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Best gaming motherboard 2021: ASUS, MSI, and more

Building your dream gaming PC? Choosing the right motherboard can make all the difference.

Building a new gaming PC? One of the most important decisions that you'll have to make is what motherboard to buy to act as the foundation for your PC.

Yes, the motherboard is the foundation of a PC. Sure, what CPU and GPU you buy will greatly determine the performance, but remember that everything connects to the motherboard, and if you fit a great CPU and GPU to a poor motherboard, you'll end up with a poor PC that offers a poor experience.

A good motherboard makes all the difference.

Asus TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WIFI

High-end motherboard at a decent price

Asus TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WIFI

Here you get a motherboard that offers high-end features, but at a decent price. The Asus TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WIFI is built using high-end components, and the cooling features are actually useful rather than being there for show.

A great all-round board.

Tech specs

  • Socket: Intel LGA 1200
  • Chipset: Intel Z590
  • RAM: DDR4
  • Max RAM speed: 5333 MHz
  • Max RAM slots: 4
  • Max RAM: 128 GB

Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme

A price tag to make you wince

Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme

Right from the start, you need to know that this is not a cheap motherboard. This is a high-end board for people with high-end demands and who have deep pockets.

That said, this board is a pleasure to use. It's well thought out, and fantastically stable when you set it up right.

But yes, that price tag is painful.

Tech specs

  • Socket: Intel LGA 1200
  • Chipset: Intel Z490
  • RAM: DDR4
  • Max RAM speed: 5333 MHz
  • Max RAM slots: 4
  • Max RAM: 128 GB

ASRock B460 Steel Legend

Solid performer

ASRock B460 Steel Legend

Probably one of my favorite motherboards for Intel CPUs. It's a solid performer at a decent price that offers everything that the average gamer would want from a motherboard. 

Tech specs

  • Socket: Intel LGA 1200
  • Chipset: Intel B460
  • RAM: DDR4
  • Max RAM speed: 2933 MHz
  • Max RAM slots: 4
  • Max RAM: 128 GB

MSI MPG X570 Gaming Pro Carbon WiFi

Pro gaming at a fantastic price

MSI MPG X570 Gaming Pro Carbon WiFi

This is a great board for AMD fans. A solid performer, tons of cool features, well-engineered cooling, and if you're into LED lighting for your PC, this is the board for you!

Tech specs

  • Socket: Socket AM4
  • Chipset: AMD X570
  • RAM: DDR4
  • Max RAM speed: 4600 MHz
  • Max RAM slots: 4
  • Max RAM: 128 GB

MSI MAG B550M Mortar

Power without the hefty price tag

MSI MAG B550M Mortar

One of my all-time favorite AMD motherboards. This one is packed with features, offers amazing cooling, and comes in at a decent price. You can stick a high-end AMD CPU into this motherboard and be guaranteed of great results.

Tech specs

  • Socket: Socket AM4
  • Chipset: AMD B550
  • RAM: DDR4
  • Max RAM speed: 4400 MHz
  • Max RAM slots: 4
  • Max RAM: 128 GB

Gigabyte A520 Aorus Elite

Solid performance for just over $100

Gigabyte A520 Aorus Elite

This is the perfect motherboard for those wanting to build a decent gaming PC that won't break the bank. And for just a shade over $100, you're getting a motherboard that supports advanced features such as overclocking.

Tech specs

  • Socket: Socket AM4
  • Chipset: AMD A520
  • RAM: DDR4
  • Max RAM speed: 4733 MHz
  • Max RAM slots: 4
  • Max RAM: 128 GB

How were these products chosen?

This is a combination of products that I use from companies that I trust. All these companies have a reputation for building solid products with good support.

I've covered both Intel and AMD chips, and a range of prices to suit all pockets.

How do I know if the motherboard is compatible with all my other parts?

This is where I highly recommend that you go to the manufacturers website and check the compatibility list. Most manufacturers produce a list of compatible CPUs and RAM modules, and this can be offer a wealth of information.

Is it worth "upgrading" a motherboard alone?

Unless you're upgrading a CPU and/or RAM to go with it, I would say no. The only time I would say yes to this is if your existing motherboard is unstable with the parts you have.

Is it worthwhile buying a motherboard that supports "overclocking"?

You can get a lot of of overclocking a system, but it's not for the faint of heart. Overclocking can be fun, but it can also be frustrating, and can damage components. 

It's one of those "at your own risk" things.