Awarding a specific motherboard the gold trophy was a difficult task, but we decided that the ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming series motherboard is still the best bang for your buck.

Best overall

ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming

ASUS Z170

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The ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming motherboard is a solid investment for gamers who are looking to take their Intel-powered experiences to the next level. Sporting support for DDR4 RAM, Intel's latest Kaby Lake processors, as well as quality components and tools for easy overclocking, the Z170 Pro Gaming by ASUS is a great mid-range solution.

Bottom line: A decent premium motherboard packed full of useful features for overclocking and gaming.

One more thing: You've got access to the awesome ASUS BIOS and advanced AI Suite features.

Why the ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming is the best motherboard

The ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming, like other boards in its price bracket, offers impressive functionality, reliability and advanced features, but won't destroy the budget like more premium options.

The Z170 Pro Gaming board by ASUS is a mid-range motherboard for gamers and PC owners who require a little more out of installed components. Coupling some advanced features found on the board itself, the company has paired everything up with its powerful BIOS and accompanying software suite.

Not only does it look the part, there's a lot of functionality here too. ASUS has shielded the audio to better protect channels against interference, there are on-board LEDs that have been tested to prove the addition of 5FPS in all games, and there's ample room to fit custom water cooling around the chipset shrouds. As for raw specifications, here's what the board packs and supports:

Category Specification
Form Factor ATX
CPU 6th-gen Intel Core i7/i5/i3, Pentium, Celeron (Socket 1151)
RAM 4x DDR4 3400MHz (overclocked)
Maximum: 64GB
PCI 2x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (Single at x16, dual at x8/x8)
1x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode)
3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1
Storage 1x SATA Express port (SATA 6.0 Gb/s)
1x M.2 Socket 3
4x SATA 6Gb/s ports
LAN Intel I219V Gigabit
Audio SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio
SupremeFX Shielding technology
I/O 1x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port
1x DVI
1x D-Sub
1x DisplayPort
1x HDMI
1x LAN (RJ45)
1x USB 3.1 Type-A (red)
1x USB 3.1 Type-C
4x USB 3.0
2x USB 2.0
1x Optical S/PDIF
5x Audio jacks

While there are a few downsides to the motherboard, including the lack of built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, ASUS has packed in all the necessary technology to allow owners to easily overclock supporting CPUs from Intel, as well as fine-tune their gaming rig to get the most out of installed components. A stellar BIOS user experience is matched by capable software for Windows called the AI Suite.

Pairing up a Core i5 6600K, comfortably bumped to around 4.6GHz, with a GTX 1070 would result in a very powerful mid-tier gaming PC. Spending a bit more on an i7 and GTX 1080 and you'll be future proofing for stunning 1440p and 4K experiences, not to mention virtual reality gaming. Utilizing all available features of the Z170 Gaming Pro also makes for a PC that doesn't create a similar ambiance to that of a busy runway.

It's a solid board and one we'd recommend for new builds that aren't to break FPS records in newer, more demanding titles.

Intel Extreme

MSI X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON

MSI X99A

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Should you require use of the 2011 socket, MSI has you covered with the X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON. The name is epic because the motherboard is epic. You've got up to 128GB of RAM, five PCI-Express slots, Turbo M.2 for speedy storage, Realtek ALC1150 audio, lighting, and supports 4-way SLI because why not?

Bottom line: A decent premium motherboard packed full of useful features for overclocking and gaming.

One more thing: Comes with a 1-year subscription to Xsplit for streaming games.

Best AMD

ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z 990FX

ASUS 990FX

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While many who build AMD systems try to keep the cost as low as possible, if you wish to take full advantage of AMD's flagship 990FX chipset and want the features, you'll want the ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z. Supreme FX, four PCI-E slots (3-way SLI/CrossFire), USB 3.0, and DDR3 2400MHz make up the specifications for a capable platform.

Bottom line: The 990FX chipset from AMD is the best you can get until Zen hits the market and we see the ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z as an ideal option.

One more thing: Note that this is a $180 motherboard, which many who are waiting for Zen or need to build a new AMD-powered system may find expensive.

Best Mini-ITX

ASUS Z170I PRO GAMING

ASUS Z170I

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The ASUS Z170I Pro Gaming board combines the latest Intel processor technology with a stable platform that offers expansive connectivity, including USB 3.1, SupremeFX audio, Intel Gigabit Ethernet, Atheros Wi-Fi, DDR 4000MHz, DisplayPort and HDMI, PCI-E slot, and Bluetooth 4.1. The on-board Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity can prove to be invaluable for mini-ITX builds.

Bottom line: Putting together a slim PC with a mini-ITX board can be a challenge when attempting to balance price with available features, but the Z170I Pro Gaming board from ASUS takes our top spot.

One more thing: There's an M.2 slot located on the underside of the motherboard, which can accommodate fast storage for the OS and games.

Budget Intel

Gigabyte H110M-A

Gigabyte H110M-A

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Gigabyte's more affordable option is a solid start for those seeking to build a new PC without forking out on expensive components with features they may never take advantage of. You have support for 6th-gen Intel processors, dual-channel DDR4 RAM, audio noise guard and high quality capacitors, HDMI out and Realtek GbE LAN.

Bottom line: If you have little interest in overclocking and want something affordable, the H110M-A is a great option.

One more thing: Everything is basic here, including the number of available PCI-E and DIMM slots, so do bear that in mind when planning a build.

Budget AMD

ASRock 970A-G/3.1

ASRock 970A-M

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AMD processors are more affordable options than Intel when you start looking at the 8-core variants available, but that doesn't mean you should spend more on a solid motherboard to accompany your shiny new CPU. The ASRock 970A-M Gaming motherboard will do everything you need for stable gameplay, offering DDR3 2400MHz, two PCI-E slots, USB 3.1 (USB Type-C), M.2 slot, and 6Gb/s SATA support.

Bottom line: Going AMD? The 970A-M Gaming motherboard by ASRock is a great place to start the search.

One more thing: You'll be hard pressed to find a comparable motherboard in this price bracket that offers M.2, USB 3.1, and multiple PCI-E slots.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, choosing the "best" motherboard is much like selecting from any top list when it comes to PC insides. It can depend on your budget, what you'll need to use the PC for, among other factors. While the ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming is top dog in our opinion, we'd absolutely recommend other listings in this round-up for different requirements and segments.

Best overall

ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming

ASUS Z170

See at Amazon

The ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming motherboard is a solid investment for gamers who are looking to take their Intel-powered experiences to the next level. Sporting support for DDR4 RAM, Intel's next-gen Kaby Lake processors, as well as quality components and tools for easy overclocking, the Z170 Pro Gaming by ASUS is a great mid-range solution.

Bottom line: A decent premium motherboard packed full of useful features for overclocking and gaming.

One more thing: You've got access to the awesome ASUS BIOS and advanced AI Suite features.