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The best motherboard 2021: the top Intel and AMD motherboards we've seen

best motherboard 2021
These are the best motherboards 2021 has to offer. (Image credit: Future)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

As a PC’s backbone or foundation, the best motherboard ensures that your PC and all its components are running at their optimal performance. A motherboard not only allows your internals to interact with one another, but also ensures that they’re running and even overclocking better. That means that your choice of motherboard will either make or break your PC.

Whether you’re building a PC or need a new one for that best graphics card or processor you just spent a lot of money on, you’ll be wise to invest in the best motherboard. Otherwise, you’re risking your PC components failing or worse, having to rebuild your PC from scratch.

So, if you’re setting out to build a PC to rival the best PCs – or simply upgrading your existing one, make sure to budget properly for a quality board. We rounded up the best motherboards on the market, alongside our price comparison tool so you can save money along the way.

Coming to terms

If you’re unfamiliar with the best motherboards out there, use this list as a primer for your next build. Motherboards are available in a broad range of different form factors, the most common of which are ATX and Micro ATX. However, there are plenty of less common form factors including mini ITX and E-ATX. Don’t worry though, most of the best PC cases will support more than one form factor. 

Moreover, in our rundown of the best motherboards, we detailed the socket type that each mobo adheres to. The socket, for those not in the know, 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.

Best motherboards of 2021 at a glance

  1. Asus ROG Maximus XII HERO - best Intel motherboard
  2. MSI MEG Z490 Godlike - best high-end Intel motherboard
  3. GIGABYTE Z490 Gaming X - best budget Intel motherboard
  4. MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC - best Intel micro-ATX motherboard
  5. Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming - best Intel mini-ITX motherboard
  6. ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming X - best AMD motherboard
  7. Aorus X570 Master - best high performance AMD motherboard
  8. Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming - best budget AMD motherboard
  9. Asus TUF Gaming B550M-PLUS - best AMD micro-ATX motherboard
  10. NZXT N7 B550 - best for the AMD B550 chipset with Wi-Fi 6E
  11. ASRock X299 Taichi - best Intel Core X-series motherboard
  12. MSI Creator TRX40 - best AMD Ryzen Threadripper motherboard

Best motherboards: Asus ROG Maximus XII HERO

(Image credit: Asus)

1. Asus ROG Maximus XII HERO

Best Intel Motherboard

Specifications
Form Factor: ATX
Socket: LGA1200
Chipset: Intel Z490
Memory support: 4 x DIMM (Max. 128GB)
Multi-GPU support: NVIDIA 2-Way SLI Technology, AMD 3-Way CrossFireX Technology, AMD 2-Way CrossFireX Technology
Features: Aluminum M.2 heatsink cover, 10K Black Metallic Capacitors, ROG Extreme OC kit
Reasons to buy
+Excellent cooling+Easy overclocking+Gorgeous design
Reasons to avoid
-Not cheap

For the best motherboard for the latest Intel chips, you need one that brings plenty of power to the table, as well as intelligent cooling and support for faster memory. That’s why the Asus ROG Maximus XII HERO gets our vote as the best Intel motherboard for 2021. If you’re thinking of upgrading to a 10th-generation Intel Core processor, invest in this motherboard as well. With it, you’re also getting AI overclocking, AI networking with Wi-Fi 6 support and Asus’ Aura Sync illumination.

Best motherboards: MSI MEG Z490 Godlike

(Image credit: MSI)

2. MSI MEG Z490 Godlike

Best high-end Intel motherboard

Specifications
Form Factor: E-ATX
Socket: LGA1200
Chipset: Intel Z490
Memory support: 4 x DIMM sockets (up to 128GB)
Multi-GPU support: 2-Way NVIDIA SLI Technology, 3-Way AMD CrossFire Technology
Features: M.2 Xpander-Z Gen4 S, 10G Super LAN + 2.5G LAN, Frozn Heatsink, Double Side M.2 Shield Frozn
Reasons to buy
+Superb build quality+Onboard thunderbolt video output+Easy overclocking in BIOS
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey-Uses two 8-pin cpu power connectors

High-end motherboards may cost a fortune, but if you’ve got something like the MSI MEG Z490 Godlike under the hood, you’re pretty much guaranteed top-notch performance, especially if you’ve got Intel components. As long as you’re willing to pay the price. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that this is the best z490 board out there right now, with an excellent thermal solution, staggering overclocking performance, easy installation and diagnostic solutions for do-it-yourself-ers, and a solid build.

Best motherboards: GIGABYTE Z490 Gaming X

(Image credit: GIGABYTE)

3. GIGABYTE Z490 Gaming X

Best budget Intel motherboard

Specifications
Form Factor: ATX
Socket: LGA1200
Chipset: Intel Z490
Memory support: 4 x DIMM sockets (up to 128GB)
Multi-GPU support: AMD Quad-GPU CrossFire and 2-Way AMD CrossFire
Features: Support for APP Center, Q-Flash and Q-Flash Plus support, Xpress Install support
Reasons to buy
+Pre-installed I/O shield+Additional optional 4-pin connector
Reasons to avoid
-No USB Type-C connectivity

The GIGABYTE Z490 Gaming X may not have any flashy new features to bring to the table, but if you’re an Intel fan who needs a new motherboard in the budget sphere, it’s certainly a great choice. This entry-level motherboard for gamers has a decent feature set for its price tag, including three PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, six SATA ports and four memory slots with support for DDR4-4600 and up to 128GB, to start. Most importantly, it performs like the best of them without burning a hole in your pocket.

Best motherboards: MSI MPG Z390M

4. MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC

Best Intel micro-ATX motherboard

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Stylish +Feature-packed 
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey 

If you’re looking to get an edge on the competition, but you don’t have a lot of extra space on your desk, you’re going to need a Micro-ATX motherboard – more specifically, 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 one offers, but at a fraction of the price. Despite its smaller size, you still get dual M.2 slots, SLI and Crossfire support, and all the fiery performance that Intel Coffee Lake Refresh has to offer. If you’re looking for a smaller motherboard, you can’t afford to pass on the MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge MC.

Best motherboards: Asus ROG Strix Z390-I

5. Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming

Best Intel mini-ITX motherboard

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+ All the RGB + Tons of memory capacity 
Reasons to avoid
- Expensive 

If you need the smallest possible motherboard available without compromising on key features of your CPU, you should look into the Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming. With this motherboard, you don’t need to compromise on features or power. 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 in the most miniscule motherboard you’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, like most Z390 boards, its price tag is not for the faint of heart, so prepare yourself to shell out some serious dough if you want the smallest of the best motherboards.

Best motherboards: ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming X

(Image credit: ASRock)

6. ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming X

Best AMD motherboard

Specifications
Form Factor: ATX
Socket: AMD AM4
Chipset: AMD Premium X570
Memory Support: 4 x DIMM sockets (up to 128GB)
Multi-GPU support: NVIDIA NVLink, Quad SLI, AMD 3-Way CrossFireX
Features: ASRock Polychrome SYNC, ASRock Super Alloy, ASRock Phantom Gaming 2.5G LAN
Reasons to buy
+Easy to install+Beautiful design+Excellent cooling
Reasons to avoid
-Upgrading storage might be physically tricky

If you’re considering an AMD setup for that PC you’re building, then you cannot go wrong with the ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming X. This is the best motherboard for AMD fans right now, with a top-notch feature set, great design and a highly-effective cooling solution. It’s certainly a favorite among overclockers out there, and with Wi-Fi 6 support to boot. If you have a penchant for tweak and upgrade your internals, there might be some limitations as to what you can do physically. But, other than that, it’s hard to find fault in this board.

Best motherboards: Gigabyte Aorus X570 Master

(Image credit: Gigabyte)

7. Gigabyte Aorus X570 Master

Best high performance AMD motherboard

Specifications
Form Factor: ATX
Socket: AMD Socket AM4
Chipset: AMD X570
Memory support: 4 x DIMM sockets (up to 128GB)
Multi-GPU support: NVIDIA Quad-GPU SLI and 2-Way NVIDIA SLI technologies, AMD Quad-GPU CrossFire and 2-Way AMD CrossFire
Features: Support for APP Center, Q-Flash and Q-Flash Plus support, Xpress Install support
Reasons to buy
+Excellent price for performance+Pre-installed I/O Shield+Well thought out design
Reasons to avoid
-Awkward USB3 header placement

The Gigabyte Aorus X570 Master is not only an aesthetically pleasing motherboard, with splashes of silver on a black board meant to complement its RGB lighting. It is also capable of being the centerpiece of a very powerful computer. It can handle up to 128GB of DDR4400 RAM, the latest 3rd gen AMD processors and multiple GPUs for anyone wanting to future proof their gaming needs. The X570 Master is also very astutely designed, with shielding on its I/O ports, WiFi 6 and a number of other placement choices that make this a quality board. Best of all, its price is significantly less than the high end Intel motherboards.

Best motherboards: Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming

(Image credit: Asus)

8. Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming

Best budget AMD motherboard

Specifications
Form Factor: ATX
Socket: AMD AM4
Chipset: AMD B550
Memory Support: 4 x DIMM sockets (up to 128GB)
Multi-GPU support: Nvidia 2-way GPU SLI, AMD 3-way CrossFire
Features: Aura Sync, ASUS Thermal Solution with M.2 heatsink, ASUS EZ DIY, Rear audio USB Type-C connector
Reasons to buy
+Easy setup+Price is right
Reasons to avoid
-Only one PCIe 4.0-Limited CPU support

If you’re looking to build from scratch, the Asus ROG B550-E Gaming Motherboard is a cost-effective and feature-rich motherboard to pair with that AMD 3rd gen Ryzen chip you just bought. Its I/O ports are shielded, it comes with a PCIe 4.0 slot (and a second PCIe 3.0 one), and it has just about all the ports and port headers you could desire. With this motherboard, you’re getting excellent power delivery, a great feature set and an incredibly effective cooling solution, as well as a cool aesthetic to boot.

Best motherboards: Asus TUF Gaming B550M-PLUS

(Image credit: Asus)

9. Asus TUF Gaming B550M-PLUS

Best AMD Micro ATX motherboard

Specifications
Form Factor: Micro ITX
Socket: AMD AM4
Chipset: AMD B550
Memory Support: 4 x DIMM sockets (up to 128GB)
Multi-GPU support: AMD 2-Way CrossFireX Technology
Features: ASUS TUF Protection, ASUS Thermal solution with aluminum M.2 heatsink, ASUS EZ DIY, AURA Sync
Reasons to buy
+PCIe 4.0 support+AI noise-cancelling technology works great
Reasons to avoid
-No heatsink in upper NVMe slot-Still pricey for what it offers

An upgrade from its predecessor, the B450, the Asus TUF Gaming B550M-PLUS boasts not only a much better power solution and a great cooling solution, but also game-ready features and military-grade components. Among those features are the AI Noise-Canceling Microphone software, which supports 3.5 mm, USB or Bluetooth headsets, and full RGB lighting control. All, of course, while still touting that TUF Gaming Alliance promise for easy compatibility and building, as well as aesthetics that complement its trusted partners.

Best motherboards: NZXT N7 B550

(Image credit: NZXT)

10. NZXT N7 B550

Best for the AMD B550 chipset with Wi-Fi 6E

Specifications
Form Factor: ATX
Socket: LGA1200
Chipset: AMD B550
Memory Support: 4 x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR4
Multi-GPU support: AMD 2-Way CrossFireX Technology
Features: Built-in digital RGB and fan controls, built-in Wi-Fi 6E connectivity
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Native Wi-Fi 6E capabilities
Reasons to avoid
-No backplate

Looking into an AMD B550 motherboard might be necessary if you’re upgrading your AMD Ryzen processor, and the NZXT N7 B550 is an excellent mid-range option. This gaming motherboard is not only designed around the B550 chipset, but it comes with built-in Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, something that you’ll be hard-pressed to find in rivalling boards. It also comes with more USB ports at the rear, making it more versatile. And, of course, you’ll also appreciate the digital RGB and fan controls through CAM.

Best motherboards: ASRock X299 Taichi

11. ASRock X299 Taichi

Best Intel Core X-Series motherboard

Specifications
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)
Reasons to buy
+Gigantic memory support+Slots for 8 RAM modules
Reasons to avoid
-High price

The X-series processors are here, and they are spectacular. But if you want to take advantage of all they have to offer, you need an X-series motherboard. This ASRock X299 is an incredible 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. Add in an X-series processor and a good graphics card or 3, and this thing will absolutely tear apart anything you could possibly throw at it. If you’re seeking one of the best motherboards money can buy, this is it.

Best motherboards: MSI Creator TRX40

(Image credit: MSI)

12. MSI Creator TRX40

Best AMD Ryzen Threadripper motherboard

Specifications
Form Factor: E-ATX
Socket: sTRX4
Chipset: AMD TRX40
Memory Support: 8 x DIMM sockets (up to 256G)
Multi-GPU support: 3-Way NVIDIA SLI and 3-Way AMDA CrossFire
Features: 10G LAN + Intel Gigabit LAN, 7 x Lightning Gen4 M.2 with M.2 XPANDER-AERO GEN4, Full fan control, Frozr Heatsink Design, Mystic Light
Reasons to buy
+Good overclocking+Efficient cooling+Has 10GbE, 1GbE and 2.4Gbps Wi-Fi
Reasons to avoid
-Double-slot cooling limits M.2 adapter card-Expensive

When you’ve got an AMD Threadripper under the hood of your PC, you absolutely need a beast of a motherboard like the MSI Creator TRX40. This is designed and built specifically for creators with the most demanding computing needs, this motherboard also boasts quite a feature set. Among those features are the latest PCIe gen4 slots and M.2 connectors, USB3.2 Gen2x2, Wi-Fi 6 and 10G LAN, as well as MSI’s Frozr Heatsink design and Mystic Light RGB lighting. It’s a little pricey, especially next to the competition, but then again, nothing in the creative sphere isn’t these days. If you want the best motherboard for your professional creative endeavors, it doesn’t get better than this.