Last Updated on December 28, 2021
ATX form factor is generally the most preferred choice for those who want a performance based system such as a gaming rig.
An ATX motherboard is generally more expensive than the micro ATX motherboards but offer a greater degree of expandability.
On top of that it is easier to install expansion cards on an ATX motherboard due to their larger size. The size also gives them better cooling characteristics due to the fact they tend to fit plenty of fans in their large case.
But the biggest attraction of the ATX is that they are future proof and customizable. In this article we will have a look at some of the best ATX motherboards for gaming.
1. GIGABYTE B560 DS3H – LGA1200 – Budget ATX Motherboard for Gaming
First up we have one of the most affordable ATX motherboards for gaming. This motherboard features the LGA1200 socket suitable for the 10th and 11th gen Intel processors.
One of the greatest attraction of this motherboard is that despite being in a the budget range, it features a mid range B560 chipset. This chipset allows some important PCIe slots to conform to PCIe 4.0.
For instance, this motherboard offers two M.2 slots for NVMe SSD expansion. One of the M.2 slot conforms to the PCIe 4.0 standard and can thus allow you to add a Gen 4.0 SSD such as the Samsung 980 Pro.
In addition to that, the primary x16 slot on this motherboard also conforms to the PCIe 4.0 standard.
The rest of the slots, however, conform to the older PCIe 3.0.
There is huge caveat here though. In order to enable PCIe 4.0 for select motherboards you will need to have an 11th gen processor here.
If you plan to build a simple gaming setup with perhaps a single NVIDIA graphics card or perhaps upto a dual AMD Crossfire setup, then this is something you can work with.
While it does not have the overclocking ability nor the phase power design to support overclocking properly, for basic gaming setup, this is an excellent motherboard to have.
Also, depending upon the CPU installed, you can either have upto 2933 MHz RAM or 5333 MHz (OC) DDR 4 RAM. Basically, if you have 10th gen CPU, the max DDR4 frequency supported is 2933 MHz. If you have an 11th gen CPU, then you can install upto a 5333 MHz RAM.
But in the end, this is a fairly inexpensive motherboard. If you are planning on building a gaming PC on a budget, then this is the best ATX motherboard for gaming in my books.
2. ASUS Prime Z590-A – LGA1200 – Recommended Intel Gaming Motherboard
A high performance motherboard for 10th and 11th Gen Intel CPUs. Features a unique PCIe x16 slot configuration with all slots conforming to PCIe 4.0 protocol.
This ASUS Prime Z590-A motherboard is a definite step up from the previous motherboard. Hence, it is also more expensive
This is basically a midrange motherboard particularly liked by the enthusiasts and gaming community who want to build an Intel based PC.
Like the previous motherboard, this also offers the latest LGA1200 socket for installing the 10th and 11th Gen Intel processors. However, the main difference between this and the previous motherboard is that this has the premium Z series chipset i.e the Z590.
Hence, not only does this have an excellent phase power design of 14+2, it also features high grade VRMs making this motherboard an excellent option for overclockers.
In addition to that, this motherboard also offers support for PCIe 4.0 standard for one of its 3 x M.2 slots for NVMe SSD and also for its x16 slot.
This motherboard has done something very unique for its x16 port configuration.
The three PCIe x16 slot all conform to the PCIe 4.0 protocol and can work in either of the two modes.
You may have noted that this motherboard isn’t a typical SLI motherboard (since an NVIDIA graphics card requires at least an x8 slot to work). Well that is because SLI is practically dead. Nvidia has withdrawn first hand support for SLI profiles for games.
Hence you essentially add three PCIe 4.0 devices (not necessarily graphics cards) on this motherboard as supposed to only one on the x16 slot as found on average boards.
The rest of the 2 x M.2 slots and the bottom PCIe x16(x4) slot work at the older PCIe 3.0 protocol.
Other than overclocking, the greatest aspect about this motherboard is that if offers a lot more PCIe lanes and hence more expansions slots.
It also offer a higher number of USB 3.2 Type C ports and headers and also support newer HDMI 2.0 output from its back I/O panel.
But of course, the real purpose of this motherboard is to cater to the overclockers. If you plan to overclock, then this is the best ATX motherboard for gaming in our opinion at least for a single graphics card setup.
It should be noted that ASUS Prime Z590-A is superior to the ASUS Prime Z590-P and also more expensive primarily because it offers a better phase power design and has a unique PCIe x16 configuration.
3. Gigabyte Z690 UD – LGA1700 – Motherboard for 12th Intel CPUs
Net up we have a motherboard for those looking to build a gaming PC with the latest Intel 12th gen CPU. As such this features the LGA1700 socket and the latest high performance Intel Z690 chipset.
And with it, the chipset also brings with itself several welcome changes that not only put this motherboard on the same platform as the AMD X570 (released much earlier), but also make this highly future.
With the Z690 chipset, Intel finally has support for PCIe 4.0 for some of its chipset lanes. On the older Z590 chipset, the chipset PCIe lanes all conformed to the PCIe 3.0 protocol (only the CPU lanes conformed to the 4.0 protocol).
With Z690, the chipset offers 12 x PCIe 4.0 lanes and 16 x PCIe 3.o lanes.
As such, the way this particular motherboard is configured is that its 3 x M.2 slots all conform to the PCIe 4.0 protocol. They receive their lanes from the CPU as well as from the repository of 12xPCIe 4.0 chipset lanes.
One of the biggest future proof aspect of this motherboard is that it goes beyond the 4.0 protocol and actually supports PCIe 5.0 for its CPU connected lanes.
Hence, as far as x16 slot goes, the top slot conform to the PCIe 5.0, the rest connect to the PCIe 3.o lanes of the chipset however.
Another leap this chipset makes with the support for DDR5 RAM. These sticks haven’t yet proliferated in the market, but they are just around the corner and with this motherboard.
Finally, it features a great phase power design of 16+1+2 i.e 16 VRMs for the processor core voltage, 1 VRM for the integrated graphics card, 2 VRMs for PCIe and RAM controller. Again, the better the phase power design, the more suitable the motherboard is for overclocking.
As such, for a future proof build with the latest intel CPU, this is the best ATX motherboard for gaming that I would recommend.
4. ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4 – AM4 – Budget AM4 ATX Mobo
An affordable gaming motherboard for AMD Ryzen build.
If you plan to build a gaming rig with an affordable ATX motherboard but for an AMD Ryzen based system, then we cannot recommend this motherboard enough.
For starters, this motherboard features the latest B550 midrange chipset. This has a significant amount of benefits as compared to the previous B450 chipset.
For starters, you don’t need to upgrade the BIOS, unlike older AM4 motherboards, in order to use the latest Ryzen processors.
Secondly, it upgrades plenty of things the most lucrative of which is that this features the latest PCIe V4.0 protocol and thus doubling the PCIe lane speed.
While you don’t currently need such high PCIe speeds, this the V4.0 protocol makes this motherboard future proof.
Along with that, this motherboard also features plenty of USB 3.2 ports, 2 x M.2 slots both of which are capable of supporting NVME SSD, plenty of SATA ports and also support for the latest HDMI 2.1.
This motherboard has 2 x PCIE X16 slots making this suitable for upto dual AMD Crossfire setup.
All in all, for a budget AMD build, this is one of the best ATX motherboard for gaming in our opinion.
5. Asus AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi) – AM4 – Recommended AMD Based Gaming Board
An AMD AM4 motherboard featuring the premium X570 chipset that offers PCIe 4.0 support across all of its M.2 and PCIe slots.
Finally here we have yet another highly rated motherboard and perhaps the most popular gaming motherboard for the latest gen AMD chipsets.
Unlike the previous motherboard, this motherboard features the premium X570 chipset particularly designed for overclocking thanks to the powerful 12+2 phase power design.
So basically, if you plan to overclock your AMD system, you know this is the chipset to go for.
Besides that, this mobo features built in WiFi, unfortunately though, it conforms to the older WiFi 5 protocol.
The PCIe version, however, is the latest 4.0 making it future proof. The best part about the X570 chipset is that both the CPU and the chipset lanes on this motherboard conform to the PCIe 4.0 protocol.
In other words, all M.2 slots and PCIe slots on this motherboard would conform to the PCIe 4.0 protocol.
Like the previous motherboard, this also supports a maximum of 2 x AMD graphics card or a single NVIDIA Graphics card.
It also features a much better sound card with 5 x audio ports making it capable of supporting 5.1 surround sound.
In short though, if you want an overclockable high performance option, then this is the best ATX motherboard for gaming in our opinion for AMD builds.
Pros and Cons of ATX Gaming Motherboard
Enthusiasts and performance builders almost always vouch for the benefits a full fledged ATX motherboard gives to the users.
ATX motherboards are the largest of the three common form factors, the other two being micro ATX and mini ITX.
Size and Aesthetics
ATX motherboards have a dimension of 12 inches by 9.6 inches. Micro ATX is smaller at 9.6 x 9.6 and mini ITX are the smallest at 6.7 x 6.7 inches.
Enthusiasts who want to build a good looking system with a full tower case almost always tend to go for the ATX motherboards because of the aesthetic value it provides.
Since the ATX motherboard tends to fill up a full tower case, they can be an eye candy particularly if they come with additional features like RGB lights and attractive heatsink/board design.
Micro ATX can look tiny in a full tower case where as mini ITX can look simply silly.
Very close to the aesthetic value is the part about cable management. On smaller boards it becomes a hassle to manage your cable coming out of so many devices connected close to each other.
With an ATX motherboard, you have a lot of space to beautifully manage your cables.
The larger ATX case also helps in this matter.
One of the worst thing that can happen to you as an enthusiast gamer is to run out of enough expansion slot. It would be a shame if you come to realize that you need a specialized card for a certain task like VR but you have no place to put it.
An ATX motherboard, in that sense, is more future proof. An ATX motherboard offers a higher degree of expandability with more PCIe slots as well as SATA slots.
On smaller motherboards, it is also a chore to reach some of the headers when the cards are installed. Since everything is so cramped up, you may realize that it becomes too difficult to reach the internal ports for installing the fans, SATA drives or accessing the USB headers
With an ATX motherboard, this issue can be more or less circumvented.
Also Read: Best Motherboards for VR
It is easier to install components on an ATX motherboard as compared to on smaller boards.
In many cases when you install a big graphics card on the PCIe X16 slot, it can overlap the smaller PCIe slots next to it rendering them useless.
With an ATX motherboard, PCIe slots can be found farther away from the main PCIe X16 slot giving you the ability to add more functionality to the board should you need it.
Better Air Flow
Since ATX motherboards are generally installed in full tower cases with myriad of fans, they are generally have a much better air flow. Hence if you are an overclocker, this attribute may come in handy.
Compared to other boards such as mATX or mini ITX, ATX motherboards offer very competitive pricing.
In many instances an average gaming motherboard can be significantly cheaper than a mini ITX motherboard (for single PCIe X16 slot models).
Compared to mATX, you can find motherboards that cost more or less the same given the same amount relative features.
Hence, for enthusiasts it almost becomes a no-brainer to invest in an ATX motherboard.
If you are planning on building an extreme build say a build with 3-way NVIDIA SLI, then you really do not have much of an option than to go for an ATX build.
An mATX motherboard can feature a maximum of 2 x PCIE X16 slots whereas the mini ITX only features a single slot.
Therefore, if you want to build the ultimate gaming rig, you will firstly need very deep pockets, and secondly you will need an ATX motherboard.
Perhaps the only draw of an ATX motherboard is that the overall system it is intended to build is heavy and bulky.
If portability matters to you stay, stay lights years away from an ATX build.
In this article we talked about some of the best motherboards for gaming and also talked about what makes an ATX motherboard so special for gamers and enthusiasts.
Basically, if you are building a high performance gaming setup and you want to create a large aesthetically appealing tower rig, then ATX motherboards are the way to go.
Besides aesthetics, ATX motherboards also provide value in terms of expandability and Air Flow.