2018 was definitely an interesting year in the world of gaming, not to mention, the world of PC hardware and technology developments. Intel brought out the 9th Gen CPUs and AMD introduced the world to the Ryzen 2 at the beginning of the year. These chips came with new motherboards that are perhaps not as widely talked about as processors and graphics cards, but still integral parts to the latest and greatest gaming rig.
The latest additions brought us the Z390 and X400 series of motherboards, along with valuable and hard-hitting options for the previous chipset release of the X370 and Z370 too. One thing is for sure, a lot of brands and manufacturers are offering some powerhouse boards and when looking to get into the world of online gaming with a brand-new rig, money spent on a well-designed motherboard can take you far.
No matter the board you’re looking for in today’s day and age of technology, it’s ever evolving. You can get a fantastic mix of 8th or 9th Gen Intel boards to go with your next gaming rig, or if you prefer, an AM4 CPU socket board that will blow back your hair. Whether you’re after Mini ITX or Micro ATX, you’ll find a great selection of boards on offer from our expert who have rated and reviewed products to give us the best selection from everything that’s out there.
Best Intel Gaming Motherboard
Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro Wi-Fi
The Z390 Aorus Pro is easily one of the better motherboards on the market today. Not only does the board look super slick with 4x DIMM sockets (supporting up to 64GB), it’s also capable of 4-way SLI and CrossFire. It has three PCIe x16 slots and three additional PCIe x1 slots and sports two M.2 slots for those looking to add NVMe SSD drives into your latest build.
There are thermal guards on each of the M.2 ports and Gigabyte says that the board is able to get 5GHz across all the cores, something that only a few can deliver on. If you’re looking to get yourself a new Intel chip, then the Aorus Pro is the way to get the most out of it.
Best AMD Gaming Motherboard
Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7 Wi-Fi
The X470, like the Intel board, will also catch your eye as it has all the right bells and whistles in the all the right places. If you’re in the market for an AMD board and want to grab yourself the best, then look no further as this will tick all of the conventional boxes.
Support for 64GB of 3,600MHz RAM, three PCIe x16 slots and two conventional M.2 connectors, both of which, have heatsinks. It sports WiFi too with seven USB 3.1 ports on the back of it. If you’re so inclined, you can also add different connectors to get some RGB lightning up in your business, making it super flash, but also super useful.
Intel – Bang for your Buck
Gigabyte Z370P D3
Hang on! If you’re looking for an 8th Gen Intel motherboard, there are quite a few that will catch you eye. It’s never really an open and shut case, but we’ve selected this one because of all the features it offers for such a low price.
The Z370P D3 from Gigabyte gives you 2-way CrossFire support and DDR4 support for up to 4 DIMMs supporting up to 4,000MHz. It has a single M.2 connector, but in this scenario, you won’t get any cooling on it. Not the end of the world, but the motherboard won’t break your bank account.
AMD – Bang for your Buck
MSI B350 PC Mate
Another motherboard to add to your budget PC list, MSI’s addition to our list is a welcome one. First off, the price is where this separates it from everything else as this motherboard is unbelievably cheap considering what you get. It has solid basics specs with the usual 4x DIMM slots and 2x PCIe x16 slots.
It’s still an ATX form factor board, so you get the space you need, but since the price point is so low, you are sacrificing on some of the things you get in other boards. You’ll get 4 SATA ports and a single M.2 port for NVMe drives, it even has a couple of PCI connectors which is quite handy if you’re looking to use some older expansion cards.
There’s no hiding the fact that the MSI B350 PC Mate is one of the slowest of the bunch, it’s only just behind some of the big hitters, and in terms of value for money, you’ll do yourself justice if you’re looking to get onto the gaming PC ladder.
Best High-End Intel Board
ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula
If you have the money to spend, you might as well go big. The ASUS Rog Maximus XI Formula is one of those big money boards that has a lot of frills, but if you spend the money on it, you’ll be able to justify it to anyone who asks.
The first big thing you’ll notice is that the board has a hybrid VRM liquid cooling block integrated directly onto the board, which is sure to turn a few heads. Aside from that, the board looks really cool. It has things like extra secure Safeslots in the board, one-sided clips for the Q-DIMM section to secure the memory modules, and automated system-wide tuning.
There are so many features on this board, some of them are really awesome, others are just a nice addition. When you’re paying this kind of price for the board, you’ll welcome them all, but some are just “fluff”. The board looks great, has a really quality feel about it and offers all the bells and whistles that top boards have. You’ll get the 4x DIMM slots, the dual M.2 slots with heatsinks and multi GPU support, all in flashing RGB lighting.
Best High-End AMD Board
ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero
Consistency is often key when looking at high-end boards and that couldn’t be truer for the ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero. It’s a bulky, albeit elegant board, that is decorated with heatsinks to offer the best cooling we’ve seen on a number of AMD boards.
It looks the part, with its aggressive metallic sheen and slight glow from the RGB lighting. Two M.2 ports, 4 PCIe slots, plenty of overclocking features and micro buttons and a myriad of USB ports for you to plug everything from your mouse to your portable vacuum cleaner into the PC.
As with many high-end boards, it has quite a high-power draw when you aren’t tweaking the settings and the price is a little high too. If you can look past some of those things, it makes for the best choice for our high-end board category.
Best Mini ITX Intel
ASUS ROG Strix H370-I
This Mini ITX form factor board brings with it 2x M.2 slots, a few USB 3.1 slots and 2x DIMM slots, up to 2,666MHZ of DDR memory. There are 4x SATA slots and a single PCIe x16 slot. It’s small, it’s compact and it offers everything you could want from a mini form factor board. We’re still waiting on that 390 upgrade for the 9th Gen chip though…
Best Mini ITX AMD
ASUS Rog Strix X470-I
Similar to the H370-I, but a little better and compatible with the AM4, the X470-I has what it takes to be the best mini form factor board we could find. It comes in at a relatively good price, has WiFi, 2x M.2 slots, a surprisingly high number of USB slots and 2x DIMM up to 3, 466MHz.
Best Micro ATX Intel
Gigabyte B360M D3H
As a Micro ATX form factor board, the B360M supports both 8th and 9th Gen Intel processors and has Dual Channel DDR4 up to 4 DIMM support. It has an ultra-fast M.2 slot with PCIe and SATA interface and Smart Fan features too.
Best Micro ATX AMD
MSI ProSeries B350M Pro-VDH
Another great Micro ATX form factor is the ProSeries B350M from MSI. Not only does it offer DDR4 up to 3,200MHZ, but it also gives you NVMe support up to 32 GB/s. The board actually looks pretty sleek and impressive and we felt that if you weren’t too interested in going for a massive full tower case, this board could do wonders.