Choosing the best gaming motherboard isn’t the most straightforward upgrade you can make, as it depends on what processor you choose. Not only will AMD chipsets not work with Intel, the newer Ryzen 7000 series isn’t compatible with older motherboards that support the Ryzen 5000 range.
Even if you find one that works with the best gaming CPU, there’s an exhaustive list of other considerations. Do you plan to overlock? How many USB ports do you need? Will you buy another one of the best SSDs for gaming in the near-future? What type of gaming RAM do you need? Will it even fit in your PC case?
It’s okay, you can wipe your brow. We’ve got you covered so you don’t accidentally try to jam a square into the circle slot.
Here are your options for the best gaming motherboard:
- Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero – the top motherboard for gaming
- MSI Pro B660M-A – an Intel motherboard on a budget
- Gigabyte X570 Aorus Xtreme – an amazing AMD motherboard
- Asus TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi) – a cheaper AMD motherboard
1. Best gaming motherboard
The best gaming motherboard is the Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero.
If you’re looking for the best Intel motherboard to pair with your shiny new 12th Gen processor, look no further than the Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero. In addition to its two large LED screens, this ATX monster packs cutting edge specs and bountiful expansion slots.
As the best Z690 motherboard on the market, it can accomodate a crazy amount of NVMe storage with its three M.2 storage slots that can be expanded up to five with two Hyper M.2 add in cards. Its I/O is stacked too, with seven USB 3.2 Gen 2, two USB 2.0, and two Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C ports. Don’t forget its software offerings too, with programs like AI Overclocking making it a breeze to squeeze every last drop of performance from your components.
What we like…
- Loads of PCIe expansion
- Easy overclocking
- PCIe Gen 5, DDR5, and Wi-Fi 6E support
2. Best cheap Intel motherboard
The best budget motherboard for Intel is the MSI Pro B660M-A.
This LGA 1700 microATX motherboard from MSI is a solid choice for a budget or mid-range gaming PC build, and is our personal pick for the best B660 motherboard. It comes with two M.2 slots for NVMe SSDs and a plethora of USB 3.0 ports despite its smaller footprint. You can fit up to 128GB of DDR4 RAM across 4 DIMM slots at a maximum frequency of 4,800MHz to boot.
You’ll miss out on any overclocking potential of the K-series Intel processors, but with the mighty Intel Core i5-12400 and its non-K ilk still offering serious gaming performance at stock speeds, so that’s not too big an issue. The MSI Pro B660M-A is also a nicely proportioned board too, allowing you to drop it into a more svelte chassis than the larger ATX board standard.
What we like…
- Low price
- Micro ATX form factor
- M.2 expansion slots
3. Best AMD motherboard
The best AMD motherboard is the Gigabyte X570 Aorus Xtreme.
If you’re set on grabbing the best X570 motherboard for your system rather than waiting for the arrival of Zen 4 chipsets, the Gigabyte X570 Aorus Xtreme should be at the top of your list. Its price point may be as large as its E-ATX form factor, but its filled to the brim with niceities you won’t find on other models.
If you’re hanging on to an older AMD Ryzen CPU, the Gigabyte X570 Aorus can be easily made to accomodate your ageing chip via its Q-Flash Plus button. This allows you to upgrade its BIOS without inserting a processor into it. 10Gb Ethernet and passive chipset cooling are nice touches too. It’d take forever to highlight everything this motherboard has to offer, but you can find a full breakdown of key specs in the table below.
What we like…
- Passively cooled X570 chipset
- 10Gb Ethernet
- Support for every generation of Ryzen CPUs
4. Best budget motherboard for AMD
The best budget 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. 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 the more than capable TUF board should see you through whatever your Ryzen CPU you have.
Read the PCGamesN Asus TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi) review for our full verdict and score.
What we like…
- Cheap way to get PCIe 4.0
- Supports Ryzen 5000 out of the box
- Robust and high-value feature set
|Asus TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi) specs|
|CPU support||AMD Ryzen 5000 / 4000 / 3000 / 2000|
|RAM support||4x DIMM, up to 128GB, DDR4 5,100 (OC)|
|Expansion slots||1x PCIe 4.0 x16, 1x PCIe 4.0 x16 (in x4 mode)|
|Video outputs||1x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI|
|USB ports||3x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 4x USB 3.2 Gen 1|
|Storage slots||2x M.2, 8x SATA 6Gb/s|
|Network||x1 Gigabit Ethernet, Intel Wi-Fi 5|
Gaming 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 an 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.