6 Best Water-Cooled Motherboards in 2022 (Both Intel & AMD Options)

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Water cooling is one of the most exciting things you can do with a custom build. It allows you to push the already powerful components to even higher limits and reach levels of performance air-cooled rigs can only dream of.

Of course, creating a water-cooled rig means reimagining your PC from the ground up, and when it comes to PCs, the ground is the motherboard. In order to get you started on the right foot, we’ve put together a list of the best water-cooled motherboards in 2022. 

Best Water-Cooled Motherboards in 2022 Round-Up

The table below will give you a quick look at our selections for the 6 best water-cooled motherboards currently available on the market. To read a full review, simply click on ‘review>>’ in the respective row.

Product

Image

Rating

1. MSI MPG Z590 Carbon EK X

"Best water-cooled motherboard in 2022 overall"

9.8

2. GIGABYTE Z590 AORUS Xtreme WATERFORCE

"Best premium water-cooled motherboard"

9.7

3. ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial

"Best premium water-cooled motherboard runner-up"

9.7

4. ASUS ROG Maximus XII Formula Z490

"Best hybrid-cooled motherboard"

9.6

5. ASRock Z490 Aqua 

"Honorable mention"

9.5

6. ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Formula

"Honorable mention #2"

9.4



1. MSI MPG Z590 Carbon EK X

Form Factor: ATX | Socket: LGA 1200 | Chipset: Intel Z590 | Memory Support: Dual Channel, 4x DIMM, Up to 5333 MHz, Max 128 GB | PCI-e Slots: 2x PCIe 4.0 x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x16, 2x PCIe 3.0 x1 | Storage Support: 3x M.2, 6x SATA 6Gb/s Ports | Video Ports: 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort | Warranty: 1 year

MSI MPG Z590 Carbon EK XREASONS TO BUY

  • Compatibility and support for some insanely powerful builds
  • Liquid-cooling for both the CPU and VRM
  • Savings of almost $100 compared to buying it separately
  • High-quality construction
  • Beautiful aesthetics
  • Three M.2 slots for speedy SSDs
  • Excellent build quality
  • Great audio and internet solutions
  • Plenty of RGB onboard

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Higher price
  • Only a 1-year warranty
  • Not compatible with powerful 12th processors

Our Rating:   9.8/10

The MSI MPG Z590 Carbon EK X is a collaboration between MSI, a longstanding manufacturer known best for its motherboards and laptops, and EK, also known as EKWB or EK Water Blocks, a premium water cooling manufacturer. This collab (or bundle, if you prefer) gives you not only a phenomenal base for your new PC but also an extremely good value on some premium parts and a few accessories that we’ll cover in a minute.

The most important thing to know about motherboards is that despite the fact that they’re for the most part plug-and-play, they actually have extremely specific compatibility requirements. Things like the power throughput and number and type of slots dictate what type of CPU, memory, cooling, and RAM you can use. The most particular of those factors is the CPU.

The two CPU manufacturers, Intel and AMD use different sockets, so motherboards are not interchangeable, period. On top of that, different generations of chips from the same manufacturer will also not always be compatible.

In fact, even if a motherboard is built for a specific generation of chips, it might not be able to handle all the chips in that generation. Powerful CPUs, like AMD’s Threadrippers, or the core i9 processors from Intel will often have additional requirements that will require you to pay close attention to the motherboard you pick.

Fortunately, the MSI MPG Z590 Carbon EK X is mostly free from those issues and is compatible with virtually all CPUs from Intel’s 10th and 11th generation, including the Core series (i3, i5, i7, and i9) as well as the Pentium and Celeron series.

This motherboard will support the most powerful Intel CPUs available in 2022 (except the 12th generation), at least in terms of being able to install. Whether it can get optimal performance is going to come down to what you build around it, including most crucially the cooling capacity.

The MSI MPG Z590 Carbon EK X is purely made for liquid cooling. There are no heatsinks on the motherboard itself, and all of the connectors are configured to hook up to a liquid cooling loop. Hybrid cooling is not going to be an option here.

This means a higher initial monetary commitment to your build, but it will pay off by giving you the maximum potential from your components. If you hook it up to at least 600mm worth of radiators (the space equivalent of five 120mm fans) it’s going to perform beautifully.

What makes this motherboard a water-cooled motherboard is the inclusion of an EK custom-made liquid-cooled monoblock that simultaneously cools the CPU and the VRMs. It offers way better cooling performance than standard heatsinks or air cooling and it’s also RGB illuminated, which adds massively to the aesthetics as well.

However, there are water-cooled motherboards on the market (you will find them below) that use monoblocks that cover the whole motherboard, therefore cooling even the chipset and M.2 slots. So, if you’re looking for a fully water-cooled motherboard, take a look at the more premium options down this list.

Where liquid cooling really shines is when it comes to overclocking. You can do some overclocking with an air-cooled rig, but you’re going to be somewhat limited. Configured correctly, the MSI MPG Z590 Carbon EK X can help your CPU reach clock speeds of more than 5 GHz on even larger 8 and 10 core processors.

Now, this is an ATX motherboard, the “default” (for lack of a better term) form factor for tower builds. The majority of cases on the market are for mid towers or towers that use ATX form factor motherboards.

The craziest builds you’ll see will often use the larger E-ATX motherboards, but unless you’re building something crazy like a studio PC or a super high-end mining rig there’s almost nothing you won’t be able to do with an ATX motherboard.

Case in point, let’s do a quick rundown of the specs. In addition to being compatible with all 10th and 11th Gen Intel CPUs, the MSI MPG Z590 Carbon EK X has three PCI-E x16 slots for multiple graphics cards along with two PCI-E x1 slots, three M.2 ports for speedy NVMe SSDs, and four DDR4 slots, which can hold up to 128GB of up to 5333 GHz RAM.

In addition to that, it also comes with a 6E WiFI connection and a 2.5G Ethernet port, which is among the best on the market. There are also 9 USB ports, a USB-C port, and an HDMI and DisplayPort, though you’ll probably be routing your display through your GPU.

We mentioned earlier that this is a bundle. In this package, you’re getting an MSI Carbon motherboard, and an EK water block made specifically for this motherboard. It also includes installing tools from basic options like a brush and screwdriver up to a leak/pressure tester to ensure that your cooling loop is functioning correctly.

If you were to buy all of those separately you’d probably spend 50-100 more than you would on this bundle. Most of them also ship with a voucher for EKWB’s online store so you’ll be able to get a good discount on the rest of your setup, making this an even better deal.

Overall, the MSI MPG Z590 Carbon EK X is probably the best water-cooled motherboard available on the market in 2022. It offers quality construction, excellent connectivity and performance, and stunning aesthetics.

What’s also nice about this motherboard is the fact that it doesn’t cost nearly as much as other liquid-cooled motherboards, and unless you’re an extreme overclocker, you won’t even notice the difference.

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2. GIGABYTE Z590 AORUS Xtreme WATERFORCE

Form Factor: E-ATX | Socket: LGA 1200 | Chipset: Intel Z590 Express | Memory Support: Dual Channel 4x DIMM, Up to 5400 MHz, Max 128 GB | PCI-e Slots: 1x PCIe 4.0 x16, 1x PCIe 4.0 x8, 1x PCIe 3.0 x4 | Storage Support: 3x M.2, 6x SATA 6Gb/s Ports | Video Ports: 1x HDMI | Warranty: 3 years

GIGABYTE Z590 AORUS Xtreme WATERFORCEREASONS TO BUY

  • Impeccable build quality
  • Perfect for high-end overclocking
  • Incredibly stylish design
  • Top-of-the-line connectivity
  • Massive power delivery (20-phase with 100A power stages)
  • Large water-cooled monoblock
  • Liquid cooling for all the essential parts (CPU, chipset, VRMs, M.2 slots)
  • Features a customizable OLED display
  • Excellent internet connectivity (Wifi 6E, 2.5G + 10G Ethernet)
  • Comes with a 3-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Extremely expensive
  • Tricky to get everything set up

Our Rating:   9.7/10

Gigabyte makes a large number of truly excellent PC components, but the real standouts have always belonged to their premium gaming brand AORUS.

Usually, the AORUS motherboards look like any other motherboard: some metal heatsinks, a few LED accents, and all the ports and connectors right out in the open. They’re sleeker than the average options, but they’re usually not that different from anything you’d find from MSI or ASUS for example.

That is until you get to the GIGABYTE Z590 AORUS Xtreme WATERFORCE. This is hands down the most stunningly gorgeous water-cooled motherboard you can get in 2022. The whole thing is nickel-plated copper, giving it a dark, glossy finish and incredible heat dispersion with the large liquid-cooling monoblock.

In addition, the RGB accents are subtle and will complement any other LED elements you have installed in your case. There’s even an OLED screen on top of the monoblock which displays both the CPU and water temperature in real-time.

Speaking of the monoblock, this is where things get interesting. It comes in separate packaging and once installed, it basically covers the motherboard from top to bottom. It cools the whole motherboard, including the CPU, VRMs, M.2 slots, and the chipset, meaning all vital parts of your motherboard (and rig) will benefit from water-cooling.

Furthermore, the GIGABYTE Z590 AORUS Xtreme WATERFORCE is an E-ATX motherboard, which is especially important to note since Amazon and a few other sellers have it listed as the smaller ATX form factor. If you didn’t catch that before purchase you would notice as soon as you took it out of the box (or maybe just by looking at the size of the box) that this will not fit into a mid-tower case.

However, the EATX form factor unlocks some extra options as far as power and performance. You get not two but three PCI-E ports for multiple GPUs, three M.2 ports (two off the chipset, one off the CPU), and space for up to 128GB of up to 5400 GHz DDR4. There is some insane build potential with the motherboard.

The most important question is always going to be CPU compatibility, and just behind that is overclocking potential. The AORUS Xtreme WATERFORCE is compatible with Intel’s entire Core, Pentium, and Celeron lineup for both the 10th and 11th generations.

As far as overclocking your i9, reaching clock rates of 5.2-5.3 GHz will be a piece of cake. Obviously, there is more that goes into overclocking than just your motherboard and water block, but this is THE motherboard to get if you’re serious about overclocking and you constantly find yourself pushing your PC to the limit.

In terms of connectivity, you get everything you could possibly ever need–8 USB 3.2 ports, two Thunderbolt USB-C ports, two Ethernet ports, one 2.5GbE and one 10GbE, and WiFi 6E.

There’s only one display connector, an HDMI port, but any PC you build on this motherboard will in all likelihood be running the display through the GPU, so the lack of extra connector ports isn’t really a deal-breaker in any meaningful sense.

All in all, the GIGABYTE Z590 AORUS Xtreme WATERFORCE is by far the most advanced and stylish water-cooled motherboard you’ll find on the market in 2022. It offers top-of-the-line connectivity and performance, plus the liquid-cooled monoblock literally covers the whole motherboard, so everything from the CPU to your NVMe SSDs will stay nice and cool, no matter how hard you push your PC.

Lastly, the price is obviously too high for the average user. But, for serious overclockers and enthusiasts who want the best and are willing to pay the price for it, this is a dream come true.

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3. ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial

Form Factor: ATX | Socket: LGA 1200 | Chipset: Intel Z590 | Memory Support: Dual Channel, 4x DIMM, Up to 5333 MHz, Max 128 GB | PCI-e Slots: 1x PCIe 4.0 x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x4, Xx PCIe 3.0 x1 | Storage Support: 5x M.2, 6x SATA 6Gb/s Ports | Video Ports: 1x HDMI | Warranty: 3 year

Asus ROG Maximus XIII Extreme GlacialREASONS TO BUY

  • Impeccable build quality
  • Full-cover monoblock that cools CPU, VRM, M.2, and chipset
  • Full support for water cooling
  • Very stylish appearance
  • OLED diagnostic screen on top of the monoblock
  • Robust, high-quality 18-phase 100A VRM
  • Excellent for overclocking
  • Five M.2 slots for speedy SSDs
  • Premium audio and internet connections
  • 3-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Very expensive and hard to find in stock
  • Not as many useful liquid cooling accessories included

Our Rating:   9.7/10

If you’re talking about high-end custom builds, ASUS’s premium gaming brand ROG (Republic of Gamers) is inescapable. That’s not to say that you can’t build a PC without using ROG components, just that as you’re shopping for your motherboard, GPU, coolers, and case, you’ll find no shortage of ROG components in just about any configuration you could want. And there’s a good reason for that.

Despite their somewhat higher price tag, parts from ASUS’s premium gaming brand are well constructed and perform at high benchmarks. They’ve got a lot of credibility as a high-end gaming brand, and in their lineup, you’ll find a number of high-performing, water-cooled motherboards.

The most advanced and expensive is no other than the Asus ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial. We said earlier that the GIGABYTE Z590 AORUS Xtreme is the most expensive motherboard currently available and that is true, to a point.

The ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial retails basically the same price, however, the Maximus XIII is in short supply so you’ll have a harder time actually finding it for the suggested retail price. Most of the outlets that have it available have it marked up a good 20-30% or more in some cases. It’s a great motherboard, but it’s not one we’d pay almost $500 above MSRP for.

Similar to the Waterforce motherboard, the Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial uses a full cover monoblock (custom-made by EK), meaning that the aluminum and acrylic panel that contains the actual water cooler covers most of the motherboard. That means liquid cooling not only for the CPU and VRMs, but also your M.2 slot, and chipset.

On top of that, the aluminum paneling is quite thick in places so it’s going to suck up heat and, with a proper custom loop, allow for an extremely high level of performance.

It’s going to be compatible with basically any of the processors currently for sale, including all of the 10th Gen Core, Pentium, and Celeron processors, and all of the 11th Gen Core CPUs. And since this is an EATX motherboard, you’ll have a bigger case and therefore more room for radiators, allowing for overclocking speeds up to 5 GHz and beyond.

Additionally, there’s room for up to 128GB of 5333 GHz DDR4, and then ROG switches things up a little. You have five M.2 slots and only two PCI-E slots. For most high-end builds, you’ll get more out of the extra memory than a third PCI-E slot, so it seems like a good trade-off.

Unlike some motherboards, all of the M.2 slots are under a single panel which will make the initial install easier but could make swapping out SSDs more involved than it needs to be.

ROG is right up there with AORUS when it comes to RGB elements in their build, so a lot of the extras you get with this motherboard kit have to do with connecting your RGB and the radiator fans. It ships with a ton of controllers, hubs, and extension cables for creating a fully lit custom build.

Besides that, there’s plenty of support for external connections and peripherals here. You have 7 USB-A ports, two USB-C Thunderbolt ports, one HDMI port, the newest WiFi 6E connection, and two Ethernet ports (2.5G and 10G respectively).

Overall, the ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial is the absolute best water-cooled motherboard in the ROG lineup and a direct competitor of the Gigabyte Z590 Waterforce. They’re both the most extreme and advanced motherboard available for sale in 2022. The connectivity, price, performance, and most of the features are almost identical, so a lot of it is going to come down to a personal preference.

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4. ASUS ROG Maximus XII Formula Z490

Form Factor: ATX | Socket: LGA 1200 | Chipset: Intel Z490 | Memory Support: Dual Channel, 4x DIMM, Up to 4800 MHz, Max 128 GB | PCI-e Slots: 3x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x1 | Storage Support: 3x M.2, 6x SATA 6Gb/s Ports | Video Ports: N/A | Warranty: 3 years

ASUS ROG Maximus XII Formula Z490REASONS TO BUY

  • One of the best hybrid-cooled motherboards
  • Top-of-the-line audio and internet solutions
  • Full support for water cooling
  • Plenty of RGB onboard
  • Large heatsinks for M.2 slots
  • Handy and customizable OLED screen
  • Excellent for overclocking
  • Robust, 16-phase 70A VRM
  • High-quality construction
  • Three M.2 slots
  • 3-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Older chipset
  • Not many bundled accessories
  • Water block not included

Our Rating:   9.6/10

Despite also being part of the ROG Maximus series, the Maximus XII Formula Z490 is a much more reasonably priced option than the super-premium XIII Extreme Glacial.

This motherboard is similar in appearance to the MSI MPG Z590 Carbon EK X, and there’s a really good reason for that: this is also the product of a collaboration with EK Water Blocks. There are a few key differences though, besides the ASUS ROG branding that we need to cover.

The first is the fact that even though this is an EK collab, it’s not an EK *bundle,* so unlike the MSI motherboard kit, you’re only getting the motherboard. This (and the next ROG, which we’ll get to in a moment) are the only liquid-cooled motherboards that don’t ship with a water block.

Instead, you get what ASUS calls a CrossChill EK III VRM cooling. These heatsinks were specifically made for this motherboard and give you the option to choose between either air and water cooling for your VRMs (or switch back and forth).

If you decide to go fully water-cooled, then you can buy an EK custom-made VRM bridge, which connects the VRM heatsinks with the water block, making a single large cooler for both the VRM and your processor.

That makes the lower price tag (actually a bit higher than normal because of stock shortages) suddenly look a lot less reasonable. Adding in a compatible water block will jump the price of your motherboard/CPU combo by a notable amount.

It’s not a huge jump, especially when you’ll probably be spending upwards of $3-4000 on your rig but it’s another thing that could have been included and is in a lot the best liquid cooled motherboards.

The ASUS ROG Maximus XII Formula Z490 has a pretty simple design, especially for a ROG product. There’s very little chrome or aluminum, a couple of small LED strips, and an RGB logo. It’s up to you whether that’s a good thing.

In terms of compatibility, The ASUS ROG Maximus XII Formula Z490 brings the same level of compatibility as other Z490 boards. It’s compatible with the 10th and 11th generation of Intel Core processors. They’re still available everywhere, and a lot of times are cheaper with very little discernible difference from the newer 12th gen chips.

If you’re overclocking them then the setup you have for cooling and stabilization is going to be a much bigger factor in performance than whether you have a 10th, 11th, or 12th gen CPU. Since there’s no water block included here, it’s harder to get a definitive test on what it can do, but you should be able to have stable clock rates of about 5 GHz.

Since this board is a little bit older, you’re capped at the 4800 GHz speed for RAM, but can still load up to 128GB. You also have three PCI-E 3.0 slots, which you don’t always see on an ATX motherboard, as well as three M.2 slots. The PCI-E x1 shares bandwidth with M.2, so when M.2 runs x4 mode the PCI-E x1 will be disabled. You also get a few SATA cables, but not much else in the way of accessories.

On the I/O panel, you have 9 USB ports, a USB-C port, two ethernet ports (2.5 and 10 Gbe), and the antenna ports for the WiFi 6 connection. The ASUS ROG Maximus XII Formula Z490 is one of the last motherboards in 2022 to have a PS/2 port, the circular blue/green port used to wire in a mouse or keyboard.

It’s not a common form factor, and it makes the exclusion of any visual port (and the sole USB-C port) frustrating because that space could have been much better used.

The ASUS ROG Maximus XII Formula Z490, as one of the two hybrid-cooled motherboards on this list, is going to be best for a fairly specific situation: people who want a liquid-cooled build but can’t afford it yet. Since it doesn’t have the included water block, you’re not locked into liquid cooling from the jump.

If you have the core components for your build, but need a few months to regroup before installing a custom liquid cooling loop, this can function with the default cooler and maybe a couple of cheap case fans before you drop the money to get yourself fully kitted out and start overclocking.

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5. ASRock Z490 Aqua 

Form Factor: E-ATX | Socket: LGA 1200 | Chipset: Intel Z490 | Memory Support: Dual Channel, 4x DIMM, Up to 4800 MHz, Max 128 GB | PCI-e Slots: 3x PCIe 4.0 x16, 2x PCIe x1 | Storage Support: 3x M.2, 8x SATA 6Gb/s Ports | Video Ports: 1x HDMI, 2x Mini DisplayPort | Warranty: 3 years

ASRock Z490 AquaREASONS TO BUY

  • Fantastic performance with 16-phase VRM
  • Unique metallic design
  • Excellent for overclocking
  • All the connectivity that you need
  • Water-cooled monoblock for CPU and VRMs
  • Premium look and feel across the entire construction
  • Lots of spare screws, fittings, and connectors
  • Handy diagnostic OLED screen
  • 3-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Premium price
  • Older chipset
  • Lacks behind in comparison to ASUS and Gigabyte

Our Rating:   9.5/10

ASRock is almost exclusively a motherboard brand. They make a few other products, but most of them are for commercial/industrial use, so any time you see the ASRock label on something available to the general public, it’s going to be a motherboard.

Because of this, ASRock, more than any other brand, has a wide range of motherboard prices and build qualities available in 2022. Some of them are extremely basic and look like what you’d find if you cracked open a tower from the turn of the century. Others, like the ASRock Z490 Aqua, are powerful-looking gaming motherboards, designed for high-performing water-cooled PCs.

The ASRock Z490 Aqua LGA strikes a nice balance between the more open design we saw with the MSI motherboard and the smooth plated look of the AORUS. The heatsinks it uses to cover the M.2 ports and I/O panel are bright brushed aluminum which combined with the LED backlights gives this a very unique look.

On top of the I/O cover what looks like a logo accent is actually a small LED screen that can display a ton of important diagnostic information like fan speed, CPU temps, and voltages and can be further customized using the BIOS. Not only is it useful to have this information immediately at hand, but it also gives it a smart, premium look when it’s in operation.

The ASRock Z490 Aqua is built with a custom liquid monoblock from Aqua tuning. Unlike the Gigabyte Waterforce motherboard, which has liquid cooling for all the essential parts of the motherboard, this one only covers and cools the CPU and VRM. Given they’re almost the same price, this is a bit of a letdown.

In terms of accessories that come with the motherboard, the ASRock Z490 Aqua kit includes four SATA cables spare screws for the M.2 heatsinks, CPU sockets, and chokes, thermal compound and five spare thermal pads, eight cushions for the CPU socket, two elbow tube fittings (which might not fit nicely with all tubing, so be careful there), six 14mm tube fittings, and a ball valve.

This isn’t going to take a lot of money off the final cost of your build, especially since the ASRock Z490 Aqua is on the expensive side, even for a liquid-cooled motherboard. But it’s always nice to have spares, especially of stuff that can vanish under your desk, never to be seen again.

In terms of CPU compatibility, the motherboard features a Z490 chipset and therefore comes with an LGA1200 socket. That means compatibility with 10th and 11th generation Intel Core processors. 

Connectivity-wise, there are three 3.0 PCI-E slots, so you won’t have a problem finding the right combination of GPUs for your rig. The RAM capacity is good, at up to 128GB, but you’re capped at 4800 GHz, which is slightly lower than the maximum capacity of the current generation of Intel processors. There’s a ton of space for internal storage as well, with three M.2 slots as well as 8 SATA 6 Gb/s ports.

In addition, the ASRock Z490 Aqua has seven USB-A ports, three USB-C (including two ThunderBolt) ports, a single HDMI port, and two Mini DisplayPorts. For the internet, you get two Ethernet ports (2.5G and 10G) and WiFi 6.

Performance-wise, the motherboard is powered by 16-phase power delivery, with fourteen 90A power stages powering the CPU and two 90A assigned to the SoC. This is more than enough for even the most powerful, overclocked CPUs, but less than we saw with ASUS and Gigabyte motherboards.

In summary, the ASRock Z490 Aqua is still an excellent water-cooled motherboard. It performs extremely well, looks beautiful, and has all the connectivity you could hope for. However, when you’re paying over a grand for a motherboard, you want it to be perfect. And when you compare it with other high-end liquid-cooled motherboards, you can do better at a similar price point.

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6. ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Formula

Form Factor: ATX | Socket: 1200 | Chipset: AMD X570 | Memory Support: Dual Channel, 4x DIMM, Up to 3600 MHz, Max 128 GB | PCI-e Slots: 2x PCIe 4.0 x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x1 | Storage Support: 3x M.2, 8x SATA 6Gb/s Ports | Video Ports: N/A | Warranty: 3 years

ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII FormulaREASONS TO BUY

  • Compatible with most/all AMD CPUs
  • Can be both air and water-cooled
  • Good base for customization
  • Lots of storage support with 3 M.2 and 8 SATA ports
  • Premium audio solution
  • More forward compatibility than a lot of the Intel boards
  • Solid 14 + 2 60A power delivery
  • Extremely high-quality construction
  • 3-year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • No water block included
  • The only option for water cooling is a pricey custom-made water block
  • Not as powerful as similarly-priced liquid-cooled motherboards
  • Very few accessories
  • Often out of stock and severely marked up

Our Rating:   9.4/10

It would be a disservice to talk about liquid-cooled motherboards, which are tailor-made for overclocking, and not include at least one AMD compatible motherboard.

So far, all the options on this list have been for Intel Chips, which still lead the market in most areas. However, because of their typically lower price tag and greater flexibility, AMD CPUs are gaining in popularity with the overclocking crowd, and most of the overclocking records are currently held by AMD chips (although that’s typically done on a liquid-cooled test bench rather than a PC environment).

The ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Formula is extremely similar to the ROG Maximus XII Formula Z490. It uses a mostly carbon construction with some aluminum. There are RGB elements on the I/O cover and M.2 heat sinks, but otherwise, it’s a highly functional but visually unremarkable base (among this competition). for whatever you want to build on it.

Despite the apparent similarities, there are a few key differences beyond just the brand of processor. AMD motherboards tend to have more backwards/forwards compatibility, so this motherboard will support generations of AMD processors with the AM4 socket.

Obviously, the best value is going to be the newer generations, but if you have an older processor you want to test out, or are just upgrading your motherboard so you can get liquid cooling, this won’t be as much of an overhaul as upgrading from an older generation of Intel might be.

Now, the RAM and M.2 connections will give you the same exact options of what you can add to your rig compared to the Maximus: 3 M.2 ports, and four DDR4 slots supporting up to 128GB of 4800 MHz DDR4 RAM.

However, the crosshair VIII does use the newer PCI-E 4.0 ports, which will give you a better response if you’ve opted for one of this year’s GPUs. You also get two extra SATA III ports compared to the Maximus, for a total of 8 ports.

In terms of cooling, this motherboard uses the same CrossChill III technology as the Maximus above. That means, VRM heatsinks with the option for both air and water cooling, as well as a custom-made VRM bridge for this exact model, to turn this motherboard into a fully water-cooled one.

Then again, it is once again an extra cost where similarly priced motherboards often already have the value of a default water block included. And since ASUS is struggling to keep this one in stock as well, there’s a decent chance you could end up paying $100-$150 above MSRP to get your hands on it.

It’s a testament to how good the motherboard is, but it’s also frustrating to have to deal with resellers on something that should be as basic as a motherboard.

Besides that, there’s not a lot of value-added with the kit. You get a few SATA cables, and a fan extender and that’s about it, apart from some stickers and other branded decorations. The I/O port is similarly spartan. You get a whole lot of USB ports (11, to be exact) and then one USB-C port.

The internet connectivity is decent, with both 1G and 2.5G Ethernet ports, but it’s lower than most of the other motherboards on this list. The included antenna and WiFI six capability are more useful and in line with the other ports. There’s no visual port, so you’ll need to make sure your GPU is fully functional in order to use the screen during launch.

Overall, the ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Formula is one of the best liquid-cooled AMD motherboards for sale in 2022. If you have an AMD processor and don’t want to spend over a grand on a water-cooled motherboard, then this should be at the top of your list.

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In Conclusion

Compared to more basic, air-cooled motherboards, these are going to seem extremely expensive. If you’re willing to make the investment and upgrade to liquid cooling, it will pay dividends in performance you never thought possible.

For many of these, especially the ROG models, it’s going to be prudent to keep an eye on local sellers for restock notifications so you can avoid paying steep markups.

About Joshua Hunsberger 9 Articles
Josh has been passionate about computers and PC games from a very young age. He has built and repaired his own PCs. Most of the time he's gaming, either solo strategy, building sims, or co-op games with friends.

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