With all the new CPU platforms this year, picking just a single motherboard is difficult. We've seen plenty of great offerings for virtually every chipset, but a great motherboard only goes so far—it needs to support the CPU you intend to run. With Z270 fading away, the best motherboard this year needs to support Coffee Lake, and that means the Z370 chipset. (Sorry, Ryzen and X370.)
Gear of the Year
Check out the complete list of all of our award winners for 2017. (The list will be updated daily as the winners are announced.)
The Z370 Maximus X Hero is the latest in Asus's Hero line, and it does it all for $279 retail, stealing the thunder from the slightly sexier but way more expensive Maximus X Formula. It has dual M.2 slots, great Wi-Fi and Ethernet, slick LED and heatsink designs, 5GHz overclocking, and a miles-deep Asus BIOS, all in a midrange product that supports six super-clocked cores. It's the overall winner in the motherboard category for 2017, though arguably more than you need for the Core i5-8400 we picked as our CPU of the Year—this is a board designed for the Core i7-8700K and overclocking.
If you're putting together a new rig where price is no object, the extraordinary Asus X299 Rampage VI Extreme gets the nod, which you could then pair with an 18-core i9-7980XE, but at $650 and with so few being made it's more of a status symbol for Asus than the real-world Maximus X Hero, which is easy to find and still hits home-runs all day long. Plus it's a far more sensible choice for a gaming-centric build.