The motherboard can seem like an all-important piece of machinery that will make or break the system to some, while others view it as another chance to save a couple of bucks.
The reality is, like most components, it’s on a case by case basis.
Do you really need that $300 motherboard for your GTX 1080 Ti, or can you settle down and sit pretty with a cheap $60 motherboard?
Your motherboard really can make or break your system in some cases, so it’s definitely important that you make sure you choose what’s best for you based on the system you’ve got planned.
And since you’re investing in such a beefy GPU like the 1080 Ti, you need the right motherboard for the job.
If you want the best motherboard for the GTX 1080 Ti, we recommend the Asus Prime Z370-P II.
It’s by far the all-around best choice for the 1080 Ti.
Asus Prime Z370-P II
Best Motherboard for GTX 1080 Ti
If you're rocking a 1080 Ti and you want the best motherboard to go with it, you can't go wrong with the Prime Z370-P II from ASUS.
- 2 M.2 slots
- No onboard WiFi
As usual, the war between Team Red and Team Blue rages on.
AMD has been manipulating the market since its release of Ryzen, but for once it seems like Intel’s partners are pulling through, trying to get Intel to the undisputed top, and this motherboard definitely shows it.
The Asus Prime Z370-P may not sport the integrated Wi-Fi or improved power delivery of the Z390, but it sure as hell proves itself as a worthy opponent.
While it does lack in the IO department for a $100USD motherboard, only running 4 USB ports (all at USB 3.1, however), it makes up for it with its PCIE lanes. This motherboard will have no problem supporting our pick for the best CPU for the 1080 Ti either.
The Z370-P II manages to fit in 2 PCIE x16 Gen 3 lanes and 4 PCIE x1 lanes, so you’ll have all the expansion slots you’d ever need. And its 4 SATA III connectors ensure you’ll have enough space for your storage as well.
Oh, and did I mention its 2 M.2 slots?
Gigabyte X570 Gaming X
Best AMD Motherboard for the 1080 Ti
Switching gears now to AMD, we have one of the best, if not the best, X570 motherboard you can buy right now. The Gigabyte X570 Gaming X.
- 2 M.2 slots
- No onboard WiFi
One of the X570’s biggest flaws so far is its price tag. Across the board, X570 boards will cost you a pretty penny – we tried to get the best of both worlds in this pick, but we ain’t perfect.
Moving down the board to the PCIE lanes, we can find a not-too-shabby two PCIE x16 Gen 4 lanes and 3 PCIE x1 lanes in tow. Above and below the PCIE lanes you can also find 2 whole M.2 slots.
Moving over by the SATA slots we can find 6 SATA III ports and a very interesting cooling solution beside them. Due to the improvements made on the X570 chipset, its massive heat output requires a little fan to keep it cool. Ain’t that neat.
You’ll need to make sure you’re using a good power supply with this motherboard. We recommend checking out our guide on the best power supplies for the 1080 Ti while you’re here.
Interestingly, those chipset improvements have allowed for much faster RAM than ever before and the Gaming X can support upwards of 4000MHz RAM, which is just absolutely insane to me.
This board’s also got RGB Fusion addressable RGB lighting, so go ham with all that RGB goodness.
MSI Z390-A Pro
Best Intel Motherboard for the 1080 Ti
Finally, we’ll be wrapping up our picks with a trip back down Intel lane, showing off the MSI Z390-A Pro.
- Awesome IO
- Supports Intel Optane
- Native support for 8th & 9th gen Intel CPUs
- No flashy features
Similarly to our All-around choice, this motherboard supports LGA1151 CPUs, including native support for Intel’s newer 8th and 9th Generation processors.
This board’s got its ups and downs but it’s a solid overclocker and doesn’t have any problems in the heat department.
The IO sports an impressive 1 USB 3.1 Gen 2, 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1, and 2 USB 2.0 ports. Alongside these lines the ever desirable USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C port. Sexy.
Just like our other picks, the Z390-A Pro doesn’t lack in the PCIE department with its 2 PCIE x16 Gen 3 and 4 PCIE x1 slots. Just as with AMD’s board, above and below the PCIE slots you’ll find two M.2 slots.
Heading over to the SATA ports, you’ll be getting your money’s worth with 6 SATA III ports. Though, we should note that the motherboard’s description says that Sata 2 will be disabled when M.2 is in use. And, the board supports Intel Optane. Badass!
In terms of other features, the Z390-A Pro supports RGB, but doesn’t entirely stand out with any other flashy features due to its relatively low price. Though, you can sleep sound knowing that your new board can support 4000MHz RAM and above.
3 Best Motherboards for 1080 Ti Graphics Card
|Asus Prime Z370-P II||Check|
|Gigabyte X570 Gaming X||Check|
|MSI Z390-A Pro||Check|
Finding a Motherboard for Your GPU
One simple thing you might not pay much attention to when buying a motherboard is the PCIE slots.
Believe it or not, PCIE slots have different generations that operate at different speeds, and we’re currently in the middle of a generational shift.
Though you may not have much problem with it when going for a brand new modern board, some older boards might have lower speed lanes that could hinder your performance.
Gen 1 PCIE lanes are so rare that your probability of encountering them is astronomically low, so all you really need to know is that they’re slooow.
As for Gen 2, they can be fairly common if you’re opting for last-gen hardware that utilizes DDR3 memory. Gen 2 is an okay speed for gaming, but your performance could be impacted when using higher-end cards or running non-gaming workloads.
Gen 3 is what most motherboards use right now, and it’s fast enough to handle any modern graphics card to the best of its potential. The large majority of modern motherboards you find will be running Gen 3 (with the exception of AMD’s X570s) and you won’t run into any problems there.
Gen 4 isn’t exactly all that impactful for gaming performance. Not to say it doesn’t improve performance, but if you’re choosing X570 just for PCIE 4.0’s gaming yields, you’re not in the right place. Rendering and video editing workloads, however, will benefit marginally more.
When you’re browsing online looking for a motherboard you should keep an eye out for chipsets for sure.
In simple terms, you can think of chipsets like a hub for communication within the motherboard.
The chipset of your motherboard controls all inbound and outbound communication between the motherboard and its components, thus the importance of your chipset to component compatibility can be detrimental.
For example, Intel CPUs with the K or KF designation are Unlocked, or overclock enabled, processors. But there’s a bit of a catch.
Say you go ahead and choose one of Intel’s H310, B360, or Q370 chipsets, you will not have access to overclocking even with a K series CPU.
Again, on Intel’s side, chipsets can get a little confusing because of their first line of LGA1151 processors.
The first couple of chipsets (H110, B150, Q150, H170, Q170, Z170) only support DDR3L memory which can be a bit difficult to find and has its own separate implications that we’d rather not get into.
Point is, it can get a little confusing.
AMD’s side is a little bit easier to understand, but still has it’s fair share of quirks that should be made known to anyone planning on going that route.
Basically, there’s Ryzen 1000, Ryzen 2000, and Ryzen 3000. The newest chipset is X570, which can support all three generations up to 3000 (not counting for Threadripper since that’s its own socket). Next down from there is the X470 and B450s which support up to Ryzen 2000 natively, but can also support Ryzen 3000 with a BIOS update. The same rule applies to the X370 and B350 boards.
Similarly, some older Intel chips may need a BIOS update to utilize 8th or 9th Gen Intel processors.
AMD also has their not-so-popular A320 chipset, which tends to be much, much cheaper than the other chipsets with the downside of being unable to support overclocking for any AMD processors.
There’s a lot more to delve into with CPUs and motherboard support, but we suggest you just check your motherboard’s CPU support before purchasing.