Looking for the Best Motherboard for i7-8700k? Are you building a gaming rig with the 8th generation coffee lake processor i7-8700K? Are you wondering which motherboard would be best for your rig for an uninterrupted gaming experience for the next couple of years? If your answer is yes, then read on. Here you’ll find brief reviews of a few top-of-the-line motherboards which will be compatible with your processor and not only that; we will explain why one is better than another by comparing them.
Z370 vs Z390: Which one you should choose and Why?
Let’s face it; both of the chipsets are almost identical in terms of performance or overclocking. There are some differences, of course, we are coming to that shortly, but Z390 isn’t a major upgrade from Z370 by any means. If the question was which motherboard is best, at least on paper, Z390 is the best being an upgraded chipset of course. But if you ask which chipset is the best for i7-8700K specifically, the Z370 would be the automatic choice. Why? Let’s find out.
First of all, let’s see what things set Z390 apart from the Z370. Z390 has some additional features, native support for USB 3.1 Gen2 ports and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Would you miss these two things in Z370? Absolutely not. Because the third-party manufacturers already supported those two features by adding separate controllers. Though native support is always better than third-party controllers in terms of speed and reliability and Z390 has native support for both. Also, Z390 chipsets will allow 128 GB of RAM compared to 64 GB support in Z370.
Now, the question arises, is lack of those features mentioned above a deal breaker? Probably not. Because additional controllers in the Z370 already support USB 3.1 Gen2 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and in real-world usage, you won’t be able to differentiate that from the native support of Z390. And I have no idea of any practical application of more than 64 GB ram, especially if you’re coupling it with the two years old flagship, i7-8700K.
So what motherboard is better to buy in 2019? Of course, Z390. Why? Because, apart from the three main features it offers, it will be more compatible and capable with better VRM in case you want to upgrade your system after few years with newer flagship processors, like the higher end of the 9th generation, core i9 processors. If we were to build a gaming pc, we would choose Z390 over Z370 any day for that reason only. But if you want to buy the “best chipset for i7-8700K“, you’d be better off buying Z370 without compromising on the raw performance, and at the same time, you’ll save some money too. However, for the sake of the options, we would review both Z370 and Z390 here.
Best Z370 chipsets for i7-8700K
Best Motherboard for i7-8700k – Contestant #1
ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-E GAMING Review (Author’s Choice)
We used this MOBO in our water-cooled build for the review and was really impressed with its build quality overall. The RGB lighting over the I/O provides a beautiful color splash without being too in-your-face, and the silver accents and brush metal everywhere are really attractive without giving up on color neutrality.
We again get a 10-phase power delivery system with ample heat sinks, and the chipset cover acts as another heat sink over one of the two M.2 slots. One of the benefits of going with an Asus product is that the vast majority of RGB illuminated items on the market today support their aura sync software controls.
And you get two traditional RGB headers to plug in to along with a new 5050 header for more precise control over lighting. We also see the triumphant return of the internal 3.1 header along with 6 SATA ports along the right edge. Asus provides its own proprietary audio solution for ROG boards, which called ROG SupremeFX. And we can confirm that rear speaker output does sound great. Asus also offers 3d printing templates for things like fan grills and cable cover on their website.
Best Motherboard for i7-8700k – Contestant #2
ASRock Z370 Taichi Review
In this chipset, we get a 12-phase power delivery system and a bigger heat sink connected by a copper heat pipe to spread the thermal load. The rear i/o ditches the kind of ridiculous legacy Port config for a more traditional approach including AC Wi-Fi and dual Gigabit LAN ports. You can hook storage devices up to 3 M.2 slots or 8 SATA ports and the type C internal header sticks around as well.
The RGB illumination around the gear-shaped chipset heatsink is well implemented, and you also get an RGB header down along the bottom edge. All 3 PCIe slots are beefed up with steel reinforcements, and the Dr Debug LED hangs out down there to the right.
There’s even a physical switch on the upper right that you can flip to enable XMP memory profiles. This is a fun feature, but we think we would have rather had a power button here instead or maybe even in addition to. As we get into the higher priced products, there are certain luxuries that we would like to see included, although it’s by no means a deal breaker.
Best Motherboard for i7-8700k – Contestant #3
Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 Review (Extra Features)
And finally, we come to our most expensive motherboard in Z370 lineup for today, the Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Gaming 7. Sporting quite the compliment of addressable RGB LEDs, the “Gaming 7” styling is much more in-your-face than we’ve seen from any of the other manufacturers. That’s not to say this is a bad thing; we still think this is a fantastic looking board and has more bells and whistles than anything else I’ve tested so far.
It has eight hybrid fan headers for powering either a pump or PWM fan, along with nine different thermal sensors. A new 60-amp smart power stages handle power delivery in a 10-phase configuration. This setup allows better cooling and the VRM heatsinks and included fan certainly is up to the task of making sure your overclock is maxed out. The rear I/O does lack Wi-Fi but has plenty of other connectivity, including dual land ports and gold-plated audio jacks.
All PCIe slots are reinforced with steel plating as are the DIMM slots. You get two RGBW headers along with a digital RGB header at the bottom. The audio solution includes an ESS Sabre DAC for the rear outputs. You can populate up to 3 M.2 slots, and Gigabyte added one of their thermal guards for cooling the M.2 drives with the same styling found on the I/O shroud.
We get onboard power and reset buttons along with a front panel USB C header. The accent overlay on the right side of the board is swappable. Although since the introduction of this feature I haven’t really seen anybody take advantage of it yet. This seems to be a really solidly built well thought-out motherboard on the premium end of things for the Z370 lineup.
Best Z390 chipsets for i7-8700K
Best Motherboard for i7-8700k – Contestant #1
Gigabyte Z390 AORUS XTREME Review
Our first Z390 chipset is from the house of Gigabyte, the Z390 Aorus Xtreme. Some of the significant improvements that the Gigabyte has done for this generation is that they have upgraded to a 16-phase power design to better support the 9th gen core i9 processors from Intel.
It comes paired with the latest generation of their proprietary fin and heatsink. If you take a closer look, you will see all the fins there with a very massive heatsink, and a thick thermal patch underneath to keep everything running nice and cool. Moving down and there you will see some of the other changes that were done for the design on this board. It has completely redesigned M.2 thermal guards, to keep your new SSD running cool with optimal performance.
It has an upgraded ESS Sabre DAC, which delivers a better audio experience for the audiophiles and gamers. Heading over to the backside of the motherboard, they included a full backplate to keep your system rigid, mainly because this is a really heavy motherboard and you’re going to need that extra support to make it durable. At the rear, there’s a pre-installed I/O shield and in terms of ports, this board has USB A, USB C, Thunderbolt, three HDMI, as well as audio jacks.
Best Motherboard for i7-8700k – Contestant #2
ASUS ROG STRIX Z390-E GAMING Review (Author’s Choice)
Let’s talk about our final motherboard, Asus ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming. With stronger power delivery, higher memory frequencies, and more reliable cooling options, this is the ultimate foundation for your top tier gaming computer. The motherboard is equipped with an LGA 1151 CPU socket for 9th Gen Intel Core processors as well as being compatible with 8th Gen Core i7, i5 and i3 CPUs.
This board also supports the latest version of Asus 5-way optimization by using smart prediction and thermal telemetry. The intelligent module automatically creates an overclock that would typically take you days of tinkering to do on your own. Also, on the board, you will find four DIMM slots that allow for up to 64 gigabytes of DDR4 memory with optimum II support for stronger memory signalling and stability.
There are two M.2 NVME sockets and three PCIe 3.0 x 16 slots, two of which feature Asus SafeSlot technology to keep your GPU safe and secure. This board also features native 802.11ac Wi-Fi with GameFirst packet priority. The built-in audio solution is the ROG SupremeFX high definition audio codec capable of crisp and clear audio. And with support for Sonic Radar and Sonic Studio III, you will have every edge you need to hear your enemies first.
On the rear I/O, you’ll find a PS2 keyboard and mouse combo port, dual USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.1 gen1 ports, four USB 3.1 gen2 ports, three type-a connections and one type c. There are also display port, HDMI, anti-surge LAN port, dual Wi-Fi antenna connections, five audio jacks with one optical s/PDIF output.
Conclusion – Which Motherboard should I get?
Finally, we are at the point when we have to announce a winner, and this is not easy here. All the MOBOs we reviewed are almost equally capable of giving you a hell of a performance, given you compliment the board with other comparable components.
If you’re not planning to upgrade your i7 processor anytime soon, you can blindly select any of the three Z370 motherboards we mentioned here. But what Z370 you should choose? Well, it depends on your preferences. If you want to save some bucks without compromising on raw performance, you can blindly go for ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-E GAMING.
The Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 is for them who just love all the extra bells and whistles come with it. Now, if you want a future-proof board that will be able to handle any new generation CPU, in case you want to upgrade your pc down the road, a Z390 should be your automatic choice. And talking about Z390, we love the ASUS ROG STRIX Z390-E GAMING board for Asus’s trademark cooling performance, boosted memory frequency and of course excellent in-built audio solution, only for those not hesitant to shell out some extra bucks to get the best of the best.