This guide will tell you about the TOP-7 best AM4 motherboards in three price tier — budget, mid-range and high-end ones. You will learn about their most important features, what should be prioritized by designers and what is of top priority for gamers. There is an overview of each model depending on the types of users, including hardcore gamers and office employees.

There was a time when only real “geeks” could build a computer, having to understand not just the various compatibilities and features, but how to properly assemble one. Today, putting a computer together is remarkably easy, the various components only able to fit onto the board in a specific way. As of now, nobody has made affixing the case’s various lights and buttons to the board easily, this remaining a royal headache, but with instructions, even this is just annoying, not overwhelmingly complex.

This, coupled with intuitive guides online to suggest compatible parts, has made it possible for most people to readily design their own computer, have the parts shipped to them, and build it themselves. This doesn’t actually save much money now, compared to off-the-shelf computers (unless you’re building a budget machine), due largely to specific components being in high demand. But, it’s definitely more enjoyable, and it allows you to get exactly the machine you want.

However, many people underestimate the importance of the motherboard. While the CPU and GPU are the heart of a machine, the motherboard is the body that houses them, and the various components on this board can either greatly help or severely hinder the potential of the other parts you put in your machine.

There are a lot of types of these, varied sizes of them, and seemingly infinite brands to choose from, and unlike CPUs and GPUs, it can seem less than clear cut. Today, we’re going to talk about motherboards. We’re going to learn a little bit about what they actually do, how much and why various attributes of the matter, and we’re going to look at the best boards for specific applications.

You’ll be somewhat shocked by just how important this unassuming circuit board can be in designing a computer that meets your specific needs.

What You Will Learn From This Guide:

What is the Difference Between Various Models? What’s Most Important in Them?

The first thing we should really demystify is how motherboards are categorized, and why. There are two criteria by which motherboards are more or less categorized. The first is the socket, so let’s talk about that a little bit.

The socket is the “plug” into which the CPU is placed. While there do exist quite a few of these different sockets, there tend to be two primary ones for PCs, depending on the manufacturer of your CPU. Presently, AMD processors are mostly socket AM4. This, unsurprisingly, is a further evolution of the previous socket AM3. If your current computer is more than a couple years old and is AMD-based, it’s probably socket AM3.

AMD is very good at providing a logical way of naming their sockets, as Intel’s sockets tend to have more obtuse labels like LGA 1151. Specific CPUs need specific sockets, so this is hands down the most important criterion when choosing your board. You’ve most likely chosen your CPU and GPU beforehand. If it’s a modern AMD CPU, more likely than not, you need an AM4.

In the event you’re building a machine based around an architecture other than x86/64 (the architecture used by most PCs and game consoles presently), you will find it harder to find a motherboard compatible, as systems like ARM or PPC tend to come as a completed device.

The second criterion by which boards are categorized is their size. The dominant form factor for motherboards is “ATX” or “ITX”. While other sizes do exist, there are five common sizes. The smaller a board becomes, the less room it has for components.

Let’s take a second to talk about the important standard components, and then we’ll see how the availability of these differ across the different ATX sizes. Additional features also matter but aren’t usually determined by the ATX size, and we’ll look at those in just a bit.

  • RAM Slots – RAM is the working memory of a computer, storing active programs and loaded data. The more RAM you have, the more multitasking you can perform, or the more space a game has for complex objects and large worlds. You should never have less than 8GB of RAM in a computer built today.
  • PCI Slots – These are the ports in which various plug and play components can be inserted. These can be high-end audio cards, TV capture cards, boards for additional SATA or USB, even extra RAM (though this will be slow). Some GPUs can fit into the standard PCI slots, though they aren’t intended to go in these.
  • GPU-Dedicated PCI Slots – Many boards offer a dedicated, modified PCI slot for the GPU. It’s placed in a way to better suit a GPU’s form factor, has direct leads that make talking to it faster, and has a latch to hold it firmly in place. Few boards have more than one of these, which can lead to needing to fit additional GPUs into slots they don’t fit that well into.
  • SATA/PATA Ports – SATA/PATA are the standards through which hard drives and optical drives connect to a motherboard. These replaced the flat ribbon cables (IDE) that were once used. The more of these you have, the more SSD/HDD drives or optical drives you can use without resorting to USB.
  • USB – There will almost certainly be at least two USB ports on the back of the board, but additional hookups are available on most boards to connect USB ports present on cases.
  • Additional Audio Hookups – If you’re using the onboard audio (which unless you’re going with surround sound, is usually fine), there will be a microphone and speaker/headphone port on the back. Some boards have additional hookups, which allow ports on the case to connect to the board.

Pretty much all boards also have an integrated GPU – unless the type of board does not permit a GPU to be added, you should never use this onboard GPU, as it is guaranteed to be subpar.

Now that we understand the most important standard components, let’s look at the different sizes, and how they impact the availability of these components.

  • Standard-ATX – This is the larger size, most commonly used in gaming machines. It tends to have five PCI slots, one or two dedicated GPU slots, three or more RAM slots, support for around eight USB ports, and at least six SATA/PATA ports. There will also be an audio connection.
  • Micro-ATX – These are used in a lot of off-the-shelf machines not designed specifically for gaming, as well as standard business machines. They are smaller, allowing a smaller case to be used, and tend to have two RAM slots, two PCI slots, one GPU slot, support for around four USB ports, four SATA ports, and an audio connection. These can be suitable for gaming and multimedia machines, but only if two very large sticks of ram are used.
  • Mini-ITX – This is really the smallest type of board that can be used in building a “proper” PC, and isn’t really suited for gaming or high-definition multimedia. These are used in those ultra-thin-cased “business PCs” that looks scarcely bigger than a late-generation VCR, as well as in ATMs, kiosks, and retail check-out stations. They tend to have one PCI slot, one RAM slot, no GPU port, support for two to four USB ports, and an audio hookup. An additional GPU can be added, but may not fit due to the placement of the PCI slot. A lot of these have an APU soldered on, which is a combination of a GPU (better than integrated but less than a stand-alone card), and a CPU.
  • Nano and Pico-ITX – You won’t be using these, they are used for embedded purposes, such as emulation machines, set-top boxes, handheld devices, and hobby projects.

At this point, we have a solid understanding of both the importance of the proper socket and how these most common sizes impact the availability of facilities to expand the power of your PC. Obviously, Standard-ATX offers the ability to connect more stuff to it, with the availability of things diminishing as sizes go down. Prices, to an extent, tend to diminish with size, as well.

Additional Features

We mentioned a moment ago, that there were additional features beyond the standard ones. We said that the size of the board doesn’t necessarily impact the presence of some of these. We’re going to look at a few of them now.

  • Bluetooth – Bluetooth may or may not exist on any given board, regardless of its size. The transceiver for Bluetooth, and the chip that controls it, are tiny and can fit on pretty much any circuit. Bluetooth is very useful, as wireless peripherals are slowly moving away from RF (radio) signals. Your new wireless game controller will probably expect Bluetooth, for example. The same can be said for your wireless headset. While you can simply plug in a USB Bluetooth dongle (yes, that is what they’re called), this will slow it down, and hog a USB port.
  • Wi-Fi – This is another component that can fit on just about any board. If you’ve ever looked at a high-speed Wi-Fi card made in recent times, most of its board is empty of much of anything, the chips are so tiny. Built-in Wi-Fi will be faster than an additional card using PCI, and the computer will most likely be able to recognize and use it, even if you’re in a boot menu or other non-OS environment.
  • Landline RJ45 (Cat 6 network) Port – Everything we just said about the Wi-Fi card applies here.
  • USB – We talked about these already, but it goes without saying that the more USB ports you have, the more peripherals you can use. Believe me when I tell you, you always, no matter how many ports you have, wish you had just one or two more.

Priorities to Consider When Buying a Motherboard

We’ve learned a lot about boards in very short order, but aside from the obvious socket issue we discussed, what’s most important? Well, there’s no single answer to this, it depends on what you’re looking for. That in mind, let’s do this by different use cases

  • Gaming – Gamers will want to prioritize RAM slots, SATA/PATA ports for hard drives and optical drives, high-end Wi-Fi or LAN components, USB ports, and Bluetooth.
  • Multimedia – People planning to focus on watching streams, movies and other high-end videos will want to prioritize RAM, audio ports, a GPU port, and high-end Wi-Fi or LAN.
  • Business – People planning to use their computer to run mostly business software, should prioritize RAM, SATA ports, and USB ports, with a decent Wi-Fi and/or LAN feature.
  • Art/Graphic Design/3D Modeling/Video Editing – You will want to prioritize the ability to add a good GPU, plenty of SATA/PATA ports, lots of RAM, and USB ports. Bluetooth is less of a priority, and any decent Wi-Fi or LAN functionality will suffice.

Limitations and Compatibilities

We drove home how different ATX sizes can impact the availability of core features. We also talked about how a given CPU requires a specific socket. However, there are a few other limitations and compatibility issues which if not met, can either make a motherboard, not post (power up and boot) or could even cause a motherboard to burn up horribly.

  • Power Requirements – This is further affected by our CPU and GPU, but a given motherboard will have a base power requirement, which must be considered when buying your PSU (power supply unit). Too little power will result in the computer either being unstable or just not properly booting. Excess power could potentially burn the board.
  • RAM Architecture – A given board will expect a range of RAM architectures (Such as DDR3 or DDR4). Incompatible RAM will usually just not be recognized, or at worst, stall the boot process depending on the memory controller on the board. This will generally not damage anything.
  • Overheat Protection – You will, of course, be including a good cooling system, which isn’t built into the board. However, the board itself (as well as the CPU) should have fail-safes that shut the system down when it grows too hot. Should the cooling system fail, the board could overheat and burn.

Quick Look – The Best AM4 Motherboards

We’ll be making product recommendations for specific use cases shortly, but first, with the knowledge we’re now armed with, let’s talk about what different price ranges tend to buy in a board. When you’re working out your budget for your PC, you’ll be playing a tug-o-war between the CPU, the GPU, the RAM, and the board. This leads people to try to skimp on the board, and that’s often (but not always) a bad idea.

Let’s make one thing clear – the absolute top of the line, end-all of AM4 motherboards can cost almost four figures. These often defy the specifications we listed earlier, for Standard-ATX, offering ports for multiple GPUs, sockets for multiple multi-core CPUs, six to eight RAM slots, Dolby or Bose onboard multi-channel audio, and support for extremely advanced CPU models such as Ryzen.

Many of these boards also have RGB, support for a whole lot more fans, and straight-logic for additional PCI memory cards which can take laptop or full-sized RAM. These high-end boards are what gamers wanting the last word in computers will use, though even they might aim for something in the high-end rather than top-tier. Other common uses for these are in building cloud-array supercomputers, ultra-powerful modeling machines for simulations or animation studios, and so forth.

Quick Look – High-End AM4 Motherboards (Under $300)

Even dedicated, current-generation gamers often aim for this bracket, due to being more reasonable, without sacrificing the things they really need. There don’t exist many games which need multiple GPUs, multiple CPUs, or additional memory expansion.

A high-end motherboard will support high-end CPUs such as Ryzen often, they will be fully-featured with six SATA/PATA ports, at least eight USB ports, support for four RAM slots, powerful Wi-Fi, connections for SD card readers, Bluetooth and the whole ensemble. They may include high-end onboard multi-channel audio as well.

This is also the tier most professional freelance 3D modelers, animators and developers will want, due to the better threading Ryzen chips can handle, the higher scope of RAM, and the optimization for the GPU. Video makers (Twitch streamers or YouTube creators) will probably be best suited by boards in this range as well.

Quick Look – Mid-Range AM4 Motherboard (under $200)

This bracket still contains decently capable boards, though you begin to sacrifice the number of SATA/PATA ports, PCI slots, RAM slots, and USB ports you can support. This makes this bracket fine for just casual computer use – surfing the web, playing casual or online games that’re less graphically demanding, watching videos and movies, etc. This is also the perfect board for business use – web design, document composition, research, SaaS usage, etc.

You’ll likely get three RAM slots on a board this price, though some do have four. You’ll usually see support for about six additional USB ports, probably four PCI slots, and standard onboard audio. Bluetooth no longer becomes a guarantee with a board of this price, though it’s not hard to find one featuring it. Wi-Fi may also not be guaranteed, but is likely to be present as well.

Quick Look – Budget AM4 Motherboards (Under $100)

You probably won’t be building a gaming rig with a board of this price, nor will you be building a machine optimized for art or video creation. However, you can build a perfectly decent “family computer” type of PC on one of these boards, capable of casual gaming on low settings, able to access and handle internet content well, and perfectly fine for light business use.

You’ll more often than not be getting a Micro-ATX at these low prices (though there do exist some Standard-ATX as well), offering probably two PATA/SATA ports, support for maybe four USB ports, two RAM slots, one or two PCI slots, and compatibility with only the low-end AM4-compatible CPUs.

On a side note, though, boards in this range are great for application-specific builds, such as emulation machines (you will want big ram sticks and the best GPU it can handle for this), dedicated video boxes, or other such things.

Top 7 Boards for 7 Demographics

You are now basically an expert on motherboards. You have the knowledge to make a wise choice when buying the board for your needs. Armed with this information, let’s take a look at the best board for each of seven different, common types of users.

Of course, you may not fit snugly into one of these demographics entirely, and with the knowledge you’ve gained, you can find the one that overlaps your many needs the best.

ASRock AMS X470 — Best Motherboard for Light PC Games

Motherboard ASRock AMS X470: photo

For the light PC gamer, who needs a decent GPU, but not the absolute latest, and a decently-snappy quad-core AM4 chip, but again, not the latest beast, there are a number of good choices around or under $200 to choose from. However, having built more than one light gaming rig to meet these specifications, I didn’t have to think very hard about the best choice.

Don’t let my choice of the ASRock AMS X470 “Taichi” as a light PC gaming solution fool you. For the price, this board is a real beast indeed. Unlike many boards in its price range, it supports seven standard onboard USB ports, as well as a Type C, offers 7.1 channel audio, includes high-end Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.

This board also offers four RAM slots, is fully Ryzen compatible, and even offers Crossfire support for two AMD/ATI GPUs. This thing, with a little overclocking, and big RAM in all four slots, could actually run current-generation games at nearly maximum settings. It’ll run any game made over two years ago at max settings if you use the recommended CPU and GPU with it.

Light PC gamers will not need all of this power more often than not, at the moment. However, the more casual, lighter-weight games tend to be about four years behind high-end, “hardcore” games in their demands. This means that with a board like this, you’ll be able to keep up as even lighter games increase their demands on hardware moving forward.

I’d also say that this is a decent budget compromise for the heavy PC gamer who just can’t afford, or is unwilling to afford the board I recommend for them.

ASRock AMS X470: Check the current price

Asus ROG Zenith Extreme — Best Motherboard For Heavy PC Games with High Requirements to Graphics

Best Motherboard For Heavy PC Games: photo

Heavy PC gamers who want to be able to keep up with the ever-increasing demand of AAA titles, simply can’t skimp on their board. If you’re trying to build a truly, truly serious gaming rig, you already know that pretty much every component of your machine is going to be very pricy.

This is why I don’t feel unreasonable in recommending the Asus ROG Zenith Extreme AMD Ryzen ThreadRipper TR4 board for such a rig. This puppy is not cheap, not by a long shot, and is the only board on this list that’s in that top-tier section we discussed. It’s still under $1000.

With this Asus board, you’re getting Ryzen compatibility with onboard optimization for hyperthreading and core distribution, which allows complex, parallel game logic to run at blinding speeds. It’s not all about the GPU, after all.

On top of this, heavy gamers will appreciate the eight RAM slots, allowing for up to 64GB of system memory, which means even the biggest, most demanding games won’t have to compete with the system for working space, and load times will be nearly nonexistent.

Four-way crossfire allows for synchronous use of up to four AMD GPUs simultaneously, and there’s truly no game out there, even at maximum settings, that can choke a setup like this. In fact, on the side of graphics, provided you keep your GPUs up to date, this board will probably keep up with gaming demands for another ten years, with even Vulkan’s SPIR-V shaders, compiled on demand, taking less than a tenth of a second with a setup like this.

It also offers eight USB ports, a 7.1 channel audio system, a USB-C port, and Gigabit LAN/Wi-Fi. The WiGig functionality also means that this machine is adequately-prepared for future implementations of wireless VR that are just around the corner.

If you want to build the most powerful AMD gaming rig possible and make your console owner friends weep, you want this Asus board. You won’t be buying another board for a long time, meaning its high price tag means very little in the grand scheme of things.

Asus ROG Zenith Extreme: Check the current price

MSI B350M Pro VH Plus — Best Motherboard for Light Work in the Office

Motherboard for Light Work in the Office: photo

If you’re building a computer for the primary purpose of light office work (running spreadsheets, databases, word processors, doing internet research), you can rejoice in knowing you don’t have to spend an absolute fortune for a motherboard. Your main focus is on storage space and peripheral ports, which means you can enjoy a board under $100.

The MSI B350M Pro VH Plus is an excellent board for light office work. With two RAM slots, if you put at least 8GB in each one, you have a respectable 16GB of space, and with a Ryzen chip, you can multitask at great speed.

With six onboard USB ports, you can hook up all of your basic peripherals. The standard stereo onboard audio works fine for dictation, and for online video or audio research. If you don’t intend to install a GPU, the onboard one is decent enough for HD YouTube videos, and has a respectable HDMI and SVGA out for two monitors. The onboard LAN and Wi-Fi meet standard IEEE standards, offering 10/100/1000 capabilities.

It lacks Bluetooth but given you’ll probably use four of the six USB ports for business, you’re not losing much by just adding a Bluetooth dongle to this one.

MSI B350M Pro VH Plus: Check the current price

Asus ROG Crosshair VII Hero — Best Motherboard for Overclocking

Asus ROG Crosshair VII Hero — Motherboard for Overclocking: photo

Overclocking is something to be done with extreme caution. You can destroy your CPU and possibly your board if you do it wrong. If you’re doing a lot of experimental overclocking, you’re probably trying to exceed maximum settings for a game, or you’re trying to run complex calculations at enhanced speed. Ryzen CPUs overclock well, as long as they’re cooled and provided with the proper power.

If we had been limiting the price range for the heavy gaming board, I would have recommended this Asus ROG Crosshair VII Hero board for them. However, this one doesn’t quite measure up in amenities. However, with onboard clock management via a legitimate GUI CMOS interface, and Ryzen compatibility (which is a chip made for overclocking), this is definitely the board I would recommend for overclockers.

It offers the standard 8 USB 3.1 ports, and a Type C, 8-channel audio, two USB 2.0 ports, six SATA ports, and four RAM slots. You could make a pretty serious gaming rig with this board, if you don’t mind its obsolescence coming sooner. But, for those who like to experiment with modding games, or benchmarking performances in overclocked environments, this is the board to go with, as it meets the current specifications but isn’t as dainty when it comes to limit-pushing as a high-end gaming board.

Asus ROG Crosshair VII Hero: Check the current price

Gigabyte X99 Designare EX - Best Motherboard for 3D Modeling, Video Production, Animation, Etc.

GIGABYTE Best Motherboard for 3D Modeling: photo

When you’re working in design, it’s easy to assume a gaming rig would double as an excellent design machine, since both have the same graphical demands, RAM demands, etc. This is kind of true, but you don’t need the end-all of gaming setups to handle production like this, you merely need it to have the available resources to meet those specific needs.

With that in mind, I recommend the Gigabyte X99 Designare EX. Like the ROG we just looked at, were we building a budget-wise high-end gaming machine, this one would’ve been a contender, as, like most high-power boards, the engineers prioritize gaming.

You get your eight RAM slots, your dual GPU support, your Ryzen compatibility, and multi-channel audio, as well as eight SATA ports. However, what makes this one stand out is the dual LAN, which allows for render farming if you network this with other machines. For 3D animation and modeling, this is a must. The additional RAM capabilities also mean this can handle much bigger design projects. High-res images and complex models tend to be ram hogs, and the software to work on them also tends to have a significant footprint in system memory.

With six USB ports, you can hook your 3D manipulator, graphics tablet, scanner, printer, and standard peripherals up with no problem over USB 3.0.

For video processing, the ability to distribute the job across SLI and Crossfire for rendering and mastering, as well as recruiting the aid of multiple simultaneous cores within the Ryzen, makes for a much faster task. The massive RAM also means the buffer can be much bigger, reducing read time from the raw video on a disc, memory card, network location, or hard drive.

This also makes a nice gaming rig (though it’ll be outdated for this much sooner than the one I recommended there), so after a hard day of artistic pursuits, you can relax and enjoy some games or high-definition videos without having to change computers.

Gigabyte X99 Designare EX: Check the current price

ASrock X470 Master SLI/AC — Best Motherboard for Cryptocurrency Miners

Best Motherboard for Cryptocurrency Miners: photo

Alright, like it or not, cryptocurrency is here to stay for the time being, and as long as there are crypto units of respected currencies to be mined, people are going to mine them. I myself have my concerns and issues with the concepts behind crypto, but that hasn’t stopped me from dabbling in it for the heck of it. Two things I have learned from my experiments are that your biggest factors are internet speed and GPU speed. Your CPU doesn’t matter nearly as much, as long as it’s tough enough to dispatch and manage CUDA (math instructions handled in parallel, quickly by the GPU).

That in mind, you don’t need an expensive board, all things said and done. The ASrock X470 Master SLI/AC Promontory board is perfect for crypto mining. Many people will recommend cheaper, older boards, but the dual GPU capabilities this provides are pretty crucial if you want to build a swift cryptocurrency mining machine. The Ryzen compatibility means that you have a solid CPU that can handle the dispatches, and the gigabit Wi-Fi and LAN can pull in, resolve, and register crypto problems very fast.

If I were of a mind to build a crypto mining setup, I’d buy two of these boards, build a rack, network them together, and have affordable tandem mining going on.

As for the other board specifications, which matter very little with this particular application, you get your standard four RAM slots, 5.1 channel audio, seven USB 3.0 ports, and one Type-C. You won’t be using these too heavily, but should you want to have this machine occasionally double as a light-use computer with decent sound, it’ll do it.

ASrock X470 Master SLI/AC: Check the current price

MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC — Best Motherboard for Developers

MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC — Motherboard for Developers: photo

Developers find themselves in a somewhat precarious place as far as the best computer to work with. If you’re a full-stack developer working on software, mobile apps, web apps and games, then you’re going to need something that can function well as a gaming machine, but also has better threading and memory management onboard (compilers are a pain), and probably something that’s optimized for virtualization.

This is a tricky set of specifications, without recommending a board that costs more than some off-the-shelf high-end computers. However, I think I’ve found a board that can handle these, without having to resort to an excessive contemporary gaming board.

This MSI Performance Gaming board (B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC) is indeed not “cheap”, but isn’t taking the full plunge into extreme gaming rig territory. But, if you’re doing a lot of diverse development, which can place you in the need to test your project at high settings, and may call for virtualization, this board will do it without having to pay the cost of something more extreme.

I actually like this board for emulation gaming too, because the virtualization helps there, as the dispatch and memory management, coupled with a Ryzen chip, is excellent for JIT instruction processing.

It only has four RAM slots, but if you put decent sticks in, you’ll be fine. It supports Crossfire for multiple GPUs, meaning you can test at high graphical standards.

This board, as nice as it is, doesn’t get a dedicated gaming recommendation due to the limited USB ports (five and one Type-C), but the high-end LAN and Wi-Fi make up for this, as does the 5.1 channel audio.

You can debug your project under high (but not maximum) settings probably for the next five years, but you will have to play test extreme settings on some expensive machines. That’s what insider beta testing is for!

MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC: Check the current price

Comparative Chart of Motherboard Effectiveness

Product Features

ASRock AMS X470

  • Budget choice
  • 7 USB ports & Type C
  • 7.1 channel audio
  • High-end Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth

Asus ROG Zenith Extreme

  • Ryzen compatibility
  • 8 RAM slots
  • Synchronous use of up to 4 AMD GPUs
  • 8 USB ports
  • 7.1 channel audio system
  • USB-C port
  • Gigabit LAN/Wi-Fi

MSI B350M Pro VH Plus

  • 2 RAM slots
  • 6 onboard USB ports
  • Standard stereo onboard audio
  • The onboard LAN and Wi-Fi meet
  • IEEE standards.

Asus ROG Crosshair VII Hero

  • 8 USB 3.1 ports & Type C
  • 8-channel audio
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 6 SATA ports
  • 4 RAM slots

Gigabyte X99 Designare EX

GIGABYTE Best Motherboard for 3D Modeling min: photo

  • 8 RAM slots
  • Dual GPU support 
  • Ryzen compatibility
  • Multi-channel audio
  • 8 SATA ports
  • Dual LAN
  • 6 USB ports

ASrock X470 Master SLI/AC

  • Ryzen compatibility
  • Gigabit Wi-Fi and LAN
  • 4 RAM slots
  • 5.1 channel audio
  • 7 USB 3.0 ports & Type-C.

MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC

  • Ryzen chip
  • 4 RAM slots
  • Supports crossfire for multiple GPUs
  • 5 USB ports & Type-C
  • High-end LAN and Wi-Fi
  • 5.1 channel audio


You probably noticed that I recommended a few pricy boards for certain uses here, and in some cases, I recommended “gaming” boards for non-gaming purposes. Don’t let “gaming” deceive you, as it’s become something of a buzzword in moving hardware nowadays, and it really means it’s capable of a powerful CPU and at least one powerful GPU.

I recommended these boards entirely on whether they, for their price, meet all the needs of those specific use cases, while also being able to exceed them just a little, if you decide to do other things with them.

If you want an end-all computer that can work perfect for every one of these solutions, then you want the high-end gaming board and associated hardware. Even if you only play heavy games occasionally, its ability to power such demanding applications means it can also handle just about anything else thrown at it.

If you’re not sure what all you plan to do with your computer, then aim for a high-end (not top-tier) gaming board, because even if you don’t wind up playing games, you’ll have the power to do just about anything else for some time to come.

Your motherboard, as we learned today, is a critical part of your computer. A good brain and powerful heart are, after all, no use if they don’t have a healthy body containing them. I am positive one of these boards will work for you, and when in doubt, aim for higher demands than you know for sure you want.