Selecting motherboards huh? Do you feel like a neurologist or cardio? Yep, we definitely personify the computers we build. And speaking of the motherboard, some say it’s the heart and some go with the brain. After all, it houses the rest of the hardware components, the mother indeed. And you’ve chosen the socket already. So, we’ll be discussing the best LGA 1151 motherboard here for the definite physique you’re building.
Among the LGA socket series, LGA stands for ‘land grid array’ which is a surface-mounted package/socket with protruding pins as individual receptors accepting the flat connectors at the bottom of the processor pads, who sit over those pins. Technically, LGA socket technology offers a high density of pins for power contacts to maintain better stability in electric supply to the CPU chip.
The newest of the LGA socket series, Socket H4 or LGA 1151 is slowly superseding its predecessor Socket H3 or LGA 1150. The latest one with one more extra pin supports DDR4 or DDR3(L) memory with more USB 3.0 connections unlike its predecessor, having only DDR3 compatibility with USB 3.0 and 2.0 combinations.
Here, we have enlisted the top five LGA 1151 motherboards out there in the market. Each of them has nailed some best features to climb the ladder on top. Therefore, without dissecting them, it’s hard to crown one with the title of the best LGA 1151 motherboard.
Let’s see who wins the game.
Top 5 Best LGA 1151 Motherboard 2020
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero – LGA 1151 Motherboard
Though this ATX board comes from the Asus’s family of the Republic of Gamers, you can also build a high-end workstation out of this Hero.
The LGA 1151 Z390 chipset is compatible with 8th and 9th-gen Intel Core processors, including Pentium and Celeron groups. Four DIMM slots bear 4400MHz DDR4 RAM sticks with 64GB of maximum support.
The 5-way Optimization offers fine auto-tuning overall settings, or you can go manual with BIOS. Simple overclocking rolls up to 5GHz. Although the AI-overclocking isn’t that great compared to its competitors. Besides, the 4-phase workable design of the VRM controller is not that robust. Despite having both liquid cooling support and eight-fan connectors with FanXpert4 technology, the temperature rises with extreme overclocking for heavy-duty complex tasks.
The best feature from Asus is their outstanding UEFI mechanism. Built-in power and reset buttons result in better troubleshooting.
What we have here are heatsink-cooled dual M.2 slots, integrated I/O shield, S1220 codec SupremeFX audio with magnificent sound quality, two metal-protected PCIe x16 slots for multi-GPU NVIDIA SLI or AMD CrossFireX support, another PCIe x16 with 4x speed, three PCIe x1 slots, 6 SATA ports, five USB 3.1 ports (three gen2, two gen1), one USB 3.1 type-C, two USB 2.0, 2×2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter with antenna, Aura Sync for RGB or LED customization over an all-black slick design, SLI bridge, Q-connector block, CPU power, and cooler cables and more.
Still, these are not enough under the cost. Also, the M.2 mount screws are flimsy. Though it’s not the best LGA 1151 motherboard for the most high-demanding tasks, the performance is definitely better than its close rivals.
2. GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS – LGA 1151 Motherboard
The Ultra ATX motherboard with the same socket offers similar processor compatibility as before. Not to mention the RAM spec joins the club too. Besides, the price is a bit low, but not that different anyway. The extra twist from Intel here is the Optane memory support.
The 12+1 phase VRM controller is way better than the previous one. Digital PWM controller and the DrMOS works here side-by-side. The heat pipe connecting the two heatsinks has direct contact with the MOSFETs to come-up with the best cooling system. This board offers a total of 12 pin EPS connectors, a smart Fan5 mechanism with 4-pin hybrid fan headers and Fan stop, lots of fan connectors, and dual thermistor probes for temperature measurement.
Triple M.2 slots with thermal guards are another bonus from the Ultra. The dual-GPU support is the same as before. Also, using M.2 slots in the SATA mode can disable some of the six SATA ports. You may go for PCIe NVMe drives for two lower slots for a substitution. There are six PCIe slots, nine USB ports and two USB connectors equipped with this board. WIMA audio capacitors and Alc 1220 vb enhance both-sided SNR in microphone.
The overclocking technology is the gem of this board. RGB Fusion with various LED options, onboard BlueTooth 5.0, and AC Wi-Fi standard are similar including the direct antenna plugging. The Intel Gigabit LAN is powered by cFosSpeed.
Though the BIOS is okay, the ROG outperforms the Ultra here. Also, the built quality could be better, and the design as well. The retention clips on PCIe x16 slots can break over a little stress.
3. ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming LGA 1151 Motherboard
Even with a smaller form-factor, the performance of this board boasts its way upon our list of the best LGA 1151 motherboard. Not all MITX boards offer a 4K support, as it does via HDMI, also including a DisplayPort. Didn’t change anything on processor compatibility and maximum 64GB of RAM support.
ASUS always provides the best UEFI settings and performance, but being a MITX, this board lacks some features though. It has only one PCIe 3.0 x16 slot for single GPU support and four SATA ports. But space-shortage didn’t lash out on dual M.2 sockets accepting both SATA and PCIe 3.0 x4 modes with double-decker heatsink to cool down both M.2 and PCH. Also, there are plentiful USB ports to cover different generations and types. The Wi-Fi and BlueTooth support are on the bright page as before. Aura Sync for RGB/LED customization, built-in I/O shield and audio solution are as great as our first Asus member on the list.
The VRM mechanism is quite promising for a shorter factor, but you can’t consider it as a complete six-phased solution, as it has no doublers. Asus reports its better service than doubler-based systems though.
DRAM overcurrent protection ensures stable and simple overclocking. 5-way optimization gracefully handles fine-tuning.
Unfortunately, for such a premium price, one USB controller bothers most of the users. The main screw for NVMe drive access is pathetic, and the RAM slots are too close to the CPU. Lack of sufficient RGB LEDs as bigger boards reminds you of a bigger space within a similar price range.
4. MSI MPG Z390 LGA 1151 Motherboard
It’s not just a beast, it’s your genie. Performance is unreal as expected from the Dragon family. Price is also surprising to be nominated for the best LGA 1151 motherboard. MPG didn’t compromise the service, but some features have paid for the price reduction though. It supports the same connections for Wi-fi and BlueTooth, but you need to purchase the adapter separately. Guess what, Intel has made it CNVi ready, so Wi-fi speeds up to 1GHz.
The system is user-friendly, even for first-time builders. Assembling everything is literally plug-and-play. LGA 1151 socket in this ATX board bears 8th and 9th gen Intel core family CPU chips with Pentium Gold and Celeron chips of the same generations. Dual-channel DDR4 memory reaches 64GB max. Simple overclocking up to 4400MHz for Game boost and XMP. Core Boost engineering presents an uninterrupted power supply to the CPU, attractive black and red style, separate RGB headersets, ample SATA ports, and fan headers.
UEFI interface has displayed all in the center, but it’s detail according to some users. Studio-grade sound quality, and Dragon center app live update for a user-friendly interface to boost up every inch of your experience. Dual turbo M.2 slots, turbo USB 3.1 gen2, multi-GPU support, 2 PCIe x16, HDMI, DVI, CFX, 4 PCIe x1, RGB LED support, you name it. Extended heatsink over the VRM cool down your machine to manage the stress of eSports moments or game streaming.
Unfortunately, screws and USB Type-A ports are not enough for some users. Also, no standoffs included. And the lighting is only red.
5. GIGABYTE Z390 DESIGNARE – Best LGA 1151 Motherboard
GIGABYTE Z390 Designare is not focused on gaming, rather on a workstation. The price and performance speak the same language as our first Asus board here.
Gradually, this board is gaining its popularity on two bases: one is the added advantage of dual Thunderbolt 3 ports for sure, and another is its simplicity for a Hackintosh setup.
The LGA 1151 socket on the ATX board has the same processor compatibility and 64GB DDR4 storage as others. The 12+1 phase VRM solution with DrMOS is as precise as our first Gigabyte option. The direct touch Heatpipe keeps the heat in balance on complex duty. Simple overclocking reaches close to 5GHz. This board offers good UEFI settings, complete RGB lighting, and temperature sensors.
Features include thermal-guarded twin M.2 slots, onboard ultra-fast Wi-fi with antenna, multi-GPU compatibility with dual armor, HDMI, three PCIe v3 x16 and two PCIe v3 x1 slots, cFosSpeed LAN connection, USB 3.1 Gen2 ports and others, CEC 2019 technology for power saving, can you ask for more? Also, the third x16 can be switched between the CPU and PCH lanes. But it does say that two SSD on M.2 slots can ruin the function of three of the six SATA ports.
Come to the sound quality and it blasts out with ALC1220vb enhanced SNR and USB port for external DAC support with voltage adjustment. Though the DAC port may face issues with some devices, and the DisplayPort in this board is input-only. Leaving minor issues behind, Gigabyte just nailed it.
Supports 2nd and 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen / Ryzen with Radeon Vega Graphics and 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen with Radeon Graphics Desktop Processors for Socket AM4.
LGA 1151 Motherboard Buying Guying:
Buying a motherboard can be tricky, especially for the newbies. There are lots of factors to consider. And if you aren’t sure about what you need, you may never know what is the best LGA 1151 motherboard from your perspective. As you have already sorted out the socket, let’s elaborate it a bit further.
The LGA 1151 or Socket H4 is a successful successor to the LGA 1150 motherboard series. Although the original full name of the underlying socket series is Flip-Chip Land Grid Array, abbreviation to FCLGA. This LGA series is Intel born for sure. But that doesn’t mean LGA technology to become the sole property of Intel, as AMD has already entered in this field.
Further, this LGA 1151 motherboard has two versions. The first version supports Skylake and Kaby Lake CPUs from Intel, whereas the second version is compatible with the Intel Coffee Lake family of chipsets.
The size or Form factor of a motherboard varies based on your computer case. If not for the expansion slots and added features, the performance doesn’t depend on the area. Most modern PCs are built over three different sizes of motherboards:
- ATX: It’s is the largest among the three, and common to the most desktop computers.
- Micro-ATX: The second one is 2.4-inches shorter than the first one to bear a little less room for extra plugs and slots.
- Mini-ITX (MITX): It’s common to portable PCs, with space for one add-in card and a small room for memory and storage.
Modern pin-based LGA sockets connect the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) with the processor chip. Each socket has a different number of pin package, as in the case of LGA 1151, you get 1151 protruding pins to place a CPU chip on it, whereas LGA 1150 has 1150 pins. Hence, every processor is compatible with a certain socket. Therefore, the socket-CPU relationship is dependent on each other. If you’ve chosen the socket, check out the list of processors you may use on it, and vice-versa. Intel ark page or Gigabyte can help you with that.
The motherboard adds as much as RAM slots it can sustain depending on its size. But that doesn’t mean you need all of them. Although it’s good to have extra slots for future purposes.
The de facto standard is four for ATX boards, whereas MITX boards offer only two. There are also some pricey high-tech HEDT boards punching eight slots into them. 16GB is sufficient for modern day-to-day works and even games, whereas 32GB is ample. For most heavy-duty tasks, you can also add 64GB memory only in two slots if compatible. Select wisely, how much memory you need for your current requirements.
The chipset is the collection of electronic chips called “Data Flow Management System” to control the data flow between the CPU and other segments on the motherboard. Different chipsets run with different microprocessors. Mostly there are two kinds named the north and south bridge sets.
The northbridge connects the CPU with high-speed segments as memory and graphics controllers, whereas southbridge connects the low-speed peripheral sections such as PCI, ISA and integrated peripherals like audio device, USB or Ethernet.
Before selecting a chipset accepted to your CPU, check out the data transfer rate. 8x PCIe speed is more than enough for a high-end device. Intel’s 300 series, such as Z370 is good for everyday work in our case. After that comes H370, H310, B360, or Q370 from Intel, but they have no option for overclocking. For a balanced choice on price, performance, and modern features, Z390 is the perfect choice for the best LGA 1151 motherboard, just after the pricey highest-end X299. AMD has similar variations too, but that’s not in the course of our current discussion.
It’s good to have a variety of USB headers and ports for external connections. USB Type-C ports include all USB 3.1 options. They are suitable for the latest device as phones. USB 3.1 Gen2 offers a higher bandwidth rate of 10GBps, but still not common in regular uses. USB 3 and 3.1 Gen1 are adequate with most peripherals, whereas slower USB 2 connects keyboard, mouse, etc.
HDMI and other display ports are required with integrated GPU, as dedicated ones have their own.
The highest bandwidth of 40GBps can only be extracted from Thunderbolt 3, which are mostly found with dedicated cards.
Audio jacks connect speaker or headphones, whereas PS/2 is for old-school keyboard or mouse options.
Expansion slots carry expansion cards like a video, audio, graphics, or network card inside the motherboard. These days, we see mostly PCIe x16 and PCIe x1 slots. Also, open-ended x1 and x4 slots can be placed into an x16 slot, and they also accept the x4 and x1 cards. So, x4 slots are going extinct as they can only be useful for old cards with modern drivers. Graphics cards are mostly installed in x16 slots. But they should manage 8x speed, unlike some x16 confinement of x4 speed level.
Besides, the physical number doesn’t mean you can add that much of cards, as they can only work on high-velocity PCIe and HSIO (High-speed Input/Output) lanes. Another factor is that the arrangement inside the board model. You may add PCIe M.2 drives, which will disable some SATA ports or a third lane installation can restrict the previous slot. Online manuals can tell you about the detail. Generally, Intel’s Core X platform offers 44 lanes, and more based on the CPU.
But these are the most bandwidth-hungry cases for the highest hardware builds and multi-GPU installations.
Modern standard motherboards already provide good quality of the audio processor chips or audio codec. For the best options, you can still install dedicated sound cards or DAC hardware for digital to analog conversion.
This feature is only useful for running power-hungry complex stuff. Other than that, it’s overkill on everyday use.
The clock setting is locked in most Intel devices. Only Z370 and Z390 chipsets with “K” mentioned CPU models can give you access for overclocking. After that, it goes to the highest-build X299 set with Skylake X CPUs.
The high-end motherboards ship with different extra features for various purposes. They are useless for standard cases, and also sky-rocket the device price.
You may think of a Wi-fi card only if you don’t have access to Ethernet. For a server system, dual Ethernet ports work great.
In the case of PC building, LED diagnostic readouts to show you an error code if something isn’t installed properly.
Onboard power switches including CMOS or overclock buttons are good for component testing.
Finally, we have reached the end. Now it’s the decision time. We have elaborated on all the listed motherboards within a brief range expressing their strengths and downfalls. Keeping the focus on balance over performance, price, and user feedback, Gigabyte Z390 Designare is our first choice for the best LGA 1151 motherboard. But in the end, the word “best” is also relative to individual requirements, right? We can only hope that the info here serves you well. Feel free to comment.