Even though performance is the most important aspect of every PC component, colorful lights add something unique to your gaming experience. Not long ago, gamers used to manually install this to their PC cases. Today, motherboards are actually designed to support this flashy feature. Sure, it doesn’t add to your PC’s core functionality, but it definitely looks cool!
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Controlling Your RGB Motherboard
Motherboard’s RGB LED support can be set up and controlled by software. Each created their own software to control your motherboard’s lights. Let’s see what each of these tools has to offer!
- ASUS’ Aura Sync
- GIGABYTE’s RGB Fusion
- MSI’s Mystic Light
- ASRock Polychrome RGB
- BIOSTAR’s VIVID LED DJ
ASUS’ Aura Sync
If you are using an ASUS motherboard with built-in RGB LED support, ASUS’ Aura Sync is the software you’ll need to download. ASUS promises an endless spectrum of colors and the ability to create amazing patterns. One of the most amazing things about Aura Sync is the ability to link the lighting and the atmosphere to the music you are listening to, CPU/GPU temperatures, or even in-game action.
Aura Sync is also compatible with other hardware. You can use it to control SilverStone LED strips, inWin cases, Aerocool power supplies, and many others. You can check out the full list of partners.
GIGABYTE’s RGB Fusion
RGB Fusion by GIGABYTE is a great example of simple software that you can use to easily sync the colors of your AORUS devices. Its user interface is quite intuitive and you can access individual devices and preset effects such as Music, Color Cycle, or Game. We watched a cool demonstration where we saw that changing your in-game weapon actually changes the color of the lights!
RGB Fusion is compatible with many third-party devices from manufacturers such as inWin, CoolerMaster, Phanteks, etc.
MSI’s Mystic Light
The gaming world often has mixed feelings for everything related to MSI and Mystic Light is no exception. However, it doesn’t stand out in a bad way on our list. MSI Light Sync can be used with relative ease. It provides synchronization with on-screen gaming to create a realistic atmosphere for the gamer. The app itself proved to be buggy on several occasions but you won’t miss out on anything if you have an MSI motherboard!
It’s compatible with a range of different graphics cards, cases, coolers, etc. You can check out the list of supported devices.
ASRock Polychrome RGB
ASRock’s Polychrome RGB is a great tool that allows its users to fully immerse themselves into the game. It supports Razer Chroma: an RGB lighting system that offers endless possibilities to its users. ASRock’s motherboards come with internal RGB lighting. However, external LEDs can also be added and everything can be controlled by Polychrome RGB!
However, there are fewer supported devices for this software when compared to the competition. Still, your lighting experience will probably be best if you stick with a single manufacturer to simplify the synchronization across your entire rig.
BIOSTAR’s VIVID LED DJ
BIOSTAR has joined the RGB motherboard race in 2016 by adding RGB support for their RACING motherboards. The built-in LEDs don’t appear too bright in many RACING models so you should definitely consider adding some external lighting. VIVID LED DJ has that retro feel and tuning your lights feels very simple.
Since BIOSTAR focuses its RGB attention on motherboards, VIVID LED DJ can only control the motherboard and you lose the feeling of synchronization if you own other RGB devices.
Best RGB Motherboards in 2020
We have divided our top picks for RGB motherboards in two categories: LGA 1151 socket and AM4 socket. Motherboards with the LGA 1151 socket are compatible with Intel CPUs from the 8th and 9th generation whereas AM4 sockets are for AMD CPUs. Our decision is based on two factors: performance and RGB features.
MSI MEG Z390 ACE
The MSI MEG Z390 ACE is definitely one of the top choices by gamers around the world who want their gaming setup to stand out. Some of its distinctive features include USB 3.1 Gen 2 support as well as built-in Wi-Fi.
Its RGB features are where it really stands out. It has an array of RGB LEDs (Mystic Light Infinity array) that can be fully customized using Mystic Light software. Thankfully, there are four additional RGB LED connectors you can use to add external lighting. One port is dedicated to Corsair LEDs and Corsair is definitely a giant in the RGB world. Still, MSI MEG Z390 ACE also tops our LGA 1151 list when it comes to its price.
Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra
Built-in Wi-Fi, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C support, and three PCI Express lanes; these are just some of the amazing features this motherboard has to offer. However, we are here for the lights!
Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra probably has the best onboard lighting we have ever seen. They’ve used light reflecting and spreading cleverly to increase the LEDs’ impact and the overall experience. There are four connectors available for external hardware but note that Gigabyte mostly promotes their own RGB hardware, making the support for other manufacturers limited. It comes with a hefty price but it also delivers.
ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E
The ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E is an all-around solid gaming motherboard that doesn’t fall behind its competitors in any aspect. However, we are a bit disappointed with the lack of onboard LEDs. The only thing shining is the ROG logo by the I/O. However, there is plenty of room for external RGB support.
Using ASUS’ Aura Sync makes everything easier and you’ll notice that many RGB component manufacturers are fully supported. As is the case with all motherboards so far, be prepared to pay up.
ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero
Starting off our AM4 socket list, ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero is a giant when it comes to performance. Most gamers are attracted to its impeccable design and great cooling solutions. One of its most important features is the ability to personalize everything; from overclocking profiles to RGB lighting.
While the built-in lights may not be good enough, adding external ones and controlling them via Aura Sync is super fun and easy! The price, on the other hand, might make you feel a bit cheated.
MSI Prestige X570 Creation
As its name might suggest, the MSI Prestige X570 Creation motherboard is for prestigious gamers who can really show off this masterpiece. Onboard LED lighting is strategically placed around your peripherals to further immerse you in the game. Combined with external LED support, plenty of compatible hardware to add, and Mystic Light to control everything with a click of the mouse, this really is a dream come true for both performance and RGB enthusiasts.
ASUS ROG Strix X470-I Gaming
ASUS ROG Strix series makes a second appearance in our article; this time, with an AM4 socket. This is the only Mini ITX motherboard on our list and its size limits your options when it comes to expansion and rig building.
Onboard ASUS ROG Strix X470-I Gaming, you will see an illuminated ROG logo at the front. More lighting will have to be added externally through two RGB LED connectors or through other peripherals. The lack of more connectors can be blamed on its size but we are still thrilled to have an amazing Mini ITX RGB motherboard for a reasonable price on our list.
Best RGB Motherboards Based on Budget
RGB motherboards are also the best motherboards when it comes to performance. That is why their price is also quite high. Even without the flashing lights, these motherboards have plenty of features to offer and settling for one will always take out a large piece of your PC budget.
That is why we have decided to do another list but, this time, there is one motherboard for each price range: low-end, mid-range, and high-end. We have done this for both AMD and Intel-supported motherboards so make sure you check them out below!
Low-end: ASRock B365 Phantom Gaming 4
If you’re not planning on overspending on your RGB motherboard, ASRock B365M Phantom Gaming 4 may be the perfect solution. This motherboard has an 1151 socket with 2-way CrossFire multi-GPU support and 4 DIMM memory sockets.
Its design is quite simple with limited onboard RGB lighting. External lighting can be connected easily with onboard RGB headers and an addressable RGB header. Everything is controlled by ASRock Polychrome. Many users argue it doesn’t provide as many features as the competition but the overall quality for the price you pay is more than satisfying.
If you are building a smaller form factor PC you can get a Micro ATX version of this motherboard ASRock B365M Phantom Gaming 4.
Mid-range: MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC
With a sleek design, 3-way CrossFireX/SLI multi-GPU support and built-in Wi-Fi, MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC certainly justifies its price. Built-in RGB support consists of several RGB LEDs and you’ll definitely have to improve on that using its three-pin RGB header. MSI’s Mystic Light will make sure your lighting synchronizes with your on-screen gaming while offering great support for third-party RGB manufacturers.
High-end: MSI MEG Z390 ACE
MSI MEG Z390 ACE makes a reappearance on our list as the best high-end RGB motherboard for Intel processors. There might be more expensive motherboards or motherboards with better performance, but MSI MEG Z390 ACE is a great example of a full package; a combination of both performance and amazing atmosphere you can create with the help of Mystic Light. If you are ready to splash enough money, this should be your first choice.
Low-end: GIGABYTE B450 AORUS M
Having resolved performance and thermal problems with some motherboards, GIGABYTE stepped right into the RGB game with GIGABYTE B450 AORUS M. It has two regular and two addressable LED headers enabling you to connect external hardware and make it shine however you want using GIGABYTE’s RGB Fusion.
Your choice of external RGB hardware might be limited but this motherboard definitely offers more than its price would suggest. Too bad it doesn’t provide any onboard lighting.
Mid-range: ASUS ROG Strix X470-I Gaming
We’ve already talked about this ASUS motherboard and showcased its quality. ASUS ROG Strix X470-I Gaming has a higher price than most other Mini ITX motherboards but its price is justified by its performance and RGB support. Even though there are fewer headers than you would wish for, its size just doesn’t provide enough space for more connectors. If you have settled on a Mini ITX motherboard and if you want to make your gaming experience special, look no further from ASUS ROG Strix X470-I Gaming.
High-end: MSI Prestige X570 Creation
This prestigious motherboard had to reappear in the high-end part of the list because it’s basically a complete package for even the most demanding gamers. It’s hard to find justification for spending so much on a motherboard but it’s safe to say that everyone who decides to invest in MSI Prestige X570 Creation won’t be disappointed with any aspect. Turn on your computer and enjoy the light show!