We were really spoiled for choice when it came to motherboards in 2022. Both AMD and Intel released new platforms meaning we had a huge variety of boards to choose from.
In September, AMD released its AM5 platform, which added support for DDR5 memory. High end X670E boards were joined by X670, B650E and B650 boards. Four chipsets? Actually, they all use the same chip. It’s just that the X series uses two of them, while the B series uses one. AMD says it intends to support AM5 for several years to come. If it has a long life like AM4 did, then you can expect to be able to upgrade to a Zen 5 or Zen 6 processor with just a BIOS flash. Just a month later, Intel released its 13th Generation CPU range accompanied by Z790 motherboards. Z790 is more or less an evolution over Z690 with a better I/O thanks to the inclusion of more PCIe 4.0 lanes. This means Z790 boards typically have improved support for high bandwidth devices and controllers, including things like more PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots or things like USB 4 or Thunderbolt 4 controllers. Sadly, high quality motherboards are now expensive. It wasn’t long ago that a $500 motherboard was regarded as ultra-premium. Now, $500 is considered mid-range.
But if you are prepared to pay, at least you can expect a high-quality product. Things like the power delivery, cooling, USB port count and speeds and support for faster M.2 drives mean you’ll have a motherboard that will happily power a system for many years to come, no matter what you use a PC for.
BEST MOTHERBOARD MAKER GIGABYTE AORUS
Gigabyte’s Aorus boards usually impress us with their quality feature sets, good value for money and cooling potential.
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Asus, MSI
FINALISTS: Asus, Asrock, MSI, Gigabyte Aorus
BEST PREMIUM MOTHERBOARD GIGABYTE X670 AORUS ELITE AX
The X670 Aorus Elite AX stands out with its excellent design and feature set. It offers everything you should realistically need without the exorbitant price of the flagship tier boards. HIGHLY COMMENDED:
Asus ROG Crosshair X670E Hero
Asus ROG Strix Z790-I Gaming Wi-Fi
FINALISTS: MSI MEG X670E Ace, Asus ROG Crosshair X670E Hero, Gigabyte X670 Aorus Elite AX, Asrock X670E Taichi, MSI MAG Z790 Tomahawk DDR4, Asrock Z790 Steel Legend, Gigabyte Z790 Aorus Master, Asus ROG Strix Z790-I Gaming Wi-Fi
BEST VALUE MOTHERBOARD MSI MAG B660M MORTAR MAX WIFI DDR4
This is a very good motherboard in general, but its ability to overclock a locked 12th Gen processor reminds us of the days of overclocking budget CPUs to high end performance levels. That’s real value. HIGHLY COMMENDED:
Asus Prime B660M-A WiFi DDR4
Gigabyte B650M Aorus Elite AX
FINALISTS: MSI MAG B660 Tomahawk WIFI DDR4, Asus TUF Gaming B660 Plus Wi-Fi D4, Asrock B660 Pro RS, Gigabyte B660I Aorus Pro DDR4, Asrock B650E PG Riptide Wi-Fi DDR5, Gigabyte B650M Aorus Elite AX, MSI MAG B660M Mortar Max Wifi DDR4, Asus Prime B660M-A Wi-Fi DDR4