B450 Tomahawk is your best choice right now.
Asus X570 ROG Crosshair VIII Hero (Wi-Fi): best high-end AMD motherboard
While this choice may seem a bit expensive for most of you, the quality of this motherboard is simply unparalleled.
The Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Hero (Wi-Fi) (Check on Amazon) is an excellent premium motherboard that offers many high-end features at a lower price. Not only does it have all the features you would expect from a premium board, but it also uses the latest AMD chipset.
Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 5 Wi-Fi: best mid-range AMD motherboard
In general, if you are building a new AMD PC, we recommend switching to the X570 chipset. It supports 4th generation PCIe speeds on the latest Ryzen 3000 CPUs, and as a rule of thumb offers better RAM support than other motherboards. However, if you are using an older generation CPU, you really don’t need an X570 chipset.
There are more expensive X470 motherboards out there, but spending extra money on high-end hardware won’t necessarily provide a better experience than Gigabyte’s X470 Aorus Gaming 5 Wi-Fi. This motherboard has a complete list of features along with RGB lighting for just (Check on Amazon).
Gigabyte X570 Aorus Xtreme: the best
If you’re building a PC using a high-end 3rd generation Ryzen processor, and you want to pair it with the best motherboard ever, then you won’t find a better one than the Gigabyte X570 Aorus Xtreme (Check on Amazon).
Its AM4 socket is designed to handle extreme core clocks and cover the power needs of even the most demanding third-generation Ryzen processor.
The X570 chipset is also equipped with full support for PCIe 4.0, and graphics cards such as the AMD Radeon RX 5700 and 5700 XT. In addition, each individual port is tilted to a 90-degree angle to make cable management even easier and you’ll also find a ton of RGB lights on board.
ASRock B450M PRO4: best AMD Micro-ATX motherboard
An incredible set of features at a great price… this is the selling point of the ASRock B450M PRO4 (Check on Amazon) motherboard. It is simply the best micro ATX motherboard for those who have a limited budget.
Our only concern? How can ASRock produce and sell this motherboard at this price, without losing money?
Asus ROG Strix X470-I Gaming: best AMD Mini-ITX motherboard
Big things can come in small packages. Everything we find in this small motherboard is designed with performance in mind. This extends to the BIOS where you can find a stress test for overclocking even before launching Windows.
In addition, despite the Mini-ITX form factor, the ASUS ROG Strix X470-I GAMING (Check on Amazon) comes with two M.2 slots and sports a fantastic look, complete with RGB lighting. It is not cheap, but with regards to other mini-ITX motherboards, it is more than worth the price.