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ASUS vs MSI Motherboards: Which Brand is Better for PC Builds?

When building a new desktop PC, choosing the right motherboard is crucial for getting the most out of your components. Two of the top motherboard manufacturers are ASUS and MSI, both making boards catering to all budgets and use cases. But is one brand clearly better than the other? This in-depth comparison breaks down how ASUS and MSI stack up across factors like performance, features, software, warranty, and more to determine which company makes the best motherboards for most needs.

Overview of ASUS and MSI

Both ASUS and MSI have over 30 years of experience developing computer hardware and components. ASUS is the bigger company overall, producing a wide range of electronics beyond just motherboards and computer parts. The Taiwanese giant is most well known for its versatile, feature-packed boards suitable for everything from basic office builds to high-end gaming rigs.

MSI is a smaller but growing company focusing more squarely on gaming and performance-oriented products, including graphics cards, laptops, and pre-built desktops in addition to motherboards. While not as diversified as ASUS, MSI built its reputation in PC enthusiast circles by catering to their demanding needs.

When it comes to motherboard product lines and capabilities, ASUS and MSI have near feature parity. You’ll find boards from both brands supporting the latest Intel and AMD chipsets and sockets, varied form factors from ATX to Mini ITX builds, and options spanning low tier budget models to premium boards packing the latest tech.

Performance Benchmarks

When choosing a motherboard, performance should be near the top of any PC builder’s priorities behind baseline compatibility with your CPU, RAM, etc. While the motherboard itself contributes less to raw computing power versus your CPU and GPU, its design can impact the stability and speed you’re able to achieve.

For hardcore gamers and overclocking enthusiasts wanting to eke out every last frame or benchmark point possible, MSI tends to have a slight performance edge in comparable models. The underlying board topology plays a big part here. MSI meticulously routes traces and spaces key components to enable higher stable clocks and data transfer speeds between your CPU, RAM, PCIe lanes and more. The gains are often marginal, but noticeable in benchmark tests.

That said, for the vast majority of users, any difference in raw performance between a decked out ASUS ROG or MSI Gaming motherboard will be academic. Unless you have specific computing demands like AAA gaming at 1440p/4K resolutions above 100 FPS or productivity apps that leverage multi-core performance, you’d likely never notice a speed difference between these brands outside formal benchmarks.

Slight Edge: MSI

Features and Connectivity

While the performance delta separating flagship models from ASUS and MSI is hard to discern without testing gear, differences in features and connectivity options are plainly visible even for novice PC builders. And ASUS consistently packs more functionality into similarly priced motherboards.

A great case in point is looking at the ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming WiFi and MSI MPG B550 Gaming Edge WiFi motherboards. Both boards retail around $200, support overclocking AMD’s latest Ryzen CPUs, include WiFi/Bluetooth, and promise a comparable core feature set.

But take a closer look and you’ll find advantages across the ASUS board:

  • 6x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports vs just 4x on MSI
  • HDMI 2.1 output enabling 4K / 120Hz gaming (MSI still on HDMI 2.0)
  • Higher power Phases (14+2 vs 10+2) for better overclocking potential
  • More M.2 slots (2 vs 1) for fast NVMe SSD storage expansion

These advantages sum up ASUS’s general approach – pack boards with more connectivity and functionality without inflating costs relative to MSI models catering to similar segments. Only the most hardcore MSI fanboys could argue against getting superior specs and versatility at every price bracket from ASUS.

Clear Edge: ASUS

Firmware Support

A motherboard is only as strong as the firmware and drivers powering it behind the scenes. Both ASUS and MSI pledge long-term support for their boards with routine UEFI/BIOS updates and improving software functionality over years of use. So neither brand leaves you high and dry after purchase.

However, ASUS again goes further to make maintenance and updates streamlined for owners through their AI Suite and EZ Update software. Fan control, overclocking profiles, RGB lighting synchronization, and more functions are tweakable through a slick UI. And you can automate checking and installing the latest optimized firmware revisions with just a few clicks rather than tedious manual flashing.

MSI’s Dragon Center software (recently rebranded as MSI Center) has similar goals on paper but misses the mark on user experience. Navigating the apps interface and tweaking system settings often proves confusing with key options buried. And the software suffers from stability issues more frequently than ASUS’s suites. Streamlining updates is also more hands-on through MSI’s weakest performing app section.

Clear Edge: ASUS

Warranty Protection

Spending upwards of $100 or more on a quality motherboard means expecting reliable performance for years to come. Even quality boards can ship with flaws or develop issues earlier than expected though. That’s where strong warranty coverage backing up your purchase comes into play. Here ASUS pulls far ahead of MSI.

Every ASUS motherboard comes with a 3-year standard warranty, extendable to 5 years total after registering your product. You’re covered for defects and flaws causing functionality issues over that entire span. MSI’s warranty lasts just 2-3 years depending on region of purchase and lacks extensions for registration.

For enthusiasts planning to use a single quality board across multiple PC builds as new components come out, ASUS’ industry-leading 5 year warranty provides peace of mind. And even mid-range users holding onto systems for 4+ years will enjoy greater security against issues. Outside of niche uses cases, MSI’s shorter protection leaves you more vulnerable right as problems develop.

Clear Edge: ASUS

Which Brand Makes the Best Motherboards?

Based on strong advantages across features, software, and warranty protection paired with closely comparable performance, ASUS emerges as the stronger motherboard manufacturer for most PC builder needs. You can certainly build a powerhouse gaming rig using MSI boards. But ASUS gives you more value at every price point, greater long haul reliability, and software that enhances functionality rather than frustrating.

Serious gamers eking out performance and hardcore overclocking experts will still happily choose MSI boards catering specifically to their niche priorities. But board versatility for supporting varied PC builds now and years into the future combined with smarter software give ASUS the definite overall edge. You can’t go wrong picking their feature-rich boards as the foundation of your next desktop.

Top Motherboard Recommendations

Gaming (Performance)

  • ASUS ROG Maximus Z790 Hero (Overclocking up to 13900K specs enabled out of the box)
  • MSI MEG Z790 Unify-X (elite tier OC potential)

Gaming (Mid Range)

  • ASUS TUF Gaming Z790-PLUS WIFI D4
  • MSI MAG Z790 Tomahawk WIFI DDR4


  • ASUS ProArt B760 Creator
  • MSI Creator Z790 Carbon WIFI

Budget / Entry Level

  • ASUS Prime B760 Plus
  • MSI Pro B760M-P WIFI

No matter your priorities and budget, one of these ASUS or MSI boards above should fit the foundation needs of any new PC build. Just remember to weigh the pros and cons covered closely in this guide to make the right choice.


Choosing between hardware from computing giants like ASUS and MSI bring tons of strong options. You can’t go enormously wrong purchasing a motherboard from either brand. However, differences emerge when you dive into the details that showcase advantages in design philosophy and long term ownership experience favoring ASUS boards for most PC enthusiast needs.

Focus your motherboard search on where you want to end up – MSI for peak bleeding edge performance or ASUS for versatility and functionality now and years down the road. Plan build goals and component pairings around maximizing the strengths of your chosen brand. Then get ready to enjoy a stable, responsive computing foundation as you put the rest of your awesome desktop PC together piece by piece!