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Desktops & Components

Best Intel Motherboards

Intel motherboards have been popular for many years and will likely remain favorable long into the future. Many of these models are made by other manufacturers, like ASUS, Gigabyte, and ASRock, but the chipsets used on them are made by Intel and designed to work with Intel CPUs. Your motherboard connects all other pieces of hardware within your computer, and houses the BIOS firmware used to boot up your system. Since the board acts as the central nervous system of a computer, it’s a vital component with a tremendous impact on overall performance.

As you look at different Intel motherboard models, you should consider older chipsets, such as the Z87, as well as newer ones like the Z97 and X99. There are a lot of technical specifications involved in evaluating and comparing motherboards, so check out the Intel motherboard buyer’s guide below for more information to help you pick out the best model for your system.

ASRock H170 Pro4 Motherboard

This ATX board from ASRock is based on the H170 chipset using socket 1151 and features several outstanding options rarely seen in this class of board. First of all, it has an M.2 connector, a SATA Express ten Gigabit per second (GB/s) connector and six SATA three port for excellent drive support. It also features two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots and three PCI Express x1 slots for great support of add-on cards and multi-GPU setups. It’s equipped with four DDR4 DIMM slots allowing sixty-four gigabytes (Gb) of ram at speeds up to twenty-one hundred thirty-three megahertz (Mhz) which is excellent for a budget board. Finally, it supports two USB 3.0 posts and four USB 2.0 ports to give you some generous connectivity options. Although it is at the upper end of pricing for budget boards, you can’t get any better than this pick.

MSI H170M ECO Motherboard

This great board from MSI has a lot going for it starting with a micro-ATX board based on the H170 chipset along with support for the Intel socket 1151. It’s equipped with one PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, two PCI 3.0 x1 slots, and two DIIM slots allowing thirty-two gigabytes (Gb) of ram at speeds up to twenty-one hundred thirty-three megahertz (Mhz). This motherboard also supports four USB 2.o ports and two USB 3.1 ports which is really good for a value board. A Realtek ALC887 audio chip provides 7.1 channel HD sound while six SATAIII slots support drives up to six gigabytes per second (GB/s). All in all, this is a solid offering at an excellent price so long as you don't plan to use a multi-GPU setup.

ASRock Z170A-X1/3.1 ATC Motherboard

This budget Z170 ATX board from ASRock for socket 1151 offers four DIMM sockets allowing sixty-four megabytes (Mb) of DDR4 ram at speeds up to thirty-four hundred sixty-six megahertz (Mhz). It has three PCI Express 3.0 x1 slots and two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots for full support of multi-GPU video and a variety of add-on cards. It comes with six SATAIII slots supporting drives up to six gigabytes per second (Gb/s) and it supports RAID modes 0, 1, 5, and 10. It has an Intel I219-V LAN chip for Gigabit networking. As well as a 7.1 channel HD sound provided by an excellent Realtek ALC892 audio chip. While this board is priced on the higher end for budget boards, the variety of premium features makes it a solid contender for consideration.

ASUS Mini ITX DDR3 Motherboard

This is an outstanding mini-ITX board for socket 1150 from Asus. While it doesn't have quite the list of features of larger boards, it does have an M.2 socket and four SATAIII ports for full RAID functionality and excellent drive support. It features a single PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot and one mini-PCIe slots giving add-on card support along with a Realtek ALC887 audio chip giving it eight channel high definition (HD) sound. Finally, it offers two DIMM slots allowing up to sixteen gigabytes (Gb) of Ram at speeds up to sixteen hundred megahertz (Mhz).

Gigabyte Micro ATX DDR4 Motherboards GA-B150M-D3H

This is an inexpensive board that offers a lot for the price. It is an micro ATX offering using socket 1151 based on the Intel B150 chipset and features six SATAIII connectors, one SATA PCI Express port, and an M.2 port for outstanding drive support. It has four DDR4 DIMM slots for up to sixty-four gigabytes of ram at speeds up to twenty-one hundred thirty-three megahertz (Mhz). A Realtek ALC892 audio chip allowing crisp 7.1 channel HD sound and the unit also integrates four USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 port for excellent peripheral support. In the end this is a fine board at an excellent price so long as you don't plan to do a lot of CPU over clocking.

Asus Z170 WS Motherboard

This outstanding ATX entry from Asus for socket 1151 is one of the few boards based on the Z170 chipset offering four-way GPU support and it’s packed full of features setting apart from the competition. It offers four PCI Express x16 slots plus an additional PCI Express x4 slot for calls leading GPU and add-on card support. There’s also the inclusion of four DIIM slots allowing a total of sixty-four megabytes (Mb) of DDR4 ram at class leading speeds up to thirty-seven hundred thirty-three megahertz (MHz). And the specs don’t stop there.

The motherboard has been designed with M.2 slots for supporting the fastest SSD drives and six SATAIII slots for additional hard drives and SSD's. It also offers amazing dual networking support with one Intel I219-LM , 1 Gigabit LAN controller, and one Intel I210-AT Gigabit controller. With immersive eight channel sound provided by a Realtek AC1150 audio chip, everything adds up to a phenomenal offering whose sole downside is a very high price of admission.

ASUS X99 Rampage V Extreme U3.1 Motherboard

Designed for socket 2011-v3, this extended ATX offering from Asus uses an Intel X99 chipset and comes bundled with a remote OC panel allowing external access to overclocking and system tuning functions. A USB 3.1 Type-A add-on card giving it ten gigabytes per second (Gb/s) support and you also gain some excellent connectivity with an Intel I218V Gigabit LAN chip, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac support as well as Bluetooth V4.0 support. This motherboard supports up to sixty-four gigabytes (GB) of ram at speeds up to thirty-three hundred megahertz (MHz) and it comes equipped with four PCIe x16 slots for four-way GPU support. Finally, it has eight SATAIII ports, two SATA express ports, and an M.2 Type 3 socket for class leading drive support.

ASRock Z97 OC Formula Motherboard

This is an outstanding ATX board from AsRock built around the Z97 chipset and designed with overclockers and gamers in mind. First, the board’s standout feature is it’s been waterproofed with ASRock Conformal Coating to provide worry free water-cooling. It features four DIMM slots for up to thirty-two gigabytes of DDR3 Ram at speeds of thirty-four hundred megahertz (MHz) as well as a twelve phase power section for great power stability at very high CPU speeds.

Continuing the list of excellent features, this motherboard integrates a Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 LAN chip for that extra edge over the competition when you’re gaming. You’re also looking at getting one SATA Express port, eight SATAIII ports, and an M.2 socket, for outstanding drive support. Finally, this motherboard  features a top notch Realtek ALC1150 audio chip for excellent 7.1 channel surround sound. Although priced high, this Z97 board offers features seldom seen within this particular chipset.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 (rev. 1.0) Z170 Intel Motherboard

This award winning ATX board from Gigabyte uses the Z170 chipset and offers multi-GPU support with three PCI Express x16 slots and three PCI Express x1 slots for add-on card support. It’s equipped with four DIIM slots allowing sixty-four gigabytes of DDR4 ram at speeds of thirty-eight hundred sixty-six megahertz (MHz).

Drive support includes two M.2 ports for the fastest SSD storage devices in addition to six SATAIII ports and three SATA Express connectors. Audio is provided by a Creative Sound Core 3D chipset giving it 5.1 channel sound which is excellent but not as good as some of the boards on my list. Complemented by a black, white, and red color scheme, this is an outstanding Z170 offering at a very good price.

MSI Computer ATX DDR4 Motherboard Z170A GAMING M5

This award winning ATX offering for the 1151 socket  from MSI has much to offer. First, two M.2 ports, six SATAIII ports and two SATA Express ports provide storage drive support that is on par with other quality boards build around this chipset. Three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots allow high-end three-way GPU setups while Four PCIe x1 slots complete its add-in card support.

Four DIIM sockets provide allowance for sixty-four gigabytes (Gb) of DDR4 ram at speeds up to thirty-six hundred megahertz  while immersive 7.1 channel sound is provided by a top notch Realtek ALC1150 chipset. You’re also getting a Qualcomm Killer E2400 Gigabit LAN chipset which gives this pick exceptional network performance. Best of all, this is a very affordable motherboard despite being loaded with so many great features.

Asus Rog Maximus VIII Hero Alpha ATX DDR4 3000 LGA 1151 Motherboard

This is a premium ATX offering for socket 1151 from the Asus “Republic of Gamers” product line. It begins its outstanding list of features with DIMM slots for DDR4 ram allowing sixty-four megabytes of ram at speeds of entity-eight hundred megahertz (MHz). It has three PCIe Gen 3.0 x16 slots for support of three way multi-GPU setups while three PCIe Gen 3.0 x1 slots round out its add-on card support. Six SATAIII ports and an M.2 slot allow use of the fastest storage technologies currently available to consumers.

A USB 3.1 Type-A port and a USB 3.1 Type-C port along with the more customary USB 3.0/@.0 ports provide compatibility with the latest peripherals. There’s also an in-house ROG SupremeFX 2015 audio chip which provides you with full HD eight channel sound. These features add up to a board which delivers great bang for the buck.

ASRock Z97 OC Formula Motherboard

This is an outstanding ATX board from AsRock built around the Z97 chipset and designed with overclockers and gamers in mind. First, the board’s standout feature is it’s been waterproofed with ASRock Conformal Coating to provide worry free water-cooling. It features four DIMM slots for up to thirty-two gigabytes of DDR3 Ram at speeds of thirty-four hundred megahertz (MHz) as well as a twelve phase power section for great power stability at very high CPU speeds.

Continuing the list of excellent features, this motherboard integrates a Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 LAN chip for that extra edge over the competition when you’re gaming. You’re also looking at getting one SATA Express port, eight SATAIII ports, and an M.2 socket, for outstanding drive support. Finally, this motherboard  features a top notch Realtek ALC1150 audio chip for excellent 7.1 channel surround sound. Although priced high, this Z97 board offers features seldom seen within this particular chipset.

ASUS X99-A Intel Motherboard

This outstanding offering from Asus X99-A brings several up to date features to the overclocking table with the latest USB 3.1 and M.2 technologies. It features Quad-GPU support for both multi-GPU setups with four PCI Express x16 slots while PCI support is rounded out by two PCI Express x1 slots. It offers eight DDR4 DIMM sockets allow p to sixty-four gigabytes (Gb) of ram at speeds up to thirty-three hundred megahertz (MHz).

An M.2 port offers support for the latest SSD's, there’s eight SATAIII ports running at up to six Gigabytes per second (Gb/s), and one SATA Express port as well .Finally, it provides two USB 3.1 ports, four USB 3.0, and four USB 2.0 ports for a very generous amount of connectivity options. With little in the way of downsides, this board might be the one you’ve been looking for.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 (rev. 1.0) Z170 Intel Motherboard

This award winning ATX board from Gigabyte uses the Z170 chipset and offers multi-GPU support with three PCI Express x16 slots and three PCI Express x1 slots for add-on card support. It’s equipped with four DIIM slots allowing sixty-four gigabytes of DDR4 ram at speeds of thirty-eight hundred sixty-six megahertz (MHz).

Drive support includes two M.2 ports for the fastest SSD storage devices in addition to six SATAIII ports and three SATA Express connectors. Audio is provided by a Creative Sound Core 3D chipset giving it 5.1 channel sound which is excellent but not as good as some of the boards on my list. Complemented by a black, white, and red color scheme, this is an outstanding Z170 offering at a very good price.

ASRock ATX DDR3 1333 LGA 1150 Motherboards Fatal1ty Z97 Killer

This is a great board for ASRock using the Z97 chipset built for socket 1150. It features support for the latest peripherals with one port for USB 3.1 Type-A and one for USB 3.1 Type-C. Next, it has a well-built power section featuring an eight phase design, a vital element for long-term stability at high CPU speeds. The board is also equipped with an M.2 port which supports drive speeds up to ten gigabytes per second (Gb/s).

This board also has two PCIe x16 slots for support of multi-GPU setups as well as a Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 LAN Chip for lag-free networking. Finally, it has four DIMM slots for DDR3 ram at speeds up to thirty-two hundred megahertz (MHz) and capacities of up to thirty-two gigabytes (Gb). Those interested in socket 1150 overclocking should give this board serious consideration.

ASUS GRYPHON Z87 DDR3 1600 LGA 1150 Motherboard

This ATX board from Asus with a rich feature-set and exemplary build quality. It is equipped with four DIMM slots supporting thirty-two gigabytes (Gb) of DDR3 Ram at speeds up to eighteen hundred sixty-six megahertz (Mhz) which is excellent for Z87 boards. However, it should be noted the supported memory speeds aren’t as high as other picks on this list. It has two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots and one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot for Multi-GPU support. It has six SATAIII ports running at speeds up to six gigabytes per second (Gb/s) which offer RAID support for modes 0, 1, 5, and 10. Eight channel sound is provided by an excellent Realtek ALC892 chipset. This motherboards list of features is rounded out with two USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 ports.

ASRock Z87 Extreme4 Intel Motherboard

This is a top notch board which pair extremely good looks with the best in exceptional features. First, it has an eight phase power design for high speed overclocking as well as four DIMM slots allowing up to thirty-two gigabytes (Gb) of DDR3 Ram at outstanding speeds of twenty-eight hundred megahertz (Mhz). It has six SATAIII ports and supports RAID modes 0, 1, 5, and 10 which is excellent for this class of board. This motherboard also has two PCI Express Gen 3.0 x16 slots and one PCI Express Gen 2.0 x16 slot for full support of three-way Multi-GPU setups. Finally, it features 7.1 channel HD sound with a Realtek ALC1150 audio chip. Best of all, it comes at a good price, especially for a Z87 motherboard as rich in features as this pick.

ASUS Z87 PRO LGA 1150 Motherboard

This is ATX board from Asus is a good value with a number of excellent features. First, it offers full Quad-GPU support with three PCIe x16 slots in addition to four PCIe x1 slots which completes this motherboards add-on card support. It has four DIMM slots allowing up to thirty-two gigabytes (Gb) of DDR3 Ram while memory speeds are supported up to three thousand megahertz (Mhz). Eight SATAIII ports support drive speeds up to six gigabytes per second (Gb/s) and offer full RAID support including modes 0, 1, 5, and 10. You’re also getting a Realtek ALC1150 chipset which provides 8-Channel High Definition (HD) sound. This motherboard is also no slouch when it comes to good looks, with a sexy black and gold color scheme complimenting the overall smart design.

Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H Desktop Motherboard

With a black and two-tone blue color theme, top notch construction, and outstanding features, this is an excellent ATX board from Gigabyte. It has four dual-channel DIMM slots with a thirty-two gigabyte (Gb) capacity as well as supporting DDR3 at speeds up to three thousand megahertz (Mhz). It comes with three PCIe x16 slots and three PCIe x1 slots and supports two-way multi-GPU configurations. This motherboard also has six SATAIII ports supporting drives with speeds up to six gigabytes per second (Gb/s) with is excellent for Z87 boards. It has two USB 3.0 ports and six USB 2.0 ports to give you a great range of connectivity options. In sum, this motherboard promises a class leading set of features at a competitive price.

MSI Computer Corp. Motherboard ATX DDR3 1333 LGA 1150 Motherboard

This is a fine offering from MSI that has a great list of features topped off with good looks. First, a Qualcomm Killer E2205 LAN chipset ensures lag-free gaming while four DIMM sockets support DDR3 speeds of three thousand megahertz (MHz) at capacities up to thirty-two gigabytes (Gb). Three PCI Express x16 slots and four PCIe x1 slots give hardware computability for three-way GPU setups as well as a full range of add-on cards. Six SATAIII ports support RAID and speeds up to six gigabytes per second (Gb/s). Finally, the best feature of this board is its excellent price.

ASRock ATX DDR3 1333 LGA 1150 Motherboards Fatal1ty Z97 Killer

This is a great board for ASRock using the Z97 chipset built for socket 1150. It features support for the latest peripherals with one port for USB 3.1 Type-A and one for USB 3.1 Type-C. Next, it has a well-built power section featuring an eight phase design, a vital element for long-term stability at high CPU speeds. The board is also equipped with an M.2 port which supports drive speeds up to ten gigabytes per second (Gb/s).

This board also has two PCIe x16 slots for support of multi-GPU setups as well as a Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 LAN Chip for lag-free networking. Finally, it has four DIMM slots for DDR3 ram at speeds up to thirty-two hundred megahertz (MHz) and capacities of up to thirty-two gigabytes (Gb). Those interested in socket 1150 overclocking should give this board serious consideration.

Asus ATX Z97-E USB 3.1 Motherboard

This pick is an update to an ATX Asus board that was already an excellent motherboard offering. It has an M.2 slot to accommodate the latest SSD's while two USB 3.1 ports which allow use of the latest system peripherals; together, these features alone help ensure the board is future-proofed well into the next several years. Moving along, there’s four DIMM slots for up to thirty-two gigabytes of DDR3 Ram at outstanding speeds of thirty-two hundred megahertz (Mhz).

The board is also equipped with two PCI Express Gen 3.0 slots and two PCI Express Gen 2.0 slots for full support of Quad-GPU configurations. Three PCIe x1 slots and two legacy PCI complete its class leading add-on card compatibility. Eight channel HD sound is provided by an excellent Realtek ALC892 audio chip. Finally, an Intel I218VLAN chip ensures excellent networking performance. Topped off with an attractive gold/black color scheme  this affordable board is definitely a winner.

ASRock Z97 OC Formula Motherboard

This is an outstanding ATX board from AsRock built around the Z97 chipset and designed with overclockers and gamers in mind. First, the board’s standout feature is it’s been waterproofed with ASRock Conformal Coating to provide worry free water-cooling. It features four DIMM slots for up to thirty-two gigabytes of DDR3 Ram at speeds of thirty-four hundred megahertz (MHz) as well as a twelve phase power section for great power stability at very high CPU speeds.

Continuing the list of excellent features, this motherboard integrates a Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 LAN chip for that extra edge over the competition when you’re gaming. You’re also looking at getting one SATA Express port, eight SATAIII ports, and an M.2 socket, for outstanding drive support. Finally, this motherboard  features a top notch Realtek ALC1150 audio chip for excellent 7.1 channel surround sound. Although priced high, this Z97 board offers features seldom seen within this particular chipset.

Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD5H Intel Z97 Motherboard

This full featured board from Gigabyte that has a lot to offer starting with support for up to thirty-two gigabytes of DDR3 ram at speeds up to thirty-two hundred megahertz (Mhz) which translates to excellent computing performance. It has a Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2201 Lan chip for worry-free network gaming as well as three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots for comprehensive multi-GPU support. It also features an M.2 port, a SATA Express port, and eight SATAIII ports for outstanding storage drive support. Finally, it offers six USB 3.0 ports along with two USB 2.0 ports; unfortunately, there isn’t any USB 3.1 support unlike some of our other picks.

MSI ATX DDR3 2600 LGA 1150 Motherboards Z97-G45 GAMING

This is an great ATX board from MSI features an M.2 slot and sic SATAIII ports for excellent support of storage drives, three PCIe 3.0 x16 allowing multi-GPU setups and four PCIe x1 ports round out add-on card comparability. You get accommodations for thirty-two gigabytes of DDR3 Ram at speeds up to thirty-three hundred megahertz (Mhz) which give this board excellent memory support. Sound is provided with a Realtek ALC1150 chip for full 7.1 channel audio while a Killer E2205 Lan chip ensures great networking. Four USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports are also integrated to ensure you have a good range of connectivity options. Although it doesn't have quite as much to offer as some of the other boards on this list, you’re also paying a lot less.

ASRock ATX DDR3 1333 LGA 1150 Motherboards Fatal1ty Z97 Killer

This is a great board for ASRock using the Z97 chipset built for socket 1150. It features support for the latest peripherals with one port for USB 3.1 Type-A and one for USB 3.1 Type-C. Next, it has a well-built power section featuring an eight phase design, a vital element for long-term stability at high CPU speeds. The board is also equipped with an M.2 port which supports drive speeds up to ten gigabytes per second (Gb/s).

This board also has two PCIe x16 slots for support of multi-GPU setups as well as a Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 LAN Chip for lag-free networking. Finally, it has four DIMM slots for DDR3 ram at speeds up to thirty-two hundred megahertz (MHz) and capacities of up to thirty-two gigabytes (Gb). Those interested in socket 1150 overclocking should give this board serious consideration.

ASUS Mini ITX DDR3 Motherboard

This is an outstanding mini-ITX board for socket 1150 from Asus. While it doesn't have quite the list of features of larger boards, it does have an M.2 socket and four SATAIII ports for full RAID functionality and excellent drive support. It features a single PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot and one mini-PCIe slots giving add-on card support along with a Realtek ALC887 audio chip giving it eight channel high definition (HD) sound. Finally, it offers two DIMM slots allowing up to sixteen gigabytes (Gb) of Ram at speeds up to sixteen hundred megahertz (Mhz).

ASRock Micro ATX DDR3 1333 LGA 1150 Motherboards H97M PRO4

This is a great micro-ATX offering from ASRock which features a PCI Express 3.0 x16 and a PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots for support of multi-GPU setups along with legacy PCI slots completing its add-on card compatibility. This motherboard is also equipped with four DIMM slots supporting DDR3 speeds up to sixteen hundred megahertz (Mhz) and thirty-two gigabytes (Gb) of ram. Although it lacks an M.2 port which some of the other boards on this list provide, it does have six SATAIII ports supporting drives running up to six gigabytes per second (Gb/s). A Realtek ALC892 audio chip provides 7.1 channel sound while an excellent Intel I218V LAN chip provides Gigabit networking support.

MSI H97M-G43 Micro ATX DDR3 2400 LGA 1150 Motherboards H97M-G43

This excellent H97 board from MSI has an M.2 and four SATAIII slots for excellent drive compatibility. Four DIMM sockets allow thirty-two gigabytes (Gb) of ram at twenty-six sixty-seven megahertz (Mhz). It has a PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot, a PCI Express 2.0 x16, and a PCI Express x1 slot for multi-GPU as well as add-on card support. A Realtek ALC892 audio chip provides full HD eight channel sound and a Realtek 8111E LAN chip allows for high quality Gigabit networking. This board stands out among boards of this size with its excellent features while keeping the price reasonable.

Gigabyte GA-H97M-HD3 Intel H97 Motherboard

This offering from Gigabyte is a very competitive micro-ATX board with a feature set beginning with four DDR3 DIMM slots for thirty-two megabytes (Mb) of ram at speeds up to sixteen hundred megahertz (Hz). It has six SATAIII ports supporting drives at speeds up to six gigabytes per second (Gb/s) which is typical of boards based on this chipset. It has a Realtek ALC892 audio chip, 7.1 channel HD sound, and offers two PCI Express x16 slots which support multi-GPU configurations. This motherboard also supports Gigabit networking via a Realtek 8111F-VL LAN chip.

Gigabyte LGA2011-3 Intel X99 SLI ATX Motherboard

This offering from Gigabyte brings several up to date features to the X99 chipset. First, it offers a USB Type -C port and a USB 3.1 port for support of the latest USB devices while USB compatibility is rounded out with three USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0 ports. It offers eight DIMM sockets and can handle up to one hundred twenty-eight megabytes (Mb) of DDR4 memory at speeds up to thirty-three hundred thirty-three megahertz (Mhz). It also offers support for four-card GPU setups with four PCI Express x16 slots. There’s also add-on chard support thanks to the inclusion of two PCI Express x1 slots. An M.2 port, a SATA Express port and ten SATAIII ports offer exceptional hardware comparability with the latest storage technologies.

ASUS X99-A Intel Motherboard

This outstanding offering from Asus X99-A brings several up to date features to the overclocking table with the latest USB 3.1 and M.2 technologies. It features Quad-GPU support for both multi-GPU setups with four PCI Express x16 slots while PCI support is rounded out by two PCI Express x1 slots. It offers eight DDR4 DIMM sockets allow p to sixty-four gigabytes (Gb) of ram at speeds up to thirty-three hundred megahertz (MHz).

An M.2 port offers support for the latest SSD's, there’s eight SATAIII ports running at up to six Gigabytes per second (Gb/s), and one SATA Express port as well .Finally, it provides two USB 3.1 ports, four USB 3.0, and four USB 2.0 ports for a very generous amount of connectivity options. With little in the way of downsides, this board might be the one you’ve been looking for.

ASRock Extended ATX DDR4 X99 Motherboard

This ATX offering from top tier ASRock offers exceptional drive compatibility with ten SATAIII ports, a SATA Express port, an Ultra M.2 port and an additional M.2 port. It has eight DIMM slots with support for one hundred twenty-eight Gigabytes of DDR4 Ram at speeds up to thirty-four hundred megahertz (Mhz). Four-way GPU's setups are supported with five PCI Express x16 slots which blows away the competition. A single mini-PCI Express slot is provided and this motherboard also offers dual Gigabit networking support with two LAN ports. Finally, it offers two USB 3.1 Type-A ports and one USB Type-C port for support of the latest peripherals as well as providing six USB 3.0 ports to round out hardware connectivity.

ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer 3.1 Motherboard

This is an outstanding micro-ATX offering from ASRock that doesn't skimp on features, offering ten SATAIII ports supporting speeds up to six gigabytes per second (GB/s). An Ultra M.2 port offers support for drives at speeds of thirty-two gigabytes per second (Gb/s) along with four DDR4 slots giving support for sixty-four gigabytes (Gb) of Ram at speeds up to three thousand megahertz (Mhz). This motherboard integrates three PCIe x3 slots for full support of multi-GPU's hardware configurations and an excellent Qualcomm Altheros Killer LAN chipset for lag-free networking. 7.1 channel high definition (HD) sound is supported with a Realtek ALC1150 audio chipset.

MSI X99A SLI Plus Motherboard

With an attractive black-on-black color theme, this ATX offering from MSI features eight DDR4 slots accommodating up to one hundred twenty-eight gigabytes of Ram at speeds up to thirty-three hundred thirty-three megahertz (Mhz). It has a M.2 port supporting modules up to eight centimeters long while ten SATAIII ports and a SATA Express port are also provided. This motherboard delivers Quad-GPU support with four PCIe x16 slots while an additional PCIe x1 slot completes its add-on card computability. Finally, a Realtek ALC892 audio chipset offers you high quality 7.1 channel sound.

Asus ROG Maximus VIII Ranger Motherboard

This outstanding, award-winning ATX board from Asus is rich in features and built to the highest standards. It’s equipped with four DIMM slots supporting up to sixty-four gigabytes (Gb) of DDR4 memory at speeds up to thirty-four hundred megabytes per second (Mb/s). Additionally, you get three PCI Express Gen 3.0 x16 slots and three PCI Express 3.0 x1 slots, perfect for supporting multi-GPU setups and a full range of PCI cards.

This motherboard has been designed with an M.2 socket to accommodate the fastest SSD drives as well as six SATAIII ports and two SATA Express ports for excellent storage device support. Audio support is provided by ROG Supreme FX which gives you 8 channel, High-Definition (HD) sound. All this is drawn together within the framework of stylish, smartly-designed, black ROG motherboard.

Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 (rev. 1.0) Z170 Intel Motherboard

This award winning ATX board from Gigabyte uses the Z170 chipset and offers multi-GPU support with three PCI Express x16 slots and three PCI Express x1 slots for add-on card support. It’s equipped with four DIIM slots allowing sixty-four gigabytes of DDR4 ram at speeds of thirty-eight hundred sixty-six megahertz (MHz).

Drive support includes two M.2 ports for the fastest SSD storage devices in addition to six SATAIII ports and three SATA Express connectors. Audio is provided by a Creative Sound Core 3D chipset giving it 5.1 channel sound which is excellent but not as good as some of the boards on my list. Complemented by a black, white, and red color scheme, this is an outstanding Z170 offering at a very good price.

Asus ROG Maximus VIII Gene Motherboard

This class leading motherboard successfully pars the Asus ROG Maximus feature-set with the form factor of the micro-ATX. This pick offers users four DIIM slots supporting up to sixty-for gigabytes (Gb) of DDR4 memory at speeds up to thirty-eight hundred gigabytes per second (GB/s). The integrated UEFI Bios offers a range of overclocking options for both veterans and novice overclockers alike.

With full multi-GPU support, this motherboard also provides three PCI Express x16 slots which is exceptional for this board. It has six SATAIII ports, two SATA Express ports, and one M.2 for well-rounded support of the newest and fastest SSD/hard drive offerings. Full eight channel audio is provided by a ROG Supreme FX 2015 chipset. All-in-all, this board provides a complete selection of features making it an exceptional offering in the micro-ATX form factor.

ASRock ATX Z170 PRO4S Motherboard

This is an inexpensive ATX Z170 board that doesn't skimp of build quality or features. It offers up four DDR4 DIIM sockets which can handle up to sixty-four gigabytes (Gb) of Ram at speeds up to thirty-eight hundred sixty-six megahertz (Mhz). Storage options are provided by six SATAII ports and two SATA Express ports.

An M.2 port allows this motherboard to easily support drives running at speeds up to thirty-two gigabytes per second (Gb/s) while multi-GPU support is provided by three PCI Express x126 slots. Three PCI Express x1 slots complete the add-in card support and you’re also getting an excellent Realtek ALC892 chipset, providing 7.1 channel sound to enhance your gaming experience.

MSI Computer ATX DDR4 Motherboard Z170A GAMING M5

This award winning ATX offering for the 1151 socket  from MSI has much to offer. First, two M.2 ports, six SATAIII ports and two SATA Express ports provide storage drive support that is on par with other quality boards build around this chipset. Three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots allow high-end three-way GPU setups while Four PCIe x1 slots complete its add-in card support.

Four DIIM sockets provide allowance for sixty-four gigabytes (Gb) of DDR4 ram at speeds up to thirty-six hundred megahertz  while immersive 7.1 channel sound is provided by a top notch Realtek ALC1150 chipset. You’re also getting a Qualcomm Killer E2400 Gigabit LAN chipset which gives this pick exceptional network performance. Best of all, this is a very affordable motherboard despite being loaded with so many great features.

Buyer's Guide

Intel Motherboards Buyer’s Guide

Because so many other components rely on your motherboard to function properly, it’s very important to know as much as possible about a board before choosing it. If you already have some of the hardware for your computer, then you need to make sure you pick an Intel motherboard which is compatible with them. Conversely, for a fresh computer build, your motherboard establishes a lot of other components you can use, so look at what is compatible with a board before you purchase one. The options may seem overwhelming at first, but a little information can help you pick the perfect Intel motherboard for your system.

Socket Type and Chipset

The socket type of a motherboard refers to the physical types of CPUs or processors you can install onto the board. Since the processor impacts so much of your computer’s performance, it’s important to know which CPU you want and then choose an Intel motherboard that will work with it. For example, Intel core i7 and i5 processors can fit in LGA 1150, while LGA 2011 sockets only work with Intel core i7. For more information on different types of processors, check out the processors/CPUs buyer’s guide.

The socket also impacts what kind of chipset is placed on the motherboard by the manufacturer. While that’s not a major concern for a lot of computer users, if you’re an enthusiast looking for the best performance possible, then look for a motherboard with a Z97 or X99 chipset.

CPU Type

While the CPU type is related to the socket type, they’re not the same thing, although both are important elements of a motherboard. The CPU type refers to the model of the processor, such as an Intel core i7 or core i5 processor. The i5 and i7 processors can both be installed in LGA 1150 sockets, but are very different CPUs.

With Intel, you can tell the series of a processor based on the number after “i”. Later generations are typically faster, though other factors like cores and threads are also important. Take a look at the processors/CPUs buyer’s guide for even more information.

Manufacturer

While Intel provides the chipset on a motherboard, the manufacturer is the company actually assembling the board. There are a number of different companies which make Intel motherboards, including ASRock, ASUS, MSi, and Gigabyte. Each manufacturer has names for its boards like the “ASRock Extreme4” or “ASUS Maximus VII” which usually refer to series of boards, including new versions of an established series indicated by number. Don’t worry too much about the name of the board; instead focus on the other features and options. Manufacturers offer different types of warranties on their motherboards, so look for a manufacturer with a 2-3 year warranty to really protect your investment.

Memory Type and Quantity

The memory type and maximum amount relate to the RAM that you can install into a motherboard. These are referred to as memory slots or DIMM slots. You can put one stick of RAM into each slot, so the number of slots indicates how many physical sticks of memory you can insert into the motherboard. There’s also a maximum amount of memory, usually measured in gigabytes or GB.

A motherboard with four slots and maximum memory of 64GB could handle four 16GB sticks of RAM, while a board with eight slots and 128GB maximum memory could support eight sticks of 16GB of RAM or less. There are also different speeds of RAM measured in megahertz or MHz, such as 2400MHz or 1600MHz.

Finally, look at the type of RAM such as DDR3 or DDR4 memory, higher numbers indicate significantly faster memory. For the best performance possible, you’ll want to find a motherboard with at least four slots that support very fast RAM.

Expansion Slots

The expansion slots on a motherboard are used to install additional components inside a computer system directly onto the board itself. These are commonly used for video cards, but other components like sound cards and internal modems can also connect through an expansion slot.

For a video card, look for a PCI Express or PCIe port, the speed of the port is described by generation and a number indicating bandwidth such as PCIe 3.0 x16 or PCIe 2.0 x8. If you’re interested in running multiple video cards together in CrossFire or SLI, then look for a motherboard with two or more PCIe 3.0 x16 slots for the fastest performance possible. For more information about picking the right video card for your motherboard, check out the graphics card buyer’s guide.

Storage Connections

Storage refers to the hard drives that are connected to a motherboard, typically installed within a system’s case. Older hard drives used parallel connections, PATA, and motherboards might only have one or two ports, each capable of connecting to two hard drives. Modern hard drives, however, use serial or SATA connections for faster performance. There are also different speeds for these ports, measured in gigabytes per second or Gb/s. Look for a motherboard with multiple, fast SATA ports; each one gives you more internal connections for hard drives.

Back Panel Ports

The back or rear panel on a motherboard is exposed out the back of a computer case. This panel is important because it offers ports and connections for other devices and hardware. Look at the different ports on the back panel, such as USB ports, mouse and keyboard connections, and speaker and microphone jacks.

Many motherboards also have back panel SATA ports for external hard drives. If a motherboard has any onboard video, then the panel will also have a video output connection, but that’s not important if you plan on installing your own video card. You’ll want to find a motherboard with as many fast USB ports as possible, with USB 3.0 and 2.0 being faster than the earlier USB standards.

Additional Onboard Features

There are also a lot of internal, onboard features that are important to consider before buying a motherboard. CPU fan ports let you connect the processor heatsink and fan to your motherboard, and additional case fan connections give you options to control the speed of your case fans through your motherboard settings. Internal USB connections on your motherboard connect to USB ports on your computer’s case, so choose a board that has enough connections for any case ports you have.

Physical Form Factor and Power Requirements

One important but easily looked over aspect of a motherboard is the physical size of the board. Different towers only have enough room for motherboards of certain sizes. The most common motherboard sizes are ATX and MiniATX. ATX is a bit larger but can fit in full and midsize towers, while MiniATX is more appropriate for a smaller computer case. If you have a very small case, consider a MicroATX or NanoATX board.

Once you make sure a motherboard can fit into your computer tower, then you should consider the power requirements for the board. The processor and other electronics on a motherboard require a certain amount of power, with about 400 watts being the bare minimum for a decent board. You want to consider the power connectors on your motherboard and pick a board that has the right connections for your power supply, or choose a PSU to match your board. For more information to help you pick the right PSU, check out the power supply buyer’s guide.

Overclocking Options

While other elements on a motherboard, such as RAM and expansion slots, can certainly impact the effectiveness of a board for overclocking, there are also some key features of the board itself to consider. Heat generation and dispersal is a major concern for overclocking, so look for motherboards designed to stay cool and protect components from heat damage.

A motherboard designed for liquid cooling, with heatsinks for the components on the board, can make it easier to keep your system cool once overclocked. There are also some boards with voltage controls and check points built into them that help you monitor and control voltage, preventing damage from power spikes or tuning your system up to dangerous levels.

These features aren’t very common, but if you want to push your hardware to the very limits of its performance, then look for a board that can help you do it.

Bestcovery Staff
Our research team searches out the best of everything so that you can confidently pick the perfect products and services for your needs.
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