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Best Motherboards 2021 for Gaming, by Socket and Chipset

Gaming Motherboard
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware, Niels Broekhuijsen)

Note: For AMD's AM4 X570, B550, B450 and Threadripper motherboards, see page two or our Best AMD X570 Motherboards or Best AMD B550 Motherboards pages. This first page focuses on Intel, after laying out some basics.

Choosing the best gaming motherboard (or best motherboard for another 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.

If you’re not sure which chipset you’re after when choosing the best gaming motherboard for you, or you have more basic questions for a different type of build, you can visit our motherboard basics and motherboard buying guide features to help narrow down your buying options.

The picks below include the best gaming motherboards designed for Intel's 11th Gen "Rocket Lake," as well as "Comet Lake," and 9th Generation "Coffee Lake Refresh."

Below our mainstream picks, you’ll find our recommendations for the best motherboards with Intel's high-end desktop (HEDT) LGA-2066 socket and X299 chipset supporting the X-Series and Extreme line of processors.

The second page of this guide covers the best AMD motherboards, including X570 and B550 chipset models, as well as high-end Threadripper picks that compete with Intel's X-Series platform. 

Quick Motherboard Shopping Tips 

When choosing a motherboard, consider the following:

  • Get the right socket for your CPU: You can find great CPUs from either Intel or AMD. But whatever processor you choose, make sure that your board has the correct socket to support it. The latest mainstream AMD chips use AM4 CPU sockets while  Intel's 10th Gen and 11th Gen Core CPUs require LGA 1200 sockets.
  • Smaller boards = fewer slots and features. Motherboards come in three main sizes--for more info see our diagram and explanation of motherboard parts. From largest to smallest, there’s ATX, Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX. (Yes, Mini is smaller than Micro). You can use a smaller chassis with the micro or mini boards, but you'll have to settle for fewer card expansion slots, sometimes fewer RAM slots, and other connectors.
  • Pay for built-in Wi-Fi and high-end ports only if you need them. Don't spend extra for wireless if you are using a wired connection. You can future proof your PC by getting USB 3.1 Gen 2 and / or Thunderbolt support.

The Best Intel Gaming Motherboards: Z590, Z490, Z390 and X299

(Image credit: Asus)

1. Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero

Best ATX Z590 Motherboard

Socket: LGA 1200 | Chipset: Intel Z590 | Form Factor: ATX | Voltage Regulator: 16 Phases | PCIe x16: (2) v4.0, (1) v3.0 | USB Ports: (2) Thunderbolt 4, Type-C , (6) USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type A, (2) USB 2.0 | Warranty: 3 years

High-quality 14-phase 90A VRM
10 USB ports, incl. 2x Thunderbolt 4
Dual 2.5 GbE plus Wi-Fi 6E
Four M.2 sockets
Premium audio

The Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero has the premium parts and attractive looks to stand out, despite its fairly high price. From its clean, high-end appearance to the robust power delivery, four M.2 sockets and a premium audio solution, the Hero is a well-rounded, feature-laden solution in the upper-midrange of the Z590 motherboard space. With more-than-capable 90A power phases and dual Thunderbolt 4 ports, plus the four PCIe 4.0 M.2 sockets and premium audio bits, the board justifies its $499 price.

Performance compared to the other Z590 models we’ve tested to this point was spot on, and often negligibly faster in many of our tests. Memory testing went without a hitch, with DDR4 3600 supported at 1:1 and easily handling the DDR4 4000 kit. And overclocking testing proceeded without any issue.

Read: Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero Z590 review 

 Best Z590 Overclocking Motherboard: Gigabyte Z590 Aorus Tachyon (Image credit: Gigabyte)

2. ASRock Z490 Taichi

Best ATX Z490 Motherboard

Socket: LGA 1200 | Chipset: Intel Z590 | Form Factor: E-ATX | Voltage Regulator: 11 Phases | PCIe x16: (2) v4.0, (2) v3.0 | USB Ports: (1) USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C, (4) USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A, (3) USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type A | Warranty: 3 years

More affordable than the competition
Capable power delivery
Attractive styling
Last-gen audio

The Z590 Tachyon is an attractive E-ATX-size board that, outside of the extra buttons, you’d never know was designed to be an extreme overclocker. And while it’s certainly not cheap, it costs less than competing overclocking-focused models from ASRock and Asus. The Tachyon’s 11-phase power delivery may not sound like the most robust option, but it delivers 1100 amps to the CPU. This means the VRMs shouldn’t hold back your clock speeds back, whether you’re taking on ambient or sub-ambient cooling with a flagship CPU. If you’re after a board to deliver the best possible speed while looking good and not breaking your build budget, this is the best option we’ve tested.

Read: Gigabyte Z590 Aorus Tachyon review

ASRock Z490 Taichi (Image credit: ASRock)

3. ASRock Z490 Taichi

Best ATX Z490 Motherboard

Socket: LGA 1200 | Chipset: Intel Z490 | Form Factor: ATX | Voltage Regulator: 15 Phases | PCIe x16: (3) v3.0 | USB Ports: 5 USB 3.2 Gen1, 4 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, One USB-3.2 2x2 Type-C | Warranty: 1 year

Solid 12-phase/50A VRM for Vcore
USB 3.2 Gen 2X2 Type-C port
Three M.2 and eight SATA ports
Expensive compared to Z390 Taichi
Annoying use of star screws on chipset shroud
Tough to press PCIe slot latch for removal

The ASRock Z490 Taichi is a great motherboard in the $350-$400 price bracket for building a Z490 system, comparing favorably to similarly priced competition.It includes eight SATA ports (while others have six), as well as a speedy USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C port. It also has a premium appearance and runs cooler than competing boards in the power delivery department.

If you need three M.2 slots and eight SATA ports, this is the only board around this price point with that storage configuration. If your budget allows for an upper mid-range board, ASRock’s Z490 Taichi should be at the top of the list. 

Read: ASRock Z490 Taichi review 

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX

4. ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX

Best Mini-ITX Z390 Motherboard

Socket: LGA 1151 | Chipset: Intel Z390 | Form Factor: Mini ITX | Voltage Regulator: 7 phases | PCIe x16: (1) v3.0 (full bandwidth) | USB Ports: 10 Gbps | Warranty: 3 years

Vastly-improved Core i9-9900K efficiency
Great performance
Good overclocking
Thunderbolt 3 &amp
1.73Gb/s Wi-Fi at a very reasonable price
Egregious DIMM over-voltage
Firmware H/W Monitor misreports DIMM overvoltage
Thunderbolt 3 is only half-speed (20Gbps)
Meager onboard RGB lighting
No Gen2 header for front-panel USB 3.1

Even if you never use its Thunderbolt 3 port, it’s hard to deny the supremacy of a board that does everything else better than the competition, while costing less. The Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac is even cheaper than the non-Wi-Fi version of MSI’s ATX MGP Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon, though that won’t matter to anyone who needs the extra DIMM and PCIe slots afforded by the larger form factor. But for those looking for a Mini ITX board to support Intel’s Core i9-9900K, the Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac is easily our first choice, making it one of the best gaming motherboards you can buy.

Read: ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX Review

Gigabyte Z390 Gaming X

5. Gigabyte Z390 Gaming X

Best Cheap Z390 Motherboard

Socket: LGA 1151 | Chipset: Intel Z390 | Form Factor: ATX | Voltage Regulator: 11 phases | PCIe x16: (2) v3.0 (x16/x4) | USB Ports: 10 Gbps | Warranty: 3 years

Consistently under $150
Fully supports Core i9-9900K
Good overclocking
Second PCIe x16 slot has only four PCH lanes
No front-panel USB3 Gen2
Only one USB3 Gen2 header
Hot voltage regulator requires a fan near CPU socket

An alternative to its award-winning Gaming SLI, Gigabyte's Z390 Gaming X offers similar overclocking capability on substantially similar layout, at a noticeably lower price that garnered it the same value award. It's the best gaming motherboard for Z390 if you're on a budget. After Gigabyte stopped distributing the SLI model in USA, the Gaming X became our only option for budget overclocking of Intel's K-series unlocked LGA-1151 processors.

Read: Gigabyte Z390 Gaming X Review

ASRock H370M Pro4

6. ASRock H370M Pro4

Best Intel H370 Motherboard

Socket: LGA 1151 | Chipset: Intel H370 | Form Factor: Micro ATX | Voltage Regulator: 10 phases | PCIe x16: (2) v3.0 (x16/x4*) (*Shares upper PCIe x1) | USB Ports: 10Gbps | Warranty: 3 year

Two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports and two Gen1 USB 3.1 I/O panel ports
Four USB 3.0 front-panel ports
H370 features at B360 price
No RGB controller
No front-panel 3.1 Gen2 header

Priced around $80 (£78) and at times dipping below $70 (£70), the ASRock H370M Pro4 brings Intel’s more-advanced H370 feature set to buyers who thought they could only afford a lesser B360 model. If you have less than $100 to spend, it's one of the best gaming motherboards for Intel's pared-down platform. ASRock splits the H370’s extra HSIO (high-speed input/output) pathways across two rear-panel USB 3.0 ports and two internal SATA headers. Buyers who don’t need RGB or a 10Gb/s USB 3.1 Gen2 front-panel header will be pleased to find that the H370M Pro4 offers more of nearly every other port than its closest competitor, for a lower price.

Read: ASRock H370M Pro4 Review

Gigabyte X299X Designare 10G (Image credit: Newegg)

7. Gigabyte X299X Designare 10G

Best ATX X299 Motherboard

Socket: LGA 2066 | Chipset: Intel X299 PCH | Form Factor: EATX | Voltage Regulator: 12 phases | PCIe x16: (4) v3.0 (@48: x16/x8*/x16/x8), (CPU @44: x16/x4*/x16/x8), (CPU @28: x16/x4*/x8/x0) | USB Ports: 10Gbps: (2) Type-C via Thunderbolt 3 | Warranty: 3 years

Dual 10GbE, plus 2.4Gbps Wi-Fi 6
Thunderbolt 3 with dual Type-C outputs and dual DisplayPort inputs
Price premium is lower than the value of its premium components
Excessive PCIe, M.2 & SATA sharing
10.8-inch depth requires extra case considerations

Fully equipped for the 48 lanes of Intel's 10th generation Core Extreme processors, the X299X Designare 10G comes loaded to the brink with Intel X550 dual 10Gb/s Ethernet and a pair of Thunderbolt 3 headers with dual DisplayPort passthrough on Intel's 40Gb/s controller. A four-drive M.2 expander card and 2.4Gb/s Wi-Fi 6 finish a package of which the added component value far outweighs the price difference over its closest competitor.

Read: Gigabyte X299X Designare 10G Review


8. ASRock X299E-ITX/AC

Best Mini ITX X299 Motherboard

Socket: LGA 2066 | Chipset: Intel X299 | Form Factor: Mini-ITX | Voltage Regulator: 7 phases | PCIe x16: (1) v3.0 | USB Ports: 10Gbps | Warranty: 3 years

Good overall performance
Great overall efficiency
Surprisingly high overclocks
Skylake-X requirement provides two M.2’s via CPU PCIe
No 110mm M.2 card support
Connecting third M.2 slot to PCH excludes RAID 5 via VROC
Only six total I/O-panel USB ports, and four of those share bandwidth
No voltage regulator temperature reporting
No Kaby Lake-X support

By being the only LGA 2066 motherboard available to Mini-ITX builders, the ASRock X299E-ITX/ac automatically becomes the best choice for these builds. Despite its lack of competition, the price is reasonable and the performance level is spot-on for the Core i9-7900X, even with the board’s lower-than-average default power ceiling. It’s not perfect, but if you’re looking to build a compact high-power Intel X299 desktop, this board should serve you well.

Read: ASRock X299E-ITX/AC Review

Savings on the Best Motherboards

Whether you're buying one of the best motherboards or a different model, you may find some savings by checking our list of coupon codes, especially our list of Newegg promo codes and Micro Center coupons.

MORE: How To Choose A Motherboard
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Matt began piling up computer experience as a child with his Mattel Aquarius. He built his first PC in the late 1990s and ventured into mild PC modding in the early 2000s. He’s spent the last decade covering emerging technology for Smithsonian, Popular Science, and Consumer Reports, while testing components and PCs for Computer Shopper and Digital Trends. When not writing about tech, he’s often walking—through the streets of New York, over the sheep-dotted hills of Scotland, or just at his treadmill desk at home in front of the 50-inch 4K HDR TV that serves as his PC monitor.
  • abryant
    Archived comments are found here:
  • tomasf
    Is there any mobo with Thunderbolt 3 that you can recommend?
  • roy.a.dejesus
    What's considered the best/smallest mini-itx mb and case combo for the Ryzen5 2400G? No discrete vc will be used. I want this to be as transportable as possible.
  • rettinger
    The Biostar X370 newegg link says that it's out of stock and may not be restocked. So, I'm not sure that's a helpful suggestion.
  • Soaptrail
    Are AMD 470 motherboards not mass produced yet? Not one is on this list.
  • tyrii
    Hi Thomas,
    There seems to be mistake on the pricing of the Asus ROG Strix Z370-G Gaming or the $80 price tag is for another motherboard.
  • thalian
    1. The above comment is correct. I only WISH the Asus ROG Strix Z370-G Gaming mobo was available for $80!!! That link actually goes to Amazon's listing for the previous board: ASRock H370M PRO4 .
    2. Why no other boards priced under $200? And why only 6 Intel mainstream LGA-1151 boards? There's a ton of them out there and there have to be more than 6 that are good to use.
  • tazmo8448
    Yeah I'd like to see the AMD X470 boards reviewed per Soaptrails post.
  • dahenger
    AMD X470 please.
  • Jungstar
    No full size b450 of b350 nor micro atx boards???