Intel’s Core i7 8700K was in the vanguard of their vastly popular Coffee Lake processors.
Intel fans were quite relieved with the release of 8700K because AMD seemed to be taking it home with their Ryzen CPUs. With 6 cores and 12 threads, the 8700K is one of the best options in Intel’s Coffee Lake lineup of processors. Claiming up to 30% better gaming performances when compared to the predecessor, the 8700K quickly found itself in the homes of many enthusiasts wanting to up their setups. However, this good news came with a catch.
The 8700K is viable only with the motherboards housing the 300 series chipsets. The 8700K can handle overclocking like a champ. So why should you be limiting your 8700K’s capabilities with a meagre motherboard? We’ve taken the liberty to gather for you the 5 best motherboards with the Z370 chipsets that are viable for your 8700K. The challenge is not just supporting the 8700K but letting you fully harness its power with a motherboard that can withstand the challenge. So, let’s not wait any longer and dig right in with our list of the 5 best motherboards that you can have for your 8700K.
1. ASUS ROG Maximus X Code
Our Rating: 9.8/10
- Asus ROG Armor and a pre-mounted I/O shield
- USB 3.1 Gen 2 Compatibility
- 8+2+2 power phase design
- DualBIOS Support
- Too much of an overkill and thus ends up costing a lot
Socket: 1151 | Chipset: Intel Z370 | Graphics Output: HDMI, DisplayPort | Wireless: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac | Audio: Realtek® ALC1220 codec | Form Factor: ATX
In the motherboard industry, Asus might just be the biggest name to date. Time and time again, they’ve proven why the Republic of Gamers tag is superior to all others. Intel’s Coffee Lake processors changed the game for many and Asus was among the first to jump on board and bring out their vastly popular (but a little pricey) Maximus line of motherboards. With dual-channel DDR4 RAM for up to 4133MHz, BIOS flashback and many more, the Maximus X Code has made it to the very top of our list.
The Maximus X Code comes with a 8+2+2 phase power design with the CPU getting 8 phases and the integrated GPU and memory both receiving 2 each. The Code’s phase design honestly, is a bit of an overkill even for hardcore overclockers. With this lineup, Asus has opted for 10K Black Capacitors which have a lifetime of 10,000 hours if ran at a constant 105 degrees Celsius. Of course, your PC won’t always be turned on and neither will the temperature be that high so expect a much higher lifetime. The metallic M.2 heatsinks very efficiently dissipate heat and keep your motherboard cool. The power efficiency and the overall aesthetic work in unison to not just optimize load but temperatures as well using heat sinks or airflow.
The Maximus X Code is equipped with the exclusive ROG technology- the ROG Armor. The ROG Armor enhances the cooling of the Code motherboard while never compromising on the style. An ABS top cover with its high heat resistance prevents GPUs from overheating and thus stabilizing their performance. Additionally, a strong SECC backplate acts as a backbone to the PCB- preventing it from bending. With the Code’s efficient 8+2+2 phase design and the ROG Armor, the overclocking enthusiasts can rest easy and never stress about the Code reaching its limits. Another thing that the Code has to show for is the dual 802.11AC antenna with MU-MIMO technology. With everything else that the Code has, don’t let the ROG Armor and the dual antennas slide by unnoticed.
The Code has a total of 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 6x USB 3.1 Gen 1 and 6x USB 2.0 ports. In the memory domain, 4x DIMM DDR4 slots can entertain up to 64 Gigs of RAM and 4133MHz at overclocked. Similarly for expansion slots, you get 2x PCI-E 3.0 at x16, 1x PCI-E 3.0 at x4 and 3x PCI-E 2.0 at x1. One of the two M.2 slots on the Code sits below the heatsink whereas the second has a vertical mount. The Maximus X Code shines bright in terms of not just performance but aesthetics and design as well. With 5050 RGB headers, a new world of vibrant colours can be opened up. And lest you forget, all of these can be paired and synced with Asus Aura Sync so that your strips are illuminated in sync.
The Maximus X Code has everything you could ask for your i7 8700K processor and then some. With such an overkill board, be prepared to have a big chunk taken out of your wallet. But there is no denying that the Maximus X Code gets you your money’s worth and, on the surface, gets everything right.
2. ASUS ROG Maximus X Hero
Our Rating: 9.5/10
- A beefy M.2 heatsink
- Supports XMP profiles
- Temperatures stay in acceptable levels when overclocked
- Provides great value for money
- Power consumption goes up a lot under load
Socket: 1151 | Chipset: Intel Z370 | Graphics Output: HDMI, DisplayPort | Wireless: 802.11 ac | Audio: Realtek® ALC1220 codec | Form Factor: ATX
By now, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that we’ve chosen Maximus X Hero as the second-best motherboard for your i7 8700K. After all, the Maximus X Hero is still one of the most popular ones for the hardcore enthusiasts with an 8th Gen processor. By improving upon the existing IX Hero edition, Asus put together a fantastic board.
The Hero looks quite similar to the Code, following the same rectangular PCB with the iconic ROG shields and heatsinks. Underneath the black and gunmetal colour scheme is an 8+2 power phase design. The Hero uses the same 10K black metallic capacitors and NexFET MOSFETS as the Code. While the 8+2+2 phase design of the Code is better, the Hero’s 8+2 design phase is sufficient enough for overclocking as well. As such, the Hero is powered by one 8 pin ATX connector for the processor. Asus has equipped the Hero with 6 SATA3 ports and similar to Code, has 2 M.2 slots with one being covered by a heat sink.
The M.2 heat shield is in between the PCI-E x16 slot with Hero having 2x PCI-E x16, 1x PCI-E 3.0 x6 and 3x PCI-E 3.0/2.0 x1 slots. For memory, the Hero can support a maximum of 64 GB of DDR4 RAM with its 4 DIMM slots. The Hero does have support for Intel XMP which predefines overclocking configurations to make everything easier.
The reinforced and integrated I/O shield has DisplayPort and HDMI port along with USB 3.1 Gen1 & 2. You can never go wrong with that. There is a Type-C connector in the I/O port however a Thunderbolt port seems to be missing from the Hero. As for the BIOS, you can find Clear CMOS and BIOS flashback buttons in the rear. And lastly, you can also find an Intel I219V LAN port with anti-surge LANGuard for protection along with a standard audio box with gold plated ports.
As we’ve established by now that a gaming motherboard just is not complete without that RGB flair to show off. Besides, it’s well known by now that any product with RGB enabled gets an upgrade in its performance. The ROG lineup motherboards have some of the brightest means of illumination. The Hero makes use of ROG’s Aura lighting controls which lets you match your aesthetics to your needs. Ranging from static and breathing presets to music affects a stream of light and tail, the Aura lets you do it all. And with the portfolio of Aura-enabled hardware growing more and more, the options are limitless.
The Maximus X Hero is somewhat of a more affordable option compared to the Code but still is quite expensive. However, as many users have expressed it, the Hero remains one of the best options for Intel’s Coffee-Lake processors and for good reason. And as testings show, the 8+2 phase design proved sufficient for overclocking so the Hero is good on that end as well.
3. GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS Ultra Gaming Wi-Fi
Our Rating: 9/10
- Excellent bang for buck performance
- Suitable option for medium overclocking
- Reinforced RAM slots
- Comes with ESD and surge protection
- Upright SATA ports can make cable management a drag
- No onboard buttons
Socket: 1151 | Chipset: Intel Z370 | Graphics Output: HDMI | Wireless: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac | Audio: Realtek® ALC1220 codec | Form Factor: ATX
With lists like these, we like to save the third spot for the most well-rounded and optimized product which offers as many premium features as possible while sporting a much friendlier price tag. GIGABYTE has a soft spot in our hearts for being a company dedicated to providing gamers with some of the best bang-for-buck products. The Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming is an affordable motherboard with a fantastic design, Optane storage and a decent amount of RGB customizations.
Despite being labelled as a more affordable and mainstream solution to the Z370 chipsets, GIGABYTE has actually equipped this board with some very decent aesthetics. The GIGABYTE logo and Aorus text light up along with some strips here and there- including the RAM slots. All of these are customizable and changeable via the BIOS or GIGABYTE’s RGB Fusion app. It’s true that the Aorus Ultra Gaming’s design does not let it stand out that much, however, the aesthetics really spice up once it is turned on with the lights adding a fair bit of ambience to it. Like most of GIGABYTE’s motherboards for the Z370 chipsets, the Aorus Ultra Gaming makes use of a 12+1 phase design for power delivery which should be adequate for all intents.
The 4x DDR4 DIMM slots can let you install RAM of up to 64 GB which can be overclocked to 4000MHz. And overclockers should rejoice because this budget-friendly motherboard does support XMP profiles to make overclocking easier. Taking a quick rundown of the specs offered, we have: 1x DVI port, 1x HDMI port, 3x PCI-E 3.0 slots, 6x SATA connectors going up to 6Gbps and 2 M.2 PCI-E x4 slots. In the connectivity department, the Aorus Ultra Gaming has 6x USB 3.1 ports, 6x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB Type-C port along with a legacy PS/2 connector. The initial version came without a WiFi however, the latest variants come equipped with a WiFi chip supporting 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac standards.
GIGABYTE also equips the Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming with ESD and surge protection along with an anti-sulfur design. As a bonus, it comes with Intel’s Optane memory which Intel has really been trying to push for quite some time now. That is an added benefit that comes with this board and you can really make use of Optane if you’re building a PC with just an HDD. Overclocking on the Aorus Ultra Gaming is actually a charm with GIGABYTE’s software and BIOS. With this board’s smartly designed infrastructure, it manages to handle loads quite well. However, we did notice some high-temperature bumps that can be a bit alarming over longer periods of time. Additionally, overclockers require onboard buttons and a debugging LED but this board lacks those.
The GIGABYTE AORUS rightfully lives up to its appellation as a “gaming motherboard” with its heavy-duty performance at overclocked CPU speeds, pushing the system’s performance to its limits. All these compelling features are a telltale for the solid bang it will give for your money. We have to admit, the upright SATA ports were a little off-putting for us at the start but GIGABYTE Aorus Ultra Gaming showed robust performance and that’s something we must appreciate. Plus, you also get some amazing RGB lights for a budget-priced motherboard- and who’s gonna say no to that?
4. MSI Z370 GAMING PRO CARBON AC
Our Rating: 8.7/10
- PCI-E and RAM slots are reinforced
- Military Class-5 components give assurance for durability
- The Wi-FI card isn’t integrated
- No reset or Clear CMOS button
- Only single BIOS
Socket: 1151 | Chipset: Intel Z370 | Graphics Output: DP/HDMI | Wireless: N/A | Audio: AUDIO BOOST 4 with NAHIMIC 2+ | Form Factor: ATX
MSI is set out to add Z370 GAMING PRO CARBON (Read Review) AC to their impressive pedigree of remarkable motherboards under their banner. The Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC is similar in some areas to its Z270 predecessors. However, with more memory support, a 95W socket, a good VRM design and WiFi connectivity, MSI improves upon previous models with this. Armed with military class-5 components, MSI helps instil some assurance in our minds about this boards durability. However, in order for it to be worthy of being in your possession, it still has a lot to answer for. So let’s get started.
The MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC is a finely crafted looking board that you will certainly like right out the box. With some carbon-fibre styled-components here and there, the name also reflects what this board entails. It is powered with a 10+2 phase design with 10 phases for CPU and 2 for memory. We’ve previously witnessed motherboards with a 12 phase design be somewhat ideal for overclocking. And that’s the case with this board as well. We’ll be getting into overclocking soon but you ought to know that with its single BIOS and lack of reset or clear CMOS buttons
Its 4x DIMM slots will let you install up to 64 Gigs of RAM which can go up to 4000MHz in overclocked. The DIMM slots are metallically reinforced to add a bit of strength around them for more durability. And that’s always appreciated. There are 3x PCI-E x16 slots along with 6x SATA3 ports and 2 M.2 slots. These PCI-E slots come equipped with MSI’s Steel Armor technology for reinforcing. For the audio and wireless options, MSI uses the Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec and uses an external Intel WiFi card. And lastly, the rear I/O port comprises of 1x PS/2 port, 2x USB 2.0 ports, 6x USB 3.0 ports, a DisplayPort and HDMI port along with the standard RJ45 and audio box connections. All pretty straightforward.
Overclocking with the Z370 Pro Carbon AC is a bit of a tricky road. While that big chunk of a heatsink does help in keeping temperatures low, they can still get quite high. Additionally, the power consumption levels even in idle modes rise up to high levels and vary quite a lot. That’s not a good sign because you want consistency. Getting to 5Ghz is easy to maintain, provided you have a decent cooling solution. However, any more than that and you risk raising some concerning alarms. The overclocking results of the Z370 Pro Carbon AC show that it is just not ideal for that.
The Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC is packed with features that are ideal for mid-end PCs. However, at such high a price, you’re really not getting the performance and results you would hope for. It rocks a $200 price tag whereas Asus TUF Z370 Pro-Gaming will cost you half that. And the TUF Z370 Pro Gaming motherboard is not a bad choice either for mid-end usage. It’s true that the Z370 Pro Carbon AC has a better VRM design but if you’re looking for a board for overclocking, you should look into the 3 boards above. Still, when push comes to shove, you can end up satisfied with the MSI Z370 Pro-Gaming AC however, you can get other boards for much friendlier price tags which offer almost similar performance results.
5. ASUS TUF Z370-PRO Gaming
Our Rating: 8.2/10
- An excellent option for consumers not looking to overclock
- Durable protection with TUF armor
- Comes with Optane and M.2 storage options
- Not the Best Overclocking Capabilities
- No RGB lights with this board
Socket: 1151 | Chipset: Intel Z370 | Graphics Output: DVI-D/HDMI | Wireless: N/A | Audio:Realtek ALC1220S 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC | Form Factor: ATX
ASUS is widely known for the reliability and diversity they give to their products, raising it to the level of “Number one motherboard manufacturers in the world” over the years. We’ve already talked about Asus’s motherboards in this article however, the TUF Z370 Pro Gaming is one we just can’t look past. Before ROG took over, the TUF lineup of motherboards were Asus’s knights in shining armour. But don’t let that get you down because the Z370 Pro Gaming rocks itself with a very attractive pricetag while rocking the TUF armour.
The TUF Z30 Pro-Gaming motherboard sports a black colour with yellow accents about it. However, there are no RGB zones for those looking to spice things up. That can limit the flexibility a little bit, the black and yellow colour pattern is pretty neutral as it allows this motherboard to blend in with almost any setup. There are RGB headers present but that’s about it. As for the build, folks familiar with the ROG lineup motherboards will note that the build quality is not as promising. However, Asus has still done a pretty good job with it. It is powered up with a 4+2+1 phase design which, as far as overclocking goes, isn’t anything reassuring.
The TUF Z30 Pro-Gaming motherboard has 4x DIMM slots for memory support of up to 64 Gigs at 4000MHz (OC). Pretty much the standard for Z370 chipsets. Along with 3x PCI-E x16 slots, it also has 2 M.2 slots for PCI-E x4 Gen3. And, this motherboard can support Nvidia 2-Way SLI and AMD 2-Way CrossFireX technology for multi-GPU. Asus makes use of Realtek ALC1220S audio chipset for this motherboard which is fairly common, as we’ve seen by now. For storage, along with the M.2 ports you also have 6x SATA3 ports and Intel’s Optane Memory. And lastly, in the rear I/O section, you have 6x USB 3.1 ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports, DVI-D and HDMI ports, an RJ45 connector along with the standard audio box.
With motherboards sporting a friendlier price tag, overclocking performances usually take a hit. And although the TUF Z370 Pro-Gaming is quite a well balanced and rounded board for gamers, it can’t handle overclocking all that well. With its 4+2+1 phase design, this TUF motherboard can’t handle high loads all that well. Even with a cooling solution installed, the temperatures rose up to about 70-80 degrees Celsius with the 8700K overclocked. Overclocking without an efficient cooling solution, well we’ll leave that to your imagination. Additionally, this motherboard is quite power-hungry with its consumption going up to over 260W in high load at stock settings when paired with high-end components. All of these should raise some alarms for you if you are planning on overclocking your 8700K.
Originally, ASUS labelled this motherboard as the “budget board”, yet it encompasses all the required features and performance levels that typify a high-end system. Sure, it does not have the over the top features like Asus’s Maximus lineup, but it is still a pretty solid board. And despite the lack of RGB, the black and yellow scheme has its own charm about it that some might like. For a budget board, the TUF Z370 Pro-Gaming is a decent choice and you’ll surely be able to reap the benefits of an 8700K processor with this board.
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