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 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. This board will set you back $164.98.

Bottom line: It's 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 their 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 5 frames per second (FPS) 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 Sixth-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 packed in all the necessary technologies to allow owners to easily overclock supporting CPUs from Intel, as well as fine-tune their gaming rig to get the most out of the 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. Spend 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 recommend for new builds that aren't to break FPS records in newer, more demanding titles.

Best Enthusiast

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 it supports four-way SLI, because why not? It's also $549.59.

Bottom line: It's a decent premium motherboard packed full of useful features for overclocking and gaming.

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

Best AMD

MSI X370 Gaming Pro Carbo

MSI X370 PRo Carbon

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MSI has taken full advantage of AMD's new line of CPUs and is offering a top of the class platform for those wanting to use Ryzen for computing and gaming. The Gaming Pro Carbon is a solid board, supporting up to 64GB DDR RAM, the latest AMD processor, and GPUs, as well as being certified as "VR ready." Not bad for $169.99.

Bottom line: It's one of the best AM4 motherboards you can buy without paying extra for not-so-useful features.

One more thing: This motherboard also supports three-way CrossFire technology.

Best Intel

GIGABYTE GA-Z270X-Ultra Gaming

GIGABYTE GA-Z270X-Ultra Gaming

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Highlights of the GA-Z270X include USB 3.1 with USB Type-C, Relate ALC1120 audio, and RGB FUSION with Multi-Zone LED lighting. There are LEDs everywhere, including both the RAM and PCIe slots, making for quite the visual experience. This motherboard isn't the cheapest, nor is it the most expensive, coming in at $143.37.

Bottom line: This is the perfect motherboard for case modders and those who enjoy installing LED lighting.

One more thing: It supports seventh-gen Intel Kaby Lake processors.

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 onboard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity can prove to be invaluable for mini-ITX builds. This mini motherboard commands a larger price at $202.37.

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 gets the job done.

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.

Best budget Intel

Gigabyte H110M-A

Gigabyte H110M-A

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Gigabyte's more affordable option (at $54.99) 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 sixth-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 bear that in mind when planning a build.

Best budget AMD

ASUS PRIME A320M-K

ASUS Prime A320M-K

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AMD processors are generally more affordable options than Intel, but that doesn't mean you should spend more on a solid motherboard to accompany your shiny new CPU. The PRIME A320M-K motherboard by ASUS will do everything you need for stable gameplay, offering support for DDR4 (32GB), PCI-E slot, USB 3.1, and an M.2 slot.

Like our budget Intel board, this is an affordable option at $59.99.

Bottom line: Going AMD? The PRIME A320M-K motherboard by ASUS 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 support for Ryzen.

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 and 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 roundup for different requirements and segments.

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 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. This board will set you back $164.98.

Bottom line: It's 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.

Updated July 17, 2017: The ASUS Z170 remains our best overall choice. We replaced the AM3 ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z 990FX with the AM4 MSI X370 GAMING PRO CARBON, and the ASRock 970A-G/3.1 with the ASUS PRIME A320M-K.