If you are custom building a computer, getting your hands on a good motherboard is paramount.
You don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for a motherboard. A decent motherboard can cost between $40 and $100.
You don’t really need to spend over $100 unless you are going for really speedy specs.
But you should have a few good options to know what suits your needs and budget best. Here are the top picks under $100:
5 Best Budget Motherboards – 2021
It ships with a Flash BIOS button, which you can simply use a USB key to flash any BIOS quickly, without installing a CPU, memory or graphics card., which is a great plus. Just use a flash drive with the bios into the correct USB port, plug in the CPU 8-pin and the mobo 24-pin, and press the flash button and you should be set.
This board is great for graphics use and video editing, although this would not be considered a top-flight ASUS gaming board, in general.
Some may gripe about this board having only 6 USB ports on the back I/O plate.
That said, as another bonus this board comes supplied with very good thermal grease.
This one is definitely one of the more cost-efficient ones.
It supports 9th and 8th Gen Intel® Core™ Processors out of the box and BIOS version F5, and having 4 ram slots is great to have for future expansion.
It also has Smart Fan 5 cooling tech with 4 temperature sensors with a very quiet fan design.
There is a host of other utilities which makes this board worth every penny.
You can use almost any Intel processor with this one and it comes with two RAM bays.
I wouldn’t really recommend this for hardcore gaming, but it’s suitable for moderate gaming needs.
Also, this motherboard is well suited for custom building a PC.
The only issue I encountered with getting an interior fan for the board. You will need a fan with 3 specific female connectors, which can be a hassle to find.
This board has an Intel H110 chipset and supports 7th and 6th generation Intel Core processors.
It has dual channel DDR4 and double DIMM memory.
I was impressed with the high-quality audio capacitors, which actually had audio noise guards.
Even more impressive was the 1.4 HDMI port that makes this board ideal for multimedia for gaming computer building.
It comes with Realtek modem software too
A Motherboard Just Outside the $100 Range that Should be Considered:
However, it’s not well suited for Windows 10, because this motherboard has a lot of generic drivers that can make the OS buggy.
It ships with a new BIOS, which is a great plus.
The system lacks a VRM heatsink, so you will probably have to buy one separately if you want to build something like a gaming computer.
This motherboard has a number of power saving features and anti-surge protection that makes it ideal for most custom-built computers.
Tips for Buying a Cheap Motherboard
When you are on the hunt for a good motherboard for less than $100, keep the following in mind:
Support for USB 3.0 is a great bonus. In fact, it may be a necessity as computers of the future are switching to USB 3.0.
Try to buy a motherboard with 6-GBps SATA ports that support faster data transfer on hard drives, including SSD drives.
SATA ports are also very compact so you will have more room for attaching other devices.
RAM is now cheaper than ever. So, don’t settle for less.
Get as much RAM as possible. 8GB is decent enough and you won’t have to pay a lot like you would for 16GB max RAM.
If you plan on equipping your PC with a new generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, you will need to buy a motherboard with an 1155 socket.
Keep in mind that the processor is the most important component your motherboard will have.
You will need to buy the motherboard after you decide which processor you want.
When buying, make sure the motherboard has a CPU socket that can actually hold the processor you want.
Modern motherboards have two main form factors: ATX and microATX.
ATX motherboards usually have a larger number of slots for expansion (about 7 typically), four to eight RAM bays and data connectors.
MicroATX motherboards typically only have four expansion slots and fewer RAM bays.
However, you will find microATX motherboards more commonly because they support smaller, minimalist PCs.
If you are a gamer, you will need a full-size ATX motherboard.