While CPUs and video cards are important for any good gaming PC, they don’t represent the whole picture. Motherboards are the unsung heroes of PC gaming, and no rig is complete without them. Obviously, the primary reason they’re important is that they house your components – anybody could tell you that.

But there’s even more to the story than that alone. It’s true that motherboards don’t have any real impact on your FPS or overall gaming performance – not directlybut they do serve one critical function. Motherboards provide stability to your system.

Take it from somebody who has gone the cheap route before – getting a crappy motherboard will potentially result in system failure, and irreparable damage to your other components. You don’t want that.

In addition to the quality of a motherboard possessing the ability to make or break an entire build, there are numerous other, smaller benefits go grabbing a solid one. These range from minor luxury features like a few extra USB ports, to performance-enhancing benefits such as the ability to install better (newer) CPUs.

Zoom Out: Comparison Table of the 10 Best Motherboards for Gaming

Here is our comparison table of the 10 best gaming motherboards.

ImageMotherboardForm FactorSocketChipsetPrice
ASRock H370M Pro4Micro ATXLGA 1151Intel H370
ASUS TUF Z270 Mark 2ATXLGA 1151Intel Z270
MSI Z170A Gaming M5ATXLGA 1151Intel Z170
Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 5 Wi-FiATXAMD AM4AMD X470
MSI Z270 M5ATXLGA 1151Intel Z270
ASUS ROG Crosshair VI HeroATXAMD AM4AMD X370
Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 5ATXLGA 1151Intel Z370
Asus ROG Strix Z390-I GamingMini ITXLGA 1151Intel Z390
ASUS TUF Z270 Mark 1ATXLGA 1151Intel Z270
MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon ACATXLGA 2066Intel X299

Before jumping into the “Zoom In” section where we take a closer look at each unit in our table, let’s look at a few important considerations when it comes to gaming motherboards.

Gaming Motherboards Guide Part I: Do I Need an Expensive Motherboard?

For the average user, motherboards (or mobos for short) are about features and roughly speaking don’t directly influence performance. While this is a bit of an oversimplification, as long as you get a motherboard that will be a match for your selected components, you’re in clear, calm waters.

What are you missing out on if you don’t get an expensive motherboard? Cheaper motherboards typically do not have support for CrossFire or SLI. They’ll also have less USB ports, no or less niche ports like USB C/M.2/Sata Express, higher risk of failure (or underperformance), less overclocking ability, and often times don’t have WiFi/Bluetooth features. Again, if you aren’t going to use certain features or ports, you’re wasting money. Just get what you need.

Gaming Motherboard Features:

  • Cool Lighting Implements
  • Stable BIOS
  • Top Notch Overclocking
  • Extra Ports and Slots
  • WiFi / Bluetooth Support
  • Power, System Reboot, Memory, Bios Entry Buttons
  • Water Cooling, Flow Tachometer

Personal Satisfaction

This one is a bit subjective, of course, but if you’re building your own rig, there’s something to be said for the feeling of accomplishment you get from putting it all together yourself.

Of course, if you’re completely new to PC gaming, there are a few benefits to having a professional do it – they have specific tools for the job, for example, and they’ve probably received quite a bit of training prior to starting work (meaning it’s unlikely that they’ll break or damage anything in your rig).

Still, if you do your research and take your time, putting together your own build can be immensely satisfying.

Gaming Motherboards Guide Part II: Processor Talk

AMD Ryzen 7 1800X Processor

Pick the Right Mobo for a AMD Ryzen 7 1800X Processor

The CPU is, without a doubt, one of the most important components in a gaming PC. It’s one of the parts that actually has a direct impact on your FPS, after all – but, that’s only if you can actually take advantage of them, and doing so requires a good motherboard.

First of all, it doesn’t matter how fast your new CPU is if you can’t even install it in the first place. With how quickly technology (especially computer hardware) is advancing, the latest CPUs won’t always work with motherboards from 4 years ago – no matter how good they were at the time. The number of cores increase and clock speeds change.

Although Intel’s recent move away from their tick-tock release cycle will help with extending this compatibility by another generation, it’s still a temporary fix. Sooner or later, a motherboard upgrade is going to be essential. And for AMD users, their all new Ryzen 5 chips will likely breed an entirely new generation of fantastic motherboards, so there’s all the more reason to go with something new.

New games are constantly being developed around the latest CPU technology, so picking a modern motherboard now will pay off for years.

Gaming Motherboards Guide Part III: Multiple Graphics Cards

Remember when you only needed one video card to get top-of-the-line gaming performance?

Well, that’s still true… to a degree. A single card is perfectly adequate for running games on Ultra settings at 60FPS (depending on the specific card, of course) and 1080p, but what if you want to push things even further? What if you’re interested in high-end, VR gaming? Or cracking 144 FPS? One card probably ain’t gonna cut it – not for demanding games.

That tier of gaming performance is more than likely going to require a bit more than a single GTX 1080 in the near future. The best gaming motherboards have full support for multiple top-shelf video cards, allowing you to get the most out of your system.

Geforce GTX 1080 2x

Photo Credit: Nvidia.com

You’ll need a motherboard with support for NVIDIA SLI, ATI Crossfire, or both. The SLI and Crossfire technologies use a combination of techniques to enhance graphics performance, including:

  • antialiasing
  • split frame rendering
  • alternate frame rendering
  • super tiling (Crossfire only)

Not only does this allow you to maximize your gaming performance (and FPS), it also serves to extend the life of your parts – something any PC gamer who has dealt with failing parts in the past can appreciate.

The motherboard lets the graphics cards split up the work. Each card needs to do less. This reduces strain on the system, which improves performance and extends the life of your components.

Gaming Motherboards Guide Part IV: What about 4K?

4K Gaming Requires a Performance Gaming Motherboard

Not only can multiple graphics cards help you out with VR gaming and going above and beyond 144 FPS, they can also help you out with 4K gaming. 4K gaming is the latest craze in the world of PC gaming, and for good reason – for all intents and purposes, it quadruples the number of pixels on your screen.

That’s insane! Of course, that level of quality and clarity comes with some pretty hefty performance requirements. Even with a high end video card, you can’t expect to be running the latest games at 4K on Ultra – or, in many cases, even High – with just one card.

You’re definitely going to want two. 4 times the pixels equals 4 times the effort that your graphics card will be expending. To support the epic workload of two powerful video cards, you’re going to need a great motherboard.

Zoom In: A Closer Look at the Top 10 Best Gaming Motherboards

With all that out of the way, let’s move on to our list of the best gaming motherboards on the market today. Checkout our top picks for best motherboard below.

1. ASRock H370M Pro4 Micro ATX Motherboard

ASRock H370M PRO4 LGA1151 Motherboard

H370 features at a B360 price, that’s what you’re getting with the ASRock H370M Pro4 Motherboard. How are they still making money pricing this puppy between $60-80? We have no idea. You get four USB 3.0 front panel, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 I/O, and two USB 3.1 Gen 1 I/O ports. That slots this in as our top pick for the best micro ATX motherboard for gamers on a budget.

2. Asus TUF Z270 Mark 2 ATX Motherboard

tufZ270 Mark 2 Motherboard

Technical Specifications

  • CPU & Socket Support: 7th/6th Gen Intel processors, Pentium/Celeron processors, LGA 1151 socket
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • RAM Capacity: Up to 64GB DDR4-3866 MHz (OC) RAM (x4 DIMM)
  • PCI-E Slots: x6
  • NVIDIA SLI/AMD Crossfire Support? Both
  • USB Ports: USB 3.1 Gen 1 & 2
  • Audio Driver: Realtek ALC887
  • SATA III: x6

The Asus TUF Z270 Mark 2 is, as you might imagine, similar to the Mark 1 and Mark 5 – with the major difference being price. The Mark 2 is designed for budget gaming, so it’s much cheaper than the previous options on this list. With a decrease in price, though, comes some feature downgrades as well.

First of all, there is much less thermal armor in the Mark 2, so it’s going to be a bit less sturdy overall, and it doesn’t have quite as many fan ports. It’s also lacking the AURA RGB lighting that the previous motherboards on this list have had, so you sacrifice a bit of flashiness for a better price.

Asus’ TUF Z270 Mark 2 is an excellent offering for the gamer on a budget. This wins our award for the best budget gaming motherboard. The Mark 2 is a stripped down version of the Mark 1. The Mark 2 supports the same Intel chips as the Mark 1. It offers a generous collection of USB ports and PCI slots. It does lack a number of features found on the Mark 1, including:

  • thermal armor
  • several internal fan connectors, a system panel connector, and a thermal sensor connector
  • power switch

For about $100 less than the Mark 1, the Mark 2 is quite a bargain.

3. MSI Z170A Gaming M5 ATX Motherboard

MSI Computer Gaming Motherboards

Technical Specifications

  • CPU & Socket Support: 6th Gen Intel processors, Pentium/Celeron processors, LGA 1151 socket
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • RAM Capacity: Up to 64GB DDR4-3600 MHz (OC) RAM (x4 DIMM)
  • PCI-E Slots: x7
  • NVIDIA SLI/AMD Crossfire Support? Both
  • USB Ports: USB 3.1 Gen 2
  • Audio Driver: Realtek ALC1150
  • SATA III: x6

The final motherboard on our list is the MSI Z170A Gaming M5 – MSI’s last-gen motherboard. It’s # 5 on this list due to its lack of certain features,, and the fact that it doesn’t support 7th generation processors.

It’s also lacking the pomps and frills of the first few motherboards on this list, such as thermal armor, RGB lighting, or advanced watercooling support, but it’s still an extremely solid pick for gamers on a budget.

It uses a different chipset from the Z270 M5, but you have to study the specifications to find the other differences. It also supports DDR4, but only up to 3600. Its audio features are last gen as well.

Overall, it’s still an extremely solid motherboard that will perform quite well for the next few years.

Other Notable Features

  • MSI Steel Armor makes PCIe ports much sturdier
  • “Military Class 5” quality components are ultra durable

The Z170A is also much cheaper than the other higher-end motherboards on this list, costing roughly 40% less than the Z270 M5.

4. Gigabyte X470 AORUS Gaming 5 ATX WiFi Motherboard

GIGABYTE X470 AORUS GAMING 5 WIFI Motherboard

This motherboard supports AMD technologies including Ryzen first and second gen. For the money, it’s our top pick for the best Ryzen motherboard. Plus it has got that support for 2-way crossfire and SLI graphics. You can spend about $50-100 more on motherboards like the ASUS ROG Crosshair VII, but you’ll find the X470 probably has everything you need and a rich feature set to boot. You’ll find dual PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 slots, plenty of internal and external USB ports, and dual BIOS. The Aorus X470 also has 8++3 phase VRM which enables chips like the X2700X to run all cores at hyperspeed. Not shabby for around $150 smackers!

5. MSI Z270 M5 ATX Motherboard

MSI Computer Z270 gaming motherboards

Technical Specifications

  • CPU & Socket Support: 7th/6th Gen Intel processors, Pentium/Celeron processors, LGA 1151 socket
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • RAM Capacity: Up to 64GB DDR4-4133+ MHz (OC) RAM (x4 DIMM)
  • PCI-E Slots: 4
  • NVIDIA SLI/AMD Crossfire Support? Both
  • USB Ports: Lightning USB 3.1 Gen 2
  • Audio Driver: Nahimic 2 technology
  • SATA III: x6

We’ve always been a huge fan of MSI – they consistently make durable, long-lasting products with cutting-edge technology, and the Z270 M5 is no different! Designed around Intel’s LGA 1151 socket, it has several excellent features — and it looks pretty cool, to boot, thanks to its fancy (But efficient) heatsinks and built-in RGB LEDs (fully customizable, by the way).

It has steel armor installed throughout, but particularly on important ports (Such as PCI-E slots and M.2 ports), preventing any warping of, say, the video card or RAM.

Other Notable Features

  • 6 fan headers, and full fan control
  • Fully customizable RGB lighting
  • Gaming LAN (powered by Killer)

MSI’s M7 is another solid choice for a motherboard, but the differences are too small to really consider, and the price difference is too significant, so it didn’t make its way onto this list.

6. ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero ATX Motherboard

ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero AMD Ryzen

Technical Specifications

  • CPU & Socket Support: AMD Ryzen/7th Gen A-series/Athlon processors, socket AM4
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • RAM Capacity: Up to 64GB DDR4-3200+ MHz (OC) RAM (x4 DIMM)
  • PCI-E Slots: x7
  • NVIDIA SLI/AMD Crossfire Support? Both
  • USB Ports: USB 3.1 Gen 1
  • Audio Driver: ROG SupremeFX
  • SATA III: x8

The ROG CRosshair VI, like the Mark 1, offers a pretty similar feature set to the Mark 5 – however, unlike both the Mark 1 and the Mark 5, the Crosshair VI is built specifically for AMD systems – no intel chips allowed! It supports up to Ryzen generation processors, making it optimal for high-end systems.

The Crosshair VI also has ridiculously strong PCIe ports, thanks to its “Safeslot” technology. It’s almost twice as strong as other leading brands, and will definitely prevent your video card from warping or otherwise getting damaged over time – no matter how big or heavy it might be.

It also has the same great AURA RGB lighting that the Mark 1 has, with the same AURA Sync technology.

The Hero comes in third for two reasons:

  1. It uses water cooling, which turns some users off
  2. It’s more expensive than the Mark 1 and the M5

Other Notable Features

  • Fantastic audio quality with SupremeFX audio codec
  • Also has customizable AURA RGB lighting, can sync with any other AURA products
  • Enhanced watercooling support
  • 5-way optimization allows you to overclock your entire system quickly and easily

Unfortunately, the Crosshair VI is also more expensive than both the Mark 5 and the Mark 1, which is why it placed # 3 on this list.

7. Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 5 ATX Motherboard

GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS Gaming 5 Motherboard

While ASUS and MSI win the popularity contest in the motherboard department, don’t count Gigabyte out. Their excellent pricing makes them worth a second look and a third and fourth. The Z370 is compatible with 8th gen Intel Core processors (i7, i5, and i3). An intuitive UEFI, WIFI onboard & ethernet, RGB Fusion technology, and triple M.2 slots. There’s not much overclocking potential here, but other than that this one is a grand slam.

8. ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming Mini ATX Motherboard

ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming LGA1151 Motherboard

For those who enjoy gaming machines with small footprints (or desk prints we should say) the Strix Z390-I leads the pack in terms of value. Despite its smaller stature, it still packs a whopping punch of features including WiFi, Ethernet, USB 3.1 Gen 2, dual M.2 slots, and legit overclocking capabilities thanks to the ASUS Opti-MEM II.

9. ASUS TUF Z270 Mark 1 ATX Motherboard

tuf z270

Technical Specifications

  • CPU & Socket Support: 7th/6th Gen Intel processors, Pentium/Celeron processors, LGA 1151 socket
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • RAM Capacity: Up to 64GB DDR4-3866+ MHz (OC) RAM (x4 DIMM)
  • PCI-E Slots: x6
  • NVIDIA SLI/AMD Crossfire Support? Both
  • USB Ports: USB 3.1 Gen 2
  • Audio Driver: Realtek ALC S122A
  • SATA III: x6

The Asus TUF Z270 Mark 1 is a great motherboard with a lot of similarities to the MSI Z270 MARK 5 feature-wise , such as the metal plating on the PCIe ports, but it does have a few nice things going for it. For one, it has “thermal armor” that adds structural strength to the board itself, and ducted cooling.

It also has full AURA RGB lighting, with sync capability between any other AURA-lighted products you might have, usually Republic of Gamers/ROG peripherals.

Because the boards are both so similar, though, you aren’t missing out on much by going with one or the other. Check out the shortlist of tech specs below, and the full system specs for yourself and see which one suits your needs.

Other Notable Features

  • Asus Pro Clock Technology for overclocking
  • TUF Thermal Armor
  • AURA RGB lighting, can sync with all AURA enabled products (Usually ROG/Republic of Gamers)

The Mark 1 only comes in second because of its slightly more expensive price tag – no doubt a result of all that awesome thermal armor.

10. MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon ATX Motherboard

MSI Performance Gaming Intel X299 LGA 2066 Motherboard

This unit is one with few compromises, but doesn’t go overboard on charging another $100+ for lots of extra premium features such as 10G Ethernet or 801.11 ad WiFi.  Most gamers probably don’t have such features in their need column. All such matters aside, this is a top notch Intel HEDT motherboard and our pick for the best X299 motherboard for the money. You can max this out at 4.6GHz if you were on a Core i9-7900X. That’s just a bit less oomph than the top boards that have those sky high prices.

Whatever your budget might be, there’s an excellent motherboard out there for you. So long as it supports the level of gaming performance you want to achieve (and, by extension, your video card and CPU), any motherboard will do the job just fine – but the ones on this list are the absolute best of the best, at several different price points.

Further Reading

For more gaming motherboard ideas check out our other pages: