How We Choose and Test our Motherboards
There’s a lot of different factors that can make a motherboard the right, or wrong, choice for a gaming PC build.
From the most expensive, fully-featured cards on the market to the basic stuff that’ll just get your new machine up and running, we’ve looked into every single factor that might affect how well a new mobo is going to perform. We also try our best to provide you with every possible choice no matter what your needs are, or what budget you happen to be working with.
We ensure that every board we choose will serve you well by testing them all ourselves. Not only do we put these parts through rigorous benchmarking, but we also use them in our own machines on a day-to-day basis. You can be sure that every part we recommend is high-quality and highly reliable.
Our Top Ryzen 5 5600X Motherboard Picks
If you want a fully-featured mobo at any price, you’ll find what you’re looking for with ASUS. The ROG Crosshair VIII Hero is an excellent, well-built motherboard that will handle top-tier builds, but thanks to that you can expect a pretty top-tier price to go along with it. Despite the high price, if you’re looking for the best then nothing else will do it.
The Crosshair VIII Hero features the X570 chipset, an AM4 socket for your chosen CPU, 2 PCIe 4.0 x16 slots for running dual graphics cards, and 8 USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports that support super fast data rates. Even better, you get two M.2 slots to fit some real high performance SSD drives into your build. The board even supports AMD’s fancy StoreMI tech, so you should see better performance on your regular HDDS as well if you choose to include them in your build. RAM support includes DDR4 with speeds upwards of 4800+ Mhz.
You also won’t have to worry about cooling with this mobo either. Not only does it feature enough cooling headers that you won’t have to worry about overclocking causing too much extra heat, but also has headers for specialized water-cooling systems. If you’re into customizing the hell out of your rig, then you’ll be able to pull off something truly special with this board.
Of course, there’s also support for the gamer’s best friend: RGB. You can access a full suite of Aura-sync RGB lighting with several RGB headers on the board. There are also a couple of RGB features built into the board itself, so out of the box you’ll be getting some shiny little elements to get started with.
As with most/all motherboards on this list, the Crosshair VIII Hero has an ATX form-factor, so bear that in mind when it comes to finding a case that’ll fit this beast inside it.
The next board on our list is the GIGABYTE X570 AORUS Master, another X570 motherboard that brings a lot of great features to the table, and is of course compatible with the Ryzen 5 5600X CPU. Similarly to the Crosshair, the Master is a bit on the expensive side but comes packed with some key features that might just make the price worth it for you, depending on your budget and what you’re looking for.
The AORUS Master supports DDR4 RAM of up to 4400 Mhz speeds and comes with XMP support so you can squeeze every last drop out of your memory as possible. You also get an AM4 socket for running your up-to-date CPUs, as well as 3 M.2 4.0 slots each with a decent heatsink to make sure that none of your fancier components won’t be running overly hot.
This mobo features 3 PCIe 4.0 x16 slots so you can be sure that pretty much any card released in the past few years is going to fit into this puppy. The triple slots are a must-have feature on a gaming mobo, allowing you to run two graphics cards while still leaving you with an extra in case you want to run a capture card or some kind of advanced sound hardware, depending on your needs.
One interesting factor here is that this ATX motherboard weighs around 4.85ibs so it’s definitely on the heavier side of things. While that does indicate it’s sterling build quality, it’s also important to take into account when putting your build together. If you’re aiming at something lightweight and easy to take around to LAN events then you may want to look at something that’s not going to put your back out during transit.
If you’re looking for something that’s a bit more reasonably priced, the ASUS TUF Gaming X570-PLUS (WiFi) might be more your speed. It’s still a great card packed with features, but doesn’t quite have the bank-breaking power that the top 2 cards on the list have. Obviously, the drop in price does mean compromising in some areas, but in all the ways that count this is still a great card for your mid-range build.
The name should give away some of this mobo’s major features. Firstly, it comes with built-in WiFi, which is a nice touch if you forget about things like WiFi cards or ethernet cables when you’re buying your build. It’s also another X570 card and features two M.2 slots. This is where the first major compromise can be found, as only one of these two M.2 slots actually feature a heatsink, so just make sure that you put your boot SSD in the right slot.
The GAMING X570-PLUS also comes with the all-important dual PCIe 4.0 x16 slots to make sure you can run two graphics cards or any other PCIe 4.0 cards you want for that matter. There’s also a single USB 3.2 Gen 2 type C port, and a couple of USB 3.2 Gen 1 type A ports to fit your various peripherals in.
As with every ASUS TUF component, this mobo comes with TUF armor protecting the IO ports and various other key structural areas of the board. You also get a few RBG elements to make it shine nicely, and support ASUS aura sync to give you perfect control over any other RGB elements that you decide to add to your rig. Once again this mobo is in an ATX form factor, so make sure you’re buying a big-enough case to accommodate it.
For the best value option on this list, you have to look at MSI’s B550M PRO-VDH WIFI. Not only does it come in at the lowest price on this list, but you get a shocking amount of decent features for that price, as long as you’re prepared to make a few concessions. It’s also the only board on the list that has an mATX form factor, so if you’re trying to build a more compact PC then this should be the mobo choice for you.
This is another X570 chipset CPU with the AM4 socket needed to get your 5600X up and running, and has a pretty stunning thermal solution to stop your PC from overheating even if you’re giving it a real run for its money. You also have 4 DDR4 RAM slots that can handle upto 4400 Mhz and 2 super fast M.2 slots, although only your primary slot features a heatsink to keep your peripherals cool.
If we’re talking major concessions then the big one would be the wifi. The built-in WiFi only follows the WiFi 5 standard, not WiFi 6, so you won’t be getting amazing speeds when it comes to your wireless internet connection. You should really be using a cabled connection anyway for stability reasons, and honestly the slightly crap WiFi is worth having for a motherboard that comes in at this sort of price point.
It’s worth noting that another concession is the PCIe slots. You only get a single PCIe 4.0 x16 so no dual graphics cards if you pick up this board. Then again, if you’re going for a budget mobo you probably won’t have the budget to stretch towards two GPUs, but it’s still worth bearing this in mind when you’re purchasing all the parts you need.
If you’re still on a budget but want something a little bit closer to mid-tier rather than entry level, you should look at the ASUS Prime X570-P. While it’s a little more expensive than the MSI mobo above, it does have a few features that are missing from the cheaper board which you might find you just can’t quite live without.
First up, this is another ATX board with an X570 chipset and comes with 2 PCIe 4.0 card slots for running a couple of different expansions. You can also git 4 DDR4 RAM cards in with a maximum speed of 4400 Mhz, and 2 high speed M.2 sockets for expanding your storage or adding a wireless network card if that’s the sort of thing that you’re into.
There’s an impressive number of different ports in the I/O shield. You get 6 USB ports, 2 x 2.0, 2 x 3.2 Gen 1 and 2 x 3.2 Gen 2, so you’re probably not going to run out of USB space anytime soon. You also get a dual PS/2 keyboard and mouse port in case you’ve got a taste for retro tech that you just can’t shake.
Once again, this mobo features some support for RGB so you can get your setup looking as Pro-Gamer as possible. As with every ASUS mobo that features RGB support you get the more advanced Aura Sync features that make controlling your RGB setup a breeze.
Things to Think About
Before buying your motherboard, there are several major factors that could change your decision, and should be taken into consideration before heading to the checkout.
Without a doubt one of the most important factors in choosing your motherboard should be it’s form factor. Depending on the size and shape of your motherboard you may not be able to fit all the components you’re looking at into your build. An ATX motherboard, for instance, will often have multiple PCIe sockets for lots of expansion cards, while mATX and ITX boards can sometimes only have a single slot, or maybe 2 at a push.
Form factor will also affect how big your finished machine is overall too. If you’re aiming at a compact build then you’re going to need to make sure you aim for a mobo that will both fit everything you need onto the board, while still being able to fit inside a small enough case for your needs.
Part of the reason that form factor has such a strong bearing on your purchase is that motherboards become obsolete much slower than other components. On top of that, the other parts that will fit into your rig when it needs updating will be dictated by the ports on your board, which is partially decided by the form factor.
The Socket in your mobo is massively important when it comes to choosing your board. If you have a particular CPU in mind then you need to make sure you’re getting a board that can actually fit it. Once you have your heart set on a processor, it’s best to check which socket it fits and look for motherboards with that same socket. If you just go looking through motherboards randomly you’ll likely be disappointed when the one you want doesn’t fit.
For the Ryzen 5 5600X that we’re talking about here, you need to make sure that any motherboards you’re looking at feature an AM4 socket.
RAM sockets on your mobo will affect how much memory you can fit into your rig, as well as the maximum clock speed that your memory is capable of. If you’re big into overclocking you’ll need to make sure that your chosen mobo has the right RAM slots to allow you to pump extra power into your memory.
NVME and SATA
The number of NVME and SATA ports on your mobo will affect how far you can expand your storage in the future. SATA allows you to add both HDDs and SSDs, but the data rates are much slower than that you can squeeze out of NVME. You should also bear in mind that NVME slots can also be used to add networking cards if your chosen motherboard doesn’t come with WiFi as standard.
That’s All There Is To It
With this list you should be well-equipped to make a decision regarding your next motherboard purchase. From the high-end expensive boards all the way down the super cheap budget options we’ve tried to provide you with as many options as possible.
If you’re still undecided on which board to get you can take a look at our other articles that cover a huge variety of different motherboards from a lot of price points and fitting a lot of different CPUs inside. We also cover build guides, so if you’re starting from scratch then you should find something that will perfectly suit your needs too.