Graphic designing is considered as a CPU and a RAM hungry work and can be one of the most taxing task for your system. When it comes to choosing the right motherboard, there has to be a parity between all the components.
While the choice mostly revolves around the expandability, socket and chipset you are looking, but for specialized computers that deal specifically with graphics designing, it is usually the opinion that a high end motherboard does not matter much. This is particularly true if you want to couple your rig with a powerful processor.
Of course, graphic designing is a relative term. If you are talking about game levels designing or large scale app GUI design, then that is another story. However, for casual 2D graphic designing including web page design, banner designs etc, a simple motherboard that supports the latest processor can also do just fine.
Here we will look at some of the best motherboards for graphic design. We will also look at the things that you can keep in consideration when looking for a suitable MOBO.
Comparison of Top Motherboards for Graphic Design
|ASUS ProArt |
|ASUS ROG |
|MSI MAG |
|Asus AM4 TUF |
List of Best Motherboards for Graphic Design in 2021
We have selected the following as the best graphic designing motherboards from Intel and AMD.
- ASUS ProArt Z490-CREATOR – Graphic Designing Motherboard with Thunderbolt 3 Ports – Premium – LGA1200
- Gigabyte B365M DS3H – Ultra Budget Motherboard for Graphic Design – LGA1151
- ASUS ROG Strix B460-I – Mini ITX – Compact Motherboard for Graphic Designing Build – LGA1200
- MSI MAG B460M BAZOOKA – mATX – Graphic Designing Motherboard
- Asus AM4 TUF Gaming X570 – Best Motherboard for Graphic Design and Gaming
- Gigabyte GA-A320M-S2H -Ultra Budget AMD Motherboard
- ASRock B550M-HDV – Affordable Micro ATX B550 Graphic Designing Motherboard
Best Intel Motherboards for Graphic Design
1. ASUS ProArt Z490-CREATOR – Graphic Designing Motherboard with Thunderbolt 3 Ports – Premium – LGA1200
A highly capable and a premium motherboard particularly designed for content creators.
If you are a professional with a significant budget to spend on top of the line motherboard created particularly for content creators and graphic designers, then this is a highly recommended option.
This is a motherboard that makes more sense if the overall components of your rig are high end too. If you are just planning on getting an Intel Core i3 or even a Core i5, then this wouldn’t make a lot of sense.
Instead, to utilize the full potential of this motherboard, you would want to pair this with high performance Intel Core i7 or an Intel Core i9 processor.
This is because, not only does this have overclocking capability, but it also has a robust 12+2 VRM phase power design to provide stable performance for high end processors.
Besides that, one of the catchiest aspect of this motherboard is that it features 2 x Thunderbolt 3 ports as well – something which many content creators appreciate.
The motherboard offer the premium Z490 chipset built for enthusiasts, gamers and power users and the LGA 1200 socket suitable for the latest 10th and 11th gen Intel processors.
Other than that, this motherboard offers plethora of expandability including the capability to have two NVIDIA CPUs in SLI configuration or two AMD GPUs in crossfire.
The dedicated ProArt firmware allows the motherboard to work well with rest of the ASUS ProArt devices including the popular monitors from the same series.
All in all, if you are building a professional rig and have a fair budget to spend, then this is one of the best motherboard for graphic design.
2. Gigabyte B365M DS3H – Ultra Budget Motherboard for Graphic Design – LGA1151
One of the most affordable mATX motherboard for the Intel LGA 1151 socket. Perfect for graphic designers looking for a budget build.
This motherboard is on the other side of the price spectrum as compared to the ASUS ProArt Z490 above. Basically, if you are a fan of Intel builds and want to go for one of the cheapest motherboards there is, then we highly recommend this.
This is as bear minimum as it gets for an Intel build. It features an Intel B365 chipset. The B series chipset are regarded as midrange chiset – with Z series being premium and H series offering even cheaper configuration.
The benefit of this motherboard is that it offers the midrange B365 chipset at the price of a cheaper H series motherboards. Hence the value it offers is simply phenomenal.
Essentially, this is a motherboard built for beginner to intermediate designers. If you plan to go for weaker components then this should suffice for most Intel builds.
As far as expansion goes, it offers decent number of ports including a single PCIe X16 slot for a graphics card, one PCIe X4 slot and a single PCIe X1 slot. The la chipset offers 20 PCIe lanes in total. Therefore compared to the older B360 chipset that offers only 12 PCIe lanes, there is a lot more expansion you can do with this.
The motherboard also offers supports for 6 SATA 3 slots, 1 x M.2 slot and 4 DIMM slots for supporting upto 64 GB of RAM.
All in all, for a budget Intel setup with a fairly respectable model, we highly recommend this as the best motherboard for graphic design.
3. ASUS ROG Strix B460-I – Mini ITX – Compact Motherboard for Graphic Designing Build – LGA1200
A mini ITX motherboard for a small and compact Intel build. Comes with built in WiFi.
Next up we have an option that is suitable for those who want to build a PC for graphic design as compact as possible.
This motherboard features a mini ITX form factor. As such, this has a mere 6.7 x 6.7 inches dimension and is considered the smallest motherboard form factor that you can build a regular PC with.
It is a bit expensive than the rest, but that is because it also includes a built in WiFi. Plus, smaller form factor motherboards charge a small premium for their compact design.
The only issue with this motherboard is that the expansion on this is very limited. For starters, it offers only a single PCIe X16 slot. This will most probably be reserved for the graphics card.
If that is so, then there is nothing else that you will be able to add to this motherboard. No RAID controller cards, no SSD Add in Cards etc.
Furthermore, the motherboard only has 2 x DIMM RAM slots with a maximum support of 64 GB DDR 4.
In all reality, for an average graphic designing PC, this is quite sufficient. You won’t be needing more than 64 GB of RAM in most professional scenarios anyways.
Fortunately, it does have 4 x SATA slots as well as DUAL M.2 Slot. Dual M.2 slots for ssd are quite rare on Mini ITX motherboards. Therefore, storage expansion should not be an issue.
Being a gaming grade motherboard makes this suitable for high performance processors such as Core i7s and i9s as well.
In short, for a highly compact performance build, we recommend this as the best motherboard for graphic design.
4. MSI MAG B460M BAZOOKA – mATX Graphic Designing Motherboard
If you neither want to go for an expensive motherboard nor for a budget option, the this middle of the road motherboard is excellent for you as a graphic designer.
The motherboard neither has large ATX form factor, nor is it as small as a mini ITX motherboard. It feature the mATX form factor that offers reasonable expandability.
We have chosen this motherboard because it is one of the least expensive options for the LGA1200 socket but still manages to feature the B460 chipset.
Now there most certainly are cheaper LGA1200 mobos out there, but they are based around the inferior H series chipset. We do not recommend going with the H series motherboard route because they have reduced functionality i.e maximum of 2 displays supported, single DIMM per channel, fewer SATA and USB ports and weaker VRMs etc
Hence we love this motherboard since it can easily fit in the budget of beginner and intermediate users. Plus it is quite capable. It has 4 x DIMM slots for supporting upto 128 GB of RAM, excellent heatsinks, dual M.2 slots, a single PCIe x 16 slot for your GPU, and 2 xPCIe x1 slots for additional expansion.
All in all, if you are looking for a maintsream option that balances performance and cost, then this is the best motherboard for graphic design.
Best AMD Motherboards for Photo Editing (AM4)
5. Asus AM4 TUF Gaming X570 – Best Motherboard for Graphic Design and Gaming
A high performance gaming motherboard; reasonably priced ATX motherboard featuring the latest X570 chipset
If you are looking for a high performance gaming build that can double as a graphic design rig with an AMD CPU, then we recommend looking into this.
X570 is the premium chipset from AMD. It surpasses the A and B series in terms of functionality. But the best part about the latest X series from 500 series is that not only do they offer support for the newer Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 gen processors, they also support the PCIe v4.0 standard.
The PCIe 4.0 protocol doubles the transfer speed between the CPU and the PCIe cards as compared to the older Gen 3 version.
This has a lot of practical consequences that we are already beginning to realize. Devices such as the Gen 4 SSD that can top transfer speed of about 8000 MB/s are already out in the market.
But besides that, this motherboard is premium because it offers high quality sub components including an excellent 12+2 phase power design and hence it is suitable for builds that are based around powerful Ryzen 7 or Ryzen 9 processors.
The motherboard features 2 x PCIe x16 slots (one of which operates at x4 bandwidth). Therefore, it can support 2 x AMD GPU in crossfire mode. It also offers 2 x M.2 slots for SSDs.
Another reason why X570 chipset is popular is due to its overclocking ability. Hence if you plan to maximize the performance of your rig, then this is one of the best motherboards for graphic design.
6. Gigabyte GA-A320M-S2H -Ultra Budget AMD Motherboard
One of the cheapest motherboards in the market with an AMD AM4 socket. Great for budget graphic designing builds with Ryzen processors.
This is by far the cheapest motherboard in this list. This is a highly recommended motherboard with an AM4 socket and thus excellent if you are going for an all AMD build.
It should be noted however that this is an older motherboard. Hence while it does have the AM4 socket, it may need a BIOS update in order to make it work with the newer Gen 3 and Gen 5 Ryzen processors.
While the motherboard offers minimal expansion capability with only 32 GB of RAM support, 1 x PCIe X16 slots and 2 x PCIe X1 Slot, it is still quite sufficient for a beginner graphic designer on a budget.
After all, if you aren’t going to game, work on deep learning, AI etc you will hardly need more than a single PCIe X16 slot for a single CPU. Plus, unless you want to render or simulate videos, you wouldn’t quite need more than 32 GB of RAM either.
Plus, the motherboard gives you 2 x PCIe X1 slots that can be used to install a WiFi LAN or a high performance sound card should you wish to.
It should be noted however, that being a motherboard with an A series chipset, it lacks features such as the latest PCIe Gen 4, has fewer SATA and USB ports, still has PCIe 2.0 chipset lanes, does not support overclocking etc.
All in all, for a budget AMD build, or for a budget build overall, this is the best motherboard for graphic design in our opinion.
7. ASRock B550M-HDV – Affordable Micro ATX B550 Graphic Designing Motherboard
An affordable mATX motherboard with the latest B550 chipset.
We have chosen this motherboard for the simple reason that it is affordable and features the mid range B550 chipset.
For those of you who are not aware, B series chipset falls in between A and the X series. These chipset are recommend by most mainstream and intermediate users.
The best part about this motherboard is that it comes with support for the newer 3rd gen ryzen processors whereas in the older motherboards a BIOS update is usually required.
On top of that it also supports the PCIe v4.0 standard and it is overclockable. Hence you can overclock the RAM all the way to 4733+ MHz. In Intel builds overclocking is only reserved for the high end Z series chipsets.
One of the best parts about this motherboard, that many casual graphic designers would appreciate, is that it comes with all the important video output ports. It offers VGA, DVI-D as well as an HDMI port built in.
In short, if you are looking for a capable option at a budget, then this is one of the best motherboards for graphic design AMD build.
Additional Resources for Graphic Design Build
What Hardware Do You Need for Graphic Design?
Graphic designing is primarily a CPU hungry work. However, the hardware suitable for you depends upon a few factors.
The thing about system requirements listed for most software is that it is vague and does not point towards any particular model of the hardware components.
This is because the type of hardware that you get would depend upon three things:
- Are you a 2D or a 3D Designers?
- What software do you plan to run?
- What is the complexity of the projects you work on? In other words, what is your level of expertise.
With that said, let us look at some of the more important components that all kinds of designers would benefit from.
CPU is by far the most important component for any graphic designing build. The type of processor you get would reflect the overall capacity of your build as well as your level of expertise and the complexity of the projects you plan to work on.
However, it should be noted that going for the BEST or top of the line CPUs out there would not necessarily benefit you.
This depends upon the software you use and how well it scales with multi core processors.
For instance, while Adobe Photoshop does use multi cores, you wouldn’t see a huge benefit if you go beyond an 8 core CPU.
But of course, if you multitask and have multiple graphic designing software all open at the same time such as Photoshop, Illustrator, etc, then the more cores you have the better would be your overall system performance and productivity.
Even for 3D designing software like Maya, when it comes to designing, it only uses a single core efficiently. For rendering engines like Arnold though the software scales perfectly. So the more cores you have the faster will be your renders
The recommended option for intermediate users is stick with mainstream processors from the Intel Core i5 or Ryzen 5 series. Professionals can look into Core i7s/i9s and Ryzen 7s/9s depending upon their budget, software requirement and multitasking needs.
What to Look for in a Motherboard for Graphic Design?
Basically, any simple motherboard would do just fine. However, the choice heavily depends upon your choice of CPU.
Should You Go For High End Motherboards?
You don’t need to go for top of the line motherboards with over the top features. However, there should be a balance between the processor, GPU and the motherboard you get.
A higher performance CPU should be fitted on a decent motherboard in order to avoid any performance bottlenecks.
Also there are certain features that may or may not appeal to you such having thunderbolt 3 ports, the ability to overclock, having multi GPU support, having built in WiFi support etc.
All these can contribute to the overall price tag.
Should You Go For Budget/Minimal Model?
Again, you don’t need a high end motherboard for graphic designing. In fact, you don’t even need to go for mid range option since any entry level motherboard would work just fine.
For starters, a motherboard price is defined by a few things like its size, amount of PCIe expansion slot, chipset, SATA slots, its phase power design, etc
Higher quality motherboards have better Voltage Regulator Modules (VRMs) with powerful chokes and better heat sinks. Higher end models offer support for extreme processors with a high amount PCIe lanes. They also have plenty of expansion slots.
They may also offer faster PCIe v4.0 PCIe lanes, and may have other great sub components like a powerful soundcard.
As a graphic designer, you don’t need to worry much about any of these. For starters, better VRMs matters only for overclockers. Secondly, even a single PCIe X16 expansion slot would be quite sufficient if the most you want to do is install a single graphics card.
Furthermore, if you are not a hardcore video editor or a 3D animator as well, you will hardly need a motherboard that support for more than 32 GB of RAM.
Focus on Other Components
The key to building a PC for graphic designing is to focus on a good processor, a decent graphics card and an ample amount of RAM instead of solely on motherboards.
A good processor and a high amount of RAM will give you far better results as compared to getting a high end motherboard but investing in cheap RAM or processor.
Small Form Factors are Preferable For Compact Graphic Design Builds
Motherboards come in many different sizes commonly known as form factors.
An average PC usually features an ATX motherboard which has the dimensions of 12″ x 9.6″.
For graphic designing PC, you can instead go for an mATX motherboard instead. This has the dimensions of 9.6 x 9.6 inches.
Not only would your PC be more compact and occupy less space, the chassis will be cheaper to procure.
If you want even smaller builds, you can go for mini ITX boards. These have a dimension of only 6.7 x 6.7 inches
As you may have noticed, motherboards for graphic design do not have to be expensive but still the definition of the best motherboards for graphic design changes from person to person, from needs to needs and from budget to budget.
As a bare minimum though, you just need a decent motherboard that is capable of supporting the latest processor and has support for sufficient amount of RAM.
The choice usually boils down to what chipset you want to go for, how many PCIe slots you need, do you need the thunderbolt 3 port, how many SSD slots you need and what kind of form factor you prefer. We recommend you ditch ATX and go for mATX IF budget is a concern. And if you want an even compact build, go for mini ITX, albeit at slightly higher premium.
Finally, you don’t need a lot of expansion capability anyways. Most motherboards have 32 GB of RAM support which is more than enough for most professionals. As for the PCIe slots, a single X16 suffices for installing a low to mid range graphics card.