Intel released lots of 8th generation processors since 2017 October. The Coffee Lake expanded in 2018 as well with new chipsets and processors. Previous year Intel brought few locked and unlocked Core series processors. The main problem till April 2018 was lack of budget motherboards to pair with locked Core i3 and i5. Also entry level Pentium processors were not announced. But now we have the whole family of new Coffee Lake goodness. In this article, we will recommend few budget motherboards for build of each caliber.
Our focus is on motherboards below $200 price point. We will focus on actually all types of new 300 series chipset boards including H310, B360, H370 and Z370. The H310 are the cheapest then comes B360 with a bit better features. H370 is a high end locked board which almost matches Z370 minus some features.
Our main goal here is to list some great value for money products that will support system and processor of all levels. This includes new Intel Pentium Gold G5400 to Core i7 8700k. All of the above mentioned chipsets will support all the 8th gen processors. The only difference is the power and features. Lets directly start for the base line processor.
1) ASUS Prime H310M-E: This is aboard for the basic starters who want to have thew new Pentium lineup prcessors. The Prime H310 costs around $67 and would be a great match for Pentium Gold G5400 to G5600 or even Core i3 8100. It has m-ATX form factor with M.2 and USB 3.1 Gen 2 Support. It can only take maximum of 2 RAM sticks and 4 SATA peripherals. Asus tells that they are using Military-grade TUF components which gives it longer life and great build quality. This is a good option for small PC for office, home and light gaming.
2) Gigabyte H370 HD3: The H370 is a bit premium board for locked motherboard segments. H370 DH3 comes at price of $98 on average. This motherboard supports 2 Way Crossfire, two M.2 drives and has 4 DIMMS plus 6 SATA Ports. Users get 7.1 Audio output, RGB strip support and hybrid Pin headers for various types of coollers. It is rock solid board for the price tag.
3) Asus ROG Strix B360-H Gaming: This is a fantastic looking ROG series board which costs around $120. There is dual NVME M.2 support, Auro Sync RGB support, VRM heat-sink and lots of connectivity option. It is one of the best choice for processors like Core i5 8400 and Core i7 8700. This motherboard would give great features, stability and nice aesthetic looks. ROG lineup is taken as very good standard of product range from Asus.
4) MSI Z370-A Pro: It is an ATX size board which supports unlocked processors like Core i7 8700k, Core i5 8600K and i3 8350K. Both K and non K series processors work in this motherboard. This MSI Z370-A Pro motherboard costs about $110 and must be one of the motherboard option with this chipset. It has all the basics like 4 RAM DIMMS, Military Class 5 hardware, Double ESD protection, PCI-E Steel Armour, Dual graphics card support and much more.
Recommendation and Thoughts
Actually Z370 board allows higher frequency RAM and processor overclocking. Some benchmarks show small performance upgrade on locked processors on Z370 boards. But we don’t recommend you to buy Z370 board for locked CPU. Good B360 motherboards are great choice according to us for almost all normal users.
For example, we would always choose board which can support 4 RAM sticks so that it won’t be problem in future. It would be great to have 7.1 audio and many good boards except H310 have them. For high end consumers who want to run Core i7 8700k or such should spend more on motherboard because overclocking needs a solid platform.
Better main-boards always have higher connectivity support like more SATA ports, USB Ports and other PCI slots. This matters a lot if you are an enthusiast but if you just want simple PC for office work or game then get the best in your price range. Buy according to your budget and get the best what you can. Don’t buy and pay for what you won’t use. But always keep in mind how long you plan to use the PC and future expansion options.