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The Motherboard tier list

Hello and welcome to the Motherboard tier list!


This list ranks (or tiers) Motherboards from currently active sockets, namely the LGA1150, LGA2011-3, AM3+, FM2+ and FM2, separated by chipsets like X99, 990FX, Z97, H81, A88X, A55 etc. The ranking criteria comprise quality, usability and features, per the specific chipset the board is based off. The criteria are more clearly defined in the next section.

It’s important to understand basic Motherboard terminologies to select the best board for your specific purpose and more importantly understand what’s within this piece of tech. Learn about them here:

Motherboard terminologies


Informational links:

VRMs and Power Phases explained

Anatomies of Motherboard

This list is intended to help users in selecting the best boards for their needs. The top tiers contain the best boards for that chipset, tier 1 being the best.


Understanding the Motherboard tier list

  • The list is divided into sockets and then into chipset. Intel and AMD have their separate lists. The basic structure is:-Brand- -Socket- -Chipset- -Tiers-
  • The first and foremost criteria is build quality for the purpose and application. For eg, a H81 may not be enthusiast friendly but is perfectly fine for say home theater or budget gamers. So H81 has different applications from X99. This calls for different tiers for each chipset.
  • Only the active sockets, ie, LGA1150/ LGA2011-3/ AM3+/ FM2+/ FM2 are ranked.
  • Features come second, ie, inside the chipset list. Features shall comprise, in order of importance:
  • Thermals on VRMs and power phases- especially for AMD boards. The thermals on VRMs along with the (true) power phases largely determine the overclocking ability of the board.
  • PCIe slots configuration: a MoBo with 4 way SLI capability will certainly be of decent enough quality to be Tier one in appropriate chipsets. But a H97 MoBo with no heatsinks on VRMs or no M.2 slot shall not be worthy enough for tier one standing. Quality, once again will be primary so no MoBos with known persistent issues will be given the best tiers. For example:970-G46 is known to burn, so it’s SLI ability can be ignored keeping quality in mind.NOTE: CrossfireX capability is not the best, performance wise at x4 speed (for the second card) as it does not allow the second card to function to it's full potential, thus reducing performance.
  • Storage configuration: SATA3 ports, M.2, USB 3.0, eSATA, etc can be the basis of classification if competition is too close.
  • The list contains MSI/ ASROCK/ GIGABYTE/ ASUS/ EVGA boards.


NOTE: All MoBos are distinctly categorized first by chipset, then by features.


Key:

Red: MSI
Blue: ASROCK
Green: GIGABYTE
Gold: ASUS
Gray: ECS
Pink: BIOSTAR
Black: EVGA


Locating the required chipset/ socket


The Motherboard list is very big. It's impractical to accommodate it all on a single page. Therefore, the links to different threads containg each specific chipset have been given on this page. All included threads are part of this article. You can discuss about a particular chipset on it's own thread, or this thread.


_____________________________________________________________________

The Motherboard Tier List


Intel sockets


LGA2011-3 socket:




LGA1150 socket:





With that we come to an end of the Intel’s Motherboard tier list. It should be noted that all boards in general are fine quality wise and there’s no reason to avoid them due to quality. Yes, basic motherboards should not be paired with high end CPUs, and only Z and X series boards support OCing officially. Though H and B MoBos have unlocked multipliers for Pentium.

But, OCing is supported with Intel ‘K’ series CPUs only. The i3, non-K i5/ i7 and Xeon are locked CPUs and you can’t OC them. The Pentium does support OCing, but not for all models. ‘G3258’ model in general has been tested to OC very well on basic MoBos, H and B chipsets to be particular. Ofcourse it will OC on Z series as well, but pairing a $60 CPU with $80 MoBo is not the best value/money.

In general for Z chipset, Tier 2 and higher MoBos support SLI. This is beneficial for CFX as well, because of x8/x8 config (which’s the least required for SLI ability) is a very good one for dual GPU support, performance wise. x16/x8 or higher is obviously better, but x8 and x16 have very less difference in performance in most cases. So if you’re planning to Crossfire, x8/x8 shall be highly desirable. x8/x4 config, seen in many lower end Z MoBos and some H MoBos, is not ideal, performance wise.

Impact of PCIe gen and speed on gaming performance


_________________________________________


AMD sockets


AM3+ socket:

AMD’s mainstream CPU socket, very close physically to FM2+ (AMD’s APU line), but distinct in performance, the AM3+ socket houses the current AMD CPUs, namely the FX, Phenom and Athlon II line. Being quite old now, there have been several rounds of AM4 or FM3 replacing it, nothing concrete yet though. It is essential for Bulldozer series FX and later CPUs. The socket boasts entry level CPUs to 5Ghz octa-core high TDP powerhouses, spanning through various chipsets.

It should be noted that CPUs have varied TDPs, so power phases and thermals on VRMs have a more pronounced impact on quality, since some newer MoBos with more features may not have the thermals and PPs to take up 220W or even 125W CPUs. Care must be taken based on the CPU you’ve zeroed on, but from our side, labeling has been carefully done.




FM2+ socket:




FM2 socket:


_____________________________________________________________________


Some background about this list


The list, as you see it, is possible becuase of the generous feedback of various members (names in Credits section) who gave their valuable inputs on the Collaboration page:

The Motherboard tier list collaboration page

And these are the draft files:

Motherboard tier list draft files


Credits to members who've provided their valuable inputs and feedbacks

tiny voices

LukaBoki

terry4536

Joeteoh99

darkbreeze

Novuake

RobCrezz

zeyuanfu

Gam3r01

We hope this list helped you! Feel free to drop in your input to make it better.


Thanks for your time,

MeteorsRaining
Reply to MeteorsRaining
88 answers Last reply
More about motherboard tier list
  1. -Post reserved for future updates-
    Reply to MeteorsRaining
  2. -Post reserved for future updates-
    Reply to MeteorsRaining
  3. Great guide !

    Just a thought... How about adding X79 boards ? I know X79 is very old now but for things like replacements (and some builds) it may be useful.
    Reply to tambeshakunt
  4. I fear adding X79 will be a bit difficult, not only is it old but will also call for adding other older chipsets like Z77, H61, etc. I've not added them intentionally, since I needed to put a definative starting point for this list, which is 4th gen Intel and AM3+/FM2/+. The list will surely list all upcoming chipsets, but certainly won't go backwards. Thanks for the input though!
    Reply to MeteorsRaining
  5. No problem! The only reason I said X79 is because it was being sold for such a long time and hence, a lot of workstations and professional builds used it.
    Reply to tambeshakunt
  6. I completely understand and agree, but the fact that a lot of people have LGA1155 boards will just call it out more to make a whole LGA1155 tier list, if LGA2011 is created. I don't want to avoid it, but creating those two lists will call for AM3 tier list as well. And that's pretty much doubling what is currently there. And that violates the definative starting point.
    Reply to MeteorsRaining
  7. Yep no worries.
    Reply to tambeshakunt
  8. Adding this motherboard anatomy along with motherboard terminologies would be more helpful to beginners...
    Reply to Agera One
  9. Agera One said:
    Adding this motherboard anatomy along with motherboard terminologies would be more helpful to beginners...


    Added! Thanks for the helpful link :)
    Reply to MeteorsRaining
  10. Always getting trusted useful information links over the net ;)
    Reply to Agera One
  11. anyone know which class this motherboard is?

    MSI 970A-G46
    Reply to Adversus
  12. Adversus said:
    anyone know which class this motherboard is?

    MSI 970A-G46


    970 chipset Tier list:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-2384024/motherboard-tier-list-970-chipset.html

    The mentioned board is Tier 2 but has known VRM overheating issues. Not fit for FX8.
    Reply to MeteorsRaining
  13. Awesome guide. Thank you for the list. :)
    Reply to NoctisR
  14. No worries :)
    Reply to MeteorsRaining
  15. Wow, looks like some effort went into this. This was my list for AM3+. Perhaps you can make your lists into tutorials like this for easy drop-in. When someone else uses your tutorial and gets a Best Answer, both of you get a point.
    A List of Motherboards for Overclocking AM3+ FX CPUs
    These are the best quality motherboards for getting the most out of your FX CPU:Budget:- http://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/Fatal1ty%20970%20Performance/- http://www.msi.com/product/mb/970_GAMING.html#hero-specification- http://pcpartpicker.com/part/asus-motherboard-m5a97r20... Read More
    Reply to damric
  16. damric said:
    Wow, looks like some effort went into this. This was my list for AM3+. Perhaps you can make your lists into tutorials like this for easy drop-in. When someone else uses your tutorial and gets a Best Answer, both of you get a point.


    Thanks for your suggestion! Not certain if the current chipsets will become a tutorial but I'll make sure the upcoming ones do :)
    Reply to MeteorsRaining
  17. OMG, AWESOME MAN, THX A LOT !!!!!!!!
    Reply to Azhureus
  18. Azhureus said:
    OMG, AWESOME MAN, THX A LOT !!!!!!!!


    Glad this list could be of some help :)
    Reply to MeteorsRaining
  19. Really good work dude.....worth a definitive guide. Keep up:)
    Reply to lava1789
  20. Is there any archival information regarding the LGA 1156 1st gen i5/i7 motherboards? Would love to see the last known tier list for that era of boards if anyone can help.
    Reply to thudrumbler
  21. thudrumbler said:
    Is there any archival information regarding the LGA 1156 1st gen i5/i7 motherboards? Would love to see the last known tier list for that era of boards if anyone can help.


    As far as I recall, there isn't any popular tier list for LGA1156 socket. This list was created a few months ago and base was taken as LGA1150 boards for Intel.
    Reply to MeteorsRaining
  22. MeteorsRaining said:
    thudrumbler said:
    Is there any archival information regarding the LGA 1156 1st gen i5/i7 motherboards? Would love to see the last known tier list for that era of boards if anyone can help.


    As far as I recall, there isn't any popular tier list for LGA1156 socket. This list was created a few months ago and base was taken as LGA1150 boards for Intel.


    The cycle of shunning the 1156 era out of memory continues lol. Its a 3 year retired socket I know lol. I just got an i7-875k and I love it, with a P55 foxconn board. 18 USB 2.0 ports if you are into that! But yeah I just revived this board a friend gave me and found a i7 under all that paste... so I was stoked. He believed the board dead; it seemed so... then I randomly reseat it and BOOM, post! Replacing my 2010 guts was wonderous... bye bye athlon x4 635 and DDR2!
    Reply to thudrumbler
  23. thudrumbler said:
    MeteorsRaining said:
    thudrumbler said:
    Is there any archival information regarding the LGA 1156 1st gen i5/i7 motherboards? Would love to see the last known tier list for that era of boards if anyone can help.


    As far as I recall, there isn't any popular tier list for LGA1156 socket. This list was created a few months ago and base was taken as LGA1150 boards for Intel.


    The cycle of shunning the 1156 era out of memory continues lol. Its a 3 year retired socket I know lol. I just got an i7-875k and I love it, with a P55 foxconn board. 18 USB 2.0 ports if you are into that! But yeah I just revived this board a friend gave me and found a i7 under all that paste... so I was stoked. He believed the board dead; it seemed so... then I randomly reseat it and BOOM, post! Replacing my 2010 guts was wonderous... bye bye athlon x4 635 and DDR2!



    You must be in a for a pleasant surprise!
    Reply to MeteorsRaining
  24. Is the red the best or is it gold? Or is it the best of each category.
    Reply to iknowreal
  25. If you've gone through the "understanding the tier list" section, you'd acknowledge the fact that Red, Gold, Black, etc represent brands and not ranks. The color reference key has been provided in each individual sister article as well. There is no individual ranking inside the tier.
    Reply to MeteorsRaining
  26. Yea you answered my question before I could rephrase it better at first I didn't see my moba on the list but looks like I just made the cut.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131873
    Reply to iknowreal
  27. The board is in Tier 1 in the 970 chipset list:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-2384024/motherboard-tier-list-970-chipset.html

    Great one quality wise, good for OCing.
    Reply to MeteorsRaining
  28. Subbing. Need to give this a readthrough. :)
    Reply to Novuake
  29. Novuake said:
    Subbing. Need to give this a readthrough. :)


    Sure, do let me know any feedback that you may have :)
    Reply to MeteorsRaining
  30. So far, excellent work! Serious amount of work gone into it.

    A few points so far.

    1. Any progress on adding the Biostar TA970?
    Its among my favourate budget choices.

    2. Other AM3+ chipsets (880G/ 760G/ etc)

    You may want to make it more clear that FX8xxx CPUs should not be paired with it. :)
    Maybe add it to the top in red?
    Reply to Novuake
  31. Thanks! ECS and Biostar motherboards across the chipsets will be added by this weekend! I'll try to get the "Other AM3+ chipsets" thread reopened and make the necessary changes. Thanks for the input :)
    Reply to MeteorsRaining
  32. Ok Meteors, I know you've been working on it, and have several other projects going on as well, but I need those LGA 1155 chipset boards added. No excuses. Nah, just kidding. It would be good to see some of those go up when you have a chance though as I see requests and questions about them pretty often. There are still a lot of people using systems with some of the older i7's that maybe have OEM Dell and HP boards and want to upgrade to an aftermarket board for various reasons like the poor storage controllers and lack of VRM cooling on a lot of those other boards. When you get some time I for one would like to see some of those get listed. Thanks bud.
    Reply to darkbreeze
  33. Ok I will try my best to include them, currently you will see ECS and Biostar boards coming up in a couple days. But I can take this as the next major update, so yes I can say they'll be added!
    Reply to MeteorsRaining
  34. Great post it help me decide what mobo to buy
    Reply to malakanthropos
  35. I kind of thought it might, which is why I gave you the link. Glad it worked out and I'm sure Meteors is too.
    Reply to darkbreeze
  36. What tier is the GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD3?
    Reply to RektSkrubs
  37. RektSkrubs said:
    What tier is the GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD3?


    Tier 1B: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-2384008/motherboard-tier-list-990fx-chipset.html
    Reply to darkbreeze
  38. Great work on this again btw, very useful for recommendations.
    Reply to RobCrezz
  39. I'm not sure what happened to Meteors. I haven't heard from him or seen him on the site in quite some time. Hope all is well.
    Reply to darkbreeze
  40. will be nice to update this topic with z170 motherboards too ! ;)
    Reply to Sakretsos
  41. Like I said, I haven't seen the author around on Tom's for some time and I'm not sure that will happen. If he is just on hiatus and comes back, I'm sure he'll get around to it. I know he had some things going on in his personal life the last time I spoke to him so I guess we'll just have to wait and wish for the best. For him and for the tier list.
    Reply to darkbreeze
  42. can't see a z170 mobo. hope they update soon
    Reply to nickwilliams
  43. If you read the previous posts, you'll understand as I already said that meteorsraining, who created and maintained the motherboard tier list, has been missing in action for a while now. Hopefully he'll get back around to working on this again but at this point, I don't have an idea one way or another if that will happen or not. Sometimes "real life" throws things at us that take precedence over hobbies like this, and that might be the case here as we've not heard from him at all in a while.

    If you happen to read this meteors, hope you and family are all well and you are just doing what you need to do. We definitely miss your contributions around here.
    Reply to darkbreeze
  44. Very helpful! I was wondering if there is a tier list of 1151 socket for Skylake processors ty.
    Reply to Hugh Jass
  45. Not at this time.
    Reply to darkbreeze
  46. I planning to buy a LGA 1151 socket mobo for pure gaming experience. Which mobo will be great among ASUS z170 pro gaming or MSI z170 M5 ?? If there is some other mobo which is having good performance and stability suggest me that as well and my budget is not beyond $180.

    My specs are

    i5 6600k
    MSI R9 390 8GB Gaming Edition
    8GB DDR4
    H100i extreme cooling
    Corsair RM 750
    Cooler Master tropper v2
    Reply to Lokesh_Dev
  47. What country are you in Lokesh? What online vendors can you order through?
    Reply to darkbreeze
  48. I am in India. Will be importing from US. So any US online site or their local market should be fine for me.
    Reply to Lokesh_Dev
  49. If you want the best board for the lowest price possible, I'd highly suggest the ASUS Z170-A or Gigabyte Z170-Gaming 5.
    Reply to darkbreeze
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