Best Motherboards for Gaming (Budget, Cheap, AMD, Intel, Asus) 2021

Finding the best gaming motherboard is an operation that takes preparation and analysis. To do this, the comparative test is an effective tool that the customer can make use of. However, it is not always easy to put together all the elements necessary for the relevance of the comparison.

In order to help you remedy this problem, the consumer portal offers you a comprehensive comparison test for buying the best motherboard. So take this comparison with you to get an objective opinion on the matter and to make the best decision.

When you are mounting your PC or when you want to make your PC more efficient, the processor and graphics card often consume the majority of your budget.

But the motherboard is also a very important point: it is the central part of your PC , on which all the elements will be finally connected. Among other things, it dictates the final size of your computer , the most crucial connections and features you will have, and therefore needs to match your needs perfectly.

Do you want to embark on the quest for the motherboard that suits you? Keep reading this article and check out the best motherboards available in 2021.

List of best motherboard for gaming

  1. GIGABYTE B550M DS3H Micro ATX Gaming Motherboard (Overall Best Gaming Motherboard)
  2. GIGABYTE B550 AORUS Master Motherboard for Gaming (Best AMD Gaming Motherboard)
  3. MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Plus (Best Budget Gaming Motherboard)
  4. Asus Prime X570-Pro AM4 Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 (Best Asus Motherboard)
  5. MSI X570 Gaming Plus Motherboard (Best MSI Motherboard)
  6. ASUS TUF Gaming B550-PLUS AMD AM4 Zen 3
  7. ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming (Best Intel Gaming Motherboard)

1. GIGABYTE B550M DS3H Micro ATX Gaming Motherboard (Overall Best Gaming Motherboard)

We wanted to start our comparison with one of the cheapest AM4 motherboards on the market. So we left on the Gigabyte B550M, which as its name suggests is in Micro-ATX format with dual M.2 option.

The appearance of the card could not be more classic. The metal plate is completely black, with some stripes of gray enhancing the general appearance of the product. We will find all the basic connections, namely 4 RAM slots, 2 PCIe 4.0 X16 slots, Dual Ultra-Fast NVMe PCIe 4. 0/3. 0 M. 2 connectors to be able to install several storage disks. The connection at the back of the card is also quite complete, since we will find no less than 8 USB ports, an Ethernet port, an HDMI port to use Ryzen APUs, as well as several jacks to connect headphones and microphone.

This Gigabyte B550M is therefore in socket AM4, which means that it is only compatible with Ryzen processors from AMD. Attention to use the processors 3 rd generation, you will potentially perform a BIOS update, because the version delivered at the launch of the card was not compatible at the time with the latest Ryzen.

The overclocking is done without problem via the BIOS of the card. On a Ryzen processor that is factory clocked at 4.4Ghz, you can easily expect to hit a frequency of 5.00GHz. Be careful, however, overclocking a processor tends to heat it up a lot, and you will therefore need to provide a good cooling system. The BIOS is also rather intuitive and easy to use, something quite rare on a motherboard of this price range. Also note that Gigabyte is a manufacturer regularly updating its BIOS. You should therefore regularly check that it is indeed up to date.

Be careful, given that we are here on a Micro-ATX motherboard, the ports tend to be rather close together. Thus, installing components on some ports may interfere with the use of other ports. You will therefore have to make sure that your components are not too large, and in particular your best graphics card.


2. GIGABYTE B550 AORUS Master Motherboard for Gaming (Best AMD Gaming Motherboard)

Let’s move on to the range above. Here is the Gigabyte B550, an ATX motherboard from Gigabyte, which offers excellent value for money. In terms of characteristics, this motherboard is quite interesting, because it offers a large number of USB and audio ports. In addition, the BIOS provided by Gigabyte is relatively easy to use, and the RGB adds a real plus it. Moreover, it is a WiFi 6 compatible motherboard, which is just icing on the cake.

From an aesthetic point of view, this product offers a premium design, which has absolutely nothing to envy to the more expensive models. The alliance between Black and Orange is rather successful, and very well recalls the colors of the manufacturer. In addition, some parts are made entirely of metal, thus reinforcing the impression of solidity that the card gives off.

The structure of this Gigabyte B550 Aorus is quite classic. We are going to find 4 RAM memory locations, allowing you to take advantage of Dual-Channel. This product also gives you two graphics card slots, so you can install SLI without any problem. For the SSD, you will be able to take advantage of an M.2 slot, which is a real plus when you consider that SSDs of these types offer much better transfer speeds than Sata. 

This card is in socket AM4, which means that it is only compatible with Ryzen processors, and more particularly those of second and third generation. Overclocking is relatively easy, and the BIOS provided by Gigabyte is easy to use. Furthermore,the manufacturer provides you with a software solution, among other things, which allows you to update this BIOS extremely easily.

At the back of the card, we will find no less than 8 USB ports, several 3.2 gen 2 ports. If you want to connect a Ryzen APU, you can take advantage of a DVI port as well as an HDMI port to connect your PC to the screen. Note that this Gigabyte motherboard also offers an Ethernet port, which will allow you to connect your computer to your internet box. However, it does not natively integrate the wifi connection, and you will therefore have to buy a dongle or a wifi card to be able to take advantage of this type of connection.


3. MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Plus (Best Budget Gaming Motherboard)

Let’s change our register without further delay with a motherboard intended for Z490 Intel chipset, and more particularly those from the latest generations. This motherboard comes from the Taiwanese manufacturer MSI, and it is the Z490 Gaming Plus.

The design uses the brand’s color code, with alternating red, black and white. We appreciate the different metal blocks present in multiple places on the map, which will give it a “premium” appearance. The distribution of ports is fairly standard. We will find PCIe 4.0 X16 ports as well as 4 RAM slots. On the back, the card gives you a total of 5 conventional USB ports, as well as a USB Type-C port. The latter can, for example, be used to connect your smartphone to your computer. For network connectivity, it is fully compatible with WiFi 6 standards. 

This MSI Z490 Gaming Plus can support RAM up to 128GB. That’s quite a bit when you realize that most Ryzen motherboards can support 128GB of RAM. The processor slot is socket 1200, the socket used by Intel for its latest generations of best CPUs.

The BIOS provided by MSI is on the whole fairly intuitive, and offers a modern design, far from the “80s” interfaces that we often find. This BIOS will allow you for example to overclock your processor, if it has the “K” particle at the end of the name.


4. Asus Prime X570-Pro AM4 Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 (Best Asus Motherboard)

Over the years, Ryzen processors have grown in popularity enormously, so it is only natural that there is a very wide range of compatible motherboards. Among manufacturers, Asus is relatively present, and its Prime X570 Pro model is one of the most popular on the X570 chipset.

In terms of design, Asus has chosen to alternate between white and black. The upper left part of the map is completely white, while the rest is black. On the plus side, some parts of the board are RGB, which means you can make them match up with the rest of your components. The finishes are rather solid, and the installation of the various components, including the processor, is easy.

This motherboard offers an AM4 socket, which means that only AMD Ryzen processors are compatible. For Ryzen 3rd generation, you may need to provide a BIOS update to make it compatible with the motherboard. It is also compatible with Ryzen 4th generation.

One of the strengths of this card is its very complete connectivity. Thus, Asus has chosen to integrate 3 PCIe 4.0 x16 ports, allowing you to install a graphics card SLI. You can also take advantage of USB 3.2 gen 2 ports as well as a USB type-C port, to connect a smartphone for example. The video part also benefits from the latest technologies, and we will find an HDMI 2.1 port as well as a Displayport port. Natively, the X570 Pro motherboard from Asus is not compatible with Wifi, and you will therefore have to go through the Internet or buy a Wifi 6 card.

The RAM part of this motherboard is fairly standard. Asus has chosen to integrate 4 RAM slots with maximum capacity of 128GB, and small color indications will let you know which ports are linked, in order to take advantage of Dual-Channel. You will also have dual M.2 support.


5. MSI X570 Gaming Plus Motherboard (Best MSI Motherboard)

This motherboard is part of the very latest versions of AMD socket cards. Indeed, its X570 chipset allows completely outstanding performance overall. 

With the arrival of the 4th generation of Ryzen processors, AMD has made the choice to release a whole new series of motherboard chipsets. These are the B550 and X570 chipset, which fortunately Ryzen support the 2 nd and 3 rd generation. Once again, the B550 motherboards are more affordable, but offer fewer features than the X570.

The MSI MPG X570 is part of this brand new line of motherboards. It is one of the cheapest having the X570 chipset. The price / quality ratio is therefore excellent.

The appearance is extremely classic. The card is in the manufacturer’s colors, alternating between red and black. For cooling, MSI has chosen to integrate a fan directly on the motherboard, which is something quite rare. This fan is quite limited, but is more than enough to limit the heating of the card.

In terms of connectivity, this card offers 2 PCI Express X16 ports, as well as 3 PCI Express X4 ports. You can also install up to 4 RAM modules, for a total of 128GB maximum. At the back of the card you can find 5 USB Type-A ports as well as a USB Type-C port.

We note a real desire on the part of MSI to use all the latest technologies released on the market. For example, PCI-E ports have standard 4.0 which is not widely used on the market today. The USB ports are in 3.2, which is quite rare on a motherboard under $200.


6. ASUS TUF Gaming B550-PLUS AMD AM4 Zen 3

Let’s move on to a motherboard that will meet the needs of most gamers, the Asus TUF B550-Plus. The latter will be equipped in all towers in ATX format. The big advantage of this motherboard is its quality / price ratio. Indeed, for under $150 only, you can enjoy a motherboard offering a multitude of ports and connections, including several USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports. This motherboard is therefore made for people who want to buy a low cost pc configuration.


7. ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming (Best Intel Gaming Motherboard)

This Asus gaming motherboard is better (but more expensive) than the previous one. Offering a 1200 processor socket, it will allow you to install a 10th generation Intel processor in your computer. In terms of characteristics it’s pretty good. Indeed this motherboard will allow you to take advantage of no less than 7 USB ports as well as a USB-C port. You can also benefit from four memory slots, as well as an Ethernet port on the back of the motherboard.


What is a motherboard?

The motherboard is the largest card in the computer and takes care of managing the hard drive, keyboard, mouse, network, disk, and ports.

The main subject of this comparison is to find the best motherboard available on the market. But it is not possible to make the comparison without really knowing what a motherboard is.

The motherboard is the main component of the central unit . It is an electronic card which allows all the printed circuits of the computer to be interconnected. Its role is to centralize and ensure the processing of the data transmitted in a computer thanks to the processor, which is generally attached to it.

How do you choose the right motherboard for your computer?

Whether you buy a computer already assembled or decide to choose each of your components to assemble your configuration yourself, or through a professional, it is important to analyze the characteristics of the motherboard. It must indeed meet your current needs, but you must also take into consideration the possible and future upgrades that you will or will not make to your configuration.

The motherboard is the base on which your machine is built, its choice therefore determines the use you can make of your computer and turns out to be, as often with computer hardware, a delicate balance between needs and budget.

It remains to be seen how to choose the right motherboard for your computer! If you don’t have the time or plan to read all of our advice on this topic, we’ll summarize below what is important to remember before you checkout.

Compatibility

The big names in hardware are developing products that rely on separate CPU platforms, originating from Intel on one side and AMD on the other. The choice of a motherboard is therefore first and foremost conditioned by the processor you want to install on it.

To complicate matters, both AMD and Intel have designed different sockets and chipsets, which means that their processors are not compatible with all motherboards on the market. Further details on this can be found further down on this page. The table below summarizes the use and compatibility of the main sockets of AMD and Intel.

The format

There are many motherboard formats, but the three main ones are ATX, Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX. The choice of format depends on the size of your box, but also on the desired features. 

Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX formats are preferred to reduce the bulk, for example for living room PCs, office and multimedia configurations (HTPC), or even compact gaming PCs. These two formats are necessarily less provided in functionality and often not very scalable.

The ATX (and E-ATX) format is preferable to have a maximum of slots (PCIe, RAM, etc.) for gaming use, for heavy applications and HEDT-type PCs ( High-End Gaming Desktop) and SHED (Super High-End Desktop). This format also allows a much better flexibility regarding the evolution of your configuration.

The price

The more expensive cards are of course an exception and often constitute a technological showcase for the manufacturer.

However, there are many cases requiring a large investment, depending in particular on your processor; but also if you want a large number of connectors, state-of-the-art technologies (Thunderbolt 3, Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.1, DAC, etc.), additional features (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth), multi-GPU support (SLI / Crossfire), or if you are considering overclocking.

What types of motherboards are there?

Several types of motherboards exist. Indeed three major models stand out, and knowing how to compare to choose these remains essential for anyone who wants to build / choose their PC.

ATX motherboard

Designed by the Intel brand in 1995, the ATX motherboard was the first modification of the introduction of the AT format in 1984 after WWII. The ATX format therefore corrects all the flaws of the AT format and is considered an improved version. This type of motherboard exists in several forms that you can differentiate especially by their dimensions and the number of connectors with which they are equipped.

This motherboard is also distinguished by the presence of an ignition button which allows easy switching off and switching on of the machine. Additionally, additional connectors have been added to this format. Therefore, the ATX motherboard has more USB ports, Firewire ports, the video connectors and sound, a network connection. The various improvements made to this type of motherboard make it possible to avoid plugging in backwards.

Finally, several versions of the ATX motherboard are available on the market: the standard ATX format, Mini-ATX, EE-ATX, E-ATX, Micro-ATX and Flex-ATX.

The ITX motherboard

It is smaller than the Flex-ATX and has maintained compatibility with the ATX format in terms of housing mounting hole locations and the power connector.

There are also different versions of this format: mini-ITX, nano-ITX, pico-ITX and mobile-ITX.

The BTX motherboard

There is also another format to consider when choosing the best motherboard. The BTX format is a standard created by Intel for improving processor cooling compared to ATX.

The BTX motherboard provides a more direct path to pass air to the front of the case, through the processor, and to the back of the case. This card exists in three forms : the BTX-standard, the micro-BTX and the pico-BTX.

Best Gaming Motherboard Brands

In order to choose the best brand, it is necessary to know the reliable brands offering the best solutions in the field. Then discover in this comparison the 7 main manufacturers of motherboards.

Asus

Leader among the leaders, Asus stands out as one of those inseparable quality brands. Offering ever more advanced models that are always cheaper, the brand founded in 1989 is making a name for itself thanks to powerful motherboards, both for office and gaming. A must, especially since the price will almost always be among the most advantageous in view of the quality.

Gigabyte

Very gaming oriented, the Gigabyte brand remains for many the opportunity to find innovation and technology at a rather advantageous price. Rather, because not all models will be equally well off, and we will find quality at a price that is sometimes expensive, very expensive.

MSI

Always gaming oriented, MSI is a leader in the field along with other brands. Offering reliable, powerful and modular models, the firm’s motherboards will be among the best on the market. On the other hand, many discussions fuel the prices charged by the brand which, however, are not so prohibitive.

Asrock

Founded in 2002 by Ted Hsu and Sterling Wu, Asrock is a company specializing in the manufacture of computer hardware and electronics. It is a manufacturer of motherboards, industrial devices and Home Theater Personal Computer. The company is based in Taiwan and is currently part of the Pegatron Corporation. If this brand is presented in this comparison, it is because it markets motherboards. But, apart from this activity, it also produces mini PCs. During the year 2012, the company’s products entered the final list for this year’s Taiwan Brand Award. The brand therefore offers quality products and it is no coincidence that it is found in this comparison.

Nvidia

The leader. If in the past as much to say in the second decade of this millennium Nvidia positioned itself as a still expensive brand depending on the model, everything changed in the third decade. From 2020 Nvidia offered very advanced models at slashed prices which now placed it undisputed number 1 in the category. Known, recognized. Unique.

Intel

Manufacturer highly appreciated for its PCs, Intel motherboards are still a source of debate today, housed in both office automation and gaming, they are placed in a logical competition with AMD without ever being able to come close or behind. far Nvidia which today seems unconquerable. 

AMD

Nvidia’s main competitor, AMD often suffers from a power comparison with motherboards from the leading brand. Often judged below, often judged good but not exceptional for gaming, AMD remains one of the leaders in the field, and even finds some enthusiasts who would be ready to place it number in terms of motherboards.

Conclusion

Choosing your motherboard from the multitude of options available on the market is not an easy task. Fortunately, by following these few tips, you will be able to find the motherboard that meets your needs, at the normal recommended price.


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