Motherboards are the foundation of any computer. It’s usually the first component people decide on when building a system. The ideal is a motherboard one can set in place and use for many years to come. We’ll examine contenders for motherboards which fit that description. The criteria used to judge choices are price, versatility and size. Based on this one can easily find the best motherboard for a new computer.
8. Gigabyte Aorus Z270X-GAMING 9
Price often makes or breaks a choice for best motherboard. The Gigabyte Aorus Z270X-GAMING 9 would rank considerably higher if it had a lower price point. But a board which sells for $703 dollars demands some outstanding features. Even if overall price doesn’t matter, return on an investment should. An expensive board needs to fully justify the pricetag.
The Z270X does offer some impressive specs. The board is slightly larger than an ATX standard. It’s still compact enough to fit into most cases though. The main justification for a high price point comes from Killer DoubleShot-X3 Pro support. In theory the technology can allow for more intelligent prioritization of data. There’s some debate about how well this theory works out in practice. The board is otherwise as one would expect for a luxury price point. But the high cost should make it a niche selection for people who need optimal processing.
7. MSI B250M Gaming Pro
The MSI B250M Gaming Pro deserves mention as one of the best motherboard options for 2018. However, it’s important to note that it’s a great option for building a computer in 2018. The motherboard is a perfect fit for computers that are meant to perform a collection of functions which won’t change very much. Media servers and transcoders are a good example of these types of machines.
The B250M works with computers that are meant to perform set tasks to perfection. In large part it’s suitable due to the low cost. The motherboard can be found priced as low as $69.99. But two RAM slots limit expansion. As does the limitation to 7th generation intel chips and below. But if the board does match the needs of a custom build than it’s an excellent choice.
6. MSI H270 Gaming M3
There’s quite a few things to factor in when deciding on the best motherboard. But price point is almost always going to be important. And this is where the MSI H270 Gaming M3 really shines. The motherboard can be found priced as low as $119. This cost isn’t far from that of lower end motherboards. But at the same time the features are quite impressive.
The MSI H270 Gaming M3 is compatible with 6th and 7th generation Intel chips right out of the box. The four RAM slots work as expected, and support up to 64 GB ram. It even has built-in RGB lighting. This is a luxury feature that’s seldom seen on motherboards in this price range.
The only thing keeping it from ranking higher is lack of support for 8th generation Intel chips. The limited upgrade path instantly limits the amount of time one can keep the board running in a cutting edge system.
5. ASRock A320M-HDV
The ASRock A320M-HDV also ranks high in the best motherboard ranking due to a solid price point. People usually place ASRock among the budget manufacturers. And to be sure, the A320M-HDV is reasonably priced. It can be found as low as $49.99.
But ASRock packs some impressive power into the affordable package. The AM4 socket supports AMD Ryzen processors. The single PCIe x16 slot places some limits on graphical power. However, this should still fit the needs of most users. Even VR gamers should find the graphics support to be up to their needs.
The micro-ATX form factor is most notable when looking at RAM. It only supports two sticks, for a total of 32 GB RAM. But this should still be suitable for most users.
4. B350 Tomahawk
The B350 Tomahawk offers a nice step up from the ASRock A320M-HDV. The Tomahawk is usually considered on the upper end of the lower cost designs. But the price point can place it a little too close to some of the best deals on luxury boards.
It certainly still ranks among the best motherboard choices though. One of the biggest differences with the ASRock is overclocking support. While the Tomahawk has similar Ryzen support, users have the freedom to overclock it. The choice can make a huge difference in overall performance for people willing to go that route. It also doubles the ASRock’s GPU support with two PCIe x16 slots.
3. Gigabyte X299 Aorus Ultra Gaming
The Gigabyte X299 Aorus Ultra Gaming is one of the more obvious choices for best motherboard. Unlike some of the other motherboards there’s not much that’s surprising here. But lack of surprises isn’t necessarily bad. The X299 is sold as a top of the line model. The motherboard’s final specs live up to those high expectations.
One can see the elegance of the board simply by looking at it. Everything from the heat sinks to the gradient of the main body display pure elegance. It even features beautiful RBG lighting. The motherboard also supports Intel Core X-series processors. Finally, it supports an impressive 128 GB of RAM. However, the $309.99 price puts it outside many people’s consideration.
2. Asus Prime Z370-A
The Asus Prime Z370-A almost seems too good to be true. The motherboard can be found for around $119.99. This is a price range where one might expect middle of the road rather than high end boards. But almost every part of the 2370-A exemplifies peak performance.
The board supports up to 8th generation Intel chips. 8th generation will define high end standards for many years to come. It also boasts four DDR4 RAM slots which can allow for up to 64 GB. The board provides six additional fans as well. Combined with water cooling support, overclocking is a viable option. It even provides a rare example of a top of the line internal soundcard.
1. Gigabyte GA-Z170X-UD5 TH
The Gigabyte GA-Z170X-UD5 TH might seem like an odd choice for first place. There’s little argument that it’s a good motherboard. But in general the specs place it around the middle of higher end products. It seems great at first glance, but not the best of the best.
It supports up to 6th generation Intel processors by default. Flashing with a stable upgrade will add support for 7th generation processors. It also supports most of the newer standards which might not show up everywhere. In particular it’s important to note that it supports USB 3.1 type C with up to 36W.
But the most impressive feature is that it’s the top of the line motherboards for hackentosh systems. Anyone who wants a home built system which also supports OSX should consider this board above any other.
Ultimately there’s quite a few options to consider when building a computer. Even a simple setup has enough variables to make motherboard effectiveness vary. Choice ultimately depends on whether one prioritizes hackability, expandability or overall cost.
This is also why people should feel free to share their results. A few minor tweaks can often produce some great results. And sharing one’s experience with these boards can help everyone get the most out of them.