Are you looking for the best motherboard for an i7 8700k processor? Yes, a high-end CPU and graphic cards are must-haves for gaming computers. However, the quality of your gaming motherboards will determine the performance of the fancy 8th Gen i7 processor and graphic units you plan on custom building.
A great motherboard provides the necessary connections for components. Regardless of the number of cores your processor has or the piles of RAMs and PCle devices you might need for a smooth gaming experience or multimedia editing, the motherboard will be at the center of any PC transformation.
|Best overall||ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero Z390 Gaming Motherboard LGA1151||
|Asus ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming Motherboard LGA1151||
|Gigabyte Z390 UD Gaming Motherboard LGA1151||
|ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I Gaming LGA1151||
|MSI Z370 Gaming Motherboard LGA1151||
|ASRock LGA1151 (300 Series)||
|Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Gaming Motherboard LGA1151||
1. ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero Z390 Gaming Motherboard LGA1151 – Best motherboard
Form Factor: ATX | Chipset: Intel Z390 | Memory: 4 DIMM up to 64GB, DDR4 4133+MHz (O.C.)| PCle slots: (3) x16, (3) x1 | Graphics: HDMI 1.4, D.P 1.2 | USB ports: 4 USB-3.1 Gen2, 2 USB-3.1 Gen1, 2USB-2.0 | Storage: 2 M.2, 6 SATA | Network: Ethernet, 2×2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac
The ASUS Z390 is one of the most popular gaming motherboards in the affordable price range. It is compatible with 8th and 9th generation Intel processors, and is therefore the ideal motherboard for unlocking the i7 8700k processor’s full capabilities.
With an ATX form factor, it is quite large and can support two SSD drives, multiple graphics cards, 4 DDR4 memory sticks, and up to 64GB memory with clock speeds of over 4133 MHz when overclocking.
For overclock, it is loaded with 5-way optimization technology which will help you tweak almost all aspects of the system. As well as this great ability, it also has a great cooling design with dedicated water header zones, fan control, and M.2 heatsink.
A minor drawback is the built-in 802.11ac 2×2 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi, which, although it offers great speeds, is not the best when compared to other Wi-Fi standards on the market.
Overall, the ASUS ROG Maximus is both powerful and affordable, which makes it the best gaming motherboard for the i7 8700k.
2. Asus ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming Motherboard LGA1151 – Best mid-range
Form Factor: E-ATX | Chipset: Intel Z390-E | Memory: 4 DIMM up to 64GB, DDR4 4266MHz+ (O.C.)| PCle slots: (3) x16, (3) x1 | Graphics: HDMI 1.4B, Display port 1.2 | USB ports: 6xUSB-3.1 Gen 2, 4XUSB-3.1 Gen 1 | Storage: 2 M.2, 6 SATA | Network: Ethernet, 2×2 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi 802.11ac
The ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E chipset has an LGA 1151 port which is compatible with 8th and 9th generation Intel processors. It is a powerful motherboard which is capable of supporting Intel’s ‘k’ line processors and is built with overclocking in mind. It is also surprisingly affordable, given the kind of premium features which it offers.
The motherboard has an E-ATX form factor and therefore has numerous slots for USB-3.1, graphics cards, two M.2 slots, and 4 DIMM memory sticks with up to 64GB memory with clock speeds of over 4266 MHz when overclocking. The Z390-E chipset uses serial point-to-point links which allow increased bandwidth and stability.
One of its dual M.2 slots supports both PCIe 3.0×4 and SATA, while the other supports PCIe 3.0×4 for NVMe.
For networking, the Stix Z390-E features a built-in Wi-Fi 802.11ac with 2×2 MU-MIMO with wireless speeds of up to 1.72Gbps.
It is fitted with intelligent controls, such as the ASUS AI Overclocking, which allows for faster and smarter automatic tuning and cooling of the system.
One major issue with this motherboard is the HDMI 1.2B, which does not allow for 4k video. Therefore, it may slightly affect your viewing. Other than that, it is a powerful and affordable mid-range motherboard for the i7 8700k processor.
3. Gigabyte Z390 UD Gaming Motherboard LGA1151 – Budget motherboard
Form Factor: ATX | Chipset: Intel Z390 | Memory: 4 DIMM up to 64GB, DDR4 4266MHz (O.C.) | PCle slots: x16, 2 x16 (x4), 3 (x1) | Graphics: HDMI 1.4, D.P 1.2 | USB ports: 2 USB-2.0, 2 USB-3.1 Gen 1| Storage: 1 M.2, 6 SATA | Network: Ethernet
The Gigabyte Z390 UD is built with thermals in mind and ensures that users take full advantage of powerful processors. With the LGA 1151 socket, it supports an i7 8700k processor perfectly. Although it costs less than other motherboards which support the same, it is loaded with numerous premium features which provide a great balance between value and performance.
The motherboard is also made from durable materials, such as stainless steel which supports and strengthens the PCIe connectors while offering additional support to the graphics card.
Storage-wise, it has a single M.2 3.0 x4 slot and six SATA ports. It has 4 DIMM memory sticks with up to 64GB of memory with clock speeds of over 4266 MHz when overclocking.
You do not need to worry about power supply or cooling as much as with other motherboards in the same price category. It is fitted with a 12+1 power phase design with great cooling capabilities, including three integrated M.2 heat sinks and a strong voltage regulator module (VRM).
Its major drawbacks include having a single M.2 slot and lacking built-in Wi-Fi. However, this is understandable, given the price range.
Overall, the Gigabyte Z390 UD is a cheap and durable motherboard which serves as a budget option for the i7 8700k.
4. ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I Gaming LGA1151 – Best Mini-ATX
Form Factor: Mini-ATX | Chipset: Intel Z370 | Memory: 2 DIMM up to 32GB, DDR4 4333MHz (O.C.)| PCle slots: 1 x16 | Graphics: HDMI 2.0, D.P 1.2 | USB ports: USB-3.1 Gen 2, 4 USB-3.1 Gen 1, 6 USB-2.0 | Storage: 2 M.2, 4 SATA | Network: Ethernet, 2×2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac
The Z390 and Z370 chipsets are similar in many ways. However, as it is a Mini-ATX, the Z370 is quite small and has fewer slots.
Despite this, it offers value for money with a single PCIe x16 slot, and built-in 2×2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi with up to 867mps in speeds and Intel v219 Ethernet.
To unleash the full power of your system, the Z370-I uses 5-way optimization, which is an automated system-wide tuning which provides you with overclocking and cooling options for your system. It is also fitted with Aura software, which enables you to cast different lighting themes throughout the whole system.
Due to its small size, it has an innovative double-decker heatsink design. This maximizes the space on the board while also improving heat dissipation for a stable system. The M.2 SSD is stacked on a PCH heat sink, which is topped with an extra metal heatsink for the M.2 drive. This leaves the two heatsinks thermally isolated which prevents them from affecting each other.
The low number of ports is one major disadvantage, particularly if you’ll want to attach more devices. It is also quite expensive compared to larger motherboards, which may be a limiting factor. Overall, it is a small, portable, well-designed motherboard which is capable of handling an i7 8700k processor.
5. MSI Z370 GAMING PRO CARBON AC Gaming Motherboard LGA1151 – Best audio
Form Factor: ATX | Chipset: Intel Z370 | Memory: 4 DIMM up to 64GB, DDR4 4000MHz (O.C.)| PCle slots: (2) x16, (4) x1| Graphics: HDMI 1.4, D.P 1.2, VGA | USB ports: USB-3.1 Gen2, 4 USB-3.1 Gen2 | Storage: M.2, 6 SATA | Network: Ethernet, 2×2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac
This is one of the best-designed game motherboards on the market. 8th gen Intel i7 processors also fit perfectly in this MSI Z370 pro thanks to the motherboard’s LGA1151 socket. It also comes with various slots and ports, which enable you to build your dream rig and take full advantage of the latest gadgets and peripherals.
Storage-wise, the MSI Z370 is fitted with Intel Optane Memory. As SSDs are expensive, this technology offers you the chance to have a lot of storage at a low cost.
The audio boost on the MSI Z370 allows you to enjoy high-quality audio while gaming. It uses Nahimic sound technology, which is used in the military and aeronautics industry. This immersive sound will take gaming to the next level.
Its memory circuit is fully isolated which ensures stability and performance and can easily be tuned up using system tools to overclock speeds of up to 4000 MHz. The motherboard is equipped with 6 fan headers, which you can run automatically or manually depending on the level of usage.
The main disadvantage with the MS Z370 is its use of Intel Optane Memory for optimizing your HDD. While this may work, it is no match for an SSD. Overall, the MSI Z370 is a powerful, well-designed, and affordable motherboard which will work well with the i7 8700k processor.
6. ASRock Z370 Taichi LGA1151 (300 Series) – Best value for money
Form Factor: ATX | Chipset: Intel Z370 | Memory: 4 DIMM up to 64GB, DDR4 4133MHz (O.C.)| PCle slots: (3) x16, (2) x1 | Graphics: HDMI 1.4, D.P 1.2 | Storage: 3 M.2, 6 SATA | Network: Ethernet, 2×2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac
The ASRock Z370 chipset provides smooth delivery, great overclocking capabilities, better cooling and system stability when fitted with an Intel Core i7 8700k processor.
This mid-range offering comes equipped with 3 M.2 slots, 6 SATA ports, multiple USB-3.1, and 3.2 ports, as well as 2×2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi for fast connectivity. The USB-3.2 Gen2 type C can transfer data at a speed of up to 10Gbps.
It supports 4 DDR4 DIMM slots, and allows up to 64GB of memory with overclock speeds of over 4133MHZ.
Despite offering great value for money, one major issue with the ASRock Z370 Taichi is its lack of an OS-based fan control, meaning that you can’t control the fans automatically when you want to adjust the settings.
7. Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 Motherboard LGA1151 – Most powerful motherboard
Form Factor: ATX | Chipset: Intel Z370 | Memory: 4 DIMM up to 64GB, DDR4 4133MHz (O.C.)| PCle slots: x16, x16 (x8), x16 (x4), 3 (x1) | Graphics: HDMI 1.4, D.P 1.2| USB ports: 2 USB-C 3.1 Gen2, 1 USB-A Gen2, 5 USB 3.1 Gen1, 4 USB 2.0 | Storage: (3) M.2, 6 SATA | Network: Ethernet, 2×2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac
Fitted with an LGA1151 socket, the Gigabyte Z370 AORUS accommodates an i7 8700k processor perfectly. Although it is not as flashy as other motherboards, it is a powerful motherboard which offers a great deal.
The board is clean and has an easy layout which makes it easier to work with and build a system around it. The design extends to the power distribution and cooling, which is great for a gaming motherboard.
It comes with 3 M.2 slots, 6 SATA slots, and 4 DIMM memory sticks with up to 64GB memory with clock speeds of over 4133 MHz when overclocking. Its lighting is also impressive as it is placed in all the right places all over the board. The lights are customizable and you can set them to flash or move in different cycles or to the beat of a song.
Based on the design and specs of this board, it is quite evident that it is more towards the premium end of the scale. However, at a cost of over $400, this may discourage some users from buying the Gigabyte Z370 AORUS, but, if you can see past the price, it is a great piece of hardware.
Buying Guide: important factors of the best motherboard for an i7 8700k
Knowing the size of the motherboard will help you avoid buying one which is too big for your PC casing. They come in Mini-ITX (M-ITX), Mini ATX (M-ATX), ATX, and Extended ATX (E-ATX) from the smallest to largest.
When it comes to buying, you should choose the largest one which is supported by your PC case as you will have extra slots and a better cooling system. If your system is built for portability, then the M-ITX is a great choice, as it packs all the features but in a smaller size.
The ATX form factor is the most popular motherboard as it offers enough space for slots and ports. However, if you are looking for a more portable M-ITX, the ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I is the perfect choice for you.
With a powerful CPU and motherboard, you can achieve higher levels of efficiency due to improved processing power and better cooling options. However, when upgrading your motherboard to suit your processor, or vice versa, you must check the motherboard socket for compatibility with the processor.
The i7 8700k is compatible with 300-series motherboards as they use an LGA1151 socket. 200 series motherboards also use an LGA1151 socket but are not compatible with the i7 8700k.
The Z-series chipset is also more powerful and supports the overclocking capabilities of the i7 8700k, especially in gaming laptops. The B, H, and Q-series chipsets are more attuned for business purposes and will be a waste of power with the i7 8700k processor.
Finally, if you want to compare the Z390 and Z370 chipsets, the Z390 has an inbuilt USB 3.1 and Wi-Fi controller, which makes it a bit more expensive. However, if the added functionalities do not interest you, the Z370 is also just as capable of supporting an i7 8700k.
The ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero has a great Z390 chipset, while the Gigabyte Z370 AORUS has a great Z370 chipset.
The RAM chip’s compatibility with the motherboard is also a vital aspect to consider. RAM is essential for the storage of current memory and ensuring it is easily accessible.
A Z300-series motherboard is capable of supporting both DDR3 and DDR4 sticks. DDR4 memory sticks are preferable as they are more powerful and consume less power than the DDR3.
DIMM (dual in-line memory module) refers to the fast data transfer slots where you insert RAM sticks. There are usually one to eight slots, depending on the size of the motherboard and the quality of the chipset. Four slots are standard for most motherboards, which is more than sufficient for a strong motherboard.
Finally, for gaming computers, 8GB RAM is the minimum requirement for efficient gaming. For those looking to overclock, then 16GB/32GB RAM will do the job.
Most motherboards, such as the Asus ROG Strix Z390-E, have up to 64GB of RAM available with clocking speeds of over 4266 MHz.
Check the PCIe slots
Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) refers to the standard interface where you connect high speed components. A great motherboard contains PCle slots where you can add graphics components (GPUs), SSD drives, and Wi-Fi cards.
These slots have different physical configurations which range from x1, x4, x8, and x16 to x32. The number after the x is the number of lanes in that particular slot. An x32 slot has 32 lanes, which means it can only move data at 32 bits per cycle while the x1 can only move at one bit per cycle. The more lanes, the faster the data moves.
PCIe slots allow NVMe connections for SSDs so that data can be read directly from the slot on the motherboard which allows for faster speeds. This means that NVMe drives are faster than other drives which use SATA connections.
The ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero has a huge variety of PCIe slots.
The advantage of having a built-in wireless chip is that you don’t need to buy one separately when setting up. One major disadvantage is that you cannot detach it if it is faulty or if it is incompatible with your home wireless network.
A 2×2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard is great built-in Wi-Fi. It is available on many motherboards such as the ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero.
Serial ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment), or as it is more commonly known, SATA, is an interface which is used to connect hard drives to the motherboard. SATA III is the current industry standard. It also offers fast connection speeds, although not as fast as NVMe connections.
However, the difference in speed is only noticeable when performing large file transfers or complex multimedia editing but not so much with daily activities or gaming.
Most SATA connections for gaming laptops come in M.2 drives. M.2 is not a type of connection like SATA or NVMe, it is just the physical form factor of an SSD. They are usually slim and come with both SATA and NVMe connections.
The Asus ROG Strix Z390-E has a PCIe slot which supports MVMe drives, while the Gigabyte Z370 AORUS has 3 M.2 slots.
What is overclocking?
Overclocking is the process by which you increase your processor’s clock rate to run at a higher speed than that at which it was designed to run. While overclocking increases your computer’s performance, it also produces more heat, and this means that it requires more cooling. Therefore, not all processors can handle overclocking. In fact, most are often locked to prevent you from tinkering with the system.
However, there are CPUs which are sold with overclocking in mind. A CPU with a K in its model number, such as the i7 8700k, is made to withstand all the extra pressure of overclocking.
Choosing the best motherboard for an i7 8700k processor depends on several factors: your level of enthusiasm and how far you are willing to push the limits, level of performance, reliability, and how much you are willing to spend.
Our choice for the best motherboard for an i7 8700k processor goes to the ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero. It is not only budget-friendly, it is also built with a gamer’s needs in mind. It offers great overclocking and reliability which will indulge your enthusiasm.