Best Motherboard for Gaming of 2021: Complete Reviews With Comparisons


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Today's top-rated and most wanted games pack in highly graphical content and extensive data, requiring the best components for your PC.

While your CPU, graphics cards, memory, and storage devices significantly affect what games you can play, you should also consider your motherboard choice.

The best motherboard for gaming will ensure that you have enough connectivity options for all of the essential components needed by your games.

This compilation presents reviews of five top-tier motherboards that can set your PC rig up for years of gaming, whichever new games you come across.

However, only one of the options is fit to run an AMD processor, so you might want to check some of the top PCBs for Ryzen.

Comparison Chart

Asus ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Motherboard

MSI Z590 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi Motherboard

MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi Motherboard

Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero Gaming Motherboard 500

Asus ROG Strix Z590-A Gaming Wi-Fi Motherboard 330

Best Motherboard for Gaming: A Review

1. Asus ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Motherboard

The Asus ROG Strix Z490-E is an upper-mid tier gaming motherboard.

If you are looking for the impact of high-end boards, but you don’t want to spend too much, this could be the perfect item for you.

It has the Intel Z490 Chipset, which means it works well with the 10th and 11th Generation Intel Core and the Intel Pentium Gold processor series.

Review

The ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming is an aspirational ATX form factor motherboard that is excellent for gaming and overclocking.

Although it doesn’t match the advanced features of Asus’ ROG Maximus XIII Hero, it can provide exceptional power delivery for every attached component.

The ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming does not have the usual red-and-black ROG finish.

  • Memory, Expansion, and Storage Options

The ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming has four DIMM DDR4 slots, allowing 128GB RAM and 4600 MHz overclocked speeds.

Expansion slots on the board include two PCIe 3.0 x16, three PCIe 3.0 x1, and a single PCIe 3.0 x4 slot.

These slots enable you to use two NVIDIA graphics cards with SLI or three AMD GPUs with CrossFireX.

For storage, the ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming has two M.2 slots and six SATA 6Gbps ports supporting Intel Optane Memory and RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10.

  • Exceptional Power Delivery and Heat Dissipation

Along all the heatsinks runs a single long heat pipe that prevents the 14+2 VRMs from accumulating too much heat.

Additionally, the ROG Strix Z490-E includes a small fan, which you can mount atop the heatsink to the left of the CPU.

This fan can push much-needed airflow into the heatsink to improve cooling.

No matter how power-hungry and processing-intensive your game is, the ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming is always up to the task.

  • Gaming Ready

You can expect to run online games smoothly with the built-in Intel I225-V 2.5Gb Ethernet adapter with Asus LANGuard.

You will also have the capacity to transfer game data over wireless connections seamlessly with the built-in 2x2 Wi-Fi 6 adapter.

Another essential motherboard feature for gaming is audio componentry.

The ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming features the Asus-exclusive S1220A codec and SupremeFX sound chip.

Also, the front panel sound output has two operational amplifiers that can preserve audio quality even with a headset.

To top it all off, the ROG Strix Z490-E has a Thunderbolt header, which means you can enjoy your games with high-resolution displays.

With these features, you can enjoy highly immersive gaming experiences throughout your choice of games.

PROS

  • Value for money
  • Great-looking cyberpunk-inspired aesthetics
  • ROG-inspired but uniquely attractive
  • Exceptional power delivery and heat dissipation

CONS

  • More expensive than newer Z590 MSI boards

2. MSI Z590 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi Motherboard

While the Z490 chipset enables exceptional features for gaming rigs, Intel went ahead with improvements through the Z590 chipset.

One of MSI’s implementations of the more improved chipset for gaming is the Z590 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi motherboard.

It presents high-end features at a very affordable price point.

The Z590 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi motherboard also supports the 10th and 11th Generation Intel Core and Pentium Gold processor series.

Review

The Z590 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi is a solid mid-range ATX board that strikes a good balance of features for gaming.

It falls short on unnecessary frills, which means you do not have to cough up extra wads of cash for features you don’t really need.

The Z590 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi motherboard carries the usual blue and purple colors of the MSI Carbon Series.

  • Memory, Expansion, and Storage Options

The Z590 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi supports the same 128GB RAM capacity as the ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming.

However, maximum recorded overclocked speeds have reached as high as 5333 MHz, about 700 MHz more than the ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming.

If you enjoy your games without overclocking, this feature is quite negligible as the stock speeds are similar depending on the processor.

For expansion options, the Z590 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi has three PCIe x16 slots, one of which supports PCIe 4.0 with an 11th Gen CPU.

Two PCIe 3.0 x1 sockets comprise additional expansion slots.

Although it has more x16 slots than our first featured motherboard, the Z590 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi only supports multi-graphics with a 3-Way AMD CrossFire.

For storage, the Z590 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi has three M.2 slots and six SATA 6Gbps ports supporting Intel Optane Memory and RAID 0, 1, and 10.

  • Premium Thermal Solution

The Z590 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi boasts an aggressive 16+1+1 Duet Rail Power System that lets you enjoy and sustain maximum performance.

A heavy-plated MOS heatsink, three M.2 Shield Frozr, and an enlarged chipset heatsink work hand-in-hand to keep all the generated heat at bay.

  • High-End Wireless Gaming

With the Z590 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi, you can expect to have a high-bandwidth, low-latency network with the built-in 2.5G LAN.

This motherboard also sports the latest in wireless technology with the Wi-Fi 6E.

Nevertheless, you will need a Wi-Fi router that supports 6E connections if you want to take advantage of this feature.

The Z590 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi features the ALC4080 audio processor, which can deliver high sound quality.

With a built-in dedicated headphone amplifier, your system can drive high-impedance, studio-grade sound quality.

As most gamers would approve, having outstanding audio can make the difference for highly immersive games.

PROS

  • Has the most fan headers among the Intel chipset options
  • Outstanding signal-to-noise ratio for DAC
  • Strong VRMs
  • Plenty of connectivity features
  • Comprehensive diagnostic LEDs and aesthetic LED connectors

CONS

  • Better aesthetics only achievable through peripheral LEDs
  • No support for NVIDIA SLI

3. MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi Motherboard

So far, we have tackled motherboards for the latest Intel Core processors.

We would also like to acknowledge the advancements in gaming technology from the latest AMD Ryzen processors.

The MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi belongs in the motherboard department that levels the playing field for performance reliability, stability, and aesthetics.

This motherboard is the only option for running any of the latest AMD Ryzen 4000 and 5000 Series processors.

If you do not want to use an Intel processor and need more AMD options, browse through other motherboards with AMD chipsets.

Review

MSI matches its Intel chipset Carbon Series motherboards with a performance-grade MPG alternative for the B550 chipset.

The MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi allows every gamer to experience highly expressive and immersive gaming with its advanced RGB lighting.

  • Memory, Expansion, and Storage Options

Its four DDR4 memory slots support up to 128GB of RAM and 5100 MHz of overclocking.

If you’re still choosing between Intel or AMD, going for this motherboard will save you a few more bucks than choosing the ROG Strix Z490-E with an Intel CPU.

Additionally, this motherboard has a PCIe 4.0 x16 slot, unlike the ROG Strix Z490-E.

It also comes with a PCIe 3.0 x16 slot and three PCIe 3.0 x1 slots.

With the two x16 slots, you can enjoy two-way graphics with AMD CrossFire.

Storage features include two M.2 slots and six SATA 6Gbps ports with support for RAID 0, 1, and 10.

  • Premium Thermal Solution

Like the MSI Z590 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi, the MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi has a robust power design with 12+2+1 phases of VRMs.

With its aggressive thermal solution, it is ready to take on the challenges of games with high-end Ryzen processors.

  • Reliable Connectivity and Audio

The MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi also enables reliable online and wireless gaming with its 2.5G LAN controller and Wi-Fi 6 AX200 adapter.

Using a Realtek ALC1200 codec, the MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi provides 7.1-Channel high-definition audio.

PROS

  • AMD chipset PCBs almost always cheaper than Intel boards
  • Only option in the list for AMD processors
  • Includes a legacy PS/2 port

CONS

  • Does not support NVIDIA SLI

4. Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero Gaming Motherboard 500

If you have the money for extraneous add-ons, then the Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero is your go-to motherboard.

It packs in everything you need for the 10th and 11th Generation Intel Core and Pentium Gold processor series.

Review

When it comes to the ROG Maximus XIII Hero, saying that it is a full-featured and high-end Z590 motherboard sums it all up.

With premium styling and extended features, there isn’t much difference compared to higher-performing motherboards.

  • Memory, Expansion, and Storage Options

Like all the other alternatives on this list, the ROG Maximus XIII Hero has four DDR4 DIMM slots capable of holding up to 128GB of system RAM.

The highest recorded overclocked RAM speeds have reached 5333 MHz.

Two PCIe 4.0 x16 slots and one PCIe 3.0 x16 slot enable multi-GPU support using the SLI technology.

For extra expansion options, the ROG Maximus XIII Hero has a single PCIe 3.0 x1 slot.

Out of all the options on this list, the ROG Maximus XIII Hero has the most M.2 slots.

It allows four M.2 connections in addition to six SATA 6Gbps storage devices.

  • Extreme Power and Performance

The ROG Maximus XIII Hero easily handles the high demands of the latest Intel processors.

It has a smart VRM design with quality components that balances the performance of your battle station.

  • Immersive Gaming

Immerse yourself in competitive gaming with Asus Aura lighting, SupremeFX ALC4082 sound, Intel I225-V 2.5GB Ethernet, Intel Wi-Fi 6E, and two Thunderbolt 4.0 ports.

Enjoy wired and wireless gaming with built-in adapters, and integrate into your games with realistic sound and high-resolution displays.

PROS

  • Premium motherboard
  • Dual RJ45 ports
  • Has the most USB 3.1 Gen2 ports
  • Has the most M.2 sockets
  • Includes two Thunderbolt 4.0 ports 

CONS

  • Most expensive among the options
  • No support for CrossFire
  • Has the fewest fan headers

5. Asus ROG Strix Z590-A Gaming Wi-Fi Motherboard 330

Asus designed the ROG Strix Z590-A to take advantage of excessively gaming-focused hardware.

It is a motherboard that enables high-quality experiences through a high-end power delivery system.

While the ROG Strix Z590-A also supports the 10th Gen Intel Core processors, you can put it to better use with the 11th Gen versions.

Review

The good thing about the ROG Strix Z590-A is that it is not as expensive as the Maximus XIII Hero.

It holds back on some features that won’t necessarily improve how your rig runs games.

It also packs the most amount of the latest expansion slots.

  • Expansion, Memory, and Storage Options

The ROG Strix Z590-A has three PCIe 4.0 x16 slots and a single PCIe 3.0 x4 slot.

With more PCIe 4.0 slots, you can enjoy faster performance speeds with your graphics cards.

Like the rest of the options, the ROG Strix Z590-A has four DDR4 memory slots allowing up to 128GB of RAM.

Also, like the more expensive Maximus XIII Hero, it can overclock memory speeds up to 5333 MHz.

Three M.2 slots and six SATA 6Gbps ports enable flexibility for storage devices on the ROG Strix Z590-A.

  • Optimized Thermal Design

The ROG Strix Z590-A has both high-side and low-side MOSFETs in 14+2 DrMOS power phases.

Along with Digi+ VRMs, alloy chokes and capacitors, and ProCool connectors, the board manages stability and efficiency pretty well.

  • Equipped for Gaming

Whether you prefer a wired or wireless gaming experience, the ROG Strix Z590-A can give you what you need with 2.5Gb Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6.

The board includes an internal Thunderbolt 4 header that provides you with transfer speeds up to 40 Gbps, as well as 8K resolution multi-screen support.

For highly immersive audio, the ROG Strix Z590-A also has the Asus exclusive SupremeFX codec.

PROS

  • Allows the most number of PCIe 4.0 connections
  • Audio components offer exceptional DAC
  • More affordable than the MSI Z590 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi
  • Easy to set up
  • Stylish silver and white color scheme
  • Best bang for your buck

CONS

  • Fewer fan headers than the others

FINAL VERDICT

All of these motherboards offer a great deal of highly immersive experiences in gaming.

It all boils down to the specific features you need that can fit into your elected price point.

Overall, though, we recommend the Asus ROG Strix Z590-A as the best motherboard for gaming and for getting the best bang for your buck.

If you enjoy games with photorealistic and highly graphical content, then the three PCIe 4.0 x16 slots are a complete bust for your graphics cards.

Also, the added Thunderbolt port enables multi-screen support for impressive resolution widths up to 8K pixels.