If you take your computer games seriously then you want the best experience you can get from whatever games you are currently obsessed with. This requires the best gaming motherboard. If your graphics aren’t as sharp as they should be, the sound quality a little disappointing or the action doesn’t flow as smoothly as you would like then it may be time to upgrade to the best gaming motherboard that you can get your hands on.
It doesn’t matter if your computer is fitted with the best central processing unit, a top of the line graphics card or has gaming RAM to burn, unless you have the best gaming motherboard, the results can leave a lot to be desired or even be downright disappointing.
Consider This Before You Buy
The motherboard is the heart of your computer system and the better shape the heart is in the better the system will work. For that reason, selecting the best gaming motherboard is an important, if not crucial, matter. Be prepared to pay a little more for the best gaming motherboard that will last for more than just a couple of months before the same old problems you are now experiencing reappear.
Important Features to Look For
- Compatibility. Obvious we know, but basic mistakes do happen. The best motherboard for gaming will generally support Intel or AMD processors and sometimes only certain kinds. Check and be sure the CPU and new gaming motherboard have the same processor interface.
- Memory. The latest computer games use huge amounts of memory so your gaming motherboard will need at least DDR3 Ram and 4GB memory for the best results. Fortunately, most of the better gaming motherboards already have this capacity but it is worth double checking.
- Ports and Slots. Additional PCI ports may be required, and possibly extra USB ports, so be sure these are available on your gaming motherboard. PCI-Express slots must also be considered if you are thinking of installing one or two video cards as well as an extra slot if you want a dedicated sound card on your system. The best gaming motherboard should also have a built-in sound card. This would probably only be required if you want to use top quality gaming headphones or gaming speakers to add to the gaming experience.
Best Gaming Motherboard Top 8 Comparison Guide
When searching for the best motherboard for gaming to meet your needs, there are some terms you will come across and need to understand. The following is just a brief description of the most common.
- CPU. The Central Processing Unit is the brains of the computer where calculations and commands are processed and executed.
- GPU. A Graphics Processing Unit (sometimes Visual Processing Unit or VPU) is specifically designed to manipulate graphics and visual displays. More effective than the CPU for handling large amounts of visual data, GPU’s can be found on a video card, built into the motherboard or on a graphics card.
- Overclocking. The computer’s CPU and GPU’s are pre-set to run at a fixed maximum speed. Experienced users can increase this speed to make the processor and games run faster by manipulating the computer’s BIOS. This can lead to problems with overheating and computer crashes but, as modern computers, CPU’s and GPU’s can handle the speeds required, overclocking is best avoided.
- ATX Motherboard. Short for Advanced Technology Extended motherboard, this is by far the most common layout for today’s motherboards. All connections are fitted directly onto the board which is in turn connected to the CPU. Variations include Micro, Mini, Flex and Extended ATX.
- Nvidia SLI. The Scalable Link Interface (SLI) is a system developed by Nvidia corporation to link multiple video or graphics cards. This is designed to increase processing power allotted for graphics giving faster and better images in games and videos.
- AMD Crossfire. Pretty much the same concept as Nvidia’s SLI, CrossFire is the alternative version from competitors AM.
- SLI/CF. This abbreviation will often appear on new games or on motherboards for gaming. As most games are designed with either SLI or Crossfire in mind, games will run better if the appropriate system is selected. If there is no noticeable improvement, or indeed deterioration, in the games performance simply disengage the SLI or CF option or both.
Reviews of the Top Rated Motherboards for Gaming
For quality, speed and value for money, it is hard to match the Z270E gaming motherboard from ASUS. Using an Intel Z270 chipset this is an ATX motherboard featuring an LGA1150 Socket. Although LGA1151 motherboards are now on the market, these can be expensive and the 1150 version is more than powerful enough for the most serious game playing but, if cost is not a concern, you can always splash out on the later 1151 model.
As you would expect with the best gaming motherboard, the ASUS Z270E supports both the Nvidia SLI and AMD Crossfire systems. The Z270E is designed with gaming specifically in mind and the clarity of graphics is truly amazing. Clear and sharp, the Express Z270 chipset delivers smooth action with no time lags. The ASUS Z270E also comes with Crystal Sound 2 which gives flawless and crystal clear sound and sound effects which add significantly to the gaming experience.
Some motherboards are allegedly designed primarily for gaming but the ASUS Z270E ATX gaming motherboard truly is. After many hours (days) of experimenting with different games, the motherboard performed perfectly. Images and sound were always perfectly in sync and both were crystal clear, sharp and smooth. There may be better motherboards available but we haven’t come across them yet and certainly not in this price range.
The GA-Z170X-UD3 from Gigabyte is another motherboard which supports an Intel processor and LGA1151 Socket. As with the ASUS Z270E, the motherboard also employs a Z97 chipset which delivers fast, smooth graphics making the need for overclocking redundant although the GA-Z170X-UD3 will take overclocking in its stride.
Running at normal speeds, the GA-Z170X-UD3 gaming motherboard performs superbly. Graphics run smoothly without any glitches or pauses ensuring a thoroughly enjoyable gaming experience, even it doesn’t increase your scores. In essence, there is very little discernible difference between the ASUS and Gigabyte Z97 motherboards but, for us personally, the sound on the ASUS Z270E is superior to that supplied by the Realtek Audio card that comes with the GA-Z170X-UD3.
Still one of the best gaming motherboards available is the ASUS PRIME Z270-K. Using the ever popular Z270 chipset, the PRIME Z270-K is an very affordable option for those who enjoy their gaming but don’t want to overspend on a motherboard.
Data transfer speeds of up to 10 Gb/sec ensure a smooth running game with no time lags or screen breakup. For those on a limited budget but still seeking a great gaming experience, the ASUS PRIME Z270-K is a great motherboard which delivers everything you need and then some.
The best thing about the MSI Gaming Intel Skylake Micro ATX Motherboard is that it was designed specifically for gaming and it shows. With a power Intel H110 chipset motherboard, the MSI Gaming Motherboard supports both Scalable Link Interface (SLI) and Crossfire (CF) based games.
Using its own Sound Blast Cinema 2 system, the sound delivered is truly top class and crystal clear even at full blast. As the MSI Gaming Motherboard supports SLI/CF, it can handle any game you load and is one of the best gaming motherboards for networking.
Relative newcomers to the motherboard supply business, AS Rock have grown in popularity in recent years thanks, in no small part, to the release of the Z77 Extreme4. The motherboardboard is based on an Intel Z77 Express chipset and has everything required for the game enthusiast.
The Extreme4 supports both SLI and CF and the on board DDR3 Ram is more than adequate for even the most memory hungry games. The Extreme4 is solid, dependable and an excellent starting point for somebody who wants high quality but at a reasonable price.
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