The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X – the Intel Core i9-9900K killer. Or so AMD positioned the enthusiast chip when it hit store shelves back in July 2019. Did it deliver on that lofty promise? A contentious point for sure and one fueling gamers with plenty of fat to chew. What’s certain is that the Ryzen 9 3900X is one of if not the best gaming CPUs produced by AMD to date. Yes, it’s been superseded by the ever so slightly better specced Ryzen 9 3900XT, but all things considered, what’s not to love about a 1- core computing powerhouse for under $500?
No matter how much power it packs under the hood, the Ryzen 9 3900X is nothing without an equally performance-oriented motherboard to call home. And as we edge closer to the second anniversary of the chip’s launch, there are plenty of options out there. With so many motherboards to choose from, making that all-important choice can quickly turn into a tricky challenge. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of motherboard recommendations that pair beautifully with the Ryzen 9 3900X.
So, how do you determine if a motherboard is a sound investment or an absolute dud? The short answer is a careful balance of performance and features. When searching for the best motherboards, we put more weight on performance than anything else, and all our recommendations will get the most out of the Ryzen 9 3900X. Factors such as form factor, VRM quality and design, chipset cooling, power connectors, connectivity, PCIe 4.0/DIMM slots, overclocking potential, build quality, and storage options (M.2, SATA) also guided our choice.
Chances are you’ve bought or plan to buy a Ryzen 9 3900X intending to piece together an enthusiast-grade rig. As such, we’ve only included motherboards that utilize AMD’s PCIe 4.0-ready X570 chipset instead of the lesser B450 and last-gen X470. You can indeed find cheaper boards with those other chipsets (especially if you’re not fussed about PCIe 4.0), but with the aim of future-proofing to a certain extent, we’ve bypassed them entirely.
Below, you’ll find five motherboard recommendations alongside a brief review of each, highlighting why they stood out for us as the best motherboards for the Ryzen 9 3900X.
Best Motherboard For Ryzen 9 3900X in 2021
Impressive feature set
Strong performance and stability
After a few sketchy years, GIGABYTE has done well to redress its reputation by pumping out a succession of quality motherboards, best embodied by the AORUS range. The GIGABYTE X570 AORUS Master is one such offering and one geared to tap into the full potential of the Ryzen 9 3900X.
While the board has virtually the same trimmings as GIGABYTE’s flagship Extreme variant, the price tag is lower and much more digestible when you’ve already invested $500 in the Ryzen 9 3900X. The feature set is nothing short of impressive: 14 phases Infineon digital VRM, advanced thermal design with fins-array heatsink and direct touch heatpipe, three M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 with triple thermal guards, three PCIe 4.0 x16 slots, Intel Wi-Fi 6, Gigabit LAN, RGB Fusion 20, Smart Fan 5, dual-channel DDR4 DIMMS up to 4400 MHz, and ESS Sabre DAC audio.
While this roll call of features is impressive, it’s coupled with strong performance and stability, whether on the gaming or productivity front. The GIGABYTE X570 AORUS Master ranks up there with some of the best X570 motherboards in a similar price range, even some priced much higher.
All this comes packaged in one of the sleekest motherboards out there, with an attractive design aided by quality components throughout, ample RGB lighting, and a polished layout that should satisfy aesthetically conscious builders there.
The GIGABYTE X570 AORUS Master is a high-end motherboard, so the features, overkill VRM, and expansion possibilities may be too much for some. As such, we only recommend the board for those who’ll make full use of what it has to offer. Otherwise, you’re better off opting for a less feature-rich alternative to save some cash.
Unique Strix line-up design
Only two M.2 slots
Much like the GIGABYTE X570 AORUS Master, the ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming sits somewhere between a mid-range and flagship motherboard, delivering a wealth of features, strong performance, and stellar looks. The ROG Strix name implies a certain quality, something this board channels in droves, alongside the line-up’s head-turning style, notably the commanding heatsinks and Aura Sync RGB.
Performance is up there with the AORUS Master, and there’s a sense the board offers the Ryzen 9 3900X the perfect ecosystem to thrive, whether that’s high-end gaming or those demanding multi-core tasks.
The build quality is also on point, as seen in the welcome touches to the cooling solution and power management – active chipset heatsink, 16 power stages, ProCool II power connector, MOS heatsink with a heatpipe, M.2 heatsinks, and durably components throughout. Other features include 2.5 Gbps LAN, Intel Gigabit, Wi-Fi 6, a generous I/O (HDMI, DisplayPort, plenty of USB 3.2 ports, and more), eight SATA ports, four DIMM slots up to 4400MHz, two PCIe 4.0 x16, and outstanding audio thanks to SupremeFX S12204 audio.
We have to nitpick to find much to dislike about the ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming, and pushed, we’d have preferred an extra M.2 slot like the GIGABYTE board above. Then again, this only matters if you plan to use all the slots, and in most cases this a fairly irrelevant omission that actually helps lower the cost somewhat.
Similar to the AORUS Master, the ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming offers an awful lot. The question is whether there’s too much there for your needs. If you’ll make use of it all, the board is a perfect match for the Ryzen 9 3900X.
Impressive specs for a budget motherboard
TUF build quality and looks
Not the best performance available
The ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus hits a good compromise between price and features, securing the spot as our top budget pick for the Ryzen 9 3900X. Despite having a lower cost than other X570 boards, the ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus retains all of ASUS’ TUF design flair with chunky VRM heatsinks and I/O plate, patterned PCB, and robust build quality.
The board is well served in specifications: four DIMM DDR4 up to 4400 MHz, eight SATA, ALC S1200A audio, two PCIe 4.0 x16, Gigabit LAN, 14 power stages, Digi+ VRM, USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, Aura Sync RG, and a complete cooling setup with an active chipset heatsink, VRM heatsink, M.2 heatsink, fan headers, and Fan Xpert 4.
On the performance front, the ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus is a great home for the Ryzen 9 3900X and is well-suited to a reasonably powerful gaming rig when paired with the right hardware. You will find better performance elsewhere, at a higher price, but the board more than holds its own and even surprises with how well it handles overclocking.
For those jumping over from Intel chips or novice builders that want to harness the power of the Ryzen 9 3900X, the ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus represents an excellent introductory motherboard to the world of AMD CPUs. Given this is ostensibly a budget motherboard, the ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus motherboard delivers some pretty impressive specs for the price. Ultimately, it’s an affordable way to jump onto the PCIe 4.0 bandwagon.
Very attractive price
No I/O backplate
If you want to save another $20 to $30 but still want an X570 motherboard, the ASRock X570 Pro4 is worth considering. Performance floats somewhere around middling; not impressive, but not sub-par either. The board performs more or less like the ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus, minus the good overclocking chops. You undoubtedly get what you pay for, but the board can handle stock 3900X speeds without any trouble.
Standout features include a ten power phase design, four DDR4 DIMM with support up to 4066 MHz, two PCIe 4.0 x16 slots, two PCIe 4.0 x1 slots, on M.2 SSD slot, one M.2 Key E slot for Wi-Fi, 8 SATA, Gigabit LAN, and decent I/O spread with two USB 3.2 Gen2, 10 USB 3.2 Gen 1, and 7.1 HD audio inputs/outputs. We are a far cry from the GIGABYTE X570 AORUS Master, for example, but there’s more than enough here to hook up a respectable gaming rig.
ASRock has cut corners to keep the price, and you can easily see where. The I/O lacks an integrated backplate, for example. Most apparent is the VRM heatsink, which feels inadequate for the board’s ten power phases, hampering the ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus’ overclocking potential. Similarly, the M.2 and chipset heatsinks appear more like an afterthought to complement the board’s aesthetic rather than a concerted effort to keep temperatures in check. Fortunately, this doesn’t affect performance in our experience, and temperatures remain within a respectable range.
Mini-ITX form factor
Sophisticated power output and cooling solution
Attractive mid-range price with the performance to match
Odd I/O choices
Finally, we thought we’d throw in a Mini-ITX build for those planning to piece together a compact build. After weighing up what’s out there, we were impressed with another stellar offering from the folks at GIGABYTE, the GIGABYTE X570 I AORUS Pro.
As the name suggests, the board is a scaled-down version of the larger ATX AORUS Pro, and GIGABYTE has done well to miniaturize the board’s footprint while keeping its excellent design and performance intact.
The GIGABYTE X570 I AORUS Pro features one robust steel PCI 4.0 x16 slot, two DDR4 DIMMs with support for XMP profiles up to 4400 MHz and 64 GB of RAM, two PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots with one mounted on the back of the motherboard to save space, 8 phase power, Wi-Fi 6, Realtek ALC1220-VB audio, RGB Fusion 2.0, and Intel GBE LAN.
We were particularly impressed by the 8 phase power design, which delivers well-managed juice to all components. A sophisticated cooling setup props up this with a sizable chipset fan/heatsink that also doubles as an M.2 slot and a well-designed VRM heatsink. The board took overclocking in its stride and produced great results for us.
The I/O is somewhat of a let down though. For such a small board, it’s over-served with video ports (one DisplayPort 1.4 and two HDMI 2.0). We would have preferred more USB and other ports to complement the board’s four USB 3.1 Gen 1, Ethernet, one USB 3.1 Gen 2, Wi-Fi antenna connector, and audio inputs/outputs.
Things To Consider
When it comes to motherboard features, their desirability and ideal combination differ from build to build. If you’re going for a modest build and don’t need additional expansion or storage slots, then opting for less feature-rich boards is a great way to cut down on the overall cost. As long as performance-oriented features such a VRM, phase power, and chipset cooling are up there, it’s okay to cut costs on other parts.
Factor in how many PCIe slots you’ll need, how much RAM you plan to use, what your storage setup looks like and if you need loads of SATA ports or one or two M.2, and whether you’ll need the extra juice of two 8-pin connectors for overclocking or not. Is connectivity important to you? LAN speed? What about the number and type of USB or other I/O ports?
This point isn’t so much Ryzen 9 3900X-specific as the chip will slot into any AM4 socket motherboard, whatever the size, but more about how the motherboard fits into the chassis. Motherboards exist in three main form factors – ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX.
When buying a case and motherboard, ensure they line up in terms of form factor, or you may find yourself with the troublesome problem of having a motherboard far too large to fit inside your shiny new chassis. The ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX standard make avoiding this incredibly easy, so no excuses for messing this up.
Given that the Ryzen 9 3900X is an enthusiast chip, it’s more than likely you’ll be using it in an ATX build paired with other beefy components that demand a lot of more room because of both their footprint and cooling requirements. To that end, the majority of our recommendations are ATX boards. We’ve thrown in what we consider an excellent Mini-ITX option, though, for those eyeing up an ultra-compact build.
Stick To The Big Name Brands
MSI, Asus, GIGABYTE, ASRock – household names among PC gamers and builders. And, with good reason. They have proven track records of producing quality PC components and have robust after-sales solutions in place if something goes wrong.
For peace of mind alone, we always recommend buying a motherboard from a reputable big name brand, if at all possible. The same applies to motherboards for the Ryzen 9 3900X. If you are forking out $500 for the chip, it makes sense to give it the best home possible.
As the PC’s central nervous system, the motherboard plays a vital role in ensuring all the other components communicate and work in unison. Skimping on such a crucial piece of hardware to save money is, in most cases, a recipe for disaster. Avoid obscure brands and knockoffs like the plague. You always get what you pay for, and it often isn’t all that much.
If in doubt, we highly recommend the GIGABYTE X570 AORUS Master. Feature-full and packing strong performance alongside good looks, the board is the perfect home for a Ryzen 9 3900X. A similarly impressive motherboard is the ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming, another excellent option for those that want a wealth of expansion and storage options alongside good performance.
For those on the budget, ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus is a top option, with impressive specifications at an affordable price. Much the same can be said for the entry-level ASRock X570 Pro4, although corners have been cut to keep the cost down.
Finally, you can’t go wrong with the small but mighty GIGABYTE X570 I AORUS Pro for an ultra-compact build.
With that we’ll wrap up our guide to the best motherboards for the Ryzen 9 3900X CPU. Feel free to hit us with any questions in the comments section below.