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
 
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!
 
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.
 
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 :)
 

thudrumbler

Distinguished
Jan 1, 2011
17
0
18,520
1
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.
 

thudrumbler

Distinguished
Jan 1, 2011
17
0
18,520
1


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!
 

Similar threads


ASK THE COMMUNITY