Best gaming motherboards in 2021

The best gaming motherboard may not feel like an important choice, but it’s important to get right. A good motherboard will provide a foundation on which to design the rest of your dream rig, and will form a basis to power up your gaming experience. Choosing the best motherboard for your system determines case size, storage options, and how much of a CPU upgrade you can work up to. And while some component manufacturers have been slow to update their products, there are a number of brilliant motherboards that have recently been announced. Because the best gaming motherboards need to be powerful, affordable – and above all else – very reliable, you’re probably going to need more than cash in your pocket when picking one up.

We’ve tested out the latest boards across a range of price points to find the best overall gaming motherboard for your next build. And according to the experts who know what it takes to play at higher frame rates, here’s what’s worth checking out…

Best gaming motherboard: Z390 vs B360 vs H370 – What’s the difference?

After a flurry of new releases over the past few months, there are a ton of new boards out there, and indeed a lot that you could pick up for your next build. But not all motherboards are created equal, so it’s important to know what you’re buying. While some have been designed specifically for high-end PC gaming setups, others have been built to offer up more mainstream performance with a budget-friendly price tag. We’ve ranked our top picks according to their performance, design and price points. And here’s which ones make our list…

  1. MSI Z390 Gaming M7

MSI’s first motherboard of 2019 is an affordable, but powerful, piece of kit. With the cheapest price on the market and an impressive set of features for this price point, it’s easy to see why it made the list.

As far as design goes, the Z390 Gaming M7 features IP5X dust-proof certification for improved system durability and a variety of RGB lighting options that will look good in any case. Additionally, MSI includes an RGB Mystic Light Sync module that can be used to change colours across your motherboard with a single click. The Mystic Light Sync module is compatible with Gigabyte’s RGB Fusion 2.0 software, which you can download for free here.

The Z390 Gaming M7 also includes two reinforced PCIe slots with water cooling options, six SATA ports for drives and another six for SSDs. You can install hardware using Intel’s Next Generation Form Factor, which has four PCIe lanes for heavy-duty performance. The board also includes RGB RGB RGB lighting for RGB RGB RGB lighting.

Buy now: MSI Z390 Gaming M7 at Amazon UK | Amazon US

  1. ASUS ROG Strix B360-F Gaming

The ASUS ROG Strix B360-F Gaming might look like the same motherboard as the popular ROG B360-I Gaming, but it has a number of differences on the inside to set it apart from the crowd. It comes in at a slightly lower price point than the ASUS ROG Strix B360-I and is perfect for those who want a lot of storage and expansion options in their PC.

The motherboard supports eight DIMM slots, which means it’s perfect for high-end gaming setups and can host up to 64GB of fast RAM for some serious performance. Additionally, the four PCIe 3.0 x1 slots are perfect for future upgrades – especially if you’re building a new rig around an Intel Core i9-9900K processor, which features up to 16 lanes of PCIe 3.0 bandwidth on its own.

The ROG Strix B360-F Gaming also sports a ton of lighting options that will look good in any case, and the support for Gigabyte’s RGB Fusion 2.0 software makes it easy to change colours on your motherboard with a single click. And if you’re not a fan of the Mystic Light Sync module, you’re in luck – ROG includes a wireless RGB lighting controller with the board to replace any unused LED lights on your motherboard.

Buy now: ASUS ROG Strix B360-F Gaming at Amazon UK | Amazon US

  1. MSI B360M PRO-VD PLUS

The MSI B360M PRO-VD Plus is a great choice if you’re on a budget and need all the expansion options available under the hood. It’s one of the cheapest motherboards on the list, but also provides a good amount of storage and cooling expansion – including watercooling if you want to go down that route.

The main selling point is the inclusion of a PCIe 3.0 x4 Gen3 M.2 slot, which can be used for both SSDs and U.2 drives at speeds of up to 32GB per second. With DirectKey DirectKey BIOS technology, MSI’s M.2 Shield, and a heatsink that’s designed to handle M.2 drives without cooling, the B360M PRO-VD Plus is good to go.

Buy now: MSI B360M PRO-VD PLUS at Amazon UK | Amazon US

  1. Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi

Gigabyte’s Aorus range of motherboards are well known for their design and feature packed, performance focused setups – including the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi. The Aorus range can be split into three types – Gaming (Black), Extreme (Red), and Master (Silver). The Aorus Pro WiFi falls into the latter, and has a price tag that you’d expect given its performance.

The Aorus Pro WiFi supports up to an Intel Core i9-9900K processor, which features 16 lanes of PCIe bandwidth, making it perfect for future upgrades should you wish to build a high-end gaming/workstation rig. The board also includes three M.2 slots – one of which supports U.2 drives if you’re thinking about upgrading your SSDs in the foreseeable future – making this one of the best value Z390 boards you can buy right now.

Buy now: Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi at Amazon UK | Amazon US

  1. ASUS ROG Strix B360-F Gaming

The ASUS ROG Strix B360-F Gaming is a great value option for those who want to build a gaming rig on a budget. It’s priced at roughly the same price point as the MSI B360M PRO-VD Plus, but you sacrifice some expansion options – although it does offer four USB 3.1 ports – which are more than enough for any modern gaming PC.

The board doesn’t support Intel’s X299 chipset, which means you can’t run 16 lanes of PCIe 3.0 bandwidth on your own, but that’s something you can probably live without given the value proposition of this board. It also supports the latest technologies – including an M.2 Shield which creates airflow channels to prevent M.2 cooling issues – but it doesn’t come with RGB Mystic Light Sync module included.

Buy now: ASUS ROG Strix B360-F Gaming at Amazon UK | Amazon US

  1. Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Master WiFi

Built around an Intel X299 platform, the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Master WiFi is one of the most powerful Z390 boards money can buy at this price point, although it’s not quite as well rounded as some other options on our list.

First and foremost, the board supports up to an Intel Core i9-9900K processor, which features 16 lanes of PCIe bandwidth – albeit on its own. With performance focused lighting controls and a good range of cooling options, the board is one of the most popular Z390 motherboards available at this price point.

Buy now: Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Master WiFi at Amazon UK | Amazon US

  1. ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming

If you’re looking for a motherboard that’s built around an Intel X299 chipset, then the ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming is worth considering. It’s one of the cheaper Z390 boards on sale at the moment, but it also comes with a good range of features for those hoping to build a high-end setup.

The board is built around an Intel Core i9-9900K processor, which features 16 lanes of PCIe bandwidth, making it perfect for those hoping to run a quad-core CPU and a number of GPUs on their motherboard. Additionally, you get three M.2 slots – including one U.2 interface – giving you plenty of options for future upgrades. It also comes with support for ASUS’ own Aura Sync lighting system, making it easy to change colours on your motherboard with a single click of the mouse without having to install any extra lighting hardware.

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