Best AMD gaming motherboard 2019 (July) | PCGamesN

Best AMD gaming motherboard 2019 (July)

What’s the best AMD gaming motherboard? We’ve tested the top AM4 boards to help you build your Ryzen gaming PC

Best AMD gaming motherboard

The best AMD gaming motherboard can make a huge difference to your final gaming PC build. We’ve put the top AM4 options – from X470 motherboards to X370 and B350 boards – through their paces so you can make the right choice for your rig.

Choosing the best AM4 board is vital in getting the most out of your new AMD Ryzen CPU – be that a first, second, or third generation chip. You don’t have to go for the latest X470 motherboard either, because the older 300-series boards from the likes of Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, and ASRock are still seriously capable, completely compatible, and a lot more affordable.

AM4 is a very stable platform with impressive potential future-proofing on offer. Even 300- and 400-series motherboards may require only a little BIOS tinkering to get working with AMD Ryzen 3000 chips. There’s even a chance (manufacturer pending) that the latest BIOS file paired with an AMD Ryzen 3000 chip could unlock PCIe 4.0 bandwidth on at least one PCIe slot and one NVMe SSD port – no upgrade required.

To take advantage of the platform’s backwards compatibility, you do need to ensure your motherboard is up to date with the latest BIOS. Don’t worry, all 400-series and most 300-series boards coming fresh out of the factories will feature a new sticker confirming whether they’ve been updated for Ryzen 3000 chips – just look for the “AMD Ryzen Desktop 3000 Ready” sticker on the box.

But, if not, you’ll have to update the board yourself. Many manufacturers have already rolled out the necessary BIOS files required for Ryzen 3000 chip support. However, this DIY approach also requires a compatible Ryzen processor of the corresponding CPU generation (first- or second-gen) to boot the system – so keep that in mind when shopping around.

Alternatively: Here are the best Intel gaming motherboards

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can buy any ol’ AMD motherboard with a compatible AM4 socket for your Ryzen chip – there are a bunch of other factors you’ll need to take into account before finding the forever home for your new CPU. Do you have a PCIe SSD? Do you aspire to run a multi-GPU rig? Do you want to build a micro machine PC? These are all questions you’ll want answers to. And that’s why you come to the experts…

The best AMD gaming motherboards are:

Best AMD gaming motherboard runner-up Asus ROG STRIX X470 F Gaming

Winner: Best AMD Gaming Motherboard

Asus ROG Strix X470-F Gaming

Approx. $187 £185

STRIX X470-F specs

As you might expect from the ROG branding, this Asus X470 is a brightly coloured, expensive, powerful affair.

  • ChipsetX470
  • SocketAM4
  • Form factorATX
  • Multi GPU2-way SLI, 3-way CrossFire
Amazon
$209.99
$189.99
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B&H Photo Video
$199.99
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Walmart
$214.99
$199.99
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Pros
Tick Great overclocking capability
Tick Plenty of features
Tick Ports galore

Cons
Cross But do you really need it?

Yes, we’re still recommending the bargain-priced Gigabyte B350 to go with our favourite Ryzen processor And that’s because Asus still holds the title of having made the most powerful AMD board we’ve had the chance to test so far. Its CPU performance is ahead of the MSI and Gigabyte motherboards we’ve checked out, and ahead of its X370 forebears, too.

It also delivers higher basic overclocking performance than the other X470 boards, though only gets our Ryzen 7 2700X up to the same level as the X370. But if you’re after a seriously high-end AM4 motherboard, this is the one we’d recommend right now. It’s not a horrendously pricey offering, and has a really solid feature set. You might want more USB ports on the rear I/O if you use a lot of professional attached storage, but that’s the most minor of issues.

Read our full Asus ROG Strix X470-F Gaming review.

MSI X470 GAMING PRO CARBON ATX Motherboard

Runner-up

MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon

Approx. $190 | £166

PRO CARBON specs

One of the most affordable of the X470 boards we've checked out, and packs in a great feature list. And RGBs. Obvs.

  • ChipsetX470
  • SocketAM4
  • Form factorATX
  • Multi GPU2-way CrossFire/SLI
Amazon
$179.99
$159.99
View
B&H Photo Video
$199.99
$179.99
View
Walmart
$222.00
$186.96
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Pros
Tick Affordable X470
Tick You know you want that RGB
Tick Sturdy

Cons
Cross RGB lighting isn’t for everyone

MSI’s Gaming Pro Carbon is one of the most affordable of the X470 crew, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s light on features. Aside from the RGB LED downlighting inspired by The Fast and the Furious, MSI has also ensured it’s got all the bases covered on the specs front, as well as the aesthetics.

The memory, GPU, and PCIe SSD slots have all been reinforced to avoid damage when poking components into them, the screw holes are double-protected so you don’t break the PCB when installing, it’s added both AMD’s CrossFire and Nvidia’s SLI multi-GPU support, and MSI has also specced-out a pair of VR-ready USB ports too. So it’s got the performance chops and it’s also an impressively feature-rich board for money – a worthy runner-up.

 

Best AMD gaming motherboard runner-up ASRock X370 Killer SLI

Runner-up

ASRock X370 Killer SLI

Approx. $135 | £111

KILLER SLI specs

Still competitive with the motherboard big boys in performance terms, despite its relatively low price.

  • ChipsetX370
  • SocketAM4
  • Form factorATX
  • Multi GPU2-way CrossFire/SLI
Amazon
$105.94
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Newegg
$124.99
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Pros
Tick Feature-packed
Tick Neutral colour scheme
Tick SLI support if you’re into that sort of thing

Cons
Cross Runs a little hot

Don’t let the name mislead you, if you’re planning on jamming multiple AMD GPUs into one rig then the X370 Killer SLI will happily support CrossFire too. Just don’t be too excited about the touted four-way support. This isn’t going to be your quad-GPU gaming behemoth because ASRock is talking about quad-SLI and CrossFire running across the PCIe 2.0 x1 slots – that’s for those crypto-miners who used to nab all our graphics cards when crypto was cool, not us gamers.

In performance terms, the ASRock is absolutely competitive with the big boards. However, it comes behind the MSI Pro Carbon in our gaming tests – though never by a particularly long way, it has to be said. It does run hotter than the others, with only that bargain-priced Gigabyte winner up top running hotter. And when under overclocked conditions with our 1800X chip that heat did seem to become a bit of a stability issue in-game.

Gigabyte Aorus X470 Gaming 5 WIFI

Runner-up

Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 5 WIFI

Approx. $175 | £185

AORUS GAMING 5 specs

Neither a super-powerful, high-end board, or a bargain-busting mid-ranger either, sitting square in the middle.

  • ChipsetX470
  • SocketAM4
  • Form factorATX
  • Multi GPU2-way CrossFire/SLI
Amazon
$184.99
$174.99
View
Newegg
$179.99
$174.99
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Pros
Tick Filled to the brim with functionality
Tick RGB lighting

Cons
Cross Expensive
Cross RGB lighting

Gigabyte’s Aorus Gaming 5 is perched uncomfortably on the fence between the standard gaming motherboards and the high-end, high-priced boards below. It’s got a beefy feature set, with reinforced slots, Killer network support, and discrete front and rear headphone amps. Oh, and it’s got RGB LEDs for that ‘daddy, daddy, look at me!’ aesthetic. Obviously, because gaming.

But that all comes at a high price compared with the very similar yet cheaper boards, which makes the Aorus a bit of a halfway house between the value and high-end segments. If you’re looking to save cash, go for the Gaming 3, and if you want to splash the cash it’s the Asus ROG Strix above we recommend.

Best high-end AMD gaming motherboard Asus Crosshair VI Hero

Runner-up

Asus ROG Crosshair VI Hero

Approx. $208 | £187

CROSSHAIR HERO specs

The Crosshair is, and always has been, the go-to Asus board for serial tweakers and those needing more USB ports than you can shake an external drive at.

  • ChipsetX370
  • SocketAM4
  • Form factorATX
  • Multi GPU2-way CrossFire/SLI
Amazon
$219.99
$180.34
View
Newegg
$259.99
$194.99
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B&H Photo Video
$234.19
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Pros
Tick Great overclocking chops
Tick Tons of USB ports
Tick 12-phase VRM

Cons
Cross Pricey

Asus’s Republic of Gamers brand is always about the high-end and that’s no different with its AMD boards. We haven’t seen one of Asus’s AMD-focused Crosshair boards in a long while (it took them soooo long to bring us Zen) but, thankfully, the AM4 version really delivers. The Strix X470 just about pips the Crosshair VI at the top of the pile because of its extra CPU performance, but it’s mighty close.

It’s all down to the build quality and feature-set of the ROG board. It’s a tight battle between this and the MSI XPower Gaming Titanium, however, but thanks to the classically stuffed ROG feature set, the Crosshair gets the nod. Both are aimed at overclockers, with dedicated features like the on-board controls and extra CPU power connections, but the Asus board has extra power phases – 12 vs. the MSI’s ten – a physical LN2 mode switch, voltage check points, and more USB sockets than there are Beatles ‘greatest hits’ albums. If you want a serious, feature-rich, high-performance, multi-GPU ready AM4 motherboard, Asus has got you covered.

 

Best high-end AMD gaming motherboard Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WiFi

Runner-up

Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WiFi

Approx. $220 | £224

GAMING 7 specs

One of the most beautiful X470 motherboards you're going to see. Unfortunately, not the most powerful...

  • ChipsetX470
  • SocketAM4
  • Form FactorATX
  • Multi GPU2-way CrossFire/SLI
Amazon
$239.99
$229.99
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Newegg
$239.99
$209.99
View

Pros
Tick One of the best looking boards
Tick So long as you like RGB lighting
Tick Great specs sheet

Cons
Cross Expensive

The Gigabyte X470 Aorus is a gorgeous AMD motherboard. There’s something almost retro about its nude heatsinks and chunky heatpipes around the power components, but it’s got the requisite bling you need to be allowed in the gaming motherboard club these days.

It’s also nicely specced, with the twin M.2 SSD sockets, which seem to be the hallmark of X470 boards, and reinforced sockets for all the full-size PCIe and DIMM slots, too. The only problem is that it’s not as capable a performance board as the likes of the either the Asus X470 or Crosshair boards. It’s rather pricey, too…

Read our full Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming WiFi review.

 

Best cheap AMD gaming motherboard runner-up Gigabyte AB350 Gaming 3

Winner: Best cheap AMD gaming motherboard

Gigabyte AB350-Gaming 3

Approx. $96 | £111

AB350-GAMING 3 specs

A surprisingly powerful and seriously affordable Ryzen board. Perfect for the Ryzen 5 chips.

  • ChipsetB350
  • SocketAM4
  • Form factorATX
  • Multi GPU2-way CrossFire (ish)
Amazon
$109.99
$97.95
View
Walmart
$194.49
$104.99
View

Pros
Tick Cheap and cheerful
Tick Capable at stock speeds
Tick Healthy selection of ports

Cons
Cross A little toasty

You might have expected to see an X470 motherboard topping our list of the best cheap AMD gaming motherboards. But, in real terms, there’s precious little to choose between the B350 and either the X470 or X370 boards in our tests. And, considering out of all the Ryzen chips AMD has released, it’s the Ryzen 5 2600 we’re recommending as one of our favourite gaming CPUs – spending anything over $100 on a supporting motherboard seems like overkill.

And so Gigabyte’s smartly priced B350 board is the AM4 mobo we’d be lovingly jamming our Ryzen chips into. It’s only a small price to pay, and yet, at stock settings it’s one of the most capable of any of the AM4 boards we’ve tested so far. The downside being it is a little high on the power/thermal side of things. It’s the toastiest of the boards, running hotter at both peak and idle temperatures, and that’s borne out by the fact it also draws the most juice when running at full chat.

Read our full Gigabyte AB350-Gaming 3 review.

Best cheap AMD gaming motherboard runner-up ASRock AB350 Gaming K4

Runner-up

ASRock AB350 Gaming K4

Approx. $91 | £88

Gamign K4 specs

ASRock's Gaming K4 is the company's hero B350 board, but it falls short of beating cheaper boards.

  • ChipsetB350
  • SocketAM4
  • Form factorATX
  • Multi GPU2-way CrossFire
Amazon
$119.99
$91.88
View

Pros
Tick Cheap and cheerful
Tick Two M.2 sockets

Cons
Cross Weak performance
Cross Little to no overclocking

Yes, it’s a bit of a bargain, but the Gaming K4 is actually the weakest of all the AM4 boards we’ve tested. Aside from the Doom test, it posted the slowest gaming frame rates and was propping up the 3DMark scores too. When it came to overclocking, the budget board’s weakness was laid bare, only managing to hit 4.02 GHz with our test chip and even struggled nailing 2,667 MHz with any of our different DDR4 memory kits.

Like the other ASRock boards, the intention behind the Gaming K4 is also ambitious enough to claim compatibility with quad-CrossFire, despite only sporting a single x16 PCIe 3.0 connection. In the end, it’s not a bad Ryzen board, and its performance metrics really aren’t that far behind the rest, but when there are cheaper, quicker mobos out there this ASRock really becomes a bit of a last resort.

Best AMD gaming motherboard runner-up Asus ROG Strix X470-I Gaming

winner: Best compact AMD gaming motherboard

Asus ROG STRIX X470-I Gaming

Approx. $190 | £175

STRIX X470-I specs

A tiny board that still manages to pack in a host of features, RGB LEDs, and a decent amount of performance, too.

  • ChipsetX470
  • SocketAM4
  • Form factorMini-ITX
  • Multi GPUNone
Amazon
$209.99
$189.99
View
Newegg
$209.99
$179.99
View
B&H Photo Video
$189.99
View

Pros
Tick Teeny tiny
Tick Feature-packed
Tick It’s so cute ^_^

Cons
Cross Limited space for upgrades/SSDs

Judge Yoda by his size, do you? No, and so you shouldn’t. Likewise, Asus’s mighty X470-I gaming shouldn’t be judged purely on scale, either. It’s a minuscule Ryzen X470 motherboard that still manages to pack in a wealth of features and enough performance so it never feels like a compromise.

Well, it might do if you’re talking about USB and SATA ports, but if you’re after server-level motherboard fare then the massive ROG Crosshair boards are probably more to your tastes. Inevitably, it’s a little down in the overall performance metrics compared with the other top boards, but considering what Asus has packed into this tiny package it’s a bit of a miracle mini motherboard.

Read our full Asus ROG STRIX X470-I Gaming review.

AMD AM4 motherboard socket

AMD has done it right creating the motherboard platform for its Ryzen processors. It hasn’t tried to limit support, it’s not opted to demand users upgrade their boards for every single iterative CPU update. No, it’s created a stable AM4 platform that is supposed to support every mainstream desktop AMD chip from here to 2020.

And that means you don’t have to go for the highest spec chipset in order to get the best performance from your Ryzen processor, and that’s why we’ve given the win to Gigabyte’s bargain-priced B350 board. It has a feature set that will cater to almost every gamer out there, and delivers frame rate performance that is the equal of much more expensive options.

Complimentary silicon: Grab one of the best CPUs for gaming

That does also mean it’s a contender for the budget choice, but MSI’s B350M Mortar just about pips it to that honour. On the more high-end side it’s hard to look past the gorgeous Asus STRIX X470. It’s feature-rich and performance heavy, but then, so is its price.

Either way, no matter your budget there’s a great AM4 motherboard out there just waiting to be built into a great gaming rig.

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