HomePc HardwareBest Gaming Motherboards Nikolas Nikolaou May 7, 2013 Pc Hardware The motherboard is the heart of a gamers computer. Everything on a your pc begins with the motherboard, so making sure your hardware has a solid foundation to get the best performance on your rig. Knowing what to look for in a gaming motherboard and the specifications of some of the top models on the market will help you make a good selection to start building or upgrading your PC. There are a few things you will want to take into consideration when deciding which motherboard to use. Compatibility is the largest factor; you will want to make sure that the other PC components you intend to use will work with the board, especially the CPU. The next thing to consider is support for PCI 3.0 and USB 3.0, which will help the motherboard’s lifespan as the new technologies take to the market. Then take note of the specifications of major plug-in points like the maximum memory and the number of SATA connections. Consider user reviews for reports of how durable the motherboards are and to take note of any common defects. Quad Sli or Crossfire Gaming Motherboard Asus Rog Rampage IV Formula Sli/CrossfireX At close to $500, the Rampage IV has almost every feature you could expect from a top of the line motherboard. The X79 chipset with a LGA 2011 socket makes the board compatible with the latest processors from Intel. The four PCI slots are compatible with both 2.0 and 3.0 technology. The Rampage also supports NVidia SLI and AMD CrossFire technology. A healthy dose of 64 GB of supported RAM will keep your games running optimally if you take advantage of it. It even comes with bluetooth connectivity, but that is a relatively inconsequential feature when it comes to gaming. If there is any negative to the specs on this piece of hardware, it is that the plethora of features means there is plenty that can go wrong on it. As a result, user reviews are a bit mixed. When you combine this with the high price tag it keeps the overall score of the board down, but there is no doubting that it has a great blend of features and performance. Z77 Gaming Motherboard Asus Sabertooth Z77 This board is one of the more unique offerings on the list due to its overall design, and it is the only Intel board that is not built on the X79 chipset. The Thermal Armor Technology and Thermal Radar that are featured on the Sabertooth X79 are used in the board to a much higher degree, giving the board a sleek and attractive look. The overall features put this board at the bottom of the pack: just 2 PCI 3.0 slots, only 32 GB of maximum memory, a LGA1155 socket that will not work with the Sandy Bridge platform, and otherwise average specifications. If the board were slightly cheaper, it would be a great bargain for the decent performance. Budget Amd Gaming Motherboard MSI 990FXA-GD80 For those who are AMD diehards, the 990FXA is the way to go. The overall characteristics are nothing spectacular, but they do cover the basics in PCI slots, memory requirements, and other necessities. The AM3+ socket supports Phenom II, Athlon II, and Sempron processors. A lack of PCI 3.0 and USB 3.0 support is a serious downfall for the longevity of the board. At a reasonable price and with great dependability, the 990FXA is an economical and smart purchase for gamers who want to work with AMD hardware. X79 Gaming Motherboard ASUS P9X79 Pro The X79 chipset is definitely on top of the performance game, and the P9X79 puts it in a powerful package that rivals the Rampage IV at almost $200 less. You get the same PCI 3.0, USB 3.0, SLI and Crossfire support, and the same maximum memory of 64 GB. Some of the extraneous features of the Rampage are not present, but nothing that you will miss is taken away. 2Way 3 Way Sli-Crossfire Gaming Motherboard MSI X79 GD65 (8D) The first thing to note about this board is the 128 GB of maximum memory it can support. If fully utilized, it is unlikely that even the latest games at the highest settings will cause your rig to bat an eyelash. Aside from that, the board offers solid PCI 3.0 support, though the number of USB 3.0 ports is slightly low. Online user reviews are mixed, but the performance is amazing for costing less than $300. Asus Gaming Motherboard Asus Sabertooth X79 The Sabertooth version of the X79 board has similar specifications to the others in the list: PCI 3.0 support, USB 3.0 ports, 64 GB memory maximum, and SLI/CrossFire support. The notable unique features deal with how the board addresses heat concerns. Asus’s Thermal Armor Technology gives the board directed air flow and a built-in fan, and their Thermal Radar helps monitor the status of the board. It does not match the maximum memory of MSI’s GD65, but 64 GB should be enough for most tasks. Intel has taken over the CPU market in the past couple years, and it has taken a toll on the variance between high-end motherboards. The benefit of this is that the producer’s will have to begin looking for other ways to make their motherboards stand out from the crowd, and it will eventually lead to more features like the Thermal Radar. Be sure to carefully consider every aspect of the motherboard before making your purchase.