Which motherboard to buy Intel or AMD? A buying guide on the best motherboard for fixed PC.
When we look for a computer and we see its characteristics at the big stores the motherboard model is never indicated. Yet it is a fundamental element of a PC, as it allows you to connect and manage all major components: from CPU to video card, from hard drive to RAM and so on.
The motherboard is a plate full of circuits and chips equipped with a series of connections whose purpose is not only to connect the components but also to guarantee support for the latest generation standards such as sockets, SATA III and PCI-Express.
Read also: Best RAM: Buying Guide
Which motherboard to buy
If you want advice on which motherboard to buy you must know that there are several and many, at fairly affordable prices. If you are thinking about it let me give you some advice on the best motherboards.
Read also: Best computer case
Motherboard: formats, characteristics and differences
Before analyzing them I would say to make a quick overview of their characteristics and then decide whether to proceed with the purchase of a motherboard.
Formats - The format indicates the physical dimensions and electrical characteristics of the card ATX it is the most recommended today not only because it is equipped with advanced connections but also because it is innovative in the management of energy saving, heat and safety.
The other formats to mention are:
- AT: with its full, baby, half variations, it has been the most common until now. Today it is obsolete but still forms the building base for the ATX
- BTX: a recent standard, proposed by Intel as a possible successor to the ATX
- micro ATX: it is characterized by small dimensions. It has few expansion slots as video and audio functions are often integrated and do not require expansion cards on the bus.
- LPX : with the use of small (slim) case, the LPX format is that of motherboards equipped with graphics card, network card, integrated SCSI controller.
- WTX (Workstation Technology Extended) - a large format, much larger than ATX, designed for high-end multiprocessor server motherboards and workstations.
- passive backplane - in this case the motherboard is a support for expansion connectors, called passive backplane as it contains only connectors; the active components, that is the CPU, the memory, the various expansions, are installed on boards that are inserted in this backplane.
- Formats owners: are those in which the motherboards are designed by the manufacturers for their machines and are not very compatible with the products on the market.
Socket - having identified the format of the motherboard, it is necessary to choose the socket which of course must be compatible with the processor. The Socket is a small socket that houses the CPU. If you decide to buy a processor Intel you will have to choose a socket LGA 1150 o LGA 2011-3 (for gaming), if you want to buy a processor instead AMD you will have to choose a Socket PGA AM3 / AM3 + (FX series processors) e PGA FM2 / FM2 +.
Chipset - it has the task of directing the flow of information that passes between the CPU, hard disk, memory and other peripherals. Intel splits the Chipsets into mainstream and in high performance. AMD instead splits them into Chipset A-Series e Chipset 9-Series. The key difference is the support for cutting-edge platform technologies for home entertainment, gaming and productivity for professional use.
ROM – it contains the motherboard BIOS and has the task of carrying out the hardware check at power on, loading the operating system and making available to these some routines for checking the hardware.
Lithium battery: serves to power the system clock and a small amount of RAM memory in CMOS technology (integrated circuits).
Slot RAM slot - they are of different types, currently slots are used DDRAM, evolution of the previous ones SDRAM.
Expansion bus - generic data link designed to allow connection of other expansion cards housed on connectors (slots) to the motherboard, which extend their capabilities. Currently the most popular bus is the PCI, however, destined to give way to PCI Express, much faster.
Best motherboard between Intel and AMD
In conclusion, before starting the description of the best motherboards on the market, a motherboard must have are a large number of expansion slots, a network card, the latest standard USB 3.0, PCI Express, SATA 3.0, a integrated 6-channel sound card and support for the Bluetooth o Wi-Fi.
Here are the best Intel and AMD motherboards compatible with i best Intel and AMD processors.
Best budget motherboards (under $ 150)
ASRock B450M-HDV (AMD)
Best AMD motherboard ATX format.
Form Factor: Micro ITX | Multi-GPU support: No | Presa: AMD AM4 | chipset: AMD Promontory B450 | Memory support: Dual-Channel 2 x DDR4 3200 MHz (fino a 32 GB) | Features: build ASRock Super Alloy, 1 x M.2, aggiornamento ASRock Live.
- Competitive price
- It supports 3200 MHz of RAM
- Solo due slot DIMM
Nowadays, small PCs are all the rage and with motherboards like theASRock B450M-HDV, we think they will remain this size. This motherboard doesn't run SLI and only supports up to 32GB of RAM, but nonetheless it's a B450 drive, and it's still attractive due to its low price. Outside of these shortcomings, you still have a slot for an NVMe SSD and four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports on the back. If you're looking to build a budget-friendly gaming PC, this will be the best motherboard for you.Buy on Amazon
Gigabyte Z390 UD (Intel)
Best budget motherboard.
Form Factor: ATX | Multi-GPU support: AMD 4-way CrossFire | socket: LGA-1151 (8 and 9 Jan only) | chipset: Intel Z390 | Memory support: 4 x DIMM sockets (up to 64GB) | Features: 1 x PCIe M.2 (Key M), software controlled case fans, memory up to 4.000 MHz.
- Competitive price
- No SLI (Scalable Link Interface) to allow use of 2 graphics cards
Now Coffee Lake Refresh has been on the market for a while, in addition to its remarkably expensive high-end motherboards, you may want to opt for a cheaper solution, in this case Gigabyte Z390 is definitely at the top of the list. Not enlightenment RGB and built-in Wi-Fi, but it makes up for these trade-offs with excellent value. You have all the essential features that the Z390 has to offer at a great price. If you are looking to build a budget gaming system, the Gigabyte Z390 UD is the best motherboard for you.Buy on Amazon
MSI X470 Gaming Plus (AMD)
Best budget AMD motherboard.
Form Factor: ATX | Multi-GPU support: Crossfire | Presa: AMD AM4 | chipset: AMD X470 | Memory support: Dual-Channel 4 x DDR4 a 3,466 MHz (fino a 64 GB) | Features: 2 x PCIe M.2 (Chiave M).
- Great price
- Great expansion
- We need a bigger case
For a long time, AMD was reigning champion of budget builds and confirmed in 2018 as well. Created exclusively for gamers, theMSI X470 Gaming Plus offers features like dual M.2 PCIe slots and quick performance optimization buttons, to make sure you're always at the top of the charts. Since this is a gamer-focused motherboard, it comes with all kinds of flashy RGB lighting, which you can customize from your smartphone as well.Buy on Amazon
ASUS ROG Strix X470-I (AMD)
Best AMD Mini-ITX motherboard.
Form Factor: Mini-ITX | Support multi-GPU: No | Presa: AMD AM4 | chipset: AMD X470 | Memory support: Dual-Channel 2 x DDR4 da 3,466 MHz (fino a 32 GB) | Features: 1 x PCIe M.2 (Chiave M).
- Supporto RAM dual-channel
- M.2 compatibility
- RAM does not exceed 32GB
Asus aims to show that big things can come with small processors too: like the ROG Strix X470-I. With AMD's latest and greatest chipset, everything has been designed with performance in mind. Even in the BIOS, where you can find an overclocking stress test before you even start Windows. This card also rises beyond the limits of Facotr Mnii-ITX format including an M.2 Audio Combo riser, so you can install the M.2 NVMe SSD without getting in the way of other components.Buy on Amazon
Best mid-range motherboards (from € 150 to € 300)
GIGABYTE Z490 Gaming X (AMD)
Best low-end Intel motherboard.
Form Factor: ATX | Multi-GPU Support: AMD Quad-GPU CrossFire e 2-Way AMD CrossFire | Socket: LGA1200 | Chipset: Intel Z490 | Memory support: 4 DIMM sockets (up to 128GB) | Features: Support per APP Center, Q-Flash e Q-Flash Plus, supporto Xpress Install.
- Optional 4-pin connector
- I / O protection already present
- On USB-C port
GIGABYTE Z490 Gaming X It doesn't have all the features of a high-end motherboard but if you are an Intel user and are looking for a budget motherboard then this model is for you. It is in fact an entry level gaming motherboard with various functions: 3 PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, 6 SATA port and 4 DDR4-4600 RAM slots for a total of 128 GB. The performances are excellent and the price is really interesting.Buy on Amazon
MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC (Intel)
Best Intel Micro-ATX motherboard.
Form Factor: Micro-ATX | Multi-GPU support: SLI / CrossFire | socket: LGA-1151 (8 and 9 Jan only) | chipset: Intel Z390 | Memory support: 2 x DIMM sockets (up to 32GB) | Features: 2 x PCIe M.2 (Key M), DDR4 boost, PCI-E steel armor, 4 Audio Boost with amplifier.
- Packed with features
If you are interested in a Micro-ATX motherboard, the best one to offer is the MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC. In addition to being a Micro-ATX motherboard, it offers all the features of a full-sized part of the ATX, at a great price. Despite the small size, you still have two M.2 slots, SLI and Crossfire support, and all the heating performance Intel Coffee Lake Refresh has to offer. If you are looking for a smaller motherboard, you can't miss the MCG MSI MPG Z390M.
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ASUS ROG STRIX B460-F Gaming (Intel)
Great Asus motherboard.
Form Factor: ATX | Multi-GPU support: CrossFire | socket: LGA-1200 | chipset: Intel B460 | Memory support: 4 slot RAM DDR4 fino a 128 GB | Features: AI Networking, Intel 1Gb Ethernet, dual M.2 with heatsinks, USB 3.2 Gen 2 × 2, SATA and AURA Sync RGB.
- Packed with features
- USB outputs are 3.0 and very fast
- Excellent value for money
- Industry-leading gaming audio
- It does not have SLI multi-GPU support
ASUS ROG STRIX B460-F Gaming is a fully-fledged Asus motherboard perfect for 10th generation Intel processor computers. Find Socket 1200 for Intel Core, 4 high-frequency DDR4 RAM slots in OC, PCIe, M.2 slot, Intel B460 chipset, ROG Supreme audio and tons of USB ports, including USB-C support. This motherboard also features paired power stages, Procool power connectors, a effective cooling system and solid power delivery. Its futuristic aesthetics and ROG software will allow you to have all-round performance.Buy on Amazon
Asus ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming (Intel)
Best intel motherboard ATX format.
Form Factor: ATX | Multi-GPU support: N / A | socket: LGA 1200 | chipset: Intel 2.5 Gb Lan dual M.2 with heatsinks | Memory support: DDR4 SDRAM (fino a 128 GB) | Features: PCI-Express x16, PCI-E, 16 Power Phases, AI technologies, WiFi 6 (802.11ax), USB 3.2 Gen 2 front connector, SATA and AURA Sync RGB.
- First-class functionality
- Well built
- Excellent cooling
- Reasonable price
- You need to remove the plastic chipset cover to access the top M.2 heat spreader
- The memory profile option is only available in the EZ mode of the BIOS
If you need the most powerful motherboard you can get, without compromising your CPU's key features, you should consider Asus ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming. With this motherboard there is no need to compromise on functionality or power. Features an LGA 1200 socket for 10th generation Intel core desktop processors. Synchronize LED lighting with a wide range of PC compatible elements. It also features a dual onboard M.2 heatsink, fan extension head, and bracket-mounted MOS fan. Unfortunately, like most Z490 cards, you'll have to spend a lot of money to get it.Buy on Amazon
Best high-end motherboards (over $ 300)
ASUS ROG BIG XNUMX HERO (Intel)
Best Intel motherboard of the moment.
Form Factor: ATX | Multi-GPU Support: NVIDIA 2-Way SLI Technology, AMD 3-Way CrossFireX Technology, AMD 2-Way CrossFireX Technology | Socket: LGA-1200 | Chipset: Intel Z490 | Memory support: 4 socket DIMM (fino a 128GB) |Features: M.2 aluminum heatsink cover, 10K Black Metallic capacitors, ROG Extreme OC kit.
THEAsus ROG Maximus XII Hero it is the best motherboard of the latest Intel processors. It is a tenth generation Intel Core with the functions of AI overclocking, AI networking with Wi-Fi 6 support and the use of Asus Aura Sync Illumination software. The latter offers an infinite spectrum of colors, patterns, and the ability to link lighting to music, gameplay or CUP / GPU temperatures.Buy on Amazon
Z390 Aorus Pro Wifi (Intel)
Best Intel motherboard of last year.
Form Factor: ATX | Multi-GPU support: Nvidia 2 and 4 way GPU SLI, AMD 2, 3 and 4 way CrossFire | socket: LGA-1151 (8 and 9 Jan only) | chipset: Intel Z390 | Memory support: 4 x DIMM sockets (up to 64GB) | Features: 2 x PCIe M.2 (Key M), PCIe rinforzato.
- Solid aesthetics
- Excellent cooling
- Could use multiple M.2 slots
When Coffee Lake Refresh CPUs hit the market, Intel promised they would be better processors for gaming which meant equipped motherboards would soon be arriving. Here, in fact, is the Z390 Aorus Gaming Pro Wifi - the best Intel gaming motherboard currently on the market. It's packed with game-centric features like PCIe slots and enough RGB lighting to blind you. It's hard to find a better motherboard, especially at this price point.Buy on Amazon
Gigabyte Aorus X570 Master (AMD)
Best AMD motherboard with high performance.
Form Factor: ATX | Multi-GPU Support: NVIDIA Quad-GPU SLI and 2-Way NVIDIA SLI technologies, AMD Quad-GPU CrossFire and 2-Way AMD CrossFire | Socket: AMD AM4 | Chipset: AMD X570 | Memory support: 4 socket DIMM (fino a 128GB) | Features: Support for APP Center, Q-Flash e Q-Flash Plus support, Xpress Install support.
- USB 3.0 port in awkward position
Gigabyte Aorus X570 Master it's a great component for a high-end PC. It supports up to 128GB of DDR4400 RAM, multiple GPUs and the new 6rd generation AMD processors. The design is well done and there is no lack of support for WiFi XNUMX with many other details that enhance its characteristics. This AMD motherboard is sold at a lower price than Intel competitors.Buy on Amazon
ASRock X299 Taichi (AMD)
Best Intel Core X-Series motherboard.
Form Factor: ATX | Multi-GPU support: Nvidia 3-Way SLI, AMD 3-Way CrossFireX | Presa: LGA-2066 | chipset: Intel X299 | Memory support: Quad-Channel 8 x DDR4 a 4,400 MHz (fino a 128 GB) | Features: 3 x PCIe M.2 (Chiave M).
- Gigantic memory support
- Slot per 8 moduli RAM
- High price
X-series processors are spectacular, so if you want to take advantage of everything they have to offer, you need an X-series motherboard. This ASRock X299 it's an excellent choice, with support for overclocked memory speeds up to 4400MHz and 8 different memory module slots. It also supports up to 128GB of RAM, so with an X-series processor and good graphics card you can't aspire to a better motherboard.Buy on Amazon
ASRock X399 Professional Gaming sTR4 (AMD)
Best AMD motherboard Ryzen Threadripper processors.
Form Factor: ATX | Multi-GPU support: SLI a 4 vie, AMD Quad CrossFireX | Presa: sTR4 | chipset: AMD X399 | Memory support: Dual -Channel 4 x DDR4 3,200 MHz (fino a 128 GB) | Features: 1 x U.2, 3 x PCIe M.2 (Chiave M).
- 4-way SLI or Crossfire support
- Incredible RGB lighting
- Very expensive
If you have a lot of money to spend on a high performance motherboard Ryzen Thredripper X399 Professional Gaming is for you. Not only does it support 4-way SLI or Crossfire configurations, but you can also take advantage of a memory DDR4 up to 128 GB. Offers a lot of lighting RGB flashy, so that people can't help but stare at your rig when they walk into the room. Also, if you upgrade to Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation, you can use the latter card, but be aware that you may need to update the BIOS.Buy on Amazon