A motherboard is arguably one of the most important parts of your sim racing PC. Everything connects to it: your RAM, CPU, graphics card, and any other parts that are needed to get you up and running. So, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the best motherboards for sim racing.
The 10 best motherboards for sim racing are:
- Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Pro
- MSI MEG Z690I Unify
- Asus TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WiFi
- Asus ROG Strix B660-I Gaming WiFi
- Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero
- MSI MPG X570
- Gigabyte X570S AORUS Master
- Gigabyte A520 AORUS Elite
- Gigabyte X299X Designare 10G
- Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Extreme
These motherboards offer some of the best performance on the market, with plenty of expansion slots. Read on below to see a more in-depth review on each one and some other information to consider to make sure you pick the right one for your sim racing setup.
What To Look For In A Motherboard For A Sim Racing PC
For sim racing especially, you want as many USB ports as you can possibly get your hands on, and while a USB hub will do just fine in most cases, there can sometimes be power delivery failures. Thunderbolt 4 and even Thunderbolt 3 are excellent methods of connecting your equipment, powering your monitors, charging, and transferring data.
It is simply a faster way of doing things, so aim to get your hands on a motherboard with Thunderbolt capability if you can.
Storage is another big one. Playing racing simulators on a hard drive can be a brutal experience, as at such high speeds, the HDD often can’t read or write data quick enough to keep pace with what’s requested of it in-game. This can result in severe texture pop-in or awful hitching in the middle of a race. This happens less on standard SSDs but is still a concern.
However, NVMe drives that can be installed in M.2 slots are extremely fast and are the best way to play your sim racing games, almost completely eliminating any sort of slow down related to read/write speeds. You’ll see a lot of emphasis put on storage and specifically the number of M.2 slots on the motherboard, and this is why.
This is arguably the most important as it is probably going to be the deciding factor for many people. When looking at motherboards online, make sure that the socket type and chipset match those of your CPU that you plan on putting into the motherboard.
It’s far easier to choose the right motherboard for a CPU than the right CPU for a motherboard, so I recommend buying your CPU first and then finding the appropriate motherboard for it. Motherboards also come in different form factors, like E-ATX, ATX, ITX, Micro ITX, and so on. Making sure that your motherboard will comfortably fit into your PC case is crucial.
KEY POINTS• You ideally want thunderbolt ports on your motherboard
• NVMe slots offer the fastest memory solutions
• You also need to ensure it’s compatible with your CPU and PC case
The 10 Best Motherboards For Sim Racing
1. Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Pro
USB Ports: 13 | Socket: LGA1700 | Chipset: Z690 | Form Factor: ATX | WiFi: Yes | M.2 Slots: 4
The Z690 AORUS Pro has a whopping 13 USB ports, enough to connect most racing peripherals to your PC without the need for a clunky external USB hub. The Gigabyte Z690 series of motherboards feature a specially optimized thermal design that ensures lower temperatures of your components under heavy load.
It Stays Cool
If you want to max out your racing sims graphics settings, you won’t need to worry about thermals with any of the Z690 series motherboards as long as you have the usual case fans and CPU cooler set up properly. This is especially good in in hotter climates, because as the temperatures rise, thermal throttling can be a serious concern and can cause some awful stuttering and hitching.
While the inclusion of WiFi on a motherboard should never be a deciding factor, it’s nice to have and definitely gives this motherboard an edge. The form factor is ATX so make sure that your PC case supports that form factor before purchasing this motherboard. There are 4 M.2 slots on the motherboard which allows for 4 NVMe drives to be installed.
NVMe drives are extremely important as they offer the fastest read and write speeds of any storage method and eliminate texture pop-in and various other graphical bugs that you might encounter on a slower SSD or HDD. The motherboard itself looks very stylish and sells for a very competitive price.
- Many USB ports
- WiFi included
- Great thermals under load
- Only supports WiFi 6, not faster WiFi 6E
- No RGB
2. MSI MEG Z690I Unify
USB Ports: 8 | Socket: LGA1700 | Chipset: Z690 | Form Factor: ITX | WiFi: Yes | M.2 Slots: 3
This motherboard is for those that want a smaller form factor that will fit in any ITX case but still packs a punch with the latest modern features. Similar to the Z690 AORUS Pro, the MSI MEG Z690I Unify features 3 M.2 slots, perfect for NVMe storage that nets you the fastest load times and eliminates read and write speed related hitching.
The M.2 slots are also protected by a shield with a chipset heatsink, making sure that thermals don’t affect your NVMe drive, helping them run faster and cooler. The Z690I Unify features WiFi 6E which offers incredibly fast speeds, vital for online races if you don’t have access to an ethernet cable.
Lots Of Ports
There are 8 USB ports including two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports, and four USB 3.3 Gen 1 ports. This motherboard has been designed with thermals in mind, and in such a tight ITX form factor, it is incredibly important that thermals are kept in check to avoid thermal throttling of the CPU or GPU.
While the Z690I Unify is a tad expensive for an ITX form factor motherboard, its impressive list of features and strong thermal-focused design make it a great option for those looking for an ITX board and I would recommend it if it’s in your budget.
- Excellent thermals
- Small ITX form factor
- Includes WiFi
- Average number of USB ports
- Third rear M.2 slot doesn’t feature heatsink
3. Asus TUF Gaming Z590-Plus WiFi
USB Ports: 7 | Socket: LGA 1200 | Chipset: Z590 | Form Factor: ATX | WiFi: Yes | M.2 Slots: 3
The Asus TUF series feature military grade components and are known for being some of the most durable and dependable PC parts on the market. The Z590-Plus WiFi is no different, offering us military grade hardware that ensures its longevity and some excellent thermals.
This motherboard features military grade components, making it live up to its TUF name. It also features a decent number of ports and slots, along with RGB lighting.
With only 7 USB ports, many people may need to take a look at getting a USB hub to go along with this motherboard. However, if your PC case has enough USB ports on it you may be perfectly fine with what’s offered. The motherboard does support Thunderbolt 4 through the use of an on-board header.
3 M.2 slots allow you to install some top-tier NVMe storage for maximum load speeds, and texture pop-in is eliminated when racing at high speeds. The Z590-Plus WiFi features an M.2 Q-Latch that allows for extremely quick and easy installation and removal of any storage from the M.2 slots.
Each M.2 slot also features its very own dedicated heatsink, so your components are kept safe under heavy load. This is an ATX form factor motherboard so be sure to check whether or not your PC case can accommodate this before you buy. WiFi capability does come with this board and is a nice addition for those who don’t have the ability to use a wired ethernet connection.
- Extremely durable
- Heatsinks on all 3 M.2 slots
- 2 addressable RGB headers and RGB strip headers
- Not many USB ports
- 1A/12W fan headers may not support power hungry cooling
4. Asus ROG Strix B660-I Gaming WiFi
USB Ports: 8 | Socket: LGA1700 | Chipset: B660 | Form Factor: ITX | WiFi: Yes | M.2 Slots: 2
Despite its low price, this small ITX form factor motherboard is incredibly high performing, stylish, and very durable. It features integrated WiFi 6, four SATA ports, but only a couple of M.2 slots. This motherboard’s audio stack is fairly robust compared to its competitors, featuring a total of five analog plugs and one optical SPDIF port.
This is a high performing motherboard with integrated WiFi and a robust audio stack. The simple installation of this one makes it an ideal choice for those that value easy setup.
The M.2 slots feature the fantastic M.2 Q-Latch, making it incredibly easy to install and remove drives without the need to get out any tools. An I/O shield comes premounted on the board and it matches the matte black gamer aesthetic that they are leaning into with this board. The DIMM slots, where you’ll install your RAM, are sadly not reinforced, but they do support up to 64 GB of DDR5 RAM.
On such a small form factor ITX motherboard, 64 GB is all you’re going to get here without spending the extra money and getting a bigger ATX motherboard, but 64 GB is more than enough for most people, and you won’t have any issues running any racing simulators with that much RAM.
Make sure that your CPU is supported by its LGA1700 socket and that you use the best RAM that is supported by this motherboard. RAM speeds have a huge impact on framerates and overall game performance, so making sure you’re utilizing as many features as you can from the motherboard is a must.
- Robust audio stack
- Easy to use M.2 Q-Latch on each M.2 slot
- Fairly cheap
- RAM slots are not reinforced
- Max capacity of 64 GB of RAM
- It can run hot, so great cooling is a must
5. Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero
USB Ports: 10 | Socket: LGA 1200 | Chipset: Z590 | Form Factor: ATX | WiFi: Yes | M.2 Slots: 4
The Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero is an ATX motherboard, packed with some of the best tech Asus has to offer. It features WiFi 6E integrated into the board itself, and while that shouldn’t be a deciding factor on whether or not you should buy a motherboard, it is extremely handy to have.
There is plenty of room for storage with its four M.2 slots that are all protected from damage from high temperatures with their M.2 backplates and heatsinks, ensuring lightning-fast load times and excellent performance when using NVMe drives for storage on your PC. There is of course RGB featured on the motherboard itself in the form of “Aura lighting” near the I/O and on the chipset zone.
A DAC And AI?
Audiophiles will be pleased to hear there is also a digital to analog converter (DAC) built into the motherboard, so you get amazing sound quality while racing. The Maximus XIII Hero also features impressive AI technology such as AI overclocking, AI cooling, AI networking, and two-way AI noise cancelation.
This makes in-depth customization a treat for advanced users, but beginners will have a great time as the AI looks after everything with very little left for you to worry about other than getting good lap times! There are 10 USB ports, which should be enough for most sim racing rigs, as well as dual onboard Thunderbolt 4.
Naturally, such a strong performing motherboard is expensive. But nonetheless, if this one is in your budget and you’re looking for a motherboard to go into your ATX case, I highly recommend the Maximus XIII Hero.
- Features AI overclocking, cooling, networking, and two-way AI noise cancelation
- 4 M.2 slots
- Includes DAC for premium audio quality
6. MSI MPG X570
USB Ports: 8 | Socket: AM4 | Chipset: AMD X570 | Form Factor: ATX | WiFi: Yes | M.2 Slots: 3
The MSI MPG X570 is an excellent option for AMD users who want to take advantage of AMD’s impressive multithreaded performance. The PCIe slots are reinforced with a steel outer wall that can stop cards from bending and makes sure anything plugged in is strong and stable.
This motherboard is a great choice for AMD users, and it's a very durable option overall. It's an easy motherboard to overclock, which rounds this one off as a good value for money choice.
The 4 DIMM slots are only rated for DDR4, but while you can’t utilize the fastest DDR5 RAM available, the MPG X570 does feature DDR4 boost technology that allows your RAM to reach a speed of up to 4800 MHz.
Not DDR5 Compatible
DDR4 RAM certainly won’t be slow at this speed, and your racing simulator will still benefit tremendously from the increase in speed. However, it still would have been nice to let us use DDR5 memory. Overclocking is made incredibly easy with the use of presets found in the BIOS settings, meaning even beginners will be able to easily squeeze a bit more performance out of their setup.
This will net better framerates in-game and make for a far smoother racing experience, ideal for any serious competitor. Considering the fairly low price this motherboard is selling for, if you are on a budget and you want the best AMD-compatible motherboard out there, this is an excellent choice.
- Fairly cheap
- Very easy to overclock
- Reinforced PCIe slots
- Doesn’t support DDR5 RAM
- Black and red aesthetic doesn’t go well with certain builds
7. Gigabyte X570S AORUS Master
USB Ports: 12 | Socket: AM4 | Chipset: X570S | Form Factor: ATX | WiFi: Yes | M.2 Slots: 4
The X570S AORUS Master is an ATX Motherboard perfect for anyone looking to use an AMD Ryzen 5000 series processor in their setup. It is a fanless chipset, so it is an extremely quiet motherboard. The M.2 slots are protected by Gigabyte’s Thermal Guard III, which is a more optimized heatsink with a larger surface area to ensure your storage is kept cool.
This option features lots of ports and four M.2 slots, and its got some top quality thermal protection too. It's a fanless design, which makes this a great performing but quiet motherboard.
The multiple fan headers allow the use of high current water-cooling pumps up to 24 W with over-current protection. They also feature 7 different fan speed control points, so you can really fine-tune how your fans behave and get a balance between the cooling and noise that works for you.
Plenty Of Ports
12 USB ports is more than enough for most sim racing equipment and should be a lot easier to manage than having an external USB hub. WiFi 6E is included which is a nice addition, even if you don’t plan on using it as your main online connection method.
This motherboard doesn’t support DDR5 RAM, but a good amount of high performing DDR4 memory will work just fine and you can still expect excellent performance. This motherboard offers great value for money, and if it’s in your budget you should certainly consider this one.
- Quiet fanless design
- 12 USB ports
- Good fan control and customization
- No DDR5 RAM support
8. Gigabyte A520 AORUS Elite
USB Ports: 8 | Socket: AM4 | Chipset: A520 | Form Factor: Micro ATX | WiFi: Yes | M.2 Slots: 1
This is by far one of the cheapest motherboards out there that still has almost every feature you’d want from a great motherboard for sim racing. A single M.2 slot is available, and while sim racing games may benefit from such fast read/write speeds, it’s best you keep your OS on the NVMe drive to make your system faster overall, keep your racing sims on a separate SSD.
This is a budget friendly choice for those that want a decent number of ports with great audio quality. It's also fairly easy to install, making it a good option for those attempting their first sim racing PC build.
A metal shield surrounds the PCIe slot, protecting it and ensuring a stable fit. There are 4 DIMM slots that can operate in dual channel DDR4, but sadly it won’t support DDR5. There is a pre-installed I/O shield which makes the hassle of installation that little bit easier.
For those who want top notch audio, there are high-end audio capacitors on the motherboard that ensure audio is of a high resolution for more realism, which isperfect racing simulators. For anyone looking to build a PC on a small budget, this is a fantastic motherboard to pair with any third generation AMD Ryzen processor.
- Budget friendly
- WiFi included
- Premium audio quality
- Only one M.2 slot
- Does not support DDR5 RAM
9. Gigabyte X299X Designare 10G
USB Ports: 6 | Socket: LGA 2066 | Chipset: Intel X299 PCH | Form Factor: E-ATX | WiFi: Yes | M.2 Slots: 3
While the E-ATX form factor is a niche market, for those that need its dual 10 Gb/s ports, this is the cheapest option that contains both dual Thunderbolt 3 and 10 Gb/s networking. This motherboard also offers lots of ports, with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two DisplayPort inputs and two Type-C outputs.
This is a great option for anyone that needs 10 Gb/s speeds and plenty of storage. It also offers a decent selection of ports, and you can benefit from quad channel RAM with this motherboard.
There are 8 SATA ports for storage, some of which are shared with M.2. There are a whopping 8 DIMMs, opening up the opportunity for quad channel unbuffered DDR4 RAM. This motherboard also features full board thermal protection, ensuring nothing gets too toasty.
While there are only 3 M.2 slots on the motherboard, it does come with the AORUS Gen4 AIC Adapter, this allows you run to 4 M.2 slots together and a custom AORUS storage manager software that makes setting up your storage incredibly easy.
The X299X Designare 10G does come with WiFi 6, which is a nice addition, but I would expect as much in a motherboard at this price. If storage is a big factor in your decision making and you want 10 Gb/s networking, this is a fantastic choice if it’s in your budget and you have an E-ATX form factor case to put it in.
- Inclusion of adapter allows for more M.2 slots
- Quad-channel RAM build is possible with this board
- Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Case will require at least 10.8-inch depth
- May be more DIMMS than you’ll really need
10. Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Extreme
USB Ports: 10 | Socket: AM4 | Chipset: X570 | Form Factor: E-ATX | WiFi: Yes | M.2 Slots: 5
While this motherboard is certainly packed with features that many gamers will adore, they aren’t all relevant for us sim racers and for the exuberant price that it sells for, you could almost afford an entire pre-built PC. With that said, it does pack a serious punch.
This is the ultimate choice for those that need absolutely everything for their next PC build. There are lots of ports and M.2 slots, and transfer and load speeds with this motherboard are rapid.
Firstly, it has five M.2 slots on-board, which is more than enough for any reasonable amount of storage. There are two Thunderbolt 4 ports, four DIMM slots that are rated for DDR4 5000 (OC), and six SATA ports. Someone who wants really good transfer speeds, fast storage, rapid load times, and can appreciate its “Supreme FX” HD audio codec will love this motherboard.
A Feature-Rich Motherboard
If you are planning on running two Nvidia GPUs in tandem, you can with its Nvidia 2-Way SLI capability. For the included WiFi, we of course have WiFi 6E. It’s an extremely stylish looking motherboard, featuring RGB on the board itself and an aesthetic that will blend in with most sim racing rigs.
Again, before rushing out to purchase one, take into account the E-ATX form factor, socket, and chipset. I believe that for most sim racing enthusiasts, this motherboard doesn’t offer anything innovative that couldn’t be delivered by another motherboard on our list at a lower price.
- 5 M.2 slots
- Supports Nvidia 2-Way SLI
- 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports
- Very expensive
Choosing the right motherboard for your sim racing setup is extremely important, and there are a few key factors to consider before you pick the right one for your PC. The Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Pro has everything a sim racer needs in terms of storage and connectivity at a great price, so it is the clear winner.
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