Best Motherboards for Linux

Best Motherboards for Linux – While all five motherboards listed above are well suited for a Linux HTPC, our personal picks would be the Gigabyte  as the best Intel board (due to the GeForce 9400 chipset, Firewire ports, very good board layout and dual Bios), the Asus  as the best AMD board (due to the GeForce 8300 chipset, Firewire ports and ECC RAM support) and  because of it’s mini-ITX form factor.

Building a Linux PC (motherboard) nowadays is very easy. Almost all available hardware is Linux compatible. But to be safe, always check if the hardware you are going to buy is compatible with Linux. Google will help you. I also always check Phoronix.com where they test different hardware for Linux compatibility.

ROUND UP

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1.ASRock B550 Phantom

Features



OUR TAKE

The ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming ITX/ax is a small, but a very powerful motherboard.

The “ax” in the motherboard model name indicates that the motherboard supports Wi-Fi 6. It’s also got a Bluetooth 5.1 on board, which is a cool addition that enables you to connect, say, game controllers.

Most mini-ITX motherboards only come with a single M.2 slot. However, ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ax Motherboard has two fast M.2 slots for SSDs. There’s One Hyper M.2 PCIe 4.0, as well as One Ultra M.2 PCIe 3.0 located at the motherboard’s back.

These unique features that ASRock offers are rarely seen on typical ITX motherboards. This gives you more headroom for what you’re planning to do with your build.

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2.ASRock B365

Features



OUR TAKE

Today we test on OCinside.de with the ASRock B365 Pro4 an extraordinary motherboard for Intel LGA1151 v2 processors. The ASRock B365 Pro4 offers a great basic equipment and a lot of features. However, the low Intel B365 price also has a big disadvantage regarding overclocking.

In this review we show all details about the features and test the ASRock motherboard with an Intel Core i9-9900K CPU. And after this test you can even win the ASRock B365 Pro4 motherboard with a little luck!

The ASRock B365 Pro4 features a black and white color scheme with an abstract striped design pattern applied on the PCB and engraved into the heatsinks. The metalic heatsinks themselves have a linear brushed texture alongside various design elements.

The motherboard uses the Intel B365 chipset and is aimed towards the mid-range segment of the market.

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3.ASRock X570 Gaming 4AM4

Features



OUR TAKE

The ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming 4 is the more value orientated model of the three Phantom Gaming branded X570 models at launch. Retaining a lot of similar features from the other models, the X570 Phantom Gaming 4 focuses more on offering value for money with a mix of good quality components, simple yet effective aesthetics, and represents its mid-range gaming inspired option.

The overall design consists of a black and grey themed PCB, with a black and grey actively cooled chipset heatsink, and a grey power delivery heatsink which is designed to keep the CPU VCore area cool.

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4.MSI Prestige X570

Features



OUR TAKE

If you have your heart set on overclocking that 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X to its limits, the Prestige X570 Creation certainly seems to have the power circuitry to do it, with a total of 17 power phases courtesy of an IR digital power design, with 14 of those dealing with the CPU.

The VRMs are straddled by a pair of large heat-pipe-linked heatsinks, but these sit fairly low so shouldn’t impede too much on roof-mounted fans/radiators or CPU cooler dimensions.

One thing we definitely appreciate is the abundance of right-angled connectors on the board. SATA connectors are one thing, but having the 24-pin power and USB 3.0 headers also right-angled really helps with routing two of the bulkiest and most annoying cables there are in a build.

As you can see above, RGB lighting is here in relatively restrained proportions, plus you get a single 12V four-pin RGB connector as well as two three-pin addressable RGB headers and a Corsair header for hooking up that company’s six-channel RGB fan hub to control it via MSI’s software.

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5.GIGABYTE B550I AORUS

Features



OUR TAKE

One of GIGABYTE’s most scalable ranges is its Aorus series, which typically aims its feature set and aesthetics at gamers. Often clad in RGB enabled heatsinks and componentry, the Aorus series is now GIGABYTE’s most widely recognizable range, which stretches from the larger E-ATX to small-sized mini-ITX offerings in motherboards, but also covers graphics cards, laptops, and all manner of other components.

Focusing on the mini-ITX form factor, the range on offer is considerably more competitive than the ATX market for a couple of reasons. The first is that there are much fewer small form factor models available, meaning manufacturers are limited in what they can do and need to strive to get the right solution, sometimes at the first time of asking.

The second is that with less to choose from, it’s key in getting a model that fits the desired feature set and for the rest of the hardware to fit the whole aspect of a system build.

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6.ASUS ROG Strix B550-I

Features



OUR TAKE

Starting at the top, the B550i Gaming currently supports Ryzen 3000 series, but ASUS does have plans to support Zen 3 with an upcoming BIOS update. As noted above, this motherboard is on the B550 chipset platform and, as such, supports DDR4 memory – 2133 JEDEC as a minimum with 5100+ speeds capable with overclocking.

The single PCIe x16 slot on this mITX motherboard supports Gen 4.0 via lanes from the CPU. These lanes are also expressed to storage via the M.2_1 slot. M.2 storage is expanded to the motherboard’s rear via chipset lanes, operating at PCIe 3.0 with M.2_2 supporting NVMe and SATA solutions and SATA 6Gb/s branching off as well with four ports.

Networking is controlled by the increasingly popular Intel i225-V 2.5Gbe ethernet chip, while Wi-Fi is supported by the Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 module that also supports Bluetooth 5.1.

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7.GIGABYTE X570

Features



OUR TAKE

Gigabyte’s Aorus boards are the company’s gaming and enthusiast lineup, usually including features such as RGB LEDs, metal “armor” on the DIMM and/or PCIe slots, electrostatic discharge (ESD) guards, along with more of a focus on styling.

The Aorus Ultra fits that mold, while offering a wide array of functionality at a reasonable price point. Gigabyte’s X570 lineup includes common board sizes and a wide range of price points, from the entry-level X570 UD to the flagship X570 Aorus Xtreme offering a bit of something for everyone, even a Mini-ITX board in the X570-I Aorus Pro Wi-Fi.

The Gigabyte X570 Aorus $300 price point lands it on lower end of X570 mid-range boards.

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8.MSI Arsenal

Features



OUR TAKE

The single M.2 slot doesn’t share bandwidth with any other PCIe slot but populating the slot with a drive will however disable two of the six available SATA ports; specifically the two right-angled ports closest to the 24-pin motherboard ATX power input.

On the rear panel, MSI now includes a pair of USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, one Type-A and one Type-C. There is also two USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, and two USB 2.0 ports, with an option to increase the USB options by a further two and four respectively with internal headers. Video outputs from any integrated graphics can be made through a DVI-D port or an HDMI 1.4 port.

A single PS/2 combo mouse and keyboard port is also present. The single LAN port is powered by a Realtek RTL8111H Gigabit networking controller and the six gold plated 3.5 mm audio jacks takes its direction from a middle of the road Realtek ALC892 HD audio codec. MSI has included a BIOS Flashback+ button on the rear panel for a quick and easy experience when updating the board’s firmware.

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9.MSI Gaming AMD Ryzen

Features



OUR TAKE

On top of this is a single PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA capable M.2 slot with a maximum of up to M.2 22110 drives being supported. The single M.2 slot doesn’t share bandwidth with any other PCIe slot but populating the slot with a drive will however disable two of the six available SATA ports; specifically the two right-angled ports closest to the 24-pin motherboard ATX power input.

On the rear panel, MSI now includes a pair of USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, one Type-A and one Type-C. There is also two USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, and two USB 2.0 ports, with an option to increase the USB options by a further two and four respectively with internal headers. Video outputs from any integrated graphics can be made through a DVI-D port or an HDMI 1.4 port.

A single PS/2 combo mouse and keyboard port is also present. The single LAN port is powered by a Realtek RTL8111H Gigabit networking controller and the six gold plated 3.5 mm audio jacks takes its direction from a middle of the road Realtek ALC892 HD audio codec. MSI has included a BIOS Flashback+ button on the rear panel for a quick and easy experience when updating the board’s firmware.

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10.MSI Z390-A PRO

Features



OUR TAKE

The main difference between the MSI Z390-A PRO and the rest of MSI’s Z390 product stack is that this board isn’t specifically targeted towards gamers. The aesthetics are simple with a coffee colored PCB which does include silver patterning across it; primarily around the edges of the board and around the silver and black heatsinks.

The main selling point of the MSI Z390-A PRO is in its value with a good selection of controllers including an Intel I219V Gigabit Ethernet controller and a Realtek ALC892 HD audio codec handling the onboard audio.

The storage options are pretty basic on the Z390-A PRO with this being the only Z390 MSI board to feature only one PCIe/SATA M.2 slot; this is complemented by a total of six SATA ports with support for RAID 0. 1. 5 and 10 arrays. In terms of memory, the board is packing four RAM slots with support for DDR4–4400 with a maximum capacity of up to 64 GB.

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Best Motherboards for Linux – BUYER’S GUIDE

    • micro-ATX or mini-ITX form factor
      Size usually matters with a HTPC, few people would want a big tower case in their living room, not to mention the WAF (wife acceptance factor). Also most HTPC specific cases are designed for these form factors.
    • Nvidia GeForce 8200/8300 or 9300/9400 series on-board GPU
      Nvidia’s closed-source Linux drivers are currently the best choice for video play-back in the Linux world, as they support hardware assisted video play-back, which is at it’s best with the 8x (for AMD) or 9x (for Intel) series cards, using the VDPAU API.
    • an on-board HDMI and/or DVI video out port
      The best choice for connecting to your HD-TV, projector or AV receiver.
    • an on-board coax or optical S/PDIF audio out port
      Unless you have a very modern AV receiver with HDMI inputs, you will need S/PDIF to route the audio to your AV receiver.
  • silent, fan-less (no chipset fan)
    In a HTPC we want as few fans as possible to avoid noise, so a small (generally noisy) chipset fan is unacceptable.
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WRAP UP

Best Motherboards for Linux –  This Linux PC build can be used for many tasks including gaming. However, I use my Linux computer mainly for video editing in Kdenlive. That is why I tried to make this Linux PC build the most suited for video and photo editing. The choice of different parts was also justified by the price at the time I bought everything on Black Friday in 2019.

Also, after I bought everything, I realized it was not the best choice. So, below I show what computer I built, what options I considered before buying and what other Linux PC builds are possible. The content is the following:

Gabed.net