The motherboard is an often overlooked component when building a gaming PC and doesn’t get the same attention as the graphics card or CPU. It’s just as important, though, because it ties everything together and controls the performance.
Gaming motherboards are slightly different from regular motherboards. They feature extra functions like overclocking abilities, additional USB ports, headers for extra fans and lighting, and ports and slots for graphics cards. A gaming motherboard creates a stable environment for all the other components to shine and is critical to any gaming rig.
There are lots of gaming motherboards on the market, and it can be hard to decide which is best for you. They have substantial price variances, and they can also support different processor brands and fit in numerous case sizes. We’ve made a list of budget PC gaming motherboards that support Intel and AMD CPU chipsets.
The Gigabyte Z490 comes at a substantial price and is compatible with the latest Intel 10th Gen processors using the LGA 1200 chipset. This ATX motherboard features a 12-phase configuration and has large heat sinks to manage the CPU heat. There’s five four-pin fan headers, two 5V addressable RGB headers, and two 12V RGB headers.
The Z490 also has three M2 slots and four DDR4 slots with a maximum capacity of 128GB of RAM. There are also eight USB ports, but only one supports USB 3.2, and there’s no USB-C port at all. When it comes to networking, there’s a gigabit LAN port but no wireless capability. No wireless capability and no USB-C are the obvious drawbacks, but otherwise, this is a reliable motherboard with fantastic value.
The Asus Prime Z490 is another mid-range motherboard with LGA1200 compatibility. It has a VRM with 10+1 DrMOS power stages and four DDR 4 RAM slots. There’s also Thunderbolt 3 compatibility and a 1.4 DisplayPort. It’s disappointing that there’s no USB-C port among the 14 other USB ports. If you’re planning on adding a graphics card, there are four PCIe slots with two supporting PCIe 3.0×16.
This motherboard comes with two M.2 slots for your SSD hidden under a large metal heat spreader and an M.2 Key-E slot if you want to add a wireless card later. The onboard LAN port uses the Intel I225-V controller with speeds of up to 2.5gbps, and the on-board sound controller is the ubiquitous Realtek S1220A. The Prime Z490 isn’t as flashy as the ROG line motherboards, but is still worth checking out.
The MSI MPG X570 is worth looking at if you prefer using second or third-generation AMD Ryzen processors with socket AM4 connectors. This motherboard has a VRM with 10 power phases and four DDR 4 slots for your RAM. The three M.2 slots feature MSI’s Shield Frozr heatsink to stop the SSDs from overheating. You can add two graphics cards to the two PCIe x 16 slots, and there’s another three PCIe x1 slots for other components.
Most MSI motherboards use software like Dragon Center and Click Bios 5 for additional configuration. Dragon Center allows you to adjust your RGB lighting to sync with other devices like gaming headsets or tower cases. Click Bios will enable you to access the numerous overclocking features. The MPG X570 has exceptional value for money, even if it lacks a USB-C port and built-in Wi-Fi.
The ASUS X570 is another well-priced AM4 board with excellent features. Since it’s made for gaming, it has many heatsinks, and ASUS claims it uses military-grade components in its construction. While that may be debatable, there’s no doubt about the quality, and they even added built-in RGB lighting in an attractive pattern. This motherboard also comes with a VRM with 12+2 power stages and two M.2 slots for your SSDs.
As with most modern motherboards, there are four DDR4 slots and two full-length PCIe slots. There are also three RGB headers and six fan headers. It’s refreshing to see the built-in Wi-Fi capability and a USB-port on a budget motherboard when most rivals leave them out. The X570 is undoubtedly one of the best choices for a budget gaming motherboard.
The MSI MPG Z390 is an attractive option if you prefer using Intel’s eighth or ninth-generation CPUs instead of going for the latest 10th-gen version. The older CPUs are cheaper, and you’ll still be able to use them for games like Call of Duty or Apex Legends. This micro-ATX motherboard has a VRM with 11 phases and four PCIe slots, including one with PCIe x16 compatibility.
If you’re planning on adding NVMe SSDs, there are two M.2 slots available. There are also five fan headers, two addressable RGB headers, and two standard RGB headers. You can also control this motherboard’s built-in RGB lighting with the Mystic Light app. It’s another budget motherboard without a USB-C port, but at least it has Wi-Fi.
If your budget is tight, you might want to check out the ASRock B450M PRO4. This motherboard uses the older AMD B450 chipset but is still has enough useful features. This motherboard comes with three PCIe slots, two addressable RGB headers, and a regular RGB header. It also has four fan headers scattered around the board for cooling purposes.
There’s also four DDR4 slots and Realtek ALC892 audio, and a Gigabit LAN port. The USB-C is a welcome addition to a motherboard in this price range. Despite being a Micro-ATX board, there are still two M.2 slots for your NVMe SSDs. The ASRock B450M doesn’t have many bells and whistles, but it still manages to get the job done with minimum fuss.
The Gigabyte Z390 Gaming X is another incredibly-priced motherboard that supports the older Intel eighth and ninth-gen chipsets. It’s an excellent choice if you want to keep costs down. The Z390 Gaming X uses a VRM with 12 power stages, two M.2 slots, and four DDR four slots. This motherboard has excellent thermal protection with the M.2 Thermal Guard protecting the SSDs, six temperature sensors, and four fan connectors. It also features thermal throttling, which decreases the CPU’s performance if it gets too hot.
There’s ample space for graphics cards with two full-length PCIe slots that support multi graphics setups like AMD crossfire. This motherboard has no Wi-fi, but at least there’s a front USB-C header. The Z390 Gaming X is a steal when you consider what it’s capable of.
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