Motherboards are the unsung heroes of PC gaming, and no rig is complete without them. Obviously, the primary reason they’re important is that they house your components — anybody could tell you that.
But there’s even more to the story than that alone. It’s true that motherboards don’t have any real impact on your FPS or overall gaming performance — not directly — but they do serve one critical function. Motherboards provide stability to your system.
In addition to the quality of a motherboard possessing the ability to make or break an entire build, there are numerous other, smaller benefits to grabbing a solid one. These range from minor luxury features like a few extra USB ports, to performance-enhancing benefits such as the ability to install better (newer) CPUs.
Following are the list of great micro ATX motherboards
1. Gigabyte B450M DS3H
The B450M DS3H has four memory slots capable of supporting DDR4-3200 memory. This means that a total of 64 GB of system memory can be installed with both ECC and non-ECC Un-buffered memory types being supported. There is also support for DDR4 memory with XMP profiles built-in.
Storage-wise, the main bulk is made of four SATA ports. These ports all feature straight angled slots, which is a pure cost-cutting measure and a consequence of the board’s entry-level pedigree. The SATA ports also support RAID 0, 1, and 10 arrays. Also present is a single PCIe 3.0 x4/SATA M.2 slot with support for up to M.2 22110 (22 x 110 mm) SSDs.
In terms of power delivery, the B450M DS3H looks to sport a seemingly simple, but ample, 4+3 hybrid digital design, with a very small and lightweight looking heat sink across the CPU section of the VRM; this leaves the SoC area at the mercy of the system’s passive cooling capabilities
The rear panel on the B450M DS3H microATX motherboard consists of a fairly basic selection of ports and connections including four USB 3.1 5 Gbps ports and four additional USB 2.0 Type-A ports. Also included is a PS/2 combo port, as well as a single LAN port controlled by a RealtekGbE networking chip. The three 3.5mm audio jacks making up the onboard audio are powered by the Realtek ALC887 audio codec. Finishing off the rear panel is a pairing of video outputs which consist of a DVI-D, and HDMI 2.0 port which makes this board suitable for a low-end and entry-level gaming system when paired up with an APU.
The crux of the GIGABYTE B450M DS3H comes in the way of value ($69.99), but without sacrificing core features which are used frequently on most home systems
- Processor speed 3600MHz
- Memory storage 1000TB
- Uses the B450 chipset with an AM4 socket
- Offers 4 memory slots
- Comes with a 3-year long warranty
2. MSI ProSeries AMD Ryzen 1st and 2ND Gen
- Memory storage 32GB
- Processor speed 2133MHz
- Uses a B450 chipset with an AM4 socket
- DDR4 memory up to 3466+(OC) MHZ
- DDR4 boost for data transfer
Combining quality you can rely on top performance and clever business solutions are key aspects of the MSI PRO SERIES motherboards. Engineered to gratify even the most demanding professional, these motherboards will fit in any PC.
Making your life easier and supporting your business with super stable, reliable and long-lasting top performance. Cooling your PC is essential for reliable performance. We’ve made sure to include enough fan headers with full control to allow you to cool your system to the max.
Supporting the latest display connectors for new technologies (OLED, HDR) and legacy connectors for beamers, MSI motherboards are designed to make life easier for any professional user.
Get the most immersive sound experience. MSI Audio Boost delivers the highest sound quality through the use of premium quality audio components. This lets you enjoy breathtaking, game-changing sound to create the most dynamic soundscapes
This MSI product supports all the latest storage standards. This allows you to connect any ultra-fast storage device, giving you noticeable benefits. Start programs faster, load data faster, and increase productivity.
MSI motherboards are crammed with features to fuel your system’s memory with more speed, higher overclock ability, and increased stability
Founded on experience and with a long history of creating the best performing motherboards packed with smart features, you can count on this motherboard to deliver the best performance under the most extreme conditions
4. ASUS Prime B550M
- Memory speed 4400MHz
- Memory storage 128GB
- Twin channel non-ECC unbuffered ddr4, four DIMMs
- Top-quality audio capacitors and audio noise guard
- HDMI, DVI d ports for a number of show
- Good fan 5 with fan cease
- Helps and 1st & 2nd era ryzen/ ryzen with radeonvega graphics processors
- PCIe gen3 m.2 nvme with thermal guard
The B550M-A Wi-Fi forgoes integrated RGB lighting, but there are a couple of headers on the board if you need to add some bling. Its styling is relatively simple and should fit in with many build themes, but won’t be a showpiece.
The B550M-A Wi-Fi has four DIMM slots that are able to support up to 128GB of RAM. Asus lists speed of up to DDR4 4600(OC) when using third-gen AMD Ryzen processors and a bit higher (DDR4 4800) with a third- gen Ryzen APU. As always, your mileage may vary as it depends on the memory kit used as well as the quality of the integrated memory controller on your CPU.
Power delivery on this board looks to be a 4+4 configuration for the Vcore and SoC. Unlike more-expensive motherboards, the B550M-A Wi-Fi uses high- and low-side MOSFETs instead of combined units.
The Asus Prime B550M-A Wi-Fi is a capable entry-level Micro-ATX motherboard with sufficient connectivity, but no USB Type-C port and mid-range audio. Its VRMs also run hot with top-end CPUs. If these issues affect you, you should probably spend more on a higher-end board.
5. MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC LGA1151
- Ram speed 2400 MHz
- Ram capacity up to 64 GB
- Ram memory tech DDR4
MSI motherboards have been designed with tons of smart features for convenient setup and usage, such as pin-header keep-out zone, friendly SATA & USB location, and multiple cooling solutions, so DIY users can pick and choose any gaming rig they want.
Cooling your PC is essential for reliable performance. MSI motherboards feature excellent power design with solid and heavy heatsink. We’ve made sure to include enough fan headers with full control to allow you to cool your system any way you want.
MSI motherboards feature tons of convenient and smart designs for DIY users, countless system tuning and troubleshooting tools are at your disposal to push your system to new heights and satisfy even the most demanding tweaker. Makes it so easy to install your own motherboard and gaming rig without any issue
Every MSI motherboards are certified by strict mechanic that features convenient pin-header keep out zone, friendly SATA & USB location for compatibility with the widest range of components and devices, so DIY user can pick and choose the components they want. More than that, we offer a dedicated Qualified Vendor List (QVL) for the most critical part – memory. Combining with MSI DDR4 Boost technology, we provide the maximum compatibility even overclocking, so you confirm and choose any gaming rig as you want
ENHANCED PERFORMANCE MSI
Motherboards featured all the latest solutions for enthusiast gamers and prosumers. CPU and memory enhancement and fast storage and USB transfer speed are ready to be on the battlefield.
Optimized layout design and a fully isolated memory circuitry ensure perfect stability and performance. You never have to worry about your system crashing during games with MSI DDR4 BOOST.
High-quality materials and smart fan optimizations contribute to cooling all essential components, which is key to making sure your system runs stable and delivers the best performance at all times.
MSI motherboards support all the latest storage standards, which allow users to connect any ultra-fast storage device. Start games faster, load levels faster, and have a real advantage over your enemies.
Read and write your files over USB faster than ever. MSI offers a wide variety of options to connect and boost your USB devices, delivering lightning-fast transfer speeds up to 10Gb/s
Motherboards are built with enhanced audio and advanced LAN networking capabilities that turn any gaming experience into an immerse one.
Get ready to crush your enemies on the battlefield with MSI GAMING LAN. Featuring the highest quality components tuned to deliver the best online gaming experience without lag.
6. MSI MAG B550M Mortar WiFi Gaming Motherboard
- Memory speed 4400MHz
- Memory storage 128 GB
Entry-level gaming is the aim for MSI’s new MAG B550M Mortarboard, tested here in a base format without integrated wireless networking. It’s a compact board and the only Micro-ATX option among MSI’s initial B550 offerings
You still get 16 PCI Express Gen 4 lanes for graphics and four Gen 4 lanes for a primary SSD, all of which look straight into the CPU socket Inevitably, given the relatively modest pricing, those 16 PCIe 4.0 graphics lanes are restricted to the primary PEG-16 slot
At this price point, something has to give, of course, and the MAG B550M Mortar is conspicuously short on luxuries. There’s no debug display, no physical power or reset buttons, no RGB lighting. Of course, none of those things make any difference in-game and it’s easy to argue the £100 / $100 saving over a premium B550 board like the Asus ROG Strix B550-E Gaming can therefore be invested where it really counts – in a better graphics card.
Other economics include details like just one heat spreader supplied for the two M.2 slots and arguably the general air of old fashion. That includes memory DIMM slots with clips at both ends and a user manual that feels a little dated and clunky compared to the relative polish of Asus. You can’t say that, however, of the MAG B550M Mortar BIOS menu, which is slick, friendly, and full-featured.
7. MSI Performance GAMING Intel Coffee LakeH310 LGA 1151
- Memory speed 2666MHz
- Memory 32 GB
The Gaming Plus motherboards from MSI typically run with a black and red theme and the H310M Gaming Plus is no different. The board features a black PCB with red lines meandering their way from the top, through the middle to the chipset, and finally stopping at the end of the board by the audio section.
Other red highlights on the board include the two DRAM slots, coloring on the chipset heatsink, as well as the line separating the audio bits from the rest of the motherboard. That audio line is the only aesthetic LED on this mode (red only, controlled through Mystic Light application). The board also does without VRM heatsinks or a shroud to cover the rear IO bits.
Overall, the H310M Gaming Plus looks like most others of this class: more simple and functional than pleasing to the eye. That’s of course in large part to keep costs in check.
While the board is certainly not an eyesore, the black and red theme along with a lack of RGB LEDs can limit the ability to match with a building theme, since the colors cannot be changed. But given the price, the lack of RGB is pretty much expected.
In the end, any reliable, hard-working graphics card has its own pluses and minuses. All of the graphics cards included in this list are strong contenders, and some may be more appropriate for you than others based on your situation!
In general, though, are by far and away favorite addition to this list was the MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC. While this graphics card isn’t a budget card, it still comes with pretty much all of the bells and whistles you’re looking for at a very reasonable price.
Unless you have twice the price of the Gaming Edge AC to spend on a luxury board, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better mix of specs, reliability, and appeal anywhere else.