Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme
If you want the best, most feature-rich Intel Comet Lake motherboard, I'm afraid you'll have to pay for it. And expect to pay through the nose if Asus' Z490 Maximus XII Extreme is any indication. Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme is one of the Best Motherboards For Gaming In 2021.
It is, as the name implies, extreme, with a slew of luxurious and useful features (including a freaking screwdriver with interchangeable heads), and it is also one of the best performers.
However, it only makes sense if you're purchasing a K-series Core i9 with the intention of overclocking the hell out of it. The Maximus XII will help you to get the most out of your 10900K while without turning it into a pile of molten slag in the process. The MSI Z490 Godlike is the fastest Z490 at factory speeds, but I'd rather have the ROG board in my camp if I'm going to do gaming. It is a cheap gaming motherboard to buy In 2021.
Obviously, it's reserved for the most high-end PC configurations; nevertheless, at $750, you could potentially create a decent full gaming PC for the price of this single motherboard. It's an aspirational Z490 motherboard and possibly the greatest gaming motherboard for Comet Lake overclocking, but I'll admit it's not a particularly affordable choice for the majority of us.
MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi
The minimal back panel and lack of OLED panels indicate that we've returned to conventional motherboard terrain. The ultra-enthusiast ROG board at the top may make one dizzy, but the Z490 Gaming Carbon will bring us back down to earth without a hitch. MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi is one of the Best Motherboards For Gaming In 2021.
When it comes to gaming performance, there's almost nothing between any of the Z490 boards we've tested, and it's only just a bit behind when it comes to actual CPU performance in productivity apps. However, when it comes to overclocking, the MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi can't compete with the big guys, even with our 10900K at its pinnacle. It is a cheap gaming motherboard to buy In 2021.
When pushed to its 5.3GHz all-core maximum, the power components and cooling aren't enough to keep the thirsty CPU from throttling. But, while this isn't the board for an overclocked i9 machine, that's a small subset of gamers, and for i5 or i7 CPUs, the MSI Gaming Carbon is still a good home for your Comet Lake CPU.
MSI MAG B460M Mortar WiFi
Purchasing one of the top Z490 motherboards may appeal to your inner elitist, but the sticker tag is undoubtedly a deterrent for many individuals. Sure, 10Gb LAN, seven M.2 slots, and quad GPU support would be wonderful, but who really needs all that? The majority of us will be completely content with a good B460 motherboard, such as the MSI MAG B460M Mortar WiFi. MSI MAG B460M Mortar WiFi is one of the Best Motherboards For Gaming In 2021.
If you don't mind the RAM speed limitation and don't plan on overclocking (at least not with a K-series CPU), this is the kind of board you should consider for your next PC build. It checks most of the critical boxes and is reasonably priced at $125, while competition is fierce with many premium B460 motherboards priced in this range.
It has a powerful VRM, 2.5Gb LAN, Wi-Fi 6, and acceptable, if not exceptional, I/O. Combining it with a 65W non-K processor and attempting faux overclocking is also well worth the small effort. If you can live with the highest DDR4-2666 speed, an Intel Core i5-10600 and B460M Mortar, teamed with a reasonable mid-range GPU, would give a high-quality, low-cost gaming experience. It is a cheap gaming motherboard to buy In 2021.
ASRock B460 Steel Legend
The ASRock B460 Steel Legend is a brilliantly named mid-range B460 model. At USD 120, it's considered a mid-range B460 board. A review of the specifications reveals that your $120 was wisely spent on some critical areas. A pair of heatsink-covered M.2 slots, an e-key M.2 slot for an optional Wi-Fi card, a front USB Type-C header, and plenty of RGB onboard are included. ASRock B460 Steel Legend is one of the Best Motherboards For Gaming In 2021.
Because of the higher power demands of 10th generation CPUs, motherboards must generally have upgraded VRM designs, and the B460 Steel Legend is well prepared in this regard. It has a 9+1 phase VRM that is driven by a single 8-Pin EPS connector. It is a cheap gaming motherboard to buy In 2021.
Each stage is capable of delivering up to 60A. Keep in mind that overclocking is not permitted on B460 motherboards, thus the VRM will not be subjected to high loads when you migrate. Keep in mind that overclocking is not permitted on B460 motherboards, thus the VRM will not be subjected to the same harsh demands as an all-core overclocked Intel Core i9 10900K.
The ASRock B460 Steel legend will appeal to buyers who aren't as concerned with bells and whistles as they are with a sturdy ATX board capable of running any 10th Gen CPU without igniting. Integrated Wi-Fi would have been a nice bonus for
Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra
With a lower price tag and more features, the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra competes with the MSI Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon AC and the Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi). It has three Ms. 2 NVMe SSD slots, Intel Wi-Fi Wave2 and ethernet, a full RGB treatment with various headers, and ALC1220 audio are all included. Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra is one of the Best Motherboards For Gaming In 2021.
You'd have to go all the way to the top of the product stack to get the same from MSI or ASUS, both of which give a bit more polish but charge a lot for it. Though there's a lot to be said for extreme motherboards, this Intel board is a wonderful deal.
For us, the only true drawback is that this motherboard is a little too showy and may not be suitable for more restricted gaming builds. You can, thankfully, disable all of the RGB bling in the BIOS if you desire, though other parts may still clash. However, this is a minor critique of an otherwise excellent board. It is a cheap gaming motherboard to buy In 2021.
Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming
ASUS's Strix Z390-I Gaming takes the top rank in the boutique ITX market, thanks to a price cut and the disappearance of the prior Z370-based model from dealers. Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming is one of the Best Motherboards For Gaming In 2021.
The ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming delivers exceptional performance and value despite its small size and lack of upgrade options. Its single PCIe card boasts consistent 5GHz overclocks using a variety of memory speeds, including 3,600MHz with some modification. It is a cheap gaming motherboard to buy In 2021.
Despite its small size, the Strix sports a long list of features, including dual PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 slots, Intel v219 ethernet, updated Intel 9560 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and an ALC1220A audio codec supported by separated circuitry and headphone amps.
Despite its extensive feature set, the Strix Z390-I's clean design allows for speedy system assembly and configuration, which is critical for ITX rig construction. It should be noted that this board can be difficult to locate, but the previous generation ROG Strix Z370-I model, with its thinner design, remains a good alternative, especially at sale pricing.
Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero
There is no new chipset with the AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs, but Asus' ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero claims to be the last AM4 motherboard you'll ever need. What, on the other hand, makes a great motherboard? A reliable and refined BIOS, value for money, and a decent design are all crucial, but sometimes it's the intangible that counts. It's sometimes just that the dang thing works. Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is one of the Best Motherboards For Gaming In 2021.
Motherboard testing is frequently one of the most agonizing tasks assigned to a tech journalist. With other boards, you have to fight it to get it to do what you want, expect it to do, have to do, or crank up some voltage setting to a level you don't really want to do, but the Dark Hero boots the first time, even after we fiddled with the memory clocks and timings and the Infinity Fabric. It is a cheap gaming motherboard to buy In 2021.
The Crosshair VIII Dark Hero may not be the best AM4 motherboard ever produced; we'd have to review hundreds of others to make that claim, but it's easy to say that the Dark Hero is one of the best AM4 motherboards we've ever used.
ASRock A520M ITX/ac
AMD's low-cost Ryzen motherboard chipset, the A520, has mostly gone unnoticed. While the B350 and B450 motherboards were widely recognized as entry-level, the A320 was absolutely regarded as the lowest of the low. ASRock A520M ITX/ac is one of the Best Motherboards For Gaming In 2021.
The arrival of B550 motherboards, and the subsequent price increase, left a significant void in the sub-$100 market. Enter the A520. If you're on a tight budget and don't need PCIe 4.0 or the overclocking capabilities provided by the B550, the A520 motherboards may be just what you're looking for. There's cheap and then there's extremely cheap, but a competent A520 board can do pretty much everything aboard for twice the price.
The icing on the cake is support for AMD Ryzen 5000 series CPUs and, perhaps more crucially, Ryzen 4000 series APUs. When you pair a Zen 3 CPU with a motherboard like an ASRock A520M ITX/ac, you can build a cheap and compact system that can outperform any Intel chip in every workload. It is a cheap gaming motherboard to buy In 2021.
The audio on the ASRock A520M is a letdown, but it is something that budget boards frequently compromise on. A gamer who listens to compressed audio assets in-game is unlikely to be less immersed.
The ASRock A520M ITX/ac has it where it counts and will work well as the heart of a low-cost gaming system. It capitalizes on the Ryzen platform's strengths while also providing some future-proofing. ITX enthusiasts seeking a capable budget AMD Ryzen option should put this one on their radar.
Gigabyte A520 Aorus Elite
AMD's A520 motherboard chipset isn't the most visually appealing PC component. You probably wouldn't buy one to power your water-cooled setup or Nvidia RTX 3090 gaming machine. When it comes to real-world critical functionality, the chipset doesn't actually fall short. There is no PCIe 4.0, but neither does Intel systems till Rocket Lake next year. Gigabyte A520 Aorus Elite is one of the Best Motherboards For Gaming In 2021.
The Gigabyte A520 Aorus Elite is a high-end A520 board, which may seem contradictory, but if you didn't know what it was, you'd think it was a mid-range board rather than a $90 bargain. It even has two RGB headers and two ARGB headers. The only thing it truly lacks is Wi-Fi, but do you really expect Wi-Fi at this price? It is a cheap gaming motherboard to buy In 2021
Gigabyte should be commended for including audio based on the ALC1200 codec. This is usually only used with more expensive motherboards. This Gigabyte A520 Aorus Elite is certainly worth a look if you're on a budget.
It outperforms Intel's cheap B460 boards, and you get the added bonus of next-generation Ryzen compatibility. Is it appropriate for everyone? No, but unlike almost all previous A320 boards, the Gigabyte A520 Aorus Elite is far from cheap and unpleasant. Also, check out the Cheap Motherboards For Gaming In 2021.