The Best Motherboards
Building a new PC is all about choices and trade-offs. Picking between AMD and Intel is usually the first choice you have to make, but it certainly isn’t the most complicated. Instead, that honor goes to the motherboard; selecting one among the the dozens of brands is just the beginning. Typically, each board maker offers at least half a dozen different models based on a single chipset.
Of the hundreds of motherboards compatible with your choice of processor (Amazon returns 700+ results for ‘1150 motherboard’), which board will you choose? Not sure? Well, that’s okay, we’ve done a lot of the homework for you, and we aim to save you some time, money, and regret by sharing with you what we believe is the very best out there.
Best All-Round Intel Z390 Motherboard
If you’ve got up to $0 to spend on a motherboard the best options without a doubt are the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Elite or the Z390 Aorus Pro. The Pro variant costs about $10 more coming in at $180. They are pretty much the same board, with the Pro adding a few extra features such as two thermal guards on both M.2 slots, PCIe armor on both slots, and USB type-C on the I/O panel.
If you can do without that stuff and I suspect most of you can, then the Elite is a slightly better value. We’ve tested out both boards in-house and the VRM thermal performance is exceptional, beating $300+ models from Asus.
Alternatively, Asrock’s Z390 Extreme4 is a solid board, as is MSI’s Z390 Tomahawk, but if you plan on going all out with the Core i9-9900K or you anticipate upgrading to it in a year or two down the track, we’d strongly recommend getting either the Aorus Elite or Pro.
Best All-Round AMD X470 Motherboard
- Asus TUF X470-Plus Gaming
- Asrock Fatal1ty X470 Gaming K4
- Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 5
- Asus Prime X470-Pro
So you’ve got a shiny new Ryzen 5 2600X or Ryzen 7 2700X processor in your sights and you want to give it the home it deserves, but you also want to keep the budget under control, this is where the best value all-rounder pick comes in.
For $0 we’ve for the Asus TUF X470-Plus Gaming, then the Asrock Fatal1ty X470 Gaming K4 at $170, the Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 5 at $180 and then the Asus Prime X470-Pro at $185. Pricing will no doubt move around a bit, so we’re not weigh our pick too heavily on these prices, but they are worth noting.
I’m not a big fan of the Asus TUF X470-Plus Gaming, although it is the cheapest I feel like the entry level boards we just looked at are better equipped. The TUF model packs an inferior VRM, less features and the features it does include are of lesser quality.
The Asrock Fatal1ty X470 Gaming K4 is quite nice but I feel for just a slight increase in price the Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 5 and Asus Prime X470-Pro are much better boards. Picking between those two isn’t easy though and I could easily justify either purchase.
As tough as the choice is here I’m going with the Prime X470-Pro, I really like the 6 + 2 VRM design featuring 6 real phases and a doubler. The Realtek S1220A audio featuring Crystal Sound 3 is going to be hard to beat and you also get quality Intel Gigabit networking. So while the Asus Prime X470-Pro might be the most expensive of the punch, it’s where I’d put my cash.
Best All-Round AMD B450 Motherboard
If it’s possible to pony up an extra $40 we do recommend skipping over the cheaper entry-level boards. We realize it’s a big jump in price, but you do get a significantly higher quality motherboard that will handle any Ryzen CPU you throw at it with ease.
The extra investment opens up multiple options and the best examples include the Asrock B450 Gaming K4, MSI B450 Gaming Plus and MSI B450 Tomahawk. The options from Asus and Gigabyte aren’t good enough to consider in our opinion.
The MSI B450 Tomahawk is a serious standout here, packing an impressive feature set at the current $110 asking price. It’s also a nice neutral looking board, black and grey themed with a dash of RGB lighting that will suit all occasions. That said if you can afford it, our no compromise option is just $20 more and frankly it’s worth every penny.
Still if you’re stretching the budget as it is, then the Tomahawk is a reasonable compromise. You essentially get everything you’d typically need on a desktop motherboard with the addition of a quality VRM that operates at very safe temperatures, even with an overclocked Ryzen 7 processor.
MSI hasn’t skimped on the VRM components and they haven’t skimped on cooling either, providing big heatsinks on both the Vcore and SoC VRM and the heatsinks aren’t covered in tacky looking plastic shrouds. Price to performance the MSI B450 Tomahawk is hands down the best value all-rounder available at the moment.
Best All-Round Intel Z370 Motherboard
- Asus Prime Z370-A ($175)
- MSI Z370 Gaming M5 ($170) – Runner up
- Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming ($170)
- Asrock Z370 Extreme4 ($165) – Our top choice
For those willing to spend a little more there’s no shortage of options but the standouts are listed above. Again, the Asus is quite solid but sadly overpriced at $175, this feels more like a $140-ish motherboard.
The other three boards are so evenly matched it’s difficult to make a pick. Though the Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming has suffered reports of high VRM temperatures and I’ve noticed very mixed reviews online, particularly at Newegg, so with possible issues there I’d look to either the MSI Z370 Gaming M5 or Asrock Z370 Extreme4.
For me the Asrock Z370 Extreme4 is the winner here. The board is not just the most affordable of the bunch but offers a great feature set and very solid VRM. User reviews for this one are also overwhelmingly positive everywhere you look. The Asrock UEFI is easy to navigate and overclocking is a breeze, even for novice users.
Still if you can’t get the Z370 Extreme4 or don’t care much for Asrock, a worthy alternative is MSI’s Z370 Gaming M5 which on top of well rounded is an awesome looking motherboard, too.
Best Value AMD B350 Motherboard
This pick was a toss up between the Asus Prime B350-Plus and Gigabyte’s AB350-Gaming 3. We have both boards and like each of them very much so picking between the two was difficult. User reviews seem to lean towards the Gigabyte board, but considering the boards in their current form with the latest BIOS we prefer the Asus model so that’s what we’re going with. It’s a great overclocker and we’ve used it to extract the most performance possible out of all our Ryzen CPUs.
The Asus Prime B350-Plus was also the first board we ever tested the Ryzen 5 series on and it remains one of the best B350 boards we’ve used to date. Although there are arguably better standard ATX boards available (and certainly more expensive ones), the Prime B350-Plus packs a lot of punch at $100, particularly for those looking to spend as little as possible while still receiving a great motherboard.
Like the Asrock AB350M that we looked at a moment ago, we feel the Asus Prime B350-Plus is a leader at its price point and this, coupled with the excellent overclocking, is a key reason for why we have picked it. Compared to similar priced boards the VRM of the Prime is also much better and you get four real phases.
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