Best Motherboards of 2016: Enthusiast, extreme, workstation and budget picks

By Steve · 30 replies
Apr 18, 2016
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  1. Building a new PC is all about choices and trade-offs. Picking between AMD and Intel is usually the first choice you have to make, but it certainly isn’t the most complicated. Instead, that honor goes to the motherboard. Typically, each board maker offers at least half a dozen models based on a single chipset.

    Take Asrock’s 100-series lineup, for example. As of writing, there are over twenty motherboards based on Intel's Z170 chipset, over a dozen based on the H170 and another dozen H110 boards. To cap it all off, they also have almost twenty B150 boards. MSI, Gigabyte and Asus product lines offer similarly structured lineups.

    So, of the many hundreds of motherboards compatible with your choice of processor, which board will you choose? We've done a lot of the homework for you to save you time, money, and regret. Here's what we believe is the very best out there.

    Read the complete article.

  2. Adeel Ahmed

    Adeel Ahmed TS Rookie

    The GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 (rev. 1.0) GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS Technology motherboard really deserves the number one spot.IThe APP Center Including EasyTune and Cloud Station Utilities GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS Technology is the feature that I found quite good
  3. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,318   +1,966

    As silly as it might sound, I am waiting for one of the makers to offer the boards in different colors. Not for style, but a board in white would be a lot easier to read as well as see where I just dropped that little jumper!
    Madmaxneo likes this.
  4. christefan26

    christefan26 TS Rookie

    You guys don't seem to be paying attention to the little details that make great boards great-MSI x99 if you use 4 pcie cards the M2 falls back to low speed, design error in allocating lanes and same story for m2 on the ASRock x99 WS, the Asus x99 WS keeps the full speed but the ASRock only operates at 10mb NOT 32mb
    Madmaxneo likes this.
  5. I use an Asus Z-170 Deluxe and am really pleased with it. Added a Samsung 950 Pro M.2 512 GB, 2 x 8 GB DDR4 @ 3000MHz and an i7-6700K. Overclocks well, I was disappointed with the quality of the sound, so I reused my Asus Essence STX soundcard. I use JRiver for audio playback (foobar2000 works well I'm told and is free) and am very, very pleased.
  6. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,300   +427

    The BEST mobo are the ones I buy
    niklabs, Raoul Duke and MoeJoe like this.
  7. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,283   +242

    Something wrong with the price: article says 47-49$ but the price on the picture
    ASRock H110M-DVS-D3 at 50-70$ is really good.
  8. CortyDK

    CortyDK TS Addict Posts: 102   +53

    Would like an article with mITX recommendations. Not everyone in the budget- or office categories want a full-size tower in their room.
  9. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe TS Guru Posts: 709   +379

    The anti-Asus article.
  10. It's a lotta mobo:
  11. lripplinger

    lripplinger TS Addict Posts: 283   +98

    Aw board isn't on here??? Oh wait its an now "ancient" Asus P55D-E Pro.....
  12. niklabs

    niklabs TS Rookie Posts: 22

    LOL! :D
  13. niklabs

    niklabs TS Rookie Posts: 22

    Seems like that. :(
  14. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 2,868   +2,035

    Yeah but I don't think it is nearly worth the $100 extra Asus is asking for over the $200 Z170X-Gaming 7 that we picked.
    Questors likes this.
  15. alexnode

    alexnode TS Enthusiast Posts: 44   +13

    I am using Asus motherboards for the last 10 years, Xeon servers, x79s x99s etc and I haven't got serious problems with them. But I should spend some time trying other brands, the problem is that a motherboard is not a plug-in plug-out device , it takes time if you want to change one. I am unimpressed with the software support that Asus has, I also found that their OC profiles are always over the top. I never used one.
    Customer service is bad and their website is slow like they can't use some serious hosting company. You click to see if they have released new drivers and you see the spinning wheel (UK). They don't even have a notification system for new drivers in the xeon -x79 -x99 mobos. Even for critical bugs.
    The Asus suite should have been much better, fan control is atrocious and it is slow for a reason.
    On the plus side I haven't got any m/b failures for quite some time now and feature wise are good.
    I think I might try another company next time. I wander though if they are the same ...
  16. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,182   +469

    If you never try other brand, you'll never know.
  17. karwasz

    karwasz TS Rookie

    That's the only choice here I have doubts about. It has everything you need in everyday work-play routine, but there are small, really annoying things:
    - I had slight problems mounting CPU cooler (Noctua nh-d14), not terrible, but problematic
    - sata ports on board are placed in a way that graphic card put in x16 slot is basically hiding them, forget about connecting/disconnecting while card is in place
    - if you put bigger GPU (like GTX970 WF G1) there is no way to reach release knob underneath, that's a common problem on MBs, but here the knob is really difficult to reach without tools
    - card in x16 slot also hides one of M.2 slots
    - it does not have speaker out of the box, requires looking at fault codes on board display, which sucks if you do not have case with window
    - number of codes is beyond believe, do not approach without manual
    - it does not have wifi N/AC
    - I have some strange issues with sound card, but it might be just my problem, using external anyway.
    Overall - good board, but a bit overpriced for what it brings to the table.
  18. I think ‘value’ can be seen in two ways, if seen as paying the lowest possible dollar at the counter for lots of stuff, the Gibabyte G-170X Gaming 7 is a great value. I see value as a longer term thing, it may be more expensive up front, but does it deliver immediately and over the years (it will be used that way, the way Intel has been) a experience that never makes you regret you didn’t fork out a little more dough. The pain of the purchase is temporary; the enjoyment of the product lasts far beyond that. In this sense I stand by the Asus Z-170 Deluxe as being a great value. Things seem more polished/mature right out of the gate, it has an extremely fast Wi-fi, the Bios is also excellent, for the rest go read the reviews.
    So, if you need a mobo, but just can’t make the price point of the Asus, the Gigabyte board I read is great. If you can take the immediate pain for long term gain I say go Asus.
  19. EEatGDL

    EEatGDL TS Evangelist Posts: 568   +241

    Yep, the mobos in all the systems I have are ASUS'. I've only recommended Gigabyte, for budget reasons, to friends and 3/3 different models had issues. GA-Z97X-Gaming 5 has an issue with Broadwell CPUs and they haven't released a BIOS patch in months with the fix; and that is the mobo that could boot, after an RMA. A G1.Sniper, also Z97 has random issues booting with a Haswell and the third model I don't remember, but died after 3 months of usage. None of these boards were refurbished or the sort.

    I don't know about the Z170 series from Gigabyte, but after reading a lot of client reviews of the Gigabyte mobos with Z97 chipset to try to figure a solution for the before-mentioned problems; I wouldn't buy a Gigabyte mobo for myself, even if it was the top mobo in all the tech publications. 7 months without releasing a much needed BIOS revision with the uCode patch released by Intel back in August, to fix that particular issue with Broadwell... very bad support after buying them.
  20. Questors

    Questors TS Member Posts: 18   +23

    TECHSPOT should not use the User Review score from It is more of a meta-score than a score for a specific item. For instance, the User Review (score) of 8.2 next to the MSI X99A GodLike Gaming Carbon is not only misleading, but untrue. If one clicks on it (as intended), you will see choices for various motherboards in MSI family. If you scroll down to the reviews for either of the boards chosen and look at the individual reviews, it will state which motherboard that particular review is about, yet the ratings score reflects all the products in that range under one number/set of stars. This is a huge flaw in the customer reviews ratings system. One they need to fix.
  21. LegolasTsun

    LegolasTsun TS Rookie

    Asus Maximus VIII Formula with 4 pin RGB lights and build in EK cooling should be best PC for enthusiast. They do not need to worry about liquid cooling the VRM for OC, put your own close loop liquid cooling, and finish with really nice RGB strips for your rig. Awesome!
  22. McMurdeR

    McMurdeR TS Enthusiast Posts: 54   +47

    Most enthusiasts buy in the $110 - $170 range, which usually covers anything you're ever going to need. Anything below that has cut corners, and anything above is usually pretty frivolous.
  23. Madmaxneo

    Madmaxneo TS Enthusiast Posts: 30

    I don't think they like Asus much here. They are great boards with some really great features.
    I currently have the Asus Rampage IV Black ed, but am thinking of the ROG Maximus VIII Formula for my next build. Primarily because it has a built in watercooling option for the MB.

    I do not understand in anyway why none of the Asus boards made the cut on this list they have some features no other MB has.
    LegolasTsun likes this.
  24. turismozilla

    turismozilla TS Addict Posts: 172   +55

    What motherboard would anybody recommend if you want to do a RAID 1 setup?
  25. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,667   +987

    @misor Thanks for your feedback. Amazon pricing can fluctuate as it did for the cheap Intel motherboard so we've adjusted the expectation from ~$50 to about $60-65 which is what's selling for at the moment.

    @Questors User scores are not a perfect measure, it's another data point we like to consider and show to users. Depending on the type of product we give it more or less weight in our evaluation for putting articles like these together. However, it's been noted thanks to your feedback that particularly for motherboards, Amazon may be mixing a whole product line under a single score.

    As for other comments regarding Asus. I like Asus motherboards, too, have owned a few over the years, no doubt Steve has tested dozens of them, but I'm sure that #1 Gigabyte pick comes as the result of the more extensive testing we did back in November:
    LegolasTsun likes this.

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