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best ATX Motherboards for gaming

5 Best ATX Motherboards for Gaming in 2020

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 a more expensive than the micro ATX motherboards but offer a greater degree of expandability.

On top of that it is easier to install expansion card on ATX motherboard due to their larger size. The size also gives them better cooling due to the fact they tend to fit in larger cases plenty of fans.

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.

List of Best ATX Motherboards for Gaming in 2020

The following motherboards have a decent price value and offer the latest chipset and sockets.

  1. ASROCK B460 Phantom Gaming 4 – LGA1200 – Budget ATX Motherboard for Gaming
  2. ASUS TUF Z490-Plus – LGA1200 – Recommended Gaming Motherboard
  3. GIGABYTE Z490 AORUS PRO AX – LGA1200 – Premium SLI Capable Mobo
  4. ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4 – AM4 – Budget AM4 ATX Mobo
  5. Asus AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi) – AM4 – Recommended AMD Based Gaming Board

1. ASROCK B460 Phantom Gaming 4 – LGA1200 – Budget ATX Motherboard for Gaming

First up we have one of the most affordable ATX motherboards for gaming. This motherboard features the latest LGA1200 socket for the Intel 10th Gen processors

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.

The motherboard features 2 x PCIe X16 slots however only one of them has the capacity to work on full X16 bandwidth. The other operates at X4 bandwidth.

As such, while it can support a second AMD graphics card, it will not work with the NVIDIA SLI.

It also features 2 x PCIe X1 slots that you can use for installing smaller add-in cards such as a built-in WiFi.

One of the most lucrative feature it offers is the sheer amount of USB 3.2. This motherboard offers 8 of them. On top of that, it also features a good 6 x SATA 3 ports for adding drives.

This motherboard does have a few downsides such as only a single M.2 slot for SSD and only support for only upto 2933 MHz DDR 4 RAM.

However, if you are looking to save up on cost, then this is one of the best ATX motherboard for gaming on an Intel setup.

2. ASUS TUF Z490-Plus – LGA1200 – Recommended Gaming Motherboard

This ASUS TUF motherboard is a definite step up from the previous motherboard. Hence, it is also quite 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 latest 10th Gen Intel processors.

The main difference between this and the previous motherboard is that this has the premium Z series chipset i.e the Z490.

Hence, not only does this have an excellent phase power design of 12+2, it also features high grade VRMs making this motherboard an excellent option for overclockers.

Other than that, this motherboard has the same PCIe X16 configuration as the previous motherboard. It has a single PCIe X16 for graphics card and other works at X4 bandwidth for smaller cards or for second AMD graphics card.

This motherboard does offer an extra PCIe X1 slot with a a total of 3 x PCIe X1 slots.

Another great advantage this motherboard has is the dual M.2 slots both of which are capable of supporting the fast NVME SSDs.

To top that up, this motherboard also offers the latest WiFi 6 built-in along with plenty of USB 3.2 Type-A and Type-C ports.

You will also notice that unlike the previous motherboard, this has a much better sound card with 5 x audio ports and an optical out. Hence, if you want to attach a 5.1 surround sound, you would be able to do so here.

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

3. GIGABYTE Z490 AORUS PRO AX – LGA1200 – Premium SLI Capable Mobo

Next up we have a rather premium grade motherboard particularly designed for those who want to build an SLI setup with two NVIDIA graphics or a three-way AMD Crossfire setup.

This motherboard offers 3 x PCIe X16 slots. The PCIe X16 slots have the following modes: 16 / 0 / 4 or 8 / 8 / 4.

What this means is that if you have a single graphics card, the first PCIe X16 slot will operate at X16, the second at 0 and the third at X4.

If you have dual cards installed, the bandwidth will be shared among the first and the second PCIe X16 slots.

An NVIDIA Graphics card requires atleast an X8 bandwidth whereas AMD graphics card can operate at X4 bandwidth. Hence on this motherboard, you can either have a 2 way SLI setup or a 3-way crossfire setup.

In other words this motherboard is catered toward the enthusiasts who are serious about making a multi-gpu build.

If you plan to install only a single graphics card, we recommend the previously mentioned options.

Other than that, this motherboard features the LGA1200 socket along with the premium Z490 chipset designed specifically for overclockers.

This motherboard too has a premium 12+1 phase power design giving it the ability to regulate voltage for stability during overclocked conditions.

Besides that, this motherboard features plenty of smaller expansion slots and ports as well as WiFi 6 and a powerful sound card.

In short, if you want to build a powerful gaming rig, then this is the best ATX motherboard for gaming for Intel based setups.

4. ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4 – AM4 – Budget AM4 ATX Mobo

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

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 as well as resulting in extremely high transfer rates for all the add-in cards.

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.

FAQ

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

best ATX motherboards for gaming
Hardcore gaming rigs with beautiful aesthetics almost always feature an ATX motherboard. Source: DigitalStorm.com

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.

Also Read:

Cable Management

cable management
Larger boards and larger cases help with better cable management. Source: Hardware Canucks

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.

Expandability

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

Installation

atx motherboard installation
It is much easier to install components on an ATX motherboard. Image Source: PCworld.com

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.

Competitive Prices

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.

Extreme Builds

3 way SLI
A triple way graphics card setup would at least require you to have an ATX motherboard. Image Source: PCGamer.com

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.

Bulky

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.

Final Words

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.

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