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With every generation of processors, new motherboards and chipsets come and each generation, they improve. For $100, you can get a really decent motherboard with handy features that will allow you to install most PC components out of the box.
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These motherboards bring the latest technology to support high-frequency memories, expansion cards, peripherals and useful accessories. For both Intel and AMD, there are a couple of chipsets you should consider before spending 100 dollars on a motherboard. This will help you filter out the crappy ones and get you the most out of your money.
Chipsets you should go for
|Intel Chipsets||AMD Chipsets|
Many motherboards with the above chipsets can come under $100. Some of these are locked which means you can’t overclock your CPU and some of them allow overclocking.
Considering all the features like VRM, memory support, expansion slots, peripherals support, I/O and onboard features, the following are the top 6 motherboards you can buy in 2021.
Unlike previous generation chipsets, this time Intel has finally worked on the budget ones to provide the overclocking facility which now competes with the AMD budget overclocking motherboards. Unlike B360 and B460 motherboards, the B560 chipset allows overclocking your CPU and thus giving you the opportunity to squeeze as much performance as possible.
The ASRock B560M Pro4 features 8 power stage VRM with good quality heatsinks for continuous cooling. Both the looks and performance of this board go well for $100 and it will be sufficient for most gamers out there.
The board has 2x PCI-E x16 slots and 1x PCI-E x1 slot for expansion cards while for storage, it comes with 6x SATA and 2x M.2 connectors for fast SSDs. The good thing is that it also comes with a Wifi M.2 connector for providing a wireless connection with the help of an M.2 wifi card.
At the I/O, you will find a total of 6x USB ports and a PS/2 port as well for your peripherals. For a wired connection, you will get an Intel 1G LAN port.
While those who have $100 in their pocket are good to go with the previous motherboard, for those who are really tight on the budget, the ASRock H410M-HDV will save them some money to spend on other components. This board costs $65 and comes with basic features such as a single PCI-E x16 slot for graphics card and 2x DIMM slots that support up to 64GB of memory clocked up to 2933MHz.
Thankfully, the board features 6x USB ports, 1x PS/2 ports and 3x display outputs for connecting your peripherals and display but as far as the capability of overclocking goes, it can’t overclock any processor but at this price, you can’t expect that.
Also, make sure you don’t try to equip it with an 11th gen Intel CPU as 11th gen CPUs won’t work with an H410 chipset. Anyways, something like i3 10100 or i5 10400F will be a great match and will still provide a decent gaming experience if combined with a graphics card like GTX 1650 Super or RX 5600 XT.
For compact PC builds, an ITX motherboard gets the job done better than any other board but it does have some limitations due to its small size. The H410M ITX/AC although is small but comes with the basic features similar to the H410M HDV with the exception of a PCI-E x1 slot which you won’t need anyways as it comes pre-installed with a wifi adapter.
This will allow you to connect to the internet out of the box wirelessly. For other components such as RAM and storage drives, it comes with 2x DIMM slots with 2933MHz memory clock support and 4x SATA, 1x M.2 connector to add up to 5 storage drives respectively.
At the I/O, there are a decent amount of USB and display outputs that will help you get started without using a USB hub or a graphics card. It’s definitely if not the best, it’s not bad either and for less than 100 bucks, it is worthy to be used in compact gaming systems.
Gigabyte provides the same features as other manufacturers do but at a lower price and this motherboard under $70 is the perfect example. Except for its inability to overclock, it can support good memory clock speeds and comes with an M.2 connector for fast NVME SSD.
One thing that makes it stand out from other motherboards is its I/O which has 6x USB ports out of which 4 are USB 3.1 and 2 are USB 2.0. Moreover, it has 2x PS/2 ports each for the old traditional keyboards and mice.
With a budget Athlon or Ryzen processor, it will work great for a budget gaming PC that will provide you with great value for money.
The A520M Vector Wifi motherboard can support higher memory frequencies up to 4600MHz which is insanely high compared to the A320 chipset motherboards and support Ryzen 3000 series processors, out of the box.
While unable to provide overclocking support, it is very well equipped with features like heatsinks over the VRM and M.2 connector, and Debug LEDs which are rare to find on budget motherboards. The Debug LEDs are very useful in finding boot related problems and save time.
At the I/O, there are 6x USB ports where 4 are USB 3.2 and 2 are USB 2.0. There is also a single common PS/2 port for older peripherals and 1x HDMI, 1x DP for display. For connecting to the internet you can either use the Gigabit LAN port or the inbuilt Wifi which is one of its great features due to which I included it in this list.
The B550 chipset can support all the Ryzen 5000 processors out of the box and is capable of overclocking 4 or 6 core Ryzen processors easily, thanks to its decent 6 power phase VRM. This motherboard can equip 4x RAM modules, 2x M.2 SSDs, 2x PCI-E x1 expansion cards and up to 4x SATA drives.
At the I/O, you will find everything from USB ports to inbuilt Wifi that will allow you to connect multiple peripherals at the same time and connect to the internet wirelessly. Moreover, there are Debug LEDs as well for troubleshooting basic boot problems.
Out of dozens of motherboards under $100, I selected these 6 based on VRM, Components compatibility and additional features such as connectivity and onboard troubleshooting.
From $60 up to $100, it’s not impossible to get a good motherboard for Intel or an AMD processor and with the release of the latest generations of processors, it’s only becoming easier to find a better motherboard than ever before.