What are the best AMD and Intel motherboards?

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A veritable control tower for your PC, the motherboard houses all the other components. All the more reason to pick it right: Here’s our insider pick of the best desktop motherboards.

Source : Unsplash Andrey Matveev

Have you finally decided which chip will power the PC you’re building? Now it remains to choose a motherboard. The latter houses a large part of a computer’s components, such as RAM, graphics card and, of course, the processor through a plug. A more complicated task than it seems, because if things are relatively simple in the chipsetsManufacturers do not make it easy for us, with dozens of variants with sometimes subtle differences.

so forget the bling bling, titanium plastic cases and other programmable displays. Instead, save a few pennies for a better graphics card. With this in mind, we picked six motherboards for AMD Ryzen and Intel Core processors. Do you have any other questions about which components to choose for a gaming PC? Consult our dedicated guides:

The best motherboards for AMD processors

Source: Unsplash Olivier Collet

If there’s one thing AMD should be commended for on the motherboard side, it’s the excellent compatibility support between different generations of processors via the socket. Thus, an X470 card will be able to work with no less than four different generations of processors. However, for maximum feature support, we have decided to focus on the B550 and X570 cards.

In general, you can trust Asus, MSI, and Gygabyte motherboards.

ASUS PRIME B550M-A WIFI II: a simple and efficient motherboard

Built around the B550 chipset, this motherboard will accommodate all Ryzen 5000 or 3000 processors without the slightest problem. There are two M.2 slots, one of which is wired in PCI-Express 4.0. The Asus motherboard has USB A 3.1 connectors but also a USB-C connector on its rear panel. A simple and quality model that will adapt to the vast majority of users, especially for gaming. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are included.

ASUS TUF GAMING X570-PLUS: ambitious full-frame

If size is not a limitation for you and you want to overclock your CPU and have maximum expandability, an X570-based AXT board is ideal. The model we have chosen here is relatively basic, dispensing with features such as Wi-Fi or Multi Gig Ethernet, but it represents a good base to add everything you want in terms of functionality.

ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ax: mini format on demand

If you’re looking to build the most compact PC possible, we don’t do better than mini-ITX. However, this format has the disadvantage of being poorly upgradeable. That is why we have chosen this particularly complete model. Despite its small size, it offers two M.2 slots, but also a 2.5 Gbit/s Ethernet connector and a Wifi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 card. All you have to do is add a graphics card and you have everything you need to create a compact and powerful machine.

The best motherboards for Intel processors

Source: Unsplash Slejven Djurakovic

With the introduction of its twelfth generation Alder-Lake processors, Intel also introduced no less than four new chipsets. Somewhat strangely, the processor supports both good old DDR4, but also DDR5, which exploits the number of references available.

In this selection we have focused on DDR4 models. Speculation around DDR5 still makes it too expensive for more than a minor performance gain in the vast majority of scenarios.

Gigabyte Z690 Gaming X DDR4: a motherboard for the 12th generation

Have you fallen in love with an Alder Lake Lake processor? Choosing a motherboard is a bit trickier than usual as both DDR4 and DDR5 models are available. In practice, the choice is made quickly, as the scarcity of DDR5 makes the modules embarrassingly expensive, while the performance gain is less than 5% in most uses. So go for a solid DDR4 motherboard like this Gigabyte Z690 Gaming X DDR4. It is reliable, has all the useful features and is not too expensive.

MSI PRO B660M-A DDR4: the best option for a motherboard

Do you want to use the latest Intel processors in good condition without emptying your bank account? This MSI motherboard based on the B660M chipset is an excellent compromise. It packs all the essential features and even has the luxury of 2.5Gb Ethernet. Its micro-ATX form factor limits its expansion capabilities a bit, but to be completely honest it will suffice for the vast majority of Core i3 or i5 users.

ASRock Z690M-ITX/AX: It’s Full

As always with Mini-ITX motherboards, we prefer built-in features to make up for the lack of expansion capabilities. And this card does not stop halfway with seven USB ports, two Ethernet sockets (including one with 2.5 Gbit/s), but also Wifi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. Enough to make a real little racing beast around a Comet Lake processor.

How to choose your motherboard?

ATX, Micro-ATX, ITX? What format to choose?

Not all motherboards are the same size. Several dozen formats exist, but to date three dominate the consumer market:

  • ATX (305 x 244mm) – Introduced in 1995 by Intel, this is by far the most common form factor, typically housing 5 PCI-Express ports.
  • Micro-ATX (244 x 244mm): This shorter ATX variant usually makes do with 3 PCI-Express ports.
  • Mini-ITX (170 x 170 mm): This very compact form factor is content with a single PCI-Express connector and is generally limited to two RAM slots.

While not perfect, especially from a thermal optimization standpoint, these form factors have continued to dominate the motherboard market for decades. Some manufacturers (like Intel) have tried to improve things with formats like BTX, but these have been resounding failures. If, therefore, the standard remains ATX, space and additional expansion capabilities are in limited use at a time when the only card in the PC will be the graphics card. So save a few bucks and space by choosing a micro-ATX motherboard.

What are the differences between the chipsets?

Whether it’s Intel or AMD, there are currently multiple chipsets per platform. For the 12th generation of Intel processors, there are several chipsets, with the Z690 being the highest-end. The H610 suits you for office automation. On the AMD side, there are currently three chipsets: B450, B550, and X570. The X570 is the higher end. The bulk of the differences lies in the number of PCI-Express lines available and therefore in the connectors and expansion possibilities.

Why do some motherboards cost more?

The price of motherboards can quickly skyrocket to around 400 euros. Most of the differences are on the connection side, with enhancements like Wi-Fi or multi-gigabit Ethernet.

More expensive models also tend to have more advanced power stages, which opens the door for better frequency performance. increase. Beyond a certain threshold, the gains are downright minimal and mostly limited to cosmetic additions, especially in the RGB.

Unless you need very special connections or provide a overclocking huge so no need to invest in a very high end model the performance exceeds overclocking it will be the same. In terms of functionality, expansion cards (eg for multi-gigabit Ethernet) will be more flexible and less expensive.

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