5 Best Motherboard CPU Combo Builds in 2021

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Best Motherboard Cpu Combo In 2020
Best Motherboard Cpu Combo In 2020

With so many things to keep track of, buying or upgrading computer components can be daunting. That is particularly true with processors and motherboards, as there are various aspects like memory support and compatibility that need to be considered.

To make sure you’re making the right decision, we cover five of the best motherboard CPU combo options to give you the best price for performance investments.

What Will You Get From Getting a Motherboard CPU Combo?

Anyone can purchase a motherboard and CPU separately, but not everyone is technologically savvy enough to determine which motherboard works best for which CPU.

Moreover, most consumers– choose to get a motherboard CPU combo for various reasons, such as:

Getting Faster RAM

Getting a new motherboard means it requires compatible RAM. With new RAM modules, you will see a massive jump in performance, especially if you’re coming from an older memory module (e.g., DDR3 to DDR4).

Faster Processor Performance

You’ll experience significant gains in speed and performance with a new CPU, especially when paired with the perfect motherboard.

Both Intel Core and AMD Ryzen processors offer similar performance at a glance, but they have their respective pros and cons.

AMD Ryzen processors are great for multitasking, making them ideal for users who work on multiple applications simultaneously. Video editors and professional content creators will benefit greatly from the multi-thread advantage of Ryzen processors since it streamlines rendering processes.

On the other hand, Intel Core processors excel in single-core performance, which is significant because not all programs and games can run faster by using more cores.

Better Graphics Card

Probably the most significant benefit you’ll get from upgrading your motherboard and CPU is utilizing the latest generation of graphics cards.

If you’re a gamer or a video editor, pairing your motherboard and CPU with a powerful graphics card should give you much better performance. If you’ve suffered from low frame rates or have to resort to low graphics settings, being able to get a better graphics card is beneficial.

Best Motherboard CPU Combo

1. Intel Core i9-10900K + ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490 (WiFi 6)

Best Premium Motherboard CPU Combo

Processor: Intel Core i9-10900K

Tech Specs:

Number of cores: 10 | Number of Threads: 20 | Processor Base Frequency: 3.70 GHz | Max Turbo Frequency: Up to 5.30 GHz | Cache: 20 MB Intel® Smart Cache | Thermal Design Power (TDP): 125 W | Memory channels: 2 | Memory Type: DDR4-2933 | Processor Graphics: Intel® UHD Graphics 630 | Sockets supported: FCLGA1200

Pros
  • Excellent gaming performance
  • Has great potential for overclocking
  • Compatible with popular Intel coolers
  • Great for single- and multi-threaded applications
Cons
  • Not ideal for beginners
  • High cooling requirements
  • Requires an expensive Z490 motherboard
  • High power consumption

The Intel Core i9-10900K + ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490 combo is ideal for advanced computer enthusiasts. The i9-10900K has high single- and multi-thread functionality, allowing it to last for several years.

But it is important to note that sheer performance requires power and decent cooling to prevent overheating. Even though Intel has dropped its price to compete against AMD’s flagship, it is still significantly more expensive.

The i9-10900K performs neck and neck with AMD’s 12-core 24-threaded processor in both price and performance.

Note that the i9-10900K tends to hit very high temperatures, which is why they made the die thinner and used a thicker heat spreader. You’ll want to pair it with no less than a 280 mm AIO cooler.

Overall, the i9-10900K is the ultimate processor for those looking to hit the highest frame rates and the best performance.

Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490 (WiFi 6)

Tech Specs:

Socket: 1200 for 10th Gen Intel® Core™ | Chipset

Intel® Z490 | PCIe: 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4 mode) *2 | DIMM Slots: 4 x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR4 | M.2 Slots: 3 x M.2 slots | SATA Ports: 6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports | Network jacks: Intel® I219-V 1Gb Ethernet | USB Ports: Rear USB Port ( Total 10 ) / Front USB Port ( Total 7 ) | Wi-Fi / Bluetooth: Bluetooth v5.1*

Pros
  • Comes with future-proof features
  • Has a great design
Cons
  • It is very expensive

The best processor deserves to be paired with the best motherboard– the Asus ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490. This motherboard is also a smart investment for future-proofing your rig. A handful of modern features are in the Maximus XII Hero Z490, including three heatsinked M.2 slots, CrossfireX/SLI support, and superior power delivery.

To get the best performance from both the processor and the motherboard, it is essential that you enable MCE in the BIOS to bypass the factory limits. When the factory limits are unlocked, the i9-10900K should reach speeds of up to 5.3 GHz with the right tweaks.

The motherboard presents plenty of future-proof features such as:

  • RAM support of DDR4 4500 
  • Six 6Gbps SATA ports
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 (up to 20 Gbps)
  • USB Type-C port
  • SupremeFX S1220 audio codec
  • WiFi 6 AX201 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 5.1

With this motherboard, you won’t need to upgrade for a long time.

2. AMD Ryzen 9 3900X + MSI MAG X570 Tomahawk

Best Workstation/Productivity Motherboard CPU Combo

Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Tech Specs:

Number of cores: 12 | Number of Threads: 24 | Processor Base Frequency: 3.8 GHz | Max Turbo Frequency: Up to 4.6 GHz | Cache: 64 MB | Thermal Design Power (TDP): 105 W | Memory channels: 2 | Memory Type: DDR4 Up to 3200MHz | Sockets supported: AM4

Pros
  • Easily beats Intel at the same price
  • Incredible multi-thread performance
Cons
  • Lower single-core performance than Intel Coffee Lake processors
  • High idle power consumption

The Ryzen 9 3900X may not be the latest Ryzen chip, but it still gets the job done for workstation and productivity. It has a base frequency of 3.8 GHz and can go as fast as 4.6 GHz.

The 3900X was built with efficiency and productivity in mind. This 12-core processor can handle professional video workloads without a sweat.

Motherboard: MSI MAG X570 Tomahawk

Tech Specs:

Socket: AM4 | Chipset: AMD® X570 Chipset | PCIe: 2x PCIe x16, 2x PCIe x1 | DIMM Slots: 4 | M.2 Slots: 2 | SATA Ports: 6 | Video ports: 1x HDMI | Network jacks: 1x Realtek® 8125B 2.5G LAN controller | USB Ports: 5x USB 3.2 (rear), 4x USB 2.0 (front)

Pros
  • Supports up to 128 GB of DDR4 RAM
  • M.2 NVMe drive bays come with heat sinks
  • Supports multiple PCIe 4.0 x 16 slots
Cons
  • Fan headers placement is awkward
  • No WiFi 6

The MSI MAG X570 Tomahawk is equipped with features that you’ll typically find in premium X570 motherboards. It has a built-in I/O shield that makes installation a breeze and protects the rear ports.

Unfortunately, the MAG x570 Tomahawk does not come with WiFi 6, unlike our featured premium motherboard. On the other hand, it comes with other features only present in more expensive options, such as massive memory support of up to 3200 MHz with XMP enabled.

If there’s one thing that may put you off– it’s the awkward placement of the fan header that makes it difficult to reach. Nevertheless, the MSI MAG X570 Tomahawk motherboard is a great option for a powerful processor like the 3900X.

3. AMD Ryzen 7 3700X + MSI B450 Tomahawk

Best Overall Motherboard CPU Combo

Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

Tech Specs:

Number of cores: 8 | Number of Threads: 16 | Processor Base Frequency: 3.6 GHz | Max Turbo Frequency: Up to 4.4 GHz | Cache: 32 MB | Thermal Design Power (TDP): 65 W | Memory channels: 2 | Memory Type: DDR4 Up to 3200MHz | Sockets supported: AM4

Pros
  • It comes bundled with a cooler
  • Performs better than Intel competitors of the same value
  • Higher L3 cache support
Cons
  • Limited overclocking headroom
  • Does not have integrated graphics

If you’re looking to invest in a motherboard CPU combo for gaming, this pair is a match made in heaven. The Ryzen 7 3700X is an eight-core 16-thread processor with a boost clock speed of up to 4.4 GHz.

With the new 7 nm process and Zen 2 architecture, the Ryzen 7 3700X delivers a lot more performance than its predecessors. You can rely on it to give you all the processing power you need for gaming and other intensive tasks.

You can even overclock the Ryzen 7 3700X, and it isn’t as complicated as you think. It also comes with a box cooler that helps manage temperatures under load. Essentially, it does everything with flying colors and should not bottleneck even the most powerful graphics cards.

Motherboard: MSI B450 Tomahawk

Tech Specs:

Socket: AM4 | Chipset: AMD B450 Chipset | PCIe: 2x PCIe x 16 / 3x PCIe x1 | DIMM Slots: 4 | M.2 Slots: 1 | SATA Ports: 6 | Network jacks: 1x Realtek® 8111H | USB Ports: 6x USB 3.1, 6x USB 2.0

Pros
  • Comes with a total of six fan headers
  • Has a decent VRMs
  • Has USB 3.1, USB Type-C
Cons
  • Lacks a secondary M.2 slot

You’ll never go wrong with the MSI B450 Tomahawk if you’re looking for something to pair with your Ryzen 7 3700X. It is a motherboard with rich connectivity and storage options like USB 3.1 and M.2  at an introductory price point.

The B450 Tomahawk is built with design elements that ensure that thermal performance isn’t compromised. It features extended heat sinks that maintain the temperatures of the voltage regulator modules to accommodate overclocking.

What makes the Ryzen 7 3700X + MSI B450 Tomahawk combo perfect is how it costs way lower than its Intel counterpart without falling behind performance-wise. With all the features that come with the B450 Tomahawk, you really can’t ask for more. Pair it with a powerhouse processor like the 3700X, and you can refrain from upgrading anytime soon.

4. AMD Ryzen 5 3600 + MSI B450 Tomahawk

Best Bang for the Buck Motherboard CPU Combo

Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600

Tech Specs:

Number of cores: 6 | Number of Threads: 12 | Processor Base Frequency: 3.6 GHz | Max Turbo Frequency: Up to 4.2 GHz | Cache: 32 L3 cache | Thermal Design Power (TDP): 65 W | Memory channels: 2 | Memory Type: DDR4 up to 3200 MHz | Sockets supported: AM4

Pros
  • Cost less but performs on-par Intel’s 8700K and 9700K
  • Excellent gaming performance
  • Compatible with AM4 motherboards
Cons
  • Overclocking doesn’t show significant gains
  • Does not have integrated graphics

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is widely considered the sweet spot for gaming and workstation builds. The processor has six cores and 12 threads with clocks between 3.6 GHz and 4.2 GHz. Since it comes with a Wraith Stealth cooler, it gives you some headroom to invest in other components.

The 3600 processor is also a lot cheaper compared to its Intel counterparts. Moreover, Intel doesn’t include a box cooler, solidifying the 3600 as the more cost-effective alternative.

Motherboard: MSI B450 Tomahawk

Tech Specs:

Socket: AM4 | Chipset: AMD B450 Chipset | PCIe: 2x PCIe x 16 / 3x PCIe x1 | DIMM Slots: 4 | M.2 Slots: 1 | SATA Ports: 6 | Network jacks: 1x Realtek® 8111H | USB Ports: 6x USB 3.1, 6x USB 2.0

Pros
  • Comes with a total of six fan headers
  • Has a decent VRMs
  • Has USB 3.1, USB Type-C
Cons
  • Lacks a secondary M.2 slot

We’ve picked the MSI B450 Tomahawk again, this time, as the best motherboard to pair with the Ryzen 5 3600. It is loaded with all the features you will possibly need to get the most out of this processor.

The B450 Tomahawk comes with a robust heat sink design to prevent the voltage regulator modules from overheating and allow overclocking.

Both the audio and network slots are equipped with Realtek controllers to deliver decent performance. The B450 Tomahawk can support up to 64 GB of DDR4 RAM.

The B450 Tomahawk is rich in USB ports and headers. It should handle all of your peripherals with ease. Furthermore, this motherboard has five PCIe slots with one full-length PCIe 3.0 x 16 slot.

The B450 Tomahawk is hands down one of the best motherboards you can pair with the Ryzen 5 3600. Since it can support faster AM4 Ryzen processors, you can even upgrade your CPU down the line.

5. AMD Ryzen 3 3300X + MSI B450 Tomahawk

Best Budget Gaming Motherboard CPU Combo

Processor: AMD Ryzen 3 3300X

Tech Specs:

Number of cores: 4 | Number of Threads: 8 | Processor Base Frequency: 3.8 GHz | Max Turbo Frequency: Up to 4.3 GHz | Cache: 16 MB L3 cache | Thermal Design Power (TDP): 65 W | Memory channels: 2 | Memory Type: 2 | Sockets supported: AM4

Pros
  • Outstanding multi-core performance
  • Suitable for gaming 
  • Comes with a Wraith Stealth cooler
  • Single-CCX design unlocks extra performance
Cons
  • Does not have integrated graphics

The AMD Ryzen 3 3300X is currently the best budget gaming processor on the market. It may only have four cores and eight threads, but it performs on-par with the Intel Core i7-7700K.

Unfortunately, the 3300X doesn’t have integrated graphics, so you can’t use it without a dedicated graphics card. It does come with a Wraith Stealth cooler, which allows you to save up for other components like a graphics card.

Motherboard: MSI B450 Tomahawk

Tech Specs:

Socket: AM4 | Chipset: AMD B450 Chipset | PCIe: 2x PCIe x 16 / 3x PCIe x1 | DIMM Slots: 4 | M.2 Slots: 1 | SATA Ports: 6 | Network jacks: 1x Realtek® 8111H | USB Ports: 6x USB 3.1, 6x USB 2.0

Pros
  • Comes with a total of six fan headers
  • Has decent VRMs
  • Has USB 3.1, USB Type-C
Cons
  • Lacks a secondary M.2 slot

The MSI B450 Tomahawk is an attractive option for people on a budget. Just in case you haven’t noticed yet, this is the third time we’ve recommended the B450 Tomahawk on our roundup, and for a good reason.

It’s one of the most well-rounded motherboards on the market. The B450 Tomahawk has an elaborate  heat sink design that allows it to handle significant overclocking.

If you’re going to pair this motherboard with the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X, you will appreciate the overclocking headroom.

Things To Consider When Buying a Motherboard CPU Combo

Processors and motherboards are technologically advancing rapidly. You must know what factors need to be considered before you buy a motherboard and CPU combo.

Check the Motherboard Model and Its Socket

Processors cannot be attached to any motherboard, as they require a specific socket.

Before placing an order, make sure that you check if the motherboard supports the bundled processor. It’s also worth noting that some motherboards, even though they aren’t specified on release, can support future-generation processors.

Know that a BIOS Check Is Vital for Future-Proofing

Motherboards can support new processors if it has an updated BIOS. The perks of these updates don’t necessarily focus on supporting next-gen processors but also on improving overall performance. To get the full understanding of an update, refer to the release notes of the BIOS.

Even though it is optional to update your BIOS regularly, it’s a great practice for future-proofing. If you’re planning to upgrade your processor down the line, you should update your motherboard’s BIOS to avoid compatibility problems.

Conclusion

There you have it! To make things easier for you, here’s a quick list of the best Motherboard CPU combos you could get today:

  1. If you wish to get the best premium experience, you deserve the Core i9-10900K + ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490 (WiFi 6) combo.
  2. Are you looking for a workstation combo? Get the Ryzen 9 3900X + MSI MAG X570 Tomahawk!
  3. The Ryzen 7 3700X + MSI B450 Tomahawk combo can deliver everything you need and more.
  4. You can maximize your Ryzen 5 3600 with the MSI B450 Tomahawk and its reliable heat sink design.
  5. The budget combo Ryzen 3 3300X + MSI B450 Tomahawk should allow you to achieve high frame rates through overclocking.

Which among the motherboard CPU combo are you more inclined to get? Tell us in the comments section!

JA Padilla is a writer and gamer by heart. Dedicated to helping people in both the gaming and tech industry, he spends his time writing informative, detailed how-to's, and in-depth guide articles since 2011.

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