The best motherboard 2018: the top Intel and AMD motherboards we've seen

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While they’re not as exciting as the best processors or graphics cards, the best motherboards are probably the most important part of your new PC build. With all the latest PC technology, the best motherboards are the backbone of the best PCs. The best motherboards will help your PC hardware reach its full potential by fully utilizing and optimizing it. They can even beef up your processor – by giving it more overclocking headroom.

Due to their critical importance, you should make sure you only pick up one of the best motherboards. If you try to cut corners and your motherboard dies on you, you may have to rebuild your entire PC from scratch – and trust us, no one wants to do that. Listen, just do yourself a favor and pick up one of the best motherboards today, so you can save yourself the hassle of replacing it tomorrow.

If you’ve been looking for the best motherboard, you likely already know that the market is extremely confusing. Don’t worry, we have your back – we’ve created a list of the best motherboards you can buy today. Every motherboard on this list has been individually picked by our knowledgeable TechRadar editorial staff. Not only do they do everything you need them to and more, the best motherboards are built to last. So, let’s dive into the best motherboards, so you know which ones to add to your Black Friday and Cyber Monday list.

We’re expecting a ton of Black Friday components deals this year, and the best motherboards are no exception. Make sure you keep an eye on your favorite manufacturers and retailers, as there will likely be a ton of discounts to match all the Black Friday gaming deals. And, be sure to keep TechRadar bookmarked, as we’ll help you find all the best deals throughout the Black Friday season.

Best Intel Motherboard: Z390 Aorus Pro Wifi

Fully featured and reasonably priced

Form Factor: ATX | Socket: LGA-1151 (8th and 9th-gen only) | Chipset: Intel Z390 | Memory support: 4 x DIMM sockets (up to 64GB) | Multi-GPU support: Nvidia 2- and 4-way GPU SLI, AMD 2-, 3- and 4-way CrossFire | Features: 2 x PCIe M.2 (Key M), reinforced PCIe

Solid aesthetics 
Great cooling 
Could use more M.2 slots 

When Intel launched its Coffee Lake Refresh platform, and promised that they’d be the best processors for gaming, we knew we were going to get some kitted out motherboards that put that theory to the test. And, lo and behold, the Z390 Aorus Gaming Pro Wifi – one of the best motherboards on the market today. Packed to the brim with gamer-centric features like reinforced PCIe slots and enough RGB lighting to blind you – this is the best Intel motherboard on the market right now. 

Best high-end Intel motherboard: Asus ROG Maximus XI Code Z390 Gaming

No compromises

Form Factor: ATX | Socket: LGA-1151 (8th and 9th-gen only) | Chipset: Intel Z390 | Memory support: 4 x DIMM sockets (up to 64GB) | Multi-GPU support: Nvidia 2-way GPU SLI, AMD 2-, 3-way CrossFire | Features: 2 x PCIe M.2 (Key M), Improved power delivery, Dedicated water pump headers

 Packed with features
 Pre-installed I/O shield  
 Very expensive 

Sometimes, when building a new PC, you’re just want  to throw your hands up and say “just give me everything.” In times like this, you’ll want the Asus ROG Maximus XI Code Z390 Gaming. Packed with every feature that Intel’s new Coffee Lake Refresh processors support and then some with a RGB-lit shroud covering every inch of circuitry on this motherboard.  

Best budget Intel motherboard: Gigabyte Z390 UD

Coffee Lake Refresh on a budget

Form Factor: ATX | Socket: LGA-1151 (8th and 9th-gen only) | Chipset: Intel Z390 | Memory support: 4 x DIMM sockets (up to 64GB) | Multi-GPU support: AMD 4-way CrossFire | Features: 1 x PCIe M.2 (Key M), software-controlled case fans, up to 4,000MHz memory

Affordable  
Thunderbolt 3 
No SLI 

If you want to take advantage of everything Coffee Lake Refresh is capable of, but you can’t afford more exotic motherboards, you might want to look at the Gigabyte Z390 UD. This motherboard doesn’t have the same level of RGB bells and built-in Wi-Fi, but what it does have is a solid price to performance ratio. For a much lower cost, you’re getting all of the essential features that Z390 has to offer, while sacrificing some of the unnecessary features like SLI or extra M.2 slots. If you’re a budget gamer, the Gigabyte Z390 UD might be the best motherboard for you. 

Best Intel Micro-ATX motherboard: MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC

Small and edgy

Form Factor: Micro-ATX | Socket: LGA-1151 (8th and 9th-gen only) | Chipset: Intel Z390 | Memory support: 2 x DIMM sockets (up to 32GB) | Multi-GPU support: SLI/CrossFire | Features: 2 x PCIe M.2 (Key M), DDR4 boost, PCI-E Steel Armor, Audio Boost 4 with amplifier

Stylish 
Feature-packed 
Pricey 

If you’re looking for an edge on the competition, and you don’t have a lot of extra room on your desk, you’re going to want a Micro-ATX motherboard – you’re going to want the MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC. What you’re getting here is a Micro-ATX motherboard with all the features a full-sized ATX part, but a fraction of the price. Despite it’s reduced size, you still get getting dual M.2 slots, SLI and Crossfire support and all the scalding performance that Intel Coffee Lake Refresh has to offer. If you’re looking for a smaller motherboard, you can’t afford not to get the MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge MC. 

Best Intel Mini-ITX motherboard: Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming

Tiny and bright

Form Factor: Mini-ITX | Socket: LGA-1151 (8th and 9th-gen only) | Chipset: Intel Z390 | Memory support: 2 x DIMM sockets (up to 64GB) | Multi-GPU support: N/A | Features: 2 x PCIe M.2 (Key M), Double capacity memory, USB 3.1 Gen 2 front connector, Asus Aura Sync

 All the RGB 
 Tons of memory capacity 
 Expensive 

Sometimes you need something even smaller – maybe you’re looking to build a gaming PC that can hide alongside your consoles, or you just want a ridiculously bright home theater PC. Either way, in times like this, you should look at the Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming. With this motherboard, you don’t have to compromise on power or features. You don’t even need to settle for a measly 32GB of RAM, thanks to Asus’ double capacity memory compatibility – you can have up to 64GB of memory on this  Mini-ITX board, what a time to be alive. Unfortunately, like most Z390 boards ahead of the 9th-gen Intel release, it’s a bit pricey, so prepare yourself for that.  

Best AMD motherboard: Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7 Wi-Fi

Bright and beautiful

Form Factor: ATX | Socket: AM4 | Chipset: AMD X470 | Memory Support: Dual-Channel 4 x DDR4 3,600MHz (up to 64GB) | Multi-GPU support: Quad-GPU SLI, CrossFire | Features: 2 x M.2 (Key M), Q-Flash, Multi Zone RGB lighting

Amazing looking motherboard
Great expandability
Expensive

With the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 Wi-Fi, Gigabyte further illustrates is mastery of motherboard design. Rocking the new AMD X470 chipset, allowing full support of the new AMD Ryzen 2nd Generation processors, this is the best motherboard if you’re looking to side with Team Red. What’s more, it supports Quad-GPU SLi and extremely fast RAM (up to 3,600 MHz) for peerless expandability, and thanks to its multi-zone RGB lighting, it looks good while kicking butt. 

Best budget AMD motherboard: MSI X470 Gaming Plus

Game in style

Form Factor: ATX | Socket: AMD AM4 | Chipset: AMD X470 | Memory Support: Dual-Channel 4 x DDR4 3,466MHz (up to 64GB) | Multi-GPU support: Crossfire | Features: 2 x PCIe M.2 (Key M)

 Great price
 Great expansion
 Need a larger case

For the longest time, AMD has been the reigning champion of budget builds, and in 2018 that doesn’t seem to be changing. Marketed exclusively to gamers, the MSI X470 Gaming Plus is loaded front to back with features like two PCIe M.2 slots and quick performance tweaking buttons to make sure you’re on the top of the leaderboards at all times. And, since it’s a gamer-focused motherboard, it comes with all kinds of flashy RGB lighting that you can even customise from your smartphone.

Best AMD Micro ATX motherboard: ASRock B450M-HDV

Small and in charge

Form Factor: Micro ITX | Socket: AMD AM4 | Chipset: AMD Promontory B450 | Memory Support: Dual-Channel 2 x DDR4 3,200MHz (up to 32GB) | Multi-GPU support: No | Features: ASRock Super Alloy build, 1 x M.2, ASRock Live Update

Affordable 
Supports 3,200MHz RAM 
Only two DIMM slots 

These days, small form-factor PCs are all the rage and with motherboards like the ASRock B450M-HDV, we think they’re going to stay that way. Now, while this motherboard doesn't do SLI and supports only up to 32GB of RAM– it is a B450 unit, after all – it is still compelling due to its low price. Outside of these omissions, you still get a slot for a NVMe SSD and four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports around back. If you’re looking to build a solid budget gaming PC, this is going to be the best motherboard for you.  

Best AMD Mini-ITX motherboard: ASUS ROG Strix X470-I

Small size, huge performance

Form Factor: Mini-ITX | Socket: AMD AM4 | Chipset: AMD X470 | Memory Support: Dual-Channel 2 x DDR4 3,466MHz (up to 32GB) | Multi-GPU support: No | Features: 1 x PCIe M.2 (Key M)

Dual-channel RAM support
M.2 compatibility
 RAM tops out at 32GB 

Asus aims to prove that big things can come in small packages with the ROG Strix X470-I. Featuring the latest and greatest AMD chipset, everything in this tiny board is designed with performance in mind. Even down to the BIOS, where you can find a stress test for overclocks before you even boot into Windows. This board even elevates beyond the constraints of the Mnii-ITX form factor by including an M.2 Audio Combo riser, so that you can install your M.2 NVMe SSD without getting in the way of other components. 

Best Intel Core X-Series motherboard: ASRock X299 Taichi

This one goes up to 11, but more accurately, 4400MHz memory

Form Factor: ATX | Socket: LGA-2066 | Chipset: Intel X299 | Memory Support: Quad-Channel 8 x DDR4 4,400MHz (up to 128GB) | Multi-GPU support: Nvidia 3-Way SLI, AMD 3-Way CrossFireX | Features: 3 x PCIe M.2 (Key M)

Gigantic memory support
Slots for 8 RAM modules
High price

The X-series processors are here and they're spectacular, so if you want to take advantage of all they have to offer, you need an X-series motherboard. This ASRock X299 is an excellent choice, with support for overclocked memory speeds up to 4400MHz(!!!) and 8 different slots for memory modules. It also supports up to 128GB of RAM, so with an X-series processor and a good graphics card (or 3…) this thing will absolutely tear apart anything you throw at it.

Best AMD Ryzen Threadripper motherboard: ASRock X399 Professional Gaming sTR4

This is the motherboard AMD dreams are made of

Form Factor: ATX | Socket: sTR4 | Chipset: AMD X399 | Memory Support: Dual -Channel 4 x DDR4 3,200MHz (up to 128GB) | Multi-GPU support: 4-Way SLI, AMD Quad CrossFireX | Features: 1 x U.2, 3 x PCIe M.2 (Key M)

4-way SLI or Crossfire support
Awesome RGB lighting
 Really expensive

If you’re the type of builder with lots of cash to burn and an ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ build method, the Ryzen Thredripper X399 Professional Gaming board is for you. Not only does it support 4-way SLI or Crossfire configurations, but you can also pack this thing with up to 128GB DDR4 memory. It even features a ton of flashy RGB lighting, so that people can’t help but stare at your rig when they walk in the room. And, if you upgrade to Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation, you can use this board, but keep in mind you may have to update your BIOS. 

Coming to terms

If you’re unfamiliar about what makes the best motherboards, well, better than the rest, we’d like to include a primer for anyone who might not know that much about them. Motherboards are available in a broad range of different form factors, the most common of which being ATX and Micro ATX. However, there are plenty of more less common form factors including mini ITX and E-ATX. Don’t worry though, most of the best PC cases will support multiple form factors. 

Moreover, in our rundown of the best motherboards, we detailed the socket type that each mobo adheres to. For those not in the know, the socket is the part on the motherboard that the CPU locks into. Typically, newer Intel processors use either LGA 1151 or 2066 while the latest AMD Ryzen architecture is designed for the AM4 chipset.