Trying to find the best Intel motherboards? Look no further.
Whether you just need the cheapest Intel motherboard that suits your needs or the ultimate Extended ATX Intel X299 beast for your Intel Core i9-10900X, we have you covered.
Let’s dive in!
Wanna see what the red team is up to instead? Check out our AM4 Motherboards roundup!
What Is the Best Intel Motherboard?
Due to the wide variance of Intel motherboards available on the market, we’ve divided this part of the article into three sections with three options, each. There are three options each for Mini ITX, Micro ATX, and Full ATX motherboards. We’ve also added an extra Extended ATX pick.
If you aren’t sure which to pick, consult the buying guide at the bottom of the article.
Best Mini ITX Intel Motherboards
Chipset: Intel B365 | Form Factor: Mini ITX | Overclocking Support: No | SATA Ports: 4 | M.2 Slots: 2, 1 NVMe | RAM Slots: 2 | Max RAM Speed: Up to 2666 MHz | PCIe Slots: 1 | Wireless Tech: Wi-Fi AC and Bluetooth 4.2 | Lighting: No
The ASRock B365M-ITX/ac is our pick for best budget Mini ITX Intel motherboard. Thanks to its B365 chipset, it supports the latest 9th Gen Intel Core processors out-of-the-box, no bios update required. And while it is a cheaper Mini ITX board, it doesn’t skimp on features considered vital for this form factor, like Wi-Fi AC and integrated Bluetooth. (For a larger motherboard, features like these are what you would use your expansion slot for, but with mini ITX, you’ll most likely be using the single available expansion slot for a graphics card.)
Despite its low price, it features dual M.2 drive slots, one of which supports full NVMe Gen 3 speeds. For those who want to maximize their storage speed in their Mini ITX case, this is a valuable feature to have.
Honestly, we’re hard-pressed to complain all that much about this board. The chipset may be pretty barebones, but so is the pricing- so can we really complain?
Verdict: Best Budget Intel Mini ITX Motherboard
Chipset: Intel H370 | Form Factor: Mini ITX | Overclocking Support: No | SATA Ports: 4 | M.2 Slots: 2 NVMe | RAM Slots: 2 | Max RAM Speed: Up to 2666 MHz | PCIe Slots: 1 | Wireless Tech: Wi-Fi AC and Bluetooth 5 | Lighting: No
Our pick for best mid-range Intel Mini ITX motherboard is the Gigabyte H370N WiFi. As the name implies, this board comes with integrated Wi-Fi AC, and even the latest Bluetooth 5 standard.
While the H370 chipset is an upgrade over the previous pick, it unfortunately still doesn’t allow for overclocking. You still get higher build quality and better VRMs, though, which should allow your i5s and i7s to more easily reach their rated boost clocks, so long as your cooling can keep up. Another upgrade over the previous model is that both of the available M.2 drives are running at full NVMe speeds, rather than just one.
Honestly, as long as you don’t plan on overclocking or running a super high-end i7 or i9 processor with this board, we don’t think you’ll have any issues with it. It’s at a very fair price point, all things considered and offers all the features that any non-overclocker should need.
If you want more, though, check our next pick.
Verdict: Best Mid-Range Intel Mini ITX Motherboard
Chipset: Intel Z390 | Form Factor: Mini ITX | Overclocking Support: Yes | SATA Ports: 4 | M.2 Slots: 2 NVMe | RAM Slots: 2 | Max RAM Speed: Up to 4500 MHz | PCIe Slots: 1 x16 | Wireless Tech: Wi-Fi AC and Bluetooth 5 | Lighting: RGB Rear Glow
The ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming is our pick for the best overall Intel Mini ITX motherboard. There is no slacking on features here, and honestly it isn’t even that much more expensive than our mid-range pick. For only ~$35 or so more, you get quite a few upgrades.
The big selling point of this board is its Z390 chipset, which allows full overclocking capabilities for 9th Gen Intel Core processors. While we wouldn’t recommend trying to run an i9-9900K OC on this board (due to its small size), i5 and i7 processors should both easily be able to achieve high overclocks thanks to the great build quality, as long as you have a good cooler.
In addition to CPU overclocking capabilities, you have a truly stellar RAM speed rating of up to 4500 MHz, dual NVMe, built-in RGB lighting, and higher-quality integrated audio. We’re hard-pressed to find a better Mini ITX board for Intel processors available on the market right now, and certainly not for a better price.
With that in mind, the choice is clear. If you can afford it and you want Mini ITX with your Intel PC build, get this motherboard!
Verdict: Best Overall Intel Mini ITX Motherboard
Best Micro ATX Intel Motherboards
Chipset: Intel B360 | Form Factor: Micro ATX | Overclocking Support: No | SATA Ports: 6 | M.2 Slots: 2 NVMe | RAM Slots: 4 | Max RAM Speed: Up to 2666 MHz | PCIe Slots: 3 (1 x16) | Wireless Tech: No | Lighting: No
The ASUS PRIME B360M-A is our pick for best budget Intel Micro ATX motherboard, and not just because it’s one of the cheapest available. Despite its budget price point, this is a fully-featured Intel motherboard.
First and foremost, dual NVMe support! While a lot of the motherboards in our selection offer this, many low-end and mid-range motherboards available on the market do not. If you care about having fast storage but don’t want to break the bank on a motherboard- especially if you have no plans to overclock your CPU or RAM- then the ASUS Prime B360M-A is a great pick.
The main downside related to this board is that it isn’t guaranteed to support 9th Gen Intel CPUs without a BIOs update, due to using an 8th Gen chipset. While many users are reporting that they’re receiving a version of the board with the relevant BIOs update pre-applied since mid-2019, you may still want to consider opting for a slightly higher-end board to guarantee 9th Gen compatibility if a BIOs update sounds like too much of a hassle for you.
Despite that downside- which is unlikely to impact you, but is still worth noting- we don’t have anything else bad to say about this board. It’s pretty solid, and it can’t be beaten at its price point. Plus, you get to use a Micro ATX case now. Your cable management will thank you.
Verdict: Best Budget Intel Micro ATX Motherboard
Chipset: Intel Z390 | Form Factor: Micro ATX | Overclocking Support: Yes | SATA Ports: 6 | M.2 Slots: 2 NVMe | RAM Slots: 4 | Max RAM Speed: Up to 4266 MHz | PCIe Slots: 4 (2 x16) | Wireless Tech: No | Lighting: No
Up next is the ASRock Z390M Pro4. Since we’ve jumped up to the vaunted Z390 chipset, that means we now have access to the expected features that come with it, including RAM overclocking up to 4266 MHz and CPU overclocking. Despite the high-end chipset, this board doesn’t have the high-end price to match, since it only comes in at around ~$115 at the time of writing.
In addition to the overclocking stuff, you get your expected dual M.2 NVMe Gen 3 slots. For the first time in this roundup, you also get two full-speed PCI Express x16 slots instead of just one. This is particularly ideal for dual GPU users who want both of their cards to run at full speed.
There isn’t really a notable downside to this board, unless you need wireless technology. If you need Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, you’ll need to buy USB adapters or expansion cards for that functionality. However, we try not to cut boards too much flak for features they don’t have, especially if they aren’t expected to. Micro ATX boards at this price point almost never do, so we aren’t going to dock points for it- but if this functionality is important to you, consider our next pick.
Verdict: Best Mid-Range Intel Micro ATX Motherboard
Chipset: Intel Z390 | Form Factor: Micro ATX | Overclocking Support: Yes | SATA Ports: 4 | M.2 Slots: 2 NVMe | RAM Slots: 4 | Max RAM Speed: Up to 4500 MHz | PCIe Slots: 4 (2 x16) | Wireless Tech: Wi-Fi AC and Bluetooth 4.2 | Lighting: RGB Rear Glow
Our pick for best overall Intel Micro ATX motherboard has to come down to the MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC.
…hoo, that was a long name.
Anyway, this is a fully-featured Micro ATX motherboard. Your expected Intel Z390 chipset is in, along with all the features that come with it, except even better than our previous pick. High-quality VRMs, RAM speeds of up to 4500 MHz, and the stellar general build quality should enable you to push higher overclocks on any Intel Core processor of your choice. While we’d still recommend the ultra-high-end ATX boards for getting the most out of your 9900K OC, you should still be able to run that CPU quite comfortably on this motherboard.
Coming in at just under $200 at the time of writing, this board has to offer some extra features over our previous picks in order to be worth buying. Fortunately, those features come in spades. Integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, RGB lighting, high-quality audio and antenna connectors, and even dedicated chipset cooling to keep temperatures low.
If you want a great, overclocking-suited Micro ATX motherboard for your 8th or 9th Gen Intel Core processor, this is definitely one of the best picks for you. We hope you enjoy it!
Verdict: Best Overall Intel Micro ATX Motherboard
Best ATX Intel Motherboards
Chipset: Intel H370 | Form Factor: Full ATX | Overclocking Support: No | SATA Ports: 6 | M.2 Slots: 2 NVMe | RAM Slots: 4 | Max RAM Speed: Up to 2666 MHz | PCIe Slots: 5 (2 x16) | Wireless Tech: No | Lighting: No
The ASRock Intel H370 Pro4 is our pick for best budget Intel ATX motherboard. Despite its sub-$100 pricing, it still manages to provide a surprisingly solid full ATX motherboard experience, including two NVMe slots and two full-speed PCIe x16 slots. While there isn’t support for either RAM or CPU overclocking, you’re getting a fairly full-featured ATX motherboard here at a price that MATX boards with the same features would kill for.
While there isn’t any overclocking, wireless functionality, or real extras to speak of here, that’s completely fine at this price point. If you aren’t interested in any of that stuff and just want an ATX motherboard to match your ATX case, with all the expandability that implies, at a fair price…this is the motherboard for you.
Verdict: Best Budget Intel ATX Motherboard
#2. MSI Z390-A Pro
Chipset: Intel Z390 | Form Factor: Full ATX | Overclocking Support: Yes | SATA Ports: 6 | M.2 Slots: 1 NVMe | RAM Slots: 4 | Max RAM Speed: Up to 4400 MHz | PCIe Slots: 6 (2 x16) | Wireless Tech: No | Lighting: No
The MSI Z390-A Pro is one of the cheapest Intel Z390 boards available on the market. Don’t mistake the low price point to mean low-quality, though: there’s a lot of great features on offer here. Dual x16 slots, memory overclocks of up to 4400 MHz being supported, and CPU overclocking being unlocked all make this a compelling choice, especially at its sub-$100 price point.
The general build quality and VRMs on this board are fairly solid, too. While we wouldn’t recommend it for hardcore i9-9900K overclocking or anything like that, OCing with either an i5 or i7 should be just fine on this board, as should reaching boost clocks on the aforementioned i9. The included OC Engine feature on the motherboard also makes overclocking a super-easy process for new users.
The only real downside here- and this is a curious thing indeed- is the fact that this motherboard only offers one NVMe M.2 slot, despite its full ATX size. We aren’t sure why that is, but it’s a downside easily circumvented as long as you opt for a higher-capacity NVMe drive from the start. For gaming purposes, it should be a non-issue, though, as SATA SSD speeds are generally fine for that scenario.
Verdict: Best Mid-Range Intel ATX Motherboard
Chipset: Intel Z390 | Form Factor: Full ATX | Overclocking Support: Yes | SATA Ports: 6 | M.2 Slots: 2 NVMe | RAM Slots: 4 | Max RAM Speed: Up to 4400 MHz | PCIe Slots: 6 (3 x16) | Wireless Tech: Wi-Fi AC and Bluetooth 5 | Lighting: RGB Rear Glow and Chipset
Last but certainly not least for our ATX motherboard selection is the ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi). In addition to the Intel Z390 chipset and the obvious overclocking features, you’ll see a massive boost in terms of extra features and build quality on offer here.
Let’s start with the performance stuff. With support for RAM speeds of up to 4400 MHz, the memory overclocking capacity is about what you would expect it to be here. The assortment of high-quality VRMs, however, allows for far better CPU overclocking than lesser Intel motherboards. If you want to overclock an Intel Core i9-9900K, this is definitely the board to do it with.
While a few higher-end Z390 options exist, their availability is extremely sporadic, and their prices are sometimes more than twice as high. Considering how expensive this motherboard already is, we’re fairly content with stopping the escalation here.
In terms of non-performance extras, the usual suspects are present here. Built-in RGB lighting, built-in Wi-Fi, and built-in Bluetooth 5 are all present here. While we’d recommend using an Ethernet cable for a large, stationary tower, these features are still nice to have for wireless peripherals and environments where you simply can’t run a cable, like at a friend’s house or college dorm.
The only real downside here is the price, but truth be told…if you can’t afford this board, you’re more than well taken care of with one of our prior picks. The main reason to shell out for a board in this price range is for enthusiast-grade overclocking. Otherwise, our #1 or #2 ATX motherboard picks should suffice.
Verdict: Best Overall Intel ATX Motherboard
Best Intel Extended ATX Motherboard
Surprise! We decided to bring Extended ATX to the party, alongside the Intel X299 chipset. If you’re opting into such a high-end chipset (including access to the Intel Extreme processors), we figure you’ll also want the most extreme expandability and overclocking capabilities. So, here’s our bonus Extended ATX pick!
Chipset: Intel X299 | Form Factor: Extended ATX | Overclocking Support: Yes | SATA Ports: 8 | M.2 Slots: 3 NVMe | RAM Slots: 8 | Max RAM Speed: Up to 4333 MHz | PCIe Slots: 4 x16 | Wireless Tech: Wi-Fi AX/6 and Bluetooth 5 | Lighting: Yes, Chipset
And finally, our pick for best Intel X299 motherboard.
While X299 is a very niche platform, its main purpose is to provide truly hardcore features for Intel’s highest-end Extreme Edition hardware. If you’re using an Intel Core X-Series processor, then an X299 board is the right pick for you. However, we’re going to make a few assumptions here, and assume you also want the best possible motherboard for you to use with that X-Series CPU.
So, meet our pick for best Intel X299 Motherboard: The Gigabyte X299X AORUS Master. This is an Extended ATX Motherboard, and honestly…the spec sheet kind of speaks for itself. All four PCI Express slots are running at full x16 speeds. There are eight RAM slots, the latest cutting-edge Wireless standards are built right in, there are three NVMe drive slots, and, of course, RGB.
The overclocks, the visual flair, and the raw expansion capabilites on this board are completely insane. For most users, even, completely unreasonable. But if you’re trying to pack that Intel Core i9-10900X heat, then we can’t blame you for getting the motherboard to match.
(Pro-tip, though: don’t bother with the lower-end X-series CPUs, they are not competitive with the Intel 300-Series 9th Gen CPUs. If you want to spend less than $700 on a CPU, we’d recommend going for an i9-9900K or lower, and one of our above motherboard recommendations.)
Verdict: Best Intel X299 Motherboard
FAQ and Selection
Now to break down some of the jargon and specs you saw above, just in case you have any questions remaining.
What the heck is with Extended ATX and X299?
Extended ATX is pretty much just a wider version of ATX. Many Full Tower ATX cases should support it, but be sure to double-check your chassis before buying your motherboard or vice-versa. Consumer CPU chipsets don’t tend to bother with Extended ATX, though- it’s usually intended for HEDT or server motherboards.
Intel X299 is their latest chipset for their Intel Extreme edition processors. At the time of writing, this is the only way to get your hand on 10th Gen Intel Core processors, though these may eventually find their way to a desktop-centric chipset. We’re expecting 11th Gen more at this point, though.
EATX and X299 are both suited for HEDT enthusiasts and even server workloads rather than consumer stuff. Even the highest-end gaming performance is better-suited for Z390 motherboards. If you don’t know what “HEDT” is and don’t have professional productivity workloads to deal with, chances are it isn’t for you- so don’t worry about it.
What’s the difference between the other mainstream chipsets?
Intel chipsets as seen in this article exist in 3 main tiers, excluding X299. These tiers are:
- B360/B365 – No overclocking. Barebones budget. B360 and B365 are largely the same, but the former may require a BIOs update for 9th Gen Intel Core processors.
- H370 – No overclocking. Mid-range. It provides more features and RAM speed, and is often the best for the money.
- Z390 – Overclocking support. High-end. It provides the most features, and on the super-high end, becomes the obvious choice for processors like the Intel Core i9-9900K.
Motherboard Sizes Explained
Now, for a brief lowdown on motherboard sizes, from smallest to largest.
- Mini ITX – Only 2 memory slots and only one PCIe slot. A little harder to build with. Should work for most users, who aren’t using more than one expansion card.
- Micro ATX – 2-4 memory slots and 3 or more PCIe slots. Ideal for those who don’t need a system as small as Mini ITX, but also don’t need all the expansion offered by Full ATX.
- Full ATX – 4 memory slots and 6 or more PCIe slots. Ideal for users who want the most expansion possible without opting for an HEDT or server-centric chipset.
- Extended ATX – 8 memory slots and 6 or more PCIe slots. Ideal for users who want maximum expansion.
Difference between NVMe M.2 SSDs, SATA M.2 SSDs, and SATA SSDs
In order of slowest to fastest:
- SATA HDDs – The slowest, with speeds tied to RPM. 7200 RPM HDDs are faster than 5400 RPM HDDs, but still top out at around 120 MB/s.
- SATA SSDs / SATA M.2 SSDs (tie) – The middle, and best for most users. Uses the SATA standard, which is limited to around ~550 MB/s in read and write. More than good enough for gaming, but diminishing returns for non-pro applications.
- NVMe SSDs – The fastest- even faster with NVMe Gen 4, though Intel mobos only support Gen 3 at the time of writing. Even with Gen 3, though, you can hit over 3500 MB/s! Not bad for a technically last-gen standard. Gen 4 takes it to even more ludicrous extremes.
VRMs and Overclocking
When it comes to CPU overclocking, there is a lot of complicated tech-talk around the matter. For lower-end CPUs, like a Core i5, the motherboard having Z390 at all should allow you to reach a pretty healthy overclock without much worry. For high-end CPUs, like an Intel Core i9, though…things like RAM speed and VRMs become much more of a concern.
To hyper-simplify the matter, the quality of your VRMs determines the quality of the voltage that your CPU receives. Better VRMs and VRM cooling can both help your CPU achieve higher overclocks, especially super high-end chips like the 9900K. Our high-end ATX and Extended ATX picks both cover this ground, though, and should work great with your high-end CPUs!
Why no PCIe/NVMe Gen 4?
Because that’s an AMD-exclusive feature, at the time of writing. You’ll need to wait for the 11th-Gen Intel rollout for that, or get an AMD motherboard instead!
If you don’t already know what those things are, or if you’re just interested in standard gaming/consumer stuff, don’t worry about Gen 4 stuff, though.
And that’s it!
We hope that the excruciating detail we went into told you everything you need to know, but if you have any lingering questions, that’s okay. Just leave a comment in the comments section below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Until then…happy computing!