Gaming PC Motherboards Buying Guide

Today we’re going to look at the best gaming PC motherboards. When you talk about gaming computers, people often talk about the best graphics cards that can be purchased, but they often neglect an important component in a computer for this kind of use: the motherboard. The motherboard is an essential part of the PC because it houses the most important components of your computer such as graphics cards, graphics processor, etc.

In 2018, the most popular and most popular processor line is Intel with its Kaby Lake processors, which follow the Skylake range. Both use the same motherboard chipset, allowing you to buy a motherboard that supports an LGA 151 socket and you’ll be ready to go.

Now, as with all components for gaming, there are many motherboards available that satisfy the average user market. There are cheap and inexpensive motherboards that are perfect for consumers limited by their budget. There is also an in-between, an average range that has great features and, of course, expensive motherboards that are perfect for upgrading a computer installation.

In this article, I will review the most popular gaming PC motherboards in 2018. Note that all motherboards mentioned in this article support Kaby Lake and Broadwell-E processors only with backward Skylake compatibility. I’ll divide gaming motherboards by their price, so you can see at a glance what’s best for you and your budget. But before buying a motherboard, what should you consider? Here are some of the things to consider when looking for a motherboard for your PC:

Now that you know the relevant factors before you buy, I will show you some of the most popular motherboards on the market. I will group them according to their price so that you can find it more easily. The general idea here is that everyone can see his account. You want a cheaper motherboard to focus on a graphics card? No problem. Looking for a card that combines price and performance? I have what you need. Or one of these high-end motherboards that offer everything you can search for? I have some too. So, without further ado, here are my recommendations of motherboards according to their price.

The Best PC Gaming Motherboards for 2018 – Featured Products

What are the Best Affordable Kaby Lake Gaming PC Motherboards

I will start by introducing some of the best motherboards for gaming that are also nice for your budget. These cards are ideally designed for people who do not want to spend too much on the motherboard to be able to put more money elsewhere, as in graphics cards, etc.

MSI B250M Mortar

The MSI B250M Mortar is one of the most enjoyable motherboards to watch from this affordable selection. It has all the essential options you need to get a decent game installation. This model presents black, gray and red LED themes, which puts it in front of its competitors regarding aesthetics.

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This model gives up the top Z270 chipset, making it more affordable with a difference of at least $ 50 with the product above in the range. You still have 12 PCIe lines which is enough for a GPU and an M.2 SSD for a vivid performance.

The MSI B250M Mortar is quite well equipped since you have 2 PCIe slots for your components and a series of USB and SATA ports for your storage and peripherals, to create a fundamentally complete gaming package.

Since this model is a Micro-ATX model, those who own it can explore more compact systems for offices and reduced energy footprints, without penalizing performance and satisfaction.

Asus H110M-A / M.2

Asus H110M-A / M.2 is from the previous generation since it still uses the H110 chip for Skylake. To use your new Kaby Lake processor with this product, you will need to update its BIOS to the latest version to allow compatibility.

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It may seem odd that we have included this motherboard between models with newer chips, but looking at its price and considering the quality and reliability that brings Asus, it becomes difficult to ignore this cheap option.

If you choose the Asus H110M-A / M.2, you can forget about the latest features of 2XX chips like Intel Optane memory, plus your RAM has a lower speed limit. However do not worry, because losing these extras is negligible overall in gaming performance since you still get the essential features that a normal PC needs.

The Asus H110M-A / M.2 now comes with an M.2 connector for this extra boost in read / write speeds so your charging times will be shorter, and games will start faster. You also get a full range of connections you may need, such as four SATA 3 and USB 3.0 connectors and Realtek HD Audio codecs.

The H110M-A / M.2 looks like a minimal model, but the money you save can go into a better GPU or an aftermarket cooler, which helps you reach your goal of a tight budget gaming platform more accessible.

Gigabyte GA H270-HD3

Spending a little more in this category will allow you to have the Gigabyte GA-H270-HD3, which contains an improved Kaby Lake chip. This model is the only AMD Crossfire model in this category, so if you are counting on a dual RX480 build to try 4K gaming without spending too much, this is your best bet.

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The Gigabyte GA H270-HD3 can now hold up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM plus it also has two PCIe x16 slots for a dual GPU configuration. You also get an M.2 connector for a super fast storage device, plus six 6Gbps SATA ports for backup drives.

Gigabyte has also added great extras like Easy Tune compatibility, easy-to-access UEFI bios, and ambient LED for unobtrusive lighting effects. For a price of less than $ 100.00, this model contains a rich feature pack that can almost compete with competing products that require a lot more just for extra spice.

The Gigabyte GA H270-HD3 is an ATX motherboard, which means it will fit into medium-sized or standard PC enclosures. There is a lot more room on the black PCB, so you can fit larger aftermarket coolers if you want to preserve the life of your CPU by adding an extra cooler.

Best Mid-Range Kaby Lake Gaming PC Motherboards

The average price category is where fierce competition takes place between the different brands since this is where followers and cost-conscious buyers are looking for the best gaming motherboards. Usually, the products included here and their counterparts have a price that goes above one hundred dollars.

All models in this category now have the premium Z270 chips that allow for fantastic features like multi-GPU support, higher PCIe, and memory bandwidth, as well as many more. This section of the guide is the gateway to the world of followers and overclocking, but not at the cost of extreme models.

Plus, they are a lot easier to find since they are currently the most popular motherboard chips on the market and the support for these motherboards is way better compared to any other motherboard chip.

Asus Z270F Strix Gaming

The Asus Z270F Strix Gaming is one of the most focused products on the player in this set thanks to its great portfolio of extras and an undeniable performance in references and games. For starters, the sleek black motherboard contains three PCIe 16x slots and four PCIe x1 slots, two M.2 connectors and full blast radiators for your cooling.

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While being one of the fastest motherboards in this category, the Asus Z270F Strix Gaming also outperforms its competitors with its SupremeFX sound generator for dramatically improved audio processing. Even without a dedicated sound generator, this model has enough power to power speakers and headphones quality without problems.

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Apart from the Asus Aura RGB lighting, another way to improve the aesthetics of your building is to print the 3D design of your screen for radiators and components. The modular nature of Asus Z270 Strix Gaming gives you several ways to enhance the look of your PC to go with your theme and your tastes. The pack even comes with great extras like coasters, cable tags, and covers the SLI bridge, M.2 connectors, and cabling.

For less than the price of its high-end counterparts of the ROG lineage, the Asus Z270F Strix Gaming presents a huge value in performance and aesthetics. If you want an interesting platform, this is the medium-priced motherboard to buy.

Gigabyte Aorus Z270 Gaming K5

The Gigabyte Aorus Z270 Gaming K5 is another entry for the mid-priced segment thanks to its array of features and aesthetics. This motherboard has a PCIe x16 and triple x1 layout providing enough juice for your setup with multiple GPUs plus PCIe accessories like sound cards.

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This option is a bit more expensive than the other inclusions in this bracket, but the extra money you pay matches the strengths that the K5 Gaming brings. First, this card has two M.2 connectors and three SATA Express connectors for your storage, but it also includes a U.2 connector for the future. The mix of storage features of this model makes it one of the fastest in read / write speeds in this alignment, so if you have lots of data to access, this is a good map to get.

The Gigabyte Aorus Z270 Gaming K5 also uses an Ethernet Killer controller and an X-Fi Soundblaster audio processor instead of annoying chips for vastly improved performance. The X-Fi chip alone is great value because it contains a lot of audio power so you will not need a dedicated device for fantastic gaming sound.

Finally, if the look of your platform is of value to you, the Gigabyte Aorus Z270 Gaming K5 is one of the most beautiful motherboards that you can get at this price. This product includes large black matte radiators and protection with an angular design, plus a host of RGB LED lights on the CPU socket, PCIe ports, and even DDR4 connectors.

Gigabyte Aorus Z270 Gaming K5

The Gigabyte Aorus Z270 Gaming K5 is another entry for the mid-priced segment thanks to its array of features and aesthetics. This motherboard has a PCIe x16 and triple x1 layout providing enough juice for your setup with multiple GPUs plus PCIe accessories like sound cards.

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This option is a bit more expensive than the other inclusions in this bracket, but the extra money you pay matches the strengths that the K5 Gaming brings. First, this card has two M.2 connectors and three SATA Express connectors for your storage, but it also includes a U.2 connector for the future. The mix of storage features of this model makes it one of the fastest in read / write speeds in this alignment, so if you have lots of data to access, this is a good map to get.

The Gigabyte Aorus Z270 Gaming K5 also uses an Ethernet Killer controller and an X-Fi Soundblaster audio processor instead of annoying chips for vastly improved performance. The X-Fi chip alone is great value because it contains a lot of audio power so you will not need a dedicated device for fantastic gaming sound.

Finally, if the look of your platform is of value to you, the Gigabyte Aorus Z270 Gaming K5 is one of the most beautiful motherboards that you can get at this price. This product includes large black matte radiators and protection with angular design, plus a host of RGB LED lights on the CPU socket, PCIe ports, and even DDR4 connectors.

Asrock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6

The Asrock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 is not the best Z270 motherboard available, but it offers excellent value for its affordable price. The red and black theme should suit a lot of tastes and constructions focused on gaming. But what makes the aesthetics of this option unique is its implementation of LED RGB light, which is placed under the screen and radiators to provide ambient brightness instead of being immediately visible. This method gives your building a moderate illumination that does not dazzle your other devices blindly.

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One of the best things about the Asrock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 is that it already includes dual Intel NCIs for improved networking performance. You also get unique overclocking features like the XMP button, a dual BIOS option, power and reset buttons and a POST code display. All of these inclusions are not usually included in such an affordable thing, making the Asrock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 an instant hit for the practical follower.

This motherboard has a knack for making its special features duplicate since you get dual M.2 connectors, a dual USB 3.0 connector, and two extra 6Gbps SATA ports outside of dual BIOS and dual NIC ROMs. The Asrock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 also gives an excellent audio solution that we consider to be at the cards level below $ 100 in the form of the ALC1220. Your storage controller is also upgraded to an Asmedia chip, meaning you get professional performance at a fabulous price.

One of the main reasons we chose the Asrock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming K6 is because it’s an excellent overclocker. This talent exists thanks to its 10-phase VRM layout with high-quality MOSFETs and components. The company used its FP 12K caps for this iteration, a part usually reserved for the best offers. You can power your Kaby Lake processor beyond its clocks in stock with confidence and enjoy the gaming benefits of this model’s features at a very competitive price.

Best Kaby Lake Premium Gaming PC Motherboards

Competition in the high-end segment is intensifying, starting with the uber-popular Asus ROG Maximus IX Formula, the latest iteration of Republic of Gamers’ best-selling traditional motherboard. This model is one of the most expensive Z270 cards on the market, but its appearance and performance are undeniable.

Asus ROG Maximus IX Formula

The Asus ROG Maximus IX Formula is one of the best existing overclocking motherboards since it easily reaches the 5Ghz amplitude that has made many enthusiasts crazy for years. This aspect is the main focus of the ROG lineage of motherboards, so spending extra money if you have it on the Maximus IX Formula is not so bad.

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Fans who want the maximum power of their PCs will probably use water cooling instead of normal. What makes the ROG Maximus IX Formula special is the waterproof EK II Cross Chill embedded in the PCB. You can easily integrate this motherboard into your cooling loop to prevent your VRMs from overheating, potentially extending your overclocking margin and device lifetime as well.

Of course, Asus has not forgotten to include a range of needed features like dual M.2 connectors, several USB 3.1 ports including some for the front panel, plus the onboard 802.11ac Wi-Fi. I / O protection is built into the board, making it durable and neat. The PCB itself is reinforced with a backplate to ensure that you do not bend the card with the weight of your GPU or heatsinks. As sophisticated as the other features, your audio is also enhanced at SupremeFX with exclusive codecs for Sonic Studio III and Sonic Radar III.

The Asus ROG Maximus IX is a case of over-designing, but we can say that it is not in bad taste. Half of the map is covered with an aluminum shield that protects its sensitive components while being pretty. Both GPU connectors are reinforced with metal so they can support your huge GPUs. Like the icing of a cake, this motherboard has Asus Aura lighting aesthetics, which is spread all over the map in the right places making any platform worthy of the award for best construction.

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MSI Z270 XPower Titanium

The MSI Z270 XPower Titanium is the company’s best Kaby Lake card with a focus on professional overclocking and extreme gaming performance. This model is also unique since it uses a white and titanium color scheme instead of the typical black PCBs we see in competitors.

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The MSI Z270 XPower Titanium is an overclocking expert with its 14-phase VRMs and high-quality titanium capacitors that are among the best rated and best components in the industry. You can access the overclocking talent of this card easily by using the OC dashboard, which also doubles as an external remote control to easily adjust the voltages and other settings.

Of course, this model is also complete since it includes a dual Intel network card, USB 3.1 Type A and C ports, 3 M.2 slots, a U.2 port in case of hardware evolution, plus eight ports SATA 6gbps. The MSI Z270 XPower Titanium also supports outstanding graphics as it has 4 PCIe slots for a 4-channel Crossfire or a 2-channel SLI. You also get two slots PCIe 3.0 x1 for your accessories such as a WiFi card or a sound card.

RGB lighting is not used ostentatiously: on the contrary, users rely on perfect color mixing and white LEDs for a streamlined design. Even the back of the circuit board has a white surface printed with a pattern of straight traces, and if transparent cases were still in fashion, the Z270 XPower Titanium would be the sexiest in every way.

The Best x99 Gaming PC Motherboards

X99 motherboards work with the Broadwell-E processor family. These cards are not made for ordinary users because they have many options, and the processor itself is more expensive than its competitors at Kaby Lake. If you are looking to build super equipment with the best features a motherboard can offer, then X99 cards are an excellent choice. Again, they are among the most expensive on the market, but they are worth their price regarding their capabilities. Some X99 motherboards may cost less than other high-end gaming cards that I could present, but remember that we are talking only about the motherboard in this case: the processor is sold separately, and the Broadwell-E processors are very expensive. Anyway, here are my recommendations for x99 motherboards:

Again, they are among the most expensive on the market, but they are worth their price regarding their capabilities. Some X99 motherboards may cost less than other high-end gaming cards that I could present, but remember that we are talking only about the motherboard in this case: the processor is sold separately, and the Broadwell-E processors are very expensive. Anyway, here are my recommendations for x99 motherboards:

MSI X99A Godlike Gaming

What comes to mind usually when you hear the word “divine”? In the context of gaming and motherboards, when a business uses this term, it is because it refers to a motherboard ultra complete, with all the functions you can expect.

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This qualifier goes very well to the MSI X99A Godlike Gaming motherboard. If you look at the description page of the map, you will see immediately that it has won a prize for the highest RAM overclocking (at 4351 MHz). Not only that, but it has also been consistently ranked in the tops in processor overclocking. One of the reasons for this success is the presence of the “Turbo Socket,” which adds additional bars to improve the overclocking RAM further. This results in higher Ring and Frequency outputs along the map.

The Godlike Gaming MSI X99A motherboard also benefits from a greater number of power phases and the elements used feature an improved OC Thermal design, ensuring that your cooling solution will be used to its fullest. The MSI OC Engine further increases the overclocking potential of the motherboard by enabling interesting changes to the BCLK. According to the brand, you can adjust the BCLK between 100, 125 and 167 MHz. To ensure that the OC will be stable, the motherboard comes with a clock generator that will ensure that instability is at its minimum and the same for power consumption.

And what about flashing BIOS? I know that many are reluctant to flash because poorly done, it can be damaging to the motherboard. When flashing the BIOS, it is imperative that the process is not interrupted at any time. Fortunately, the ZPPA Godlike Gaming MSI card comes with a MultiBIOS II feature, allowing you to easily switch from BIOS A to BIOS B. An LED indicator also helps you tell which BIOS is active. If you update the BIOS and the process is stopped and threatens to corrupt the whole BIOS B comes to your rescue. All you have to do is flash a new copy of the BIOS and make sure there is no interruption.

This motherboard for gaming is also provided with the option Mystic Light of the mark, which allows you to appreciate all the aesthetics of the motherboard thanks to the RGB lighting and the option is provided with software and complementary applications. You can even change the lighting from your smartphone app, with Android and iOS devices supported.

Speaking of design, the MSI X99A Godlike Gaming comes in a beautiful black matte finish and touches of red, with the Godlike mark near the IO panel. Also, in anticipation of additions, the motherboard is reinforced everywhere. The cooling capacities are advanced the materials used are durable. MSI has also included protection for the graphics card, to avoid deformation and sagging.

Regarding connectivity, the Godlike Gaming motherboard has the Rivet Network Killer Doubleshot-X3 Pro mechanism. Specifically, you have two Ethernet ports and a WiFi adapter. Everything works together to ensure gaming without lag. Of course, if there is lag, it will depend on other factors, such as the server location of your game, among other things.

A rather interesting point of this motherboard comes from the audio output: if you use a pair of headphones in USB, and if you also use other devices in USB on your PC, you are assured of the stability of the audio output. This is due to MSI’s “USB Audio Power” technology that gives 5v constant power to all USB ports.

The MSI X99A Godlike Gaming has a great look and can boast of being a good asset for overclocking.

Asus ROG Rampage V Edition 10

Asus knows how to embellish a computer component and this quality is demonstrated in their Asus ROG Rampage V Edition 10 card. For this 10th anniversary edition, the company made sure that not only the motherboard has great features but that ‘also, it has a beautiful aesthetic.

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The Rampage V Edition 10 supports the LGA 2011-V3 socket and has some nice features. The first thing I want to talk about is its design. She is really beautiful to see. Black seems to have become the standard for PCBs, and here, it is surmounted by traces of gray and orange.

The overclockers have not been forgotten because the card has won several prizes in this field. Also, the company claims that this motherboard has held 12 times the first place in overclocking. If you do not believe it, you can go to HWBOT.org and get an idea for yourself.

What makes it so good for overclocking? Already, there are several switches and buttons on the map itself to troubleshoot some of the problematic parameters of overclocking quickly. For example, if your computer does not work in POST, you can press the “ReTry” button, and this will instantly restart the computer without any worries. Or, if you think that one of the RAM arrays is defective and you do not want to remove them one by one, you can use a specific DIMM switch to disable the faulty RAM module.

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Plus, Asus gives you the power as the Rampage V Edition 10 is designed to extract the performance of the Broadwell-E processor you use to the end. According to the company, you can experience an increased performance by up to 44%, a more efficient memory of 62%, and an improved score of 28% in synthetic standards. Of course, RAM can also be overclocked to a maximum of 3333MHz thanks to Asus’ second-generation T-Topology. This feature allows the RAM to operate at its maximum without compromising performance and stability.

Of course, audio is important for gamers too. That’s why the Rampage V Edition 10 gaming motherboard is equipped with the ESS ES9018K2M DAC as well as the TPA6120A2 Headphone AMP and Op-Amps LM4562 to give you an immersive sound experience. And, if you streak a lot of games, I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that this motherboard also comes with the SupremeFX Hi-Fi Cirrus Logic ADC that helps improve the quality of audio recording.

For the SLI and Crossfire geeks, the motherboard supports 4-Way SLI and 4-Way Crossfire support as well. graphics card release is non-existent thanks to the patented “SafeSlot” feature that promises 1.6x stronger protection against holding force and stronger 1.8x shear protection.

Things to look for when buying the best gaming PC motherboard

1. Form factor

The first thing to consider when buying a gaming motherboard is its size. There are currently three known motherboard sizes although there is also one that is much larger but not something that people want to buy. The three known motherboard sizes are ATX, mATX, and mITX. The ATX is the standard size motherboard that contains the usual things like full PCIe ports and full of other features.

mATX, or microATX, is a much smaller motherboard that sacrifices a few things like PCIe ports in favor of a smaller motherboard. They also tend to be much cheaper than the standard ATX. And finally, the mITX, or mini-ITX, is the smallest of the three and usually measures around 170mmx170mm.

They are relatively low consumption, and because of their small form factor, there are many cases to choose from. Of course, the disadvantage is that it has far fewer features than the previous two motherboard sizes, but each one has its tastes. There is also another motherboard size called the eATX which is much larger than the standard ATX motherboard.

Because of its size much larger than the original, most people move away from it. But, with a larger size comes more features. Choose what you would be willing to compromise with and when you buy a motherboard, always look at the case in which you will put it.

2. Socket

Have you ever noticed the word “socket” followed by a number next when looking for motherboards? Each motherboard has it because it means that it only supports this type of processor socket.

In the case of Kaby Lake processors, for example, they use the Socket 1151. So, you need a motherboard that supports this socket so you can use the latest processors on the market.

3. DIMM / RAM

The next things you need to look at are the DIMM or RAM connectors. It usually depends on the size of the motherboard you are going to buy. For standard ATX motherboards, you will usually have 2-4 RAM connectors. For mATX and mITX, it’s usually only two DIMM connectors although some mATX motherboards come with four.

Whenever possible, purchase a motherboard with at least four RAM slots. Even if you are only going to buy one or two RAM sticks at the moment, having an additional RAM connector will allow you to add more RAMs in the future.

4. SATA and M.2 ports

Storages like SSDs and HDDs are also important for the computer. So, you need to have enough SATA ports to hook up all of them. For each storage device you have, you will need a SATA port.

For example, suppose you have three HDDs and one SSD, you will need a total of 4 available SATA ports. If you want to have a better performance, you will want to buy an M.2 SSD. If you are going to buy one, check if the motherboard of your choice supports it and if it has the proper connectors.

5. PCIe connectors

Since we are talking about gaming motherboard, I know you want a discrete graphics card to enjoy the great graphics of modern games. In this case, you will need a motherboard that has enough PCI Express slots.

Usually, you would want a PCIe x16 for the main graphics card, and if you want to make multiple GPU configurations, you would need more PCI Express slots. You will also find PCI slots that are smaller. They are usually used for other things like sound cards, wifi adapters, etc.

6. USB ports

We are now living in a world where USB ports are beneficial. We use external HDDs, USB keys; most modern gaming devices now require USB ports as opposed to the now-defunct PS / two ports. Luckily, Kaby Lake motherboards offer plenty of USB ports. For most of them, they offer at least 6 USB ports, but motherboards like Z170 gaming motherboards offer 10 or more.

7. Durability

Motherboards are important because they host the graphics card, the CPU, and a lot of other things that your computer needs to work. If the motherboard dies, all other components in your PC gaming will not work.

Sustainability is also something to consider when buying a gaming motherboard. For the most part, motherboard manufacturers already use sustainable elements in the construction of their products, so you do not have to worry too much about sustainability. But if you want a motherboard that can last more than three years, you should look at the datasheet to see if it is made of really strong materials.

8. Additional features

And finally, you will want to have a gaming motherboard that has a ton of extra features. Usually, gaming motherboards have good embedded audio solutions, and some motherboards are perfect for overclocking too. Although they are completely optional, you will want to have a gaming motherboard that has a lot of features that you want.

Conclusion

Gaming motherboards always complement PC gaming because they host all the most important components of your platform. What makes them different from the standard motherboard is that they provide the owner’s features that are not normally present in normal mobos.

I like the fact that gaming motherboards are affordable now. Before, you could match gaming motherboards to things at premium prices. Now, there are gaming motherboards that meet the needs of the vast consumer market. Whether you’re a great overclocker, a platform fan, or if you’re just someone who wants to spend a minimum amount of money, there’s a gaming motherboard for you.

I hope this article can help you decide which gaming motherboard you are going to buy. I know that not everyone will agree with my recommendations in this article. So, if that’s the case, feel free to suggest which gaming motherboard people should buy and why in the comments. Now, go back upstairs to choose the best gaming PC motherboards for you from our choices.

Kennedy

Hi, My name is Kennedy - a gamer, and blogger. I write everything about gaming from the high-end Intel processors and graphics cards to reviews of the latest AAA games. I am also interested in cryptocurrency (Ripple & Bitcoin Cash). When I'm not on my rig gaming or blogging, you will find me outdoors on my dirt bike!

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