Many of us focus on GPUs and CPUs, often overlooking the all-important component that binds all the others into a functional whole: the motherboard.
Of course, if you skimp too much on the motherboard, you might very well regret it later on, although finding one that fits your budget and your requirements is oftentimes an easy task.
However, since there are many to choose from, we have compiled a list of the best gaming motherboards of 2019 in order to help you find the right foundation for your future gaming rig more easily!
The 7 Best Motherboards For 2019
|Mini ITX||ASUS ROG Strix H370-I||LGA1151||Intel H370|
|ASUS ROG Strix X470-I||AM4||AMD X470|
|Micro ATX||GIGABYTE B360M DS3H||LGA1151||Intel B360|
|MSI ProSeries B450M Pro-M2||AM4||AMD A320|
|ATX||GIGABYTE Z370P D3 (Editor’s Pick)||LGA1151||Intel Z370|
|GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS Gaming 5||LGA1151||Intel Z370|
|ASUS ROG STRIX B350-F (Editor's Pick)||AM4||AMD B350|
|ASUS ROG STRIX X470-F||AM4||AMD X470-F|
Best Mini ITX Motherboards
In the first category, we’ll be taking a look at small form factor motherboards, that is, Mini ITX boards that can fit even the smallest computer cases, making them ideal if you’re looking to build a compact gaming PC.
Now, you’d be tempted to think that these are also great budget choices since a small motherboard means less material is being used, so they should be cheaper, right?
Well, that’s not actually the case, and Mini ITX motherboards actually tend to be quite pricey, mainly because packing all the features of a full-sized motherboard into a compact PCB is not a simple task. As such, Mini ITX motherboards will appeal mainly to those who truly aim to take advantage of the portability that they offer.
ASUS ROG Strix H370-I
About the Motherboard
The first motherboard on the list comes from Asus, and it belongs to their gaming-oriented RoG brand. That said, anyone familiar with Republic of Gamers products will know exactly what to expect.
The RoG Strix H370-I is a true feature-packed gaming motherboard that is both functional and boasts a highly appealing design, incorporating plenty of RGB lighting, as is the tradition with RoG hardware.
- CPU – With an LGA1151 socket and the Intel H370 chipset, this motherboard is compatible is all the LGA1151 Intel CPUs released to date, including the new 9th generation with a BIOS update.
- GPU – As usual with Mini ITX boards, the RoG Strix H370-I has only a single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot that makes it compatible with all newer graphics cards, though the size of the graphics card will be limited by the size of the case.
- RAM – With two RAM slots, the motherboard supports dual-channel DDR4 memory.
- Storage – The motherboard has a total of four SATA III connectors, as well as a single M.2 socket.
- Ports – Despite its small size, the rear panel of the H370-I is brimming with a variety of connectors: five USB 3.1 ports (two Gen 2 and three Gen 1), a USB-C port, two USB 2.0 ports, a DisplayPort and HDMI port for integrated graphics, two Ethernet ports, five analog audio jacks, an optical audio out, and one Wi-Fi antenna port.
In the end, the Strix H370-I is an excellent Mini ITX motherboard for Intel users, and it’s unlikely to leave anyone wanting. Sadly, as mentioned in the introduction, it is on the expensive side, as most Mini ITX motherboards are – the high-quality ones, in particular. Another drawback is that the chipset doesn’t support overclocking, unfortunately, though that likely won’t be your primary concern if you’re going to be using a Mini ITX case.
ASUS ROG Strix X470-I
About the Motherboard
Next up, we have a motherboard remarkably similar to the above model, which is not very surprising considering that it belongs to the very same brand – the Asus RoG Strix X470-I.
The chief differences here are the socket and the chipset, as the X470-I was designed for AMD CPUs. Other than that, the two motherboards are highly similar in regard to their features, capabilities, and design philosophy.
- CPU – The X470-I is equipped with an AM4 socket and has the AMD X470 chipset, making it compatible with both the first and second generation of AMD Ryzen CPUs, as well as the new Athlon CPUs and A-Series APUs.
- GPU – As before, the motherboard has only a single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, allowing for only a single graphics card to be installed.
- RAM – Like the above model, the X470-I supports up to two DDR4 RAM modules and supports dual-channel configurations.
- Storage – Again, the X470-I has the same four SATA III ports and a single M.2 socket as the H370-I.
- Ports – When it comes to the ports, the X470-I is a bit more modest than its Intel counterpart, though it won’t leave anyone wanting with four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, a HDMI out for the integrated graphics, an Ethernet port, three audio jacks, and a Wi-Fi antenna port.
As you can see, while it looks mostly the same as the H370-I, this slightly pricier board doesn’t quite pack all the connectors that the Intel variant possesses. Though, to be frank, if you’re building a Mini ITX gaming PC, you probably won’t mind. Other than that, the price remains the same concern as before, since the X470-I is quite expensive for the features it offers.
Best Micro ATX Motherboards
Micro ATX motherboards present a good middle ground between size, price, and feature set. Size-wise, they fit in between Mini ITX and full-sized ATX motherboards, all the while being generally cheaper than either. Plus, they usually come with most of the features you’d want in a budget gaming motherboard, which makes them a great choice for those looking to cut some corners.
Gigabyte B360M DS3H
About the Motherboard
The first motherboard in this category comes from an established and reliable hardware manufacturer, Gigabyte, and their B360M DS3H is bound to offer Intel users a good bang for their buck.
Since it’s a budget motherboard, it doesn’t place too big of an accent on design, although it still boasts a sleek-looking black and silver board design. But at the end of the day, it’s the features and the build quality that make this motherboard one of the best budget motherboards out there.
- CPU – The B360M is equipped with the standard LGA1151 socket and an Intel B360 chipset, making it compatible with all the latest Intel Core CPUs, although the chipset doesn’t support overclocking.
- GPU – The board has only one PCIe x16 slot, in addition to a PCIe x4 and a PCIe x1 slot. As such, it supports only a single GPU and no dual GPU setups.
- RAM – With four RAM slots, the B360M supports up to 64 GB of DDR4 RAM.
- Storage – The motherboard has six SATA III connectors and a single M.2 socket.
- Ports – In terms of external ports, the board has a DVI-D port, an HDMI port, and even a VGA port for integrated graphics. In addition to that, there are four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 port, three analog audio jacks, and a single Ethernet port.
All in all, the Gigabyte B360M DS3H is a great pick for Intel users who are on a budget, as it is a great-looking, durable motherboard and has all the ports and features you’d expect in this price range. The only drawback is that it doesn’t support dual GPUs and that the chipset doesn’t support CPU overclocking, but that is unlikely to be an issue if you’re building a budget PC.
MSI ProSeries B450M Pro-M2
About the Motherboard
Next, we have another highly affordable budget motherboard from MSI, only this one comes with an AMD chipset, making it the prime choice for the budget-conscious Ryzen users.
Much like the above motherboard from Gigabyte, the MSI ProSeries B450M Pro-M2 doesn’t have much going for it in regards to design, as it opts for a simple and neutral black PCB and some subtle dark gray highlights.
- CPU – This motherboard’s AM4 socket and B450 chipset support both the first and second generation of Ryzen CPUs, as well as the new Athlon CPUs and A-series APUs.
- GPU – Much like the Gigabyte motherboard described above, the B450M has a single PCIe x16 slot for graphics cards, plus two more PCIe x1 slots for expansion cards.
- RAM – Since it has only two RAM slots, the motherboard can support up to 32 GB of DDR4 memory.
- Storage – The B450M has four SATA III ports and a single M.2 socket for SSDs.
- Ports – Unsurprisingly, this motherboard doesn’t differ much from the above model when it comes to ports. There’s a PS/2 port, accompanied by two USB 2.0 ports, then there’s four 1st generation USB 3.1 ports, a VGA, DVI-D, and HDMI port for integrated graphics and the usual Ethernet port, plus three audio jacks.
With the price taken into consideration, the MSI ProSeries B450M Pro-M2 is quite a bargain, as it has all the features that you might need from your Ryzen-powered gaming PC. In addition to supporting only a single GPU, the RAM is also a bit limited, but if unless you intend on using some RAM-heavy professional software, even 16 GB of DDR4 RAM would be more than enough for your needs.
Best ATX Motherboards
And now, we come to ATX motherboards, the most popular motherboard format by far. In terms of functionality, they are quite similar to Micro ATX motherboards, although they do not skimp on any slots or ports. In addition to that, they also cover a rather wide price spectrum, hence the popularity. Rest assured, unless you’re building some freakish monster PC, a high-end workstation, or a server, you don’t need to look for anything bigger than ATX.
GIGABYTE Z370P D3
About the Motherboard
Coming in first, we have another Gigabyte motherboard, the Z370P D3. Much like the B360M in the previous category, this is a rather affordable motherboard, though it packs a few more features and connectors than its more compact counterpart. And while it doesn’t pay much mind to design, it does actually have a single RGB strip that runs along the edge of the board, behind the PCI slots.
- CPU – As before, we have an LGA1151 socket and a Z370 chipset, this motherboard is compatible with all the CPUs using that socket up until the latest Coffee Lake processors.
- GPU – The Z370P has a total of three PCIe x16 slots and supports AMD CrossFire. There are also three PCIe x1 slots for miscellaneous expansion cards.
- RAM – The board has four RAM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of DDR4 memory.
- Storage – Like most motherboards in this category, the Z370P has six SATA III connectors and a single M.2 socket.
- Ports – The rear panel of this motherboard is rather modest: there are two separate PS/2 ports, one for a keyboard and one for a mouse, four 1st-gen USB 3.1 ports and USB 2.0 ports, a single HDMI port for integrated graphics, as well as the usual Ethernet port and three audio jacks.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a durable motherboard with all the essential features, there is hardly a better choice, and we consider this to be the best LGA 1151 motherboard. Sadly, it only supports AMD GPUs in multi-GPU configurations, so if you have the ambition of using multiple Nvidia graphics cards, you’ll have to look to a pricier model.
GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS Gaming 5
About the Motherboard
It took us long enough to put a Republic of Gamers motherboard on the list, but one is finally here. As you probably know, Republic of Gamers (commonly abbreviated as “RoG”) is an Asus brand which caters specifically to gamers. As such, it is obvious you should expect both style and performance in one well-polished package.
The particular motherboard in question is the Crosshair VI Hero, a product highly impressive on nearly all fronts. As a lot of gaming motherboards out there, it is predominantly black, with dark grey highlights, and has dynamic RGB capabilities.
- CPU – The Crosshair VI Hero swoops in with the latest AMD X370 chipset designed to satisfy even the most enthusiastic gamer and overclocker by allowing them to get the absolute most out of their Ryzen CPU.
- GPU – With two PCIe x16 slots and full CrossFireX and SLI support, the motherboard allows for dual-GPU setups regardless of whether they are AMD or Nvidia products.
- RAM – The Crosshair VI Hero doesn’t disappoint in the RAM department either, as its four slots allow for dual channel configurations, with a maximum capacity of 64 GB and a maximum clock speed of 3200 MHz and beyond.
- Aura Sync – The motherboard is equipped with two highly customizable LED lights, and with the additional possibility of adding extra RGB strips.
- High–quality sound card – RoG improves upon the regular Realtek ALC1220 codec in such a way as to maximize sound quality and allow the sound card to run a stereo and a 7.1 surround configuration simultaneously.
- Advanced cooling – The Crosshair VI Hero has four sensors that regulate temperature and allows five additional fans and two water-cooling solutions to be installed.
- Expensive – The only real qualm we have with this motherboard is its high price tag, although it shouldn’t prove to be too much for the avid overclocker who knows what he is spending his money on.
ASUS ROG STRIX B350-F
About the Motherboard
Moving onto AMD solutions, we have a motherboard from the Asus RoG Strix lineup once again, and this time, it’s the B350-F. From an aesthetics and pricing standpoint, it’s quite similar to the Mini ITX motherboard listed at the beginning, though it offers some extra features besides RGB lighting.
- CPU – With an AM4 socket and B350 chipset, the B350-F supports all the Ryzen, Athlon, and A-series processors using the aforementioned socket.
- GPU – As before, there are three PCIe x16 slots and three PCIe x1 slots, although this motherboard only supports AMD CrossFire when it comes to dual-GPU setups.
- RAM – The B350-F has four RAM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of DDR4 memory.
- Storage – The B350-F ha six SATA III connectors and one M.2 socket.
- Ports – As for back panel connectors, there is an HDMI port and a DisplayPort for integrated graphics, four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.1 ports, along with an Ethernet port, five audio jacks, and an optical audio out.
With its aggressive design, RGB lighting, and AMD CrossFire support, the Asus RoG Strix B350-F is a great gaming motherboard for Ryzen users, and though a slightly lower price tag or Nvidia SLI support would have been a sweet addition to the mix, this motherboard still remains a solid solution for anyone looking for flair and functionality in a single package.
ASUS ROG STRIX X470-F
About the Motherboard
And finally, we have yet another Strix motherboard, only this one – the X470-F – is a more serious solution for the more serious gamer. At first glance, it looks more or less the same as the slightly cheaper B350-F model, but there are some additions to be found here that the more demanding users might appreciate.
- CPU – Naturally, the X470-F has an AM4 socket and the X470 chipset, which also makes it compatible with all the current AMD CPUs and APUs.
- GPU – The situation with PCIe slots is more or less the same, too, with three PCIe x16 slots and three PCIe x1 slots. However, unlike the B350-F, the X470-F supports both AMD CrossFire and Nvidia SLI.
- RAM – The X470-F has four RAM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of DDR4 RAM.
- Storage – The situation is the same on the storage front as well, as the motherboard has four SATA III connectors and a single M.2 socket.
- Ports – On the pack, the situation is a bit different, as the X470-F is equipped with five USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, and a USB-C port. Then, there’s the same HDMI and DisplayPort outputs for integrated graphics, an Ethernet port, five audio jacks, and an optical audio out.
As you can see, the main difference between the B350-F and the X470-F is in the fact that the latter has more high-speed USB ports and supports Nvidia SLI. As such, it would be a good investment for those who’d need to take advantage of those technologies, while those who don’t would be just fine with the more affordable variant.
How to Pick the Best Motherboard For Your Needs
Now that we went over some of the best motherboards currently available, we should also address some common questions that you might want answered when picking a motherboard.
So, what’s should you keep an eye out for?
Well, to tell the truth, the choice of motherboard isn’t all that important for gaming PCs. Frankly, it could very well be the least important. The choice of CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, and even the power supply often come before the motherboard, as it remains mostly an afterthought.
That said, when choosing a motherboard, the most important factor to keep in mind is compatibility.
For CPU compatibility, you should make sure that the motherboard has an appropriate socket, which is not an issue now that all mainstream Intel CPUs and AMD CPUs use the LGA1151 and the AM4 socket respectively. Furthermore, there’s also the question of the chipset. For gaming, you only need to make sure that the chipset supports overclocking, if you even want to overclock your CPU, that is.
When it comes to GPU compatibility, the situation is simpler. Since all modern motherboards come with at least one PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, the only problem that might arise is that the graphics card may be too large for the case you have in mind. Other than that, on the odd chance that you’re planning on using multiple graphics cards, you also need to check whether the motherboard supports AMD CrossFire or Nvidia SLI.
On the RAM front, the situation gets even simpler. Seeing as the average gaming PC doesn’t need more than 8-16 GB of RAM and since all the newer motherboards have at least two RAM slots and support DDR4, there are no compatibility issues in this regard. Of course, you should also check the maximum RAM clock speed supported by the motherboard, and for gaming, 2400 MHz should be more than adequate.
And finally, regarding storage, most motherboards have an M.2 socket for SSDs, though if you don’t end up using an M.2 SSD, all motherboards have at least four SATA III connectors, which should be more than enough for the average gaming PC with an SSD and one or two storage hard drives.
We’ve already talked about the most common mainstream motherboard form factors: Mini ITX, Micro ATX, and ATX.
So, which should you pick?
Well, as mentioned in the category introductions:
- Mini ITX motherboards are the most compact variants, but they have fewer ports, slots, and tend to be on the pricey side
- Micro ATX motherboards provide a good balance of price, size, and feature set, though affordability is their biggest strength by far
- ATX motherboards are the largest and come with all the features necessary for most gaming PCs and they cover the widest price range
With all that said, we’d generally suggest going with a regular old ATX motherboard, potentially with a Micro ATX one if you’re cutting corners, while a Mini ITX motherboard should only be your first choice if you’re building a portable small form factor PC.
It should be noted that, while there are even larger motherboard formats out there, such as EATX, those are simply unnecessary unless you’re building a high-end workstation, server, or just have thousands of dollars to blow on some monstrous overkill of a gaming rig.
Conclusion – The Best Gaming Motherboard of 2019
With all of the above in mind, which motherboard(s) do we recommend?
Well, we’d have to go with the Gigabyte Z370P D3 for Intel users and the Asus RoG Strix B350-F for AMD users. As full-sized ATX motherboards, they offer all the expansion space and features that the average gamer could want. On top of that, they aren’t bad-looking either, as RGB grows more and more commonplace among even the more affordable gaming products and components.
Of course, it goes without saying that all the motherboards listed here would present great value based on your needs.