The best motherboard 2018: the top Intel and AMD motherboards we’ve seen

While they’re not as exciting as the best processors or graphics cards, the best motherboards are arguably the most important component in your entire system. Armed with the latest technologies behind all of the best computers, the best motherboards are essentially the backbone of your system. The best motherboards will help your PC reach its full potential by fully utilizing and optimizing your hardware. They can even give your CPU more overclocking headroom, further expanding your potential performance.  

It’s critical to get one of the best motherboards, due to the core importance they carry in your PC. If you pick up a shoddy motherboard, and it fails, you could have to go through the ordeal of tearing down your rig and rebuilding it from scratch – it’s not like replacing a hard drive or a graphics cards. Look, just do yourself a favor – pick up the best motherboard you can muster today, so you don’t have to replace it tomorrow.

Luckily, if you pick up a new Coffee Lake processor, you won’t be stuck with the expensive Z370 chipset anymore, as Intel has announced the much cheaper H310, H370, B350 and Q370 chipsets. Therefore, you shouldn’t have to worry about your bank account when you pick up a Coffee Lake compatible motherboard anymore. Plus, if you’re planning on building a Threadripper-based rig, you can rest easy knowing that Threadripper Gen 2 will probably be using the same socket.

We don’t have to tell you that shopping for the best motherboard can be confusing. But, don’t worry, that’s why we created this list of the best motherboards you can buy today. Every motherboard on this list has been picked by our knowledgeable TechRadar editorial staff. Not only will they do everything you need them to do and more, the best motherboards are built to last.

If money isn’t an issue, the Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 from Gigabyte literally shines. Packed with more RGB lighting than you can shake a stick at, its the best way to celebrate Intel’s 8th-generation Coffee Lake Processors in an ATX tower case. It’s also an overclocking champion – its only limits are the restraints of your other components. You can reasonably expect upwards of 5GHz consistently with this motherboard. We’re not joking. 

If you want to take advantage of Intel Coffee Lake, but don’t want to fork over the cash for a high-end motherboard, you’re in luck, as Intel H310 boards have started coming out. And, the MSI H310-A PRO is among the most inexpensive motherboards featuring this chipset. While it doesn’t have a lot of high-end features like M.2 storage or SLI compatibility, it does feature plenty of PCIe x1 slots, making it one of the best mining motherboards for anyone trying to maximise their ROI.

The ASRock H370M Pro4 is one of the best motherboards for anyone aiming to create a compact build. Compatible with 8th-generation Coffee Lake processors, this motherboard is packed front to back with awesome features like two M.2 slots, Intel Optane support and CrossFireX for anyone who wants to build one of the best gaming PCs. Really, the only thing that holds this motherboard back from perfection is the lack of SLI, but with everything it gets right, it’s easy to overlook.

The Asus ROG Strix Z370-I Gaming isn’t just the best Intel Mini-ITX motherboard – it’s also one of the best Z370 motherboards you can buy today. Featuring the chipset behind Intel’s 8th-generation Coffee Lake processors, the Asus ROG Strix Z370-I Gaming will support everything from the Core i7-8700K all the way down to the Core i3-8100. It might lack SLI and Crossfire support, but it does ship with an included Asus 2 x 2 Wi-Fi adapter. 

With the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 Wi-Fi, Gigabyte further illustrates its mastery of motherboard design. Rocking the new AMD X470 chipset, allowing full support of the new AMD Ryzen 2nd Generation processors, this is the best motherboard if you’re looking to side with Team Red. What’s more, it supports Quad-GPU SLI and extremely fast RAM (up to 3,600 MHz) for peerless expandability, and thanks to its multi-zone RGB lighting, it looks good while it does it. 

For years, AMD has been the reigning champion of budget builds, and in 2018 that doesn’t seem to be changing. Marketed exclusively to gamers, the MSI X470 Gaming Plus is loaded front to back with features like 2 PCIe M.2 slots and quick performance tweaking buttons to make sure you’re on top of the game at all times. And, since it’s a gaming-centric motherboard, you can expect it to have all kinds of flashy RGB lighting that you can even customise from your smartphone. 

If you want to get where you need to go, and you don't care about things like fancy RGB lighting or eye-catching, futuristic-looking heat dissipators, the AB350M Pro4 is the motherboard for you. In spite of its plain-Jane looks and no-frills aesthetic, this is a solid motherboard with plenty of room to expand and grow with your computer needs.

With the ROG Strix X470-I, Asus aims to prove that big things come in small packages. Supporting the latest AMD chipset, everything in this tiny board is designed with performance in mind. Even down to the BIOS, where you can find a stress test for overclocks before you even boot into Windows. This board even elevates beyond the constraints of the Mini-ITX form factor by including an M.2 Audio Combo riser, so that you can install your M.2 NVMe drive without blocking the rest of your components. 

The X-series processors are here and they're spectacular, so if you want to take advantage of all they have to offer, you need an X-series motherboard. This ASRock X299 is an excellent choice, with support for overclocked memory speeds up to 4400MHz(!!!) and 8 different slots for memory modules. It also supports up to 128GB of RAM, so with an X-series processor and a good graphics card (or 3…) this thing will absolutely tear apart anything you throw at it.

If you're the type of builder with lots of cash to burn and an ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ build-method, this Ryzen Threadripper board is certainly for you. It supports 4-way SLI or Crossfire configurations, so you can just empty your bank account in the name of PC glory. All that graphical horsepower can be supported by as much as 128GB DDR4 memory, and it even features some flashy RGB lighting to let everyone know what they’re looking at. 

Coming to terms

If you’re unfamiliar about what makes the best motherboards, well, the best, we would like to include a bit of a primer for anyone who might not know what to look for. Motherboards are available in a range of different form factors, most commonly ATX and micro ATX. However there are plenty of more esoteric form factors including the recent mini ITX. Don’t worry though, because most of the time PC cases will support one or both of these form factors.

Moreover, in our rundown of the best motherboards, we detailed the socket type that each mobo adheres to. For those not in the know, the socket is the part on the motherboard that the CPU locks into. Typically, newer Intel processors use either LGA 1151 or 2066 while the latest AMD Ryzen architecture is designed for the AM4 chipset.

  • Next up, these are the best gaming monitors you can buy this year

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