The Best Motherboards for Gaming in 2018
If you’re setting up your gaming rig for the first time, it is quite possible that you will focus more on the graphics card and other components while ignoring the motherboards completely. This can have an impact on your gaming experience as the motherboard is quite an essential part of your gaming rig, as it houses various components such as the graphics card, cpu processors, RAM, etc.
However, this doesn’t mean you’ll get a significant impact on your gaming experience just by changing the board. The kind of board you go for will decide what kind of gaming rig you’ll be able to build around it. It will determine how big your gaming setup will be, including how the big the RAM will be, which processor you can use for your rig and so forth.
Therefore, picking the right motherboard for your gaming setup is crucial because the ultimate gaming rig will depend on your choice of board. There are numerous motherboards on offer and depending on the processor you are planning to use; you can go for one accordingly. We’ve reviewed some of the best gaming motherboards that are known for offering top-quality gameplay results.
Table of Contents
- Best Gaming Motherboard for 2018
- 1. Gigabyte LGA1151 Intel Z170 ATX Motherboard
- 2. GIGABYTE AORUS GA-Z270X-Gaming 9 Gaming Motherboard
- 3. Gigabyte LGA1151 Intel ATX DDR4 Motherboards GA-Z170X-GAMING 6
- 4. ASRock Motherboard Micro ATX
- 5. MSI Pro Series Intel Z270 DDR4 HDMI USB 3 SLI ATX Motherboard
- 6. GIGABYTE GA-Z270X-UD3 LGA1151 Intel Z270 2-Way SLI ATX DDR4 Motherboard
- 7. MSI Intel Skylake H170 LGA 1151 DDR4 USB 3.1 Mini ITX Motherboard
- 8. ASUS ROG STRIX Z270E GAMING LGA1151 DDR4 DP HDMI DVI M.2 ATX Motherboard
- 9. ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero LGA1151 DDR4 DP ATX Motherboard
- Buyers Guide Questions
Best Gaming Motherboard for 2018
1. Gigabyte LGA1151 Intel Z170 ATX Motherboard
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GIGABYTE has come up with two of its best motherboard for gaming very recently in the market viz. the Z170X Ultra Gaming and the Z170X Designare. The products were launched keeping in mind the target market of Z170 buyers, users and power users. This product is very different from the other gaming motherboards launched by GIGABYTE in the Z170X series and definitely manages to stand out because of its first-class qualities.
The Z170X Ultra Gaming is the reborn version of Z170 board, but this time it has been reborn with the latest technology and features, and it has got all those basics which were earlier missing. This best board comes with top notch features such as the Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1, U.2, M.2 (32 Gb per second), USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb per second.
The best 1151 motherboard, by default, uses the Intel’s Turbo bins as it does not have multi-core enhancement enabled on it. Therefore, it does not push the entire CPU’s cores to the highest frequency at stock. When checked it 4.5G profile, the board showed a tremendous performance and even surpassed the performance of other boards. The improved microcode could probably be the reason why there is such a high increase in the performance of the board. The LGA1151 motherboard has the capacity to support the 6th and 7th generation of Intel Core Processors.
Since many of the users were demanding a colour neutral theme in boards for a long, long time, so, GIGABYTE designed the board with metal shielding instead of plastic. This gives it a neutral colour look; hence, the users do not have to worry much regarding the mismatches of their motherboards and their PC cases. This brilliantly designed piece carries the GIGABYTE's latest features like the 100 W USB Type-C Support. There is also 2-Way SLI & Crossfire Multi-Graphics Support enabled on the board which will provide greater gaming experience. This best motherboard has been claimed to be the best support for the 3 Intel SSD 750 devices in RAID 0. The Z170 ATX Motherboard can be easily hailed to be a blessing as this one has got all that has been previously missing in the other Z170 motherboards.
Why We Like It
- The gaming motherboard has NVMe Storage Delight
- Thunderbolt 3 and 100 W USB PD2
- BIOS and Fan control
- Crossfire Multi graphics support
It offers premium features at a very nominal rate and even looks great. Hence, its few drawbacks can be ignored by the user, keeping in mind the premium features that it has got to offer at such minimal price.
2. GIGABYTE AORUS GA-Z270X-Gaming 9 Gaming Motherboard
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GIGABYTE is the parent company of AORUS. GIGABYTE has always reserved the number ‘9’ for their best motherboard launch. The last board to which GIGABYTE assigned the number 9 was X58A-UD9 which was in it a legendary motherboard. This AORUS Z270X Gaming 9 board is their ultimate replacement launch to their Gaming G1 motherboard series.
An E-ATX motherboard, the AORUS Z270X Gaming 9 motherboard has a plethora of features, and when it comes down to enlists them all, it is a big task! This gaming Motherboard has left almost no stone unturned to top the lists of boards. The board offers features that are kept in it keeping the gamers’ expectations in mind. It comes with features such as the Smart Fan 5, RGB Fusion LED Light Show Design and Creative Sound Core3D. Not just that, you will also find features such as Killer E2500 Gaming Network along with Intel Gigabit LAN and Ultra-Fast M.2 with PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA interface.
It has Thunderbolt 3 which supports extreme 40 GB per second. The RGB Fusion LED Light feature in this motherboard has been the first of its kind feature of RGB+W/UV LED strips support for accurate and brighter illuminations. This produces amazing aesthetics and enhances the user’s experience. The board for gaming has 16.8 million RGB colours with seven different lighting effects. It enables the user to customise between different lighting effects, and the user can also go to the extent of syncing the lighting effects with the temperature, time and much more of the good motherboard for gaming.
The Smart Fan 5 features multiple temperature sensors as well as hybrid fan headers. It gives the motherboard the technology of providing advanced thermal detection (more intelligence, better cooling). The Smart Fan 5 technology comes with the combination of 8 Fan/Water Pump Connectors, 7 Temperature Sensors, 2 External Temperature Sensors and All Fan Pin Headers Upgraded to Hybrid Fan Headers. In addition to the features enlisted above, you will also findInteroperable Fans and Sensor. It also supports high current fans up to 24W (2Ax12V) with Over-Current Protection, Intuitive UI for Fan Control, Interoperable Fans and Sensors.
The feature of Dual Killer E2500 Gaming Network provides priority network bandwidth delivery to the user. This enhances the gaming experience of the user by allowing unrivalled gaming optimisation and media performance. After taking a thorough look at all the features and quality of this best 1151 motherboard, we can that AORUS is indisputably the most loaded motherboard that GIGABYTE has launched. This board, which is a successor to the previously best motherboard, the GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1 WIFI is definitely a deserving successor to it.
Why We Like It
- PEX8747 provides to get to get x32 PCI-E 3.0 lanes for 3-way SLI, 4-way SLI, or 4-way CrossFireX
- It bears Dual U.2 and M.2
- Thunderbolt 3
- EK Water Block Creative Certified ZxRi 120dB+
- Four Digital Post Code and OC Features
This best LGA 1151 motherboard includes the best of line audio, networking, overclocking and component quality. It might be slightly above the nominal price, but whatever it is, it is totally worth it.
3. Gigabyte LGA1151 Intel ATX DDR4 Motherboards GA-Z170X-GAMING 6
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With their decision to expand and work harder on the range of their gaming line, GIGABYTE has come up with this excellent piece of creation, the Z170X-Gaming 6. This the Z170X-Gaming 6 motherboard happens to fall between the Gaming 5 motherboard and the Gaming 7 motherboard in the matter of both prices as well as the features that it possesses.
The best motherboard has been launched with some cosmetic changes along with the new Z170 chipset. The overall design of the board is new, but the colour scheme of black and red is the same as old. Certainly, you cannot claim that there is a shortage of connectors on the board. The heat sinks on the motherboard, as is noticed, are usually black with red and grey highlights on them. The Intel’s 1151 socket is the heart of this Z170X-Gaming 6 board. At the lower end, you will find that most of the front panel connections are set up in that place. The Amp-up Audio has been the prime sound source which marks an upgradable OP-AMP.
The LGA 1151 motherboard has the capability to support both the 7th generation as well as the 6th generation Intel Core Processors. There are dual channels built into the motherboard viz. DDR4 and 4 DIMMs. It has Intel USB 3.1 with USB Type-C which has also been claimed to be the World's Next Universal Connector. There are 3 SATA Express connectors which provide up to 16 GB per second of data transfer. Its other features include ATX Form Factor of 30.5cm x 24.4cm, 115dB SNR HD Audio along with a really amazing built-in rear audio amplifier. It supports Dual PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 Connectors with up to 32Gb per second Data Transfer (PCIe NVMe & SATA SSD support) and 3-Way Graphics Support with that also makes use of extra metal shielding over the PCIe Slots for better protection.
Why We Like It
- It has got amazing overclocking features and ability
- Both 6th as well as 7th generation Intel Core processors are compatible
- The red and black colour scheme gives sexy look
- Supports for Smart Switch, Q-Flash and Xpress Install
- The audio quality and features can be said to be above average
The Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 6 offers a large portion of the beautifiers that its sibling has got to offer, however with a dark and red colour theme. This good gaming motherboard will give you the performance as has been expected by you with no shocks. In the given price range, this is one of the best motherboards to satisfy your gaming tendencies.
4. ASRock Motherboard Micro ATX
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Whether you are gunning down airships or holding a fort against enemy fire, nothing can bring down the atmosphere like when your game freezes out on you. You can buy the state of the art graphic cards and audio cards, but that has nothing on the sheer performance capabilities and features of a gaming motherboard. The Super Alloy H170M PRO4 series motherboard by ASRock is one of the best gaming motherboards of 2016. This series takes the protection of the components against static and water damage as a top priority by providing an I/O armour and a high-density glass fibre PCB design. The Full Spike Protection feature shields the sensitive parts against power surges and prolongs the durability. The orange accents across the body add an aesthetic appeal to the board.
The CPU is the heart of the computer, and this board supports both 7th and 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3/Pentium®/Celeron® Processors (Socket 1151). The Digi Power VRM design coupled with the 6 Power Phase design used by this board not only distributes the voltage to the CPU with efficiency and also enhances the execution of strenuous computing tasks and stabilises the lifespan.
Along with bumping up performance capabilities, the ASRock uses a dual channel DDR4 memory technology that offers overclocking potential to Non-Z OC users and boosts the memory performance by 5%. There are 4 DIMM slots with a maximum system capacity of 64 GB when it is run on a Windows 64-bit OS with a 64-bit CPU.
For ensuring data transfer speeds of optimum level, the motherboard houses PCIe Gen3 x 4 Ultra M.2 interfaces that are capable of reaching data transfer rates of 32 GB/s. The PCle slots on the board support a wide range of graphic cards from the ordinary to the professional NVIDIA® Quadro and AMD FirePro workstation graphics solutions. For those looking for heavy duty output ports, it offers four slots to connect all your monitors at once and play on several stations. It also supports major of the graphical output formats such as DVI-D, HDMI, and DisplayPort. To heighten the experience of the gamers, the motherboard even offers a high-quality audio with ELNA audio caps that drastically reduce noise with a bare 3uA leakage. This coupled with the high-rate graphic cards help to amplify the gaming escapade of the end-user.
Why We Like It
- The I/O panel caters to a wide variety of ports both old and new.
- The design is sleek with durable alloy for protection.
- Overclocking gives a slight performance gain that can be tweaked even further.
All these features, packaged in a sleek design at an affordable price range, make this board a must-have for game novices and gamers alike to achieve high performance with a lesser processor.
5. MSI Pro Series Intel Z270 DDR4 HDMI USB 3 SLI ATX Motherboard
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Need to buff up your performance for innovative business solutions or just to look to spice up your gaming experience? Well, look no further as the MSI Z270-A PRO series offers all that and more. These motherboards are engineered to withstand the monstrous load while providing a stable, durable and long-running performance for all of the end-users’ needs. Built with first-rate components and incorporating the state of the art technological developments ensure the best achievable performance level. The framework is made with steel armour that can endure the highest of fall and ensures that the components can sustain under heavy duress. The overall look of the board is aesthetically pleasing with a solid feel to it.
Regarding its memory capabilities, the MSI with the help of the DDR4 Boost tech makes use of its isolated memory circuitry to ensure that there are no interferences in the memory signals and the performance is untainted and stable. Similarly, the data transfer speeds have also achieved a power boost with the help of the Gen3 x4 Turbo M.2. These deliver speeds up to 32 GB/s which is five times the capability of the previous SATA III connections. This reduces the overall boot up time and has the applications and games running at a quick pace.
Any motherboard these days is measured by its overclocking ability, and the MSI series does not disappoint as the OC Genie 4 is the world’s first ever built-in hardware that gives your motherboard a shot of adrenalin with just the press of a button. The UEFI BIOS used by the MSI series have the option of displaying in the EZ mode for most basic functions while the advanced mode deals with more elaborate settings for fine-tuning the performance level of the CPU and all other components.
Another essential feature of a board is the I/O connection ports. This series supports a wide range of graphic cards with a high-quality frame rate to enjoy your games at the highest possible quality. The MSI Audio Boost amplifies the gamers experience as it offers crisp studio quality audio with premium rate components. It also has lightning USB: Double bandwidth that supports USB 3.1 Gen2 Type A + Type C.
The overall hull of the board is made with Military Class 5 components that provide protection against humidity, temperature, short circuit, and also helps to decrease the load on the CPU and boost the performance level. You can also have total fan control through the use of an interface. This will allow you to assign priority for any select component and monitor fan speeds and temperature statuses of the various components. All this at an exceptional price offer makes this a must for the entrepreneurs and the die-hard gamers to have as a tool to achieve excellence.
Why We Like It
- It is the perfect solution for those working on a budget
- The DDR4 Boost gives a kick to the overall memory.
- The steel armour increases durability and lifespan of the board.
- The overclocking ability meets expectations.
For those searching for the low-budget motherboard, that does not shrink back on the features and performance capabilities, will find the MSI PRO series worth a look.
6. GIGABYTE GA-Z270X-UD3 LGA1151 Intel Z270 2-Way SLI ATX DDR4 Motherboard
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The heavy-duty gamers who clock-in hours of gaming time know there is nothing worse than an overheated system. To combat this issue, Gigabyte has released it GA-Z270X-UD3 (rev. 1.0) that houses a Smart Fan 5 feature that will allow the user to interchange the header of the fans to match the different temperature of the various components on the motherboard.
The Smart Fan 5 allows the board to maintain a level temperature and thus enabling the system to reach its maximum potential. This hybrid fan system is interchangeable with other fan headers to obtain optimum cooling. The 6 temperature sensors and the 4 hybrid fan headers offer the solution to the overheating problem that many systems face. There are controls to adjust the speed of the fan from quiet to the full-on mode, and any changes and adjustments in its settings can be done using the intuitive GUI.
The main function of the motherboard lies in its storage capacity and its data transfer speed. For storage, the GIGABYTE M.2 offers a Fast Onboard Storage with NVMe PCle Gen3 x4 110mm M.2 that can store up to 32 GB/s and supports other PCle and SATA interfaces. The ASMEDIA 2142 USB 3.1 utilises the 2 PCle Gen3 lanes to provide a transfer speed of 16 GB/s. This opens up the bandwidth to achieve another 10 GB/s on the USB ports. The board also offers a backwards compatibility with previous generations for connection with a broad range of devices.
The BIOS interface of the motherboard helps for fine-tuning of the various settings, including the regulation of the fan headers and temperature settings. The board also has a high-quality audio output. The ALC1220 is a multi-channel Definition Audio Codec that produces crystal clear sound and provides the best possible experience for the user. It has key features such as the Smart Headphone Amp, 114dB SNR that auto detects the impedance of your headphones to determine the best possible sound with the least noise distortion. The high-end capacitors also help to bring realistic sound effects for the listening pleasure of the user.
The motherboard offers the end user with a 2-Way SLI/ 3-Way CrossFire Multi-Graphics that offers the user with the best graphic performance for the gaming enthusiasts at a high frame rate without settling for a mediocre resolution.
The overall design is durable with anti-sulphur resistant components to reduce damage by harmful sulphur compounds. The system BIOS interface is user-friendly and provides with easy access to most of the settings without having to log onto the computer. The design is connected by 2x Copper PCBs that help to endure loads during overclocking all the while maintaining the performance level. So, for the work-centric user, this is the go to the motherboard to meet all your gaming and processing requirements.
Why We Like It
- Budget friendly with a more consumer- oriented market
- It is compatible with all sorts of PC’s
- The BIOS is user-friendly with many functions.
For those searching for a stable and reliable board with high-performance capacity, along with shiny new features at affordable prices, can opt for the Gigabyte GA Z270X-UD3.
7. MSI Intel Skylake H170 LGA 1151 DDR4 USB 3.1 Mini ITX Motherboard
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The MSI Intel Skylake H170 LGA 1151 DDR4 USB 3.1 Mini ITX Motherboard is known for its layout which shows split up sata ports that make it possible to add cables even with a well-built modern graphics card in place. Imagine gaming in your room and being engaged in a virtual world, the audio quality and on-board graphics make the whole experience a lot more delightful and real. The sound quality makes it possible for gamers to live the game and show off their gaming talent.
There are enough number of 3.0 ports which are ten times faster than the 2.0 ports that make it a terrific upgrade. USB 3.0 ports are powered and can thus help you connect external components and power them. The USB 3.0 has been there with us for nearly a decade now. It is now being replaced by an upgraded version to improve the overall gaming experience. The MSI Intel Skylake H170 LGA 1151 Motherboard is also the first to feature the USB 3.port which has a speed of 10 Gbps that increases the performance of the PC altogether. The board also sports 4 DDR4 slots that use a low voltage of 1.35V with an overall memory of 16GB.
Apart from all these impressive features, the BIOS not only provides some really flexible options like boot directly to BIOS while holding power for x seconds but also is incredibly simple to use. The updated BIOS uses MSI Live utility that runs smoothly without any issues. Few of the basic yet splendid features include an I7-6700 Skylake CPU which provides an excellent overall performance, a huge jump in graphics performance and excellent overclocking options. These specifications make the MSI Intel Skylake H170 LGA 1151 DDR4 USB 3.1 Mini ITX Motherboard a great deal in the market. It is recommended to use the MSI Intel Skylake H170 LGA 1151 DDR4 USB 3.1 Mini ITX Motherboard with a mid-tower or a full-tower chassis. This board has been provided with all ports that have been previously labelled for easy plug and play.
While a regular motherboard lack high-end features, the gaming motherboards have it all. Being one of the best gaming motherboards, MSI Intel Skylake H170 LGA 1151 DDR4 USB 3.1 Mini ITX does not only perform extraordinarily but also provides a fine look with a red lighting. MSI has definitely cut corners on the H170 motherboard as the reinforced PCIe slots are absent with any extra shielding on the I/O panel. The motherboard is available at an affordable and rather economical price. The specifications of the motherboard are highly superior when compared to other motherboards. The MSI Intel Skylake H170 LGA 1151 DDR4 USB 3.1 Mini ITX Motherboard is a deal breaker at the best price.
Why We Like It
- Easy to understand instructions.
- Indicator lights allow you to understand issues faced by the motherboard and troubleshoot accordingly.
- Components fit comfortably and securely in ports
- Low and affordable price
Overall, for a well organised and affordable motherboard, the MSI Intel Skylake H170 LGA 1151 DDR4 USB 3.1 Mini ITX Motherboard is the one for you.
8. ASUS ROG STRIX Z270E GAMING LGA1151 DDR4 DP HDMI DVI M.2 ATX Motherboard
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The Asus Strix combines affordable costs along with its ROG product series. Also, the Z270E Gaming adds features like 802.11a/c Wi-Fi making it a mid-budget and mid-feature overclocking success. CPU Overclocking is basically used to improve the performance of a chip or a motherboard and therefore to have good overclocking is rather important. The motherboard has a unique arrangement of its input/output panel and inside the riser is the distinguished Qualcomm Atheros QCFNA364A M.2 Key-E Wi-Fi module. There are four USB 3.0 ports (referred to as USB 3 GEN 1), two USB 3.1 (known as USB 3 Gen 2) ports, an Intel i219V-fed Gigabit Ethernet port, three graphic outputs, analog and digital optical audio. Graphics cards and efficient audio-visual system make the entire gaming process rather enjoyable.
From a further look, this motherboard gives a traditional look, with two PCIe x16-length connectors that switch from x16/x0 to x8/x8 modes whenever it detects a card in the second slot. This helps in reduction of risk from damage by a heavy graphics card. The position of the front-panel HD Audio header has been altered and has been moved forward as compared to the traditional bottom rear corner. This results in making more room for audio capacitors. This motherboard includes six PWM fan headers, and all six are switchable to voltage regulation speed control.
It supports a memory of 64GB DDR4 RAM that makes the entire process smooth. The five-way optimisation with the features of auto-tuning combined with FanXpert 4 tailors overclocking to a unique build for maximum OC performance. Asus provides amazing personalization exclusively with Aura Sync RGB lighting by registering the board online on the official Asus website. The Aura Sync enables a veritable symphony of lights. It situates 8 RGB LEDs towards the end of the board. It is a well made mid-high range motherboard that is recommended for anyone looking to build a new gaming PC. The BIOS is very straightforward and is best suited for first time builders.
The Asus Strix is a top of the line gaming mATX motherboard with easy installation and perfect positioning of headers. The motherboard is provided with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with magnetic antennae that make it simple to use. The most distinguished feature of the ASUS ROG STRIX Z270E is its stock performance, board aesthetics, layout, and design front panel. This board comes with a plastic covering that added reinforcement and dust prevention. The manual provided with the motherboard was accurate, legible and clearly understandable. The built in EK water block for the VRM is highly presentable during a custom water loop. The outlook is rather sophisticated with a combination of neutral colours. All in all this motherboard is a great deal to purchase for gamers who are looking for an experience of a lifetime. The minimal packing makes it all the more accessible to the users.
Why We Like It
- Classy look
- Affordable price
- Sturdy and well made
- Stiffened slots to prevent bending of cards
For a sleek and attractive motherboard with high-quality facilities for an affordable price, look no further than the ASUS ROG STRIX Z270E GAMING LGA1151 DDR4 DP HDMI DVI M.2 ATX Motherboard.
9. ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero LGA1151 DDR4 DP ATX Motherboard
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The Asus ROG Maximus IX Hero indicates the movement of ROG Maximus to the expensive realm and the ROG Strix taking up the middle segment. The ROG Maximus IX Hero provides a set of incredibly unique features like Realtek ALC1220-based audio in the form of ROG SupremeFX S1220. This offers dynamic range and lower noise levels as compared to the Z170 board. The U.2 ports have been replaced by the M.2 ports which are the interface that will speed up the SSD. There is no change in the number of SATA ports, and it is the same as before and provides 6 Gbps speed. SATA ports help allow connection of CD/DVD ROM’s, hard drives, etc. The motherboard also provides for 3-D Printing compatibility.
The lighting isn’t very prominent, and there is just the symbol of “Maximus IX” on the I/O shroud which is located above a large heatsink that hides part of the 10 phase power delivery. An illuminated ROG symbol is also present on the PCH heatsink. A new feature with the Hero is the Aura Sync that allows you to customise lighting effects with all Asus compatible devices, for instance, graphic cards and keyboards. You can control each section of lighting independently. The rear provides a variety of ports including USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB 3.1 (Gen 2), USB Type A and Type C. There is an Intel-powered LAN which allows the computer to connect to a network using a wired connection. The motherboard provides the usual audio outputs and BIOS Flashback buttons.
The Asus ROG Maximus IX Hero is designed to match the 7th generation of Intel core processors to maximise connectivity with Intel Octane Memory compatibility. The 2x2 MIMO AC wifi (Max speed 867 kbps) is very handy to use and provides great stability. It has an intuitive and rather easy BIOS. XMP is disabled by default which may cause slow overclocking, but this problem can easily be solved by turning XMP on. The ASUS ROG software allows you to control the LED colours and patterns, easily tweak fan speed, automatically overclock, adjust sound, and more. The motherboard supports a full blown water cooling system that helps cool the temperature.
It provides the MemOK button that temporarily limits memory speed to allow booting and numerous buttons on the lower side that help while opening various platforms with ease.
The Asus Maximus IX Hero has an incredible number of fan headers, and two of the eight PWM-capable headers are labelled “High Amp” for pumps and extremely large fans. A five pin header connects to Asus’ Accessory Fan Extension which can be used to add another four fans. The Maximus IX Hero features a total of three x16-length PCIe 3.0 slots but can only support two graphic cards properly. The reason for not using a graphics card in the bottom slot is that the USB 3.0 is the only USB 3.0 front-panel header found beneath it. The cables that connect to these aren’t flexible. Alternatively, the bottom slot proves to be an appropriate place to put a PCIe SSD.
Even though this motherboard is a tad bit costly, it is a much better deal than several premium motherboards available in the market.
Why We Like It
- Fast and smooth processing
- Attractive look
- Flexible with tweaking and Bios
- Easy to install
For gamers who are looking for motherboards that are fast and responsive, the 3.ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero LGA1151 DDR4 DP HDMI M.2 USB 3.1 ATX Motherboard is a must have.
Buyers Guide Questions
What is the difference between a regular motherboard and a gaming motherboard?
A regular motherboard is a motherboard that lets all the components of the computer run at factory settings. It is perfect for normal functions, such as watching videos, browsing the internet and performing the functions the computer is built to do.
However, gamers do not have the same requirements as other people who require the computer and thus have created the gaming motherboard, which has certain features that suit the temperament and preferences of a gamer.
The CPU and components of a computer are built to run at factory settings, but these are not the only settings that are present in their hardware. They can be made to run at higher settings using the gaming motherboard. This is called overclocking and generally, results in overheating of the components and the reduction of the lifespan of the CPU and components.
However, if done right, overclocking can result in much higher and faster performance of the computer and is best for gamers, who need peak conditions in order to achieve full immersion into the game.
Only gaming motherboards can overclock the components of the computer, as regular motherboards generally only run at factory settings.
Gaming motherboards are also built to withstand high stress for long periods of time. Regular motherboards are not stressed on a regular basis because their function is merely to run the computer at factory settings and get their rather simple jobs done. However, gaming motherboards are made to undergo stress for the entirety of the game, which may take several hours. This may destroy or significantly reduce the lifespan of a regular motherboard, but a gaming motherboard is made to withstand this.
Gaming motherboards also tend to have better quality audio chips and are designed to isolate the input and output audio data in order to ensure a lack of cross-talk. This increases the quality of audio, which is required when participating professional gaming and the like.
They also often support multiple GPU’s, a provision the regular motherboard does not have, as well as integrated graphic cards in order to improve the video and graphic output of the computer. Other additions and provisions specific to gaming are provided on gaming motherboards as well, though their specifications are dependent on the manufacturer.
Thus, the main difference between a gaming and regular motherboard is that a gaming motherboard is built to withstand the stresses and additions that hardcore gamers require in order to play their games at optimum settings.
What is the best gaming motherboard for a beginner gamer?
For a beginner gamer, the price of the motherboard, as well as the quality of its output would be the main concern.
A few motherboards that would be of interest to a beginner gamer are:
- The ASRock Motherboard Micro ATX, one of the top-notch motherboards sold at a reasonable price. It has all the requirements a beginner gamer would need, a space for Ethernet cables and USB’s, it has a decent ability to overclock but does not go too far with it. Hence, hard-core gamers would be disappointed, but beginner gamers would be satisfied with its value for its affordable pricing. It performs everything a gaming motherboard would have to and has an easy setup such that it would not confuse beginner gamers. It provides a new perspective on the gaming world and allows beginner gamers to play their games at great settings.
- The ASRock Motherboard Z270, rated one of the best budget motherboards of 2018, with features that would impress any gamer, all at a relatively cheap pricing. A high-quality board with several connectors and simple design, beginner gamers can easily play their games without spending too much time fiddling with the motherboard’s controls. It also has an attractive appearance and is certain to cope with any game the beginner gamer chooses to play.
- The ASUS ROG STRIX Z270F Gaming ATX Motherboard, another of the best budget motherboards of 2018, it has a simple design and high-quality features, such as a memory speed of 2133 MHz and good lighting, with good bios and the capacity to tweak as required. It has a simple design that can be understood by beginner gamers and also has an easy overclocking ability.
These are the three best motherboards for beginner gamers, out of which the ASRock Motherboard Z270 is the most stylish and best suited for beginner gamers who want a clean design and easy controls.
How do you select the best gaming motherboards?
There are six features to look for when choosing the ideal motherboard for your computer:
- CPU Compatibility
- RAM Compatibility
- Form Factor
- Expansion Slots
- Networking Connection
Motherboards come in two kinds: Intel-compatible motherboards and AMD-compatible motherboards. Intel compatible motherboards are only compatible with Intel CPU’s, and AMD compatible motherboards are only compatible with AMD CPU’s.
Therefore, if you have an Intel CPU, you will have to buy an Intel-compatible motherboard, and vice versa if you have an AMD CPU.
The socket type of the CPU will also have to match the motherboard. Certain CPUs have certain socket types, and the motherboard will have to be compatible with or have the same socket type as the purchased CPU, else they will not be compatible.
There are four factors to look into when figuring out the RAM compatibility of your chosen motherboard:
- The RAM type: There are two kinds of RAMs, the older DDR3 or, the newer and faster DDR4. Motherboards can only be compatible with one of these types of RAMs, so if you have a DDR3 RAM, you cannot buy a DDR4 motherboard. Hence, RAM type will have to be kept in mind.
- The RAM speed: Certain motherboards may not support certain memory speeds. Hence, when choosing the ideal motherboard for your computer, you must check that the speed of your RAM is backed by the motherboard.
- The RAM capacity: The capacity of the RAM is generally high, but it is better to know its capacity in case you are building a high-performance gaming computer and need to pick a motherboard which is able to support RAMs of this capacity. This is not a relevant field, as pretty much all motherboards support RAMs sold on the market.
- The RAM slots: The number of RAM slots is a small factor in deciding which motherboard to choose. Motherboards generally have two slots to insert the RAM in, but if you want more memory for your computer, or know that you will want to upgrade your memory in the future, you will have to look for a motherboard with more slots, or for RAMs of a higher memory.
Motherboards come in several different sizes, the common ones being (in ascending order):
- Mini ITX
- Flex ATX
- Extended ATX
The Extended ATX has more depth than the ATX. However, it adds no additional slots to the ATX, unlike the others as they progress from smallest to largest. As the motherboard gets larger, more slots are added to the board.
Thus, if you are looking to add additional graphics cards, professional sound cards, display adapters, wireless NIC’s and tuner cards, you will have to get a larger motherboard. However, if you’re looking to work with the basics and have only a limited space within which to keep the motherboard, you will be better off with a smaller motherboard like the Mini-ITX.
The Extended ATX, as it adds no additional slots to the ATX, can be opted for a classier look and only if the user has a Full Tower computer case to insert it in. Else, if these provisions are not available, an ATX motherboard will do just fine.
As covered before, larger motherboards have more expansion slots within which sound cards, graphics cards, and so on are inserted. However, depending on the brand, the number of expansion slots may increase or decrease, and so if you are looking for a motherboard with several slots, or a compact motherboard that can fit easily into a Mini Tower computer case, you will have to buy it accordingly.
All motherboards come with USB port support, but it is better to make sure that the motherboards come with USB 3.0 support, as well as other ports for microphone ports, FireWire, etc. depending on the requirement.
Most motherboards come with LAN connection support. However very few expensive motherboards come with wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) support, so if you want your computer to have WiFi support, you will either have to buy one of these expensive, exclusive motherboards or buy an add-on wireless adapter.
Wireless adapters come in PCI, PCI-E or USB dongle adapters. These can be inserted into special slots on the motherboard, and so a gamer who wants fast WiFi would have to check if the motherboard has these special slots.
There are four major brands that sell a majority of motherboards in the market:
Motherboards sold by these four brands tend to have a certain quality and standard to uphold, though motherboards sold by even these brands must be inspected, as a good name is no guarantee of the quality of the individual product. However, if you find a good motherboard from these brands, it is a safe chance to take.
Thus, taking into consideration all of these conditions, the perfect gaming motherboard can be found on your personal computer.
Which are the best motherboards?
Some of the best motherboards as of the year 2018 are, by customer and gamer reviews, split into four groups:
- Best Budget Motherboards
- Best Affordable Motherboards
- Best High-End Motherboards
- Best X99 Motherboards
Best Budget Motherboards
The best motherboards sold for an incredibly cheap pricing are:
- The MSI B250M Mortar
- The Asus H110-A/M.2
- The Gigabyte GA H270-HD3
Best Affordable Motherboards
The best motherboards sold for a mid-range pricing are:
- The Asus Z270F Strix Gaming Motherboard
- The Gigabyte Z270 Gaming Motherboard
- The MSI Z270 Motherboard
- The AsRock Z270 Gaming Motherboard
Best High-End Motherboards
The best expensive and luxurious mainstream motherboards in the market are:
- The Asus ROG Maximus IX Formula
- The MSI Z270 XPower Titanium
- The Gigabyte Aorus Gaming 9
Best X99 Motherboards
X99 motherboards are exclusive and extremely complicated motherboards not sold as mainstream motherboards. They support the Broadwell-E line of processors and are extremely expensive. They are the most luxurious motherboards, with all the features money can buy. The best X99 motherboards are:
- The MSI X99A Godlike Gaming
- The Asus ROG Rampage V Edition 10
Buying any of these motherboards will give you the best experience possible from each of these four fields.
Which one to go for?
A good gaming motherboard goes a long way in improving the gameplay experience. The Gigabyte LGA1151 Intel Z170 ATX Motherboard can be a good choice if you’re looking to set up a new gaming rig or upgrade an existing one. This is the latest motherboard from Gigabyte that is compatible with the most recent 7th and 6th generation Intel Core processors. It also supports USB 3.1 with Type C, for seamless connectivity. It also has 2 SATA Express connectors that offer transfer speeds up to 16 GB/s, making it one of the best motherboards for your gaming requirements. To aid your gaming performance, it also has cFosSpeed Internet Accelerator software that comes in really handy during gameplay. This Gigabyte motherboard also features high-quality audio capacitors along with audio noise guard and really cool, ambient LED Trace path lighting for a superior gaming experience. Truly a top pick!
Another premium choice motherboard from Gigabyte, the GIGABYTE AORUS GA-Z270X-Gaming 9 Gaming Motherboard LGA1151 I is latest in line and supports 7th and 6th generation Intel Core processors. It has a wide range of gamer-centric features which includes the Smart Fan 5 and RGB Fusion to name a few. Smart 5 fans ensure that your system offers excellent performance while staying cool. The RGB Fusion features RGB+W/UV LED strips that provide bright illumination for impressive aesthetics and enhanced gameplay experience. You can also customise the various light effects for a great gameplay experience. For instance, you can also set the lights to display the system temperature, time and anything you want to. Overall, the GIGABYTE AORUS GA-Z270X is truly a premium choice that offers everything a gamer looks for. Go for it!
The Gigabyte LGA1151 Intel GA-Z170X-GAMING 6 can be a good motherboard if you’re looking to upgrade your gaming rig to run on latest 7th generation Intel Core processors. It also supports 6th generation Intel Core processors. It is compatible with dual channel DDR4 ram so that you can connect top quality RAM and enjoy a seamless gaming experience. It also has Dual PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 Connectors that offer data transfer speeds up to 32 Gb/s. Another great feature of this Gigabyte motherboard is that it offers three-way graphics support for a great gaming experience. Also, it features extra durable metal shielding over the PCIe slots for proper protection. The 3 SATA Express Connectors are also quite good and offer data transfer speeds up to 16 Gb/s/ Overall, this Gigabyte motherboard offers a great value for money.