Q for Logan - Best AM3+ mATX motherboard?

Dear Logan. I am a casual console gamer looking to turn to PC gaming by upgrading my HTPC. In the Kill Your Console Build Option #3: $750 Gaming PC you said you would suggest smaller motherboards for small cases if asked. I already have the AMD FX6300 on a Asus M5A88-M EVO, is there a better board out there (hopefully that I can get in the UK) ? By the way the case I want to build in is the Corsair Obsidian Series 350D.

What are you looking for in a "better" motherboard? AFAIK, there aren't any mATX motherboards with 900 series chipsets; almost all AM3+ motherboards are pretty much re-badged AM3 motherboards (complete with older 700 and 800 series chipsets), so I'm not really sure what you're expecting in an upgrade.

The Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 is the best AM3+ mATX board, but only because of a decent 4+1 Phase power w/ VRM heatsink that allows for a decent OC. There is also USB3 thanks to a 3rd party controller. You can probably get a better OC with your board with some MOSFET heatsinks, such as these:


But I have no idea where you'd find them in the UK. You can also buy a USB3 add-on card if you really want USB3.

There aren´t realy good am3+ micro atx motherboards.

But a board with 4+1 powerphase should do the job like the Asus M5A78L-M/usb3 should work fine with a FX6300 but don´t expect great OC ability.

Probably you also fine with your current board. because they are allmost equal. 970/990FX m-atx boards dont exist.

p.s this question belongs in the motherboard section!

Hi, thank you for the reply guys. After learning what 4+1 power phase is, and checking I can see that my current board has Asus 4 + 1 Phase Power Design. I can get both those boards you guys have mentioned over here in the UK for around £40 ($65), however they both only have Sata 2, my current board has Sata 3, and all my drives are Sata 3 incl boot Kingston 240GB HyperX 3K SSD. Is it worth sacrificing Sata 3 for any other features that I might be missing. I have 2 Port Silverstone EC01 Internal USB3.0 PCIe Card. Just to clarify what I am looking for, turning my existing HTPC into a gaming machine instead of buying a next gen console. Not looking to overclock as I am not that advanced.. So I guess the question is there a better mATX AM3+ mobo for "gaming" ?


p.s - sorry I thought this was questions for the show inbox.exe

There are no 'good' micro motherboards for AM3+ (thay are AM3 mobos with softwhere updates to take AM3+ CPU's)

Thank you Cooperman, simple and straight, that is how I need to hear it. It's a shame as I really wanted to build inside a Corsair Obsidian Series 350D. I guess I should start looking at 750D and 990FX ATX boards.

well there are enough atx cases that are not that big. Corsair cases for example. they have alot of good looking sleek cases, also Fractal design. has some. but if you realy want a small build, then i you have to switch to intels side, and thats a bit sadd indeed.

Do you approve of the MSI 990FXA-GD65 AMD 990FX mobo? it's under £90 ($145)

Well, the only thing "gaming" about a motherboard is the color scheme really if you aren't OCing. All the mobo does is determine what kind of I/O you have (which you seem to be satisfied with), and the expansion slots can help where the motherboard is missing out on (like a sound card if you're sensitive to audio, but it appears you've already done that with USB 3). If you do plan on OCing, then that's when the motherboard becomes a bit more important, but even then, there are worse boards for that than the one you already have. Just get mosfet heatsinks and you should get a respectable OC.

Just re-use your current motherboard and invest the money you would have spent on a mobo upgrade on a better GPU. You'll get a much better gaming experience with a better GPU than whatever premium/enthusiast motherboard can offer.

I am trying to keep it cost effective, the budget is the cost of a next gen console, but the games must play as well as an xbox one (which is hard to tell as next gen are not out yet). I am upgrading my VTX3D AMD Radeon HD 7750 Graphics Card (1GB, GDDR5) to either Asus Radeon R9 270X DirectCU II TOP AMD Graphics Card - 2GB or MSI HD7950 TwinFrozr OC Boost Edition AMD Graphics Card - 3GB - both same price range but I do not know which is better.

270X = 7870 GHz Ed. So the 7950 Boost would be better. I'm not sure how pricing is in the UK, but the 280X is getting high praise for the price. Its about $300 here and the 7950 were about $250, but you can find them a little cheaper. So if you see a 280X within ~£32, I'd opt for that instead 

Do you think it will be worth waiting for the steam boxes to arrive?