Motherboard is the most important component in your PC build.
The motherboard is where all of your other components and hardware is connected.
It also acts as a bridge between other components and helps them communicate with each other within the system.
Motherboards are usually one of the components that you don't upgrade often, so its important to get one that is future proof and allows you to upgrade other hardware over time.
In this post we take a look at some of the most popular motherboard brands and their product series. Some of the motherboards are designed for the average user whereas other are made for professionals and gamers.
Following are the brands covered in this post:
AsusTek Computer Inc. or more commonly known as Asus is a Taiwanese computer, phone, and electronics company that produces a large variety of products and components in the tech industry.
Some of their products include phones, monitors, routers, projectors, graphics cards, peripherals, and motherboards among many others.
Their motherboards often follow a sleek and simple design. They usually include little to no RGB in their motherboards and prefer to have a subtler look.
Even with a more subtle design, Asus motherboards are still known to perform well and offer some of the best motherboards in the industry.
The popular motherboard series from Asus include:
- Asus Prime
- Asus TUF Gaming
- Asus ROG
Asus motherboard series don't have huge differences in terms of technical specs. All series have high spec as well as low budget motherboards. But in overview, the Prime series is the most basic and the ROG series is the most high spec.
1.1 Asus Prime Series
The Asus Prime series of motherboards are the cheapest motherboards from Asus. They vary in size from ITX to the full ATX so that they fit in a ton of different pc cases whether large or portable.
Design wise Prime motherboards have a simple and basic look but deliver good performance for the price.
Most dont have onboard Wifi. USB 3.1 gen 2 ports are available with some models also having USB 3.2 Gen1 ports. Some models also have USB C port.
s/pdif output is also available.
For storage, the Prime motherboards have upto 2x M.2 socket for ssd storage and upto 1x M.2 socket 1 for wifi modules.
Most of them have active chipset heatsinks along with Aura Sync RGB which gives them a modern look. On the display options side, both HDMI and DisplayPort are available on most models.
The io shield is pre-mounted with protective cover.
The Prime motherboards are on the lower end of the AMD chipset only having offerings for A520M and B550M variants for the new generation motherboards. The Prime A520M-K is a popular choice among budget builders.
It’s very cheap and features the new A520 chipset and is a great motherboard if you aren't looking to overclock and just get something that will run your new Ryzen processor.
There are a ton more variations on Intel’s LGA 1200 socket. The available chipset variants include the H410M, B460I, B460M, Z490M, and Z490.
The Prime H410M-D is one of the cheapest available motherboards for the LGA 1200 socket. It’s a motherboard that can help you get up and running and is a good fit for tight budget builds.
1.2 Asus TUF Gaming
The TUF Gaming line is widely known throughout the gaming community to provide good quality products for reasonable prices. They include products including peripherals such as headsets, mice, and keyboards, and components like GPUs and motherboards.
The Asus TUF Gaming line has a distinct black and yellow design which can also be seen throughout their TUF motherboards. They are great options for mid-range builds.
Spec-wise they are very similar to the Prime series but slightly better and also somewhere below the ROG series.
The motherboards have a unique design that matches with a gaming setup and most motherboards have onboard wifi.
In the AMD segment, TUF Gaming motherboards are available with chipsets including the A520M, B550, B550M, and X570. The TUF Gaming X570-PLUS is a solid mid-range board that comes around the $170 price tag.
You can also choose the X570-PLUS (Wi-Fi) version for a few dollars more to have that extra Wi-Fi capability.
For Intel users, they offer fewer chipset choices in the B460M and Z490 variants.
The top pick here is the TUF Gaming B460M-Plus (Wi-Fi) which has an affordable price for a B460 board that has great features, great cooling, and great performance. It also supports Aura Sync to control your RGB.
1.3 Asus ROG (Republic of Gamers) Motherboards
The Asus ROG (Republic of Gamers) series is a really good and highly praised motherboard lineup. It is one of the go-to motherboards for most gamers and its price point is somewhere in the mid to high-range, making it a good pick for high-end machines.
Under the ROG series, there are a few other lineups such as the Strix, Crosshair, and Maximus, which are all great in their own rights. The ROG series is obviously targeted towards gamers which is why most motherboards in the series have a “gamer” look and feel to them.
In terms of hardware specifications, the ROG series has the best motherboards from Asus.
The motherboards have upto 2 ethernet ports with lots of USB ports including USB 3.2 gen 2.
Wifi and non-wifi motherboards are available. On the backside there is the Bios Flash and Cmos clear buttons.
The ROG line also has E-ATX sized boards with upto 8 ram slots. Besides all these, the boards feature advanced power and cooling design necessary for high-end hardware components.
The ROG motherboards available for AMD come with the B550, B550I, X570, and X570I chipset/variants. The Asus ROG Strix X570-I Gaming motherboard is one of the best, if not the best, mini-ITX motherboards out there and is popular with users building small and compact portable gaming pcs.
The B460, B460M, B460I, H470I, Z490, Z490M, and Z490I variants are the motherboards available for Intel. The Maximus XII Hero Z490 is a board fit for high-end processors and can handle them with ease.
It performs amazingly and can handle overclocks easily. It's quite an expensive board, but it’s definitely a purchase you won’t regret.
Gigabyte Technology is a manufacturer and distributor of various computer hardware based in Taiwan. Gigabyte has a diverse product line spanning from motherboards, GPUs, power supplies, laptops, monitors, memory, storage devices, and peripherals among many others.
Their popular motherboard series include:
- Gigabyte Ultra Durable
- Gigabyte Gaming
- Aorus Gaming
They also have a sub-brand named Aorus that is registered in Singapore. Their Aorus brand is focused more on gaming products and catering to gamers.
Due to this, Aorus products tend to have more RGB but are still built well and perform as good, if not better, than their Gigabyte branded products.
2.1 Gigabyte Ultra Durable
The Gigabyte Ultra Durable series are Gigabyte's budget option motherboards that have great build quality. Since they are low budget motherboards they skip some features.
Some of the models, don't have USB Typc C port, DisplayPort. They might have HDMI 1.4 port instead of 2.0. Some models have a DVI port or a VGA port or both. Also most models will not have USB 3 gen 3.2 ports but only USB 3 Gen 1 ports.
They are usually solid plated and help increase the longevity of the motherboard.
They have Ultra Durable motherboards for AMD processors, with chipset/variants including the A520M, A520I, B550, B550M, and X570.
The Ultra-Durable A520I AC is a good budget board for the ITX form factor. It has all the essentials and performs well enough for low to mid-range processors.
The X570 is the most powerful AMD chipset that supports the 16 core Ryzen processors and it is available in the ultra durable series of motherboard. So if you are planning to build a workstation pc or video editing pc, this option is definitely worthwhile.
Similar to AMD, they also have a variety of motherboards for Intel in the form of the H410M, B460M, H470M, Z490, and Z490M chipsets and form factors.
The H410M S2H is a good, cheap board for Intel. It just simply gets the job done and is great for small budgets.
2.2 Gigabyte Gaming
The Gigabyte Gaming series of motherboards is their mid-range offer. These motherboards usually offer better features and performance compared to Ultra Durable and have a more “gamer” look.
They have HDMI 2.0 port along with USB 3 Gen 2 ports, but mostly don't have displayport and usb c ports.
They have a more limited selection on the AMD side with the B550, B550M, and X570 chipsets. The Gigabyte B550M Gaming motherboard is a good choice if you don’t want to spend much on a motherboard but want decent performance and temperatures.
The same story applies for Intel, where they have a few options in the B460M, Z490, and Z490M. Gigabyte’s B460M Gaming HD is a good place to start for budget builders. It has good enough VRMs to take on mid-range processors. It also has a fairly gamer design with a black PCB and red accents on the RAM and PCIe slots.
2.3 Aorus Gaming
The Aorus Gaming line is where most of their top-tier and elite motherboards are found. These are usually more expensive than any other board that Gigabyte sells but if you can find the right board that fits your budget, it’s definitely worth it.
The Aorus series have a ton of different variations like the Master, Pro, Ultra, Elite, and Xtreme. Aorus is Gigabyte’s most popular motherboards and they have a good build quality with some great looking aesthetics.
They have the best specs including components like USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0 port, USB Type C port and onboard Wi-fi on selected models.
If you are looking for a premium grade build with all modern features then Aorus motherboards are an excellent choice.
Aorus motherboards also have upto 3x M.2 slots for adding multiple nvme ssds. This makes them ideal if you need several terabytes of storage on your system.
The Aorus series has motherboards with different variations within the A520, A520M, B550, B550M, B550I, X570, X570M, and X570I models. One of their best offerings is definitely the X570 Aorus Master. It has the most powerful AMD chipset X570 and comes for a price range of $300+.
Intel support is available on Aorus with the B460, B460M, H470, H470I, Z490, and Z490I motherboards available for the LGA 1200 socket.
The Z490 Aorus Elite AC, in particular, is a great board within the lower-middle range Z490 segment.
It’s a sub $200 board that has solid features and great performance. There are other Z490 Gigabyte boards out there but are just way too expensive for non-enthusiasts, making this board a great choice for the top Intel processors.
Micro-Star International Co., Ltd, or as we know it, MSI is a Taiwanese corporation located in New Taipei City. It manufactures and distributes numerous products from laptops, desktops, monitors, and peripherals, to the insides of the PC like the motherboard, GPU, coolers, and even cases.
- MSI Pro Series
- MSI MAG Series
- MSI MPG Series
- MSI MEG Series
They are a massive company, and thanks to this they can cover products that are accessible to all budgets. They sometimes cut corners here and there, especially in the budget segment, but overall they are known to produce products with great quality and value.
3.1 MSI Pro Series
Similar to its competitors, MSI also has a series for its budget boards. In MSI’s case, it’s their Pro line of boards where you can find their cheapest motherboards.
Most motherboards have a mix of USB 2.0 and USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports with HDMI. Some motherboards have a single USB 3.2gen2 port, USB C port and a DisplayPort. The ones with DisplayPort and USB C ports are higher on budget.
The Pro series is more of a mid-budget motherboard series with few cheap models below $100 as well. They are available in ATX and mATX form factors. Depending on the size of the motherboard they will probably have 1 or 2 M.2 sockets for nvme ssds.
Most motherboards don't have shields over the backside ports, which is obvious because the motherboards are low to mid-budget.
They have a Pro motherboard for AMD’s A520M, B550, and B550M chipset with a few variations for each board. The A520M Pro motherboard is one of the most popular boards from the pro series.
It's a very cheap board that supports the new generation of Ryzen processors right out of the box, making it a good plug-and-play option for people who don’t want to tinker with the bios.
The H410M, H410I, B460M, and Z490 are the chipsets within the Pro series for Intel. Similar to the previously mentioned A520M Pro motherboard, the H410M Pro-VH is a popular choice among budget Intel builders. It’s very cheap and works absolutely fine.
3.2 MSI MAG Series
The MSI MAG series boards are their mid-range offerings that are relatively cheaper compared to the other series. These boards look better and perform better than the Pro series but cost a bit more.
The "A" in MAG stands for Arsenal which focuses on functionality and has a more military and rugged look. This is also where most of the motherboard names come from.
The MAG series is one of the most popular series in the community and is where the famous lines like Vector, Bazooka, Mortar, Torpedo, and Tomahawk are found.
The prices of MAG motherboards are similar to the PRO motherboards, and the features are also quite similar. The differences are in the looks. The backside ports have a shield to protect them from damage and give an aesthetic look as well.
Available in ATX and mATX form factors. Unique feature of the MAG series is the onboard Mystic RGB lighting which displays millions of colors. The MAG series also supports higher overclocked RAM frequencies compared to the PRO series motherboards. They also have SPDIF output port.
The AM4 socket is supported in the A520M, B550, B550M, and X570 chipsets for the MAG series. One of the best and most popular MAG lines is the Tomahawk line, and the MAG B550 Tomahawk is simply one of the best B550 motherboards out there.
There are fewer options when it comes to Intel’s LGA 1200 socket which is available in the B460, B460M, Z490 chipsets in the MAG series. The B460M Mortar Wifi is a borderline premium motherboard.
It’s highly praised by the community and is a great budget Intel board that fits inside a micro-ATX case. It’s a small motherboard but it’s one of the best with the B460 chipset.
3.3 MSI MPG Series
The MPG Series is a high-end motherboard line that’s fit for the top processors. It’s a series fit for people with big budgets and wants the top of the line motherboards. The “P” in MPG stands for performance, where the MPG series definitely stands out.
The lines of the Carbon EK, Gaming Carbon, Gaming Edge, and Gaming Plus are found in the MPG series. These are excellent boards that have a hefty price tag but offer excellent performance and stunning looks.
Price and spec-wise the MPG series is very similar to the MAG series. Most MPG motherboards are equipped with onboard Wifi 6 however.
Some models have upto 4 PCIe x1 slots.
The B550, B550I, and X570 are the chosen chipsets for AMD. The highly praised MPG X570 Gaming Pro Carbon Wifi is a popular board in the MPG series.
It’s a stunning looking board with great RGB accents, and it also has a heavy-duty heatsink and heat spreader for reliable cooling. It has enough features to bring the most out of your hardware and is just an overall excellent motherboard.
You are limited to the B460I and Z490 chipsets for Intel. There isn’t much to choose from but the MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon Wifi is a really great choice. It’s a mid-range motherboard with a very premium feel.
3.4 MSI MEG Series
The "E" in MEG stands for enthusiasts, and from the name itself, these motherboards are targeted toward enthusiasts who like to tinker around and push their hardware to the limits.
The motherboards in the MEG series have titles like like Ace, Unify, and Godlike. These boards are very expensive though and you'll have to cash out at least a few hundred dollars to buy one of these boards.
Form factors available include ATX, mATX and mini-ITX.
Features of the MEG series motherboards include:
1. Multiple USB 3.2 Gen 2 Ports
2. Type C USB 3.2 Gen 2 Ports, Thunderbolt port on some models
3. Dual LAN ports on some models
4. Flash BIOS button + clear CMOS button
5. Upto 3x - M.2 Slots
6. Upto 3x - PCIe x16 slots
7. 6.3 mm headphone jack
8. Optical SPDIF output
9. Onboard Wifi 6
10. Mystic Light RGB
The MEG series is where you shall find some of the highly feature packed expensive motherboards from MSI. They are a great choice if you are building a workstation, that needs a lot of storage space and needs to add a lot of extra hardware peripherals like graphics cards and usb devices.
Since these boards are essentially top of the line, there are only a few choices between the B550 and X570 chipsets.
The MEG X570 Godlike is a high end motherboard with lots of advanced features for workstations, gaming rigs or content production machines.
It’s feature-packed, performs amazing, and looks stunning. It does have a really hefty price tag of around $700 but if you have the cash to spare, it’s definitely one of the best motherboards that money can buy.
The Intel boards only come in the Z490 and Z490 variants. The MEG Z490 Ace is one of the mid-range boards in the MEG series. It’s a popular board in the high-end market and enthusiasts thanks to it being relatively cheaper than its Godlike brother but performs and looks amazing as well.
ASRock is a manufacturer of motherboards and PCs from Taiwan. They are relatively new to the market, being founded in 2002, but they produce good quality motherboards that offer great performance and decent pricing.
ASRock used to be under Asus and was originally competing in the entry-level motherboard market to avoid competition with Asus. But in recent years, Asrock has started to compete in the middle-range and high-end motherboard market as well.
- ASRock Pro Series
- ASRock Steel Legend
- ASRock Phantom Gaming
- ASRock Taichi Series
- ASRock Extreme Series
- ASRock Creator Series
4.1 ASRock Pro4 Series
The Pro4 series covers a lot of different chipsets and sockets for ASRock and is one of their most budget-friendly options. They are a decent set of motherboards that usually have black PCBs together with a few white or silver accents around the board and heatsinks.
They have lots of USB 3.2 Gen1 port with upto 1x USB 3.2 gen 2 and 1x USB C port. Most don't have onboard wifi. Most have HDMI port with some having DisplayPort and/or VGA port as well. There is no onboard RGB lighting.
The VGA port motherboards can be used by those who need to use older monitors or VGA port displays.
M.2 sockets are available for SSD and wifi modules. Most have only 3 audio ports on the rear.
They are available in a variety of options for AMD like the A520M, B550, B550M, X570, and X570M. This gives you the flexibility to choose between different variations that fit your build and your needs.
The ASRock A520M Pro4 is a good option for budget-builders. It’s one of the cheapest boards that Asrock sells and is an update to the old A320 chipset.
You lose a bit of functionality compared to the better B550 and X570, but if you’re not planning to overclock, then it’s a good choice to consider.
ASRock Pro motherboards are great options. Although cheaper than other motherboards that Asrock offers, they perform well enough to get the job done. ASRock Pro motherboards are available for Intel’s B460, B460M, H470M, Z490M, and Z490 chipsets.
The B460M Pro4/ac is another good budget board that has support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It also has some RGB accents and supports Polychrome Sync as well making it a good option.
4.2 ASRock Steel Legend
ASRock’s Steel Legend series of motherboards are superior to the Pro4 series but within budget. They offer a wide variety of motherboards that have a great mix of aesthetics, unique design and looks along with onboard RGB lighting.
The motherboards have 5 audio output ports with S/PDIF output port and some have onboard wifi as well. The IO shield is pre-mounted and the port area has protective shield.
All motherboards have HDMI port and Display Port and plenty of USB 3.2Gen1 ports with upto 1x USB 3.2gen1 port and USB C port. The boards have upto 2x M.2 sockets for ssds and 1x M.2 socket for wifi modules.
It supports AMD’s AM4 socket through the B550, B550M, and X570 chipsets. The Steel Legend B550 is a popular choice among builders since it’s relatively cheap and is a great match for mid-range Ryzen CPUs.
As for Intel’s side, the LGA 1200 socket is supported by the Steel Legend in their B460, B460M, H470, and Z490 chipsets. The Steel Legend B460M is a well-received Intel board since it fits pretty much any case and performs very well for its size.
4.3 ASRock Phantom Gaming
The Phantom Gaming motherboards appeal to gamers who want to get the most out of their motherboard. However, these motherboards don’t have that aggressive “gamer” look with tons of RGB all over.
They come in a simpler and plain design with black PCBs and a bit of RGB (depending on the model). Form factors available include ATX, mATX and mini-ITX.
The Phantom gaming motherboards are designed to be budget motherboards with only the essential features. They have USB 3.2gen1 ports with only HDMI ports on most models. Some models have DisplayPort with HDMI as well. Selected models have onboard wifi too.
Some of the models have premounted io sheild with cover while some don't. Only the audio side there are only 3 audio jacks available. M.2 sockets for both SSD and wifi module are available on selected models.
The Phantom Gaming supports chipsets A520M, B550M, B550, B550-ITX, X570, and X570-ITX from AMD.
One of their most popular models is from their collection of flagship models - the ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming X. This board is highly acclaimed throughout the community thanks to its great performance, great features, and great looks.
Of course, there are also some Intel-based Phantom Gaming motherboards for the B460, H470, Z490-ITX, and Z490 chipsets. The ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming Velocita is the board of choice in the Phantom Gaming series.
It’s reasonably priced, has great and well-rounded features, plus offers some great overclocking power for those who want the most out of their PCs. It provides great overall value and power which is hard to come by, especially in the Z490 segment.
4.4 ASRock Taichi Series
The Taichi series of motherboards is widely known for its unique cyberpunk/mechanical design theme. It’s an amazing looking motherboard with some mechanical gears and touches of RGB that gives it an elegant look.
The Taichi motherboards have high end specs and are suitable for building heavy duty workstation pcs or production machines. Features include upto 9 USB ports, upto 4 PCIE x16 slots, upto 2x ethernet ports, onboard wifi, 5 audio ports, and clear cmos button.
Besides 2x M.2 sockets for nvme ssds, there are upto 8x onboard sata sockets for attaching lots of ssds.
Motherboards with upto 8 RAM slots are also available in series which can support upto 256 GB system RAM.
ASRock’s AMD Taichi line made tons of headlines thanks to its B550 board’s ridiculous launch price. Its price is on par with their X570 Taichi board and received mixed reactions from the community.
The Taichi line is their premium series of motherboards and the best one is their X570 Taichi since it’s pretty much the same price as the B550 version but offers better features and performance overall.
The Taichi line on the other side is a pretty lonely one, having only the Z490 Taichi under the whole series. The Z490 has a premium look and feel with a relatively affordable price tag and pretty solid features overall.
4.5 ASRock Extreme4 Series
The Extreme4 series of motherboards are similar to the Steel Legend series and are high budget premium boards.
In addition to the quite common black PCBs, there are also blue and grey highlights throughout the board which gives it a very unique but stylish look.
Spec wise they are similar to the Steel legend series, but have some unique offerings like USB C header for front panel. Most models don't have the display port and some models feature the old vga and dvi-d ports. On the audio side there are 5 ports.
The boards have 2x PCIE x16 ports with heat sinks on the M.2 slots along with onboard RGB. Most boards in this series don't have onboard wifi.
The Extreme comes in the B550 and the X570 chipsets for AMD. They have a similar finish and look but a major difference between the two is that both X570 variants have a chipset fan while the B550 doesn’t.
The X570 Extreme4 is an amazing board that has great VRMs suitable for any compatible Ryzen CPUs without overheating or thermal throttling.
The ASRock Z490 Extreme4 is your only choice if you have an Intel processor. It is, however arguably better than its X570 and B550 counterparts. It has stronger RGB lighting and a separate M.2 heatsink.
It doesn’t have a chipset fan but it does provide efficient heat dissipation thanks to its large heatsinks, so temperatures shouldn’t be a problem. It’s a really good buy considering that it performs close to more expensive motherboards.
4.6 ASRock Creator Series
The ASRock Creator Series is a high-end motherboard series that hovers around the $500 price point. These motherboards are usually aimed at the top of the line processors like ThreadRipper and Intel Core X series of processors.
These boards have extensive onboard features like upto 4x PCI-e x16 slots and upto 3 M.2 nvme slots.
The boards also support AMD CrossFireX and Nvidia SLI technologies. Boards with upto 8 RAM slots are available.
These boards also have multiple USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports along with 2x Thunderbolt USB C ports on selected models.
Overall these boards are really
The Creator is only available for the X570 chipset on the AM4 socket and has an 8-pin and 4-pin power connector for the CPU to provide power for the truly power-hungry CPUs. This is admittedly quite overkilling for most CPUs, but it just shows how much the Creator can deliver in terms of power and performance.
The VRMs are also another amazing part of this motherboard. They run very cool and can easily handle any processor you throw at it.
The only available Creator series for Intel is the W480 model for Xeon CPUs, which are primarily for very high-end workstations and industrial servers.
Factors affecting motherboard price
As seen above, various motherboard series and models come at different price points. The pricing depends on a number of factors, many of which may not be even noticeable.
Some of the features of more expensive motherboards include:
- 1. More USB 3.2 Gen 2 Ports compared to USB 3.2 Gen 1 port.
- 2. USB C port headers for front panel.
- 3. More PCI-E 4.0 x16 slots - Cheaper motherboards may have older PCI x16 slots as well.
- 4. DisplayPort instead of DVI-D or VGA port
- 5. A better and more efficient VRM
- 6. Cooling system for various components like M.2 drives, chipset
- 7. Onboard wi-fi
- 8. Onboard RGB
- 9. More RAM slots. 8x instead of 4x
- 10. More onboard SATA ports
In general more expensive motherboard series and models will have more of the above features. However not all high budget boards will have all the high end features. Some may have onboard wifi with usb ports while others may have more M.2 slots and PCI-e slots.
Specifications vary across brands and series. If you are building a pc for a specific professional task then you need to make sure that the motherboard has the exact features needed.
1. Storage machine - More SATA ports and higher version USB ports
2. Gaming PC - RGB, M.2 Nvme, onboard wi-fi, powerful VRM and cooling system.
3. Media PC - DisplayPort, HDMI, 5 audio ports.
3. Office or work PC - Any medium budget motherboard with lots of USB ports.
4. Graphics/Video editing - PCI-E 4.0 x16 slots for best performance on graphics cards
5. Overclocking - Powerful VRM and Better onboard cooling system.
Another useful feature to consider when choosing a motherboard is the number of front panel USB headers. Motherboards have anywhere between 2-4 usb headers for connecting to the front panel of the pc case.
Having more usb ports on the front side is an advantage so you can easily connect multiple usb flash drives together.
There are a ton of different choices for motherboards out there today. The market is now full of options more than ever before. A lot of these motherboards are great performers, you just have to find one that fits your budget and your needs.
You can’t go wrong with choosing any of these motherboards, and as long as you get one from a reputable and trustable brand, you’ll surely be satisfied with what you get.