A motherboard is a printed circuit board (PCB) that allows various components to communicate in computer systems. The motherboard also supplies connections for features like the central processing unit (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU), memory, and storage. In today’s computers, regardless of size- including smartphones, tablets, notebooks, and desktops-motherboards drive everything. However, they are easiest to locate on desktops.
When building your own gaming system, choosing the correct motherboard CPU combo is crucial. A defective motherboard can limit the capabilities of virtually every other component, and a lousy CPU can cripple even the best graphics card.
A great headshot doesn’t require you to be a Call of Duty expert. Precision like this can only occur when sophisticated hardware runs flawlessly. For gaming, you will need a CPU that can handle all the data, a motherboard with all the necessary specs, as well as a GPU, and RAM that can store short-term data. Gaming is dependent on the CPU coordinating all of these devices, and a slower CPU will degrade performance significantly.
A thorough selection process is involved in choosing the right motherboard CPU combo. You must consider the budget, price-performance ratio, and many other factors. A PC’s motherboard is its backbone, and a lousy motherboard can easily cause its CPU and GPU to bottleneck. Choosing the correct motherboard and CPU combination is very important when building a PC.
When you choose the correct processor and motherboard combo, it should meet both your present and future needs. It’s possible to select a motherboard that provides what you need to start up and run a PC if you know that you won’t want to upgrade beyond its initial design purpose. If you decide to expand your PC later on, be sure the motherboard you select will meet your needs as they change.
Common Problems and Solutions Found with Motherboard CPU Combo
|Powerless case||A small, two-pin wire connects the power button on the computer’s case to the motherboard. Computers can’t operate without this vital connection, but it is easy to overlook. If the wire fails to connect to the correct pins on the motherboard, the motherboard will not receive any commands. |
Even though a bent or misaligned pin can cause many issues, you can quickly fix most with a strong will and steady hand. You might break your CPU by trying to straighten pins. Consider this very carefully before you try it at home.
|Short circuits occur in electrical systems.||Various components connect to a motherboard via capacitors and soldered connections. If you are familiar with motherboards, you may have noticed that the motherboard is held aloft by a series of screws that are approximately 1/4″ thick. |
A kernel short can occur if the motherboard makes connect with another metallic component, causing the capacitor to bulge, leak, or blow out. This requires the technicians to inspect each element physically before diagnosing the problem. In general, unless you have excellent soldering skills, it’s best to leave your capacitor replacement to the professionals.
|Misplaced components||A motherboard can malfunction if elements get installed incorrectly. You may not even get your computer through POST (an early test used by computers to determine whether they are booting up correctly) or even turn it on. If this occurs, there are three potential culprits: the video card, the processor, and the RAM. |
You are most likely experiencing problems caused by incorrectly seated video cards and RAM since issues in these areas tend to be easy to overlook. Verify that the video card is distributed evenly across the PCI-Express slot. Then, to be sure, push it down firmly.
During installation, snap each memory stick over the sides of two plastic wings in the RAM slot. The tabs should be positioned around the tabs located on each side of your RAM sticks and should be standing upright 90 degrees from the motherboard’s surface. If one or both wings are slightly askew, which indicates someone installed the RAM incorrectly.
Having a processor installed correctly is a lot more challenging but well worth checking out if you’re stumped. Both the slots and pins on the processor must be lined up perfectly.
During insertion, the processor should rest flat on the socket’s surface, and the heatsink should also be firmly attached.
Best Motherboard CPU Combos of 2021
GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS ULTRA
Best Motherboard CPU Combo for Overclocking with Excellent VRM Cooling
Easy installation: 4.5 / 5
Gaming: 4.5 / 5
Value for money: 4.4/ 5
Stability: 4.1 / 5
As gamers continue to demand better performance, gaming component manufacturers work hard to keep up. Gamer’s demand for a more powerful, high-performance motherboard prompted GIGABYTE to release the Z390 AORUS.
This Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra motherboard supports the Intel i7 9700K processor to its fullest– easily among the best mobo CPU combos. In order to reduce throttling and bottleneck after loading data into memory, this motherboard supports DDR4 and M.2 SSDs via dual-channel. Moreover, every DIMM slot can get overclocked to 4133 MHz, with a maximum capacity of 32 GB.
Unlike other Z390 models, the Z390 AORUS Ultra has an advanced thermal design consisting of a Multi-cut Heatsink with a Direct Touch Heatpipe and thick thermal pads to manage temperatures during gaming sessions and when overclocking the i7 9700K.
The GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS motherboard provides all kinds of features for gamers of any level. Z390 motherboards generally offer the best parts.
As a result of its built-in fan, gamers can rest assured that their PC will stay cool. The smart fan lets users swap out their fan headers, which display different places for thermal sensors depending on the fan. The smart fan makes your PC perform at its best by offering detailed information on temperature and flow rate.
There are three PCIe Gen3 x4 slots on the Z390 AORUS Ultra, whereas most motherboards from other manufacturers contain only two. Also included is Wave 2, Intel’s latest wireless solution that boasts download speeds of up to 1.73 GB/s. This makes it easy to play online games seamlessly.
With a sleek design and monochrome color scheme, this motherboard is visually appealing. In addition, it has ultra-durable I/O, memory, and PCI protection. It also offers an application that customizes the colors for your system. The LED lights can also be controlled via the app, which has recently undergone a redesign.
Alternative Mobo Options for Your Ryzen or Intel Gaming PC
ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XI HERO
Best Mobo to Combo with the Best CPU (i7 9700K)
The ROG Maximus XI Code features the Z390 chipset, capable of running Intel’s 8th Generation and 9th Generation processors. The Socket 1151 chip offers long-running support for Intel’s Core i9-9900K processor.
It’s widely known that Intel’s 6th and 7th Generation processors are not supported by the Z390 chipset, despite having the same physical interface as Socket 1151. If you plan to buy an 8th or 9th Generation CPU simultaneously, Z390 motherboards can accommodate this.
The designers chose to cover the motherboard’s PCB in a thick layer of plastic and metal that separates it from other brands in more ways than one. Most motherboards, shields, and heatsinks cover the I/O and power areas, but Asus extends the coverings to the side of the board and into the location of the PCI Express slot.
As one of ASUS’ Z390 series motherboards, the ROG Maximus XI Hero boasts a high-quality audio and voice system, making it one of the best CPU mobo combo on our list. You can distinguish between different sound tunes when playing games with SuperFX and Sonic Studio III. Furthermore, dual op-amps are present on the front panel, which improves the overall sound quality. In terms of in-game voice chat, your speech will be delivered without distortion or noise in this chipset.
Dual M.2 slots are available on the Maximus XI Hero. A BIOS setting is available to adjust the capacity of each slot. There are thermal sensors on this motherboard that can detect the temperature of the chipset. The sensors are activated when temperatures reach a certain level and automatically start cooling the system.
Additionally, among the best CPU like the i7 9700K is an excellent processor to combo with this motherboard if you intend to overclock your processor, as it allows you to wring every MHz or even GHz out of it. The device comes equipped with ASUS’s 5-Way Optimization technology, which lets you control all aspects of audio and storage from one place. ROG UEFI offers several advanced features, including an advanced BIOS and the ability to customize through a password entry.
ASUS TUF Z390-PRO GAMING LGA1151
Ultra Reliable TUF Chokes for Power and Stability
As an affordable solution for gamers on a budget, ASUS TUF Z390-Pro Gaming is an excellent choice to combo even with an i7 Intel processor. The chipset is beautifully designed and is more than capable of handling the i7 9700K.
To fully enjoy your gaming experience enough, you’ll need a strong, consistently available internet connection. As a result, the TUF Z390-Pro Gaming offers different types of LAN connections. Dual interconnects between the MAC (Media Access Controller) and PHY (Physical Layer) built into the Intel 1219V Turbo LAN ensure that the connection is fast and stable.
With the TUF Z390-Pro Gaming, DDR4, you have access to the RAM via dual-channel memory architecture, and it runs at a maximum of 2666 MHz. Two dual DIMM slots can support up to 64 GB of maximum memory capacity with Intel’s Extreme Memory Profile XMP.
Several expansion slots come on this motherboard, including two M.2 slots for your SSDs. It is necessary to install a Hyper M.2 X 16 card in the PCI-E X 16_2 slot if you intend to have two SSDs on your system. BIOS has configurable settings. The same can be done if you want to install 3 SSDs on your system through the BIOS settings and install a Hyper M.2 X 16 card into the PCI-E_1.
Influenced by military designs, the TUF Z390-Pro Gaming has a sleek look. Designed for safety and reliability, this motherboard ensures you have a long-lasting and reliable system. Its pre-installed I/O shield also features an HDMI port, Type-A 4x USB 3.1, and audio ports.
In comparison to the competition, the TUF Z390-Pro Gaming costs much less. You shouldn’t hesitate to buy this motherboard if you’re on a tight budget and want a reliable platform for your new i7 9700K.
GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER
Best Motherboard for Getting the Big Overclocks Out of the i7 9700K CPUs
Gigabyte’s flagship series offers an outstanding performance thanks to the Z390 AORUS Master motherboard. A Fins-Array heatsink, a heat pipe, and a thermal baseplate are combined to ensure maximum thermal efficiency.
A structure such as this enhances the chip’s performance and prevents it from absorbing heat. Further, it provides a thermal solution for SSD devices that keeps the motherboard from throttling and allows heat to dissipate more effectively.
AORUS Z390 AORUS Master is equipped with gold capacitors to provide stable surround sound. This motherboard features a wireless chip called Wave 2 that provides data rates of 1.73 GB/s, like the Z390 AORUS Ultra. Its USB 3.0 port also offers super-fast charging for mobile devices through a feature called Turbo Charge.
ASUS PRIME Z390-A
Motherboard to Combo with an i7 9700K that has the Best BIOS
Among the most exciting features of the ASUS Prime Z390-A is its support for an i7 9700K. Using intelligent predictions and heat telemetry, this motherboard overclocks your processor without you having to do anything. This chipset also supports three temperature sensors on each header to provide you with an overview of its state and allow you to adjust it in real-time.
A Prime Z390-A notebook features dual M.2 slots that can transfer data at a maximum speed of 32 GB/s. Having Type-A and Type-C USB 3.1 Gen 2 port compatibility, it has backward compatibility with USB 3.1 Gen 2. Furthermore, Fan Xpert offers complete control over the fans to cool your system manually effectively.
MSI MPG Z390 GAMING EDGE AC
Best Budget Motherboard for the i7 9700K
MSI worked with Intel to develop this motherboard to bring forth the MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC. The i7 9700K performs remarkably well with this chipset, thanks to the collaboration of both manufacturers.
With a size of 64 GB DDR4 RAM and two dual-turbo M.2 PCI x4 slots, the MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC can be configured as a gaming desktop. Furthermore, this motherboard includes several connectors for other features, such as HDMI, USB, and DisplayPort. Through the Mystic Light application, you can also control the color combination to the nth degree.
It is much easier to manage the temperature with the heavy heat sinks fitted to the MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC. You’ll also find more than one fan header: these allow for greater control of thermal dissipation and increased performance.
This motherboard integrates Audio Boost 4 and NAHIMIC 3 for a studio-grade audio experience when gaming. Moreover, it provides a precise sound quality when in voice chat, allowing for clearly defined and tidy communication.
Buyer’s Guide When Buying a CPU Motherboard Combo
Yes, when you look down on the motherboard, you will see a massive amount of circuits, transistors, capacitors, slots, connectors, heatsinks, etc., so that all critical components can be plugged in.
Investing in a good motherboard is similar to buying a well-fitting glove. It doesn’t only feel good, but the productivity boost it brings is well worth the cost. The technical details you will read and view here will help you make an informed buying decision when shopping for processor and motherboard combos.
As a starting point, you must consider the motherboard’s socket type. For Intel, socket 775 is the ideal candidate for an upgrade. Although older motherboards have fewer options, they can still be upgraded. It is obsolete to use sockets such as Socket 7 or older, Slot 1, and Slot-A because they do not offer real upgrades.
Despite being able to acquire the required components, the upgrade will be very costly and very time-consuming. There are also socket adapters, but their compatibility issues prevent them from performing well.
At Entry Level
This level is appropriate for users who are just looking for the bare minimum from their gaming PC. Except for the Intel Core i3-9100F, all combinations in this section feature an integrated graphics card.
It is possible to buy a cheap graphics card; however, you are better off going with the Intel Core-i3 9100. The 9100F is best suited for people who want a mid-range GPU. Using this method, you can save some money on the CPU and spend the savings on a better GPU.
Mid Range Level
Midrange offers a few attractive options, especially with the new AMD Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X processors on the market. As you may expect, these are entry-level processors, but they have enough power to compete with Intel’s Core i7-7700K, and because of that, we had to cram them in.
Compared with the previous segment, fewer combinations of this type use integrated graphics since more people use a discrete GPU. Built-in graphics are only available with Intel CPUs and Ryzen 5 3400Gs, although Intel combination products are typically costly.
The market rates for AMD processors are currently higher than their AMD counterparts and those of the motherboards, which is why these two factors add up to a high cost. It’s certainly possible to use the Intel Core i5-9600K with a B365 motherboard; however, what’s the point if you have an unlocked CPU? This Z390 board is the cheapest one available, and it’s nearly twice the price of all the other comparable boards.
These are the combinations you should be looking at when you want a good all-rounder that will last a couple of years.
Many CPUs on the high end have eight cores / 16 threads and have excellent overclocking capabilities. There is one exception: AMD’s 2nd Generation Ryzen 7 2700X is from an older generation. Compared to previous generations, AMD made gains in clock speed with the 3rd Gen Ryzens.
While Intel would win based solely on frequency, AMD is more competitive since it utilizes more cores, resulting in higher overall performance. As a final note, prices continue to follow the same trend we have seen in the mid-range segment. In general, Intel combinations are more expensive due to the high costs of the processor and motherboard.
Digital media professionals who’d like to have a personal workstation at home or at the office will take all the cores that you can throw at them. With the new AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors, they have no reason to complain.
In terms of core count, these processors fall just short of being considered servers. Getting caught up so fast with consumer devices will surely embarrass even the latest server processors. Because people buying workstation processors will also purchase powerful graphics cards, none have integrated graphics.
Price is not an issue in this segment, but you will save time since your workloads will be processed more quickly by spending more. You can take on more projects this way, increasing your revenue. There appears to be not much of a price difference between Intel and AMD in this segment, which is good news, but the core count has not grown over the last two years.
Form factors define the motherboard’s layout and dimensions. Understanding the different form factors supported by your PC is crucial to ensure a particular board truly fits.
In most cases, gaming PC builders and upgraders choose ATX, Mini-ITX, and Micro-ATX sizes (in some instances, ATX is called the standard ATX). Most large and mid-tower PCs and consoles come with ATX boards, which measure 9.6×12 inches.
The PCI slots
PCI slots are the connections or ports on the motherboard. Various expansion cards can be connected to these expansion slots and have been standard for many years. Moreover, you must consider how you plan to use your computer in addition to the slots on your motherboard.
Ideally, your system should have at least one full-speed PCI Express x16 slot to accommodate more than one PCI Express x16 card. Standard PCI slots and PCI Express slots on modern motherboards for cards like sound cards and WiFi adapters.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
In essence, the type and amount of RAM you can have will depend on the motherboard you buy. Thus, when purchasing a motherboard, it’s worthwhile to be aware of this. For best results, you should buy a motherboard that can handle at least 16 GB of RAM, even if you don’t plan to buy that much memory immediately. Adding more memory is always an option. Also, choose a PCIe-based board that offers a minimum of four memory slots. If you use 2 RAM modules to start, you’ll have additional room in the future to upgrade your memory.
Connectivity on Rear Panels
The rear panels of desktops are its windows to the outside world. Your system is like an unconnected brain sitting there if you don’t have the critical ports that connect your motherboard and CPU to the outside world. Even the fastest or biggest CPU is meaningless if any valuable hardware can’t access the interface.
It is essential to confirm that the motherboard supports the external hardware you plan to connect. You can always add the ability to accommodate more if needed, but be sure it contains all the basics detailed below.
Connecting to the internet requires Ethernet, and even with the advent of Wi-Fi, the wired connection will not go away anytime soon. Almost every motherboard has Ethernet ports today, and some have two or more.
In addition to GPU, your graphics card will typically have HDMI as an option, and those newer motherboard models have their own HDMI ports. The popularity of HD has recently surged, so it is worth looking into this format. The future will likely see motherboards with integrated video cards that support HDMI, according to current trends.
Universal Serial Bus (USB)
A few of these you will likely need are set up as “4+1”, which means four USB ports and one FireWire port. You will probably connect many devices to the board and get more if you have to. The best option is to have extra USB ports since you may require them in the future, just as expansion slots.
The use of this incredibly important communication interface can be found in everything from speakers to spotlights to e-cigarettes. Also, verify if your external device requires a USB 3.0 interface and that the internal components will work with the newer computer.
The Serial Port
Though the USB connector can replace most connections, some motherboards still include serial ports so you can connect peripherals like printers. As with ports and expansion slots, the more ports and expansion slots you have available to connect more devices, the more you can free up for other things.
How to Find the Best Motherboard Combo that Suits Your Needs
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About the Best Motherboard for Ryzen or Intel PC
When choosing a CPU, how do I know it will work with my motherboard?
You must verify the compatibility of the motherboard with the socket. You should check your processor and motherboard compatibility. CPUs and motherboards connect via a socket, and it’s also essential to check computer memory compatibility and RAM compatibility.
Does every CPU work with every motherboard?
Depending on your motherboard, the new chips may not work. Before moving forward, verify manufacturers, physical sockets, chipsets, and memory compatibility.
How do CPUs and motherboards differ?
Central processing units and motherboards differ in many ways. Motherboards connect peripherals, connectors, memory, and processors, allowing the computer to communicate. The CPU is responsible for carrying out commands and instructions pertaining to arithmetic, control, and logical operations provided in the programming language.
Are old CPUs compatible with new motherboards?
You can install a faster processor in older models as a cost-effective and practical upgrade. CPU performance and speed can sometimes be doubled or tripled for a small additional cost. Unfortunately, not all systems can be upgraded. To determine if your system is capable of receiving a processor upgrade, you must conduct some research.
Is the CPU included in motherboards?
Selecting the correct motherboard to run your CPUs properly requires a great deal of consideration. The form factor, BIOS, I/O shield, chipset, CPU socket, and DIMM slots are among the factors to consider when shopping for a motherboard. You must select your CPU separately if you plan on building your own. The other option is to use one of the predefined combinations.
What should I look for in a motherboard?
After picking the right CPU, you will need a motherboard with the appropriate socket and chipset. CPU sockets are generally mechanisms that allow CPUs to attach to the motherboard.
What should my motherboard cost?
A reasonable cost for a motherboard is $100-$150, the maximum amount being $200. A $100-$150 board should do for most people, and it should provide all the things you need: sufficient PCIe ports, enough storage connectivity, USB 3.0 (or even USB Type-C), and, sometimes, on-board WiFi.
Does it make sense to purchase more expensive motherboards?
A motherboard with more expensive components typically has better quality components. Cheaper motherboards tend to focus only on the most basic features needed to build a computer.
How important are motherboards?
Motherboards are extremely important! The need for power in gaming arises from the fact that it’s a demanding task. When it comes to the system, the motherboard is crucial. The motherboard houses everything between the processor and RAM.
AMD or Intel: Which is better?
Most users will get an equal return from chips in this price range because there is no significant performance difference. The AMD core counts are higher than Intel, making AMD the clear winner of AMD vs. Intel CPUs in content creation and productivity.
Does a motherboard need to cost more than the CPU?
So long as your motherboard is a reputable brand, it would be better to spend a little bit more on the CPU. Consider looking at some reviews to identify any obvious flaws.
- Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra – Best Motherboard for Overclocking with Excellent VRM Cooling
- ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero – Best i7 9700K-Compatible Motherboard
- ASUS TUF Z390-Pro Gaming LGA1151– Ultra-reliable TUF Chokes for power and stability
- Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Master – Best Motherboard for Getting the Big Overclocks Out of the i7 9700K CPUs
- ASUS Prime Z390 – Motherboard for i7 9700K with the Best Bios
- MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC – Best Budget Motherboard for the i7 9700K
Picking the right motherboard and CPU combo is one of the most important decisions when building a PC. Today, the most expensive products aren’t necessarily the highest quality. A key characteristic of this era is the emphasis on convenience.
At budget-friendly prices, all of these features attract users. Good quality and a low price are the main concerns of all users. By carefully choosing the right motherboard, you can get much more from them, provided you pay attention to all their features.