Best Gaming Motherboards of 2017

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Best Gaming Motherboards of 2017

The motherboard also known as mainboard or system board is the backbone of the computer. If the CPU is the brains of the computer, then the motherboard is the nervous system, it connects it all together.

So, for everything to run smooth and fast, you need a good nervous system, so today I will show you few of the best gaming motherboards out there. A few years back it was a real mind-melter to find a good motherboard for gaming in a specific price range, but nowadays even the lower end manufacturers can make a good motherboard that can easily go toe to toe with the big dogs.

Proper motherboard shopping isn`t complicated, but it still requires some solid enough knowledge about other computer components you are planning to buy, or you already have. Cause you could waste time, money and potential performance. If you know what to look for you will not have much of a problem finding the perfect motherboard for your setup.

 

Tips on finding the best motherboard for gaming

These are just few main thing to look into when scouting for the right motherboard for you.

  • Intel or AMD motherboard?: The first thing should be making the decision between Intel or AMD type motherboards, mostly it depends on what kind of budget you have (cause we all know that Intel CPUs costs a decent amount of cash more than AMD, and both of them has their ups and downs) , and what kind of CPU you want or already have.
  • Know your CPU Sockets: Know what kind of socket your CPU has. There are mostly 5 CPUs sockets AM3 or AM3+ and FM1 for AMDs, or LGA 1155 and LGA 2011 for Intel CPUs.
  • Does size matter? (Form Factor):A motherboard’s form factor kinda determines its capabilities, dimensions, power supply type, port quantity and even mounting holes. So, you should keep in mind what size is your motherboard when buying a case or looking for one to fit the case you already have, so you can fit it, plus the size determines how much expansion slots there is going to be. Nowadays there are mainly four types of form factors used: ATX, ETX, Micro ATX and Mini ITX
  • RAM Bays: In almost every situation the more Random Access Memory (or RAM) you have, the more efficient your computing is going to be. Most motherboards hold from 2 to 8 expansions slots, each one holds single memory module (aka DIMM) of a certain type, capacity, and speed (nowadays most used types are DDR3 and DDR4 with about 8 Gb size per slot). So, you should know what kind of speed your motherboard can take and in what types, so you can make the best of both component capabilities, cause you really would not want to buy the wrong type and waste the money.
  • Expansion slots: A motherboard expansion slots gives you the option to add additional capabilities to your computer, mostly used are PCIe (PCI Express) and it comes in four (x16, x8, x4 and x1) as x16 as the largest port and is a standard for video cards, and backward compatible in size. So you should know how much expansion slots you have and what kind of types, and if you are planning to game you need at least one x16 slot.
  • Storage: Hard Drives (or HDDs) and Solid State Drives or (SSDs) are connected to your motherboard by Serial ATA (SATA) ports, running either at speed of 3 Gb/s or 6 Gb/s and most commonly there is from 2 to 8 of these connectors.
  • Power Connectors: Like everything else, motherboard needs power too, and just about every motherboard will have two power connectors : a larger one with 24 pins and a smaller one with 4 to 8 pins, older motherboards used a 20 pin connector, so you should know what kind of power connectors you motherboard will have, so you can miss a nasty surprise and off course before buying you should figure out power wattage suits your build.

 To calculate your power consumption visit this site here

  • Extras: There is still a lot of other extras that are nice, and can save few bucks for your build. When you have decided what kind of motherboard you need or want, you can look if the motherboard has and wireless network antennas (although you will be connecting computer thru cable, it is still nice to have some, cause you never know where you will have to it), built in audio card (there is going to be  lot of motherboards that have a  really high-quality audio cards built in them and you won’t need to buy audio card, for those High-Quality music moments) RGB strips, for those who wants to have some cool colour in their build. If the motherboard allows overclocking your CPU and RAM. There is still a ton of extras that manufacturers add on them, and talking about them would lead to a whole book, that’s why there is only a few mentioned.

Best gaming motherboard reviews


 

1. ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VIII FORMULA motherboard review

Asus ROG MAXIMUS VIII FORMULA DDR4 ATX Motherboard review

ROG Maximus VIII Formula 

One of the best gaming motherboards for I7 that support 6th generation Intel processors, although there are a lot of other competitors, it excels a bit over them all mainly cause of carefully picked parts and software that allows complete customization for your computer. ROG armor with reinforced back plate gives it a decent protection and stability, plus it has some undeniable ASUS durability and quality.

Features and Extras

It comes with free Kaspersky Anti-Virus (1 year), Daemon tools pro (1 year), PC Cleaner, Crosschill EK cooling that supports both air and liquid cooling, Gamerfirst IV Beta which allows you to optimize your network traffic, to ensure that you get the best latency possible and other, Keybot 2 that allows you to use Macros to control your computer, and even one click overclock and change computer profiles and enable special functions. And it comes with 3-year manufacturer warranty (although ASUS claims that warranty may change for some regions)

Conclusion

Asus Maximus VIII Formula is a ROG motherboard so it is dedicated to gamers and overclockers. Its most important aspect is the EK VRM water block which can cool down the temperature and provide better stability even in the most demanding situations. Also, a ROG Armor covers most part of the PCB and gives the board a nice look. The newest addition to the pack is the RGB illumination capability which is a good news for modders. It’s difficult to pinpoint any area that the Maximus VIII Formula doesn’t excel. In fact, it’s fantastic in pretty much every area from performance to audio and with overclocking too. It lacks nothing in terms of features you’d likely need. Although the price is kinda high compared to others but if you look at performance/price it is not so bad, cause ASUS comes packed with features and does not lack performance in any way.

Pros

What to like about Maximus VIII:

  • UEFI interface
  • Performance
  • Overclocking
  • Power consumption
  • Accessories
  • EK VRM water block
Cons

What to consider:

  • Nothing really except the price

 

  • CPU Socket Type
    • LGA 1151
  • CPU Type
    •  Core i7 / i5 / i3 / Pentium / Celeron (LGA1151)
  • Supported CPU Technologies
    •  Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
  • Intel Z170
  • Integrated Graphics Processor
  • Multi-VGA output support: HDMI/DisplayPort ports
    • Supports HDMI with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz
    • Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 4096 x 2304 @ 60 Hz
  • Maximum shared memory of 512MB
  • Supports Intel InTru 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology, Insider
[tab title="Memory"]
  • Number of Memory Slots 
    • 4×288pin
  • Memory Standard 
    • DDR4 3733*(*O.C.)/ 3600*/ 3500*/ 3466*/ 3400*/ 3300*/ 3200*/ 3000*/ 2800*/ 2666*/ 2400*/ 2133
  • Maximum Memory Supported
    • 64GB
  • Channel Supported
    • Dual Channel
  • PCI Express 3.0 x16
    • 2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8, gray)
    • 1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x4 mode, black)
  • PCI Express x1
    • 3 x PCIe 2.0 x1 (black)
  • Other Slots
    • 3 x PCI Express 2.0 x1
  • SATA 6Gb/s
    • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), by Intel Z170 chipset
    • 2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), black, by ASMedia ASM1061 controller *3

*3: These SATA ports are for data hard drives only. ATAPI devices are not supported.

  • SATA Express
    • 2 x SATA Express port
  • M.2
    • 1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (both SATA & PCIE mode) *1

*1: The The M.2 slot shares bandwidth with U.2 slot and SATA Express 1 slot.

  • SATA RAID

    • 0/1/5/10

 

  • Audio Chipset
    • ROG SupremeFX 2015
  • Audio Channels
    • 8 Channels
  • LAN Chipset
    • Intel I219-V
  • Max LAN Speed
    •  10/100/1000Mbps
  • Wireless LAN
    • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
    • Supports dual band frequency 2.4/5 GHz
    • Supports MU-MIMO
  • Bluetooth
    • Bluetooth V4.1
  • PS/2
    • 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  • HDMI
    • 1 x HDMI
  • RJ45
    • 1 x RJ45
  • DisplayPort
    • 1 x DisplayPort
  • USB 3.1
    • 1 x USB 3.1 (red) Type-A
    • 1 x USB 3.1 (black) Type-C
  • USB 3.0
    • 8 x USB 3.0 (blue)
  • S/PDIF Out
    • 1 x Optical
  • Audio Ports
    • 5 Ports
  • Antenna Connectors
    • 2 x Wi-Fi antenna port(s)
  • Onboard USB
    • 2 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 3.0 port(s)
    • 2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
  • Other Connectors
    • 1 x U.2 port
    • 1 x Aura RGB Strip Headers
    • 1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (4-pin)
    • 1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (4-pin)
    • 4 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (4-pin)
    • 1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
    • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
    • 1 x Front panel connector(s)
    • 1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
    • 1 x MemOK! button(s)
    • 3 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
    • 1 x Power-on button(s)
    • 1 x Reset button(s)
    • 1 x Water Pump header (4-pin)
    • 1 x LN2 Mode jumper(s)
    • 1 x ROG extension (ROG_EXT) header(s)
    • 1 x System panel connector
  • Form Factor
    • ATX
  • Dimensions (W x L)
    • 12.0" x 9.6"
  • Power Pin
    • 24 Pin

Multi-GPU Support:

  • Supports NVIDIA Quad-GPU SLI Technology
  • Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX Technology

ROG Exclusive Features:

  • CrossChill EK (Hybrid air and liquid cooling)
  • ROG Armor (including top cover and SECC steel backplate)
  • ROG RAMCache
  • Start Button
  • Reset Button
  • ROG Aura
    • Aura Lighting Control
    • Aura RGB Strip Headers
  • Extreme Engine Digi+:
    • - MicroFine Alloy Chokes
    • - NexFET Power Block MOSFET
    • - 10K Black Metallic Capacitors
  • Mem TweakIt
  • KeyBot II
    • - One-click Overclocking
    • - X.M.P.
    • - DirectKey
    • - ClrCMOS
    • - Power On
  • UEFI BIOS features:
    • - O.C. Profile
    • - GPU.DIMM Post
    • - Tweakers' Paradise
    • - ROG SSD Secure Erase
    • - Graphic Card Information Preview
  • ROG RAMDisk

Special Features:

  • OC Design - ASUS PRO Clock Technology
    • - Full BCLK range for extreme overclocking performance
  • 5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5
    • - 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ VRM, Fan Xpert 3, and Turbo App
  • ASUS Wi-Fi GO!
    • - Wi-Fi GO! Function: Cloud GO!, Media Streaming Hub, Smart Sensor Control, Remote Desktop, Remote Keyboard & Mouse, File Transfer, Capture & Send
    • - Wi-Fi GO! & NFC Remote app for portable smartphone/tablet, supporting iOS 7 & Android 4.0 systems
  • ASUS Exclusive Features:
    • - MemOK!
    • - AI Suite 3
    • - Ai Charger+
    • - Anti-Surge
    • - USB 3.1 Boost
    • - Disk Unlocker
    • - Mobo Connect
    • - PC Cleaner
  • Remote Entertainment
    • - Media Streamer
    • - HyStream
  • ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution:
    • - ASUS Fan Xpert 3
  • ASUS EZ DIY:
    • - ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
    • - ASUS EZ Flash 3
    • - ASUS USB BIOS Flashback
    • - ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode
    • - Multi-language BIOS
    • - Push Notice
    • - Media Streamer
  • ASUS Q-Design:
    • - ASUS Q-Shield
    • - ASUS Q-Code
    • - ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
    • - ASUS Q-Slot
    • - ASUS Q-DIMM
    • - ASUS Q-Connector
  • RAMCache
  • Operating System Support:
    • - Windows 10, 64bit
    • - Windows 8.1, 64bit
    • - Windows 7, 32bit/64bit
    • - Manageability:
    • - WfM2.0, DMI3.0, WOL by PME, PXE
  • Accessories
    • User's manual
    • I/O Shield
    • 8 x SATA power cable
    • 1 x ASUS 2-Way/3-Way SLI bridge
    • 1 x M.2 Screw Package
    • 1 x CPU installation tool
    • 1 x Supporting DVD
    • 1 x ASUS 2T2R dual-band Wi-Fi moving antennas (Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n compliant)
    • 1 x Q-connector(s) (1 in 1)
    • 1 x 12 in 1 ROG Cable Label(s)
    • ROG Fan Label
    • 1 x ROG Door Hanger(s)
    • 1 x Extension Cable for RGB strips (80 cm)

 

2. ASUS MAXIMUS IX FORMULA review

maximus ix boards

ASUS MAXIMUS IX Formula

Is the best gaming motherboard for I7  7th generation Intel processors, just as VIII it has a lot of competitors, but it still excels at performance/price ratio and the build quality is top of the ROG line. Upgraded with top of the line safeties and surge protections to ensure easier mountings and protection to your system even more. With incredible durability and strength cause of ROG armor, you get one powerful, mean and lean looking motherboard and the armor acts as a heat shield at the same time.

Features and Extras worth mentioning

It comes with a lot of included extras by example Languard, that ensure safer and more stable connections, improved GamerFirst 4 that optimizes trafficking and ensures faster and lag free online gaming plus with added Multi-Gate Teaming it allows you to team up 4 networks. ROG CPU-Z helps to keep an eye out for your system, RAMDisk allows you to boost your applications and it comes with Kaspersky Anti-Virus (1 year), Daemon Tools and PC Cleaner to accelerate your PC,  and standard ASUS 3 year warranty (although ASUS claims that warranty may change for some regions)

Conclusions

Asus Maximus IX Formula is a great motherboard for gamers, modders, and overclockers alike, just terrific. It is loaded with features and ASUS stripped away things we did not really need like SATA Express and made space for ones that make sense like M.2 slots and extra fan headers, and so on. The armor is the part that defines the motherboard together with the integrated EK water block, although maybe few are going to use it, it still is a huge improvement in my sight. Those two are working together both in the aesthetics department, but most importantly in the cooling zone, keeping the main heating components to a lower temperature. It has a high price, but the price includes the EK water block. As MSI and ASRock don’t have water cooled motherboards, Gigabyte Z270X-Gaming 9 is the only similar solution and Gigabyte is still a bit behind on performance, features, and has a higher price.

Pros

What to like about Maximus IX :

  • UEFI interface
  • Integrated water cooling
  • Performance
  • Overclocking
  • Power consumption
  • Accessories
Cons

What to consider:

  • Nothing in my sight

 

  • CPU Socket Type
    • LGA 1151
  • CPU Type
    • -Core i7 / i5 / i3 / Pentium / Celeron (LGA1151)
  • Supported CPU Technologies
    • -  Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
  • Intel Z270

 

  • Integrated Graphics Processor
  • Multi-VGA output support: HDMI/DisplayPort 1.2 ports
    • - Supports HDMI with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz
    • - Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 4096 x 2304 @ 60 Hz
  • Maximum shared memory of 1024MB
  • Number of Memory Slots
    • 4×288pin
  • Memory Standard
    • DDR4 4133(O.C.)/ 4000(O.C.)/ 3866(O.C.)/ 3733(O.C.)/ 3600(O.C.)/ 3466(O.C.)/ 3400(O.C.)/ 3333(O.C.)/ 3300(O.C.)/ 3200(O.C.)/ 3000(O.C.)/ 2800(O.C.)/ 2666(O.C.)/ 2400(O.C.)/ 2133
  • Maximum Memory Supported
    • 64GB
    • Dual Channel
  • PCI Express 3.0 x16
    • 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (support x16, x8/x8)
    • 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot (max. at x4 mode)*

*The PCIe x4_3 slot shares bandwidth with PCIex1_3. The PCIe x4_3 is default set to x2 mode.

  • PCI Express x1
    • 3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
  • SATA 6Gb/s
    • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s
  • M.2
    • 1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110(PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA modes_M.2_1)*
    • 1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280(supports PCIe 3.0 x4 mode_M.2_2)**

* When the M.2_1 Socket 3 is operating in SATA mode, SATA port 1 will be disabled.
**When the M.2_2 Socket 3 is operating in PCIe 3.0 x4 mode, SATA ports 5 and 6 will be disabled.

  • SATA RAID
    • 0/1/5/10
  • Audio Chipset
    • ROG SupremeFX S1220
  • Audio Channels
    • 8 Channels
    • Onboard LAN
  • LAN Chipset
    • Intel I219-V
  • Max LAN Speed
    • 10/100/1000Mbps
  • Wireless LAN
    • Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac supports dual frequency band 2.4/5 GHz
      Up to 867Mbps transfer speed
  • Bluetooth
    • Bluetooth v4.1
  • HDMI
    • 1 x HDMI 1.4b
  • RJ45
    • 1 x Anti-surge LAN (RJ45) port
  • DisplayPort
    • 1 x DisplayPort 1.2
  • USB 3.1
    • 2 x USB 3.1 ports (1 x Type-A [red] and 1 x Type-C [black])
  • USB 3.0
    • 4 x USB 3.0 ports [blue]
  • USB 1.1/2.0
    • 4 x USB 2.0 ports [black]
  • S/PDIF Out
    • 1 x Optical
  • Audio Ports
    • 5 x Gold plated audio jacks
  • Onboard USB
    • 1 x USB 3.1 front panel connector
    • 1 x USB 3.0 header supports additional 2 USB 3.0 ports
    • 1 x USB 2.0 header supports additional 2 USB 2.0 ports [ via ROG_EXT header]
  • Other Connectors
    • 1 x ROG extension (ROG_EXT) header
    • 1 x 4-Pin CPU fan connector
    • 1 x 4-Pin CPU_OPT fan connector
    • 3 x 4-Pin Chassis fan connectors
    • 1 x EXT_Fan header
    • 1 x 4-Pin W_PUMP+ connector
    • 1 x W_IN header
    • 1 x W_OUT header
    • 1 x W_FLOW header
    • 1 x 4-Pin AIO_PUMP connector
    • 1 x H_AMP fan connector
    • 1 x Thermal sensor connector
    • 1 x 24-pin EATX power connector
    • 1 x 8-pin EATX 12V power connector
    • 1 x Start button
    • 1 x Reset button
    • 1 x Safe Boot button
    • 1 x Retry button
    • 1 x LN2 mode jumper
    • 1 x Slow mode switch
    • 1 x MemOK! Button
    • 1 x Front panel audio connector (AAFP)
    • 1 x TPM connector
    • 1 x System panel connector
  • Form Factor
    • ATX
  • Dimensions (W x L)
    • 12.0" x 9.6"
  • Power Pin
    • 24 Pin

Multi-GPU Support:

  • Supports NVIDIA 2-Way/Quad-GPU SLI Technology
  • Supports AMD 3-Way/Quad-GPU CrossFireX Technology

ROG Exclusive Features

  • Extreme Engine Digi+
    • - MicroFine Alloy Choke
    • - NexFET MOSFETs
    • - 10K Black Metallic Capacitors
  • Crosschill EK
  • ROG RGB Armor
  • Pre-mounted I/O Shield
  • ROG Aura
    • - Aura effects (LOGO + ROG Armor RGB lighting)
    • - 2 x Aura RGB strip headers
  • Start Button
  • Reset Button
  • Safe Boot Button
  • Retry Button
  • BIOS Flashback Button
  • Clear CMOS Button
  • MemOK! Button
  • LN2 Mode
  • ROG RAMDisk
  • ROG CloneDrive
  • ROG RAMCache II
  • KeyBot II
    • - X.M.P.
    • - Clr CMOS
    • - Power On

UEFI BIOS features:

  • - Extreme Tweaker
  • - Tweakers' Paradise
  • - ROG SSD Secure Erase
  • - GPU.DIMM Post
  • - O.C. Profile
  • - Graphics Card Information Preview

Special Features

  • ASUS Dual Intelligent Processors 5
    • - 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, and Turbo App
  • ASUS Exclusive Features
    • - AI Suite 3
  • ASUS EZ DIY
    • - USB BIOS Flashback
    • - ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
    • - ASUS EZ Flash 3
    • - ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
    • - MemOK!
  • ASUS Q-Design
    • - Q-Code
    • - Q-Shield
    • - Q-Connector
    • - Q-LED (CPU [red], DRAM [yellow], VGA [white], Boot Device LED [yellow green])
    • - Q-DIMM
    • - SafeSlot
  • BIOS
    • 1 x 128MB Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI3.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 3.0, ACPI 6.0, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 3, CrashFree BIOS 3, F11 EZ Tuning Wizard, F6 Qfan Control, F3 My Favorites, Last Modified log, F12 PrintScreen, F3 Shortcut functions and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information.
  • Manageability
    • WfM2.0, DMI3.0, WOL by PME, PXE

Software

  • Drivers
    • ROG GameFirst IV
    • ROG RAMDisk
    • ROG RAMCache II
    • ROG CPU-Z
    • ROG Mem TweakIt
    • Overwolf
    • ROG Keybot II
    • CloneDrive
    • Kaspersky Anti-Virus
    • DAEMON Tools Pro
    • ASUS WebStorage
    • Sonic Studio III
    • Sonic Radar III
    • RAMDisk
    • AURA
    • WinZip
    • ASUS Utilities
  • Operating System Support
    • Windows 10 64-bit
    • Windows 8.1 64-bit
    • Windows 7
  • Accessories
    • User guide
    • Support DVD
    • 3 x 2-in-1 SATA 6Gb/s cables
    • 1 x SLI HB Bridge
    • 1 x Q-Connector
    • 1 x ROG Coaster
    • 1 x 10-in-1 ROG cable label
    • 1 x CPU Installation Tool
    • 1 x M.2 Screw Package
    • 1 x Extension Cable for RGB Strips (80cm)
    • 1 x ROG sticker

 


 

3. ASRock Z170 Gaming K4

asrock fatality board
Z170 Gaming K4

This gaming motherboard for I5 was released back in 2015, and is still one of the best gaming motherboards for Intel I5 processors in my sight, although there are a lot of new boards out there by now. AsRock always was and is looking for value awards, so with Gaming K4, there is no difference, as it is one of the cheapest boards in here. The biggest strength of this board would be its CPU cloaking capabilities, as it can go toe to toe with higher price boards. New design and features mostly are aimed to protect your motherboard and components from power surges, as AsRock has included many upgrades and built in safety keys to protect your system from unwanted power surges, more stable and smoother power delivery to the components, and to expand its lifespan.

Features and Extras

With 10 Power phase design Gaming K4 allows smoother power delivery to CPU which allows better clocking capabilities than other competitors in its range. Ultra M.2 32 Gb/s interfaces helps to push the transfer speed up to 32 Gb/s, and there are still other features built in or supporting, to enhance your gaming and to protect your system.

Conclusions

Definitely the best gaming motherboard under 200$. The red accents are nice if you’re after that look. It can hang occasionally in the BIOS but not very often. It will provide gamers with decent CPU clocking and really good overclock for two memory modules. While it is not made for elite overclockers, but more on average overclockers with built-in features, without a doubt made it top value compared to its competitors.

Pros

What to like about  Z170 Gaming K4:

  • Easy UEFI interface
  • Performance
  • Excellent power consumption
  • Accessories
  • Price
Cons
What to consider:

  • Problems with BIOS freezing
  • There are users complaining about BIOS and few features freezing or crashing
  • Few problems with overclocking
  • No USB 3.1 front panel header

 

  • CPU Socket Type
    • LGA 1151
  • CPU Type
    • Core i7 / i5 / i3 / Pentium / Celeron (LGA1151)
  • Supported CPU Technologies
    • Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
  • Intel Z170
  • Onboard Video Chipset
    • - Supports Intel HD Graphics Built-in Visuals: Intel Quick Sync Video with AVC, MVC (S3D) and MPEG-2 Full HW Encode1, Intel InTru 3D, Intel Clear Video HD Technology, Intel Insider, Intel HD Graphics 510/530
    • - Pixel Shader 5.0, DirectX 12
    • - Max. shared memory 1792MB
    • - Dual graphics output: Support DVI-D and HDMI ports by independent display controllers
    • - Supports HDMI with max. resolution up to 4K x 2K (4096x2304) @ 24Hz
    • - Supports DVI-D with max. resolution up to 1920x1200 @ 60Hz
    • - Supports Auto Lip Sync, Deep Color (12bpc), xvYCC and HBR (High Bit Rate Audio) with HDMI Port (Compliant HDMI monitor is required)
    • - Supports Accelerated Media Codecs: HEVC, VP8, VP9
    • - Supports HDCP with DVI-D and HDMI Ports
    • - Supports Full HD 1080p Blu-ray (BD) playback with DVI-D and HDMI Ports

*Intel HD Graphics Built-in Visuals and the VGA outputs can be supported only with processors which are GPU integrated.
**Due to chipset limitation, the Blu-ray playback of Intel HD Graphics is only supported under Windows 8 / 8 64-bit / 7 / 7 64-bit.
***Intel InTru 3D is only supported under Windows 8 / 8 64-bit / 7 / 7 64-bit.

  • Number of Memory Slots
    • 4×288pin
  • Memory Standard
    • DDR4 3866+*(*OC)/ 3600*/ 3200*/ 2933*/ 2800*/ 2400*/ 2133
  • Maximum Memory Supported
    • 64GB
  • SATA 6Gb/s
    • 6 x SATA3 6.0Gb/s Connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, Intel Rapid Storage Technology 14 and Intel Smart Response Technology), NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug
  • SATA Express
    • 2 x SATA Express 10Gb/s Connectors**
      ** If M2_1 is occupied by a SATA-type M.2 device, SATA3_0 and the SATA function of SATA3_2_3 and SATA3_4_5 will be disabled.
  • M.2
    • 1 x Ultra M.2 Socket, supports M.2 SATA3 6.0Gb/s module and M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen3 x4 (32Gb/s)***
      ***Supports ASRock U.2 Kit
  • SATA RAID
    • 0/1/5/10
  • LAN Chipset
    • Killer E2400 Series
  • Max LAN Speed
    • 10/100/1000Mbps
  • PS/2
    • 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  • Video Ports
    • 1 x DVI-D Port
  • HDMI
    • 1 x HDMI
  • RJ45
    • 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED (ACT/LINK LED and SPEED LED)
  • USB 3.0
    • 5 x USB 3.0 Type-A Ports (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
    • 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C Port (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
  • USB 1.1/2.0
    • 1 x USB 2.0 Port (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
    • 1 x Fatal1ty Mouse Port (USB 2.0) (Supports ESD Protection (ASRock Full Spike Protection))
  • S/PDIF Out
    • 1 x Optical
  • Audio Ports
    • HD Audio Jacks: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone
  • Form Factor
    • ATX
  • Dimensions (W x L)
    • 12.0" x 8.6"
  • Power Pin
    • 24 Pin
  • Gaming Armor
  • Memory - 15µ Gold Contact in DIMM Slots
  • VGA Card
    • - 15µ Gold Contact in VGA PCIe Slot (PCIE2)
    • - PCIe Power Connector
  • Internet - Killer E2400 LAN
  • Cooling - XXL Aluminum Alloy Heatsink
  • Audio - Purity Sound 3

Unique Feature

  • ASRock Super Alloy
    • - XXL Aluminum Alloy Heatsink
    • - Nichicon 12K Platinum Caps (100% Japan-made high-quality conductive polymer capacitors)
    • - I/O Armor
    • - Matte Black PCB
    • - High-Density Glass Fabric PCB
  • ASRock Ultra M.2 (PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA3)
  • ASRock Full Spike Protection
  • ASRock Live Update & APP Shop

BIOS

  • - 2 x 128MB AMI UEFI Legal BIOS with multilingual GUI support (1 x Main BIOS and 1 x Backup BIOS)
  • - Supports Secure Backup UEFI Technology
  • - ACPI 1.1 Compliant wake-up events
  • - SMBIOS 2.3.1 Support
  • - CPU, GT_CPU, DRAM, VPPM, PCH 1.0V, VCCIO, VCCPLL, VCCSA Voltage Multi-adjustment

Software

  • - ASRock F-Stream
  • - ASRock Disk Health Report
  • - ASRock USB Key
  • - ASRock Key Master
  • - ASRock APP Charger
  • - ASRock XFast RAM
  • - ASRock Fast Boot (Fast Boot, Restart to UEFI, Instant Boot)*

UEFI

  • - ASRock Full HD UEFI
  • - ASRock My Favorites in UEFI
  • - ASRock Instant Flash
  • - ASRock Internet Flash
  • - ASRock Crashless BIOS
  • - ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard)
  • - ASRock UEFI System Browser
  • - ASRock UEFI Tech Service
  • - ASRock Dehumidifier
  • - ASRock Easy RAID Installer
  • - ASRock Easy Driver Installer

Support CD

  • - Drivers, Utilities, AntiVirus Software (Trial Version), Google Chrome Browser and Toolbar, XSplit, Killer Network Manager

Hardware Monitor

  • - CPU/Chassis temperature sensing
  • - CPU/Chassis Fan Tachometer
  • - CPU/Chassis Quiet Fan (Auto adjust chassis fan speed by CPU temperature)
  • - CPU/Chassis Fan multi-speed control
  • - Voltage monitoring: +12V, +5V, +3.3V, CPU Vcore, GT_CPU, DRAM, VPPM, PCH 1.0V, VCCIO, VCCSA

OS

  • - Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit / 8.1 64-bit / 7 32-bit / 7 64-bit

Certifications

  • - FCC, CE, WHQL
  • - ErP/EuP ready (ErP/EuP ready power supply is required)

Accessories

  • - Quick Installation Guide, Support CD, I/O Shield
  • - 4 x SATA Data Cables
  • - 1 x Screw for M.2 Socket

AMD just recently released their new Ryzen processors with completely new AM4 CPU socket, and with few new motherboards already out there is going to be a lot more in short time, so stay updated 

 4. ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z review

asus corsshair v

ASUS Crosshair Formula-Z is the oldest motherboard in this list, as it was released back in 2012 and it still has not lost it spot as on of the best gaming motherboards for AMD processors, just like with Gaming K4, there are a lot of newer competitors with few greater capabilities then Formula Z, but overall performance and durability has made it one of my favorite AMD type motherboard. It clocking capabilities can keep even the hardest cored clockers busy for some time, to just push they CPU a bit more, and with ROG connect you can release your inner geek and  OC your build on another machine to lower the CPU interruption avoiding crashes.

Features and Extras worth mentioning

The Intel Ethernet LAN and GamerFirst allow you to shape your traffic, for lower ping rates and reducing stuttering. Plus with four power connections for the board, graphics and CPU in addition to a very large capacitor for audio shows the length ASUS has gone to make this beast as stable as possible. As other ASUS it comes with Kaspersky Anti-Virus software, Daemon Tools Pro Standart and standard ASUS 3 year warranty (although ASUS claims that warranty may change for some regions)

Conclusions

ASUS and other manufacturers need to start making more AM3 boards like this one! Impressed by not only the features built into it and the appeal it adds to the build. The UEFI Bios is visually pleasing and has a very ease of use quality to it. Coupled with the strong LLC, it is sustaining a CPU that pulls 140+ watts and a GPU that will peak to near 300 watts with a 24/7 power on. 24 pin and a 8 pin for the CPU socket as well as an additional 4 pin connection to provide the extra needs of overclocking the CPU, it also has a BUILT in Molex 12 Volt to grant extra power to Multiple GPUs running on the PCIe slots. Definitely the best gaming motherboard under 200, and one of the best AMD motherboards out there.

Pros
What to like about Crosshair Formula-Z:

  • Well built in features
  • Easy to use bios
  • Performance on price is above excellent
  • Triple Crossfire capability
  • Supreme FX III audio
  • Build quality
  • ROG
Cons
What to consider:

  • Cooling could be better, few times ran into heat problems when pushed hard
  • No Quadfire support
  • CPU Socket Type
    • AM3+
  • CPU Type
    • FX / Phenom II / Athlon II / Sempron 100 Series
  • AMD 990FX + SB950
  • Number of Memory Slots
    • 4×240pin
  • Memory Standard
    • DDR3 2400(O.C.)/ 2133(O.C.)/ 2000(O.C.)/ 1800(O.C.)/ 1600/ 1333/ 1066
  • Maximum Memory Supported
    • 32GB
  • Channel Supported
    • Dual Channel
  • PCI Express 2.0 x16
    • 3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (dual x16 or x16/x8/x8)
    • 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode)
  • PCI Express x1
    • 2 x PCIe 2.0 x1
  • SATA 6Gb/s
    • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), red, by AMD SB950 controller
    • 2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), red, by ASMedia ASM1061 controller
  • SATA RAID
    • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s) (red) support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10 by AMD SB950
  • Onboard Video Chipset
    • None
  • Audio Chipset
    • SupremeFX III
  • Audio Channels
    • 8 Channels
  • LAN Chipset
    • Intel Gigabit LAN Controller
  • Max LAN Speed
    • 10/100/1000Mbps
  • PS/2
    • 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  • RJ45
    • 1 x RJ45
  • USB 3.0
    • 4 x USB 3.0
  • USB 1.1/2.0
    • 8 x USB 2.0 (one port can be switched to ROG Connect)
  • eSATA
    • 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s
  • S/PDIF Out
    • 1 x Optical
  • Audio Ports
    • 6 Ports
  • Onboard USB
    • 1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s)
    • 2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
  • Other Connectors
    • 1 x TPM connector(s)
    • 2 x CPU Fan connector(s)
    • 3 x Chassis Fan connector(s)
    • 3 x Optional Fan connector(s)
    • 1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
    • 1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
    • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
    • 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
    • 1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
    • 1 x System panel(s)
    • 1 x DirectKey Button(s)
    • 1 x DRCT header(s)
    • 8 x ProbeIt Measurement Points
    • 3 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
    • 1 x EZ Plug connector(s) (4-pin Molex power connector)
    • 1 x Power-on button(s)
    • 1 x Reset button(s)
    • 1 x Go Button(s)
    • 1 x FastBoot switch(es)
  • Form Factor
  • ATX
    • Dimensions (W x L)
  • 12.0" x 9.6"
    • Power Pin
  • 24 Pin

Multi-GPU Support:

  • Supports NVIDIA Quad-GPU SLI Technology
  • Supports NVIDIA 3-Way SLI Technology
  • Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX Technology

ROG Exclusive Features:

  • ROG Connect:
    • - RC Diagram
    • - RC Remote
    • - RC Poster
    • - GPU TweakIt
  • Extreme Engine Digi+ II:
    • - 8 + 2 phase power design
    • - 2 -phase Memory power design

UEFI BIOS features:

  • - ROG BIOS Print
  • - GPU.DIMM Post
  • iROG
  • Extreme Tweaker
  • Overclocking Protection:
    • - COP EX (Component Overheat Protection - EX)
    • - ASUS C.P.R. (CPU Parameter Recall)

Special Features:

  • ASUS Power Design:
    • - ASUS EPU
  • TurboV
  • ASUS Exclusive Features:
    • - AI Suite II
    • - Ai Charger+
    • - USB 3.0 Boost
    • - Disk Unlocker
  • ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution:
    • - ASUS Fan Xpert
  • ASUS EZ DIY:
    • - ASUS O.C. Profile
    • - ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
    • - ASUS EZ Flash 2
    • - ASUS MyLogo 3
  • ASUS Q-Design:
    • - ASUS Q-Shield
    • - ASUS Q-Code
    • - ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
    • - ASUS Q-Slot
    • - ASUS Q-DIMM
    • - ASUS Q-Connector

Operating System Support:

  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows XP

BIOS:

  • 64Mb Flash ROM, UEFI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.5, ACPI2.0a, Multi-Language BIOS

Manageability:

  • WOL by PME, WOR by PME, PXE

Support Disc:

  • Drivers
  • GameFirst II
  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus
  • DAEMON Tools Pro Standard
  • ROG CPU-Z
  • ASUS WebStorage
  • ASUS Utilities (AI SUITE II/TurboV EVO/ASUS Update)

Accessories:

  • User's manual
  • I/O Shield
  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
  • 1 x 3-Way SLI bridge(s)
  • 1 x SLI bridge(s)
  • 1 x CrossFire cable(s)
  • 1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1)
  • 1 x ROG Connect cable(s)
  • 1 x 12 in 1 ROG Cable Label(s)

 


 

 5. ASUS TUF SABERTOOTH 990FX R3.0 review

sabertooth 990fx

ASUS TUF Sabertooth 990FX 3.0

Sabertooth is the third generation of 990FX series, it is full ATX board for AMD processors and excels with FX series processors and without the best AMD motherboard. TUF military components ensure that motherboard will withstand even the harshest punishments you can give to it and it would not break. PCB print was used just correctly and TUF did not go over the top with it, plus with AURA lighting it looks really attractive giving it a nice backlight.

Features and Extras

Thermal Radar 2 allows you to control fans inside your case and monitor temperature in real time thanks to several heat sensors and allows you to adjust manually or optimize with one click, with other TUF special features and ASUS features it is ensured to have the safest and fastest build you can manage, as TUF is confident it can take 24/7 beating and are confident in their creation with 5 year TUF warranty.

Conclusions

Sabertooth is a motherboard that any AMD fanboy, overclocker or gamer should base their build around, as it is one. Incredibly powerful and sturdy, Sabertooth brings looks along with its name to dominate the motherboard market. Having tons of space for any and all attachments. It can handle mass amounts of power by equipping it with an SLI GPU setup. You can easly power your incredible CPU as far as your cooling allows you to. It is really great board with many overclocking options. It has your standard I/O ports for a motherboard. Speaking of BIOS, ASUS UEFI BIOS was very impressive, detailed and easy to use for even users with new experience in messing with BIOS and number of USB ports, SATA ports and fan connectors is just icing on the cake.

Pros
What to like about Sabertooth 990FX 3.0:

  • Sturdy
  • Asus bios is very easy to use
  • Great features
  • Performance
  • Supports SLI and Crossfire
  • ASUS Safeslot
  • M.2 slot
  • 5-year warranty
Cons
What to consider:

  • Color for few people
  • Likes to crash, but recovers quite decent from it
  • Price
  • CPU Socket Type
    • AM3+
  • CPU Type
    • FX / Phenom II / Athlon II / Sempron 100 Series
  • FSB
    • Up to 5.2 GT/s HyperTransport 3.0
  • AMD 990FX/SB950
  • Number of Memory Slots
    • 4×240pin
  • Memory Standard
    • DDR3 1866/ 1600/ 1333/ 1066
  • Maximum Memory Supported
    • 32GB
  • Channel Supported
    • Dual Channel
  • PCI Express 2.0 x16
    • 3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (dual x16 or x16/x8/x8) *1
    • 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode, black)

*1: When running dual graphics cards, be sure to insert the card in the first and third PCIex16 slot to get the best performance.

  • PCI Express x1
    • 2 x PCIe 2.0 x1
  • SATA 6Gb/s
    • 5 x SATA 6Gb/s
  • M.2
    • 1 x M.2 Socket 3, gray, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (both SATA & PCIE mode)
  • SATA RAID
    • 0/1/5/10
  • None
  • Audio Chipset
    • Realtek ALC1150
  • Audio Channels
    • 8 Channels
  • LAN Chipset
    • Intel I211
  • Max LAN Speed
    • 10/100/1000Mbps
  • RJ45
    • 1 x RJ45
  • USB 3.1
    • 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
    • 3 x USB 3.1 (teal blue) Type-A
  • USB 3.0
    • 4 x USB 3.0 (blue)
  • USB 1.1/2.0
    • 4 x USB 2.0 (one port can be switched to USB BIOS Flashback)
  • S/PDIF Out
    • 1 x Optical
  • Audio Ports
    • 5 Ports
  • Onboard USB
    • 2 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin, beige)
    • 2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
  • Other Connectors
    • 1 x TPM connector(s)
    • 1 x COM port(s) connector(s)
    • 1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4-pin)
    • 1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4-pin)
    • 3 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (3 x 4-pin)
    • 1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
    • 1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
    • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
    • 1 x Front panel connector(s)
    • 1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)
    • 1 x DRCT header(s)
    • 1 x MemOK! button(s)
    • 1 x Power-on button(s)
    • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
    • 1 x USB BIOS Flashback button(s)
    • 1 x Water Pump header (4-pin)
  • Form Factor
    • ATX
  • Dimensions (W x L)
    • 12.0" x 9.6"
  • Power Pin
    • 24 Pin

Multi-GPU Support:

  • Supports NVIDIA 3-Way SLI Technology
  • Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX Technology

Special Features:

  • TUF ENGINE! Power Design:
    • - 8 +2 Digital Phase Power Design
    • - TUF Components (Alloy choke, Cap. & MOSFET; certified by military-standard)
    • - ASUS DIGI+ Power Control Utility
  • Ultimate COOL! Thermal Solution:
    • - TUF Thermal Radar 2
  • Safe & Stable! Guardian Angel:
    • - TUF ESD Guards 2
    • - TUF LANGuard

ASUS Exclusive Features:

  • - USB BIOS Flashback
  • - MemOK!
  • - AI Suite 3
  • - Onboard Button: Power
  • - Front Panel USB 3.0 Support
  • - ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode featuring friendly graphics user interface
  • - USB 3.1 Boost
  • - Turbo LAN
  • Remote Entertainment
    • - Media Streamer
  • ASUS EZ DIY:
    • - Precision Tweaker 2
    • - ASUS O.C. Profile
    • - ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
    • - ASUS EZ Flash 2
    • - ASUS MyLogo 2
    • - Multi-language BIOS
  • ASUS Q-Design:
    • - ASUS Q-Shield
    • - ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
    • - ASUS Q-Slot
    • - ASUS Q-DIMM
    • - ASUS Q-Connector
  • AURA: RGB Lighting Control

Operating System Support:

  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7

BIOS:

  • 64MB Flash ROM, UEFI BIOS, PnP, SLP2.1, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 2.0a, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 2, ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3, My Favorites, Quick Note, Last Modified log, F12 PrintScreen, F3 Shortcut functions, and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information

Manageability:

  • WfM 2.0, DMI 2.0, WOL by PME, WOR by PME, PXE

Support Disc:

  • Drivers
  • Anti-virus software (OEM version)
  • ASUS Update
  • ASUS Utilities

Accessories:

  • User's manual
  • ASUS Q-Shield
  • 4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
  • 1 x SLI bridge(s)
  • 1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1)
  • 1 x TUF Certification card(s)
  • 1 x TUF 5 Year Warranty manual(s) (by region)
  • 1 x TUF Inside sticker(s)(white)

 

 

About The Author
Martins
A person who likes to follow what is new in the tech world, test everything to their limits and break them if necessary. Self-taught mechanic and electrician. Everything about computers I have learned mostly by myself (except some time in IT college :D)

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