Choosing components for a PC build can be daunting, especially with constant new releases in the world of PC hardware. With so many options available, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of choices. However, selecting the CPU is an excellent starting point as it can dictate the kind of performance you should expect system-wide. But with a plethora of motherboards on the market, how do you choose the best one for your CPU? We’re here to help you with this guide on the best CPU and motherboard combos, catering to a range of consumers at different price points.
Before we dive into our recommendations, it’s essential to consider the type of PC you want to build. Are you building a PC for gaming at 1080P or aiming for a higher resolution play in 1440P or 4K? Or do you need a workstation PC that demands a higher core count and clock speed? These questions are vital to ensure that all components work together to achieve optimal performance levels.
Although a CPU won’t necessarily dictate the frames you’ll get when playing games, it plays a significant role in ensuring that data from your GPU is processed quickly enough to avoid bottlenecking. The weaker your CPU, the choppier the gameplay might become, irrespective of how much you spend on the graphics card. Therefore, it’s crucial to achieve an equilibrium between all components for optimal performance levels, depending on your budget and chosen parts.
In the rest of this guide, we’ll provide you with various options for the best CPU and motherboard combos, taking into account different requirements and budgets, to help you make an informed decision.
How To Pair Up A Compatible Combo?
At times, choosing the right motherboard can be daunting, especially when considering compatibility and features. The constant change in CPU features, chipset type, and socket configurations by Intel or AMD can cause confusion to the average consumer. It’s not uncommon to come across different chipset letters and numbers like Z790, X670E, B760, and others that may leave you wondering which one is right for you.
Aside from compatibility, features are a significant consideration when selecting a motherboard. For users who want the latest and best options, opting for a flagship chipset from Intel or AMD’s newest line of motherboards may be the way to go. But for those who aren’t particular about the number of USB ports they have, a less expensive and more cost-effective chipset might be a better option.
To clear up the confusion, we have created a comprehensive table that outlines CPU range and motherboard chipset compatibility, including some details on features. The table may be extensive, but we believe it will provide much-needed clarity on which options work best for your needs. So, bear with us as we take you through this informative guide.
Best Motherboard CPU Combos
To help alleviate this confusion, we’ve compiled a list of the best CPU and motherboard combos to consider in 2023. From budget-friendly options to high-end choices, we’ve got you covered.
Intel Core i3 12100F & Gigabyte B660 DS3H AX
First on our list is the Intel Core i3 12100F, which packs four cores and eight threads clocked at 4.3GHz. Although not the most powerful CPU out there, it’s a budget-friendly option that’s perfect for entry-level builds. Paired with a graphics card like the NVIDIA RTX 3050 or AMD RX 6600, it can handle 1080P gaming without breaking a sweat.
To complement this CPU, we recommend the Gigabyte B660 DS3H AX motherboard. This budget-friendly board from Intel’s 12th-Gen line comes with an integrated WiFi 6E and Bluetooth module, high-speed USB ports, and Gen4 M.2 SSD slots.
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 & MSI B550M Pro VDH
Next up, we have the AMD Ryzen 5 3600, an older but still reliable option from the Ryzen 3000 range. With six cores and 12 threads, it offers a great balance of performance and value for gamers. The MSI B550M Pro VDH motherboard pairs perfectly with this CPU, offering a Micro-ATX form factor with plenty of features. The board includes an M.2 PCI-E 4.0 slot, a Gen3 slot for extra storage space, and a PCI-E 4.0 x16 slot compatible with the latest graphics cards like the Radeon 7000 or RTX 4000 series.
Intel Core i5 13400F & ASUS TUF Gaming B760-Plus WiFi D4
Last but not least, we have the Intel Core i5 13400F, which offers great performance at an excellent price point. It’s comparable to the 12600K from the previous generation, and while its lower clock speed may not be ideal for some games, it’s a great option for budget builds with plenty of cores and threads. The ASUS TUF Gaming B760-Plus WiFi D4 is a newer motherboard that comes with a refined design and a host of features. It includes a Gen5 x16 slot for next-gen graphics cards and three PCI-E 4.0 M.2 slots for ample storage.
Ryzen 7 5800X3D & MSI MPG B550 Gaming Plus
Firstly, we have the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D, which offers a fantastic value proposition for gamers. It can compete with the Intel Core i9 12900K when it comes to gaming, but at a much lower price point. However, it’s important to note that this CPU is primarily a gaming CPU and not ideal for workstation users.
To pair up with the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, we recommend the MSI MPG B550 Gaming Plus. B550 motherboards are currently very affordable, and the MPG B550 offers plenty of high-speed USB ports and is perfect for those looking to build a gaming PC with a Gen4 drive.
Intel Core i5 13600K & NZXT N7 Z690
Next up is the Intel Core i5 13600K, which is currently the “value king” due to its exceptional performance metrics at a reasonable price point. It offers similar performance to the previous generation’s Core i9 13900K but sits at a comparable price to the 12600K. This CPU is perfect for both gaming and workstation tasks, and we highly recommend it for consumers on a mid-range budget.
To pair with the Core i5 13600K, we recommend the NZXT N7 Z690. This motherboard has a sleek and minimalist design with integrated WiFi 6E, high-speed USB ports, and a PCI-E Gen5 GPU slot ready for the next generation of graphics cards. It’s also great for overclocking due to its compatibility with the “K” variant CPUs.
AMD Ryzen 9 7900X & Gigabyte X670E AORUS Master
For high-end users, we recommend the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X. While the value of the non-X variants isn’t great, the 7900X offers exceptional performance in both gaming and workstation tasks, with strong single and multi-threaded performance thanks to its high clock speed. We also recommend spending a little extra to get the overclockable “X” variant.
To pair with the Ryzen 9 7900X, we recommend the Gigabyte X670E AORUS Master. This motherboard offers plenty of high-speed USB ports and comes with a Gen5 x16 slot for your GPU and two Gen5 M.2 SSD slots. It’s a great choice for consumers who want a high-end motherboard with plenty of ports and upgradeability options, but don’t want to break the bank.
Intel Core i9 13900K & ASUS ROG Maximus Z790 Hero
The 13900K is currently the strongest consumer-focused CPU available in the market. It excels in both multi-threaded and single-threaded benchmarks and surprisingly performs exceptionally well in 4K gaming too. However, due to its high thermal design power, a good cooler is necessary to keep it from overheating. But once you have built your system, this CPU is an absolute powerhouse that will not disappoint.
As for the motherboard, the ROG Maximus Z790 Hero is a perfect match for the 13900K. This E-ATX DDR5 motherboard boasts high VRM power phase count and a range of impressive features. With an abundance of USB ports, it is perfect for users with numerous peripherals and accessories. It also offers plenty of upgrade paths with support for Gen5 graphics cards and SSDs. In short, this motherboard has all the features you could ever need for a high-end system.
Also read: The Top 10 Most Expensive PC Cases in 2023: A Look at Luxury Builds
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the best gaming motherboard in 2023?
If you’re looking for the top motherboard for gaming, the Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero is your best bet. This E-ATX DDR5 motherboard is an absolute powerhouse, offering high VRM power phase count and a plethora of features to make sure you’re getting the most out of your gaming setup. However, if you’re on a budget, the MSI Pro B660M-A is a great Intel motherboard that won’t break the bank. For AMD enthusiasts, the Gigabyte X570 Aorus Xtreme and the Asus TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi) are both fantastic options to consider.
What CPU do professional gamers use?
The Intel Core i5-12600K is currently the best gaming CPU on the market. With a base clock speed of 3.6GHz and the ability to boost up to 4.9GHz, it provides high performance for even the most demanding games. It also comes with integrated graphics, so you don’t need to invest in an expensive, dedicated GPU to play less graphically intensive games.
What CPU is best for gaming and multitasking?
For gaming and multitasking, a Core i5 CPU is an excellent value. In 2022, we recommended the Core i5 12600K as the best gaming CPU and the Core i5 12400 as the best budget option. In 2023, the Core i5 13600K has taken over the top spot, providing exceptional performance for both gaming and multitasking.
What CPU can run all games?
To run games smoothly while streaming, an Intel Core i7 processor or better with at least 8GB of RAM is sufficient. However, if you’re looking for even better performance and less impact on your gaming, the Intel Core i9 processor is a great choice. With its advanced technology, it can handle even the most demanding games without breaking a sweat.