Best gaming motherboards in 2024

Think of the best gaming motherboard as the foundation for your future PC. Your motherboard dictates what your gaming PC can and can not do. It also tells what components you should buy since not all PC parts fit into all motherboards. A good motherboard should ideally provide you with worry-free gaming lasting multiple CPU and GPU generations.

When it comes to AMD's latest Zen 4 processors, the best X670 gaming motherboard and best B650 gaming motherboard are the Gigabyte X670 Aorus Elite AX and the Asus TUF Gaming B650-Plus Wi-Fi. These offer the best balance of features, performance, and value for money than any other models we've tested. These should support at least two more generations of Ryzen CPUs, as long as you update the BIOS.

For owners of Intel's 12th, 13th, or 14th Gen CPUs, the best Z790 gaming motherboard and best B760 gaming motherboard are the MSI MAG Z790 Tomahawk WiFi and Asrock B760M PG Sonic WiFi. Once again, you're getting a wealth of features, solid performance, and all at sensible prices. Later this year, Intel will release a new CPU socket and chipset for its Arrow Lake processors, but a Z790 gaming PC will last you for many years to come.

Curated by
Dave James
Curated by
Dave James

Ever since building my first gaming PC as a teen I've been fascinated by their guts and have turned poking, prodding, and testing systems into a profession. Over the last 20 years or so I've been testing gaming PCs and have always been more interested in how a manufacturer squeezes the best parts and the best performance out of their budget. But I can't lie, I do love an over-the-top big rig, too.

The Quick List

Recent updates

Updated May 24, 2024 to make our recommendations even clearer and easier to read. Our latest reviews have also been added, but our recommendations remain unchanged at this moment in time.

Best Intel Z790 gaming motherboard

The best Intel gaming motherboard

Specifications

CPU support: Intel 12th and 13th Gen
Socket: LGA 1700
Size: ATX
Memory support: 4x DIMM, Up to 128GB, DDR5-7200+(OC)
Expansion slots: 1x PCIe 5.0 x16, 1x PCIe 4.0 x4, 1x PCIe 3.0 x1
Video ports: 1x DisplayPort 1.4. 1x HDMI 2.1
USB: Up to 1x USB 3.2 Gen2x2, 6x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 6x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 6x USB 2.0
Storage: 4x M.2, 7x SATA
Network: Intel 2.5G LAN, Intel Wi-Fi 6E

Reasons to buy

+
Well balanced feature set for the price
+
Excellent VRM
+
Seven SATA ports
+
Excellent connectivity options

Reasons to avoid

-
No PCIe 5.0 M.2
-
VRM heatsinks could be better
-
Behind the best at memory overclocking
Buy if...

✅ You want a powerful motherboard without unnecessary frills: The Z790 Tomahawk WiFi offers great value for money, allowing you to allocate more of your budget towards a better GPU or CPU, which will have a much greater impact on your rigs' overall performance.

You want to run a high-end CPU: The Z790 Tomahawk WiFi features a very good power delivery system, meaning it will happily run any CPU you care to throw at it, up to and including a 14900K (after a BIOS update).

Don't buy if...

You want to buy a PCIe Gen 5 SSD: The Z790 Tomahawk WiFi lacks PCIe Gen 5 SSD support. Though the tangible performance benefits over a Gen 4 SSD are minimal, it is something to be aware of if you want to get the absolute best out of the fastest SSDs.

The MSI MAG Z790 Tomahawk Wi-Fi is the best Z790 gaming motherboard you can buy right now, thanks to its wealth of features, support for any Intel CPU, and reasonable price tag. At $319 / £337 / AU$569 it's not cheap, though compared to what some premium tier boards are selling for, it's not badly priced at all. There's tough competition from the other vendors in its price range though.

You're getting support for four M.2 drives, though none of them are PCIe 5.0 capable—PCIe 4.0 is the fastest you get, but that's not an issue. The Z790 Tomahawk also comes with seven SATA ports. For bulk storage, SATA still has a place and those seven ports alone may be a deal-maker for some users.

Unlike some PCIe 5.0 SSD supporting boards, such as the more expensive Gigabyte Aorus Z790 Master with its massive M.2 heatsink, the Tomahawk doesn’t need one, sticking with a low profile design that doesn’t require lots of surface area.

If you make up a checklist of what you want from a motherboard, the MSI Z790 Tomahawk should have most of what you need. Things like USB4 or 10G LAN are what board makers use to justify the price of motherboards costing double the money of the Z790 Tomahawk. The checklist is complete for most users. 

Wi-Fi 6E, 2.5G LAN, a strong VRM capable of handling an i9 14900K, lots of USB ports including 3.2 Gen 2x2, a solid BIOS, and a discrete design ready to blend in with just about any build theme. Ask yourself if you need more, because if you do, be prepared to take a big step up in price.

Perhaps its lack of PCIe 5.0 M.2 support counts against and it requires good airflow if you subject it to heavy loads, but the MSI MAG Z790 Tomahawk is still a solid, feature-rich board that delivers a core feature set that will suit 95% or more of users.

Read our full MSI MAG Z790 Tomahawk Wi-Fi review

Best Intel Z690 gaming motherboard

The best Intel Z690 gaming motherboard

Specifications

CPU support: Intel 12th Gen
Socket: LGA 1700
Size: ATX
Memory support: 4x DIMM, up to 128GB, DDR5-6400 (OC)
Expansion slots: 1x PCIe 5.0 x16, 2x PCIe 4.0 x16 (running at x4)
Video ports: 1x DisplayPort 1.4
USB: Up to 2x USB 3.2 Gen2x2, 4x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 6x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 8x USB 2.0
Storage: 4x M.2, 6x SATA 6Gbps
Network: Intel Wi-Fi 6; Intel i225V 2.5G LAN

Reasons to buy

+
Four M.2 slots
+
13 rear USB ports
+
Strong VRM

Reasons to avoid

-
Grey metal might not blend into your build
-
Wi-Fi 6 only
Buy if...

✅ You want to save a bit of money over an equivalent Z790 board: A good Z690 motherboard remains a good board today. Though getting harder to find, the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Pro is an affordable and feature-rich option that will happily run a 13th or 14th Gen CPU after a BIOS update.

You want a lot of USB ports: The Z690 Aorus Pro features no less than 13 rear USB ports including a Type-C 20 Gbps port (with up to seven more ports available via headers). Those USB Christmas trees or plasma balls will be right at home.

Don't buy if...

You need Wi-Fi 6E or Wi-Fi 7: The Z690 Aorus Pro comes equipped with Wi-Fi 6 only. Though Wi-Fi 6E routers are still not prevalent (even after the release of Wi-Fi 7), you may need to purchase a separate adapter if your network supports WiFi 6E or WiFi 7.

When the first Z690 motherboards for Intel's Alder Lake CPUs were announced, it was expected that they would all be super-expensive. The Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Pro bucked that trend by offering a rounded feature set, along with DDR5 support, for around $330/AU$499. This is why it's such an easy decision for us to recommend it as the best Z690 gaming motherboard.

There are cheaper DDR4 boards around—Gigabyte also makes an Aorus Pro in DDR4 flavor, too, though that's not sold in the US or EU—but if you want to get the absolute most out of the new Intel platform you want DDR5.

Gigabyte has been smart about the way it's specced out the Aorus Pro. By limiting it to 'just' Wi-Fi 6 wireless (as opposed to Wi-Fi 6E) and 2.5G Intel wired networking connections, and eschewing such unnecessary luxuries as Thunderbolt 4 or another M.2 slot, it has managed to keep the price at least relatively sensible.

And it's a great performer, too, delivering system and gaming performance easily on par with the far more expensive boards we've also tested. The BIOS is maturing regularly as well, which makes us completely confident in recommending the Gigabyte board as our pick of the Z690 bunch.

The only downside with this option is the high contrast design, with lots of grey heatsinks. Though a lot of the grey chipset and M.2 cooling will be hidden beneath a GPU, it might not be the easiest board to blend in with your build. There's also minimal RGB lighting with just a tiny Aorus logo atop the rear I/O heatsink. 

That's rare for a gaming motherboard in 2022. There are four RGB headers, though, with two of them being addressable, so you can still add plenty of flashy illumination if you really want.

Gigabyte's Z690 Aorus Pro sits in a genuine Alder Lake sweet spot, where it offers good value for money and a nice, rounded feature set. Features such as Thunderbolt 4, a fifth M.2 slot, or 10G LAN would add considerable extra cost which is hard to justify. With plain Wi-Fi 6, 4x M.2 slots, a strong VRM, and loads of USB ports, most gamers will be happy. And at this price, you'll have a few dollars that you can put towards the pricier things, like a faster GPU.

Read the full Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Pro review.

Best Intel B760 gaming motherboard

The best Intel B760 gaming motherboard

Specifications

CPU support: Intel 12th, 13th and 14th Gen
Socket: LGA 1700
Size: Micro ATX
Memory support: 4x DIMM, up to 192GB, DDR5-7200+
Expansion slots: 1x PCIe Gen5 x16, 1x PCIe 4.0 x1, 1x M.2 E-Key
Video ports: 1x HDMI 2.1; 1x DP 1.4; 1x eDP 1.4
USB: 2x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C; 1x USB 3.2 Gen2; 6x USB 3.2 Gen1; 6x USB 2.0
Storage: 3x M.2; 4x SATA
Network: Wi-Fi 6E; Realtek 2.5G LAN

Reasons to buy

+
Sonic the Hedgehog!
+
Solid VRM
+
Good connectivity options and I/O
+
Good value

Reasons to avoid

-
Tough competition
-
No USB 3.2 Gen 2x2
-
Average audio
Buy if...

✅ You care nothing for manual CPU overclocking: Like all B760 motherboards, the ASRock B760M PG Sonic WiFi lacks the ability to manually overclock your CPU. Not that it matters as much these days thanks to the aggressive and well-tuned turbo modes on offer from 12th, 13th and 14th Gen CPUs.

You love Sonic the Hedgehog: Aesthetics are usually secondary to features, value for money or BIOS maturity, but who cares about that. This is a delightfully retro looking motherboard.

Don't buy if...

You need more expansion potential: The B760M PG Sonic WiFi is a micro-ATX motherboard, so it doesn't come with the expansion slot complement of most full ATX B760 boards.

Aesthetics shouldn't really matter when looking for a budget motherboard, but the ASRock B760M Sonic Wi-Fi is different—not only is it (subjectively) a great looker, it's feature-rich and very capable, and our choice for the best B760 gaming motherboard.

Mind you, the Sonic branding is everywhere. There's a large blue Sonic stencil on the rear of the board and even the BIOS has a Sonic blue theme. The heatsinks have a brushed metal look and you get a line of RGBs underneath the bottom M.2 heatsink. Fortunately, underneath it all is a very fine motherboard.

The B760M Sonic has a good list of features for a Micro-ATX board. It's got a PCIe 5.0 x16 slot and a PCIe 4.0 x1 slot. There are three PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots, all of which are cooled by simple heatsinks, and they're joined by four SATA ports. The four memory slots support 192GB of memory, though with the latest BIOS, you even have the option of running 256GB! Not that many will require that much.

The VRM setup is a decent 12+1+1 phase design with dual 8-pin power connectors. It happily ran an i9 13900K in our testing, and it will accept 14th Gen processors with the newer BIOSes, so you won't have any concerns with a Core i5 or i7 CPU.

ASRock has given its B760M Sonic Wi-Fi some pretty decent rear I/O connectivity. You get four USB 2.0 ports and four 10 Gbps Gen 2 ports, one of which is Type-C. Intel WiFi 6E and Realtek 2.5G LAN controllers take care of networking duties, while Realtek ALC897 provides audio.

It also has HDMI 2.1 and DP 1.4a ports, which add a bit of flexibility for non-gaming purposes. One of the more unusual features you'll see is an eDP header that can be used with ASRock's case-mounted LCD panel.

Intel's B-series motherboards have come a long way in recent years and the ASRock B760M Sonic Wi-Fi is a good example of that. It can run a power-demanding CPU and host lots of fast DDR5 memory, and its connectivity options match those of high-end boards from just a few years ago. Users looking for an affordable motherboard won't have any buyer's remorse.

There's a lot of competition in this price range, with all major vendors having decent options. There aren't any that offer the capabilities of the ASRock though, and none of the competing options come with the lovely Sonic theme that sets this one apart from a rather bland crowd.

Read our full Asrock B760M PG Sonic WiFi review.

Best AMD X670 gaming motherboard

The best AMD X670 gaming motherboard

Specifications

CPU support: AMD Ryzen 7000
Socket: AM5
Size: ATX
Memory support: 4x DIMM, up to 128GB, up to DDR5-6666 (OC)
Expansion slots: 1x PCIe 4.0 x16, 1x PCIe 4.0 x4, 1x PCIe 3.0 x2
Storage: 4x M.2, 4x SATA 6Gbps
Networking: AMD RZ616 Wi-Fi 6E; Realtek 2.5G LAN
Rear USB: 2x USB 3.2 Gen2x2, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 10x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 8x USB 2.0

Reasons to buy

+
Good value for money
+
Strong VRM
+
Good connectivity options

Reasons to avoid

-
Cheap audio
-
B650/E competition
Buy if...

✅ You want a board that will last you for many years: AMD's Zen 4 generation is just the first of likely another two that will remain compatible with the AM5 socket. A good quality board like the Gigabyte X670 Aorus Elite AX is sure to accept future Zen 5 and likely Zen 6 CPUs, giving it a long lifespan.

You want a lot of USB ports: Gigabyte typically equips its premium boards with an excellent USB complement. Whatever devices you care to name, including keyboards, mice, DACs, headsets, thumb drives, printers or multiple cables for charging, you can run them all at the same time.

Don't buy if...

You must have a PCIe Gen 5 x16 slot: Though it means nothing now, future graphics cards will support PCIe Gen 5. Who knows if a distant RTX 6090 or similar will benefit or not? If you absolutely must have it, you'll need to step up to a X670E or consider a B650E alternative.

If you're in the market for the best X670 gaming motherboard, then the Gigabyte X670 Aorus Elite AX comes with enough great features, at such a reasonable price point, that you shouldn't bother considering any X670E boards. 

Part of the reason X670E boards cost a lot is because of the high-quality signalling required for both PCIe 5.0 expansion and M.2 slots. But since PCIe 5.0 x16 for graphics cards means nothing right now, an X670 board is a perfectly viable option. And at $289 / £349 / AU$599, the Gigabyte X670 Aorus Elite AX is a heck of a lot better value than X670E boards.

In total, there are four M.2 slots made up of the aforementioned primary PCIe 5.0 x4 one, plus a further three PCIe 4.0 x4 slots that are cooled by a single large heatsink. There are four SATA ports to round out the storage complement. Other highlights include a USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 type-C header, power, reset, and CMOS clear buttons, and a Thunderbolt 4 header.

The board comes with a 16+2+2 phase VRM with 70A power stages. More than enough for the average user. Throw a Ryzen 9 7950X with PBO enabled into the Elite AX and you won’t have a problem.

The cooling, storage, and VRM are more than enough to suit most users. But is the I/O lacking then? Hardly. The Aorus Elite AX includes AMD's RZ616 Wi-Fi 6E and Realtek 2.5G LAN. You'd expect to miss out on USB 4 at this price, but the rest of the USB count is stellar. You get a 3.2 Gen 2x2 type-C port, two Gen 2 ports, six Gen 1 ports, and four 2.0 ports. That's 13 rear USB ports!  There's a HDMI 2.1 port for use with Ryzen 7000's newly included integrated graphics along with a BIOS flashback button. 

The audio is nothing special, though, with an ageing Realtek ALC897 codec taking care of things. An S/PDIF output would be nice too, but apart from that, there's not much to complain about with regards to connectivity.

If nothing else, the Elite AX shows that manufacturers are getting a bit greedy at the high-end of the market. If you absolutely must have USB4, 10G LAN or Thunderbolt, you'll have to pay a LOT more for it. For the mainstream market, a board like the Aorus Elite AX is where it's at.

Read our full Gigabyte X670 Aorus Elite AX review.

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Best AMD B650 gaming motherboard

The best price on an AM5 board

Specifications

CPU support: AMD Ryzen 7000
Socket: AM5
Size: ATX
Memory support: DDR5-6400+(OC), Up to 128GB
Expansion slots: 1x PCIe 5.0, 2x PCIe 4.0
Storage: 3x M.2, 4x SATA
Networking: Realtek 2.5G LAN, Wi-Fi 6
Rear USB: 1x USB 3.2 Gen2x2, 3x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 3x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 8x USB 2.0

Reasons to buy

+
VRM and cooling built for demanding CPUs
+
Good USB complement
+
Refined BIOS
+
Enhanced PBO modes

Reasons to avoid

-
Wi-Fi 6 only
-
No PCIe 5.0 GPU support
-
Pricey compared to some competing boards
Buy if...

✅ You want an affordable B650 board that can handle future high-end CPUs: The Asus TUF Gaming B650 Plus WiFi features big and chunky heatsinks and a VRM that has no problem handling the demands of a Ryzen 9 7950X.

You want a stable and mature AM5 board: At the time of the launch of the AM5 platform, some boards were a little rough around the edges. Its refined BIOS will hold it in good stead for years to come.

Don't buy if...

You're on a tight budget: The TUF Gaming B650 Plus WiFi is a solid board, but it's a step up in price from cheaper B650 boards, especially if plan to pair it with a more affordable Zen 4 chip that won't tax the VRM and cooling of the board.

AMD's B650 might be its mid-range chipset but that doesn't mean you should expect motherboards using it to be lacking in features. The Asus TUF Gaming B650 Plus Wi-Fi is the best B650 gaming motherboard you can buy because it's the perfect example of a motherboard that doesn't lack features.

To start things off, the primary M.2 slot supports up to PCIe 5.0, while the other two support PCIe 4.0. The primary slot's cooling is relatively small compared to some of the chunky M.2 heatsinks I've seen, including those shipping with the Asrock X670E Pro RS and Gigabyte Z790 Aorus Master.

The VRMs are decent, if not spectacular, but it's all relative. Expecting a gazillion 105A stages is something that's restricted to boards at well over double the price. The 12+2 phase design with 60A stages is enough to power a Ryzen 9 7950X without issue.

Asus has done a wonderful job with the TUF B650 Plus' cooling design. The big and chunky heatsinks provide lots of surface area while allowing lots of air to circulate freely. Some mid-tier boards can skimp a little on VRM cooling. Here, Asus did not.

The motherboard comes with a good set of rear I/O ports which are perfectly adequate for things like keyboards, mice and printers, which don’t need high-speed ports. There's a single 5Gbps Type-C front connector and up to two Type-A and four USB 2.0 ports. Not bad, but a 10 Gbps Type-C port would have been nice. You also get 2.5G LAN and Wi-Fi 6, though notably, not 6E.

Asus's TUF Gaming B650 Plus is a solid entry into the market. It feels refined, it's got a good core feature set with excellent cooling, subtle good looks, and apart from the missing out on a PCIe 5.0 slot, it's destined to have a long life ahead of it. It may not tick every feature check box, but it's got most of what you need.

Read our full Asus TUF Gaming B650 Plus Wi-Fi review.

Best AMD X570 gaming motherboard

The best X570 ever created, and the last AM4 board you'll ever need

Specifications

CPU support: AMD Ryzen 5000 Series / 4000 G-Series / 3000 Series/ 3000 G-Series / 2000 Series / 2000 G-Series
Socket: AM4
Size: ATX
Memory: 4x DIMM, Up to 128GB, DDR4-4866 (OC)
Expansion slots: 2x PCIe 4.0 x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1x PCIe 4.0 x1
Video ports: N/A
Rear USB: 4x USB 3.2 Gen1, 8x USB 3.2 Gen2 (1x USB Type-C)
Storage: 3x M.2; 8x SATA
Networking: 802.11ax 2.4Gbps Wi-Fi; Intel I211-AT 1G & Realtek RTL8125 2.5G LAN

Reasons to buy

+
Clean design
+
Great performance
+
No chipset fan

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
Buy if...

✅ You want arguably the best AM4 motherboard you can buy: Asus hit it out of the park with the Crosshair VIII Dark Hero. It's the culmination of years of refinement and design tweaks and it'll be very hard to find a better AM4 motherboard.

You love overclocking and tweaking: The Crosshair VIII Dark Hero comes with a BIOS packed with overclocking options. It's particularly adept at running fast DDR4 memory.

Don't buy if...

You've got an eye towards the future: As an AM4 board, the Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is well into the twilight of its career. The AM5 platform has been out an about for well over a year, and it has a promising upgrade path ahead of it. An AM5 board makes a lot more sense for new systems built for the long haul.

Asus' ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero wants to be the last AM4 motherboard you'll ever need. But for that to happen it will need to support any AM4 chip, have masses of connectivity, run cool and stable at all times, and be really easy to use. Fortunately, it does all that and it's absolutely the best X570 motherboard these days.

The Dark Hero features a rather subtle design. Some might even say it’s a little bland and with a launch price of $400/AU$649, you might expect it to look considerably better. Prices are lower now, as it's been around for a while, but you still can't describe it as being cheap. That said, compared to the exorbitant prices of the MSI Godlike and Gigabyte Aorus Extreme, it certainly feels more affordable.

The VRM setup is more potent than that in the regular Hero and the power stages are now rated for 90A, up from 60A. This brings it in line with some of the other premium X570 boards. It certainly won't have any issues, regardless of what AM4 CPU you use or how much you overclock it.

Storage options comprise three M.2 slots for PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs and eight SATA ports. For most PC gamers, that's more than enough, and if you really wanted to add more M.2 SSDs, you could always use an expansion card in the second x16 PCIe slot.

The rear IO is packed out, too. If you need extra USB ports for that head massager or plasma ball, there are few motherboards better equipped. There are no less than eight USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, one of which is Type-C. These are joined by four USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports. There are also BIOS clear and flashback buttons, the LAN and WiFi antenna ports, and the usual set of audio ports including S/PDIF.

The Crosshair VIII Dark Hero might not be the very best AM4 motherboard ever made, we’d have to review a few hundred others to test that claim, but it’s easy to say that the Dark Hero is certainly one of the best AM4 motherboards we've ever used.

Read the full Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero review.

Best AMD B550 gaming motherboard

Simply the best B550 motherboard

Specifications

CPU support: AMD 3rd and 4th Gen Ryzen
Socket: AM4
Size: ATX
Memory support: 4x DIMM, up to 128GB, up to DDR4-4600
Expansion slots: 2x PCIe 4.0 x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x4
Storage: 2x M.2, 6x SATA 6Gbps
Networking: Intel Wi-Fi 6, Intel 2.5Gb ethernet, Bluetooth 5.1
Rear USB: 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 4 x USB 2.0

Reasons to buy

+
Extensive feature set
+
Build quality
+
Top-end networking

Reasons to avoid

-
Very pricey for a B550 board
-
Stock-clocked performance is unremarkable
-
Limited bandwidth for peripherals
Buy if...

✅ You want a ROG board at a relatively reasonable price: Asus very rarely missteps with any of its ROG motherboards and the ROG Strix B550-E Gaming is no exception. It's a board with all the trimmings and its perfect for pairing with a high core count or X3D Ryzen 5000-series CPU.

You love overclocking and tweaking: The Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming BIOS is packed with overclocking options. This is no B550 cheapie. Pair it with high end accompanying components and you can clock them like you stole them.

Don't buy if...

You're on a budget: While the Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming is an excellent motherboard, it's an expensive proposition, making it hard to justify against cheaper B550 options, to say nothing about X570 boards at similar prices.

Sure, the Asus ROG Strix B550-E is the same price as plenty of X570 motherboards, but it's a premium offering, and the best B550 motherboard you can get, thanks to all the trappings you'd expect from Asus' Republic of Gamers stables. We're talking 14+2 power stages, M.2 heatsinks, and pre-installed backplates. You also get Wi-Fi 6 wireless networking, as well as Intel 2.5G Ethernet. And RGB LEDs, of course.

What you’ll no doubt be wondering about is performance: Is it actually all that much better than a more prosaic—and cheaper—B550 alternative? At stock clocks and default board settings, the inevitable answer is no. In fact, the Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming is a solid 50% pricier than the likes of the MSI MAG B550M Mortar and tangibly slower in most of our benchmarks, including games.

Where the Strix looks stronger, it inevitably involves overclocking. AMD’s laissez-faire approach to clocking the twangers off pretty much any CPU that comes its way, by enabling access to super-simple core ratio tweaks, means you’d almost be mad not to give it a go. 

The Strix B550-E gets Asus’ slick and familiar BIOS interface that allows access to not only the core ratio but pretty much every setting a keen overclocker could wish for. So you have the choice of bumping the core ratios up and letting the board work out the details, or getting down and dirty with voltages and timings.

Allowing the board to do the detailed brain work results in an overclock of our AMD Ryzen 3 3100 quad-core test chip of 4.2GHz on all cores. The Ryzen 3100 is good for a 3.9 GHz boost clock as standard, so that’s a 300 MHz overclock. Which is significant, if not exactly stellar.

The Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming is the whole package then, though it does feel like a tough recommendation when many X570 boards are the same price.

Read our full Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming review.

Also tested

ASRock Z790I Lightning Wi-Fi

ASRock Z790I Lightning Wi-Fi
For a mini-ITX motherboard, it's brilliant for overclocking, especially RAM. However, it's too expensive compared to ASRock's Z670I model and doesn't offer many USB ports, even for its size.

Read our full ASRock Z790I Lightning Wi-Fi review.

MSI MPG B650I Edge Wi-Fi

MSI MPG B650I Edge Wi-Fi
Good value for money, this dinky motherboard sports plenty of storage ports and connectivity. No PCIe Gen 5 support, though, which does limit its longevity.

Read our full MSI MPG B650I Edge Wi-Fi review.

ASRock Z690 Taichi

ASRock Z690 Taichi
Packed with features and serious overclocking potential, ASRock's motherboard is as good as they come. But like all high-end Intel boards, it's not in the least bit cheap.

Read our full ASRock Z690 Taichi review.

Gigabyte X570S Aorus Master

Gigabyte X570S Aorus Master
With a strong feature set, including four M.2 slots, Wi-Fi 6E and loads of USB ports, the X570S Master justifies its price tag.

Read our full Gigabyte X570S Aorus Master review.

ASRock A520M ITX/ac

ASRock A520M ITX/ac
The ASRock A520M ITX/ac is a strong budget ITX offering. It offers a smart feature set and then there's the genuine bonus of Ryzen 5000 series support.

Read our full ASRock A520M ITX/ac review.

Where to buy

Where are the best gaming motherboard deals?

In the US:

In the UK:

Gaming motherbard FAQ

What's the most important factor in buying a motherboard?

You need to know which processor you want to build your new rig around. Are you firmly tying yourself to the mast of the good ship Intel, with its Alder Lake and Raptor Lake CPUs? Or are you going to continue flying the AMD Zen 4 or 5 flag proudly? Once you've picked your chip, it's down to features, overclocking intentions, and your budget.

What really matters when buying a motherboard?

Other than knowing which processor you're going to be fitting, size matters when picking up a motherboard. If you're building out a standard ATX scale gaming PC, then pretty much any motherboard is open to your whims, but if you want to go for a smaller chassis, either Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX, then you'll need a corresponding mobo. 

That doesn't necessarily mean sacrificing performance or key features anymore. A single PCIe slot is more than enough for today's SLI/CrossFire-less GPU world, and even some Mini ITX boards will come with multiple M.2 SSD slots.

The scale will impact pricing, however. Interestingly Micro ATX boards are often the most affordable, while Mini ITX options can be the most expensive. We've picked our top two favorite gaming motherboards for each of the main Intel and AMD chipsets to give you the best options around.

Can I overclock on any motherboard?

Definitely not if you have an Intel chip. There are restrictions in place to stop that and you'll need a Z690 or Z790 motherboard if you want to overclock any of the latest 13th and 14th Gen K-series CPUs. But don't worry about it, as they don't overclock very well anyway.

AMD is more generous, allowing all its CPUs and most of its motherboard chipsets. Basically, as long as you don't go for the cheapest Ryzen boards (ones with an 'A' at the front of its nomenclature), then you're good to tweak. Though again, just as with Intel chips, there are limited returns.

Jargon buster - motherboard terminology

ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
The most common form factors/sizes of a motherboard from largest to smallest, which beyond physical dimensions determines which cases it'll fit into and (broadly) how many expansion slots are available. There are other, less common form factors (XL-ATX, HPTX, etc.), but these three are the most ubiquitous consumer form factors.

BIOS/UEFI
Basic Input/Output System and Unified Extensible Firmware Interface connect the hardware and software that lives on the board (the firmware) to the operating system (OS, such as Windows or Linux). They allow you to adjust system-level settings, such as fan speed or RAM frequency. UEFI has largely replaced the older BIOS standard.

Chipset
The name for one or two small processors that allow the various parts of a motherboard to talk to each other. The chipset determines which processor generations a motherboard is compatible with and what add-in cards can be used.

DIMM slots
Dual In-Line Memory Module slots are the sockets on a motherboard where your RAM lives. The number of total slots contributes to the maximum amount of RAM your system can handle, paired with the chipset and OS. 

Expansion slots (PCIe slots)
Peripheral Component Interconnect Express slots on the motherboard are designed to accommodate add-in cards like graphics cards, SSD cards, dedicated sound cards, etc. PCIe slots are measured in both length (x16, x8, x4, x1) as well as by the number of data transmission lanes they provide (x16, x8, x4, x1).

It's possible for an x16 slot to only provide 8 lanes of data, for instance, which means the maximum possible data transfer rate is halved (though in many cases because PCIe provides such a high ceiling for transfer speeds, a lower number of lanes doesn't make a tremendous difference).

SATA ports
Serial Advanced Technology Attachment ports, an interface for connecting storage devices/drives to a motherboard (HDDs, SSDs, optical drives, etc.). The number of physical ports on your board, combined with ports for NVMe storage, will determine the total number of storage drives you can have connected to your PC at any time.

USB header
A connector on the motherboard that allows you to run a cable to the case to add additional USB ports, typically on the front panel (though some cases provide top or rear panel slots as well).