Best gaming motherboard: the top motherboard for gaming in 2020

The best gaming motherboard is a vital part of your gaming PC, so make sure your CPU has the perfect chipset companion

Best gaming motherboard

It’s not long now until the best gaming motherboards will be changing, thanks to new Intel socket LGA 1200 and AMD B550 motherboards. But there’s some life in current-gen motherboards yet! AMD Ryzen 3000 series and Intel Core 9000 series CPUs are still the best gaming CPUs around, and even when Intel Comet Lake hits most people will still be using current-gen CPUs paired with one of the best motherboards to play their favourite games, whether that’s less demanding ones like Minecraft or Fortnite, or ones that are somewhat more demanding on your rig like Call of Duty: Warzone.

Pairing your gaming CPU with a motherboard that lets it do its business as intended is vital for your gaming setup. So we’ve taken the best Intel motherboards from the Z390 and Z370 down to more mainstream chipsets, and the best AMD motherboards from the latest X570 down to budget B350 chipsets, and tested and compared them. Whether you’re looking something cheap and cheerful that doesn’t hinder performance, or something top-of-the-line if money isn’t an issue, we’ve got you covered.

If you have an Intel CPU you need an Intel motherboard (and make sure it’s one with the right socket!), and if you have an AMD CPU you need an AMD motherboard. To keep things simple we’ve split this guide up into two parts, with Intel motherboards first and AMD motherboards second.

It might not have the same performance impact as your choice of graphics card or CPU, but your motherboard will dictate which of either you can jam in your gaming build. And it doesn’t stop there, your motherboard will decide what sort of storage drives you can plug in and what memory you can use too. A decent motherboard should not be overlooked!

Here are the best gaming motherboards:

Intel Comet Lake S

The best Intel motherboards

It’s a tumultuous time in the motherboard market at the moment. Intel’s Comet Lake desktop CPUs are fast approaching, and with them a new LGA 1200 socket, meaning current socket LGA 1151 motherboards will be rendered redundant for the new generation. Just bear in mind that these following motherboards will not fit upcoming Comet Lake 10-series CPUs because Comet Lake CPUs will require an LGA 1200 socket.

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ASUS ROG STRIX Z390-E GAMING

The best Intel motherboard is the Asus ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming.

The Asus ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming marks the entry-level into the high-end ROG range. Despite that high-end heritage, it’s rather well-suited to avid gamers and moderate overclockers alike. While most of its high-end siblings favour liquid nitrogen and record-breaking functionality in lieu of affordability, the Z390-E blends just enough of that ROG approach without overstepping into the extreme. Overclocking is made a breeze by the simple, but comprehensive, BIOS, and there is an impressive level of connectivity on offer too.

The Z390 chipset doesn’t offer all that much in the way of native functionality over its predecessor: Z370. However, AI overclocking and a few iterative updates to the tried and tested formula make the Z390 a worthwhile improvement. So long as you don’t find yourself paying a premium for the Z390 board over its Z370 equivalent, there’s nothing to lose with the Asus Strix Z390-E Gaming.

What we like…
Tick Z390 chipset
Tick Easy overclocking
Tick Great connectivity

Asus ROG Strix Z390-E GAMING specs
Chipset Z390
Socket LGA 1151
Form factor ATX
Multi GPU 2x Nvidia SLI, 3x AMD CrossFire
Product Image 1
$326.00
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Read the PCGamesN Asus Z390-E Strix Gaming review for our full verdict and score.

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Asus TUF Z390-Pro Gaming

The best value motherboard for Intel is the Asus TUF Z390-Pro Gaming.

The lower-priced Asus TUF board delivers Coffee Lake performance for a lot less than either of the ~$200 MSI or Asus STRIX boards. The feature set is a little lighter – there’s only protection on a single PCIe slot, and the PCB feels a touch more flimsy than the others – but it still has the overclocking performance as well as Asus’ all-core enhancement feature which means it ignores the Intel Turbo limitations.

That makes it a speedy little board straight off the bat with any K-series CPU you care to toss its way. That also means it’s got the gaming performance without you having to do any tweaking beyond ensuring your RAM’s running at its XMP settings.

What we like…
Tick Affordable
Tick All-core enhancement compatible
Tick Great performance

Asus TUF Z390-Pro Gaming specs
Chipset Z390
Socket LGA 1151
Form factor ATX
Multi GPU 2x Nvidia SLI, 2x AMD CrossFire
Product Image 1
$169.99
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MSI B360M Mortar

The best cheap motherboard for Intel is the MSI B360M Mortar.

The Intel H370 motherboards were a long time coming and, for the most part, don’t really offer any significant savings over the budget end of the Z370 range. As they’re newer boards they’re often more expensive. The B360 however, exemplified here by MSI’s excellent B360M Mortar, does represent a good-value alternative to the Z370 option, without sacrificing too much in the way of performance.

You will miss out on any overclocking potential of the K-series Intel processors, but with the mighty Core i5 8400 and its non-K ilk still offering serious gaming performance at stock speeds, that’s not too big an issue. The B360M Mortar is also a nicely proportioned Micro ATX board too, allowing you to drop it into more svelte chassis than the larger ATX board standard.

What we like…
Tick Affordable
Tick Micro ATX form factor
Tick Great alternative to Z390

MSI B360M Mortar specs
Chipset B360
Socket LGA 1151
Form factor Micro ATX
Multi GPU 2x AMD CrossFire
Product Image 1
$149.00
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Read the PCGamesN MSI B360M Mortar review for our full verdict and score.

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Asus ROG Strix Z390-I gaming

The best mini-ITX motherboard for Intel is the Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming.

Mini-ITX motherboards are adorable. If cute factor alone isn’t enough to convince you, however, the Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming also packs an ungodly amount of functionality onto a compact motherboard of its minuscule size. You can get eight cores and 16 threads running contempt on this board, turning even the smallest gaming build into the PC equivalent of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s quads.

This mini-ITX board packs in some serious functionality within its tiny frame. While the chipset has little to offer over its predecessor, Z370, Asus have put plenty of extra goodies on the board to make the next-gen worthwhile. For miniature eight-core monster builds, the Z390-I can’t be beat.

What we like…
Tick Great features
Tick Compact Mini-ITX
Tick Impressive connectivity

Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming specs
Chipset Z390
Socket LGA 1151
Form factor Mini-ITX
Multi GPU N/A
Product Image 1
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Read the PCGamesN Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming review for our full verdict and score.

AMD Ryzen Slab

THE BEST AMD motherboards

AMD’s Zen 3 desktop CPUs aren’t too far away, either, and while the company has recently confirmed that these new Ryzen 4000-series processors will also be supported on B450 and X470 motherboards via BIOS updates, 5-series motherboards are still your best bet if you want native, out-of-the-box, bug-free support for Ryzen 4000 processors.

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ASUS ROG STRIX X470-F GAMING

The best AMD motherboard is the Asus ROG Strix X470-F Gaming.

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.

What we like…
Tick Cheaper than X570 alternatives
Tick Plenty of features
Tick Ports galore

Asus ROG Strix X470-F Gaming specs
Chipset X470
Socket AM4
Form factor ATX
3rd Gen support Yes (with BIOS update)
4th Gen support Yes (with BIOS update)
Product Image 1
$189.00
$156.02
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Read the PCGamesN Asus ROG Strix X470-F Gaming review for our full verdict and score.

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MSI X470 GAMING PRO CARBON

The best value motherboard for AMD is the MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon.

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.

What we like…
Tick Affordable X470
Tick Great RGB
Tick Sturdy

MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon specs
Chipset X470
Socket AM4
Form factor ATX
3rd Gen support Yes (with BIOS update)
4th Gen support Yes (with BIOS update)
Product Image 1
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GIGABYTE AB350-GAMING 3

The best cheap motherboard for AMD is the Gigabyte AB350-Gaming 3.

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 it also draws the most juice when running at full chat.

What we like…
Tick Cheap and cheerful
Tick Supports Ryzen 3000
Tick Healthy selection of ports

Gigabyte AB350-Gaming 3 specs
Chipset B350
Socket AM4
Form factor ATX
3rd Gen support Yes (with BIOS update)
4th Gen support No
Product Image 1
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Read the PCGamesN Gigabyte AB350-Gaming 3 review for our full verdict and score.

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ASUS ROG STRIX X470-I GAMING

The best mini-ITX motherboard for AMD is the Asus ROG Strix X470-I Gaming.

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 by its size, 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.

What we like…
Tick Teeny tiny
Tick Feature-packed
Tick Cheap

Asus ROG Strix X470-I Gaming specs
Chipset X470
Socket AM4
Form factor Mini-ITX
3rd Gen support Yes (with BIOS update)
4th Gen support Yes (with BIOS update)
Product Image 1
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Read the PCGamesN Asus ROG STRIX X470-I Gaming review for our full verdict and score.

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ASUS TUF GAMING X570-PLUS (WI-FI)

The best future-proof gaming motherboard for AMD is the Asus TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi).

X570 and B550 boards are your best bet for running AMD Zen 3 CPUs, but 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’re planning on getting your hands on an AMD Ryzen 4000-series CPU then the more than capable TUF board should see you through.

Tick PCIe 4.0
Tick Supports Ryzen 4000 CPUs
Tick Feature rich

Asus TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi) specs
Chipset X570
Socket AM4
Form factor ATX
3rd Gen support Yes
4th Gen support Yes
Product Image 1
$306.00
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Read the PCGamesN Asus TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi) review for our full verdict and score.

How to install a motherboard

Here’s our handy video guide on how to replace your motherboard.

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motherboard buying guide

Picking the perfect motherboard for your rig can feel like walking a tightrope with all the I/O you want on one side and cost on the other. However, with a little critical thinking, and planning out your build around your board, the process can be rather painless.

After all, unless you are a super hardcore 1337 overclocking pro, it really all comes down to good quality, a form factor that works for your case or preference, and a healthy handful of ports. Performance between motherboards is totally negligible at this point – everything that used to make a difference to PC performance has long since been shifted aboard the CPU itself.

After all, the motherboard is the vessel for all your other, frankly, more interesting components that really make your gaming PC tick. It’s an important part of the puzzle, but one that needn’t keep you up at night either.

Motherboard price list

Product Image 1
$326.00
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Product Image 2
$169.99
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Product Image 3
$149.00
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Product Image 4
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Product Image 5
$189.00
$156.02
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Product Image 6
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Product Image 7
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Product Image 8
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Product Image 9
$306.00
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