Who is the best board
Motherboard test 2021
Finding the best motherboard for your own PC is a challenge in itself. Although the influence on the performance is not as great as that of the CPU, GPU, RAM or hard disk, you should still pay attention to a few things when buying, because not only the socket must match the CPU, but also the chipset, equipment and design get noticed. If it is too time-consuming for you to compare a large number of motherboards, you can follow our purchase recommendation, because we have already done the research for you. We can highly recommend the Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon from MSI as a 1151 board, because it is very well equipped, offers good performance and convinces with good additional features. Alternatively, the H81M-DGS from ASRock is also highly recommended as a 1150 board, because it is solidly equipped, inexpensive and offers good performance.
ASRock's board is a solid mid-range board that is compatible with 4th generation Intel processors. It convinces with a very affordable price with solid features and decent performance. It offers 5.1 HD audio, two USB 3.1 slots and supports dual-channel memory. The price structure is very good.
The board is not very suitable for gaming or raid PCs and only has two DDR3 RAM slots.
If you are looking for an inexpensive 1150 board for Intel CPUs that is absolutely sufficient for all-round PCs and offers a very good ratio between price, equipment and performance, the model from ASRock is ideal.
Motherboard purchase advisor
The mainboard - also called motherboard or main board - is the central switching unit of every PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. In this test, however, we limited ourselves to motherboards for desktop PCs, because these are the easiest to replace and the range is very large. In order to be able to decide which model is the best motherboard for your purposes, you have to deal with the most important criteria such as socket, chipset and features before comparing prices. Because the question of whether a high-quality gaming mainboard or a cheap mainboard is sufficient for your purposes can only be answered once you know all the specifications of your processor and tower. To make your decision even easier, we have put the most popular models under the microscope in the test and put together the best motherboards of 2021 for you in our final list of the best. You can use this list as a recommendation for different models with different bases.
Socket and BIOS
With compact computers such as tablets, laptops or even smartphones, there is usually only one suitable mainboard. In comparison, with desktop mainboards you have the choice between different versions for different processors. Which processors a board is suitable for can be determined on the basis of the socket. The most important criterion above all others is therefore the question of the base. Because if the board does not fit the processor because you want to build it in, the best motherboard will be of little or no use to you. In addition to the matching socket, you must also ensure that the board supports your processor in terms of software. Complications can arise, for example, if you want to use a CPU of the latest generation and want to combine it with a rather old mainboard. Here it may be necessary to carry out a BIOS update of the mainboard, which can be a major hurdle for a layperson. The BIOS is basically the firmware or the operating system of the mainboard.
Basically, a suitable socket means that a CPU can be installed on a mainboard. Common socket variants are, for example, the mainstream socket from Intel (1151) or the AMD mainstream socket (AM4). There are also other sockets such as the somewhat older Intel socket 1150 or the AM3 +, which is also suitable for AMD processors. The 1150 socket already supports i7 processors (up to the 3770 Sandy Bridge) and i5 processors (up to the i5-3570), but is no longer compatible with the newer generation. High-end sockets for high-performance processors of the latest generation can be, for example, the 2066 from Intel or the TR4 from AMD.
Chipset and equipment
You should also pay attention to the chipset of the board, because it is ultimately responsible for communication between the individual system components. All input and output signals of the processor, the graphics card and the main memory. All of this communication takes place via the northbridge of the mainboard chip. The faster this is, the more expensive the mainboard is in the end, because it is not uncommon - especially with high-end components - the northbridge is the bottleneck when it comes to the performance of the board. As a layman, it is difficult to compare the chipsets directly with one another, but the price ranges of the mainboards of the well-known manufacturers serve as a good indicator for the chipset. Because a board with similar features and the same socket can be significantly more expensive due to a faster chip.
When buying, pay attention to the features and other connections. This starts with the PCI slots and their speed for the graphics card, continues through the RAM slots and the SATA connections to the number and type of USB plugs and other connection options. If a board is designed for overclocking, it also offers extensive options for setting clock rates and multipliers yourself. Make sure that you can connect all your devices and compare the maximum speeds and clock rates - especially with the main memory, because a fast RAM bar is of little use if the board does not support the clock rate of the memory, so it has to be clocked down. If you want to use two graphics cards together, you should also have two PCI Express slots.
It is also worth taking a look at the network and connection options. There are boards with LAN, WLAN or Bluetooth connection options. The bottom line is that a comparison of the equipment in the price comparison definitely makes perfect sense.
Size or tree shape
The design of the boards differs from model to model. The sizes and positions of the drill holes are standardized. In the area of desktop mainboards, the most common design is ATX. The board here is a bit larger than an A4 sheet of paper. If a housing supports ATX, the smaller version - Mini ATX - is usually also supported. However, the reverse is not true. Micro-ATX boards, which are used to assemble particularly compact computers, are even smaller. Here, however, you have to make significant cuts in the number of slots. In addition, very small boards are a bit more expensive in direct comparison. Therefore, always pay attention to the maximum size your tower supports.
There are also somewhat rarer designs such as BTX or Micro-BTX and FlexATX. So before buying, check the instructions for your case to see whether the board you want fits. If in doubt, you should measure yourself. In this context, always pay attention to the position of the graphics card and the maximum length of the graphics card in the housing. Modern graphics cards are often very large and long, so that there is not enough space for them in every case. With very small boards, the CPU cooler and graphics card can also get in each other's way.
Motherboard test winner - Top 5
If you want to buy a new motherboard, you will quickly find that the selection is very large and the range is diverse. To make the purchase decision easier for you, we have examined the most popular mainboards of different classifications and with different sockets and combined the test winners to form the top 5 list of the best mainboards of the year 2021.
MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon (LGA 1151)
The gaming motherboard from MSI prevailed as the best motherboard. The ATX board with LGA 1151 socket not only impresses with its high-quality workmanship, but also with its excellent features. With 10 USB 3.1 (two Gen2 and eight Gen1) ports, one USB-C port and all common interfaces for DDR4 memory, HDMI and two DVI ports, you can easily connect all display devices.
The needs of tuners have also been thought of, so RGB light strips can be connected to the gaming motherboard with the Mystic Light connector and configured using the app. With Audio Boost 4, Gaming LAN with Lan Protect and Guard Pro, multi-GPU compatibility via Steel Armor PCI-Express slots (NVidia SLI is of course supported) and various in-game tools, the needs of all gamers are perfectly met. In addition, the MSI mainboard supports immersion in virtual worlds via VR Boost, because the separate chip improves the signal at the VR-optimized USB port, which means that the VR headset can be controlled better. For M.2 SSD hard drives, an additional cooling pack is installed on the board in order to reduce the strong heat build-up.
On the software side, the gaming experience is also improved and accelerated via MSI Gaming Tools, so that the bottom line is that nothing is left to be desired. Due to the high price, the mainboard is not worthwhile for an office or multimedia PC, but if you are looking for the best gaming motherboard that can get more out of the games with perfectly matched components, you will find it with the Z270.
See price at Amazon.de
ASRock H81M-DGS (LGA 1150)
If you are looking for an inexpensive mainboard with LGA 1150 socket in micro-ATX form, which is very suitable for office PCs and universal PCs, then the H81M-DGS from ASRock can be recommended without reservation.
The board supports all 4th generation Intel processors, DDR3 dual channel RAM and has a PCI-Express 2.0 16x and a 1x slot as well as a 5.1 channel HD audio chip, 2 SATA3, 2 SATA2, 2 USB 3.1 Gen1 and 8 USB 2.0 connections (4 of them at the front and 4 at the back). A-Tuning, XFast 555 and Easy Driver Installation are also supported, making the board suitable for a wide range of PCs for everyday use.
The equipment is very good in relation to the price, even if gamers will certainly not get their money's worth here. The price-performance ratio fits, the workmanship is solid and the benchmark values were also quite convincing, because compared to high-end motherboards you lose significantly less performance than you might expect. Everyone who wants to set up a raid or a gaming PC is not well served. The board can be recommended to all others as a cheap alternative to expensive boards.
See price at Amazon.de
One upgrade kit 67016 (AM3)
If you want to buy a mainboard, but don't want to have to swap out the processor and RAM, a mainboard bundle could be of interest to you. The mainboard set from One was particularly convincing in the test for office and all-round PCs, because you can choose between different variants and combinations. Each set includes a gigabyte mainboard and, depending on the variant, different sized DDR3 RAM and an AMD processor including a KAlpenfön CPU cooler such as the FX-4300 with 4x 3.8 GHz. If necessary, you can also buy a complete set including an AMD graphics card or a set without a graphics card.
The advantage of the set is that all parts are already pre-assembled, so you only have to install the motherboard including the components in your housing and connect it to the power supply. Depending on the set, the graphics card must then be plugged in and you can start immediately. The mainboard is a gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 with 4 DDR3 slots, one PCI-Express slot 16 or 1x and three USB 3.0 and 4 USB 2.0 slots. The board also offers a 7.1 audio chip and PS / 2 connections. Internally there are 2 more USB 3.0 and 4 USB 2.0 ports as well as 6x SATA with 3Gb per second. This makes it a solid mainboard with an AM3 + socket that is absolutely sufficient for all home and office areas. The bottom line is that the price-performance ratio is good when you consider that the motherboard alone costs around 50 - 60 euros. However, the complete set is too weak for a gaming PC or for anyone who wants to use complex software, because very processor-heavy applications such as rendering 3D content or video editing can quickly lead to overheating. But if you are looking for a solid office set for simple applications, you will definitely get your money's worth here.
See price at Amazon.de
Gigabyte 970 gaming (AM3 +)
Gigabyte's gaming motherboard is equipped with an AM3 + socket that is designed for AMD processors. If you want to put together a gaming PC that uses a processor from AMD, such a motherboard is therefore mandatory and the 970 from Gigabyte performed very well in the test.
The ATX board equipped with an AMD 970 chip offers 4 DDR3 slots for a maximum of 32 GB of RAM, which of course can also be operated in dual channel mode. Thanks to fast USB 3.1 support (Type C) as well as PCI-Express (Gen 2) and SATA interface for M.2 SSD hard drives, the board is particularly suitable for all those who want to put together an AMD gaming PC and value a good price. Place for money. Crossfire for the parallel operation of two PCI-Express graphics cards from AMD is also supported and the Realtek ALC1150 audio chip is also quite convincing. Only when listening to loud music can electromagnetic charging lead to a slight noise, so that this may have to be retrofitted. This also significantly disrupts the WLAN signal when using a stick. In terms of price, the mainboard is in the middle range, so the bottom line is that the price-performance ratio is good. If you can live with the small weaknesses, you will receive a solid and powerful board at a fair price.
See price at Amazon.de
Asus Z170 Pro Gaming (LGA 1151)
The Asus mainboard is available as ATX, ATX with RGB lighting and Mini ITX, so that you can choose the variant according to your needs. In terms of price, the LGA1151 gaming motherboard for Intel processors is in the upper midfield, but the equipment is convincing.
GameFirst III technology ensures stable and fast LAN connections, the USB 3.1 connections offer very good performance for external data carriers and thanks to the M.2 interface, SSD disks can also be controlled very quickly. The possibility of overclocking the DDR4 memory results in additional potential for the speed of the main memory and the Intel processors of the 6th generation can also be comfortably overclocked by up to 400 MHz with the board. Thanks to the TurboV Processing Unit, this is also quite easy for laypersons.
A disadvantage in the test, however, was that the board boots relatively slowly and there were driver problems with the USB 3.1 port here and there. The RAM compatibility list is also not very advantageous, because the RAM modules listed there are sometimes difficult to get, which means that you are practically forced to use RAM that has not been officially tested. With this, however, the automatic settings in the BIOS sometimes do not work properly when overclocking.
Buy from Amazon.de (€ 319)
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