Whether you go for AMD or Intel, deciding on the best motherboard CPU combo for your PC can be a bit difficult. This due to there being so many possible motherboard CPU combinations out there at various budgets. Well, below we have included the best motherboard CPU combo for both AMD and Intel to help you make the right choice.
We have provided a few options from both camps. We have also provided motherboard CPU combos at all price points ranging from budget to high-end enthusiast options so you can choose accordingly based on your budget.
AMD Motherboard CPU Combos:
Ryzen 3 3200G + Gigabyte B450M DS3H
AMD’s four-core Ryzen 3 3200G is actually an excellent budget processor. It comes with a Radeon Vega 8 graphics, which means you can connect a display to your system immediately. The four cores can boost up to 4.0GHz, and you’ve got 6MB of cache. And even if you don’t push your system, you’ll get a pretty high 3.6GHz base frequency.
The processor supports up to 2933MHz of RAM, which is actually pretty cheap so you’ll be saving a bit here, too. It comes with an included AMD Wraith Stealth cooler, which is more than enough to keep it cool and stable under load, and is overall a great budget pick.
The Gigabyte B450M DS3H, even though a budget board, is actually well-packed with features. It supports AMD’s AM4 socket CPUs, like the Ryzen 3 3200G, and it also has an HDMI port so you can use the CPU’s integrated graphics card, as well as a DVI-D port.
You’ll get four DIMM slots for dual-channel DDR4 memory, and there’s a PCIe Gen 3 M.2 NVMe slot for a super-fast SSD. Add to this the decent audio section with an Audio Noise Guard, as well as the Realtek Gigabit LAN, and the RGB Fusion support with up to 7 colors on the RGB LED strips you can connect, and this is a pretty versatile board. Definitely a good budget pick.
Budget to midrange:
Ryzen 5 3600 + MSI Arsenal Gaming (B450 Tomahawk)
Even though it’s priced very, very reasonably, the Ryzen 5 3600 by AMD is a real powerhouse. It’s a six-core, twelve-thread CPU that can handle both gaming and day-to-day tasks with impressive ease, something not many CPUs at this price point can do.
With a base frequency of 3.6GHz and a turbo boost of up to 4.2GHz, you’re looking at a very fast CPU. Add to this the 32MB of cache, as well as the support for PCIe 4.0 x16 speeds, and this becomes an excellent processor for a variety of use cases. There is, however, no integrated GPU here, so you’ll have to get one for your build. It does come with a very suitable cooler, though.
MSI’s Arsenal Gaming B450 Tomahawk motherboard is a very interesting proposition. Even though it’s on the B450 chipset and it’s priced pretty reasonably. You’re getting an ATX board with four DIMM slots that supports up to 64GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory. And to make things more impressive, you can run it at up to 3466MHz.
One thing we really didn’t expect to find here is two PCIe slots for AMD’s two-way CrossFire technology, something that’s usually reserved for higher-end motherboards. You also get MSI’s gaming features, such as Game Boost, X Boost, and GAMING Hotkey, as well as the EZ Debug LED which makes troubleshooting a breeze. Overall, it’s an impressive motherboard for a price that’s more than reasonable.
Midrange to high end:
Ryzen 7 3700X + MSI MPG X570 Gaming PRO Carbon
For some people, four or six cores just don’t cut it anymore. That’s where AMD’s Ryzen 7 3700X comes in, which is an eight-core, sixteen-thread powerhouse of a CPU. It’s an unlocked model, which means you can overclock it, and it has an excellent 3.6GHz base clock. However, when that’s not enough, it can turbo up to 4.4GHz.
The processor supports high frequency, dual-channel memory, and comes with fairly reasonable TDP of 65W. The Wraith Prism cooler with RBG LEDs that’s included is sufficient to keep it cool at stock temperatures, but if you’re overclocking, you’ll want to go for an aftermarket option. If you don’t mind the lack of GPU, go for it.
MSI’s MPG X570 Gaming PRO Carbon is a mid-range motherboard that is a part of MSI’s gaming lineup. It’s a great motherboard with features few, if any, of the competitors have. For example, you’re looking at four DIMM slots, which is standard. However, they support up to 4400+MHz, which you won’t find with the competition. Oh, and you can have up to 128GB of RAM.
To add to this, you’ve got two PCIe 4.0 x16 slots, as well as 2 M.2 slots. Connectivity is great, with Intel Gigabit LAN and a 2×2 Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO 802.11ax, and you’ll also get great audio with Audio Boost 4. It’s an excellent motherboard and one that’s definitely worth its asking price.
Ryzen 9 3900X + MSI MEG X570 ACE
If you’re going to be building a real powerhouse, AMD’s Ryzen 9 3900X is the CPU you should go for. This is a real beast, with twelve cores and 24 threads, all of which are unlocked so you can push them even harder. It really can handle whatever you throw at it, from games to intense workloads that stress it quite a bit.
With a base frequency of 3.8GHz and a boost clock of 4.6GHz, you’re looking at an extremely fast CPU. Oh, did we mention it has 70MB of game cache and PCIe 4.0 support? It comes with the AMD Wraith Prism cooler, which is quite enough to keep it at stock.
The MSI MEG X570 ACE motherboard is an excellent pick for a high-end build. It comes with all the features you would need, and then some, but the price is actually pretty reasonable for what you get. The four DIMM slots support up to 128GB of memory at up to 4533+MHz, which is really good, and you have three PCIe 4.0 x16 slots for GPUs and expansion cards.
There are a total of three M.2 connectors on the motherboard, and you’re looking at a truly great networking section – Realtek 2.5G LAN, Intel Gigabit LAN, 2×2 Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO 802.11ax, it really has everything. If you’re after an ATX board that works well with a high-end AMD processor, the MEG X570 ACE is just excellent.
Ryzen 9 3950X + ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero (Wi-Fi)
If you’re going all out on a computer build, there’s only one processor to go for (well, save for the Threadripper models) – the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X. This is the CPU you get if you want your CPU to handle whatever you throw at it. With 16 unlocked cores and 32 threads, as well as 72MB of game cache, this is a really powerful CPU, especially for multithreaded apps.
The base clock is a fairly conservative 3.5GHz. However, push it harder, and you’re looking at a maximum clock of 4.7GHz, which is impressive, to say the least. Pair it with a good GPU, and you’ll easily see an excess of 100fps when gaming.
Even though there are more expensive motherboards to go for, we believe the ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero is actually a great pick for an enthusiast AMD build. It comes with everything you might need from such a build, and then some, yet it’s priced similarly to many other midrange boards.
It’s got four DIMM slots, as well as two PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots to take advantage of the X570 chipset. You also have RAID support, which is an interesting addition. With excellent cooling options and plenty of headers, you won’t be lacking in this regard either. And we should definitely mention the SupremeFX S1220 codec, which ensures audio is truly impeccable if you’re using this board. If you need a high-end enthusiast motherboard CPU combo, this is it.
Intel Motherboard CPU Combos:
i3-9100F + Gigabyte Z390 UD
Intel’s Core i3 processors have long been a great pick for gaming, but at this point, the Core i3-9100F is the one to go for with a budget Intel build. It’s a four-core, four-thread CPU, which means there is no hyperthreading, but it’s still a great CPU at this price point.
You’re looking at a base clock of 3.6GHz, but when pushed hard, the CPU can turbo up to 4.2GHz. This is actually quite a bit, and you’ll get some respectable performance out of it. And what’s interesting is that with no integrated GPU and a TDP of 65W, this isn’t a power-hungry CPU either, and it won’t heat up too much.
Sure, there are cheaper boards, but getting a Z390 chipset at this price is excellent, so the Gigabyte Z390 UD is our pick for a budget Intel build. It comes with four DIMM slots for DDR4 memory and supports both 8th and 9th generation Intel CPUs. You will also find support for Intel’s Optane memory which speeds things up significantly.
The PCIe connectors have Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable Armor, so they’re strengthened and made of stainless steel – excellent if you’ve got a heavier GPU. You also get an M.2 slot for storage, which is a nice addition, as well as Gigabyte’s exclusive 8118 Gaming LAN module. Add to this RGB light strip support, and you’re looking at a great motherboard.
i5-9400F + MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC
When four cores aren’t really enough and you want a bit more from your CPU, the Intel Core i5-9400F is the right option for you. It comes with six cores and six threads, and unfortunately, there’s no hyperthreading. However, you have a reasonable 2.9GHz base clock that can boost up to an impressive 4.1GHz when necessary.
It does come with dual-channel memory support, but just like any other Intel processor that ends with an F, you don’t have an integrated GPU. The TDP is very reasonable at 65W, and you’re looking at up to 40 PCIe lanes, which should be enough. Honestly, it’s a great mid-range CPU by Intel that performs well in a variety of scenarios.
For a midrange Intel build, we would definitely suggest going for MSI’s MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC. It’s a very well rounded out board that doesn’t cut corners where you don’t want it to, yet comes at a pretty reasonable price. It’s a Z390 chipset, so it supports 8th and 9th gen Intel processors, and it has dual-channel memory support at up to 4400MHz.
On the motherboard, you will find two Turbo M.2 slots, as well as support for Intel Optane memory to speed things up a bit. It has an extended heatsink to keep things cool and comes with MSI’s Mystic Light RGB lights. Not only do you have them on the motherboard, but there’s also no shortage of addressable headers either.
i7-9700KF + ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi)
Even though the i7 CPUs did have hyperthreading up until the 8th generation, the 9th gen i7-9700KF doesn’t. Still, it’s a very, very good high-end CPU with eight cores and eight threads, that performs more than admirably in a variety of situations. As is the case with any F processor by Intel, the i7-9700KF doesn’t have an integrated GPU.
What it does have, however, are some impressive frequencies. Even though the base is a fairly reasonable 3.6GHz, you’re looking at up to 4.9GHz with turbo. Yes, you read that right. And this is an unlocked CPU, so you can even overclock it if necessary. Add to this a reasonable 95W TDP, and it’s really an excellent processor.
ASUS has a lot of nice high-end motherboards, but it’s their ROG Maximus XI Hero that we think is the right fit for a high-end Intel build. It’s a very reasonable price, but it doesn’t compromise on any critical features. It’s made for 8th and 9th generation Intel CPUs using the LGA1151 chipset.
With two M.2 slots, as well as USB 3.1 Gen 2, you’re pretty much set in terms of connectivity. There’s also 802.11ac Wi-Fi onboard, as well as ASUS’s Optimum II for stability when DRAM overclocking. The 5 Way Optimization will give you suggested overclocking profiles when necessary, and you have Aura Sync RGB lights, too. The ROG Maximus XI Hero is really an excellent motherboard for this scenario.
i9-9900K + MSI MEG Z390 GODLIKE
There’s only one CPU that’s part of Intel’s mainstream lineup, that’s worth being in an enthusiast CPU – the Intel Core i9-9900K. It’s an eight-core CPU that does have hyperthreading, so you’re looking at sixteen threads in total, making it a great choice for multithreaded applications.
It’s also a great choice for gaming, thanks to the 3.6GHz base clock. However, if you’re going to be pushing things a bit, you’re looking at a maximum turbo of up to 5.0GHz, something that was previously impossible without overclocking. Since this is a K-series CPU, you can certainly overclock if you want to. Even though somewhat expensive, it’s definitely the go-to for an enthusiast Intel build.
When you’re going for an all-out Intel build, you do need to get a good motherboard. And few are as good as MSI’s MEG Z390 GODLIKE. It’s very expensive, we’re not going to deny that. However, it’s got a lot of things going for it. It has four DIMM slots that can support memory at up to 4600MHz, which is really impressive. Networking is impeccable – Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wi-Fi and dual Killer E2500 LAN keep things at bay. You also have three Turbo M.2 slots with M.2 Shield Frozr heatsinks, as well as dual front USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C ports. Add to this MSI’s Mystic Light Infinity, and you’re looking at a very high-performance board that looks really stunning, too.
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