The Best Motherboards for Gaming

Table of Contents

Building a new PC is an exciting journey, and one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is choosing a processor brand, and then finding a compatible motherboard that you’ll use to house the rest of your components — the possibilities seem endless, and that first choice will spark many more afterwards! The performance of most motherboards in general is quite similar across the board, so the main thing you should be considering when purchasing a new one is compatibility.

We’ve put together this list of a few different options that will support either AMD or Intel processors, and we’ve made sure to include a variety of price points so you’re sure to find one within your budget. You’ll see a lot of Asus motherboards here — they’re a great brand for motherboards that many PC builders love.

There are many different compatibility options that you’ll need to consider before you purchase a new motherboard for your rig, so the one that you’ll need for your set up can vary. If you don’t know where to start, we’ve got your back! Scroll down to the end of the article, where we’ve outlined what a motherboard actually does, and you’ll find a guide that’ll teach you all about the different compatibility options you’ll need to consider.

Whether it's picking a new motherboard, or choosing which brand of processor you want to use — we've got you covered. There's also information on the size of the board itself, as it relates to what's best for most CPUs, as well as additional features to keep in mind. Check it out!

1. Editor's Pick: ASUS ROG Strix B550-E Gaming AMD AM4 Motherboard

1. Editor's Pick: ASUS ROG Strix B550-E Gaming AMD AM4 Motherboard
  • Perfect for building a larger tower
  • 3rd generation chip compatible
  • High performance gaming networking capabilities
  • Many different graphics outputs — great for gaming
  • Aura sync RGB lighting
  • Very expensive

Key Specs

CPU Compatibility: 3rd generation AMD Ryzen
Socket Type: AM4
Graphics Card Interface: PCIe 4.0
Memory Speed: 4400 MHz
Product Dimensions: 34.29 x 27.18 x 8.38 cm

The ASUS ROG Strix B550-E Gaming AMD AM4 Motherboard is one of the top choices if you’re looking to build a gaming computer featuring a 3rd generation AMD Ryzen chip.

This motherboard has an optimized thermal solution, with a fanless VRM and chipset heatsinks that will help keep your computer components cool — even when running intense programs like a modern video game. It has a plethora of features that can help make high fidelity audio, like DTS Sound Unbound and Sonic Studio III, which can greatly enhance your gaming experience.

It’s also built with many networking capabilities, like Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0, so you can get right into your games without purchasing additional adapters.

2. Runner Up for AMD: ASUS ROG Strix B550-I Gaming AMD AM4 Motherboard

2. Runner Up for AMD: ASUS ROG Strix B550-I Gaming AMD AM4 Motherboard
  • Provides reliable power to high-core-count AMD processors
  • Innovative cooling system
  • Noise cancelling microphone software
  • AI networking to optimize gameplay network settings
  • RGB lighting system
  • Expensive

Key Specs

CPU Compatibility: 3rd generation AMD Ryzen
Socket Type: AM4
Graphics Card Interface: PCIe 4.0
Memory Speed: 3200 MHz
Product Dimensions: 17.02 x 17.02 x 8.13 cm

The ASUS ROG Strix B550-I Gaming AMD AM4 Motherboard is another great choice to think about for 3rd generation AMD Ryzen chips, and it has a Mini-ITX form factor — perfect for a smaller tower.

Smaller PCs are all the rage right now, and you too can build a small PC with a motherboard like this one. Like the previous choice, it has an optimized thermal solution that can help protect your computer components from heat during heavy use, and industry leading gaming audio. You’ll also find the same networking options, and it has an RGB lighting system to help you customize your gaming rig.

3. Best for Intel: ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Z490

3. Best for Intel: ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Z490
  • Comprehensive heatsink
  • Reliable power even when CPU is performing at its highest
  • RGB lighting
  • Supports high quality gaming audio
  • Keeps noise from fans low
  • Ethernet port didn’t work right out of the box for some users, but an update fixed it

Key Specs

CPU Compatibility: 10th generation Intel
Socket Type: LGA 1200
Graphics Card Interface: PCIe
Memory Speed: 4600 MHz
Product Dimensions: 33.78 x 27.18 x 6.86 cm

The ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Z490 is the best choice you’ll find for 10th generation Intel chips because it can help increase the chip’s maximum performance, and it has an optimized thermal design. This is a great option to consider for anyone looking to build a larger tower with an Intel chip. You’ll find a thermal design, including a heatsink, heat pipe and fan headers, that’s optimized to keep your system cool while not filling your room with the annoying sound of fans.

There are many different graphic display output options, like HDMI and DisplayPort, and this one too supports high fidelity audio — it’ll be easy to enjoy your games right when you’re done building your PC.

4. Runner Up for Intel: Asus Prime Z390-A Motherboard LGA1151

4. Runner Up for Intel: Asus Prime Z390-A Motherboard LGA1151
  • Intelligently helps to overclock your CPU
  • Fortified PCIe slot to help prevent damage
  • Realtek audio enabled
  • RGB LEDs that are controllable
  • Some buyers had defective memory slots — make sure yours are working

Key Specs

CPU Compatibility: 8th/9th generation Intel
Socket Type: LGA 1151
Graphics Card Interface: PCIe
Memory Speed: 2400 MHz
Product Dimensions: 32.79 x 6.81 x 26.29 cm

The Asus Prime Z390-A Motherboard LGA1151 is a great middle range priced option to consider for Intel chips, and it has some pretty advanced tech like intelligent 5-way optimization that helps overclock your CPU properly.

This one supports a slightly older generation of Intel chip; you’ll still be able to get a good gaming experience out of it, however. It has an intelligent and optimized design, which helps overclock your CPU to reach higher performance without it overheating.

You’ll also find a SafeSlot Core — a fortified PCIe slot that can help prevent any damage caused by heavy duty

5. AMD on a Budget: Asus Prime B450M-A/CSM AMD AM4

5. AMD on a Budget: Asus Prime B450M-A/CSM AMD AM4
  • Good built-in sound with no interference
  • Affordably priced
  • SafeSlot Core protection
  • Many buyers reported safe overclocks
  • Good amount of memory slots
  • Not a great choice for first time PC builders — can be difficult to install parts

Key Specs

CPU Compatibility: 1st/2nd/3rd generation AMD Ryzen
Socket Type: AM4
Graphics Card Interface: PCI Express 3.0
Memory Speed: 2400 MHz
Product Dimensions: 24.38 x 24.13 x 5.08 cm

If you’re building a smaller PC tower and are looking for an AMD motherboard that will support 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation AMD processors, consider the Asus Prime B450M-A/CSM AMD AM4 because of its affordability and compact size.

Although this motherboard comes in at a low price, it still has many features that make it a viable contender for your purchase, especially if you’re looking to build a small tower. You’ll find SafeSlot Core all around protection on this one too, which can protect against overcurrent and overvoltage.

Watch out for this one if you’re a beginner though — many PC building professionals even noted that installing all the components can be tricky.

6. Intel on a Budget: ASRock B365M Phantom Gaming 4 LGA1151

6. Intel on a Budget: ASRock B365M Phantom Gaming 4 LGA1151
  • Easy installation process
  • Multiple PCIe slots
  • Supports AMD CrossFireX
  • Reliable
  • RBG lighting leaves a little to be desired

Key Specs

CPU Compatibility: 8th/9th generation Intel
Socket Type: LGA 1151
Graphics Card Interface: 2x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 Slots (single at x16; dual at x16/ x4), 1x PCI Express 3.0 x1 Slot (Flexible PCIe)
Memory Speed: 2400 MHz
Product Dimensions: 30.48 x 6.35 x 24.38 cm

Looking for an Intel based motherboard that can fit 8th and 9th generation processors? Take a look at the ASRock B365M Phantom Gaming 4 LGA1151, which performs well for its low price point.

If you’re a first time PC builder, it might be worth considering this model — many buyers noted how easy the installation process was, and for this low of a price point you can’t really go wrong. There’s also room to install two GPUs, which in some cases can help increase your gaming performance.

7. Also Consider: Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro Gaming Motherboard

7. Also Consider: Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro Gaming Motherboard
  • Fast and stable, even during overclocks
  • Smart fan that ensures performance, while staying cool
  • Built with durable shielding
  • Bright RGB lighting
  • Easy to use software to manage the board
  • Installation has some extra steps, like needing to have LAN drivers on a memory stick

Key Specs

CPU Compatibility: 8th/9th generation Intel
Socket Type: LGA 1151
Graphics Card Interface: PCI-E
Memory Speed: 4400 MHz
Product Dimensions: 33.48 x 26.97 x 7.98 cm

Here’s another option you should check out, that’s a great option if you plan on using an 8th or 9th generation Intel processor chip, that comes with some handy features to enhance your user experience.

The Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro Gaming Motherboard has special fans that’ll keep your PC cool, even during times of heavy use, and there are thermal sensors on the board that’ll give you information every second on the flow rate and temperature near the board, so you can adjust the fans accordingly.

It’s also shielded well and has both memory and PCI-E armour, and it has RGB lighting support to help you make your set up as cool as possible.

8. Honourable Mention: MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk Gaming Motherboard

8. Honourable Mention: MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk Gaming Motherboard
  • Easy to install the processor in
  • Isn’t prone to overheating
  • Sufficient RGB ports
  • Ideal overclocking ability
  • Great value for the price
  • Some buyers had trouble booting with the M.2 slot

Key Specs

CPU Compatibility: 3rd generation AMD Ryzen
Socket Type: AM4
Graphics Card Interface: PCI-E 4.0
Memory Speed: 4400 MHz
Product Dimensions: 30.48 x 24.38 x 3.81 cm

This is another great motherboard to consider for gaming, that’s designed for 3rd generation AMD Ryzen processors, and can help improve your gameplay through special features like the Core Boost technology.

This tech on the MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk Gaming Motherboard gives undistorted current to the CPU, thanks to an optimal design layout, so that your CPU has the ideal conditions to work at its peak. The board also features an enhanced heatsink to combat the higher heat generated from the extra performance.

You’ll also find that there’s a pre-installed IO shielding, to make sure none of the ports get damaged.

What Does a Motherboard Do?

All of the components of your PC wouldn’t be able to communicate with each other without the motherboard; it acts as a kind of circulatory system, that coordinates computations and tells power where to go, so that all of the components can act in harmony.

In general, your motherboard won’t affect the performance of your PC too much, but that also depends on which processor chip you use — some motherboards can increase the performance of other hardware based on which chip you’re using.

Some Advice on Motherboard Compatibility:

One of the first choices that you’ll need to make when purchasing a new motherboard is which processor you intend to use — once you’ve picked a motherboard, you’re locked in, since each one is only compatible with one brand of processor. You’ll also need to make sure that the motherboard you choose has the right socket type for the processor of your choice, as they won’t always be compatible with every single generation of processor.

Since you’re likely looking for a PC for gaming, you might be wondering which one will give you better gaming performance. The answer is that there isn’t too much of a difference between the two brands — as long as you pick a processor with a good number of cores and threads, you’ll be good to go. These days AMD slightly edges out Intel in terms of cost value though because you’ll likely get more cores for lower a lower price, but that won’t always be the case.

Features to Consider When Buying a Motherboard

Form Factor and Size: Motherboards can come in many different shapes and sizes, which will dictate the rest of the parts you choose — we’ll go over some of the different slots below, which a larger motherboard might have more of, but it’s also important so you know what kind of tower case to purchase. Make sure you check that the motherboard is the right size for whatever tower you want to purchase — you could go with a mini tower if you’re looking to save space, or if that’s not something you’re worried about you could go with a larger motherboard for your gaming rig which could come with some extra slots.

PCIe Slots: Most GPUs (graphics processing unit) will connect to your computer through a PCIe slot, so if you don’t plan on using the integrated graphics of your CPU (why would you if you’re building a gaming PC?), you’ll need to make sure that your motherboard can support the video card you’re looking for. Some video cards will need multiple PCIe slots available because of their size, so keep that in mind before purchasing.

DIMM Slots: RAM, short for random access memory, is important for making sure that you won’t incur any bottlenecks in your performance — it basically handles any short-term information being stored and having enough storage available means your PC can read and write information more efficiently. RAM will usually connect to your motherboard through a DIMM slot, so if you plan on expanding your computer down the line and adding more RAM (which can speed up outdated devices), make sure that your new motherboard has many extra DIMM slots available.

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About the Author

Michael Pilon is a writer based in Toronto, who loves everything tech, gaming, and digital art. With two years of professional writing experience and a lifetime of learning about new gadgets, he aims to provide helpful, accurate stories. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English and media studies from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Arts in fashion from Ryerson University, exploring digital and technological applications throughout. When he isn’t writing, you can find him playing the newest fantasy and horror games, or out discovering new coffee shops in the city.

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