Choosing a motherboard for a CPU like the i7 9700k is no easy task. With all the vast options available out there it becomes harder than ever to decide what will be best for you. And when it comes to a popular gaming CPU like the i7 9700k you really want to tap into it’s full potential.
If you get sub-par motherboard for i7 9700k then you’ll just bottleneck its performance. There is also budget that needs to be kept in mind. I made this guide to help you choose the best motherboard for i7 9700k that covers most budget and performance requirements.
The 9700k processor comes with eight cores and eight threads when compared to its predecessor. It had six cores and 12 threads. Also, Intel decided to take the hyperthreading off of it. Yes, I know very confusing, but that’s what Intel did. Now, these are both unlocked and overclockable.
How to choose the best motherboard for your i7 9700k CPU?
Frankly, a Z series board is the only thing you should consider for i7 9700k even if you don’t plan to overclock.
If you’re spending this kind of money on your CPU, you could easily buy a Z-series board for your i7 9700k. You would want the extra features, such as The HSI Lanes, the PCI Express Lanes, and the overall quality of features for this price point. Even if you run them at stock, one benefit to a Z-series board is it allows you to use overclocked RAM.
Both of these chips only support DDR4-2666 at normal speeds. If you get the H board the B board, namely the first H310 or the H370, you cannot run your RAM faster than DDR4-2666. If you want to run DDR4-3200 or 3600, you must have a Z Series board. It’s the only way to do it. Even if you don’t overclock your CPU and want to put a faster RAM in your system, then you have to get a Z-Series board.
Comparison – Z370 vs. Z390
The Z-Series boards start at 110 dollars, typically the Z370. Now that’s not too much more than the H boards, but please don’t buy the Z370 boards in the lower price range like the Gigabyte Z370. They just give up everything to get that price point. A 150 dollars should be your minimum buy-in point to a Z-series board (Z390 motherboard) where you get decent quality components. The differences between the Z370 and Z390 are night and day. For the lower price range in Z370, you give up the Intel LAN Chip, decent onboard sound, any resemblance of RGB, USB ports, and in most of the lower end Z series boards you get only a single M.2 slot.
The Z370 is for the most part very limiting for i7 9700k, and if you’re confused, you have spent or going to spend $350+ on your CPU, then spend a $150 on your motherboard and get something decent.
Now having said that unless you already own a Z370 buy a Z390. The prices are not substantially different, at least when I’m writing this review. The Z390 has some excellent new features and frankly just gets the newer boards. However, if you already have a Z370 or you find a crazy good deal on a Z370, don’t be afraid to get the Z370 and put your i7 9700k CPU on it. If you find an awesome deal, by all means, grab it.
Just be aware that if the motherboard has not had its BIOS updated, these Z370s will not run the i7 9700k or the i9 9900k until they’ve had a BIOS update. For most of them except for the Super Premium boards that have BIOS flashback, you must have a working CPU that they support, to update the BIOS.
Just keep that in mind if you buy a Z370 to put a ninth-generation chip. Actually, in all fairness, that’s true for most of them. If you buy the first-generation H370 or B360 board that was manufactured before the ninth generation comes, some of those aren’t going to work without a BIOS update. So make sure you buy a recently manufactured board or preferably buy a Z390 for the 9700k processor.
My Top choices for motherboards for i7 9700k
Best for overclocking
Gigabyte Aorus master
The first in the line is the Gigabyte Aorus with a Z390 chipset. It comes with a high-quality VRM, 12 phase power design, solid thermal guard to protect your M.2 SSDs.
The power boost it will give your PC along with the i7 9700k is just too much to ignore.
When it comes to memory, the Aorus has 4 DIMM dual-channel memory slots. These dual-channel memory slots are useful for both speed and performance. This motherboard also supports ECC unbuffered and non-ECC unbuffered DIMM memory modules. Each of the four slots can support up to DDR4 of up to 32GB size. Memory overclock of 4400MHz.
This Z390 Motherboard is suitable not only for i7 9700k but for all 8th and 9th generation intel Core processors.
It comes with two PCIe 3.0 X 16 slots allowing it to be compatible with most of the newer generation graphics card. It comes with an inbuilt Intel HD graphics card.
Other additional features include a 2×2 Wave intel 802.11 ac wifi, Triple M.2 slots with thermal guards to support SSDs and Fins-array heatsink with advanced thermal design.
If you’re looking to overclock your i7 9700k and RAM, then this could be your choice of the board though the price is a factor of consideration.
MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon
This motherboard isn’t one that’s very great in one field. But when we compare its overall price and value then it can be your choice for the most balanced motherboard.
The MSI Gaming Pro provides an experience with its great inbuilt wifi,
Bluetooth,amplifier, gigabit ethernet. Other than this, it has some additional features, including “frozr” M.2 thermal shields and 11-phase power design. This is perfect for overclocking the i7 9700k.
Though on heavy loads, it requires high power input, which can affect performance. The overall cooling of the VRM and the board keeps the temperature in check. This helps maintain performance even in heavy loads.
This is a very budget-friendly Z390 motherboard that caters to your i7 9700k needs. The premium features at this price are also a great add-on.
Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra
The Gigabyte Aorus Ultra is great for intel i7 9700k and other 9th gen processors as well. It has dual-channel DDR4 slots and M.2 slots for
SSDs. It comes with Intel’s next-gen wireless solution, named wave 2. You can get data transfer speeds of up to 1.73 Gbps. This helps in getting high-quality gaming experience and smooth video streaming.
Why I called it the best premium motherboard for i7 9700k is because it supports Wave 2 802.11ac tech with multi-user MIMO. This helps in multiple transmission and gives a significant overall boost to speed and performance.
Apart from this, we have wider channels and some other improvements. It has some massive heatsinks, Direct Touch Heatpipe, and thick thermal pads. Overall providing excellent cooling and performance boost to the i7 9700k.
Best gaming motherboard
Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 7
The Gigabyte Z370 Aorus motherboard is a great gaming motherboard with over the board aesthetics and RGB lightings. Made to impress the gamers in all of us. Though a Z390 chipset is always recommended with an i7 9700k. The Aorus Z370 is still a fantastic choice.
Let me show you why.
The Aorus Gaming motherboard has a lot of common features with the MSI’s Godlike Motherboard and comes only in a third of its price. You can get significant overclocking capabilities without spending a lot. This employs an ESS SABRE audiophile-grade DAC’s also used in many professional audio workstations. Also, you get 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports, allowing you a data transfer rate of gigabits per second.
A 10 phase power delivery to overclock your CPU. When compared with the most expensive Z370 gaming motherboard the MSI’s godlike gaming, it only lags slightly behind it. This is seen in many aspects, such as the synthetic benchmarks, 3D gaming, and overclocking.
The Auros includes a built-in overclocking button, making overclocking as easy as it can get. The performance is great on this board, and at such a price, it is undoubtedly the best gaming motherboard for i7 9700k.
Gigabyte Z390 UD
The Gigabyte UD is the one motherboard that’s reliable, supports expandability and upgrades over time, and has all the features of a top performer. Gigabyte has a Z390 chipset, which is recommended for running an i7.
It has an LGA 1151 socket, also known as socket H4, that supports all intel coffee lake CPUs and even works great with an 9700k processor.
Some other great features of the Gigabyte are the PCIe Ultra-durable armor. Some times when dealing with heavy-duty video cards such as the titan, you can damage your PCIe slots. This can cause some bad issues.
To prevent that, Gigabyte has introduced the armor to make the slots durable.
It is a solid plated ATX 24pin, and 12V 8 pin + 4 pin power connectors provide you a very consistent power supply. Also, the SmartFan 5 handles the heat very well with thermal sensors.
Best Micro ATX
ASUS ROG Strix Z370-G Gaming
Though the ASUS Strix is built on the older generation Z370 chipset but none, the less is still an excellent motherboard for i7 9700k. This board offers some great feature set. Though small in size, it packs some serious heat, overtaking some of the higher-end boards in the ATX category in performance.
The Strix comes with two 16x PCIe slots, dedicated M.2 PCIe slots for SSD’s, four DIMM slots, and inbuilt Wifi module. The ROG Strix comes with a 10 phase VRM. It can release a lot of heat, and the VRM may need some extra airflow from your case in order to stay cool. You can check out some of the best CPU coolers for i7 9700k.
So, if you want a small build with power-packed performance then the ASUS ROG Strix Z370-G Gaming is the board for you.
Best Mini ITX
ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming
Now no doubt the ASUS ROG Z390 is expensive compared to some other mini-ITX motherboards, but that’s justified. Certainly an improvement over its Z370 predecessor.
A pre-shielded I/O, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.1 gen2 slots, and SupremeFX audio Shielding along with a Z390 chipset. All this in the mini-ITX beast. Combine these features with the i7 9700k processor and you have got yourself a beast.
The Mini ITX board passes with flying colors in overclocking, cooling, and performance tests.
It has a low number of power phases for such a small board. This leads to higher power in-take and more heat production. Now, this is handled by the heatsinks, which covers almost half the size of this board.
So the higher price is justified with great features and on par performance with some large-sized alternatives. Now, If you are looking for the best Mini-ITX board for i7 9700k, then you don’t need to look further than this.