Some people buy pre-built computers while others like to build their machines. Regardless, a PC can constantly be upgraded, well, at least in most cases. Therefore, we are running a series where we take a look at each PC component to see how much it matters relative to the rest of your computer. So, does a motherboard matter for gaming?
Gaming motherboards can significantly improve your experience on your PC. It does this by indirectly increasing the performance of the rest of your components in the PC. It also gives you extra features that you can take advantage of, such as better connectivity and better storage options. Overall, a gaming motherboard does improve performance.
As a gamer, I love tweaking the performance of my machine, and I know that most gamers do that, even the casual ones. So, in this article, we want to take a deep dive into whether or not a gaming motherboard matters, why it matters, and discuss FPS. Then, we will talk about some of our favorite motherboards for both Intel and AMD. Let’s get into it.
Does the Motherboard affect FPS?
We all want the smoothest gameplay, and the best way to achieve this is to have a stable FPS. A stable FPS is just as important as having a fast FPS. For example, if you are playing at 120fps and dip down to 80 for a second, you will notice a freeze-frame, but you won’t have that freeze-frame if you are playing at a stable FPS, even if it is lower, say 60fps.
A motherboard indirectly increases your FPS by overclocking your components and allowing you to use better components such as an unlocked CPU. The gaming motherboard also allows for a more stable FPS because many gaming motherboards have premium cooling systems. They try to keep everything, including your SSD, RAM chips, and CPU cooler, then low-end motherboards.
Remember, it is better to say that it indirectly improves performance because the motherboard itself does not enhance your machine’s FPS.
Here’s Why the Motherboard affects Performance
We have already established that your motherboard indirectly affects the performance of your PC. Yes, I know that this topic does stir a debate. However, I always say that your motherboard is one of the most essential components in your PC. Remember, it is how all of your components speak to each other. It is all through the motherboard.
In this section, we want to explain further what we mean when we say that your motherboard improves the Performance of your PC because of how it interacts with other components, so let’s get into it.
- RAM: We are currently using DDR4 RAM in our PCs. This is the standard. The general speed for DDR4 is 2666Mhz. A low-end motherboard won’t allow you to use anything above that. So, if you have 3200Mhz RAM with a motherboard that doesn’t allow it, you will be stuck at 2666Mhz.
- GPU: Most PCI-e slots can boost your GPU, but you get better performance from high-end motherboards. Low-end motherboards lack features like SLI. If you can afford two GPUs, you probably have a gaming motherboard already.
- CPU: some CPUs can be overclocked to run at faster speeds. However, you need the correct motherboard to do this. That’s where gaming motherboards also significantly improve performance. See, if you can clock your i7 11700 k from 3.6Ghz to 4.8Ghz, that immensely enhances the performance of your PC.
- Storage: A non-gaming motherboard will allow you to use a standard 3000MB/s M.2 drive when it comes to storage. PCIe 4 gaming motherboards are starting to support up to 8000MB/s drives. Also, the way the storage interacts with the other components via the motherboard plays a role.
- Miscellaneous: Having more USB 3.2 ports, better sound cards, and better connectivity for your monitor does not necessarily affect the performance of your PC. It does, however, enhance your overall experience, which is something we should also consider
Look, at the end of the day, a gaming motherboard, especially a top-of-the-range one, will allow you to use the best components possible because they can leverage the performance of those components. In my experience, that is worth the extra cost.
Gaming Motherboard VS. Non-Gaming Motherboards: Pros and Cons
We understand that many of our readers are in a rush and don’t have time to read through the entire article. So, we will create a table to list the essential pros and cons of a gaming motherboard vs. a non-gaming motherboard.
|Can allow for faster and more RAM||Costs more|
|Top-of-the-range boards allow you to unlock the CPU.||Requires more maintenance|
|More storage slots||Sometimes needs a higher PSU|
Are Gaming Motherboards Worth it?
There are two ways of judging whether or not a gaming motherboard is worth it. First, you need to look at your budget. If you are building a PC on a budget, then the motherboard is not the most vital component to think about.
Remember, a PC is upgradeable, so if you are on a budget, you can get just about any compatible motherboard with your RAM and CPU and then upgrade at a later stage. You will still get the performance that your CPU, RAM, and GPU offer, but you won’t be able to tweak the performance on the lower-end motherboard.
If you can fit a gaming motherboard into your budget when building your first PC, then it is worth it to do so because a gaming motherboard allows you to do so much more with your components than a non-gaming motherboard does.
Our Favorite Gaming Motherboards for Intel: 2021
As of writing this article, the motherboards listed in this section are some of the best that you can get. However, we are not going to list X Series motherboards but rather the Z Series. fFr now, these are our favorite gaming motherboards for Intel sockets in 2021.
Z590 ROG Maximus XIII Hero
- Socket: Intel LGA 1200
- Wifi: Yes, 6E technology
- RAM: Supports up to 128GB. Supports 4266MHz
- M.2: 2x PCIe 4.0, 2x PCIe 3.0
- RGB: Yes
The Maximus XIII Hero is by far one of the most advanced gaming motherboards you can buy. We are sure that it can go above 4266mhz on the RAM, but it was tested at that speed, so that’s what we are listing. In terms of storage, you have ample storage for either PCIe 4 or PCIe 3.
The thermal cooling of this motherboard is what makes it stand out. It offers stability and prolongs the life span of all your components by keeping them at a sustainable temperature.
For readers that want RGB, not only does this motherboard offer it but it also office customizability via the BIOS, which is easy to use and easy to navigate. You might need a little bit of research
GIGABYTE Z590 AORUS Elite AX
- Socket: Intel LGA 1200
- RAM: Up to 5000MHz
- M.2: PCIe 4.0, PCIe 3.0
One of the best value-for-money motherboards is the gigabyte Aorus Elite. Everything has been carefully designed to maximize the cooling of your machine. For example, the heatsink is two times larger than most heatsink’s, which should improve heat dissipation giving you more stability in how your device runs.
The board is DIY friendly, and you can even upgrade the BIOS without installing the CPU or GPU, which makes building a brand new PC a lot easier. Finally, the PCIe slots can theoretically support up to 64 GB per second bandwidth, which is incredible.
Our Favorite Gaming Motherboards for AMD: 2021
AMD processors have been gaining traction over the last few years. Before, Intel had no real competition, but many people are choosing to go with AMD setups more than ever, so we want to talk about three of our favorite AMD motherboards.
The best thing about AMD boards is they often cheaper. It is well known that building a Ryzen PC is a lot more affordable when you compare it with similar spec Intel setups. So, here are our favorite AMD-supported motherboards.
MSI Prestige X570 Creation Motherboard
- Socket: AM4 (3rd Gen)
- Wifi: Yes
- PCIe: 4
- RAM: DDR4 up to 5000MHz
One of the best AMD motherboards you can get is the MSI prestige x 570 Creation. Everything about this motherboard is premium, including its cooling system, which plays a significant role in the performance of your PC.
The motherboard supports upward of 5000 MHz for your RAM, but with its click BIOS 5, you can easily customize your components, such as overclocking the GPU, CPU, and RAM.
We also need to talk about the audio processor that sits on the motherboard. It gives you premium audio playback. So, this motherboard eliminates the need to get any sound card with the next level audio immersion it already offers.
MSI MPG X570 GAMING PRO CARBON WIFI
- Socket: AM4
- Wifi: Yes
- DDR4 128GB up to 4266MHz
- PCIe: 4
Our best value-for-money option is the MSI mpg x570 gaming Pro Carbon. While it doesn’t have the audio features of The Creation motherboard, you still get a premium experience. The board supports direct x 12 and PCIe 4 with m.2 gen 4 support.
MSI MPG X570 GAMING PLUS Motherboard
- Socket: AM4
- RAM: DDR4 up to 4400MHz
- PCIe: 4
Just because you have a gaming motherboard, it doesn’t mean you have to break the bank, and that’s where this motherboard comes in. With the MPG x570 Gaming Plus motherboard, you can get the ability to overclock the components quickly and efficiently without breaking the bank.
How to Overclock a CPU
As a bonus, we thought it is essential to show you how to overclock your CPU. After all, having a gaming motherboard often means you should have the capability to do so.
Here is a video from Tech insider on Youtube. It is by far one of the best tutorials available.
Look, I always advise people to stick to what is crucial. If you want the best graphics and smoothest performance, but you are on a budget, you can get any motherboard and focus on your graphics card and CPU with the intention of upgrading later. However, I do recommend that upgrading should remain on your to-do list.
I have been keeping an eye on the debate on whether or not motherboards improve performance. Some say that a motherboard cannot possibly increase the performance of your PC, but trust me, it does by allowing you to tweak your components.