The motherboard is the single-most critical piece of equipment inside a computer’s casing. It is the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) to which all the other components connect to, and interact with each other. The motherboard is the deciding factor as to which kind of devices you can install inside your PC. For this reason, understanding motherboards and choosing the right kind of motherboard is essential for building the PC according to your needs.
While there are many companies manufacturing motherboards nowadays, two names feature prominently: MSI vs Gigabyte Motherboard. These are two Taiwan-based tech companies that manufacture many technology products such as desktops, laptops, graphics cards, servers, and notebooks among others.
However, these companies stick out due to one simple reason: although they have expanded and diversified their manufacturing portfolio, motherboard manufacturing still comprises the bulk of their business. This has resulted in either company allocating most of its research budget in order to constantly innovate, improve upon and refine their motherboard designs and formulas, which has resulted in them having a significant upper hand over their competitors. Let us take a look into the strengths and weaknesses of each brand to figure out which one better suits your needs.
Micro-Star International (MSI) has been providing some of the most iconic motherboards since 1986. MSI motherboards are renowned for their high-quality, and are used on some of the most prominent world forums, including over-clocking bench-markers and professional gaming tournaments. That is no fluke, as MSI has worked painstakingly to diversify its motherboard lineup and raise its brand awareness on the big stage through sponsorships and affiliation deals with many prominent Esports organizations (such as Evil Geniuses).
MSI is mostly known for its consumer-friendly approach, in that it produces a vast lineup of motherboards with different specifications and diverse price points, in order to cater to the needs of more and more PC builders.
The company mostly has a strong reputation with its customer, which is occasionally marred by claims that it uses sub-standard hardware to construct its motherboards from. Those claims have not been solidly proven (or unproven) in any kind of serious examination, so the jury is still out on that.
If you want to build a PC but are limited by your budget, there is a high chance that MSI has just the right kind of hardware available for you.
Gigabyte is yet another Taiwanese tech giant, with a big presence in the motherboard manufacturing scene. Gigabyte motherboards also provide a robust, diversified motherboard lineup like MSI, but it specializes in producing powerful niche motherboards. Gigabyte motherboards are known for their raw power, and support for latest generation hardware such as CPUs, GPUs, SSDs etc. Gigabyte also has the reputation of only manufacturing its motherboards with top-quality materials. As a result, Gigabyte has made a name for itself by providing higher quality motherboards than its competitors.
Gigabyte is especially proficient in manufacturing motherboards for gaming rigs, and many Esports events around the world utilize Gigabyte’s hardware to power their computer systems during major Esports tournaments. Couple that with many gamer-friendly features such as BIOS settings which make it easier for hardware to be overclocked on Gigabyte’s boards, and support for various types of modern connectors and ports, and it is easy to see why Gigabyte is considered the standard bearer for modern-day gaming motherboards.
MSI vs Gigabyte Motherboard
Although both companies produce top-notch motherboards, there are things that distinguish them from each other. MSI has an edge when it comes to presenting a diversified lineup of motherboards as compared with Gigabyte but suffers from a reputation for being pricier than Gigabyte. Also, MSI has not garnered much goodwill from PC builders with its recent X570 lineup of motherboards, all but two of which have been received poorly by the targeted audience.
Gigabyte on the other hand is known to be the brand that offers great entry-level and high-end motherboards. The mid-tier boards from the company have been hit-and-miss, with the AORUS Elite and AORUS Pro garnering rave reviews, but other boards in the same category falling short of expectations. However, the company is known to implement better pricing strategies than MSI, offering a bigger bang for the consumers’ buck as compared with their competitors.
- Aesthetics vs. power
MSI has a tendency to ignore the aesthetic aspects – such as RGB lighting headers – which are all the rage in PC building these days. The company instead focuses on providing good hardware with solid performance. On the other hand, Gigabyte emphasizes these aspects big time and provides excellent RGB header options in conjunction with its latest motherboards. MSI features a very basic BIOS design which is easy to understand and use for its consumers. On the other hand, Gigabyte’s BIOS might come across as a bit more complicated, but that is probably because it offers more options and features for overclocking and customization.
In recent times, both companies have launched a marketing blitz, thanks to their partnerships and sponsorships with various Esports teams and tournaments. MSI has been associated with the popular Esports organization Evil Geniuses (EG) for the better part of the last decade, whereas Gigabyte has been prolific in its attempts to push its hardware down the throat of every gamer through its deals with prominent Esports tournaments, which extensively and pointedly make use of Gigabyte’s motherboards. Gigabyte also goes a step further to appeal to its gaming audience, by having a BIOS setup that makes it easier to overclock devices on its motherboards, and supporting various ports and connectors in order to facilitate connections with modern gaming output devices.
Best motherboards by MSI and Gigabyte
Let us take a look at some of the best motherboards currently being offered by either company:
- Gigabyte Z790 AORUS Master
Brand: Gigabyte | Form Factor: EATX | CPU Socket: LGA 1700 | RAM Technology: DDR5 | Memory Speed: 5600 MHz | PCIe Slots: 1x PCIe 5.0 x16, 2x PCIe 4.0 x16 | Storage Support: 4x SATA, 5x M.2
Gigabyte’s AORUS Motherboards have made a name for themselves, by combining hardware firepower with price points that their overpriced competitors (looking at you: ASUS and MSI) just cannot hold a candle to. The Z790 Master is really an upgraded version of the stellar Z690, Gigabyte’s previous champion. Z790 offers support for DDR5 memory and remodeled finned heatsinks which provide better ventilation and heat dissipation.
Z790 features a PCIe 5.0 setup, which is now increasingly becoming the standard for modern motherboards. The board also provides a total of 5 M.2 slots for super-fast NVMe SSDs, which is good, but not perfect as many of its competitors nowadays offer up to 6 of those. This board also includes two RGB and four ARGB headers to increase the aesthetic value for those who are into such a thing.
Overall, Z790 is an excellent motherboard, more so considering it supports Intel chipsets which are not as hot nowadays compared with their Ryzen rivals. But at this price, the list of features is good enough to make it the top offering from Gigabyte at the moment.
Excellent heat management.
A number of M.2 slots slightly falls short of competitors’ offerings.
- MSI MEG B550 Unify
Brand: Gigabyte | Form Factor: ATX | CPU Socket: AM4 | RAM Technology: DDR4 | Memory Speed: 5100 MHz | PCIe Slots: 3x PCIe 4.0 x16| Storage Support: 6x SATA, 4x M.2
Unlike our choice of best motherboard for Gigabyte, the choice for MSI is not an EATX, but a simple ATX board, so expectations have to be set accordingly. MSI has not been getting a good rep these days thanks to its high price points, and its EATX offerings are just way too pricey for us to recommend to anyone, without being labeled as MSI pushers, that is.
The MSI MEG B550 Unify supports the fast-as-hell AMD CPUs, up to the 5th generation. It features a total of four M.2 slots for NVMe SSDs, three of which are 4th Gen. That coupled with an excellent cooling mechanism, and reasonable price (well, at least according to MSI standards), makes MEG B550 Unify one of the best MSI motherboards for anyone without a villa in the Beverley Hills. And it is definitely the best mid-range gaming motherboard by the company.
3x Gen 4 M.2 slots.
Great cooling apparatus.
DDR4 memory not in line with current industry standards.
MSI and Gigabyte are industry veterans since the mid-1980s and have been producing excellent motherboards for the better part of the last four decades. Both companies have their strengths and weaknesses but have managed to establish themselves as trustworthy names in the motherboard manufacturing sector. While MSI was decisively a bigger name in the past, Gigabyte has caught up in recent times. Thanks to its generally fair prices and ever-improving motherboards, Gigabyte is currently the industry leader in the motherboard market.
Learn more about:
- 10 Important Parts of Motherboards and their Functions – Detailed Guide
- ASUS vs Gigabyte Motherboard: Which is Better?
- What are the different types of motherboards in Computers?
- How To Choose a Motherboard for a Gaming Pc?
Gigabyte is a Taiwan-based technology behemoth, which has been operating since 1986. The company has mainly been known for its stellar motherboards throughout its history, but in recent times, Gigabyte has diversified its portfolio with forays into GPUs and notebooks markets.
The company has made a name for itself, especially in the gaming motherboard niche, where its hardware features prominently in big Esports tournaments throughout the year.
Some of the best gaming motherboards such as the formidable AORUS Z690 Pro have been manufactured by the company. All of this points towards a very solid brand, with a record of consistent excellence over many years.
What is the best motherboard brand?
There are many hardware manufacturing companies currently vying for the crown. Each one presents its own unique pluses and minuses. The biggest motherboard brands currently are ASUS, ASRock, MSI, and Gigabyte. Each brand comes with its unique pluses and minuses.
ASUS has the advantage of being one of the pioneers in the computer industry and uses its experience in hardware manufacturing to create great motherboards. On the other hand, MSI, Gigabyte, and ASRock have the unique advantage of motherboards being the mainstay of their businesses, which allows them to dedicate most (if not all) of their energies and focus to this particular endeavor.
All in all, ASUS motherboards are in a class of their own, but MSI, ASRock, and Gigabyte also provide solid niche options, especially in the field of gaming motherboards.
Which is the best gaming motherboard?
While there are many hardware manufacturers aiming to capture the lucrative gaming market, Gigabyte seems to be the current leader when it comes to gaming motherboards. With its hard-hitting, bombastic AORUS Z690 Pro, Gigabyte hit the ball out of sight in 2022, and its competitors are still struggling to locate where it went.
The AORUS Z690 Pro provided stellar features at a very manageable price, a balance that has eluded Gigabyte’s competitors throughout 2022.
Is MSI a high-end brand?
MSI has earned the reputation of being a high-end motherboard brand, thanks to the astronomical prices the company charges for some of its motherboards which do not justify the price tag. The company has been known to recycle some of its older brands (such as B550 and B450), upgrade a feature here, a feature there, rename it, and sell it at a shockingly high price point.
That is one of the reasons behind customer dissatisfaction with MSI motherboards in the recent past.
Is Gigabyte the best motherboard?
Gigabyte has been in the motherboard manufacturing business since 1986, and it has faced fierce competition from market rivals such as ASUS, ASRock, and MSI. In the past, the company struggled to make itself stand out from the pack, thanks to ASUS’ vast resources and experience, and MSI and ASRock’s proficiency in niche motherboards.
Not any longer, Gigabyte has nailed down the winning formula in recent years. Its AORUS Z790 Master motherboard is one of the overall best motherboards in the market right now featuring support for Intel’s chipsets, whereas its AORUS Z690 Pro is probably THE best gaming motherboard, ever. The company has also massively increased its brand awareness through its forays in the ever-expanding Esports market. Gigabyte has finally hit its stride and shows no signs of stopping.