Gamers cannot expect to fully experience their games using a traditional motherboard. If you want the crystal-clear audio and vivid graphics that high-intensity computer games demand, you’re going to have to fit your system with a motherboard specifically designed for gamers.
In this article, we’re going to be looking at five such motherboards, discussing the pros and cons of each in an attempt to guide you towards the best gaming motherboard for your gaming habits.
MSI is one of the most successful manufacturers of gaming motherboards in the industry and we’re going to be looking at two of the brand’s most popular offerings in this article. First up is the H110M Gaming.
The H110M Gaming features MSI’s advanced DDR4 Boost, which eliminates the slowing of the system commonly caused by distorted memory signals by utilizing optimized traces and fully isolated memory circuitry. Meanwhile, enhanced CPU overvoltage protection reduces the risk of overheating and short-circuit damage. The longevity of the MSI H110M Gaming is further cemented by the Military Class 4 components used in its manufacturing, which provide the most vital parts of the motherboard with the protection they need to be consistently impressive.
Selling for less than $80, the MSI H110M Gaming is one of the most affordable motherboards on the market. Of course, its low price means that it is lacking in certain features you would expect to find on a more expensive alternative. For example, the H110M Gaming can only support one system fan, so cooling may be an issue. Furthermore, this motherboard offers little in terms of overclocking, making it unsuited to hardcore gamers.
You can read my full review here
For gamers who are willing to spend a little bit extra to get a versatile motherboard loaded with features, there is this offering from Gigabyte. The Z370 AORUS Gaming 5 is one of several motherboards in Gigabyte’s AORUS series and, some would say, is the jewel of the range.
With the triple PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 offered by the Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Gaming 5, you will be able to reach up to 32 gigabytes in transfer speed, allowing you to experience your games with a level of ferocity many less expensive motherboards cannot rival. Overclocking novices will appreciate this motherboard’s Turbo B-Clock feature, which simplifies the overclocking process for a heightened performance with minimal effort.
Meanwhile, the integrated Smart Fan 5 technology utilizes nine temperature sensors to ensure your system remains at a consistent cool temperature, combating many of the risks commonly associated with overclocking.
The Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Gaming 5 is undoubtedly impressive, but if you want to add it to your gaming arsenal, you should be prepared to part with some significant cash. Generally selling for close to $200, this motherboard is out of the price range of many gamers and is the most expensive model to appear in this article.
For more details you can read my Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Gaming 5 Review
Most gamers are familiar with ASUS and for good reason. As one of the most successful manufacturers of gaming equipment, ASUS has produced some pretty impressive gaming motherboards and the TUF Z370-Plus Gaming is among them.
One of the major selling points of the ASUS TUF Z370-Plus Gaming is its OptiMem technology. ASUS OptiMem means the manufacturer paid careful attention to the routing of its traces and vias, strategically placing them in order to ensure a consistent signal for enhanced memory overclocking. The TUF Z370-Plus Gaming boasts DTS Custom audio, which makes for an immersive audio experience and sends positional cues to stereo headphones, so you’ll always know what is going on around you in your virtual world.
In order to cool your M.2 drive, ASUS fitted this motherboard with an onboard M.2 heatsink, which promises even heat dissipation and ensures consistent storage performance. Similarly, the TUF Z370-Plus Gaming utilizes ASUS’ Fan Xpert 4 Core to provide each fan in your system with appropriate cooling.
Some gamers who have purchased the ASUS TUF Z370-Plus Gaming have complained about its lack of integrated Bluetooth connectivity, which will certainly turn some potential ASUS customers away from the motherboard.
Now it’s time for the second motherboard from MSI to appear on this list. The Z270 Gaming Plus actually shares a number of features with the MSI H110M Gaming motherboard we examined a little earlier, but it is not without its own unique offerings.
One of our favorite things about the MSI Z270 Gaming Plus is its crystal-clear audio. Promising studio-grade sound quality, the Z270 Gaming Plus provides a fully immersive gaming experience with minimal latency and bandwidth management. Much like the MSI H110M Gaming, the MSI Z270 Gaming Plus utilizes the manufacturer’s unique DDR4 Boost technology to ensure a consistent performance that won’t be slowed by any distorted memory signals.
Unlike its predecessor, however, this motherboard features Military Class Five components, which, combined with its PCI Express steel armor slots, provide superior protection against the problems that commonly arise out of overclocking and long gaming sessions.
Among the most commonly reported problems with the MSI Z270 Gaming Plus is its lack of RGB LEDs, which may detract from the overall experience of the user. Furthermore, the BIOS of this motherboard may prove quite complex for certain gamers, particularly those used to keyboard-only models.
MSI is not the only motherboard manufacturer to have two products appear on this list. A little earlier on we looked at the Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Gaming 5 and now we’re going to return to Gigabyte for a look at the brand’s X470 AORUS Ultra Gaming motherboard.
Unlike the earlier Gigabyte motherboard, the X470 AORUS Ultra Gaming does not feature three M.2 slots. It does, however, come equipped with dual ultra-fast M.2s. These M.2s are protected by one thermal guard, which lowers the risk of throttling and bottlenecks by dissipating heat produced by the motherboard when in use. This is one of the most visually impressive motherboards on the market and boasts a multi-zone RGB design, which sets it apart from many similar boards in its price range.
All multi-light zones feature high-brightness RGB LEDs and through the manufacturer’s RGB Fusion application can be operated by the user in accordance with their personal preferences.
The Gigabyte X470 AORUS Ultra Gaming is thoroughly impressive, but it falls down when it comes to connectivity. This motherboard features no onboard Wi-Fi, which has led to many a gamer removing it from their shopping list. It has also been pointed out by some gamers that the audio of this motherboard is only effective when you are using headphones. Attempt to play without them and you will find it a challenge to determine what sound is coming from where within your game, so it’ll be almost impossible to detect enemies while you play.
Every gamer is different in their needs and preferences, so it’s difficult to name any of these gaming motherboards as the absolute best gaming motherboard on the market. That being said, we generally recommend the Gigabyte AORUS Gaming 5 over competing motherboards as it has the largest selection of features and is therefore most likely to please the largest number of people.
While its high price is indeed an issue for even the most dedicated gamers, the three M.2s with which the AORUS Gaming 5 comes equipped, along with its onboard Wi-Fi, superior cooling, and simplified overclocking, more than justify its price in the eyes of many.
If you would prefer to keep costs down in your search for a gaming motherboard, you should consider the MSI Z270 Gaming Plus. Although it will set you back less than its Gigabyte alternative, this motherboard boasts a variety of features, among them PCIe steel armor slots and studio-grade sound. Furthermore, with its one-click overclocking, the MSI Z270 Gaming Plus is a great choice for gaming novices who would like to pursue overclocking but aren’t confident in their overclocking skills.