Best Motherboards for Gaming 2021
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Best Gaming Motherboards 2021

Best Gaming Motherboards 2021 can have a huge impact on building the perfect gaming PC. For one, it decides what CPU platform you use, which is huge, but it also sets in stone what case it can go in and what storage you’re able to plumb into your machine.

Best Gaming Motherboards 2021

Choosing Best Gaming Motherboards 2021 type of build is in many ways an integral part of your PC build, despite the fact that choosing the best CPU or the best graphics card often gets more attention.

Nearly every part of your PC plugs into your motherboard. Its form factor dictates the size of your computer (and case), and its chipset and socket limit what kind of processor you can install.

What is a Motherboard?

A motherboard provides connectivity between the hardware components of a computer, like the processor (CPU), memory (RAM), hard drive, and video card. There are multiple types of motherboards, designed to fit different types and sizes of computers.

Each type of motherboard is designed to work with specific types of processors and memory, so they don’t work with every processor and type of memory. However, hard drives are mostly universal and work with the majority of motherboards, regardless of the type or brand.

Motherboard components

Top Picks for the Best Gaming Motherboards 2021

Your choice of motherboard will either make or break your PC. As a PC’s backbone or foundation, the best motherboards not only allow your internals to interact with one another, but also make sure that they’re running and even overclocking better.

Getting a subpar one means that you’re risking your PC components failing and needing to rebuild your PC from scratch.

To help you make sure that doesn’t happen, we rounded up the best motherboards on the market. Whether you’re setting out to build a PC to rival the best PCs or simply upgrading your existing one, we’ll find you a quality board.

1. Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme

The best board for a Comet Lake Core i9

Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme

CPU support: Intel 10th Gen | Socket: LGA 1200 | Size: Extended ATX | Memory support: 4x DIMM, up to 128GB, DDR4-4700 | Expansion slots: 2x PCIe 3.0 x16 (or x8/x8), 1x PCIe 3.0 x4 | Video ports: 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports on extension card (DP1.4) | Rear USB: 10x USB 3.2, 2x USB 2.0 | Storage: 2x M.2, 2x M.2 (DIMM.2 board), 8x SATA 6Gbps | Network: 1x 10Gb Marvell ethernet, 1x Intel ethernet, Intel Wi-Fi 6 wireless

The Intel Z490 chipset has been designed to take advantage of the most expensive processors in the new range, those that have an unlocked multiplier and have been optimized to achieve the best automatic overclocking, also supporting the Intel Performance Maximizer application with dedicated configurations for this chipset with K-series or KF-series 10th generation Intel Core processors.

Regarding the new features, we can add to this chipset the support for the direct integration of a first-rate wireless chipset such as the Intel WiFi-6 AX201 with support for Gig + CNVI (this is how direct Wi-Fi support is called). 6 IP by new Intel processors).

4.6/5

4.6/5

2.MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi

A vaguely affordable high-end Z490 motherboard

MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi

CPU socket: Intel 10th Gen | Socket: LGA 1200 | Size : ATX | Memory support: 4x DIMM, up to 128GB, DDR4-4800 (OC) | Expansion slots: 3x PCIe 3.0 (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4), 2x PCIe 3.0 x1 | Video ports: 1x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI | Rear USB: 5x USB 3.2, 2x USB 2.0 | Storage: 2x M.2, 6x SATA 6Gbps | Network : 1x 2.5Gb LAN, Intel Wi-Fi 6 wireless

The Intel Z490 chipset has been designed to take advantage of the most expensive processors in the new range, those that have an unlocked multiplier and have been optimized to achieve the best automatic overclocking, also supporting the Intel Performance Maximizer application with dedicated configurations for this chipset with K-series or KF-series 10th generation Intel Core processors.

Regarding the new features, we can add to this chipset the support for the direct integration of a first-rate wireless chipset such as the Intel WiFi-6 AX201 with support for Gig + CNVI (this is how direct Wi-Fi support is called). 6 IP by new Intel processors).

4/5

4/5

1. MSI MAG B460M Mortar WiFi

A premium and well-priced mATX B460

MSI MAG B460M Mortar WiFi

CPU support: Intel 10th Gen | Socket: LGA 1200 | Size: Micro ATX | Memory support: 4x DIMM, up to DDR4-2933 (i7,i9) or DDR4-2666 (i5) | Expansion slots: 2x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x1 | Video ports: 1x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI | Rear USB: 4x USB 3.2 Gen (1x Type-C), 2x USB 2.0 | Storage: 2x M.2, 6x SATA 6Gbps | Network: Realtek 2.5Gb LAN, Intel Wi-Fi 6 wireless

Grabbing one of the best Z490 motherboards might be appealing to your inner elitist, but the sticker price shock is definitely a problem for many people. Sure, it would be nice to have 10Gb LAN, seven M.2 slots, or quad GPU support, but who really needs all that stuff? Most of us will be perfectly happy with a quality B460 motherboard, such as the MSI MAG B460M Mortar WiFi.

If you can put up with the memory speed limitation and have no intention of overclocking (well, with a K-series CPU anyway), then this is the kind of board that should be on your PC building wishlist.

It ticks most of the important boxes, and at $125, it’s well priced, though the competition is tough with many premium B460 motherboards priced in this range.

5/5

5/5

2. ASRock B460 Steel Legend

An affordable alternative

ASRock B460 Steel Legend

CPU support: Intel 10th Gen | Socket: LGA 1200 | Size: ATX | Memory support: 4x DIMM, up to DDR4-2933 (i7,i9) or DDR4-2666 (i5) | Expansion slots: 2x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x1 | Video ports: 1x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI | Rear USB: 4x USB 3.2 Gen (1x Type-C), 2x USB 2.0 | Storage: 2x M.2, 6x SATA 6Gbps | Network: Realtek 2.5Gb LAN

The B460 Steel Legend comes decorated with a camouflage aesthetic that’s a mixture of white, gray, and black.

Far from helping the board to blend into the background, this actually helps the board to stand out in a windowed PC chassis.

Though it’s not the only board we’ve seen with this kind of digital-camouflage PCB pattern, the Asrock manages to present its own look and feel.

The board is equipped with steel heatsinks that sit over the VRMs and chipset; they also cover two M.2 Key M slots.

These aren’t on par with what you would find on a high-end board, and neither is the Steel Legend’s nine-phase power design, but they don’t have to be. The board doesn’t support overclocking, but can handle power-hungry CPUs such as the Intel Core i9-10900K. 

4.5/5

4.5/5

1. Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra

The best gaming motherboard for Intel's Coffee Lake CPUs

Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra

CPU support: Intel 8th and 9th Gen | Socket : LGA 1151 | Size: ATX | Memory support: 4x DIMM, up to 128GB, DDR4-4400 (OC) | Expansion slots: PCIe x16, PCIe x16 (x8), PCIe x16 (x4), 3x PCIe x1 | Video ports: HDMI | Rear USB: 4x USB 3.2 Gen2 (1x Type-C), 2x USB 3.1 Gen1, 4x USB 2.0 | Storage: 3x M.2, 6x SATA | Network: Ethernet, 1.73Gbps 802.11ac wireless

The Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra board bears a lot of resemblance to the highly acclaimed Z390 AORUS MASTER, but there are small differences between them, especially in the power phase design, which separate them from each other.

Above these two models is the Z390 AORUS XTREME line and this model is located in a mid-high range within the Z390 boards that GIGABYTE offers.

The Z390 AORUS ULTRA motherboard comes with a 12 + 1 digital power phase (12 for the VCore) and uses an Intersil ISL69138 PWM controller.

It gets 12 signals thanks to Intersil ISL6617A PWM signal doublers (doublers) and uses 50 amp Vishay DrMos (SiC634) Mosfets (PowerStages). Theoretically it has a maximum capacity of 600 amps (although in reality they never reach this limit).

4.3/5

4.3/5

Best for small form-factor Intel 9th Gen builds

Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming

CPU support: Intel 8th and 9th Gen | Socket: LGA 1151 | Size: Mini-ITX | Memory support: 2x DIMM, 64GB, DDR4-4800 (OC) | Expansion slots: 1x PCIe x16 | Video ports: HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2 | USB ports: 7x rear IO, 1x front IO, 4x internal | Storage: 2x M.2, 4x SATA | Network: Ethernet, 866Mbps 802.11ac | Lighting: Edge RGB, 1x Addressable Aura RGB

Some of the neat features of the ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming include dual M.2, plentiful USB connectivity of all generations, onboard WiFi/Bluetooth, ample RGB options and a “beefy looking” VRM that makes use of the ASUS “Twin phase” CPU VRM, also seen on the ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming.

That VRM solution continues to be a “hot topic”, among enthusiasts with ASUS effectively offering, on this motherboard, 6 CPU VRM phases worth of components but with only three PWM signals and no doublers. Improved transient response and less voltage droop between load switching have both been reported by ASUS as benefits, compared to doubler-based solutions, but it remains to be seen whether most consumers can look past the long-standing concept that “more phases is better”.

4/5

4/5

1. Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

The best X570 ever created, and the last AM4 board you'll ever need

Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero

CPU support: AMD Ryzen 5000 Series/ 4000 G-Series/ 3000 Series/ 3000 G-Series/ 2000 Series/ 2000 G-Series | Socket: AM4 | Size: ATX | Memory: 4x DIMM, Up to 128GB, DDR4-4866 (OC) | Expansion slots: 2x PCIe 4.0 x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1x PCIe 4.0 x1 | Video ports: N/A | Rear USB: 4x USB 3.2 Gen1, 8x USB 3.2 Gen2 (1x USB Type-C) | Storage: 3x M.2; 8x SATA | Networking: 802.11ax 2.4Gbps Wi-Fi; Intel I211-AT 1G & Realtek RTL8125 2.5G LAN

Two will be the most notable differences in the aesthetic section of this Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero compared to the base model, plus black color and a passive heatsink for the chipset.


The board’s power system, which has also been improved, features a double XL-size aluminum block with a copper heatpipe as a union. With these 90A MOSFETS, a large size is always appreciated, and gray silicone thermal pads are also used for contact between the elements.

5/5

5/5

The best gaming motherboard for AMD Ryzen 3000 builds

MSI MPG X570 Gaming Pro Carbon WiFi

CPU support: AMD 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Gen Ryzen CPUs, Ryzen APUs | Socket: AM4 | Size: ATX | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR4-4400 | Expansion slots: 1x PCIe x16, 1x PCIe x16 (x4), 2x PCIe x1 | Video ports: HDMI | Rear USB: 4x USB 3.2 Gen2 (1x Type-C), 2x USB 3.2 Gen1, 2x USB 2.0 | Storage: 2x M.2, 6x SATA | Network: Ethernet, 2.4Gbps 802.11ac

The X570 chipset is the evolution of the previous X470, a chipset intended for use in the new 3rd generation AMD Ryzen, although it is compatible with 1st and 2nd generation as well.

The most important novelty is that it offers support for the new PCIe 4.0 standard, a bus that doubles the speed of PCIe 3.0, that is, we have 2000 MB / s for each data line both upstream and downstream. In addition, the chip has 20 PCIe LANs where manufacturers take the opportunity to introduce more slots and M.2.

The second novelty is the incorporation of Wi-Fi 6 cards in some of the cards, that is, a wireless connection working through the 802.11ax protocol and offering a speed of 2402 Mb / s 2 × 2 in 5 GHz, and 574 Mb / s in the 2.4 GHz band with Bluetooth 5.0. In this case, only two of the plates have Wi-Fi.

4.5/5

4.5/5

1. Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming

Simply the best B550 motherboard

Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming

CPU support: AMD 3rd and 4th Gen Ryzen | Socket: AM4 | Size: ATX | Memory support: 4x DIMM, up to 128GB, up to DDR4-4600 | Expansion slots: 2x PCIe 4.0 x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x4 | Storage: 2x M.2, 6x SATA 6Gbps | Networking: Intel Wi-Fi 6, Intel 2.5Gb ethernet, Bluetooth 5.1 | Rear USB: 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 4 x USB 2.0

The Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming motherboard should arrive in a beautiful box built in thick cardboard with the aesthetic hallmarks of the ROG series. On its main face we have a photo of the board with the lighting activated and some basic support badges such as Multi-GPU. Detailed information about its most important elements and functions is shown on the back.

The design has been raised significantly from the previous generation, and is now featured in a matte dark gray with white model-style screen printing. All the heatsinks are made of aluminum and black has also been used as predominant with details in the form of pink lines that run through three elements on the plate. We will have integrated AURA Sync lighting on the back panel cover with Asus logo and under the chipset heatsink.

4.5/5

4.5/5

The best B550 motherboard for pure gaming performance

MSI MAG B550M Mortar

CPU support: AMD 3rd and 4th Gen Ryzen | Socket: AM4 | Size: ATX | Memory support: 4x DIMM, up to 128GB, up to DDR4-4600 | Expansion slots: 2x PCIe 4.0 x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x4 | Storage: 2x M.2, 6x SATA 6Gbps | Networking: Intel Wi-Fi 6, Intel 2.5Gb ethernet, Bluetooth 5.1 | Rear USB: 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 4 x USB 2.0

The main difference we can see at this early stage between the X570 chipset and the B550 is the reduction in the number of PCI Express 4.0 lanes you can play with.

Given how few of us own nothing but PCI Express 4.0 M.2s – because to do so you’d need an X570 motherboard so then having one blisteringly quick OS drive and enough bandwidth for your GPU is all that the regular user requires, and the Mortar nails that with PCI Express 4.0 support on the main PCI Express slot and M.2, with the ‘hardly slow’ PCI Express 3.0 used for the rest. It’s a good compromise.

You still get plenty of USB ports for your peripherals and 2.5G LAN for rapid data transfer.

Think of it like buying the base model of a car, you get all you need and don’t pay for anything you won’t fully utilise.

4.5/5

4.5/5

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