The 6 Best Motherboards With 8 RAM Slots in 2021

Motherboard With 8 RAM Slots

The 6 Best Motherboards With 8 RAM Slots in 2021

Kaelum Ross

I

Mar 23, 2021

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If you told us there would be motherboards with 256GB RAM support 20 years ago, we would have laughed at your funny joke.

And yet, here we are!

AMD and Intel’s motherboard innovations have come so far that there are now premium offerings that boast 8 DIMM slots capable of up to 32GB each.

While the average user does not need this amount of RAM, if you’re building a serious setup for production, hosting, or the most powerful PC you possibly can, then this capability could really take you to the next level.

Today’s feature is here to guide you through the best motherboards with 8 RAM slots. These are premium offerings with lots more going for them than just the RAM, too.

Top Picks

Best AMD Motherboard With 8 RAM Slots: MSI Creator TRX40

We’re starting with AMD in no particular order (both leading manufacturers are kings in the high-end desktop space, though AMD is a great choice for those after a CPU with the most cores).

The MSI Creator TRX40 is a fantastic offering. While no mobo with 8 ram slots is cheap, this option achieves a great sweet spot; balancing most of the features you expect in a premium motherboard, while not carrying the 4-figure price tag some HEDT hardware can creep up to.

This Threadripper motherboard doesn’t just boast 8 RAM slots but also supports up to 256GB DDR4 RAM.

Don’t assume this is the case for all 8-sotted offerings, many only go up to 128GB/even 64GB in some budget cases.

What’s more, its JEDEC RAM capacity allows you to achieve 256GB RAM @ 3200MHz, this is an insane speed for this quantity of JEDEC which we would often expect to be bottlenecked further at these amounts.

This is an E-ATX motherboard, with an incredible level of power draw across the board. With a Threadripper CPU and powerful GPU/s, we can’t imagine any builder, be it for rendering, gaming, or other high-end needs, would be left wanting more power than a build on this motherboard could offer.

Speaking of GPUs; with 4x PCIe 4.0 x16 slots and compatibility for 3-way Nvidia SLI or 3-way AMD Crossfire GPU setups, the amount of graphical capability here is insane, and we’re really impressed by MSI’s ability to balance the power draw between the RAM, CPU, GPU, and other onboard features.

The motherboard excels storage-wise too, with 6 SATA 6Gb/s ports & up to 3 M.2 storage slots, it’s just another example of the board’s ability to tick all the boxes and we expect this to be a decent capability (alongside a premium PC case) for those after a server motherboard or one for virtual hosting.

On the notion of overclocking your key specs,  the Creator TRX40 also lives up to its HEDT name, with plenty of heatsinks operating through the board to maintain appropriate thermal control.

You might not have the bells and whistles of our premium picks below, but relative to many other options on the market, you can get expect to achieve some impressive speed increases.

It’s also worth touching on the I/O panel port and Wi-Fi/audio availability here too; with a whopping 9 x USB 3.2 type-A outputs (some equipped for Flash BIOS use also), a 20G USB type-C port, in-built Intel Wi-Fi 6/bluetooth, Realtek ALC1220 Codec/outputs for high-quality 7.1 audio & 10G Super LAN. 

The inner connectivity is equally impressive, with tonnes of 4-pin fan connectors, ARGB/RGB headers, and all the other ports you’d expect.

What else is there to say? Not only is this the best motherboard with 8 DIMM slots for AMD builders, but it’s an offering that excels in all the categories HEDT users demand.

If you’re looking for the most power possible without getting into nearly 4 figures for your motherboard alone, this is an incredible choice.

Best Intel Motherboard With 8 RAM Slots: ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II

If you are instead, after an Intel LGA 2066 motherboard with 8 DIMM slot capability, our top pick comfortably goes to this ASUS offering.

Coming in at a very impressive price-point for the features, it’s a worthy rival to our top AMD choice.

With its 8 RAM slots also supporting up to 256GB RAM at impressive speeds (or lower quantities at up to 4266MHz). Whether it’s quantity, speed, or a mix of both, you won’t find better RAM capability at this price-point.

With a very impressive set of PCI-e 3.0 x16 slots, you will have the option to install up to 3-way GPU builds with SLI or Crossfire.

ASUS is also a great reliable brand as far as decent BIOs and onboard overclocking software go; often ranking very favorably in benchmarks if you’re after a fantastic OC motherboard.

Another offering with 3 x M.2 slots, the E Gaming II isn’t just great for storage, but also slightly trumps our top AMD pick with an extra 2 SATA ports totaling 8 (6 was already impressive!).

Port-wise, there’s a lot on offer here. With 9 x USB 3.2 Type-A & 1 x Type-C ports, as well as a SupremeFX CODEC S1220A leading its audio ports perfect for high-quality speakers or headphones, there is little left to desire network connectivity-wise (the LAN port is 2.5G vs our top AMD pick’s 10G, but we don’t expect many users will mind).

Also for those aesthetic focussed users, ASUS is a great brand for offering onboard ARGB lighting with the fantastic ASUS ARGB software/onboard headers to create a beautifully illuminated build alongside an RGB PC case (or simply one focussed on looking great).

Alongside one of the Core-i9 10000X series CPUs in its X299 socket, it’s hard to imagine any type of user wanting more from a high-end build.

At an incredible price for the offering, this is comfortably our top pick for the best Intel mobo with 8 RAM slots.

Best Budget AMD Motherboard With 8 RAM Slots: Asus Prime TRX40-PRO

Looking for a cheap motherboard with 8 RAM slots feels like a bit of an oxymoron; you’re not going to find the budget options of the mainstream market here.

But with that said, there’s still a huge difference in the price range between the top 8 DIMM options and the cheapest, and we’re pleased to recommend this AMD offering as a very decent choice for those after the best budget way to run such a high RAM build.

One of the cheapest Threadripper motherboards available today, we’re impressed that the TRX40-PRO still boats 256GB memory support across its 8 DIMM outputs; we expect with the onboard specs, you may not get quite the same speeds as that of our top AMD pick @ 256GB, but the board will still be capable of a very impressive speed/GB balance when compared to a huge majority of other market offerings.

One of the biggest changes to our more expensive offerings is slightly reduced power draw to PCIe, with 3 4.0 slots, it’s still a fantastic capability for a budget, but supports a max of 2-way SLI/CLX instead of our main choice’s triple-GPU capability (it’s really up to your if this matters, dual GPUs will still offer incredible utility for most HEDT builds).

The unit still boasts plenty of onboard M.2, VRM, and active chipset thermal protection with its heatsink arrays (alongside the great ASUS UEFI BIOs, you’ll have plenty of customization available).

For storage, we’re pleased to see the TRX40-PRO boasts 3 x M.2 slots and 8 x SATA ports at 6Gb/s; if your prime needs are storage, this may even be a better choice for you than our overall best AMD pick!

Port-wise, you still have a great array of connectivity, with 9 x USB-Type A, 1 x USB Type-C, and decent onboard audio. Compared to our more expensive picks, it’s worth noting the outputs are slightly less capable, with only 3 of the Type-A USB ports being 3.2 Gen 2 (we expect most users will be fine balancing their needs here though).

There is no included Wi-Fi or Bluetooth onboard. We expect this has been done to achieve both the fantastic price and also minimize the power draw. If you do need these, a good Wi-Fi card and Bluetooth adapter will do the job just fine.

The budget hasn’t compromised on headers either, with this ASUS motherboard still full of decent fan, RGB & ARGB connectivity.

If the reduced ports, no Bluetooth/Wi-FI, missing third GPU capability and slightly lower expected RAM speeds don’t bother you much, know we very nearly made this our top overall AMD pick.

It is, without doubt, the best cheap Threadripper motherboard with 8 RAM slots and an incredibly capable HEDT base for its price.

Best Budget Intel Motherboard With 8 RAM Slots: GIGABYTE X299X AORUS Master

Although our top pick is already a very cheap 8 DIMM motherboard offering, there’s another compelling option in the AORUS Master.

Previously highlighted on our E-ATX motherboard feature, this pick is known for being one of the best value HEDT choices on the market, and is deceptively powerful in many ways.

Let’s start with one of the most impressive capabilities of the X299X, its PCIe bandwidth is capable of 4-way GPU builds (with a 48-lane CPU).

You’d be forgiven for thinking this means it’s better than many of our pricier offerings, and for those focussed on graphical capability, it’s a very compelling choice!

RAM-wise, the system still boasts the ability to support 256GB RAM (we expect slightly lower speeds than the top overall/high-end Intel choices, but not significant in the grand scheme of things). Bear in mind that if your CPU is <48 lanes, the maximum support will be 128GB RAM (still a fantastic amount even for a production machine).

Port-wise, the motherboard is still plenty equipped with 9 x USB 3.2 Type-A and 1 x Type-C. The audio codec is a little more basic than our higher ends choices but still capable of great sound output to the average listener (especially with a good pair of headphones). We’re happy to see the board still includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth too.

The inner connectivity is still good, with plentiful fan headers and outputs for the front I/O panel.

The only thing to reiterate is that to access its 4-way GPU capability, and many other features (including 256GB RAM instead of 128GB max) the motherboard requires a 48-lane CPU to draw from.

That’s the secret to the X299X, part of its lower price tag is achieved by utilizing more capability from the onboard CPU.

While more expensive offerings definitely still require high-lane CPUs for their capability, they can get more done with less. With this dependence, you can also expect to be a little more limited speed-wise if you choose to use all of the Master’s functionality (e.g. quad GPU, 256GB RAM, max storage).

So if you’re a top-end user, you may desire one of the other picks, but as far as the best cheap Intel motherboard with 8 RAM slots goes, there is no contender more worthy than the Aorus Master.

Best High-End AMD Motherboard With 8 RAM Slots: ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme Alpha

Now, we will say that we think the mid-range or budget AMD board picks will satisfy many users, even those after a HEDT setup with 256GB RAM.

That said, if you want the best sTRX4 motherboard possible in the premium price range, this is our choice for you.

With its E-ATX form factor, the Zenith II Extreme Alpha has a feature list as long as its name and is an incredible solution for balancing high-end RAM, CPU, GPU, and storage combinations.

With its 8 DIMM slots, this ASUS offering doesn’t just support 256GB RAM, but according to user reports, can handle that quantity at 3600MHz.

This is an incredible achievement on modern hardware, if your needs are of a serious production/rendering persuasian, this RAM capability could be a game-changer for high-end productivity.

The PCI-express 4.0 x16 capability is what you would hope for in a top-end choice, with excellent bandwidths capable of 3-way SLI/Crossfire and unrivaled overclocking capability.

Now, onto storage…

The Extreme Alpha boasts, wait for it…5 PCIe 4.0 bandwidth M.2 drive & 8 x SATA ports!

We are floored by how ASUS has managed to utilize the power draw to incorporate this on top of all of the other specs throughout the motherboard and we can’t imagine anybody needing more storage capability.

There is no compromise on ports either, with 2 x USB Type-C, 6 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 & 4 x USB3.2 Gen 1 outputs, we haven’t come across a motherboard with more USB connectivity. These are accompanied by a 10Gbps ethernet port, AX200/Wi-fi 6, and a fantastic codec for high-quality audio output.

Internal headers are what you would expect in a premium ASUS mobo too, with plenty of connectivity for ARGB/RGB lighting and 4-pin fans.

As you’d expect at this high-end price, it’s also one of the most beautiful motherboards we’ve come across.

Not only does it have some gorgeous ARGB lighting surrounding the top and bottom, but its various heatsinks are designed in a way that has clearly put aesthetics in the equation (without compromise on thermal control capability, something the Extreme Alpha is unrivaled for).

Speaking of thermal control, with all of its onboard heatsinks, intelligent layout, various buttons to test/switch during failed OCs, and fantastic BIOs, the Extreme Alpha is one of the best overclocking motherboards available for Threadripper (or any socket, for that matter).

There is even a customizable OLED screen to display either key thermals or other overclocking stats you’re focussed on at a given time.

Do you need everything the Extreme Alpha offers to enjoy the benefits of 8 RAM slots? No, our above choices are very respectable offerings.

But if you want to build on the most powerful AMD motherboard possible in nearly every sense of the word, then this is the choice for you.

Best High-End Intel Motherboard With 8 RAM Slots: ASUS ROG Rampage VI Extreme Encore

Last but most certainly not least is our premium 8 DIMM Intel motherboard option.

The Extreme Encore is made for the top echelon of HEDT and overclocking with its 16 70 amp power stages giving an incredible capability across the board.

Its 8 RAM slots are capable of 256GB with decent speeds, its PCIe capable can support up to 3-way Crossfire/SLI & with 3 x m.2 outputs and 8 x SATA ports, it’s got fantastic storage allotment.

Similar to our top AMD pick, the overclocking capability is top class. Working alongside the fantastic AI overclocking/UEFI BIOs is an active VRM heatsink & onboard M.2 heatsinks (not to mention an incredible array of fan headers).

It’s one of the best-looking motherboards, with its metal heatsinks sharply covering many of the more traditional “ugly” board components, with ASUS design lighting on the front and further illumination on the bottom; this would look gorgeous in a clear PC case.

One thing we will say; if you are trying to support the best of the best as we expect for this price range, we think that AMD may be the better choice for you.

That’s not to say the Extreme Encore isn’t capable of an immensely powerful build for rendering, production, server-building, or more.

We just recognize that our AMD premium pick above offers unparalleled connectivity with PCIe 4.0 and its 5 M.2 slots amongst all the other incredible features.

That said, if your heart is set on an Intel HEDT, this is comfortably our choice for the best 8 RAM slot motherboard for LGA 2066 and still packs an incredible punch.

LGA 1200 or AM4 Motherboards with 8 RAM Slots

We appreciate some users may be looking for significant RAM on mainstream, non-HEDT motherboards.

However, for 8 RAM slots, you need to be looking at LGA 2011 and sTRX4 motherboards.

Not only are these the only type with support for 8 slots, but also the only sockets that can accommodate up to 256GB of RAM.

On top of this, if you are building a production/hosting machine that requires 8 RAM slots, we expect you’ll probably want a HEDT motherboard to match anyway. These machines give you CPUs with insane amounts of cores, the power to draw lots of PCIe slots (for multi-GPU builds), and much more.

If however, you want to build a setup with mainstream GPUs, then check our best E-ATX motherboard picks, which include premium AM4/LGA1200 mobos (some of which can accommodate a hefty 128GB RAM).

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The Easy Guide to I/O Shields – What are They, Do you Need One, and How to Install?

IO Shield

The Easy Guide to I/O Shields

Kaelum Ross

I

Jan 18, 2021

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There is a surprising lack of simple answers to the common queries around I/O shields.

What is an I/O shield?

Do you need one?

How do you install an I/O shield anyway?

Thankfully, the answers to these questions are quick and easy. Today’s feature is here to guide you through everything you need to know about I/O shields.

Table of Contents

What is an IO shield?

An I O shield, or “motherboard input-output shield” is a metal plate that is included with nearly every motherboard on the market. 

These plates are designed to be installed at the rear of a PC case where there will be a cutout hole perfectly designed to fit snugly. Each IO shield is designed to match the ports of the motherboard it comes with (i.e. holes in the same locations).

What does an IO shield do?

A PC IO shield has 2 main purposes; the first is to protect against electromagnetic interference (EMI) between your motherboard and the components you are connecting to the IO panel (USB, HDMI, ethernet, etc.).

The second purpose is to act as another physical barrier on the back of the case. Without the IO shield, you will have an enormous hole for dust (and potentially insects) to enter your computer.

One could argue an IO shield also makes the back of your PC look neater too!

What are the Metal flaps/prongs on the IO shield?

As per the example picture below, a majority of mobo IO shields have some little “prongs” or “flaps” near some/all of the port cut-outs.

These are used to allow a part of the metal on the IO shield to lightly touch the metal on the motherboard’s IO panel, this then offers sound static grounding between the shield and your motherboard, further reducing the chances of any electrical interference.

IO Shield Example

Do I need an IO shield for my PC?

Your motherboard should come with an IO shield (either separately or already pre-installed) so for most users, the question is really why wouldn’t you install the IO shield? It offers some additional protection, improves the look of your device, and is super easy to install as we detail below.

If for whatever reason, you don’t have one, how important is an IO shield? Well, many people (myself included) have gone through periods of not using one with their PC.

The electromagnetic interference protection is not as big a concern now that most connections you make on your IO panel are digital. Your only real risk is if you are plugging something into a port on your motherboard’s IO panel and accidentally slip/have the output touch a part of your motherboard and short a component.

This is a worst-case scenario, and if you’re careful, the chances of something like this happening are very low. If, for example, you were just trying to skip using an IO shield temporarily while a replacement was being delivered, then this isn’t much cause for concern; we all understand being impatient with a shiny new PC. (I’ve had colleagues who have not used one on a build for 5+ years!).

The other problem is of course the rear of your PC being significantly exposed to dust/insects – to me, this issue is the more annoying one, but can be negated with regular cleaning.

Disclaimer: While the risks of not using an IO shield are very low, it’s still a risk that you have to accept – we will always recommend using a shield where possible.

How do I install an IO shield?

Motherboard-IO-Panel Example

Thankfully, installing an IO shield is one of the most simple parts of a PC and should be added to your case before you install your motherboard.

  1. Align the metal I/O plate with the cut-out on the back of your PC case on the inside, the easiest way to establish what way your plate needs to be is by seeing how it aligns with your motherboard, and then matching that position with the orientation your motherboard will be installed.
    • Take the IO panel on the right for example, if you aligned this motherboard with the back of your PC case and saw that the circular audio ports were on the bottom, then you know you need to install the computer’s IO plate with the circular ports downwards.
  2. If your IO shield has any metal prongs/tongs that are already bent, these should be pointing into the case (as they are supposed to make light contact with the motherboard once it is installed).
  3. Now that you’re aligned, simply apply some pressure and push the IO shield onto the case hole (from the inside).
    • With some light force, you should hear a “clacking” or “popping” noise to confirm the shield has attached to the case.
  4. And that’s all there is to do on the install IO shield process! When you’re installing your motherboard, the ports should neatly align with the IO shield like the example picture in this section.
    • If the IO shields prongs/tongs aren’t touching the metal of the motherboard ports, you can lightly bend them to do so, however, most should be set up to touch automatically.

How to remove an IO Shield?

Removing an IO shield is very simple.

First, uninstall your motherboard from the PC case. Once there is nothing connected to your IO panel (other than the PC case it “popped” into), simply push the IO shield with some pressure from the outside of the case inwards.

After a moment or two, the computer IO shield should pop out.

Where can I buy a replacement IO shield?

If your motherboard did not come with an IO plate, my first piece of advice would be to contact the supplier, as every motherboard should absolutely come with one.

If for whatever reason, you can’t get an IO shield replacement from the buyer, I would try these things (in order of recommendation):

  • Contact your motherboard manufacturer, they will usually be able to re-arrange a replacement.
  • If not, check Amazon, eBay, or Ali Express for your motherboard model number as they may have the exact model in stock.
  • Failing that, you can try the universal IO shield below (recommended for experienced DIY’ers only).

Custom / Universal IO Shield Option

The SuperMicro MCP-260-00011-0N is a simple blank IO shield that is usually used for covering a PC case IO panel cut-out that has no ports.

However, some tech-savvy folk have previously used this as a replacement IO shield by drilling through the necessary holes.

We would strongly recommend trying our replacement steps above before trying this one, and only attempting if you have some competence with cutting metal accurately.

Final word on IO shields

And that’s really is all there is to know for the average PC builders on I/O connector plates! It’s thankfully one of the nicer parts of an installation.

We appreciate it can be a pain if you’re running into problems with a motherboard not including one. But from my experience, manufacturers and suppliers are usually well equipped to supply a replacement (providing the mobo is still in production).

Good luck and happy building!

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The 8 Best EATX Motherboards of 2021

Best-EATX-Motherboard

The 8 Best EATX Motherboards of 2021

Kaelum Ross

I

Jan 13, 2021

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Sometimes, ATX isn’t big enough.

Perhaps you’re looking for a motherboard form factor that can accommodate the most high-end build/overclocking possible.

Whether it’s for the most powerful gaming PC, streaming rig, server, or even a production build, E-ATX is the way to go.

Which is why we’ve put together this feature on the best E-ATX motherboards available today.

(We’ve even included an XL-ATX choice for someone who wants the largest motherboard for their next monster setup).

Top Picks

Intel vs AMD EATX Motherboards

We’ve touched on this topic more in our motherboard CPU combos feature.

While AMD usually takes the top spot in the mid-range Micro ATX / ATX motherboard sizes, Intel is king for E-ATX.

There are simply more good options available between the Z490 and X299 chipsets in this form factor when building a very high-end PC.

This is why we’ve primarily focussed this guide on Intel options.

The picks below are some of the best options for Intel Core i9-9900K and 10th gen HEDT CPUs.

(But we’ve included a very worthy high-end AMD Extended-ATX motherboard pick for those interested).

Now, let’s get to it:

Overall Best E-ATX Motherboard: EVGA Z490 Dark

What a beast this is.

The EVGA Z490 Dark strikes an amazing balance between accommodating different types of high-end builders whilst also maintaining excellent value for its price.

Yes, it is an expensive motherboard. But considering the form factor’s purpose is usually for HEDT PCs, many other competitive picks are close to the 4-figure mark, this EVGA offering sits at around half of that.

We like the approach EVGA has taken with the Z490 Dark; specifically, they’ve reduced bandwidth consumption on certain elements that will not be used by an overwhelming amount of users.

The two main examples are the 2 dual-channel DIMM slots and max-2 SLI/crossfire GPU capacity (with 3 x PCIe x16 available onboard).

Sure, this sounds low if you’re after a HEDT motherboard and demand the greatest specs possible.

But the balance has been crafted around still providing enough capability for most users, while also allowing you to push as much as possible with overclocking your CPU, GPU, and RAM all at an impressive motherboard price.

To put it another way, 64GB of RAM (that could be 4800MHz+) and 2 (even 1) GPU on this board would make for a superb 4k gaming motherboard or high-end production desktop.

(If you’re one of the rare users who does demand more GPUs/RAM, say for very intensive rendering, video production, or a server PC build, then our premium picks below will be for you).

Speaking of overclocking; this is, of course, the crowning jewel of the Z490 Dark; with an oversized VRM cooler, great quality-of-life features surrounding the board (including a unique layout specifically designed to better transmit heat/bandwidth between integral parts), and a great software interface for the BIOs, you are really set up well here to do build something truly special.

The other great SSD storage options that you’ll enjoy for a high-end build is 2 x M.2 110m storage (up to 32GBps) & 1 x U.2 NVMe.

With the fantastic Z490 chipset, this one of the best LGA 2000 motherboards around, giving you compatibility with Intel’s latest 10th gen processors, you’ll be able to achieve some incredible processing power.

The EVGA Z490 has many more great features that we could take all day describing, from a good featured I/O panel to great onboard audio.

While this is certainly one of the best gaming motherboards today, we would go further and say it has all you need if you’re building a high-end production PC too (unless you need the extra RAM/GPU capability as mentioned above)

Simply put, if you’re looking at an EATX PC and don’t want to fork out double the price for the high-end picks below, this is a no brainer.

Runner-Up Best E-ATX Motherboard: Gigabyte X299X AORUS Master

If you’re going for an Intel E-ATX motherboard, we’d highly recommend our top pick as the chipset will better suit you for the latest 10th Gen Intel CPUs.

That being said, if you are interested in X299X chipset, this Gigabyte motherboard is a feature-packed option..

This board offers:

The above are just the highlights. 

There are a bunch of additional onboard/BIOs features that make this a premium motherboard (anything from excellent onboard heatsinks to great build quality for durability in a heavy EATX PC Case).

Combined they make this the best motherboard for overclocking on X299 at its respective price-point.

With the incredible graphics card, storage, RAM, and cooling capability, you’ve got a great motherboard for video editing, gaming, streaming, and production.

As good as the Aorus Master is, it’s still on the CPU chipset that is becoming outdated compared to our top pick’s one, so bear that in mind.

That said, if your wallet is thick but not so thick that you’re looking at the pricier picks and are interested in building with an X299 CPU, then this is a good E-ATX mobo pick for you.

High-End Best Intel E-ATX Motherboard: MSI MEG Z490 GODLIKE

And now we come to the choice for those who care more for power than price.

Brand new to the market, this MSI motherboard is simply incredible.

To start, it’s built on the Z490 chipset / LGA 1200 socket, which combined with the features below, easily makes this one of (if not the) best motherboard for Core i9 10900K and other 10th gen CPUs.

  • 3 x PCI-e x16 slots
  • 4 x DDR4 RAM slots with max speeds up to 5000 MHz+
  • Fantastic I/O panel with Intel JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 controller
  • 3 x M.2 storage outputs with Frozr heatsinks, and an adapter for a further 2

You may be asking yourself, “why does this board have less max RAM/GPU slots than our runner-up pick”?

Well, while we love the high RAM/GPU approach, the Z490 GODLIKE has chosen alternate bandwidth allocations.

Each motherboard can only circulate so much power and this MSI offering puts more into its CPU chipset, overclocking potential, and other features.

We’re sure you’ve also noticed that this is perhaps the best looking motherboard on the market.

With a fantastic array of headers for an RGB build, wonderful LED lighting, and an OLED screen to act as a “dashboard” for your computer status.

With a host of onboard features and incredible thermal solutions across the board, reviews are quickly finding that this is one of the best motherboards for overclocking available.

You’re going to get incredible high FPS 4K gaming if tied with the right CPU/GPUs, and a future-proofed production machine with the insane RAM overclocking.

If budget isn’t a concern, and your only question is “how do I achieve the most power” for your Intel build, this is the one.

High-End Best AMD E-ATX Motherboard: MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE

Now, we’ve focussed on Intel E-ATX mobos as there are better options for them in most of the price ranges.

But for a premium choice, MSI released an AMD version of our top Intel pick that is just as impressive.

This AMD offering stands out for a few reasons, but the biggest is that it’s one of the best X570 motherboards on the market perfect for Ryzen 9 CPUs.

The X570 chipset enables PCI-e 4.0 support which will give you incredible bandwidth/performance for top-end GPUs/M.2 storage.

While this bandwidth may not be fully exploited with all current hardware, you easily have one of the best motherboards for an RX 5700 / other 5000 GPUs as these can take advantage of it.

Let’s breakdown the spec highlights:

  • 4 x PCIe 4.0 x16 slots with 4-way Crossfire support
  • 4 x DDR4 slots with up to 128GB RAM OC’ed up to 5000Mhz+
  • 3 x onboard high-performance M.2 storage with an M.2 XPANDER-Z GEN 4 PCIe adapter allowing for 2 more, all with excellent thermal control
  • Incredible build quality, design and light features (including onboard lights, RGB header availability and OLED screen)
  • Fantastic onboard audio and Wi-Fi

As we’ve stated above, you can make an incredible gaming build with 2-3 GPUs.

But if you’re looking for more, this is perhaps the best Quad-GPU motherboard available today.

Additionally, the thermal solutions across the board will give you incredible overclocking capability, with benchmarks showing amazing OC performance on this board for RAM, CPUs, and GPUs.

The top of its class, the GODLIKE is one of, if not the best X570 motherboard on the market.

If your heart is set on AMD and this is out of your price range, there are good options in other form factors.

But if you have the budget, know that you really can’t get much better than this.

Best Budget E-ATX Motherboard: MSI X299 Pro

If you’re going for an E-ATX build, whether for high-end gaming or production, we’d recommend the picks above, especially the 10th gen Intel choices.

That being said, what MSI manages to fit into this cheap EATX motherboard is insane for the price if you’re looking at a X299 chipset.

This includes:

  • 8 x DDR4 RAM slots for up to 256GB memory (up to 4200Mhz)
  • 4 x PCIe x16 slots with capability for up to 3-way SLI GPU builds.
  • 2 x M.2 storage outputs
  • Decent RGB header options available (though check our other feature if a lot of light is important to you).

As you can see, you still have the utility here for a high-end build for gaming, streaming, and other production rigs.

If you’re in the video editing business (or similar), it’s the RAM offers an insane amount of future-proofing for memory (though to be clear, most users do not need to buy 8 slots worth of RAM).

You don’t have the same level of onboard features for overclocking/cooling as you do on the above boards, but it’s still capable of great clock speeds across your hardware.

The issue with this pick for budget builds is that it’s a X299 motherboard; we think most budget builders are going to significantly prefer Motherboard/CPU combos that are either LGA 1151, budget LGA 1200, or AM4.

But if your goal is focussed on the best cheap extended ATX motherboard, the MSI X299 Pro fits the bill better than any other.

Best XL-ATX Motherboard: Gigabyte X299X AORUS Designare 10G

2021 Update: The XL-ATX mobo market is very slim these days, so much that there is no current recommendation for motherboards on any Intel 10th gen chipsets. We’ve kept this recommendation at the bottom of our list if you are happy to be after a X299 build but in nearly every case, we’d recommend looking at our E-ATX picks above.

We’ll start by repeating what is said in our complete guide to motherboard sizes:

You don’t need an XL-ATX motherboard over an E-ATX one for a large high-end build.

The options above will give you more than enough for a premium gaming motherboard (or for production, streaming, etc).

That being said…

If you simply want more space to play with in a “super tower” PC case, we included this as it’s still a fantastic pick.

A Socket 2066 motherboard, the AORUS Designare boast:

  • 8 x DDR4 RAM slots for up to 256GB memory at 
  • 4 PCIe x16 outputs capable of 4-way CrossFire or SLI builds
  • A fantastic I/O panel including 2 x Thunderbolt 3 connectors
  • Great Onboard Realtek ALC1220-VB HD audio
  • Gorgeous LED lighting with great RGB header support for an RGB build
  • Fantastic build quality with lots of port reinforcement, good for such a large setup

When you can combine this colossal graphics card capability with all of the onboard thermal solutions/excellent BIOs, you have one of the best gaming motherboards for overclocking.

Its price-point sits in between our top picks and high-end picks, and we’d say that’s about right for what it offers.

If you’re looking to build an absolute monstrous PC both in power and size, this is perhaps the best XL-ATX Intel motherboard available.

Alternative Quick-Fire Picks (Best of the Rest)

The top 6 picks are our main choices for the best extended-ATX motherboards. However, we’ve included a couple more options just in case you have very specific requirements.

Cheapest E-ATX Motherboard: EVGA X299 FTW K

Due to the volatile nature of Motherboard prices on Amazon, it’s possible that our top budget pick may be cheaper at the time you’re looking. But usually, the EVGA X299 is the cheapest option for EATX builds if you’re comfortable with the X299 chipset.

Best TRX40 E-ATX Board: ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme Alpha

If you’re after the best E-ATX motherboard for AMD, but are more inclined towards the TR40 chipset over the mainstream CPUs, the Zenith II Extreme Alpha is your best bet.

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The 12 Best Motherboard CPU Combos of 2020

Motherboard CPU Combo Cover

The 12 Best Motherboard CPU Combos of 2020

Kaelum Ross

I

Jun 1, 2020

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Deciding what order to buy your gaming PC parts in is hard.

One of the worst offenders is choosing which CPU & motherboard you should pair.

With countless variations, the whole process is unnecessarily confusing.

Which is why we’ve collated the best CPU motherboard combinations available for all different sizes, purposes & budgets.

This is a long feature – we recommend scrolling to the headings you’re actually interested in instead of reading it top-to-bottom.

 Table of Contents
 

AMD vs Intel CPUs/Motherboards

No feature on this topic would be complete without a say on the “is AMD better than Intel?” battle.

We’ll keep it short as there’s already a lot of good info on this topic.

For this generation of CPUs, both flagship models from each manufacturer give great performance for gaming and other build purposes.

But if looking at the numerous benchmarks available for games/production for both brands with price in mind: AMD tends to have an edge.

Many of the current-gen Intel CPUs are fantastic.

But on average, you’re usually paying a little more for the performance you can get from the AMD alternative.

A lot of credit is given to Intel for its integrated graphics processors on many of their CPUs.

But really, we find this a borderline moot point.

Anybody seriously building for gaming/production/streaming is going to want a standalone graphics card.

For motherboards, the AMD versions tend to be cheaper also (with the exception of Mini-ITX).

Short answer: We’d push you towards an AMD build to get the highest value CPU motherboard combos.

But we do understand some people are just more comfortable with Intel.

Don’t fret – know that the Intel motherboard combos we’ve recommended below are still great for their respective price-points.

With that said, let’s get into it:

Overall Best AMD Motherboard CPU Combo:

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X with ASUS ROG Strix B450-F

To start off our list, we’ve chosen what we think is the best gaming CPU motherboard combo available for an “all-round”/mid-range build.

The AMD Ryzen 7 3700X is a fantastic accomplishment in CPU engineering.

Offering 8 threads and 16 cores with a max frequency of 4.4GHZ, this AMD processor packs an incredible punch for its competitive price.

Its utility will hit the sweet spot for what most gamers need.

You have a great basis here for a powerful gaming build that will accompany some intensive GPUs (including multi-crossfire builds).

Tied with some decent VGA hardware, this CPU is more than capable of running a 1440p/4k gaming PC.

The included stock cooler also performs decently and looks great with its color-controllable LED lighting.

Outside of games, the 3700x is very capable of general multi-purpose PC tasks (benchmarking well in tasks across the board, not just gaming fps tests).

Meaning it’s a great CPU for streaming, video editing, production, and more.

If this is the budget you have for a processor, we really can’t recommend it more.

The ASUS ROG Strix B450-F is a popular motherboard for a reason.

With its ATX form factor and B450 chipset, the ASUS mobo has pretty much everything we expect a majority of gamers to need.

You’ve got:

  • 3 PCI-e slots for a multi-GPU build (or integrated sound/network cards as required)
  • 4 x DDR4 RAM slots
  • Dual NVMe M.2 storage options
  • Great onboard sound
  • Gorgeous RGB lighting and 2 headers for a great RGB build.
  • Stylish and well-equipped I/O panel

It’s a great motherboard for overclocking, with lots of good onboard features as well as a great, user-friendly BIOs.

For the price, we really think the Strix B450-F hits the sweet spot between offering features without reaching “diminishing returns”.

If we had to choose one CPU/motherboard combo to recommend for the majority of gamer computers (and other production needs), this is it.

Overall Best Intel Motherboard CPU Combo:

Intel Core i7-9700K with MSI Z390-A PRO

Our top Intel picks are also a great hardware pairing.

They perform a tad better but cost a fair chunk more as we discuss below.

The i7-9700K is, with performance-per-$ in mind, the best Intel CPU for gaming today.

The processor packs 8 cores/threads and the very impressive capability to overclock up to 4.9Ghz.

It performs excellently across gaming tests and tied with a good GPU (or 3), will grant you excellent performance for games and other tasks.

Certainly more than capable of being the basis of a powerful 1440p/4k gaming build.

i7-9700K vs Ryzen 7 3700X

These frontline CPUs have faced off in loads of benchmarking tests.

The short answer?

They come out very close.

The i7-9700K performs slightly better in most gaming FPS tests, but not enough to be decisive.

The Ryzen 3700X tends to perform marginally better at other computational tasks (anything from unzipping files, to compression, to multi-tasking).

Because of this, we would certainly recommend the R3700X if you’re interested in also building a PC for streaming, video editing, and/or production work.

Now, you may think that makes the Intel CPU the best choice for gaming.

We’d agree if you happen to see them at the same price.

But nearly always, the 3700X (and accompanying motherboard) work out significantly cheaper.

That saved budget would be much better spent on buying a more expensive GPU, the AMD CPU will still be able to work with a very intensive VGA demand.

The MSI Z390-A PRO is one of the best value Intel motherboards on the market.

An ATX form factor mobo, it has excellent overclocking facilities (with some nice bells and whistles like an extended onboard heatsink).

The main features include:

  • 2 x PCI-e ports (1 with reinforcement to reduce GPU sag, though don’t read into this as a huge deal)
  • 4 x DDR4 / DIMM slots
  • NVMe support
  • Good onboard sound
  • I/O panel that includes USB 3.1 type C output

You’ll note it has 1 less PCI-e port than our top AMD offering.

While this would be a nice addition, we doubt many of you looking at a mid-range build will require more than 2 (if you do and want to stick to Intel, check out our high-end pick below).

It has everything you’d expect in a decent mid-range Z390 motherboard and works great alongside the 9700K.

Best Budget AMD Motherboard CPU Combo:

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 With ASUS TUF B450M-Plus Gaming

As far as cheap AMD CPUs/motherboards go, the below pair is the best value combo for gaming.

You can go cheaper, but these next AMD/Intel combos are the lowest we’d recommend for most gamer needs.

If however you just want a PC for general use/light gaming, see our “cheapest” picks further below.

The Ryzen 5 3600, as far as cheap gaming processors go, is our favorite.

Providing great performance for a 1080p/1440p gaming build, you’re still able to run some decent graphics hardware alongside this CPU.

Offering an impressive 6 cores, 12 threads, and max 4.2 GHz, it’s got an impressive spec for a budget processor.

The included Wraith Stealth cooler is not the best on the market but will get the job done for a budget gaming build if you don’t want to buy standalone.

You still have enough power in this processor to stream and perform other intensive tasks (respecting that they, of course, won’t be quite as fast as the more expensive builds).

Overall what you get for the price in this CPU is fantastic.

If it’s as far as your budget can stretch, you’re still going to be able to create a great PC for gaming.

The Asus TUF B450M-Plus Gaming is a great cheap AMD motherboard option that still offers everything you need for most games.

It’s a Micro ATX form factor, which is more cost-effective than their ATX counterparts (including cheaper cases).

The board includes:

On top of it still having reasonable overclocking capability, features like NVMe M.2 / RGB inclusions are really impressive for the low price point.

You’ll likely just be buying 1 GPU for a budget gaming build, but it’s nice to have the option to expand with the second PCI-e slot later on.

Overall, this cheap CPU motherboard combo still has everything you need to play the latest games at reasonable settings.

Best Budget Intel Motherboard CPU Combo:

Intel Core i5-9400F With Asus Prime Z370-P II

Our budget Intel combo is also worth your consideration, especially if they happen to be cheaper/on a deal whenever you’re browsing.

Note: it seems that manufacturers are fading out the Z370 chipset motherboards. 

We’ve included the best value one below but if made unavailable, your best bet will be to tie the i5-9400F with our best overall motherboard: The MSI Z390-A PRO

If you’re looking for a cheap Intel gaming CPU, The Core i5-9400F is the best option.

We’re specifically recommending the non-graphics integrated version because even in a budget gaming build, you want a standalone card.

With a clock speed of up to 4.1GHZ and 6 cores/threads, this Intel offering still packs a punch and can be paired with a decent GPU.

i5-9400F vs Ryzen 5 3600

At the time of writing this, the two budget CPU options are around the same price.

Originally the Ryzen 5 3600 was a more “premium” option, and it shows in the benchmarks.

The card tends to perform 10-20% better across the board, from games to general PC tasks.

If the Intel option happens to be significantly lower price at the time you’re looking, then, by all means, go for it.

But if the prices are what we expect, then the 3600 is the best value CPU for gaming available.

But the 9400-F will still get a lot done in a production/gaming/streaming build should you want to stick to Intel.

The Asus Prime Z370-P II is the best cheap gaming Intel motherboard available on the market today.

It may soon be discontinued as manufacturers move towards focussing on the Z390 chipset.

If you can’t get this motherboard, go for the MSI Z390-A PRO.

This ASUS offering is an ATX motherboard. It’s great that it retains the good value at this form factor, offering:

  • 2 x PCI-e slots
  • 4 x DIMM/DDR4 RAM slots
  • Dual NVMe M.2 Storage option

It won’t have as many bells and whistles as our mid-range picks (RGB headers, reduced overclocking facilities, no USB 3.1 type C, etc).

But as far as the utility you need from a budget gaming build?  This Asus motherboard has everything you need.

Cheapest AMD Motherboard CPU Combo:

AMD Ryzen 3 3200G With Asus Prime B450M-A

Let’s be clear:

If you’re serious about building a gaming PC, or one capable of decent production/streaming output, then the budget picks above should be the minimum.

That being said…

What if you’re happy with a PC that’s just for lightweight gaming (e.g. Fortnite on fairly low settings/older games) and general web browsing/Netflix etc?

We’ve included the cheapest CPU motherboard combos we’d recommend if this fits what you’re after.

For its low price point, the AMD Ryzen 3 3200G manages to pack an impressive amount and is the cheapest AMD CPU for gaming we’d recommend.

Still packing 4 cores/threads, max frequency of 4.0GHZ, and an included wraith stealth cooler (enough for a cheap setup).

With your budget in mind, AMD has included integrated graphics into this CPU.

But know for games, the performance will be pretty poor, you’d be playing games on low at best.

Therefore even if your budget is tight, try to stretch to a standalone card.

That being said, don’t be put off if you can’t afford some of the better picks on this list.

You can still play plenty of great modern games with this AM4 CPU when combined with a fair GPU (just not at crazy settings/resolutions!).

The Asus Prime B450M-A is definitely the cheapest AM4 motherboard we’d recommend.

At its Micro ATX form factor, you’re getting:

  • 1 x PCI-e slot
  • 4 x DDR4 compatible outputs
  • Surprisingly, an RGB header should you ever need
  • An NVMe M.2 storage option

As far as overclocking goes, you’ll be limited on this board.

But in a budget build, you’ll not want to spend lots on cooling anyway.

Put simply: this mobo and CPU combo is excellent for someone looking at the minimum for supporting a gaming PC.

Cheapest Intel Motherboard CPU Combo:

Intel Core i3-9100F With MSI H310M PRO-M2 Plus

When considering i3-9100F vs Ryzen 3 3200G, the performance in this category is actually quite comparable.

So if you’re looking for the cheapest Intel CPU motherboard combo, rest assured that this option is as good as AMD’s offering.

With that said, if you don’t have a brand allegiance, we’d recommend you just pick whichever of the two pairs happens to be cheaper at the time you’re looking.

The Intel Core i3-9100F is as cheap as you can get for an Intel gaming CPU.

With similar specs to the AMD offering, you’re looking at 4 cores/threads and clocks up to 4.2GHZ.

A basic cooler is included (all you’d want for a very low budget PC).

Integrated graphics are not included, but as always, you want to fork out for a standalone card if you’re interested in gaming anyway.

One of the cheapest Coffee Lake CPUs available, this offering isn’t really designed for gaming as you can expect from the price.

But if you’re happy with lower settings on less demanding games (or just want a PC for general purposes) this can still manage your needs just fine.

The MSI H310M PRO-M2 Plus, to put it simply, is the cheapest Coffee Lake motherboard that won’t bottleneck a basic gaming build.

Another mATX mobo (as expected for the budget), you have:

  • 1 x PCI-e slot
  • 2 x DDR4 compatible outputs
  • NVMe M.2 support
  • Acceptable onboard sound

Of course, at this very cheap price point, you’re not getting much more than the minimum.

But really in a budget build, you only need 1 PCI-e slot and 2 x RAM slots anyway.

Coming in at an exceptionally low price-point, this Intel CPU motherboard combo is perfect for anyone who really needs to make every $ count.

Best High-End AMD Motherboard CPU combo:

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X With Asus Prime X570-Pro

If price is not a concern, the next pair is the best CPU motherboard combination on the list.

Of course, at these prices, this is for a very powerful gaming build or someone after a high-end production/video editing/streaming PC.

For the average gaming PC, you’ll do well with the top picks above.

But if you’re more interested in power than budget, keep reading!

The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X is an incredible piece of hardware.

With a monstrous 12 cores, 24 threads, and overclockable up to 4.6GHZ, despite its high price-point, it still somehow manages to feel impressively valuable with all this included.

The processor will be more than capable of running a high-intensity multi-GPU build.

As far as gaming goes, provided you have the high-end VGAs to match, you can consider yourself future-proofed, 

This Ryzen 9 CPU will be capable of working alongside top-end graphics cards to act as a 4k gaming PC (with decent settings/fps to boot).

This AMD offering also performs excellently across benchmarks for pretty much all other major computational task tests.

Meaning its a perfect CPU for production, video editing, and the best streaming processors for absolute top quality/multi-tasking.

The processor also comes with a good quality LED cooler, good for the basis of an RGB build.

This cooler won’t compete with standalone heatsinks or CPU water coolers (that we expect most high-end builders to go for) but it’s a nice inclusion nonetheless.

It’s hard not to rave about the 3900X and its superb feature set, it’s one of the best CPUs for overclocking and if you’re looking for a top-quality gaming build, start here.

Ryzen 9 3900X vs 3950X

Some of you may be wondering why we chose the 3900x over its more powerful brother for our top-end pick.

With an additional 8 threads and higher overclocking potential, the 3950X is indisputably better.

But for around 50% extra cost, there are pretty huge diminishing returns.

If you also need your build to be state of the art for production purposes or want to ensure you can max out games like RDR 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 (when it comes out) at a very high resolution/FPS, then definitely go for the 3950X.

But otherwise, even for your high-demand gaming needs, we think the 3900X will match what you need (spend the delta on better GPUs).

The Asus Prime X570-Pro Ryzen 3 is one of the best AM4 motherboards available today.

With the X570 chipset, you’ll have access to not only the best processor power draw around today (to max out that expensive CPU), but also PCI-e 4.0.

The main utility here is for GPUs and NVMe storage performing at faster speeds.

This is great for top-end builds, and while you may not see the full capability of PCI-e 4.0 for another few years, it means you’re investing in a future-proof motherboard.

In terms of other features, oh boy, the list is plentiful and we won’t cover it all in the summary, but for the highlights:

  • ATX form factor with 3 x PCI-e slots
  • 4 x DDR4 slots
  • Dual NVMe M.2 support
  • Fantastic onboard sound (Realtek 8.1 S1220A)
  • Beautiful onboard RGB lighting, 2 addressable headers, and 1 standard RGB header, perfect for an RGB build.
  • Numerous other onboard BIOs features for overclocking & optimization

Yes, the board is expensive.

But for enthusiasts, the quality of life features you get for overclocking amongst all the points mentioned above really make it a gem.

You can go a lot more expensive with motherboards, but we’d say this is the sweet spot even for the most avid of power builders.

If we had to pick just one: this is the best gaming motherboard CPU combo we’d recommend in the entire list.

Best High-End Intel Motherboard CPU combo:

Intel Core i9-9900K With MSI MEG Z390 ACE

Our most expensive Intel CPU motherboard combo is a worthy competitor to AMD’s offering.

The Intel Core i9-9900K is one of the most popular CPUs of the current generation, and for good reasons!

With 8 cores, 16 threads, and up to 5.0GHZ clock speed, you can get amazing speeds out of this processor for a gaming computer.

As far as other tasks go, the CPU always perform excellently, benchmarking very well for the needs of a production or streaming PC

i9-9900K vs Ryzen 9 3900X

A battle of titans.

Both of these are amazing CPUs for gaming.

With that said, in all the benchmarking done for these 2, there is a slight edge to 3900X.

That is across lots of different factors, from gaming to various general PC task tests.

It isn’t completely unanimous, with the i9 recording some slightly better fps peaks in some 1080p tests.

But it’s clear that the Ryzen CPU tends to take the victory if we had to choose.

We also like that the AMD CPU comes with PCI-e express support, which future-proofs your next gaming setup when combined with our recommended motherboard.

If however, when you were browsing, the i9 CPU motherboard combo was >10% cheaper, it would likely be worth the savings as they are still close in performance.

One final thing to bear in mind: the 3900X includes a nice LED RGB cooler and the 9900K doesn’t include even a basic stock cooler.

Though we expect most of you will be going for a standalone option anyway.

Intel i9 9900K vs Intel 10900x
If you keep up with PC news, you’ll know the 10900x is the “new guy” in town.

The CPU is currently very hard to get hold of and quite pricey.

Although the architecture behind it is very impressive (as you’d expect from the next-gen comet lake CPUs), in real-world performance terms, it’s a tad underwhelming.

Benchmarks vs existing CPUs show only marginal improvements.

Even for enthusiast builds, we would stick with the 9900 or comparable AMD offerings for the time being.

The MSI MEG Z390 ACE is one of the best Z390 motherboards around if your wallet is thick.

Let’s start with the design.

We don’t often focus on style for motherboards…

But tied with a nice visible PC case, the Z390 AC will look fantastic with its slick RGB lighting and steel fixtures (on PCI-e slots, etc).

It’s an ATX motherboard which like our top AM4 motherboard, has too many features to list.

Including:

  • 3 x PCI-e slots
  • 4 x DDR4 slots
  • 3 x M.2 support (with 1 x integrated M.2 heatsink)
  • Very good integrated sound (Realtek 8.1 S1220A)
  • Excellent rear I/O panel including a USB type C port.
  • Also (rather uncommonly) includes potential inputs for 2 x USB type C ports for the front I/ O panel
  • Beautiful onboard RGB lighting and addressable headers for an RGB build.
  • Locks of overclocking utility within the BIOs/onboard heatsinks

If you’re looking for an Intel gaming motherboard CPU combo in the era of Coffee Lake/Z390 and you have the money, this is the pair you want.

Best Micro ATX AMD Motherboard CPU Combo:

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X With ASUS Prime B450M-A

For those of you looking for a Micro ATX AMD Gaming PC we’ve combined our best gaming CPU pick from the top of this list with a great, affordable mATX motherboard.

We’ve already been over the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X at the top of our list (where it belongs).

It has returned because it’s easily the best Ryzen CPU for gaming when considering a “mid-range” user.

The 3700X is a great choice for an mATX CPU Motherboard combo too because you’re still going to be looking for good processor power in a mini-tower gaming PC.

With its 8 cores / 16 threads, it will be very effective for single/dual GPU setup (2 is the most you’ll do with a Micro ATX mobo).

What else is there to say that we haven’t already?

This is the best value gaming CPU on the market today. If it fits into your budget, pick it up.

The Asus Prime B450M-A has an impressively dense feature-set for its mATX form factor and low price.

You’ll be getting:

  • 1 x PCI-e slots
  • 4 x DDR4 RAM slots
  • NVMe support

And solid onboard features/BIOs to enable customization/good performance.

We’ve recommended a board with 1 x PCI-e slots as imagine many of you looking at building a Micro ATX gamer computer will be focussing on single-GPU builds.

If you want a crossfire gaming PC (or the potential for one later), you can fork out more on the Gigabyte B450M DS3H (still compatible with the Ryzen 3700X).

You’ll note that there are some cheaper 2 x PCI-e AMD mobos floating around.

But some other features you lose out on (limited SATA availability/other power draw concerns around the board) are not worth it unless you’re sticking to a very cheap build.

Overall, this motherboard, combined with the most popular AMD gaming CPU on the market will make your setup a powerhouse when combined with a good GFX card.

Best Micro ATX Intel Motherboard CPU Combo:

Intel Core i7-9700K With ASRock Z390M PRO4

For the Micro ATX Intel CPU motherboard combo, we’ve also returned to our top CPU pick tied with an excellent value mobo.

The Intel Core i7-9700K is just as good a CPU for an mATX gaming PC as it is for our top (ATX) based combo.

The only extra thing to bear in mind for a smaller build is with the lack of stock cooler, you’ll be putting effort into buying a CPU cooler that’s compatible with a mini-tower case.

There’s usually enough room in this form factor for a majority of them though (just ensure you check dimensions).

The 9700K is more than capable of running greatly alongside a powerful GPU (or two), which is what you’d be looking at in an mATX PC.

What more is there to say?

This is the best Intel CPU for gaming today with the average budget in mind, and great for an mATX computer.

The ASRock Z390M PRO4 is such an impressive value-offering, for most mATX CPU motherboard combos, this is more than good enough.

You may not have heard of ASRock to the same extent as say, ASUS or MSI.

But rest assured they are an excellent motherboard manufacturer, especially in the affordable price ranges.

With this board, you’re getting:

  • 2 x PCI-e slots
  • 4 x DIMM outputs
  • Decent onboard sound

It’s a motherboard for a dual-GPU build should you need it in the future (unlike the AMD mATX ASRock board on Amazon, it doesn’t sacrifice as much on SATA/power draw to have that extra slot).

If you have the budget for a mobo with some more bells and whistles (better M.2/RGB capacity, slightly improved audio & integrated wi-fi) then you could also go with the excellent MSI MPG Z390M.

But the ASRock will give you everything you need for a “no-frills” base and is a perfect pair with the Ryzen for an mATX CPU motherboard combo.

Best Mini ITX AMD Motherboard CPU Combo:

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 With B450I GAMING PLUS AC

For the smallest form factor, we’ve chosen a pair of slightly more affordable options given you don’t need a CPU that powers a huge powerhouse in an mITX gaming PC.

We’ll discuss potential upgrades should you have the budget though.

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is another offering we’ve already raved about in our budget pick.

Easily the best