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Best Motherboards 2019: For Gaming, by Socket and Chipset

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Best Intel Motherboards: Z390, H370, and X299

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 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.

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

Best ATX Z390 Motherboard

Gigabyte Z390 Designare

Gigabyte Z390 Designare

Best ATX Z390 Motherboard

Socket: LGA 1151 | Chipset: Intel Z390 | Form Factor: ATX | Voltage Regulator: 13 Phases | PCIe x16: (3) v3.0 | USB Ports: 10 Gbps | Warranty: 3 years

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
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

Best Mini-ITX Z390 Motherboard

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX

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.

Read Review: ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX

Best Cheap Z390 Motherboard

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. 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

Best Intel H370 Motherboard

ASRock H370M Pro4

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. 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 X299 Motherboards

Best ATX X299 Motherboard

ASRock X299 Extreme4

Best ATX X299 Motherboard

Socket: LGA 2066 | Chipset: Intel X299 | Form Factor: ATX | Voltage Regulator: 11 phases | PCIe x16: (3) v3.0 (@44 | USB Ports: 10Gbps | Warranty: 3 years

Low cost
Good CPU overclocking
Great overclock memory bandwidth
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

Best Mini ITX X299 Motherboard

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 Review: ASRock X299E-ITX/AC

MORE: How To Choose A Motherboard

MORE: All Motherboard Content

  • abryant
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-3753289/motherboards.html
    Reply
  • tomasf
    Is there any mobo with Thunderbolt 3 that you can recommend?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • Soaptrail
    Are AMD 470 motherboards not mass produced yet? Not one is on this list.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • tazmo8448
    Yeah I'd like to see the AMD X470 boards reviewed too...as per Soaptrails post.
    Reply
  • dahenger
    AMD X470 please.
    Reply
  • Jungstar
    No full size b450 of b350 nor micro atx boards???
    Reply