Best Motherboard for Gaming - Top i7 i5 CPU Board Combo for 2014
Intel's i7 series of processors offer you the best single thread performance you'll get on the market. As an owner of several recent i7s including the i7-2600k, i7-3770k, Haswell i7-4770k, and i7-3930k I'll give you my insight and picks (right) for motherboard combos to use in conjunction with the i7.
Because CPUs only fit certain motherboards it's important that you decide which type of gaming processor you want before you look at motherboards. If you haven't chosen your CPU then I recommend you read this hub on the best gaming processors for 2013.
No AMD Boards?
Before we begin I'd like to advise you that since this hub is about i7 CPU and motherboards, there will be no AMD boards and CPU featured. This is because I have written a hub entirely dedicated to the best AMD CPU motherboard combos for 2013.
Why you need to choose your CPU first
If you already know why you need to choose a CPU before you choose your motherboard, then you can skip this section.
Motherboard's are brand specific. For example, you wouldn't try to put an AMD processor on a motherboard that is made for an Intel processor or vice versa. Also motherboards only fit certain types of CPUs. The easiest way for you to tell if a motherboard would work with the CPU that you have is to look at what type of socket it has. The "i" series of Intel processors are all built in one of four types of sockets, the LGA 1155, 1150, 2011 and 1366. When purchasing your CPU it will list the socket type in the processor name. Make sure it matches the socket type in one of the motherboards that you choose below.
What's the difference between the i7-4770k and i5-4670k?
One of the biggest questions in the builder world right now is whether the additional money for the i7-4770k is worth it. As far as gaming is concerned you probably won't see a noticeable difference in FPS. The i7-4770k does have hyperthreading allowing you to use its 4 cores as 8 threads. Additional details include 8MB of L3 cache rather than 6MB for the i5-4670k. If you are a part-time graphic designer, do 3D rendering, video editing, or just like to multitask, then it's probably worth it to go for the i7.
Ivy Bridge Z77 vs Z75 vs H77 Chipsets
While all 3 of these chipsets are compatible with Ivy and Sandy Bridge processors, it's important to know the differences between them in order to make the right motherboard decision. The Z77 chipset gives you overclocking for your graphics card, processor, and ram. It also gives you Smart Response technology and integrated graphics support. The main difference between the other two is that the H77 doesn't support overclocking your RAM while the Z75 doesn't support Intel Smart Response technology.
Is it worth it to upgrade to Haswell?
Gaming Motherboards: Options to Consider:
Sata 3 Gb/s vs 6 Gb/s?
One of the options to consider when choosing a motherboard will be whether you want Sata 3 Gb/s or 6 Gb/s. From what I've seen most 1155 and 1366 socket motherboards are compatible with the Sata 6 while only some of the 1156 are. In the future because of solid state drives this may become a moot point, but from what I have read from Seagate in the last couple of days, SSD may not become a standard for several years until there is more capacity to produce them. Also remember that if you want to use the 6 Gb/s not only do you need a motherboard that is compatible with it, but a hard drive as well. Expect to pay a little bit more for one with 6 Gb/s Capability.
DDR3 and USB 3.0
Most newer boards now support both, but it's always worth checking. All chipsets built for Ivy Bridge, including the popular H77, Z75, and Z77 chipsets, offer native USB 3.0.
How much ram do you plan on using? A good motherboard will go up to at least 16 GB of ram or more. For gaming, I don't see a need for more than 16 GB of ram for the next several years. That being said here are many that now go up to 128 GB. If it's cheaper, then I'd stick with 8 or 16 GB for now as by the time you actually need more ram, you'll want to upgrade everything anyway.
Best Value Gaming Motherboard CPU Combo
My choice for the best gaming motherboard CPU combo under or around $500 is the ASRock Extreme 4 Z77 chipset motherboard along with the i5-3570k
This allows you to have a CPU that gives you just about the max FPS you'll get while gaming and a board that won't slow you down when you go and try to overclock. I also really like the back I/O options for this particular board.
*Also Consider: Gigabyte Intel Z77 LGA 1155 AMD CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI W/ HDMI,DVI,DispayPort Dual UEFI BIOS ATX Motherboard GA-Z77X-UD3H and theASUS P8Z77-V LX LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard.
About: Best Motherboard for Gaming - Top i7 CPU Combo
I hope you've enjoyed this hub on the best motherboards for gaming. If you have, then please comment and vote this hub up at the bottom. This allows other gamers to see this hub.
Did I miss something?
Sometimes I try to run 4 cores on a brain that simply only has one. When I try to overclock, it freezes and gives me a blue screen. If I've missed a product that you would like me to feature, then let me know in the comments below. You can see additional information on the all best new z68 motherboard here.