Best PC Gaming Motherboards 2014
Best PC Motherboards for the Money
Your computer's motherboard is one of the most important components in your PC Gaming build because all of your computer's components and peripherals plug into it. While a motherboard won't directly increase the performance of your computer, a good motherboard adds durability and stability to your system and can it easier to overclock. In this post we'll look at some of the top rated gaming motherboards for the money under or around $100, $200, $300 and $400.
Latest Motherboard Chipsets and Socket Types
There are 3 main socket types of motherboards available on the market right now; 1155, 2011, and AM3 Plus.
For Sandy Bridge:
Socket 1155 motherboards were released in early 2011 in conjunction with Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors. At first just the P67, and H67 chipsets were released and a few months later the more desirable Z68 chipset was released. The Z68 chipset gives both integrated and dedicated graphics support as well as the flexibility to overclock your GPU, CPU, and Ram. In addition Intel released "smart response technology" which allowed for improvements to hard drive speed through SSD caching of up to 64GB. GEN3 Z68 motherboards were released in the last half of 2011 which support both PCIe 3.0 and Ivy Bridge processors.
For Ivy Bridge:
Intel's standard Ivy Bridge processors were released in March of 2012 and the Z77, H77, and Z75 chipsets were released shortly after. Intel's Z77 and Z75 chipsets support overclocking of the GPU, CPU, and Ram but only the Z77 and H77 chipsets support SSD Caching. All of these new chipsets natively support 3 independent displays, 4 USB 3.0 ports, and 2 SATA III. The PCIe configuration differs with the Z77 supporting 1 x16, 2 x8 or 1 x8 + 2 x4, the Z75 supporting 1 x16 or 2 x8, and the H77 supporting 1 x 16. If you find them for a similar price it does make sense to go with the Z77; however, you may find some significant savings by going with a Z75 or H77 board.
Haswell processors require a compatible 1150 motherboard. If you have a second or third generation "i" series processor already, then it's probably not worth upgrading your motherboard and CPU. This is especially the case for overclockers who are actually seeing better results with the previous generations of processors.
AM3 Plus Socket Motherboards:
Designed for release with AMD's Bulldozer FX series of processors AM3 Plus motherboards are also compatible with AMD Phenom II, Athlon II, and Sempron 100 Series processors. When compared to AM3 motherboards, AM3 Plus motherboards offer better power regulation, a faster serial link, and a redesigned CPU cooler that offers better airflow. AM3 Plus motherboards are not yet PCIe 3.0 compatible.
Want to know how PCIe 3.0 affects performance? Check out this post on the best graphics cards for the money.
Top Ten Value PC Gaming Motherboards 2014 - Under $100
Up to 32GB Dual Channel DDR3 at up to 2133 OC, PCI Express 2.0 x16; 2 (x16, x4), 6 x SATA 6Gb/s, Rear Panel: 2 x USB 3.0, 6 x USB 3.0, 1 x Optical, includes Quad-GPU CrossFireX Support!, and comes with a 3 year parts and labor warranty from Asus.
Budget B75 Motherboard Under $100
Although this Micro ATX board is normally meant for businesses it still makes a great mid range rig motherboard and the price can't be beat. You get support for Ivy Bridge, PCIe 3.0 and additional technical details include; up to 32GB DDR3 dual channel memory at up to 1600, PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot, 4 x SATA 3Gb/s, 1 x SATA 6Gb/s, and rear ports include; 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, D-Sub + DVI, 1 HDMI, 4 x USB 2.0, 2 X USB 3.0, and includes a 3 year parts and labor warranty.
A Good Value Gaming Motherboard Under $150 in 2014
New Motherboard Options Under $200 - LGA 1155 Asus P8Z77-V PRO
Despite Haswell's release the Asus P8Z77-V PRO is still very appealing to those who are looking for a bargain and a good Ivy Bridge combo.
What Type of Motherboard do you Plan on Purchasing?
Choose your preference below;
Good Gaming Motherboards Under $300 in 2014
Enthusiast Sandy and Ivy Bridge Motherboards Under $400 in 2014
Asus' moderate level Sabertooth motherboard is a great overclocker for those seeking max performance.
What's Your Favorite Brand of Motherboard? - Interactive Poll
Which one do you prefer?
Don't forget to also vote for your favorite headset in our new post; Best Gaming Headset for the Money and leave a comment below.