When you buy a new car, engine size and power is a key selection criterion, because no matter how good looking and well fitted out a car might be, it’s of not much use if it’s underpowered.
In a similar vein in the gaming environment, you can have top line peripherals, and the ultimate comfort chair, but if you have an 850 cc engine when you need a four-liter V8 you won’t enjoy your gaming.
The motherboard, with the critical components of processor and RAM is where you should start when designing your ultimate gaming system. Recently major technology innovations and developments have meant new options appearing in the motherboard market. It looks like popular sentiment is swinging back to Intel from AMD, and Intel motherboards making the running right now. Not to say that AMD won’t come out swinging and announce new offerings to outperform Intel.
To be a bit more specific Intel X79 based motherboards lead the pack, but at a price, followed closely behind by the mid range Z77 and budget H77 processor boards.
We have prepared a list setting out a mix of what we consider as the top ten gaming motherboards, hopefully not too technically. Have a look at the tech specs from the manufacturer’s website if you need more information on reads, feeds, speeds and technical architectures. Also, please be aware that several of these motherboards can be purchased at a nice discount from Amazon by using our discount link for the product.
A final point is to check the form factor supported by your computer case. If you are not careful you’ll need to buy a new case because the motherboard either won’t fit into it, or the orientation is wrong. Ditto the power supply. Needs to be able to connect to the board and deliver the correct power.
Table of Contents
- 1 ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
- 2 GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
- 3 ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
- 4 AS Rock LGA1155 DDR3 SATA3 USB3.0 Quad CrossFireX and Quad SLI A GbE ATX Motherboard Z77 EXTREME4
- 5 ASUS P8Z77-V LX LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
- 6 Gigabyte LGA 1155 Intel B75 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX DDR3 1600 Motherboards GA-B75M-D3H
- 7 ASUS M5A99FX PRO R2.0 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
- 8 MSI Computer Corp. Motherboard ATX DDR3 1333 LGA 1150 Motherboards Z87-G45 GAMING
- 9 MSI Computer Corp. Motherboard North Bridge AMD 970 & South Bridge AMD SB950 Chipset ATX DDR3 800 AMD AM3+ Motherboards (970A-G46)
ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
The military have pretty exacting standard for performance, reliability and durability. The ASUS Sabertooth Z77 motherboard was recently designed to meet the standards required of a military tender, so you can be assured that it combines innovation, quality and reliability at a reasonable price.
It has Thermal Armour Technology, Thermal Radar Technology, and Dust Defender Technology, whatever they are, but I suspect they have something to do with operating in hot and sandy climates. The standard config has 32GB RAM, 6 PCIO slots for your graphics adapter(s), 4 Memory slots for upgrades and 10 SATA connections for peripheral devices.
The Rolls-Royce of motherboards.
GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
Gigabyte has been designing and building motherboards for many years now, and this board exhibits that experience. The GA-990FXA-UD3 AM3+ AMD based board is only very slightly inferior in performance to the Sabertooth but has a higher data transfer speed of 6Gb/s, implemented by their proprietary hardware acceleration technologies.
The board is pretty standard with 32Gb RAM, 7 PCI slots, 4 memory slots and 8 SATA connections. It supports USB 3.0.
ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
The ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z is the AMD equivalent of the Sabretooth, and is one of the new range that directly supports Windows 8. It also implements Extreme Engine Digi+ II, specifically designed for efficiency, stability and performance in the gaming environment.
Again, the board is pretty standard with 32Gb RAM, 6 PCI slots, 4 memory slots and 10 SATA connections.
AS Rock LGA1155 DDR3 SATA3 USB3.0 Quad CrossFireX and Quad SLI A GbE ATX Motherboard Z77 EXTREME4
AS Rock are the new kid on the block, and supply the Intel based LGA1155 DDR3 SATA3 USB3.0 Quad CrossFireX and Quad SLI A GbE ATX Motherboards. Quality boards with exceptional performance for the price, it is well-configured and as the name suggests supports USB 3.0.
Once again, the board is pretty standard with 32Gb RAM, 6 PCI slots, 4 memory slots and 9 SATA connections
ASUS P8Z77-V LX LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Asus again? Just goes to show the range and quality of their motherboards, a true testimony to design, engineering and manufacturing excellence.
This worthy entrant is the ASUS P8Z77-V LX motherboard. It hosts an Intel Z77 chipset, supplemented by the DIGI+ VRM technology delivering superior stability, real-time power control and precise power delivery.
Amazon shoppers rate it extremely highly with a rating of 4.5.
Yet again, the board is pretty standard with 32Gb RAM, 7 PCI slots, 4 memory slots but only 6 SATA connections
Gigabyte LGA 1155 Intel B75 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX DDR3 1600 Motherboards GA-B75M-D3H
At this point in the list, we transition into the more affordable range of motherboards, if not quite into the budget basement. The Gigabyte LGA 1155 Intel B75 is a potent mix of quality and affordability. Supporting the Intel B75 chipset and USB 3.0, it provides 4 PCI slots and 6 SATA connections. A transfer rate of 6Gb/s is a great bonus. Amazon shoppers like it. Overall, a purchase to consider for budget buyers.
ASUS M5A99FX PRO R2.0 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
Asus hit the mark again with this budget beauty. The hardware upgrades implemented in the ASUS M5A99FX PRO R2.0 offer native Windows 8 support and provide a quick boot of around 2 seconds.
Amazon shows a rating of 4.3, and describes it as a middle of the road choice for someone looking for a premium gaming board.
Typical Asus performance and stability make the the M5A99FX PRO R2.0 a perfect choice for the budget buyer at a affordable price.
MSI Computer Corp. Motherboard ATX DDR3 1333 LGA 1150 Motherboards Z87-G45 GAMING
MSI are not the best known of motherboard manufacturers, but have been gradually building up a dedicated customer base as a consequence of their high design and manufacturing quality.
As an example the MSI Z87-G45 gaming motherboard sits on Amazon with an unprecedented rating of 4.8, unheard of in gaming motherboards.
The MSI Z87-G45 gaming motherboard supports the Intel Z75 chipset, up to 64Gb of RAM and 3 PCI slots.
A good buy.
MSI Computer Corp. Motherboard North Bridge AMD 970 & South Bridge AMD SB950 Chipset ATX DDR3 800 AMD AM3+ Motherboards (970A-G46)
This MSI board is an AMD alternative to the MSI Z87-G45 gaming motherboard, affordable and effective for gaming. You can buy it from Amazon. It supports the AMD 970, and as an alternative the SB950 Chipsets. With the 970 option it provides 6 PCI slots, 4 memory slots and 6 SATA connections.