Best Motherboards 2019: For Gaming, by Socket and Chipset

Best Intel Motherboards: Z390, H370, Z370 and X299

Credit: ShutterstockCredit: Shutterstock

Graphics cards and CPUs often get more attention, but your motherboard is in many ways the most integral part of your PC build. Every part of your PC plugs into it, its form factor dictates the size of your computer, and its chipset and CPU socket dictate what kind of processor you can install.

If you’re not sure which chipset you’re after, or have more basic questions, you can visit our motherboard basics and motherboard buying guide features to help narrow down your buying options.

The first section of this page contains our recommendations for buying a motherboard with Intel's mainstream LGA-1151 socket. These include boards designed for Intel's 9th Generation "Coffee Lake Refresh," as well as older (though still viable) Z370 chipset boards designed for Intel’s 8th Generation Core “Coffee Lake” family, as well as the lower-cost H370 alternative.

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

For our favorite tested AMD-based boards and exciting news from Computex 2019, you can skip to the next page.

Quick 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 current Intel 8th Gen and 9th Gen Core CPUs require LGA 1151v2 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.
  • You can spend under $100/£100: You can find a good motherboard for less than $100 (£80), but if you want to overclock an Intel chip or you need a lot of ports, you will have to spend more, usually up to $150 (£130) or more. High-end desktop CPUs like AMD Threadripper and Intel Core X require expensive $200 (£220)-plus motherboards.
  • 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 3 support.

Best Intel Z390 Motherboards

Gigabyte Z390 DesignareGigabyte Z390 Designare

1. Gigabyte Z390 Designare

Best ATX Z390 Motherboard

Rating: 4 / 5 (Editor's Choice)

Socket: LGA 1151 | Chipset: Intel Z390 | Form Factor: ATX | Voltage Regulator: 13 Phases | PCIe x16: (3) v3.0 | USB Ports:10 Gbps: (2) Type-C (via Thunderbolt), (2) Type A; 5Gb/s: (4) Type A; (2) USB 2.0| Warranty: 3 years

Pros: Full-Spec Thunderbolt 3 ports • Supports 8K passthrough from DisplayPort 1.4 graphics cards • Two Gigabit Ethernet ports plus 1.73Gb/s Wi-Fi • Third x16 slot switchable between PCH and CPU lanes • Great price for the added features

Cons: Mediocre CPU Overclocking

The Z390 Designare beats its closest rival on features for the price, has similar overclocking limits to its closest rival but beats it in overclocked DRAM performance, and has at least enough extra value to justify its premium over cheaper boards. We have to consider whether the “workstation replacement” PC market will tolerate a board with mediocre CPU overclocking. But given that there’s so little to gain from overclocking the Core i9-9900K, we feel that more often than not the answer is yes.

Read Review: Gigabyte Z390 Designare

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITXASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX

2. ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX

Best Mini-ITX Z390 Motherboard

Rating: 4 / 5 (Editor's Choice)

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: (4) Type A, (1) Type-C (Thunderbolt 3); 5 Gb/s: (2) Type A | Warranty: 3 years

Pros: Vastly-improved Core i9-9900K efficiency • Great performance • Good overclocking • Thunderbolt 3 & 1.73Gb/s Wi-Fi at a very reasonable price

Cons: 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.

Read Review: ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX

3. Gigabyte Z390 Gaming X

Best Cheap Z390 Motherboard

Rating: 4 / 5 (Editor's Choice)

Socket: LGA 1151 | Chipset: Intel Z390 | Form Factor: ATX | Voltage Regulator: 11 phases | PCIe x16: (2) v3.0 (x16/x4) | USB Ports: 10 Gbps: (1) Type A; 5 Gb/s: (5) Type A, (2) USB 2.0 | Warranty: 3 years

Pros: Consistently under $150 • Fully supports Core i9-9900K • Good overclocking

Cons: 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. 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 Review: Gigabyte Z390 Gaming X

Best Intel H370 Motherboard

ASRock H370M Pro4ASRock H370M Pro4

1. ASRock H370M Pro4

Best Intel H370 Motherboard

Rating: 4 / 5 (Editor's Choice)

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: (1) Type-C, (1) Type A; 5Gb/s: (2) Type A; (2) USB 2.0 | Warranty: 3 year

Pros: 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

Cons: 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. 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 Review: ASRock H370M Pro4

Best Intel Z370 Motherboard

Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 5Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 5

1. Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 5

Best ATX Z370 Motherboard

Rating: 4 / 5 (Editor's Choice)

Socket: LGA 1151 | Chipset: Intel Z370 | Form Factor: ATX | Voltage Regulator: 11 phases | PCIe x16: (3) v3.0 (x16/x0/x4, x8/x8/x4, x8/x8/x2) | USB Ports: 10Gbps: (1) Type-C, (1) Type A; 5Gb/s: (4) Type A; (2) USB 2.0  | Warranty: 3 years

Pros: Great overclocking • Triple M.2 slots • Excellent fan header configuration • Enhanced on-board lighting plus two D-LED and two RGBW headers
 
Cons: Multiple resource shares reduced SATA availability by up to four ports • Using the third M.2 slot drops the bottom PCIe slot to two lanes

Gigabyte’s Z370 Aorus Gaming 5 solves the value concerns of its Gaming 7 sibling thanks to its significantly lower price. Strong overall value is this board’s killer feature, especially for customers who love RGB lighting excess. And for those who love the board but hate the lighting, it can be switched off, by zone, or in its entirety.

Read Review: Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 5

Best Intel X299 Motherboards

1. ASRock X299 Extreme4

Best ATX X299 Motherboard

Rating: 4 / 5 (Editor's Choice)

Socket: LGA 2066 | Chipset: Intel X299| Form Factor: ATX | Voltage Regulator: 11 phases | PCIe x16: (3) v3.0 (@44: x16/x16/x4) @28: (x16/x8/x4) @16: (x16/x0/x4, x8/x8/x4) | USB Ports: 10Gbps: (1) Type-C, (1) Type A; 5Gb/s: (4) Type A, (2) USB 2.0 | Warranty: 3 years

Pros: Low cost • Good CPU overclocking • Great overclock memory bandwidth

Cons: Extremely restrictive slot configuration

ASRock’s X299 Extreme4 is a fine value for, say, pairing a PCIe x16 four-way M.2 adapter with a single graphics card. The price could also entice prosumers seeking to go from a six-core to an eight-core CPU. But the board’s restrictive slot configuration limits its appeal to niche cases.

Read Review: ASRock X299 Extreme4

2. ASRock X299E-ITX/AC

Best Mini ITX X299 Motherboard

Rating: 4 / 5 (Editor's Choice)

Socket: LGA 2066 | Chipset: Intel X299 | Form Factor: Mini-ITX | Voltage Regulator: 7 phases | PCIe x16: (1) v3.0 | USB Ports: 10Gbps: (1) Type-C, (1) Type A; 5Gb/s: (4) Type A | Warranty: 3 years

Pros: Good overall performance • Great overall efficiency • Surprisingly high overclocks • Skylake-X requirement provides two M.2’s via CPU PCIe

Cons: 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 Review: ASRock X299E-ITX/AC

MORE: How To Choose A Motherboard

MORE: All Motherboard Content

35 comments
    Your comment
  • abryant
  • 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 too...as per Soaptrails post.
  • dahenger
    AMD X470 please.
  • Jungstar
    No full size b450 of b350 nor micro atx boards???
  • Frederic Jeanbart
    Best X299... For Gaming. Ok. Now, when will there be a serious article for such high end motherboards that actually aren't made for gaming but rather content creation, engineering, etc.?
  • kep55
    I agree with Frederic Jeanbart. I use my old Gigabyte MA770-UD3 based unit for work not wasting time. How about some info on work and mainstream mobos?
  • Frederic Jeanbart
    Why don't you update this list, instead of solely modifying its date so as to make it look recent ? There are newer mobo on the X299 block...
  • Tanyac
    Your data on the MSI XPower Gameing AC is incorrect.
    The board has 2 x Intel GBe LAN ports, not one.
    There are 3 motherboard mounted M.2 Slots. The firsts two come from the chipset, not the CPU. The third is from the CPU. The M.2 expander card anables you to connect another two M.2 drives via a PCIe slot to the CPU lanes.
  • mhamad.canaan
    what about best Mobo for gaming that also supports generation 9 CPU?
  • vark8
    WTF?! WHY is this missing x470 and b450?! Ppl are still buying 3 series?? I thought we have moved on to the 4 series???
  • comedichistorian
    Asus used to dominate these comparisons but they barely have any representation for Intel and they've completely dropped off the face of the Earth in the X299 category.
  • DotNetMaster777
    Intel Motherboards family seems to be good enough for this price !!
  • rolli59
    Strange to only have mITX B450 board! I am sure most gamers are after ATX solution.
  • dennphill
    I am with Jungstar...I don't see any B350 or B450 mATX boards. (I got the title, 'Toms Best Motherboards for 2019 by Socket and Chipset.' You need to add: '...and by form factor.' Thanks, anyway.
  • Soaptrail
    Thanks for the update but 2 out of 4 AMD boards are not ATX size, interesting. Hopefully both these small boards have full size ATX variants.
  • g-unit1111
    Yeah I was wondering about the ATX size as well. I would think the ROG Strix B450-F would qualify as one of the best ATX B450 boards, if not the best.
  • DMAN999
    I own the Asus ROG Strix B450-F Gaming (with Ryzen 5 2600 and 16 GB G.Skill TridentZ RGB 3200) and I am very happy with it.
    It has every feature I needed and I got it for a Great price ($90).
    The MSI B450 Gaming PRO Carbon AC was the other MB I considered when putting this build together, it rated very well in quite a few reviews.
  • fraserlawrence
    Hi Tomshardware editors and readers, I would very much appreciate some guidance on how to improve my new system. I am currently looking at the motherboard options for Ryzen 3700x vs i7-9700k. My current system is totally built off your recommendations in 2014 and has been working wonderfully, thank you all so much! I recently upgraded my gtx 970 to a 2070 super, and now my 4 core i-5 4690K OC to 4.4 Ghz is causing some stuttering and slowdowns in Far Cry 5 and AC Odyssey. I'm deciding between Ryzen 3700x and an i-7 9700k, and the cost of the ram, motherboard, and cooler may help sway me in one direction or another.