The LGA 1150 socket, alternatively known as the socket H3, was released in 2013 to replace the older LGA 1155 socket motherboards. It was designed for Intel’s fourth generation Haswell processors, among them the CORE i7 4790K. Best LGA Motherboards also have forward-compatibility with the later Broadwell series of processors, although more recent 9-series chipsets are required for compatibility.
There are six 8-series chipsets and two 9-series chipsets compatible with the LGA 1150 socket. Of the 8-series, these are the H81, Q85, B85, Q87, Z87 (alternatively referred to as Lynx Point chipsets) which are also compatible with Haswell and Haswell Refresh processors, though the latter requires a BIOS update for compatibility.
The two compatible 9-series chipsets are the newer Z97 and H97, also known as Wildcat Point, which are required for compatibility with Broadwell CPUs.
LGA 1150 motherboards support dual-channel DDR3 RAM, but the more recent DDR4 is incompatible with them. With the release of the Skylake and Kaby Lake architectures, socket LGA 1150 has been superseded by LGA 1151.
The MSI LGA 1150 H81M-P33 is among the cheapest gaming boards one can buy, and it is firmly a budget motherboard. At a fifty-dollar pricepoint, the board offers some overclocking potential. It comes equipped with two DIMM slots, supporting up to 16gb of DDR3, with a clock ceiling of 1600Mhz.
The board also offers some potential for upgrades. It works perfectly even for higher-end processors like the i5 4690K, and permits overclocking. Regardless of whether you are building a top-end rig from the outset or starting off with a more budget-oriented processor, this board will allow you to upgrade whenever without having to change out the motherboard.
This motherboard is twice as expensive as the previous. However, it is among the cheapest Z97 motherboards, and is fully-unlocked with complete overclocking ability, making it well-suited to higher-end rigs.
This board allows you to overclock your processor at up to a stable 4.7 Ghz with a variety of processors. It also supports the use of multiple AMD GPUs, and two-way CrossFireX. It comes equipped with a greater number of ports, such as SATA 3 and USB 3.0, compared to the H81M-P33 motherboard, giving it a greater degree of flexibility, making it great for more expensive builds.
The Z97 Gaming 5 is among the most popular boards for the price range. It is a simple, easy to use design, with a sleek red and black aesthetic. It comes with four DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 gb of overclocked memory.
The design also comes equipped with a large number of USB, PCI, and SATA 3 ports, giving it excellent flexibility. It comes with an M.2 slot for NVMe SSD, which is exceptionally fast. It SATA ports are laid out such that wiring it up is easy.
Additionally, it comes with the Killer E2200 GAME that reduces network lag and makes online gaming smoother. As with the Z97 PC MATE, the board comes with CrossFireX, and supports two-way Nvidia SLI which can massively improve graphical performance.
On top of all this, the board supports a number of options for cooling. It can support both liquid and air cooling. The board also has built-in buttons for power, reset, and overclocking, the lattermost of which uses OC Genie to easily overclock your CPU to the desired frequency.
The GA-Z97X-UD3H is a fast motherboard, supporting up to 10Gb/s transfer rate through its SATA ports. It is also hardy, having 2x copper in PCB and well-made capacitors. These factors together make the board among the most reliable on this list.
It has a fully unlocked Z97 chipset, enabling overclocking of the processor up to a rate of 3100Mhz. It has four DIMM slots, supporting a maximum of 32gb of RAM and leaving the board a lot of room for upgrading.
It also has a number of USB and SATA ports, and supports both Nvidia SLI and three-way AMD CrossFireX – making it capable of 4K when used with two top-end Nvidia or three good AMD GPUs.
This board is a high-end motherboard, with a high degree of overclockability and support for the latest USB 3.1 tech for the best possible transfer rates. The board supports up to 32gb of overclockable memory and comes equipped with two heatsinks, one to the right of the PCI slots and one removable one above.
This board supports quad SLI and quad CrossFireX. This means that one can use two dual graphics cards and get the power of four, although as this is an outdated feature it is difficult to find dual GPUs for this purpose.
H and Z chipsets are the most suited to gaming purposes, and the other available chipsets should be avoided because they are not designed for it. H and Z are quite similar, but provide somewhat different options, with the Z chipsets having somewhat better features on the whole.
Intel’s fourth generation processors have proven to be among the best gaming processors from when they were released. This generation requires LGA 1150 socket motherboards, and there are a wide variety of these boards available for every purpose and budget.
The motherboard itself has very little direct impact on the gaming experience, but because each one supports different features, expansions, and capabilities, the board you choose will have a major impact on what components can go into the rig. In general, cheaper boards offer more limited options.
On a tight budget, a cheaper motherboard is certainly a good option. Mono-GPU setups don’t necessarily need features like CrossFireX, where the boards that support those features are generally more expensive.
The motherboard is one of the most important components of any computer. Taking the time to find Best LGA Motherboards and the options available will go far in ensuring the computer continues to serve you well into the future, and how much it can be upgraded as technology improves.