How to Choose the Best Gaming Motherboard for Your PC in 2017

MSI Computer DIMM LGA 1151 Motherboards Z170A MPOWER GAMING TITANIUM

Updated 1/16/17

The motherboard is probably one of the most important, if not the most important, part of a gaming computer. It houses all of the important components from the RAM right down to the video card. You can compare the motherboard to the central nervous system which relays all information to the rest of your computer.

This is the main reason why it is important to choose the right quality motherboard for your computer, especially if you are building a gaming computer which needs a lot of power, memory and speed.

Admittedly, it can be a bit daunting choosing the best gaming motherboard particularly since there are so many motherboards out there with different features. So when choosing the best gaming motherboard there are some factors you should consider.

CPU Compatibility

Since the motherboard will essentially house the rest of the components in your gaming computer, it is important to ensure that all components are compatible with one another. The first thing you may want to consider when choosing the best gaming motherboard is its compatibility with the CPU.

There are different types of motherboards that you can purchase from Intel base to AMD motherboards. This simply means that the motherboard will be compatible with the same CPU, of course. Intel motherboards will be compatible with Intel CPUs.

However, it is not just a matter of deciding the same motherboard and CPU but making sure that the CPU socket type, commonly referred to as processor interface, is compatible. Simply put, choose a motherboard that has the exact same socket type as your CPU.

RAM Compatibility

Another component that you need to check for compatibility is the RAM. There are basically three factors to consider when checking for RAM compatibility – type, speed and capacity.

There are essentially just two types of RAM speeds – DDR3 and DDR4. DDR3 is the older version and has been a reliable option for most gamers. DDR4, on the other hand, is the newer version. Whichever type you choose, you need to make sure that your motherboard supports it since a motherboard only supports one of these types.

RAM speed compatibility is also another factor you need to consider. Both your RAM and motherboard should basically have the same speed. If your motherboard does not support the RAM speed then it will be useless for that particular motherboard.

Although not as important, RAM capacity is another significant factor when checking for RAM compatibility. Knowing the maximum amount of memory your motherboard can handle will come in handy especially if you want a gaming computer that can handle extreme performance and that has a lot of memory. This does not weigh as much as the first two because you will not get to close to the maximum amount no matter what.

But Where To Start?

The are plenty of manufactures out there that make a great product that are perfect for your gaming needs and budget. In this next section we have listed several of the most popular gaming motherboards available to you for the ultimate gaming upgrade.

We have singled out five of our favorite boards available on the market that would be perfect for the ultimate gaming upgrade.

Asus 970 Pro Gaming/Aura ATX DDR3 AM3 Motherboard

With gaming becoming more and more popular, the importance of having a good quality motherboard has increased as well. This is one of the reasons why more manufacturers are creating motherboards that are loaded with features, much like the Asus 970 Pro Gaming/Aura ATX DDR3 AM3 Motherboard.

The Asus 970 Pro Gaming/Aura ATX DDR3 AM3 Motherboard supports Intel featuring AM3+ socket and AMD FX processors. It also features an Aura RGB LED lighting control as well as Dual USB 3.1 Type A and M.2 ports.

Features

  • AM3+ socket with 970 chipset for AMD FX processors
  • Aura RGB LED Lighting control
  • Dual USB 3.1 Type A ports and M.2
  • Intel Gigabit Ethernet with LANGuard

Pros

Some reviewers of the Asus 970 Pro Gaming/Aura ATX DDR3 AM3 Motherboard found that one of its best features is the RGB LED lighting control system. This feature gives the user the opportunity to customize their lighting system according to their own personal preferences. It has all of the connections the user needs as well to ensure that they can set it up as efficiently and flawlessly as possibly.

The reviewers also found the Asus 970 Pro Gaming/Aura ATX DDR3 AM3 Motherboard to be quite a sturdy MoBo. It is well-built and fits quite easily into the computer housing. They also did not encounter any issues when they installed this motherboard. All of the port connectors matched up perfectly in the case openings which made it very easy to set up.

Cons

One thing that reviewers of the Asus 970 Pro Gaming/Aura ATX DDR3 AM3 Motherboard notice is that the software that came with it is very basic. There is some customization and manipulation that needs to be done to get it to where they want it. This can be a good and bad thing since with it being so basic you can pretty much update it according to your preference.

They also found the temperature reader to be quite inaccurate. They had to rely on another reader to ensure that they were getting the correct read on the temperature of the computer. If left unattended, the motherboard or PC might overheat.

Verdict

The Asus 970 Pro Gaming/Aura ATX DDR3 AM3 Motherboard is a well-designed sturdy motherboard that is a good option if you are just a beginner to PC building. It is stable enough and powerful enough to get you at a certain level in your gaming experience.

MSI Gaming Intel Skylake B150 Motherboard

Installing a good quality motherboard into a computer is the first step in ensuring that you have a stable and sturdy PC. However, with the amount of motherboards available on the market today, it can be quite daunting choosing which one is best. There are definitely a ton of motherboards out there that are equipped with multitude of features, just like the MSI Gaming Intel Skylake B150 Motherboard.

The MSI Gaming Intel Skylake B150 Motherboard is equipped with a maximum memory of 64GB that supports Realtek and High Definition Audio. It also supports CrossFireX graphics technology as well as featuring several slots.

Features

  • Brand: MSI
  • Memory: 4x DDR4-2133 MHz Slots, Dual Channel, ECC, Unbuffered, Max Capacity of 64GB
  • Slots: 2x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 Slots, 2x PCI-Express 3.0 x1 Slots, 3x PCI Slots
  • Multi-Graphics: Supports AMD 2-Way CrossFireX Technology
  • SATA: 6x SATA3 Ports, Support RAID 0, 1, 5, 10; 1x SATA Express Port
  • Audio: Realtek ALC1150 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC

Pros

A few who have reviewed the MSI Gaming Intel Skylake B150 Motherboard found that it is quite a sturdy motherboard that can be a suitable mobo for gaming computers. It supports the latest LGA 1151 Skylake CPU out of the box making it easier to assemble and install compared to other motherboards.

It runs very smoothly and quietly without much noise which is a plus as it will not overpower the audio from the computer. They also liked that the MSI Gaming Intel Skylake B150 Motherboard runs cool when turned on. There is no need to worry about overheating especially if you hook up a good cooling system to your computer.

The option to overclock is also available with this motherboard. If you do not like to overclock, then that is an option you have as well.

Cons

One of the main issues that people who have used this motherboard found is that not all the SATA connectors are side-connectors. Two of the SATA connectors are top-down which makes it quite crowded for a Micro ATX form.

A few reviewers and users of the MSI Gaming Intel Skylake B150 Motherboard found that it does tend to have some booting issues from SSDs. You have to completely disconnect the SSD SATA Cable before it will boot up. Others find that having the SATA cable located beneath the video card is a bit of an issue.

Verdict

Although there are some issues with the use of SATA connectors and the location of the cables, the MSI Gaming Intel Skylake B150 Motherboard is sturdy enough to be installed for a gaming computer.

MSI Enthusiastic Gaming Intel Z170A ATX Motherboard

It pays to be picky when choosing the best gaming motherboard that will fit your needs. Choosing one that is of bad quality can make or break your gaming computer so it is important to know what features you want in a motherboard and make sure that it’s compatible with the components you already have.

You can find tons of different motherboards with a multitude of features but being able to pinpoint exactly what you want may be challenging. However, there are definitely some motherboards that are easy to manipulate and navigate, just like the MSI Enthusiastic Gaming Intel Z170A ATX Motherboard.

Features

  • Brand: MSI
  • LGA1151, Supports 6th Generation Intel Core Trade i7/ i5/ i3/ Pentium/ Celeron Processors
  • Memory: 4x DDR4-3600(OC)/ 3200(OC)/ 3000(OC)/ 2800(OC)/ 2600(OC)/ 2400/ 2133 MHz DIMM Slots, Dual Channel, ECC, Unbuffered, Max Capacity of 64GB
  • Slots: 4x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 Slots (run at x16/x0/x0/x4 or x8/x0/x8/x4 or x8/x4/x4/x4), 3x PCI-Express 3.0 x1 Slots
  • SATA: 8x SATA3 Ports, Support RAID 0, 1, 5, 10; 2x SATA Express Ports (PCI-Express 3.0 x2)
  • Audio: Realtek ALC1150 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC, Supports S/PDIF Output

Pros

The MSI Enthusiastic Gaming Intel Z170A ATX Motherboard is easy to navigate compared to some motherboards available today. Its settings for XMP profiles, fan speed curves and overclocking features, to name a few, are quite easy to manage and manipulate.

This makes this particular motherboard a good option for first-time PC builders.A few who have reviewed the MSI Enthusiastic Gaming Intel Z170A ATX Motherboard found the LEDs to be quite a bonus. The LED lights on all four corners create a pretty neat effect.

Cons

Compared to other motherboards, the MSI Enthusiastic Gaming Intel Z170A ATX Motherboard is quite heavy which is a little unexpected. However, this may be due to the fact that this motherboard was built with sturdiness in mind.

Because of the extra safety measures added to ensure that the motherboard will not be affected when jostled inside the computer, it has some added weight to this mobo.

Some who have used the MSI Enthusiastic Gaming Intel Z170A ATX Motherboard found that it is not as durable as advertised. After only a few months, they found that the motherboard would just crash and die.

Verdict

The MSI Enthusiastic Gaming Intel Z170A ATX Motherboard is very much a sturdy unit in terms of not getting dislodged or running into any issues when it’s jostled. However, there are a few issues with durability.

Overall, if you are looking to build your own PC but do not have the budget for a high-end motherboard then the MSI Enthusiastic Gaming Intel Z170A ATX Motherboard is a good alternative.

ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha Motherboard

It has been known that brands with popular products will oftentimes upgrade the same product by adding more features. This can be the same for motherboards. Although there are some motherboards that are pretty much set in their features, incorporating upgrades allows them to reach other markets that they original may not have. This is true for the ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha Motherboard.

The ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha Motherboard is an upgrade from the original ROG Maximus Hero motherboard. This new version is still patterned after the award-winning design of the first but with a few more features. It now has new Aura RGB Strip headers allowing users to customize lighting. It also has a 5-way optimization with just one click for overclocking.

Features

  • Brand: Asus
  • 5-way optimization with a 1-click overclocking
  • Intel Gb LAN and MU-MIMO 2T2R 802. 11ac
  • LED lighting and Aura Flex RGB headers
  • Dual U.2 + M.2 + SATA Express

Pros

The ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha Motherboard is a well-designed motherboard taking its form from the original version. It has enough memory for more data at 64GB. It also boots up pretty fast compared to other motherboards.

A few who have reviewed the ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha Motherboard find the lighting control software to be a plus allowing them to control lighting effects and providing options for the type of light they want. They also found the BIOS setting to be quite modern and user-friendly.

Some liked the fact that they are able to manipulate and update the settings quite easily and without much issue.

Cons

One of the things people who have reviewed the ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha Motherboard did not like is that one of the U.2 ports is shared with the Intel SATA ports. This means that once you use that port you will lose the use of all 4 SATA ports.

They also found that this particular motherboard can only support an 8GB stick at a speed of 3200.

Verdict

The ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha Motherboard is an easy-to-use, well-designed motherboard. It boots up pretty fast and the addition of built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and RGB is definitely a plus. However, there are some issues in terms of the connectors as well as the SATA ports. Overall, this motherboard is a good option for any gaming computer.

Gigabyte Intel LGA 2011-3 X99

Not all motherboards are created equal. There are some motherboards that have all the features you are looking for while others will only have the basic necessities allowing you to upgrade it to your standards.However, no matter the type of motherboard, it is important that it be compatible to all the components you already have like the RAM and CPU. Ultimately, choosing the right motherboard will depend on your preference.

Consider the Gigabyte Intel LGA 2011-3 X99 which has a memory capacity of 64GB. It supports Intel X99 Express and multi-graphics technology like AMD CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI. It is an EATX with PCI-Express and M.2 slots.

Features

  • Brand: Gigabyte
  • Slots: 4x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 Slots (two run at x8), 3x PCI-Express 2.0 x1 Slots, 1x M.2 Slot (M.2 Wi-Fi)
  • Multi-Graphics: Support for 4-Way/ 3-Way/ 2-Way AMD CrossFire & NVIDIA SLI Technology
  • SATA: 10x SATA3 Ports, Six Support RAID 0, 1, 5, 10, Four Support IDE and AHCI modes only; 1x SATA Express Port
  • Form Factor: EATX, 30.5 x 25.9 cm

Pros

Reviewers reported that installation is easy and quick. Aside from the ease of installation, they find that the BIOS setting is also very user-friendly. There is not much manipulation that they need to do to get it to their level making this motherboard suitable to install and use even for beginners.

They also liked the extra power connectors for the CPU and GPUs. This means they are able to connect to extra power supply which is a plus especially during heavy loads. Some found it a plus to have the GPUs to be SLI ready.

Cons

The main issue that people who have used the Gigabyte Intel LGA 2011-3 X99 is its booting capacity. They found that having the USB drives plugged in causes them some boot issues. It tends to put your PC on a rebooting cycle unless they update the F10b. They also noted that the RAM will not reboot when on overclock.

Some reviewers of the Gigabyte Intel LGA 2011-3 X99 find that it is not as easy to install compared to other motherboards. It takes a little bit of time and effort to actually get it installed, set up and running.

Verdict

The Gigabyte Intel LGA 2011-3 X99 does have a few boot issues and takes a bit of effort to install. However, once you have that resolved it’s easy to manipulate and update. Overall, the Gigabyte Intel LGA 2011-3 X99 is a good option if you are looking for a motherboard that has a few more features than others on the market today.

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