What is the best AMD motherboard for gaming in 2019? | PCGamesN
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What is the best AMD motherboard for gaming in 2019?

We’ve tested the top AM4 boards to help you build your AMD Ryzen gaming PC

Best AMD gaming motherboard

The best AMD motherboard can make a huge difference to your final gaming PC build. We’ve put the top AM4 options – from the latest X570 motherboards to X470 and B450 boards  – through their paces so you can make the right Ryzen motherboard 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 X570 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. Most 400-series (and some 300-series) motherboards require only a diddy BIOS update to get working with AMD Ryzen 3000 chips, and brand new motherboards will come with a sticker that reads “AMD Ryzen Desktop 3000 Ready” if a compatible BIOS has been pre-installed already. Otherwise you may first need to boot your system with a first- or second-gen Ryzen chip in order to update.

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 4.0 SSD? Do you aspire to run a multi-GPU rig? Do you want to build a micro machine PC?

What is the best AMD motherboard for gaming in 2019?

It’s probably not much of a surprise to see Asus sitting at the top of the list, with the Asus ROG Strix X470-F Gaming our pick for the best AMD motherboard. We’ve gone for the X470 rather than the X570 version simply because of the huge price premium just to get PCIe 4.0 connectivity, and the lack of any tangible performance difference.

But Asus doesn’t have it all its own way as both MSI and Gigabyte have excellent boards in their own right, especially if you’re after something more affordable to build your Ryzen gaming rig around.

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

Best AMD motherboard for gaming

Asus ROG Strix X470-F Gaming

Approx. $170 £180

Pros
Tick Cheaper than X570 alternatives
Tick Plenty of features
Tick Ports galore

Cons
Cross But do you really need it?

Yes, we’re still recommending the Asus ROG Strix X470-F Gaming to go with our favourite Ryzen processors even today. That’s because, while AMD has released the X570 chipset to go with the 7nm Ryzen 3000 series CPUs, it’s retained backwards compatibility, and this particular board has been proven just as capable when it comes to CPU performance.

It also delivers higher basic overclocking performance than the other X470 boards, even managing to near-enough match the latest X570 boards. And while this board is pricey, it’s cheaper than its newer alternatives and incredibly feature-rich to boot. So if you can pass on PCIe 4.0 support, there’s still life in this old dog yet.

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

 

RUNNER-UP

ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi)

Approx. $200 | £212

Pros
Tick PCIe 4.0
Tick Wi-Fi
Tick Feature rich

Cons
Cross A cheap X570 is an oxymoron

Even a ‘budget’ X570 is a considerable investment. After all, the chipset has been made almost exclusively for high-end, enthusiast boards. Yet the cheaper motherboards in the range today offer the best blend of performance, functionality, and affordability if you absolutely must have today’s top tech.

The Asus TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi) is the cheapest X570 motherboard we’ve tested, and as such that makes it the most cost-effective entry point into the PCIe 4.0 ecosystem. It will still set you back far more cash than what is required by previous AM4 TUF Gaming motherboards, but if you cannot settle for anything less than the latest interconnect specification – and I know ya’ll are thirsty for bandwidth – then the more than capable TUF board should see you through.

Read our full Asus TUF Gaming X570-PLUS (WI-FI) review.

 

Runner-up

MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon

Approx. $180 | £185

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.

MSI MEG X570 ACE

Best High-end AMD motherboard

MSI MEG X570 ACE

Approx. $370 | £350

Pros
Tick Filled to the brim with functionality
Tick RGB lighting
Tick PCIe 4.0

Cons
Cross Expensive

As a whole it’s difficult to recommend a hyper-high-end X570 motherboard. There’s very little performance to be gained from the investment, and many of the bonus features included on these motherboards are useless for all but the most avid LN2 overclockers. Still, if you really have to own the best around, it’s got to be the MSI MEG X570 Ace.

This board features a beefy feature set, with reinforced slots, Killer network support, and three NVMe SSD ports. Oh, and it’s got an RGB LED infinity mirror built-in for that ‘daddy, daddy, look at me!’ aesthetic. Obviously, because gaming. None of that is exclusive to the Ace, but, combined with PCIe 4.0 support, you know you have every base covered.

Read our full MSI MEG X570 ACE review.

 

RUNNER-UP

Asus ROG Strix X570-E Gaming

Approx. $327 | £300

Pros
Tick Best value high-end
Tick Feature rich
Tick Superb connectivity

Cons
Cross X570 premium

The Strix X570-E is certainly an alluring offer. When you are choosing your components for your gaming PC, a part of you will always want to splash out on your motherboard just in case, and the X570-E is the perfect guilty purchase with heaps of USB ports, superb styling, great storage connectivity, and excellent performance.

The Strix X570-E is actually rather comparable to the Crosshair below, although draws the line at enthusiast functionality. However, even without absurd features that few ever touch ramping the price into the stratosphere, the X570 chipset still comes at a cost, and even the Strix X570-E can’t escape that. So best only consider this board if you’re less than concerned about splashing out your hard-earned cash.

Read our full ASUS ROG STRIX X570-E GAMING review.

 

Runner-up

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Hero (Wi-Fi)

Approx. $380 | £399

Pros
Tick Quality build
Tick Tons of USB ports
Tick Beefy VRM

Cons
Cross Exceptionally pricey

Asus’ Republic of Gamers brand is always about the high-end and that’s no different with its AMD boards. The Strix X470 just about pips the Crosshair VIII at the top of the pile because of its favourable price, but if money’s no object, the Crosshair VIII takes the cake.

It’s all down to the build quality and feature-set of the ROG board. It’s the most USB-amicable of all the X570 motherboards we’ve looked at so far, and if you’re spending this much on a motherboard, you really want it to be capable of everything without sacrifice. After all, you’re paying for peace of mind that nothing has gone unsaid in the feature department with a motherboard of this calibre.

Read our full Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Hero (Wi-Fi) review.

Gigabyte AB350-GAMING 3

Best cheap AMD motherboard

Gigabyte AB350-Gaming 3

Approx. $90 | £113

Pros
Tick Cheap and cheerful
Tick Supports Ryzen 3000
Tick Healthy selection of ports

Cons
Cross A little toasty

You might have expected to see a 400-series 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, B450, or X370 boards in our tests. And, considering out of all the Ryzen chips AMD has released, it’s the cheaper Ryzen 5 chips we’re recommending as 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 – even Ryzen 3000. 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 AMD gaming motherboard runner-up Asus ROG Strix X470-I Gaming

Best compact AMD motherboard

Asus ROG STRIX X470-I Gaming

Approx. $190 | £175

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.

On the more high-end side it’s hard to look past the gorgeous MSI MEG X570 ACE. 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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