Every few years PC gamers start having the urge for an upgrade and in most cases, it’s either graphics cards or CPUs. When you start looking to upgrade to the best gaming CPU you may end up deciding on an upgrade which is one if not more generations newer than what you have. This can normally mean you need to upgrade your motherboard and even the RAM as well, making a small upgrade into a sizeable research and building exercise.
This is what has brought you to me, you are now looking for the best gaming motherboard for your hard earned cash. My first suggestion is to research and find the best gaming CPU for your needs first, then worry about a mobo later. I will assume you have decided on the exact processor you want and now are looking for a motherboard for said upgrade.
Below I have listed out all of the most recent motherboard chipsets for both Intel and AMD. So assuming you know the CPU you are planning on buying then all you need to do is scroll down and go through my dedicated “Motherboard Finder”. In each dedicated section, I have listed the best motherboards for gaming for the respective CPU and chipset.
This was one massive exercise I undertook so you don’t have to worry about spending countless hours comparing one motherboard to another. If you are looking for budget or enthusiast level mobos then I do have you covered, I have ensured that all budgets, types of gamers and even premium gaming PC builders have a board that will keep them happy. I even went as far as i9 and Threadripper boards!
Best Intel Gaming Motherboards
There is no doubt about it, Intel is superior when it comes to raw power in games. With the newest 9th generation of Intel CPUs, it is clear to see that Intel will more than likely be top dog for a few more years too. That being said Intel motherboards aren’t all made equal, some are better than others and some are just downright stinkers when it comes to certain aspects – overclocking and RBG being the main complaints about some budget Intel motherboards.
Now that you have decided that you are buying an Intel CPU you will just have to cross match the CPU and chipset below and you will be one step closer to finding your chosen best intel motherboard.
Intel’s 9th Generation processor is a Coffee Lake refresh. Meaning the same architecture as the 8th Generation but with a boost in core speed and cores – and in some cases threads. Hands down the top dog for gaming is the i9 9900K with 8 cores, 16 threads and the possibility of getting it well over 5GHz with overclocking. All of the 9th generations is supported by the Z390 chipset as well as the previously released Z370 chipset. The main consideration here would be opting to buy a newer chipset of settling for the older one.
In most cases, I would opt for the newer chipset as you will not have to do any BIOS updates which you will have to do if you opt for the last generation motherboard. With the best Z390 motherboard on the market, you will have high-quality controllers, great build quality and a motherboard that was specifically designed for your CPU. That goes hand-in-hand with getting the most out of your overclocking potential as not all motherboards can get the same overclock with the same CPU.
The Coffee Lake range of CPUs was the 8th generation from Intel, which boasted new architecture with additional cores and threads. The i7 8700k became the first commercial processor to hit over 5GHz overclocked without needing a lot of luck. I don’t know of anyone that hasn’t been able to hit 5GHz overclocked assuming the person has a good CPU liquid cooler for overclocking and a Z370 motherboard that has a VRM that can deliver the power needed for a stable overclock.
I personally own an i7 8700K and can vouch for its gaming performance, overclocking potential and it’s workstation performance. Now, I won’t sit here and say it’s the best but for my main use, gaming, it really was the best when I bought it. I also do a lot of data analysis as the daytime job and the i7 8700K hasn’t let me down at all.
As for motherboards I am rocking the ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-E which if I am honest looks OK but I bought it more for features and the reliability for getting over 5GHz overclocked. When I was looking for the best Z370 motherboard I had in mind that I was wanting something that would suit my gaming, VR and have the ports I need for my workstation. The ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-E ticked all the boxes, except the appearance.
There are better-looking Z370 motherboards but they either cost double or have other drawbacks for gaming or overclocking.
In January 2017 Intel announced and released their latest generation of i5 and i7 CPUs. This comes in conjunction with the latest set of motherboards that both support the new CPUs but also feature upgrades from the previous z170 motherboards. It is worth keeping in mind that if you are upgrading from something like an i7 6600 or 6700k to the new generation 7600 or 7700k then your Z170 motherboard will support your new CPU.
In all honesty, I would suggest you keep the Z170 motherboard and save the money, that would save your budget and gives you the best for your money. Gamers looking to utilise the new upgrades from a Z270 chipset will need to upgrade though, obviously.
I actually upgraded from the legend CPU that was i5 2500K to i7 7700K. I upgraded simply for gaming if I am honest. At the time I was working from home but didn’t really see a need in upgrading my CPU as Ryzen hadn’t come out and workstation gains for me would have been limited at best.
When the i7 7700K came out the gaming benchmarks were out of this world when compared to the i5 2500K. In some benchmarks, there was double the performance! The full range of Z270 motherboards are great contenders and generally, I would advise choosing based on looks, ports and if you prefer a specific brand. In all my research I haven’t been able to find any tangible or real-world test that would make me pick one over the other.
Best AMD Ryzen Gaming Motherboards
AMD Ryzen Motherboards
Finally, AMD has released their latest CPU lineup – AMD Ryzen 5 and 7. These CPUs us the AM4 socket which is supported by X370, B350, A320, X300 and the A/B300 chipsets. Something to note is all Ryzen CPUs can be overclocked but only motherboards with the X370, B350 and X300 chipsets support overclocking.
Overall if you are looking to utilise Ryzen CPUs for a gaming computer then you should ideally be looking at buying the best X370 or B350 motherboard for Ryzen for gaming purposes and feature sets.
Choosing The Best Motherboard
What is a Motherboard?
Let’s assume you have come to this page knowing you need a new motherboard but you don’t really know what it is, or what it does. Simply put a motherboard is the component that connects all of your other components. It can be known as PCB, mainboard or even system board. It allows your processor to interact with your graphics card, RAM, SSD etc. Some of them can also come with built-in features such as audio, wifi and overclock.
Form Factor / Size & Shape
Not all motherboards are the same size and shape. Just think about the different shapes and sizes of computer cases and you will understand! The standard size is ATX (Advanced Technology Extended) but there are also micro-ATX, mini-ATX and extended or XL-ATX. Your decision on the motherboard should be based on what case you want to use, or vice-versa.