- The Best AMD Motherboards for gaming of 2021
- Buying Guides
- Best AMD motherboards for gaming reviews in 2021
- Final Thoughts
The Best AMD Motherboards for gaming of 2021
In the last decade, not so many people were familiar with AMD, because Intel has been on top for many years. However, AMD and Intel have been competitors since the beginning of personal computers. AMD was famous for new and powerful hardware including processors and graphics cards.
With the newest Ryzen lineups, AMD has prevailed to claim the throne again, and in many people’s opinion, including some in our team, AMD successfully did that. AMD motherboards are powerful, durable, work consistently over time, which are the essential features for gaming. In this article, we’ll recommend the best AMD motherboards for gaming.
1. The socket
The highlighted location on a motherboard is the socket. The socket is the means of communication for the CPU and the motherboard. Normally, the motherboard consists of a little IC, or chip called the CMOS, which stores the information about the BIOS settings and how the computer boots up. The CMOS does only one job, that is to give the CPU the authority of doing things. To conclude, the motherboard itself doesn’t handle the processing tasks but it asks the CPU for help.
The socket contains hundreds or thousands of pins, which is very little and easy to break. This is the difference between Intel and AMD sockets poses. Intel socket is made with the principles of Land-Grid-Array, or LGA, for which it is called LGA, while AMD sockets such as AM4 or AM3 use the principles called PGA, or Pin Grid Array.
LGA puts the pins in the socket to connect to the printed circuit board (the flat-pin CPUs). On the other hand, PGA puts the pins on the circuit board or the CPU itself, connecting to the sockets with holes instead of pins. Each of the architectures shows its own advantages and disadvantages, but generally, to the sockets and CPUs, you gotta be extra careful.
2. RAM / Memory
The RAM is the next thing you need to care about. Here is the list of values or specifications you need to know before you select:
- The maximum memory capacity: Denotes the maximum amount of memory the motherboard and the CPU can handle. Note that it also depends on the ability of the CPU, not just the motherboard alone. It would be useful if sometime in the future you decide to upgrade your PC to play the latest games at the time
- The bus frequency: The common bus frequencies are 800MHz, 1333MHz, 2666MHz, 4400MHz, 4800MHz. What it means by those frequencies is, the higher the frequency is, the more times the RAM sends and receives data to and from the common bus. The more data is sent in one second, obviously, means the faster and useful the RAM is to the CPU and the computer.
- The number of slots: Although it is the least important factor, you kinda need to know. There is a myth that two 512MB RAMs put into two slots are faster than one 1GB RAM put into one slot. However, I’m not sure if that’s proven or not.
PCIe compatibility also highly depends on the support from the CPUs. The latest Ryzen 9 series from AMD supports the PCIe 4.0, which gives us the transfer rate of up to 16GT/s with 16 lanes or even 32 lanes. With 16 lanes, the CPU can transfer up to 256Gbps, or 32GB/s; with 32 lanes, the speed could reach 64GB/s, which is way over sufficient for your graphics cards, network cards, M.2 SSDs, etc.
The next factor standing in the way of PCIe support is the motherboard. If the CPU supports PCIe 4.0 with 16 lanes while the motherboard only works with PCIe 3.0 with 8 lanes, you’ll eventually get only the minimum values, PCIe 3.0 with 8 lanes. Vice versa, when the motherboard supports the things CPUs can’t handle, it means nothing at all.
Therefore, it is the best when you select the motherboard and CPU with roughly the same specifications for best compatibility.
The motherboards also offer you a lot of SATA interfaces to connect to your storage SSD. Here’s the list of recommended SSDs from AMD’s partners:
- AORUS NVMe Gen 4 SSD (1-2 TB) with up to 5000/4400 MB/s R/W rate.
- Corsair MP600 Gen.4 NVMe M.2 (500GB – 2TB) at up to 4950/4250 MB/s R/W rate.
- Samsung 980 Pro (up to 1TB) at 7000/5000 MB/s R/W rate.
- WD Black SN850 (up to 2TB) at up to 7000/5300 MB/s R/W rate.
5. Sizes of the motherboard
Before buying the motherboard, you need to know which CPU you’re gonna pair it with. A CPU uses a specific socket, which needs to be supported by the motherboard.
Form factors are the definition of motherboards’ sizes and power supply; therefore, some form factors might not be possible for some specific socket, when the space and the power is insufficient. Below is the most popular form factors for the best AMD motherboard for gaming:
- ATX: the most popular form factor introduced by Intel, which looks like a golden ratio rectangle.
- ITX: An alternative to ATX, but not as popular
- Mini-ITX: The squared form factor, introduced to reduce significantly the size of the computer but still maintaining the performance and cooling capabilities.
- EATX: The form factor made for servers, racks, etc. This is usually bigger than ATX and features a more effective cooling solution.
6. Additional features
- Cooling system: Usually comes with thermal pad and heatsink or fans to help contribute to the cooling process. Alternate cooling solutions are highly recommended for intense gaming and content creating tasks.
- Monitor connectivity: Includes the supports for HDMI and DisplayPort. HDMI is more common, popular and easy to set up. In contrast, DisplayPort gives us more flexible connection capability, higher resolutions at higher frame rates.
- Wi-Fi and Ethernet: Ethernet is the essential on motherboards; however, high-end modern motherboards often make it with a built-in WiFi network card for wireless gaming.
Best AMD motherboards for gaming reviews in 2021
1. MSI Performance Gaming AMD X470
MSI Performance Gaming AMD X470 is based on the chipset X470 made by AMD, with the socket AM4, 64GBs of maximum RAM capacity at 2133MHz. It is compatible with the Ryzen 3th and 2nd generation, along with the AMD Athlon.
The motherboard is made by MSI for real gaming experience; therefore, it is turbo boosted with lots of features: the Turbo M.2 SSD for even faster drives’ speed, AMD storemi technology, and AMD turbo USB 3.2 Gen 2 for faster external drives. The mainboard itself boosts the power up to support the core more and provide better performance.
The Mystic Light and Mystic Light Syncing are probably the most highlighted features of the motherboard, supporting 7 colors and 7 effects with one single click. The last thing about the motherboard is the capability of overclocking. When it’s overclocked the RAM can run at the ridiculously high speed of 4133MHz.
- 2133MHz of RAM + 4 slots – 4133MHz if overclocked
- Turbo M.2 SSD
- AMD storemi
- AMD turbo USB 3.2
- Mystic Light and Mystic Light Syncing
2. ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming
We would like to introduce the first B550 motherboard today, the ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming. B500 chipset is the most advanced chipsets for gaming made by AMD.
The motherboard is a combination of high performance power, lighting speed and extending capacity. It features an AM4 socket, of course, 128GBs of maximum capacity for 4400MHz DDR4 memory, and PCIe 4.0. You heard me right, PCIe 4.0.
First of all, in terms of power, the technology named 12+2 DrMOS power stages with high-quality alloy chokes for the best reliability. The Optimized Thermal Solution includes the fanless VRM and chipset heatsink with ASUS Stack Cool 3+.
The motherboard is packed with the On-board Wi-Fi 6 network card, 2.5G LAN card with LANGuard technology, preventing the motherboard from going to a really high voltage that could cause damage. It supports HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.2, PCIe 4.0, M.2 interfaces, and finally Thunderbolt 3 connections. Finally, the RGB lighting is beautiful and customizable.
- B550 premium chipset.
- 4400MHz of DDR4 memory, 128GBs of maximum capacity.
- HDMI 2.1 + DisplayPort 1.2 + PCIe 4.0 x 4 + M.2.
- USB 3.2 + Thunderbolt 3.
- 12+2 DrMOS power stages.
- ASUS Stack Cool 3+
3. Gigabyte X570 AORUS Elite
Gigabyte X570 AORUS Elite is branded AORUS, which is a premium branch of the Gigabyte motherboard manufacturer, with ATX size for the best performance and building solutions. The mainboard supports 4 dual-channel ECC unbuffered DDR4 RAM slots at 2133MHz.
As for cooling, it supports a true 12 phase digital VRM, extended VRM heatsink and thermal guard for PCIe slots. It has Realtek ALC1200 built-in as an audio card, Front USB type-C slots and RGB Fusion 2.0. Order this mainboard now, you have options on Amazon to buy a combo with the processor, the thermal paste, and the gaming keyboard for a reduced price, so be sure to check that out
- AORUS branded.
- 4 x 2133MHz RAMs.
- 12 phase digital VRM + extended VRM heatsink.
- Thermal guard for PCIe.
- Realtek ALC 1200, Front USB type-C.
- RGB Fusion 2.0
4. MSI MAG A520M Vector
In the series of the best AMD motherboard for gaming, we introduce the MSI MAG A520M Vector, the motherboard foundationed on the A520 chipset. The board features the AM4 socket, specifically made for AMD Ryzen 3 series and Ryzen 4000 G-series.
The memory type is DDR4, working at the speed of 4600MHz if being overclocked. It is also equipped with the Turbo M.2 SSD technology, M.2 ShieldFrozr, and M.2 thermal solution. Speaking of cooling, the mainboard is made with extended heatsink, for maximum cooling ability and performance.
It does support PCIe 4.0, SATA 6Gbps, USB 3.2, and WiFi 6 built-in. However, due to the budget price, the features might be limited when there’s only 2 slots of RAM, 2 slots of SATA, and one PCIe. In exchange for the lack of interfaces, it sizes micro ATX, which significantly reduces the size of your case.
- Micro ATX
- PCIe 4.0 + SATA + USB 3.2 + WiFi 6
- 4600MHz RAM if overclocked
- Turbo M.2 + M.2 ShieldFrozr + M.2 Thermal solution
1. What is PGA and LGA?
PGA is the concept adopted by AMD for its socket, while LGA is defined by Intel. The main difference between these two is as below:
- LGA socket features pins on the socket, to be connected to the printed circuit board (PCB – flat pin) on the CPU
- PGA, on the contrary, features flat pins or holes on the socket to be connected to the pins on the CPU
Each of them has its own advantage; therefore, choosing which should be considered thoroughly.
2. What does it mean by gigabit ethernet?
Traditional Ethernet card supports the network speed of 100Mbps, which stands for Megabits per second. In order to transfer a byte, the link needs to at least transfer 8 bits, not to mention error handling and other advanced bits. Thus, 100Mbps means that the maximum speed it can achieve in the perfect situations is 12.5 MB/s.
Gigabit Ethernet uses the link speed at 1Gbps, which can send up to 125MB/s. In the same method, we can see the 2.5G Ethernet would support the speed of 312.5MB/s and 10G Ethernet supports the speed of 1.25GB/s.
3. What is M.2?
Traditionally, PCI interfaces are meant for graphics cards and SATA interfaces are meant for storage. In the age of NVMe SSDs whose internal reading and writing speeds have surpassed the speed of SATA 3 at 6Gbps, they have created the M.2 standard.
On some websites, you might find yourselves confused between the M.2 2280 and M.2 2242. 2280 or 2242 represents the form factor of the M.2 interface, where 22 is the height in millimeters and 80 is the width in millimeters. Check your form factor on your mainboard and SSD is a must before buying both.
4. What is SATA?
SATA is the old definition of storage interface. SATA stands for serial ATA interface which can provide the speed up to 6Gbps with revision 3. Nowadays, with the evolution of PCIe 4.0, M.2 SSD can provide the speed up to 32Gbps, but for general purpose, SATA is still popular.
5. Is my motherboard compatible with all AMD CPUs?
To be compatible with a CPU, the motherboard has to have the exact socket the CPU has. However, to the latest AM4 socket, it shows a real problem. The problem is the AM4 socket isn’t fully compatible with the latest Ryzen 5000 series, and AMD has been criticized for that.
The issue lies in the fact that the pins on the socket are not sufficient for the processor. Therefore, AMD did some BIOS update to the motherboard to reallocate the use of the pins for Ryzen 5000 series compatibility.
Gaming is for everyone, even if you don’t think you need it. The best AMD motherboard for gaming should have the latest AM4 socket, support PCIe 4.0, have RAM run at a high bus speed. Therefore, we have outlined the best AMD motherboard for gaming and here’s the list:
- The best AMD motherboard for gaming: ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming
- The best AMD motherboard for gaming branded MSI: MSI MAG B550 TOMAHAWK Gaming Motherboard
- Another one from MSI: MSI MPG X570 GAMING EDGE WIFI Motherboard
- The best micro-ATX motherboard: MSI MAG A520M Vector
- The best B450 motherboard: ASUS ROG Strix B450-F Gaming II AMD AM4
- The best Mini-ITX mainboard: Gigabyte X570 Mini ITX
- The budget choice: Gigabyte X570 AORUS Elite
That has been the list of the best AMD motherboard for gaming. Thank you for reading my recommendations today, and I hope to see you in the next articles!