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 9 5950X Motherboard Picks
If you’re really ready to commit to supplying the best for your 5950X, then you should really consider the GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Master mobo. While it comes in at a relatively high cost, it’s worth it to really get the most out of your processor, and if you’ve already sunk some cash on the CPU you might as well get a board that you know is the perfect fit for it.
The board features 3 PCIe 4.0 x16 expansion slots for graphics cards and other internal expansion cards like a capture card. You also get three high-speed M.2 slots, all of which feature their own heatsink, so you can be pretty confident that you won’t get hit with thermal throttling on your transfer speeds. In terms of RAM slots, you have 4 DDR4 inputs, each supporting up to 4400 Mhz, though with a 5000 series CPU you’re limited to 4000 Mhz with overclocked memory.
There’s even more cooling found on the rest of the board, with a pretty beefy-looking fins-array heatsink clustered near the I/O shield, as well as another on the other side of the board. Speaking of I/O, you get built-in WiFi 6 on the board, as well as a 2.5 Gbe ethernet adapter for anyone seeking the fastest and most stable of connections. Other than that it’s pretty standard, with an array of different Type-A and Type-C USB ports on the back totaling 10 USB inputs.
RGB is also well-catered for here, with GIGABYTE providing RGB Fusion 2.0 compatibility to control your lighting once everything is up and running. There are a couple of RGB headers too, so you can get a real light show going if you so choose. Even if you prefer a more understated RGB setup the board comes with some minor, tasteful RGB elements along the left side near the I/O and expansion slots.
Next up is the ASUS TUF GAMING X570-Plus, and while it’s not as premium as the top pick on the list, this hardwearing line from ASUS is always a great pick for anyone worried about damaging their components during installation. Either way, if you choose this board you’ll be getting a great foundation for your new build, and there are still plenty of features to make this a very attractive package for many PC builders.
Like many high-end boards, the X570-Plus features a really impressive cooling solution. An onboard fan keeps everything nice and chilled out while you’re under heavy load, and there’s a pretty decent heatsink covering the primary M.2 port. Unfortunately, the second M.2 doesn’t feature a heatsink, but as long as you put your boot SSD in the main port then you should at least still get some lightning-fast boost times without any thermal throttling.
Other expansion slots include the 2 PCIe 4.0 x16 slots which mean a dual GPU setup is completely possible with this rig. You also have 3 PCI x4 slots too, so plenty of space for your other expansion cards too. I/O ports include 7 USB options, including a single Type-C and 6 Type-A USB 3.2 ports, as well as a single PS/2 port for some of those hyper-low-latency peripherals you’ve got lying around.
As with almost every ASUS mobo, the board features support for Auro Sync 2.0 and AI Suite 3, meaning you’ll have perfect control and feedback over every aspect of your rig from fans to RGB settings. There’s also a very understated RGB element on the bottom right of the card just to get you started.
This is the only mATX card featured on this list, but that makes it a great choice for anyone who’s trying to put together a more compact PC build. The MSI B550M PRO-VDH WiFi is also the only card on the list to use the B550 chipset rather than the X570, obviously reducing the overall power of the board, but it could be worth sacrificing the extra performance if you’re working on a budget because this is easily one of the best value boards out there.
As you should probably expect from a low-budget board, you only get one PCIe 4.0 x16 expansion slot, so no dual GPU setups are really possible here. On the plus side, you do at least get 2 x4 slots to help out with some other expansion options. You also get two M.2 slots for expanding your storage with, though you should be aware that only the primary slot gets a heatsink, another sacrifice made to decrease the overall cost of the board.
One decent bonus on the board is the included WiFi with a maximum speed of 433 Mbps, and a decent ethernet port if you’re looking for a more stable and speedy connection. Other I/O connections include 6 USB ports, a PS/2 slot, and even a variety of onboard graphics options including DisplayPort, HDMI, and even a VGA adapter. While these ports probably won’t be of much use to you because you’ll almost certainly be running a GPU, it’s still nice to know the options are there.
Aesthetic options are pretty limited on this card, but you still get at least two different RGB headers if you want your rig to glow. There are no onboard RGB elements, but then again what were you expecting from a board coming in with a price this low? Even with the barebones aesthetic design, this mobo is worth considering for anyone trying to shave some cash off their PC-building budget.
When it comes to the super-premium boards that are totally packed out with features, the Crosshair VIII Hero is a real standout choice. It’s easily the most expensive mobo on this list, making it quite an investment, but for that price, you’re getting one of the most fully-featured boards on the market, not to mention a really nice-looking board that would suit any high-end gaming rig.
Easily the most noticeable feature of this board is the fact that it’s about 60% heatsink. Both the upper left corner near the I/O shield and the lower half of the board have huge heatsinks splashed across them. Combined with a powerful fan in the lower heatsink and you’re not going to find a board that will dissipate heat anywhere near as well as this one does.
In terms of slots on the board, you get 3 super-fast M.2 slots, each covered by the huge heatsink on the mobo. You also have 3 PCIe 4.0 x16 slots for fitting a whole slew of different expansions into. Running a double GPU setup with additional expansions is no problem at all with this board, as well as a PCIe x1 as an added bonus. There are 4 DDR4 RAM slots onboard as well, maxing out at 4800Mhz when overclocked.
In general, this premium board is perfect for overclockers. Not only does the cooling solution feature a dedicated water cooling zone, but there’s enough headroom with the power you can put through the board to really push your other components to their limit. It can also probably go without saying that the board supports RGB, both with minor elements on the board itself, as well as through Auro Sync 2.0 support.
If you don’t mind missing out on some bonus features, as long as a mobo has it where it counts, then you might want to consider the ASUS Prime X570-P. While it’s not quite as cheap as the MSI budget offering above, it does run a more advanced chipset, and ASUS has done a great job of chopping out the parts that run up costs while keeping in the key features that make a board really worth getting.
Despite being a budget-friendly board, the Prime X570-P features an onboard fan, and in general has an excellent cooling solution, although only one of the M.2 slots features a dedicated heatsink. Just ensure that you’re plugging your boot SSD into that primary slot and you shouldn’t have too much trouble with thermal throttling killing your data transfer speeds.
While there’s no WiFi included out of the box, you do get a solid ethernet port for a more stable online gaming experience. You also get a decent amount of USB options on the I/P shield at the back, with a total of 8 different USB options ranging from 3.2 Gen 2 all the way down to a couple of 2.0 ports. There’s also another hybrid PS/2 port for plugging in some low-latency gaming peripherals if you’re into that sort of thing.
As great as the X570-P is, you do miss out on some of the more aesthetic features of other boards. There’s a couple of RGB headers on the board, and a very small RGB element near the fan, but if you’re a fan of making the inside of your PC look as shiny as possible then you may want to look elsewhere. Still, as cheaper boards go this mobo offers great potential for performance as long as you know what you’re doing with it.
Things to Think About
A new motherboard purchase gives you a lot of stuff to take into consideration before you hit the checkout. We’ve compiled the list below to help you keep track of all the different factors and features that should inform your purchasing decision.
The form factor of a motherboard will dictate the number of expansion slots that you’re liable to have access to, as well as what sort of case you’ll be able to use. ATX cards often come with the most options for expansion and are a bit easier to find suitable upgrade parts for, but that means that the PC that you get at the end is almost certainly going to be both bulky and heavy.
Smaller form factors, like mATX or ITX, might be a little harder to upgrade and feature fewer expansion slots, but they’re also super easy to fit into more compact builds. Just remember that a more compact build requires better cooling, so take that into account if you’re searching for a tighter build.
Almost all of the cards on this list follow the ATX form factor, so if you’re going for something a bit smaller you’re basically limited to the B550M PRO-VDH from MSI.
If you’ve already got your heart set on a CPU, such as the Ryzen 9 5950X for example, then the socket on your chosen mobo is one of the most important parts to look out for. If you end up finding a board you love, you’ll be disappointed if you forgot to check the socket that it has attached.
Remember, for the Ryzen 9 5950X, you need a mobo with the AM4 socket, anything else isn’t going to be compatible with your CPU.
The memory slots available on your motherboard will dictate your maximum memory amount, as well as the speed of your RAM sticks. Check the maximum clock speed of your board, and then ensure you’re not buying RAM that runs too fast for your board.
If you’re into overclocking your memory, a surprising number of modern boards are built around overclocking RAM as standard. Just make sure you’ve got a board that can handle the extra power, and that you’re not burning out your components, and you’ll be seeing faster memory speeds in no time.
NVME and SATA
NVME and SATA have the biggest bearing on the maximum storage space of your rig. SATA ports can handle both HDDs and SSDs, as well as optical drives if you’re into that, but the SSDs in question will have much slower data transfer rates. NVME SSDs on the other hand is much quicker, so just make sure that your primary boot SSD is an NVME one and you should be golden.
That’s All There Is To It
There you have it. With this guide, you should now be all clued up on which mobos are best suited to get the most out of the Ryze 9 5950X. Whether you’re aiming at a budget option to get you started, or the most high-end product that will last you far into the future, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
If you need further advice on your build then check out our other articles. Not only have we covered various PC components for your builds, but we’ve also done comprehensive build guides that cover each individual aspect of a rig with different budgets. We’ve even included some pre-built PCs too, just in case.