The best motherboards obviously don’t get the same kind of attention as the best graphics cards or processors, and that’s kind of a shame. The best motherboards are arguably the most important part of your entire PC. With all the latest PC tech, they basically serve as the backbone of the best PCs. A good motherboard will make your PC hardware reach its full potential by fully utilizing and optimizing it. They can even make your processor go faster – by giving it more overclocking headroom.
Because they’re so critically important to your PC build, you should only consider the best motherboards. If you cheap out and get a crummy motherboard, and it dies on you, you’ll have no recourse but to rebuild your entire PC from scratch – and trust us, that sucks. You should just do yourself a favor, and buy the best motherboard the first time, so you won’t have to go through the chore of replacing a bad one.
There are dozens of motherboards out there, and the marketplace can get confusing. That’s why we went ahead and created this list of the best motherboards on the market. So, let us help you find the best motherboards that we’ve tested ourselves. Not only will they do everything you need them to and more, the best motherboards are built to last. You can also find out more about graphic designs on this page.
Norton AntiVirus Basic is a top quality malware hunter which can automatically protect your PC all on its own - that's a given. But one of the main reasons we've boosted it to number two in our best antivirus rankings is because it's also one of the very best value paid-for security software options on the market.
Norton offers plenty of tweaks, options and settings for those who need them, as well as features like a handy URL blocker that keeps you away from malicious websites. If that misses something, an excellent file reputation service heuristically recognises suspect downloads immediately. And if malware still finds a way through, intelligent behaviour monitoring uses its up to date virus definitions to quarantine threats at the first sign of trouble.
If you're a more hands-on type, you can easily run scans on demand. Maybe set up and save custom scans to check just the areas you need. Even schedule them to run at a particular time, but only if your system is idle, and it's not running on battery power.
Getting the best CPU for gaming that you can afford is a good investment. While the price of a new CPU might be intimidating, and yet another expense, it's also at the heart of any gaming PC build and will likely stay with you while you upgrade other parts of your rig. It's also vital for the performance of other apps, outside of play, and having the best CPU for gaming will also cover the programs you use day to day. It's vital if you're multi-tasking too, so a good PC for streaming or recording footage needs a great CPU inside it.
The best CPUs for gaming come from either Intel or AMD, who continue to totally dominate the CPU landscape. The newest and most powerful CPU is the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX, which brings 32 cores and and 64 threads with it (along with quite a hefty $2000 pricetag too). For anyone looking for a good, solid, not too expensive CPU for a gaming build, we'd recommend either the Intel i5-8600K, or the Ryzen 5 2600X, although the Intel chips are generally better for gaming. If you're looking for a PC that handles other usage as well as gaming, you may need a slightly faster chip like the Ryzen 7, especially if budget is an issue.
The fastest processor for games, streaming, and more
Cores: 8 | Threads: 16 | Base Clock: 3.6GHz | Turbo Clock: 5.0GHz | Overclocking: Yes, 4.9-5.0GHz typical | L3 Cache: 16MB | TDP: 95W | PCIe 3.0 lanes: 16
Excellent gaming performance at a lower price
Cores: 8 | Threads: 8 | Base Clock: 3.6GHz | Turbo Clock: 4.9GHz | Overclocking: Yes, 4.9-5.1GHz typical | L3 Cache: 12MB | TDP: 95W | PCIe 3.0 lanes: 16
The previous gen king is still a great choice
Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Base Clock: 3.7GHz | Turbo Clock: 4.7GHz | Overclocking: Yes, 4.9-5.0GHz typical | L3 Cache: 12MB | TDP: 95W | PCIe 3.0 lanes: 16
The best mainstream CPU: great performance and a great price
Cores: 6 | Threads: 6 | Base Clock: 3.8GHz | Turbo Clock: 4.0GHz | Overclocking: No | L3 Cache: 9MB | TDP: 65W | PCIe 3.0 lanes: 16
Our favorite AMD CPU, with six cores and great performance at a bargain price
Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Base Clock: 3.6GHz | Turbo Clock: 4.2GHz | Overclocking: Yes, 4.1GHz typical | L3 Cache: 16MB | TDP: 65W | PCIe 3.0 lanes: 20
Regardless of whether you’re a diehard tech fanatic, always after the latest devices, or a laid-back “average” consumer, if you’re like me, you can’t help but look forward to the tech developments and trends that lie ahead. After a year with surprisingly high sales for smart speakersand virtual reality, as well as the debut of several new phones and tablets, I’ve spent the last several weeks looking ahead to the possible trends that will unfold in 2018.
As a marketer, my perspective often turns to how we can use these new technologies and trends to better communicate and connect with our audiences, but general tech trends hold much more potential than that—they have the capacity to change how we live and interact with each other.
So what will the biggest tech trends of 2018 be, and how will our lives change, accordingly?
1. AI permeation. Artificial intelligence (AI), largely manifesting through machine learning algorithms, isn’t just getting better. It isn’t just getting more funding. It’s being incorporated into a more diverse range of applications. Rather than focusing on one goal, like mastering a game or communicating with humans, AI is starting to make an appearance in almost every new platform, app, or device, and that trend is only going to accelerate in 2018. We’re not at techno-pocalypse levels (and AI may never be sophisticated enough for us to reach that point), but by the end of 2018, AI will become even more of a mainstay in all forms of technology.
2. Digital centralization. Over the past decade, we’ve seen the debut of many different types of devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and dozens of other “smart” appliances. We’ve also come to rely on lots of individual apps in our daily lives, including those for navigation to even changing the temperature of our house. Consumers are craving centralization; a convenient way to manage everything from as few devices and central locations as possible. Smart speakers are a good step in the right direction, but 2018 may influence the rise of something even better.
3. 5G preparation. Though tech timelines rarely play out the way we think, it’s possible that we could have a 5G network in place—with 5G phones—by the end of 2019. 5G internet has the potential to be almost 10 times faster than 4G, making it even better than most home internet services. Accordingly, it has the potential to revolutionize how consumers use internet and how developers think about apps and streaming content. 2018, then, is going to be a year of massive preparation for engineers, developers, and consumers, as they gear up for a new generation of internet.
4. Data overload. By now, every company in the world has realized the awesome power and commoditization of consumer data, and in 2018, data collection is going to become an even higher priority. With consumers talking to smart speakers throughout their day, and relying on digital devices for most of their daily tasks, companies will soon have access to—and start using—practically unlimited amounts of personal data. This has many implications, including reduced privacy, more personalized ads, and possibly more positive outcomes, such as better predictive algorithms in healthcare.
5. White collar automation. Is your job likely to be replaced by a machine? How certain are you of that answer? AI has been advancing enough to replace at least some white collar jobs for years; even back in 2013, we had algorithms that could write basic news articles, given sufficient inputs of data. Is 2018 going to be the year all humans are finally replaced by their new robot overlords? Almost certainly not, but I do think we’ll see the fledgling beginnings of radical job transformations throughout the United States. I think it’s naïve to think that jobs will be fully replaced, but they will be more heavily automated, and we’ll have to adapt our careers accordingly.
6. Seamless conversation. A few years ago, voice search was decent, but unreliable. Today, voice search might as well be flawless; Microsoft’s latest test gives its voice recognition software a 5.1 percent error rate, making it better at recognizing speech than human transcribers. Similarly, robotic speech and chatbots are growing more sophisticated. In 2018, with these improvement cycles continuing, I imagine we’ll see the manifestation or solidification of seamless conversation. We’ll be able to communicate with our devices, both ways, without any major hiccups or mistakes.
7. UI overhauls. I also think 2018 is going to be a major year for UI; we’re going to have to rethink how we interact with our apps and devices. The onset of smart speakers and better voice search has made it so it’s no longer necessary to look at a screen to input data. Desktop devices are becoming less and less used as well, with mobile continuing to take over. New types of visuals and more audible clues will likely be included in next-generation UI, and consumers will adapt to them quickly, so long as they serve their core needs.
It’s hard to say how fast these trends will manifest, or what types of devices and upgrades will dictate their development, but I’m confident we’ll see increased exposure on all these fronts as 2018 develops.
Regardless of how you feel about technology, or your primary motivations for using it, I think we can all be excited about the new gadgets and infrastructure that await us next year.
When comparing smartphones, there are a few features shoppers usually have top of mind: screen size, camera quality and the technology and features inside the phone itself. This year, some of the biggest names in the game released phones that delivered in all categories, with a few extra surprises that make our lives easier and more enjoyable. When comparing smartphones, there are a few features shoppers usually have top of mind: screen size, camera quality and the technology and features inside the phone itself. This year, some of the biggest names in the game released phones that delivered in all categories, with a few extra surprises that make our lives easier and more enjoyable. In choosing the top four phones of the year, we not only looked at the obvious criteria like camera and screen quality, but speed, legacy, special features and what was improved over previous generations.
Here are the four smartphones that topped our list for 2018.
Google Pixel 3
When Google launched the Pixel 2 in 2017, they challenged consumers to "Ask More of Your Phone.” With the advent of Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL this year, the company seems to have taken their own advice. With a 5.5-inch, a higher-quality screen with an OLED display, excellent design, and an impressive camera, the Pixel has moved from being a great option for Google fans to an easy choice for all. Part of the improved visuals is due to its new color mode called “adaptive,” which increases the vibrancy of most images without distorting them. It also features an adaptive battery, which limits battery for apps you use less often, and wireless charging capabilities.
Razer Phone 2
Razer began the smartphone gaming craze when they released their flagship phone in 2017, and the brand new Razer Phone 2 continues that legacy. Built for gamers who love to play their favorite titles on the go, this smartphone boasts a brighter 120Hz display, 8GB of ram and a 5.7-inch screen. It also comes with several upgrades over its predecessor: a Snapdragon 845 processor, a new camera setup, improved cooling (which means higher frames per second) and water resistance.
Besides its ability to organize and optimize games, the Razer Phone 2’s most defining feature has to be its Chroma system which displays brilliant light in millions of different colors. You can also customize how it reacts to different events and notifications, whether that’s with static, spectrum cycling or “breathing” light.
The iPhone XS is smaller than the other new phones in Apple's lineup (the XS Max and XR), coming in at just 5.8-inches, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in quality. The screen on the XS is exceptionally bright, with vivid Super Retina OLED panels delivering crystal clear images.
Like the Razer 2, the iPhone XS has dual 12MP cameras, though these come equipped with Smart HDR for greater detail and color in your photos. It also features Apple’s signature Portrait mode, TrueDepth camera, and a wide-angle lens. Considering Apple has built the iPhone brand on their picture quality, you can expect nothing but the best here. An A12 Bionic processor keeps the phone running at top speed, significantly outperforming other smartphones in the category.
Samsung hasn’t reinvented the wheel when it comes to the Galaxy S9. They have tweaked some of the phone’s features to deliver a more enjoyable user experience, however. If you’re already satisfied with your Galaxy S7 or S8, you’re going to love the newest model.
This phone excels when it comes to design and display. Made with curved glass on both the front and back, the device is comfortable to hold and manipulate, albeit less durable than a metal-backed phone. The OLED panels provide a stunning picture (what else would you expect from the consumer electronics giant?) and a bright, easy to read display. The Galaxy S9 is also an excellent choice for gamers, featuring a Snapdragon 845 processor and 4GB of ram, the same as the Razer.
Digital SLR cameras are among the cream of the crop. Image and video quality are outstanding, features continue to advance year after year, and they have the most varied selection of lenses. But the market is large, ranging from full frame (professional cameras with massive sensors) to a host of mid-range and budget models. Below we break down the top DSLRs on the market in 2018, including leading options from brands like Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Sony.
Category: Full frame
Sensor size: 858 sq. mm
What we like: Exceptional image and video quality.
What we don’t: Limited availability.
Lenses: 10 Great Nikon FX (Full Frame) Lenses
For years, Canon led in full-frame DSLR innovation while Nikon laid in wait. Well, the wait was worth it. The D850 is an absolute powerhouse DSLR and one of the top cameras on the market of any type. Compared to the Canon 5D Mark IV below, the D850 wins out in most categories that matter: it has 45.7 megapixels of resolution vs. 30.4 on the 5D Mark IV, superior autofocus, faster buffering speeds, a higher resolution LCD screen, and significantly longer battery life. The 5D Mark IV weighs a little less and has built-in GPS, but given that both cameras are similar in price, we favor the D850 in a big way.
Category: Full frame
Sensor size: 864 sq. mm
What we like: 4K video and a host of other modern features.
What we don’t: The D850 above is so impressive that it overshadows the 5D Mark IV.
Lenses: 10 Great Canon EF (Full Frame) Lenses
Canon’s 5D Mark IV was at the top of this list for much of last year, until the release of the Nikon D850 that is. When you put the two head to head, it’s flat out hard to argue that the Canon is better. It has lower resolution, inferior autofocus (although it does have dual pixel), and doesn’t offer much in the way of additional features or functionality. Having said that, the 5D Mark IV is a quality camera and all that most Canon professionals and enthusiasts will need. If you already own a bunch of L series glass, sticking with Canon is a fine choice. And as we’ve come to expect, this is an arms race and Canon likely will respond in kind.
Category: Full frame
Sensor size: 861 sq. mm
What we like: One of the best values on this list.
What we don’t: Video shooters may want to spend up for the 5D series.
Lenses: 10 Great Canon EF (Full Frame) Lenses
Here’s a fun one: if Canon’s 5D series above is too rich for your blood, the 6D series offers a reasonable entry point into the full-frame camera market. Released in 2017, the 6D Mark II offers notable improvements over its predecessor while still staying well below the $2,000 price threshold. Compared to the older model, you get a bump in resolution to 26.2 megapixels, a more advanced autofocus system, faster shooting, and touchscreen functionality on the rear LCD. All are solid improvements and the 6D Mark II is a really nice value, particularly for still photography (the 5D series is much better for video).
Category: Full frame
Sensor size: 861 sq. mm
What we like: A Nikon full-frame camera for less than $1,800.
What we don’t: With a 2014 release date, the D750 is getting a little long in the tooth. Lenses: Best Lenses for Nikon D750
Nikon didn’t exactly get off to a strong start with the sensor issues of the old D610 and D600, but they got it right with the D750. In many ways, the D750 mirrors the image quality and functionality of the D810 only with fewer megapixels. You get the same EXPEED 4 image processor, image sensor dimensions, and 1080p video speeds. The D750 has an optical low pass filter (the D810 does not), but it also boasts a faster frame rate at 6 fps. Of course, the resolution is lower at 24.3 megapixels, but this is more than enough for many photographers and uses.
Category: Full frame
Sensor size: 864 sq. mm
What we like: Impressive resolution and weather sealing for the price.
What we don’t: Limited lens options and subpar video.
For landscape and still photographers looking for a cheaper alternative to full-frame DSLRs from Canon and Nikon, the K-1 comes with few compromises. Ricoh-owned Pentax has long been known for its crop-frame cameras, which are strong on paper and competitively priced, and the trend continues with the full-frame K-1. Released last year, this DSLR has 36.4 megapixels of resolution (just a hair shy of the Nikon D810), built-in image stabilization, and a sturdy aluminum alloy body that is sealed as well as any model on this list.