What Motherboard Should I Get for Gaming?

What Motherboard Should I Get for Gaming
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Compared to the other components of your gaming PC, your motherboard doesn’t do much for performance on its own. However, an insufficient motherboard can force your entire setup to fail.

As the most critical part of any PC, the motherboard connects all of your peripherals and allows them to communicate with one another. With that being said, you’re going to need to find the right one for power capabilities and your budget.

If you’re wondering and been asking "What motherboard should I get for gaming?", this guide is designed to help. We’ll discuss what to look for in the right one and the most recommended features to keep an eye on.

The Importance of the Motherboard

As mentioned, your motherboard won’t boost your gaming performance all on its own, but it does give you peripherals for your PC to work more effectively and efficiently. This is why most people spend a lot of time searching for the right motherboard, as they feature different ports, support different types of memory, and more.

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It’s also important to take note of the build quality. A poorly made board is inevitably going to fail, which prevents your entire PC from working.

You’ll want to make sure that you purchase one from a reputable manufacturer that is built to last over the long haul. Additionally, it should give you enough room to expand your setup in the future, especially since games are getting larger and more strenuous to run.

What to Look for in a Gaming Motherboard

There are plenty of features to consider when you start to wonder what motherboard should I get for gaming. You’ll want a motherboard that has plenty of ports, fits within your budget, is compatible with your CPU, and more. Not to mention you’ll want one that looks amazing once it’s installed.

The most common things that you should look for in your desired motherboard include:

1. Form Factor

Also known as the general size of the board, the form factor is very important. Your computer case will be able to house motherboards of a specific size.

If you choose one that is too large or too small, it won’t fit and function properly. mITX, mATX, and ATX boards are the most common form factors in today’s day and age.

2. RAM Compatibility

RAM compatibility is another essential feature to consider. You’ll need to find a motherboard that is compatible with a certain type of RAM, RAM speed, and capacity. Additionally, it should have enough RAM slots for your current memory and if you’re interested in beefing up your RAM in the future.

When you look at the specs of your desired motherboard, it will let you know the speed of RAM it works with as well as the type of RAM that should be used with it. You will need to take note of the capacity, as this is the total amount of memory the motherboard can handle.

Additionally, the number of slots should correspond with the amount of memory you want to have installed. For example, if you have two 4GB sticks of RAM, you’ll need two RAM slots.

3. Expansion Slots and USB Ports

Expansion slots are a necessity for modern games, especially since games are getting bigger and taking more power to run. You’ll connect different types of cards as you get into different games, such as network cards, sound cards, and graphics cards.

With that said, your chosen motherboard will need a sufficient amount of expansion slots. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a board with PCI-E slots.

In terms of USB ports, you’ll also need to keep this in mind. Most modern designs will feature enough ports, so it’s likely this won’t be cause for concern.

However, make sure your chosen board has USB 3.0 slots. You may also want to consider microphone ports and FireWire ports, depending on your needs.

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4. Networking Features

Most of the best games require internet connectivity. Even if you intend on using your gaming PC for casual use, you’ll need networking features. The vast majority of modern motherboards will have LAN support, but WiFi is where it starts to get tricky.

You might find that you’ll have to pay far more to have WiFi networking, but it’s well worth the investment. You can either opt for a motherboard with built-in WiFi or a wireless adapter to connect to your PCI-E slots.

5. CrossFire and SLI Support

If you’re not interested in using dual graphics cards (which is usually unnecessary), this won’t be much of a concern. However, if you need the overpowered and beastly capability of running two graphics cards, you’ll need SLI or CrossFire support. This is typically something that you can check in the specs, but it’s one of the least necessary things to consider with a motherboard.

The Top Rated Gaming Motherboards

As mentioned, there are plenty of motherboards to choose from. Three of the top recommended models include:

1. The Best Intel Mini-ITX - ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I

  • Form Factor: Mini-ITX
  • Socket: LGA 1151
  • Chipset: Intel Z390
  • Memory: Two DIMM (up to 64 GB)
  • Other Features: USB 3.1 front connector, double memory capacity, ASUS Aura Sync, two PCI-E

2. The Best AMD Mini-ITX – ASUS ROG Strix X470-I

  • Form Factor: Mini-ITX
  • Socket: AMD AM4
  • Chipset: AMD X470
  • Memory: Dual-channel two DDR4 (up to 32 GB)
  • Other Features: One PCI-E

3. The Best High-End – ASUS ROG Maximus XI Code Z390

  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Socket: LGA 1151
  • Chipset: Intel Z390
  • Memory: Four DIMM (up to 64 GB)
  • Other Features: NVIDIA 2-way GPU SLI, AMD 2-, 3-way CrossFire compatibility, dedicated water pumps, two PCI-E, advanced power delivery

Final Thoughts

Answering what motherboard should I get for gaming is mostly based on personal preference. You’ll want a board that can handle all of the peripherals you want to add and last over years of regular use.

The last thing you’d want is to invest in high-end parts and choose a shoddy board that is bound to fail. With the help of this guide, you should have a better idea of what to look for when building your gaming setup.

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