Last Updated: September 2017
Finding the right motherboard to go with your processor is a vital part of building a high quality and effective gaming computer that will deliver exceptional performance. If you currently own, or you are thinking about buying a Kirby Lake Core i7 7700K, a Skylake Core i7 6700k processor, a Haswell Refresh Core i7 4790K processor, or any other types of core i7 CPU then you have come to the right place!
In this review, we provide an extensive look at the best motherboards that are currently on the market for Intel Core i7 CPUs. After reading this review, you will have all of the pertinent information that you need to purchase the best possible motherboard for your Intel Core i7 CPU.
What is Intel Core?
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty and tell you about the best motherboards for Intel Core i7 CPUs, it’s important to have a real understanding of exactly what Intel Core is.
Prior to 2006, if you wanted to have a top of the line desktop computer, you probably would have purchased one that was outfitted with an Intel Pentium processor. Back then, that was the industry standard. However, in August of 2006, all of this changed. This is when Intel launched its first Core range of processors; the Core 2 Duo. According to Intel, these CPUs delivered a 40 percent better performance than the Pentium D processors, while using 40 percent less power. Then, in 2007, Intel released their first quad-core desktop processors, which they called the Core 2 Quad.
Fast forward to 2008, Intel started releasing processors that were based on 3 naming conventions; the Core i3, the Core i5, and the Core i7. The first group of processors is dual core. They are designed for beginning PC users and are the most budget friendly; however, they are not typically used for gaming, though some simple, single threaded games that do not require overclocking may be played on them. The next group, the i5 processors, are mid-range processors and boast 4 cores (quad core). These CPUs are designed to be used with gaming, as they allow for overclocking and they provide a decent performance, but at a much more affordable price than the Core i7 models. Lastly, the i7 core processors are the most advanced. For those who are looking for the best possible performance for their PC for gaming, designing or even video editing, the Core i7 is the best option available. If you are interested in playing the newest games at the highest settings possible, then the Core i7 line of CPUs will offer you lighting fast PC that will be able to multi-task even the most demanding and power hungry games and apps.
Now, with all of that being said, there are a lot of gaming motherboards on the market that is designed to be used with Intel i7 CPUs. Since there are so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which gaming motherboard for an i7 CPU that you should choose.
To help you on your quest for finding the best gaming motherboard for your Intel i7 CPU, we have conducted extensive research and have tested out several different options. After rigorous testing and comparisons, we have selected what we believe are the best gaming motherboards for Intel i7 CPUs.
The Best Gaming Motherboards for Intel i7 CPUs
|Brand||Owner Rating||5 Star Rating||Price Check|
*5 Star Rating: this is based on the percentage of consumers who rate the product 10/10.
Though you will certainly have your choice of options when it comes to gaming motherboards for Intel i7 CPUs, if you select one of the options listed in this review, you can be sure that you will have a motherboard that will help your PC deliver the most efficient and most powerful functioning capabilities possible.
The ASUS ROG Maximus IX Formula Motherboard
ASUS is one of the most trusted names in the computer component industry, and their motherboards have received some of the highest recognition. Their ROG Maximus IX Formula certainly stands up to the high quality that ASUS is equated with; in fact, this motherboard is hailed as the best that ASUS offers.
The ASUS ROG Maximus IX Formula motherboard is a part of the latest line of the Republic of Gamers (ROG) motherboards that have been specifically designed to work with Intel’s 7th generation Kaby Lake processors. It is the successor of the top of the line and best-selling Maximus VII Formula, which was released with the 6th generation Skylake CPUs.
The Maximus IX Formula is better looking than the Maximus VIII Formula, and it also boasts some improvements that certainly make an upgrade worthwhile. Some of the most notable improvements include dedicated motherboard headers that offer improved water cooling support; integrated rear I/O shield and back plate; a front USB 3.1 header and an extra M.2 slot, as well as 3D printing templates that will allow for the most advanced customization possible.
One of the most notable features of the Maximus IX Formula motherboard is the completely redesigned Cross Chill EK II water block. This enables the motherboard to cool off with either water or air. It boasts larger, but thinner fins, which allows for even greater dissipation of heat and a much quieter operation. The Maximus IX Formula also offers the innovative Water Cooling Zone that is offered by ROG. This allows you to monitor every aspect of your cooling system. It boasts dual water temperature headers, which allow you to monitor the temperature of the water that is going into the system, as well as the temperature of the water that is going out of the system. Additionally, there is a water flow tachometer, which makes it possible to check the flow rate of the water that runs through the system.
Another feature that really stands out with the ASUS ROG Maximus IX Formula motherboard is the AURA lighting control software. This software gives you complete control over your lighting and allows you to customize the colors of the board to your own liking. There are build in RGB LEDs, which are thoughtfully placed in the most prominent points of the board. These RGB LEDs, combined with the attached RGB strips make it possible to choose between 9 different lighting schemes that will perform in perfect unison.
- Outfitted with Cross Chill EK II waterblock that allows for Hybrid air and liquid cooling
- Aura Lighting Control software, which offers 9 different lighting schemes and allows for complete customization
- A new and improved water cooling system that allows you to closely monitor water temperature and water flow in your system
- Easy to use
- Seamless integration
- It is one of the most expensive Z270 motherboards on the market
Asus ROG Maximus VIII Formula DDR4 ATX Motherboard
The Maximus VII Formula is also one of the latest additions in the motherboard line of Republic of Gamers. The Maximus VII Formula features an armor overlay that is similar to the Formula and the Sabertooth motherboards. Aesthetically speaking, this motherboard features the standard black and red. This motherboard’s integrated Intel Z170 chipset provides the board with the support that is needed for the latest Intel LGA1151 Skylake Processor line, as well as the Dual Channel DDR4 memory.
The Maximus VII Formula offers 28 integrated LEDs that provide ambient lighting and can be adjusted to your specific preferences so that you can truly customize the motherboard to your liking. The LED lighting is scattered throughout the motherboard and are located in various locations that are not traditionally lit, such as the MOSFET cooling hardware. ASUS uses Aura 4 pin LED headers, which allows you to use and control the standard 5050 RGB LED light strips with a maximum power rating of 2A, or 12V. It comes with one extension cable, but RGB LED strips do have to be purchased separately. Control of these and the onboard LEDs is done via the Aura lighting control software that is located in Windows. The control of the onboard LEDs and RGB headers are separate, which gives you a lot more flexibility when you are tuning the lighting effects.
Another key feature of the Maximus VII Formula is that it is designed to offer exceptional overclocking capabilities. It offers water cooling, which keeps they system cool and stable on a constant basis.
This motherboard offers three full-length PCle slots; the top two are either x16 for one or x8 / x8 for two. This setup makes it possible to create Tri-Crossfire X setups or quad-SLI (two dual GPUs). Additionally, there are three x1 slots that are located between the x16 slots.
In regard to storage, there is a total of six SATA 6 Gbps ports and two SATA Express Ports, in addition to a single M.2 slot and a U.2 slot. All of these are controlled by the native Intel chipset. The two additional SATA 6 Gbps ports are controlled by an ASMedia chip.
The LAN is controlled by the latest and most advanced NIC from Intel, the 1219-V. The NIX and supporting software offer traffic shaping, which allows for the most exceptional online gaming experience possible, as it prioritizes traffic for the game instead of other items that may be using the bandwidth that your PC offers.
An ROG Supreme FX 2015 and Realtek ALC1150 CODEC handle the audio. You have the ability to tweak the setup as much as you want, thanks to the Sonic Studio II software that the motherboard comes with.
There is a total of 14 USB ports; six of them are 3.0 ports (four mid-board); four USB 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.1 ports (Type A and Type C), all of which are controlled by the Intel chipset. Additionally, there are another two USB 3.0 ports, which are driven by an ASMedia 3.0 chip.
Lastly, one of the most prominent features of this motherboard is the Aura software. This software is designed to allow you to control your LED lighting with ease. It controls both the onboard LEDs and any LED lighting strips that are plugged into the port along the bottom of the board.
- Exceptional storage capabilities
- Superior customization
- Seamless integration
- One click set up
- Exceptional and long lasting cooling powers
- Has a high price tag
- Isn’t as powerful as the Maximus IX Formula
MSI Z97 Intel LGA 1150 DDR3 USB 3.0 ATX Gaming Motherboard
MSI is another leading name in the motherboard industry, and they provide some of the best gaming motherboards for Intel i7 CPUs. The Z97 is designed to provide gamers with the most advanced features and technology, and it is truly engineered to be a masterpiece of gaming.
The MSI Z97 offers truly incredible audio quality. Thanks to the Audio Boost 2, you will experience less outside noise and more crystal clear sound quality, which will allow you to have the best audio components for a truly incredible sound quality. You will have the ability to connect several different USB devices and is capable of delivering continuous and stable 5V to the USB ports on the motherboards, which means that you can enjoy the best sound quality possible.
The Killer E2200 Intelligent Networking Platform is designed to offer maximum networking performance for online games, as well as high-quality streaming media. Offering advanced Stream Detect, Killer E2200 automatically detects and accelerates game traffic ahead of other network traffic, which allows for a smoother performance with less stuttering. Thanks to this exclusive automatic traffic prioritization, games, and real-time chat are treated with priority over love level system chatter. This gives you the lowest latency for a game date on the most controllable network hardware available.
Offering the next generation of high-speed storage, which is supported through M.2 and SATA Express, data is transferred through a PCI Express 2.0 x 2 interface of up to 10 Gb/s. This makes it up to 67 percent faster than SATA 3.0 solutions.
Thanks to the addition of Guard Pro, your PC will be protected under even the most extreme and harshest of conditions. Guard Pro provides circuit protection, eco power, protection from humidity, protection from high temperatures, ESD protection, and EMI protection.
An integration of an OC Genie 4 provides the best overclocking technology that a motherboard can possess. This one-second overclocking option allows you to get the most exceptional performance possible. All you have to do is hit the button and your PC will get a shot of power, getting up to 20 percent of free extra performance for the CPU, the memory, and the iGPU.
Dual headphone amplifiers provide your headphones with the most amazing, highest quality studio level sound quality. In fact, it delivers up to 600 amps from your gaming PC. Plus, this motherboard offers both front and rear audio outputs, which makes it easy to plug your headphones in.
- Delivers exceptional sound quality
- Extremely easy to use
- Highly intuitive and easily adjusts to your PC
- Provides outstanding performance
- It doesn’t offer as much memory as other motherboards for Intel i7 CPUs
- It has a high price tag and may cost more than you are looking to spend
Gigabyte GA-Z97X-GAMING 5 LGA 1150 Z97 ATX Motherboard
The Gigabyte GA-Z97X Gaming GT is another one of the newest additions to the lineup of motherboards that are designed to be used with Intel i7 CPUs. It is in designed to offer seamless integration, provide exceptional gaming capabilities, and take your gaming performance up to the next level.
The Gigabyte GA 97X GAM motherboard has a lot of features to offer gamer. For starters, it supports the latest 4th Generation Intel Core Haswell, Haswell Refresh and Devil’s Canyon, and the upcoming 5th generation Broadwell processors.
In the audio department, it features Creative SoundBlasterX-Fi MB3 gaming audio suite, Realtek ALC1150 115dB SNR HD audio with built-in rear audio amplifier, high-end Nichicon audio capacitors, AMP-UP Audio technology with upgradable OP-AMP, Audio Noise Guard with LED path lighting, Dual DAC-UP USB ports, and gold plated audio ports.
Aside from the plethora of audio features, the Gigabyte Z97X Gaming GT is capable of 4-way multiple graphics card configuration, thanks to the PLX PEX8747 chip integrated into this motherboard. It also features Killer E2200 gaming networking platform, SATA Express connector, Dual Channel DDR3 slots that can support up to 3200MHZ (OC) speeds, and the only thing that is actually missing here is the M.2 PCIe port for NGFF SSDs.
On the software side, the Gigabyte Z97X Gaming GT features UEFI DualBIOS, App Center with EasyTune and Cloud Station utilities. I’ll discuss more of its features and specifications as well take a closer look at the motherboard below.
A built-in rear amplifier that is capable of driving up to 600 amperage loads. This will give you a full range of dynamic sound with crisper details and less distortion so that you can enjoy the highest quality sound possible. An additional Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 is also included with this motherboard. This powerful audio platform offers premium audio quality and better sound effects for games.
High end branded Nichicon audio capacitors help to deliver the highest quality sound resolution possible, as well as a sound expansion that will create the most realistic sound effects possible. Gold plated audio and HDMI connectors provide improved connectivity and durability that will last a long time. Gold has exceptional signal conductivity and does not tarnish over long periods of use, which means that you can count on it to work as good after hours of use as it did the first time you used it. Additionally, the audio control is protected by a gold-plated cover, which helps to eliminate the interference of static electricity.
Dedicated audio hardware ones provide a separation on the PCB layer and protect this motherboard’s sensitive analog audio component. It also separates analog and digital ground to shield against Electromagnetic Interference and LED trace path lighting lights up to clearly indicate the separation of the PCB layers.
Supported memory for this motherboard included DDR3-1066 / 1333 / 1600 / 1800 / 1866 / 2000 / 2133 / 2200 / 2400 / 2500 / 2666 / 2933 / 3000 / 3100 / 3200. It offers SLI support, as well as Cross Fire and RAID support. There are a total of 4- 6 SATA Gbps ports, there is one SATA Express Port, 1 M.2 Port and 4 RAM Slots. There is a max RAM of 32 GB.
- Offers a truly solid performance
- There is support for M.2 and SATA Express
- There is an outstanding NIC available
- Offers exceptional onboard audio
- We didn’t find that there were any cons associated with this motherboard
In order to make sure that you get the right gaming motherboard for your Intel i7 CPU, you really want to make sure that you do your research and choose one that is completely compatible with your system. You also want to make sure you choose one that will work with your specific design layout. Remember; not all motherboards are designed to work with all design layouts. Take the time to make sure that you are choosing an option that will work with your setup so that you can really enhance your video gaming experience and get the most out of your motherboard and your PC
In order to make the most of your Intel i7 CPU, you have to make sure that you have the best gaming motherboard possible. All of the motherboards that we have included in this review are of exceptional quality and deliver outstanding performance. If you are really interested in bringing your video gaming experience on your computer that has an Intel i7 CPU, you can’t go wrong with any of the motherboard options that are listed in this review.