Following to our best motherboard picks on Intel's Z370 and AMD's budget B350 platform, today we’re checking out the best value Intel B360 motherboards. Our criteria for this one was simple: the boards must feature some form of VRM cooling to be considered, and of course, pricing. Spending over $100 on a B360 motherboard is ill-advised, we strongly suggest you target about $80 unless there was a special requirement. In other words, Intel B360 motherboards are reserved for budget builds, for everything else go with Z370 instead.
The Asrock B360M Pro4 ticks more boxes than any other B360 board in my opinion, and I reckon most will agree that this is one of the very best B360 motherboards available right now. As far as B360 pricing goes the Asrock board offers great value, though at $85 I had hoped these budget Intel Coffee Lake boards would be a little more competitively priced.
In any case what you get with the B360M Pro4 is a well laid out motherboard with all the features you could hope for at this price point, it also doesn’t hurt that the board looks great as well. The board packs a solid VRM with premium 45 amp chokes on a high density glass fabric PCB. Asrock advertises support for up to 95-watt processors so it shouldn’t have an issue getting the most out of the Core i7-8700 for example.
A real bonus here is the fact that the board packs four DIMM slots, making future memory upgrades a lot more cost effective as you can just add more DDR4 modules. You also get decent audio and networking along with 6 SATA 6Gb/s ports and a pair of M.2 slots. Overall the Asrock B360M Pro4 is a great quality B360 motherboard that can’t be beat at this price point.
Going Full Size ATX
If you’re after a full-sized ATX board then there’re just two cost effective options from the B360 range: the Asrock B360 Pro4 and MSI B360-A PRO. Both look good, though the Asrock model is slightly cheaper and slightly better equipped, therefore it gets my pick.
As you might have expected it’s basically the ATX version of the MicroATX model, so unless there's a need for the larger form factor you might as well get the MicroATX version. The stretched out model costs $10 more and apart from a bit of extra PCB and a bigger chipset heatsink, you don’t get any other extras except for one more PCIe x1 slot.
As I see it the only reason you’d buy this version over the B360M Pro4 is because you have a standard ATX case and you want to fill it out. MicroATX boards tend to look a little silly in mid-towers.
Just 2 DIMMs (Otherwise good)
The Asus TUF B360M-E Gaming is another quality MicroATX B360 motherboard though it does come up short in a few areas when compared to the Asrock model above. Most notably of which is the lack of DIMM slots, just two slots means upgrading from 8GB to 16GB of memory in the future will be far more costly.
The board looks quite good, very gamer-ish and aggressive as you’d expect from an Asus TUF board but the layout leaves a lot to be desired. I would have prefered Asus leave enough room to better position the SATA ports than create that aggressive looking PCB cutout. As it is, the SATA ports are spread out all over the place which is a bit disappointing.
Still, with few good, well-priced B360 boards to choose from the TUF B360M-E Gaming manages to make the list despite those shortcomings. Overall quality is good, making it a worthy alternative to the Asrock B360M Pro4.
A Little Too Legacy
Another alternative worth checking out if you can’t get your hands on the Asrock board is the Gigabyte B360M D3H. Priced at $80 it’s a little cheaper than the two MicroATX boards we’ve already looked at.
Like the Asus B360M-E Gaming, this Gigabyte model looks very solid, but also like the Asus board there are some interesting choices here as well. Gigabyte has decided to include a number of legacy items such as a PCI slot, what a blast! I haven’t seen one of those on a new motherboard for a long time. Even more accident is the parallel port header, for those of you who still have your printer from the 90’s this could come in very handy.
It’s not just the classics that you’ll find on this motherboard. Gigabyte has also included a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port, just one though, and an M.2 slot. It’s a pretty basic board but it’s also the cheapest B360 board we’ve come across to feature VRM cooling, meaning it should be right to get the most out of a Core i7-8700 and it'll certainly be the perfect pairing for the Core i5-8400.
Those of you wanting to build a compact little PC will most likely go after a Mini-ITX motherboard and right now that limits you to less than half a dozen options. It’s worth nothing that Z370 Mini-ITX models start at $135, though most cost $170 - $180. That being the case you can write off the Asus ROG Strix B360-I Gaming, at $160 they're part of a bad dream.
Picking between the Asrock B360M-ITX/ac and MSI B360I Gaming Pro AC wasn’t easy and honestly I could have justified going with the MSI model, it looks like the better board and it clearly offers superior VRM cooling. But otherwise, they're more or less the same but the Asrock is ~$20 cheaper, and it’s hard to ignore that saving.
If you can snag the MSI model for $5 - $10 more then that’s the way I’d go. For $95 the Asrock board offers a single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, four SATA ports, four USB 3.0 ports at the rear, Intel 802.11ac WiFi plus Bluetooth 4.2 and you also get an Ultra M.2 slot. I can imagine this inside the Silverstone SG13 with a Core i5-8400... now that’s a nice cost-effective mini PC combo.
It seems crazy that so many B360 motherboards are priced over $100, with Z370 boards still available for that price and many more on offer at around $120, you have to wonder why anyone would spend that kind of money on an inferror B360 board.
The MSI B360 Gaming Plus that we checked out on launch day costs $110, the Gigabyte B360 Aorus Gaming 3 and Asrock B360 Gaming K4 both cost $120, and unbelievably the Asus ROG Strix B360-F Gaming comes in at $135. Oh and there's a B360-H Gaming model for $155, if you’re completely bonkers.
The most affordable models cost $70 and they leave a lot to be desired, so the $80 - $85 MicroATX models we recommend are as good as it gets. These budget oriented motherboards will go along well with a locked Core i5 processor, meanwhile those of you picking up the $300 Core i7-8700 should pony up an extra $20 or so for a Z370 board.
As for H310 motherboards, they are best suited for locked Core i3 and lower parts. But with prices starting at $60, you may have to question why they even exist. We certainly hope that if you're after a good value B360 motherboard then we've helped to narrow your search.
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