Best Motherboard CPU Combo

Best Motherboard CPU Combo

These are our recommendations for the best motherboard CPU combos in 2021.

The heart and soul of any PC is the motherboard and CPU combo.

While a GPU gets you those gorgeous visuals, the CPU is what keeps the machine running for day to day tasks. I’ve been looking at the options for the latest and greatest in this generation and found what I think are the five best mobo CPU combos.

They are like PB & J, meant to be together. A motherboard is not necessarily going to make your computer faster or smarter or a better mother at that. Rather it unlocks a TON of features for your overall build.

Having a motherboard with RGB lighting is nice but you really want to ask about the details like dual-channel configurations, Wi-Fi, will it be future proof?

Also be aware that different CPUs are compatible with different motherboards. You need to make sure the socket type is correct lest you risk needing to rebuy or get an adaptor change. and we’ve found these to be our most recent faves.

Best Motherboard CPU Combo Buying Guide

Ryzen is one of the greatest things to happen to the CPU industry in the last few years.

Ryzen has different generations (Generation 1, 2, and 3.) as well as different versions that can easily show you the value or strength of a CPU. In general, a good Ryzen 5 is really good for PC Gaming and a Ryzen 3 will get the job done but it may be a bottleneck in some newer games.

A Ryzen 7 and 9 are best for those producing multimedia who need a lot of strong processing power. Intel is basically a similar model but they use the designation i in models such as the i5 or i7.

You do not need a top of the line CPU for gaming but the biggest difference will usually appear at 1080p in lower settings. At higher settings, often the difference becomes minimal.

1. Ryzen 3 3300X + ASRock B450 PRO4

Best Budget Motherboard CPU Combo

AMD Ryzen 3 3300X 4-Core, 8-Thread Unlocked...
  • 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen processors are the world's most advanced in the desktop PC gaming segment
  • Can deliver smooth 100+ FPS performance in the world's most popular games, discrete graphics card required
  • 4 cores and 8 processing threads, bundled with the quiet AMD Wraith Stealth cooler
Sale
ASRock ATX Motherboard (B450 PRO4)
  • Socket AM4, Digi Power design, 9 Power Phase design, Supports 105W Water Cooling (Pinnacle Ridge); Supports 95W Water Cooling (Summit Ridge); Supports 65W Water Cooling (Raven Ridge)
  • Chipset: AMD Promontory B450
  • Memory: 4x DDR4-3200+(OC)/2933/2667/2400/2133 DIMM Slots, Dual Channel, ECC, Non-ECC, Unbuffered, Max Capacity of 64GB (AMD Ryzen series CPUs (Pinnacle Ridge))

Realistically this is just a great, simple solution.

Your processor doesn’t need to be as fast as possible to play today’s great games. I love the Ryzen 3 3300X, it’s just a good balance between power and affordability.

The ASROCK B450 PRO4 sets you up for success and like all AM4 motherboards can be upgraded to a better CPU in the future if your main gaming rig needs a boost.

I think when it comes to quality, I’ve always preferred buying mid-range but Ryzen 3 3300X is such a powerful little CPU that it still helps you push frames up in a variety of games.

At 1080p you will notice the difference more but you can still get well above 100 FPS depending on the specific title.

For 1080p gaming, this is the cheapest sort of starter CPU you can get and then if you want to upgrade later, you’ll have the option. They’ve done a heck of a job making the cheap go-to CPU of this latest generation.

Pros:

  • Crossfire Capable
  • Most amenities that you’ll want with a mobo
  • 7.1 Surround Sound capable

Cons:

  • Not PCI 4.0 capable

2. Ryzen 5 3600 +  Asus AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi)

Best Value Motherboard CPU Combo

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AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked...
  • The world's most advanced processor in the desktop PC gaming segment
  • Can deliver ultra-fast 100+ FPS performance in the world's most popular games
  • 6 cores and 12 processing threads bundled with the quiet AMD wraith stealth cooler max temps 95°C

A little more strength under the hood is helpful and while the Ryzen 3 3300X is no slouch, there are a variety of reasons to consider getting a bit beefier of a CPU.

The first is just in general how much you use your computer in a non-gaming capacity. While I’d recommend a Ryzen 7 or i7 for media, the occasional photoshop session or looking for better stability at higher frames is better with the Ryzen 5 3600.

CPU tend to remove bottlenecks pretty quickly into your build but then the stability comes into play. The fewer minimum frames you have and the higher frames you get help content to feel smoother and take advantage of tech like 144hz monitors.

The Asus TUF Gaming X570-Plus is an excellent, future-proofed mobo that offers Wi-Fi. Mobos offering Wi-Fi usually give some level of Bluetooth too meaning you can use Airpods or other devices without fear.

It’s been in the works for some time but PCIe is about to enter the next generation and the X570-Plus is compatible meaning that GPU will run better than ever before. I can’t judge how big the difference will be until the next-gen of GPU but this is the best route for future-proofing.

Pros:

  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • PCIe 4.0 compatible

Cons:

  • Almost worth putting a Ryzen 7 into a motherboard this good instead, if you’re into content creation

3. Intel i5-10600K + MSI Z490-A PRO

Best Gaming-Only Motherboard CPU Combo

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Intel Core i5-10600K Desktop Processor 6 Cores up...
  • 6 Cores / 12 Threads
  • Socket Type LGA 1200
  • Up to 4. 8 GHz Unlocked
MSI Z490-A PRO ProSeries ATX Motherboard (10th Gen...
  • Supports 10th Generation Intel Core / Pentium Gold / Celeron Processors for LGA 1200 socket
  • Supports dual channel DDR4 memory up to 128GB (4800MHz)
  • Twin Turbo M.2 with M.2 Shield Frozr delivers transfer speeds of up to 32 GB/s for ultra-fast SSDs

If you love gaming and aren’t expecting outrageous FPS at 4K with a top-tier GPU, then the i5 10600K is a nice premium CPU. It’ll remove nearly any bottleneck and the other parts of the build (GPU, RAM, SSD) will be what is affecting your gameplay.

This is one of the most recent iterations from Intel and builds upon the earlier generations. I personally am an Intel fanboy so I buy products from them almost exclusively.

The reality though is that the brand loyalty really can’t make up for the $50 price difference between this and the Ryzen 5 3600.

While both possess 6 Cores and 12 Threads (Some excellent power), the 10600K performs better when it comes to gaming – thanks to solid single-thread performance.

Overall, it’s a great gaming CPU. With a good cooler and mobo you’ll be gaming well.

Pros:

  • Intel products are stable and fast
  • This is capable of nailing those high fps in 1080p games and 2K
  • I5-10600K is one of the newest CPU’s available

Cons:

  • The better value is the Ryzen 5 3600
  • No PCIe 4.0

4. Ryzen 7 3700X + GIGABYTE X570 AORUS Master

Best All-round Motherboard CPU Combo

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AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core, 16-Thread Unlocked...
  • The world's most advanced processor in the desktop PC gaming segment
  • Can deliver ultra-fast 100+ FPS performance in the world's most popular games
  • 8 cores and 16 processing threads, bundled with the AMD Wraith Prism cooler with color controlled LED support
GIGABYTE X570 AORUS Master (AMD Ryzen...
  • Supports AMD 3rd Gen Ryzen/ 2nd Gen Ryzen/ 2nd Gen Ryzen with Radeon Vega Graphics/ Ryzen with Radeon Vega Graphics processors
  • Dual channel ECC/ non-ECC unbuffered DDR4, 4 DIMMs
  • Direct 14 phases Infineon digital VRM solution with 50A power stage

For those who stream or multitask (Content-Creation), the Ryzen 7 3700X will keep the work chugging along at a phenomenal pace.

The Ryzen 7 3700X works wonders with the X570 setup and is future-proofed for even the latest in tech developments.

The Ryzen 7 3700X is a great CPU for those who don’t edit video in 4K all the time (Although it does fantastic with that!) or those who stream.

The huge amount of cores, generous thread-count, and AMD multi-tasking technology just make this a winning combination.

The Mobo itself is on the pricier end and there are some competing options on our list that can take the place of it but you’ll find it’s a really solid piece of tech with any Mobo feature you’re going to need for the foreseeable future.

It’s also great looking with that classy AORUS RGB I love to see.

Pros:

  • Perfect for streaming
  • PCIe 4.0 Capable
  • 8 cores and 16 Threads

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive if you just game

5. Ryzen 9 3900X + ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero X570

Best Enthusiast Motherboard CPU Combo

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core, 24-thread unlocked...
  • The world's most advanced processor in the desktop PC gaming segment
  • Can deliver ultra-fast 100+ FPS performance in the world's most popular games
  • 12 cores and 24 processing threads, bundled with the AMD Wraith Prism cooler with color controlled LED support
ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero X570 ATX Motherboard...
  • Amd AM4 socket:  ready for 2nd, and 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen processors and up to two M. 2 drives, USB 3. 2 Gen2, and AMD storemi TO maximize connectivity and speed.
  • Comprehensive thermal design: active PCH heatsink, M. 2 aluminum heatsink and ROG cooling zone.
  • High-performance networking: integrated 2. 5 Gaps Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet, both with ASUS LANGuard protection, and support for GameFirst V software.

This is the dream setup for those who make multimedia. Whether it’s 4K gaming, editing, streaming, or even workstation applications, the thread count here is INSANE.

I wish I had a CPU this good for my media business, alas I have to merely hold the Ryzen 9 3900X in my hands briefly as an idea.

This CPU is just a workhorse and while going up to the Threadripper level sounds cool, normally high core-count high thread systems don’t benefit much in the gaming department.

This is because games can only use so many cores efficiently and the higher core-count CPU options often have a much lower clock speed.

Realistically though, this is the perfect fit, and that live 4K playback when editing in premiere pro is where you’ll really feel it shine. 4K editing sucks. IT slogs. But this CPU helps you get that flawless realtime playback that you’ve been drooling about. This is a fantastic combo.

Pros:

  • 4K editing at blazing fast speeds
  • Gaming feels wonderful
  • The dream combo

Cons:

  • Need to spend a lot of money for this one

Conclusion:

As we said, the heart and soul of your build is the motherboard and CPU combo. Buying them locks many of your PC parts into a specific generation of equipment so it’s important to buy at the level that is right for you.

I always buy at the Ryzen 7 level because I do a lot of gaming and media production. Recently though some competitors have dropped technology like Hyper-Threading making me rethink that and I’ve found myself gravitating to.

If you’ve been itching to really test your rig and play some 4K games, Ryzen 7 3700X will knock your teeth out with its epicness.

It’s worth upgrading, especially if you are starting to see your gaming rig age out. Once again, thank you for reading and I hope you have an amazing time building your new PC!

Written By Aamir Irshad

Written By Aamir Irshad

Aamir is the founder and chief editor of PCBuilderz.com. For the last decade and a half, he’s been building PCs for himself and his friends. From those Core 2 processors to the latest Ryzen 5000 models, he has seen it all.

His aim for this website was to help people make the right decisions for their PC component upgrades.

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