If you’re serious about computers, then you’ll know that there is no point in having the best HEDT CPU, if you don’t complement it with a motherboard of a similar standard. Every component of the computer connects to the motherboard, and it is through the motherboard that they are able to communicate.

This means that if you’re looking to build a PC, or if you want to upgrade your current one, the motherboard is an essential part for achieving the optimum computer. And if you’re taking a look at this article, then you’re probably looking for one that is compatible with Intel’s Skylake.

Intel was founded in 1968 and is one of the core companies that made Silicon Valley the technological hub that it is today. It is the world’s highest-valued semiconductor chip manufacturer and the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors that are found in most PCs.

In August 2015, Intel launched Skylake, the codename for its processor microarchitecture that succeeded the Broadwell microarchitecture. Skylake CPUs share the same microarchitecture as its successors; Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake, Cannon Lake, Whiskey Lake, and Comet Lake CPUs.

It is also the last Intel platform on which Microsoft will support any Windows earlier than Windows 10. Although Intel declared the end of Skylake LGA 1151 CPUs in March 2019, the Skylake microarchitecture is still prolific. But picking a new motherboard can be overwhelming.

You need to think about size, memory, slots and connectors, expandability, and overclocking potential, to name just a few factors. Don’t worry though, we’ve put together a list of our top eight motherboards for Skylake.

And we’ve got a handy list of things for you to consider before you buy one too. So take a look at the list and we’ll sure you’ll find the best motherboard for your computer.

10 Best Motherboards for Skylake

1. Gigabyte Z170x Gaming 7

Gigabyte ATX DDR4 Intel LGA 1151 SATA E (6Gbit/s) Motherboards (GA-Z170X-Gaming 7)

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First up on our list is the Gigabyte Z170x Gaming 7 motherboard. As with most of the motherboards on our list, this option has DDR4 memory, in fact it has four DDR4 DIMM sockets.

Then it also has the LGA 1151 processor socket, Intel Z170 chipset, and dual M.2 storage connectors, as well as eight SATA 6GB/s slots and 3 SATA express slots. If you’re looking to plug into the USB slots then you’re in luck; it has two USB 3.1 ports and five USB 3.0 ports, although it doesn’t have any USB 2.0 ports.

One of the great features of the Gigabyte Z170x Gaming 7 motherboard is its audio capability. It has SoundCore 3D, with a quad-core processor, which means that you get awesome audio quality. Even if you stick to using your cheap headphones, you’ll be able to tell that the audio on this is excellent.

Also, even though GPUs tend to be heavy, this motherboard can take the strain well, so if you’re going for aesthetics, you shouldn’t see the same sagging that many other PCI ports tend to suffer.

Key Features:

  • LGA 1151
  • DDR4 RAM (4 sockets)
  • Intel Z170
  • ATX
  • 64GB Maximum RAM
  • 2133 MHz memory speed
  • Supports 6th and 7th Generation Intel Core Processors

Pros:

  • Creative SoundCore 3D Gaming Audio
  • Triple CrossFire and Quad SLI support
  • Futureproofed- it’s also compatible with Kaby Lake

Cons:

  • UEFI fan control is not as extensive as some Z170 motherboards

2. MSI Pro X299 Raider

MSI Pro Series Intel X299 LGA 2066 DDR4 USB 3.1 SLI ATX Motherboard (X299 Raider)

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We don’t have many motherboards by U.S. based MSI on this list, but this MSI Pro X299 Raider is a great option for anyone who is serious about getting the optimal use out of their Skylake processor.

It has sufficient RGB headers that you can customise it however you want, and it includes a USB 3.1 header and U.2 slot on the front panel too.

If you are looking to overclock then this motherboard should work well for you, as it can hit 4.6 GHz at 1.2 V without any issues, although you will need to upgrade the cooling system, as it comes with just a single block of aluminium for VRM cooling, with no Heatpipe.

This motherboard is well-known for its 24/7 reliability, which means that overall it is an excellent choice for anyone looking to optimise their workstation.

Key Features:

  • LGA 2066
  • DDR4 SDRAM
  • Intel X299
  • ATX
  • 64GB Memory
  • VR Ready
  • MSI Audio Boost 4 with Amplifier

Pros:

  • 24/7 reliability
  • Twin turbo M.2
  • Great audio

Cons:

  • No onboard diagnostic tools

3. Asus ROG Maximus VIII Formula

Asus ROG MAXIMUS VIII FORMULA DDR4 ATX Motherboard

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If you know that overclocking is going to be common with your motherboard, then the Asus Rog Maximus VIII Formula is an excellent option for you.

Overclocking is well integrated so that you can safely overclock with a single mouse click, plus it has a full VRM waterblock. The CrossChill waterblock in this motherboard makes direct contact with the VRMs, which makes it even better suited for overclocking.

The Asus ROG Maximus VIII Formula has six SATA slots and two SATA Express slots, plus one M.2 slot.

As an additional feature, it also has three-zone RGB illumination which you can customise, picking from 1.6 million colours, as well as the ROG Aura RGB Strip Header. So if you’re into aesthetics, you can really make this motherboard your own.

Key Features:

  • LGA 1151
  • DDR4 RAM (4 sockets)
  • Intel Z170
  • ATX
  • 64GB Maximum RAM
  • Four memory slots
  • Multi-zone Aura RGB LED lighting

Pros:

  • Overclocking is well integrated
  • Customised lighting options
  • CrossChill waterblock

Cons:

  • Tendency for quite a few codes to show up when first booting up

4. ASRock X-Series X299 Taichi

ASRock X-Series X299 Taichi DDR4 Max.128GB PCI Express SATA USB ATX Retail Motherboard

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ASRock started in Taipei and they are now the third largest motherboard brand in the world, so you can be sure that they know what they are doing with their X-Series X299 Taichi.

Again, similarly to the Asus ROG Maximus VIII Formula above, this motherboard offers RGB LED and header so you can build your own colourful lighting system. But it’s not just the aesthetics that make this motherboard a great pick.

This motherboard comes with three M.2 sockets, as well as ten SATA3 6GB/s slots, so you should be able to build in any customisations that you want. It’s also a smaller motherboard than a lot of the options, measuring 12×9.6×0.1 inches, although it remains sturdy.

Key Features:

  • LGA 2066
  • DDR4 RAM
  • Intel X299
  • ATX
  • Eight memory slots
  • Three M.2 sockets

Pros:

  • Simple to build colour customisations
  • Top quality VRMs
  • Three M.2 sockets
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Slower onboard wireless AC

5. EVGA Z390 Dark

EVGA Z390 Dark, LGA 1151, Intel Z390, SATA 6GB/s, USB 3.1, M.2, U.2, EATX, Intel Motherboard...

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EVGA is an American brand, based in southern California, and they bring this motherboard that stands out somewhat from the other motherboards in terms of its design. It comes in a sleek dark, black colour, in contrast to a lot of the multi-coloured options we’ve seen so far.

It has a lot of options that make overclocking very effective with this motherboard, including the cooling system. A large, passive heatsink cools the entire VRM, making it a good option if you are going to be running at higher core clocks.

It features both the 24-pin power connector as well as the 8-pin CPU power connector on the side of the board. Plus it’s got six SATA slots and two M.2 sockets.

Key Features:

  • LGA 1151
  • DDR4 RAM
  • Intel Z390
  • E-ATX
  • Two memory slots
  • 32GB memory
  • Two M.2 sockets
  • Supports 8th and 9th generation processors

Pros:

  • Sleek design
  • Effective cooling system
  • Well-designed for overclocking

Cons:

  • Reports that some may arrive with a dead CMOS battery

6. Gigabyte AORUS X299 Gaming 3

EVGA X299 FTW K, LGA 2066, Intel X299, SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.1, USB 3.0, EATX, Intel Motherboard...

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For real enthusiasts, you can’t get much better than the Gigabyte Aorus X299 Gaming 3 motherboard. It has a built-in turbo B-clock tuning IC so that overclockers can change their BCLK frequency as suits their needs.

The adjustments range from 90MHz to 500MHz, so you wouldn’t be limited to a 5% range when overclocking. Plus it’s got the Smart Fan 5, which has nine temperature sensors and eight hybrid fan headers, so that you can interchange the fan headers to reflect the different thermal sensors at different locations.

If you’re into customising then this is a great option for you, as it has a huge variety of digital LED options. On top of that, it’s got two M.2 sockets, 3-way graphics support and eight memory slots, making this an excellent motherboard for optimising all that Skylake has to offer. Due to its advanced set-up, it works best with newer technology

Key Features:

  • LGA 2066
  • DDR4 RAM
  • Intel X299
  • ATX
  • Eight memory slots
  • Two M.2 sockets
  • Supports X-Series processors
  • RBG fusion LED system

Pros:

  • Turbo B-clock tuning IC
  • Advanced LED digital lighting system
  • Excellent cooling system

Cons:

  • Very expensive

7. ASUS WS X299 Sage

ASUS WS X299 SAGE LGA2066 DDR4 M.2 U.2 X299 CEB Motherboard for Intel Core X-Series Processors with...

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This motherboard is larger than any of the other options on this list, at 14.3×12.99×10.7 inches, and it also is a different form factor- it’s an SSI CEB, rather than ATX or EATX form factor. So make sure that it will fit with your PC.

This is a great motherboard for a workstation or for gaming, and is easy to overclock, with the one-click overclock set-up. It can also pump 460 W of power. However, if you put the maximum of four GPUs, you will need to water cool them.

It has eight SATA ports and a whopping seven PCI Express slots. Together with the two M.2 sockets and two U.2 ports, this motherboard really makes the most of the PCI Express lanes from Skylake.

Given how many options this motherboard has, you need to think about whether you will make the most of all the slots before you purchase it.

Key Features:

  • LGA 2066
  • DDR4 RAM
  • Intel X299
  • SSI CEB form factor
  • 1GB maximum Ram
  • Eight memory slots
  • Two M.2 sockets
  • Eight SATA slots
  • Seven PCI Express Slots
  • 4200 MHz memory speed

Pros:

  • Seven PCI Express slots
  • It can work both as a workstation and for gaming
  • 460 W of power
  • Huge amount of features

Cons:

  • Larger than most
  • Expensive

8. EVG X299 FTW K

EVGA X299 FTW K, LGA 2066, Intel X299, SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.1, USB 3.0, EATX, Intel Motherboard...

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Our final option on the list sees another motherboard by EVG, and again it has a more minimalist approach than a lot of the other options, although this one is also the cheapest motherboard on our list. Despite it’s more minimalist design and it’s lack of flashy RGB, this motherboard is still aimed at gamers.

The BIOS is more basic than a lot of other options, but it still provides enough fan headers for making whatever adjustments you fancy.

There are a lot of options for customising this motherboard, as it comes with four PCI Express slots, six SATA 6GB/s slots, three M.2 sockets and two U.2 ports, which is something that even a lot of the more expensive options don’t offer. This is a great option for gamers who are looking for a motherboard in the lower price bracket.

Key Features:

  • LGA 2066
  • DDR4 RAM
  • Intel X299
  • E-ATX
  • 32GB maximum RAM
  • Two memory slots
  • Six SATA 6GB/s
  • Four PCI Express slots
  • Three M.2 sockets
  • Two U.2 ports
  • Fourteen USB ports

Pros:

  • Cheaper option
  • Two U.2 ports
  • Fourteen USB ports

Cons:

  • Basic BIOS
  • Fewer RGB

What to Consider When Buying

Expansion slots

If you are looking to build your own PC, it’s important that you consider how many expansion slots are possible with the motherboard that you pick. Your processor might have a lot of capability, but that will be pointless if it is limited by your motherboard.

Form factor

The form factor of the motherboard determines its size. It is also often a key factor in determining how many expansion slots you can have. Most of these options have the ATX form factor, which is the most common and offers seven expansion slots.

We also had a couple with E-ATX form factor, which is aimed at the server market and also has seven expansion slots. Then we had one which has SSI CCB form factor which is larger.

Memory

More memory slots often help the computer to run faster, and tend to help with the longevity of the system too, so where possible it is usually best to go for an option that has more memory slots. However, once again, this tends to come with the larger sizes.

Also Read: Best Z270 Gaming Motherboards: Reviews & Buying Guide

Cooling

If you will often be overclocking, or running it for extended periods of time, it is essential that you take into account the cooling system that is in place, and how much it can be extended. You need to check that it has enough fan headers and that the layout won’t cause issues of excessive heat.

Conclusion

Now that we’ve taken you through these aspects that you need to consider, hopefully you feel ready to pick the motherboard that will work best for you. We’ve seen that there are a lot of options out there, in different sizes with different features.

It’s important that you think about what your main purpose will be with your PC, and what extensions you will be looking to add. We’ve taken you through our favourite motherboards for Skylake, now you need to decide which one is the best option for you.

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