PC Gamer Hardware Awards: The best motherboard of 2023

The motherboard is one of the most integral pieces of the PC building puzzle because your choice of board answers a ton of questions for you before you even get started with anything else. It determines which processor generation and from which manufacturer you’re going to be picking from, it determines what kind of storage you can choose, and it will have a huge impact on what your PC looks like.

And I don’t even just mean in terms of form factor—though teeny mini-ITX mainboards all the way through to monstrous extended ATX mobos impact what size case you can build into—because your board can come as festooned with LEDs as any mechanical keyboard of the past decade. And have a ton of aRGB connections on them, too.

Though relative performance between different boards on the same chipset has almost entirely plateaued, there is still a huge amount of difference between motherboards in terms of feature set, memory support, and especially power componentry.

We’ve reviewed many different boards in the latest AMD and Intel chipsets this year, and a lot of them have been very good (if damned expensive), but only three have a chance to win its own PC Gamer Hardware Award. And the nominations are…

The best motherboard of 2023: the nominees

ASRock Z790 Riptide WiFi
ASRock has come a long way in the past few years, creating a motherboard stack that encompasses everything from the very high-end to the very affordable. And with none of the cheapening out that we’ve maybe seen from the brand in times long gone.

This new Riptide board represents the top Intel chipset, ready and waiting for the latest 14th Gen chips, with a level of performance to allow them to hit their full potential.

It’s also one of the few Z790 boards to really have a care for your storage concerns, with plenty of SATA ports and a full five M.2 sockets, too. It’s feature set is strong, the performance right up at the top of the pile, and it’s one of the best value Z790 motherboards you will ever find.

Read our full ASRock Z790 Riptide WiFi review.

ASRock B650E PG-ITX WiFi
It’s tough not to find mini-ITX motherboards endlessly endearing. I mean, just look at this, it’s soooo tiny. But judge me by my size, do you? This is another outstanding ASRock board and one that fully delivers as a modern motherboard for one of the latest AMD AM5 platforms.

The B650E is AMD’s second tier Zen 4 chipset, and is a single chip solution, which is why you’ll find more B650/E mini-ITX boards than B670/E versions in the smaller form factor. And yes, you are compromising by picking this tiny design, but not in any way that will really matter to the majority of PC gamers.

You still get one PCIe 5.0 socket in both x16 for graphics and x4 for M.2 SSDs, as well as a further PCIe 4.0 M.2 slot. It will also support up to DDR5-6800 memory and rocks a very impressive VRM. And just look at that back panel; this thing is stacked.

Read our full ASRock B650E PG-ITX WiFi review.

MSI MAG Z790 Tomahawk WiFi
It was always one of the more affordable Z790 boards when it first hit our test bench in January last year, but since the refreshed Z790s have hit the scene around the launch of the 14th Gen Intel chips its price has plummeted. It’s now just $220, which for such a high-spec, high-end motherboard is rather cheap.

It’s all about the core feature set over premium tier features that are more about marketing than anything a genuine PC gamer will use with their PC. And that makes them the sort of motherboard we’d be happy to stick in our own rigs.

But that doesn’t mean sacrificing performance, not a jot. Nowadays pretty much all modern motherboards perform within a hair’s breadth of each other in the benchmark stakes, which means it’s all down to pricing and features, and the MSI Tomahawk is a contender on both counts.

Read our full MSI MAG Z790 Tomahawk WiFi.

The winner of the PC Gamer Hardware Award for the best motherboard will be announced on New Year’s Eve. All three of these motherboards are in with a shot of taking home the big prize, so tune in to find out which one it’ll be.

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