The Best Motherboard For i5 6600K Gaming: Check Our Top Picks!

The Intel Core i5-6600k is a true workhorse and has been serving mid-range gamers exceptionally well since late 2015 (back when Skylake initially launched).

Back then, all you needed was 4 cores for gaming. Even hyperthreading wasn’t deemed necessary, which is why the i5 could be found in so many expensive builds featuring GTX 1070s and 1080s. 

But times have changed. Not just in terms of technological progress on the hardware front, but also availability and pricing of hardware on the market. GPUs cost an arm and a leg these days. 

So if you’re building a budget rig you have to cut costs where possible in order to afford a half-decent GPU. It seems the old 4-core, 4-thread i5-6600k still has some life left in it.

Especially if you slap a decent cooler on it and OC the chip to something like 4.2GHz on all cores (which is possible even with a Hyper 212).

But what is the best motherboard for i5 6600k gaming? This old i5 isn’t a power hog, even though it uses the ancient 14nm process node.

That’s because stock clocks from the factory are pretty conservative, and unless you OC the chip it won’t draw over 65W.

This means you can get away with any budget Z170 motherboard if you just want to play some games, and aren’t too concerned with overclocking.

What You Should Look For While Selecting The Best Motherboard For i5 6600k Gaming?

With 4 cores and no hyperthreading, the i5-6600k is actually a very manageable chip at stock speeds.

This means you can get away with a 7 or 8-phase motherboard (these should even allow some light OC).

And if you’re running on an extremely strict budget, you might want to look into H170 or B150 motherboards.

The H and B-series boards won’t allow for processor or memory overclocking. They also have fewer PCIe lanes and USB ports compared to Z170 boards.

But slap a low-end GPU like an RX 570 on there and you should be just fine (not like you’re doing multi-GPU on these cheap boards anyways). 

If you want to go for a build that can overclock, then a Z170 motherboard is needed. This lets you access both memory and processor overclocking, with 20 PCIe lanes and support for Intel Rapid Storage Technology.

Keep in mind, Z170 boards will cost more compared to H and B-series boards.

Don’t know what power phases are and how one chipset differs from the other? Not to worry, I shall explain all of it in much more detail within my buying guide later on in the article.

For now, just know that chipset selection and build quality are the two most important things while getting a motherboard. 

In A Hurry? Here Are My 7 Top Picks

1. Gigabyte GA-Z270P-D3 ATX Motherboard

Socket TypeLGA 1151
Supported processorsIntel 6th and 7th gen
SLI/ Crossfire SupportAMD Crossfire is supported


This is my top recommendation for anyone looking to get a good Z270 motherboard that supports a wide array of features.

It is also priced lower than the ASUS Maximus series of motherboards, making the GA-Z270-D3 from Gigabyte a board that most people can buy.

If you wish to overclock your i5-6600k, know that this board has just 6 power phases. Which isn’t ideal, but not terrible either.

You should be able to get over 4.1Ghz on all cores quite reliably, even with a low-end cooler.

Plus, the board is built quite well and features high-quality capacitors/ VRMs.

Things I Like

Great build quality at a relatively affordable price
The BIOS is loaded with features and extremely easy to navigate
Plenty of protection for things like overcurrent, overheating, etc.
Realtek Gigabit LAN
Protective coating on the board prevents degradation of electrical components over time
High-quality onboard audio with LED traces
Dual BIOS for redundancy
4 hybrid fan headers (can automatically switch between PWM and voltage control)

2. Gigabyte GA-Z170-HD3 ATX Motherboard

Socket TypeLGA 1151
Supported processorsIntel 6th gen (and 7th gen with updated BIOS)
SLI/ Crossfire SupportAMD Crossfire is supported


If you’re content with a Z170 board, this is basically the best option you have at current market prices.

With a BIOS update, it can support the i5-7600k and i7-7700k processors (Kaby Lake). The VRM layout is similar to my top choice motherboard, which is also a Gigabyte product.

Much like the number 1 pick, this motherboard also features a dual BIOS for redundancy during updates/ overclocking.

If you botch a BIOS update or OC, you don’t have to worry about bricking your entire system.

And if you so desire, you can even run dual AMD GPUs in Crossfire mode (for content creation or crypto mining).

Things I Like

Reliable and durable uses high-quality electrical components
Reinforced PCIe bracket supports heavier GPUs without sagging
Audio traces are protected from interference for better sound quality
Dual BIOS lets you update/ overclock more safely
One PCIe 3.0 x 4 M.2 slot
XMP Memory OC up to 3466MHz

3. ASUS Prime H270M-PLUS/CSM mATX Motherboard

Socket TypeLGA 1151
Supported processorsIntel 6th and 7th gen (no overclocking)
SLI/ Crossfire SupportAMD Crossfire is supported


If you’re looking for a cheap micro ATX motherboard, this is what I’d recommend.

It is an H270 board, which means 6th and 7th gen Intel processors are supported out of the box with no need for BIOS updates.

And it actually feels like a high-end board thanks to all the protection systems and rugged design elements.

The PCB is thicker than what you’d find on boards at this price range, making it viable for you to install a massive GPU without worries of sagging.

And the onboard audio isn’t shabby either since it uses the Realtek ALC887 chip.

Most importantly, this is one of the few mATX boards with 4 memory slots and a high number of USB ports.

Things I Like

4 memory slots (dual-channel)
Onboard mounts for 3D-printed parts
Very affordable, ideal for a budget gaming build with used parts
Several safety protocols and sensors to monitor motherboard status (temperature, current, etc.)
USB Type-C and M.2 support (dual M.2 slots)
Intel Optane
Intel XMP support
16 PCIe lanes with a reinforced PCIe bracket for heavier GPUs
Intel I219V networking and Realtek ALC887 audio

4. ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero ATX Motherboard

Socket TypeLGA 1151
Supported processorsIntel 6th gen (and 7th gen with updated BIOS)
SLI/ Crossfire SupportYes


Possibly one of the most overbuilt Z170 motherboards you can purchase. It has been designed with enthusiasts in mind.

You know, the people who tend to play around with extreme overclocking and use their computers for heavy-duty work.

Apart from the fancy Nichicon capacitors and Digi+ VRAM, you also get Aura Sync RGB lighting to show off your cool gaming PC.

And SupremeFX audio delivers sound quality far exceeding the onboard audio of “regular” motherboards. The only downside to this motherboard is its price tag.

Things I Like

Looks excellent in a black + red PC build
Top-notch onboard audio
SLI and Crossfire support
Great VRM cooling
Easy one-click overclocking through ASUS software
XMP Memory OC up to 3733MHz
Surge and static electricity protection built into critical areas of the motherboard

5. ASRock B250M-HDV mATX Motherboard

Socket TypeLGA 1151
Supported processorsIntel 6th gen and 7th gen (no overclocking)
SLI/ Crossfire SupportNo


Well, if you want a micro ATX board with ample USB ports and solid build quality for cheap- this is definitely one of the models to consider.

Compared to the ASUS Prime H270 board it has fewer memory slots and doesn’t support as many PCIe lanes via the chipset. It also lacks Optane and XMP support.

But these days, finding a decently priced B250/ H270 board is hard.

And if the ASUS Prime H270 is out of stock (or its prices shoot up), this is your next best option.

Yeah, running 2133Mhz DDR4 memory isn’t ideal. But if you’re a casual gamer it will get the job done.

Things I Like

Ideal for a compact PC build
Has 1 PCIe 3.0 x 16 slot
Decent VRM design for what is essentially an entry-level motherboard
You can run dual-channel 2133Mhz DDR4 (only 2 DIMM slots)

6. MSI Z170A MPOWER Gaming Titanium ATX Motherboard

Socket TypeLGA 1151
Supported processorsIntel 6th gen (and 7th gen with updated BIOS)
SLI/ Crossfire SupportYes


A motherboard so tough you could probably use it as a stepping board in the house (don’t do that). It is MSI’s response to the Maximus series of premium boards from ASUS.

In terms of VRM design and PCB quality this motherboard beats out the ASUS Maximums, but it still lags behind their excellent SupremeFX onboard audio.

The OC engine is a unique addition since it includes an external clock generator.

If you want a simple overclock that can be activated with one click and is guaranteed to be stable, use the OC engine.

You won’t get the highest overclocks with this method. But it will be a significant bump over stock speeds and requires mere seconds to activate.

Things I Like

The sturdiest motherboard on this list since it uses a titanium backplate
Steel reinforcement on the PCIe slots
Unique OC engine with an external clock generator
High-quality VRMs and chokes with large heatsinks to keep things cool
Fully isolated memory traces with shielding for better memory OC
Uses a Realtek ALC1150 audio chip and Intel I219V network chip

7. ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact Mini ITX Motherboard

Socket TypeLGA 1151
Supported processorsIntel 6th gen (and 7th gen with updated BIOS)
SLI/ Crossfire SupportNo


Talk about big expectations from a small package. The Maximus VIII Impact uses a SupremeFX audio processor which has its own built-in DAC and amplifier.

Not as good as a dedicated audiophile solution, but miles ahead of any onboard audio from competing motherboards.

Plus, this is a mini ITX board with 802.11ac Wi-Fi built-in.

You can have a tiny PC chassis that fits into a bag and has wireless capabilities without the need for external cards. That’s a system you can carry with you, kind of like a large laptop.

Things I Like

Built-in 802.11ac wireless ethernet
SupremeFX custom audio processor integrated into the motherboard
Excellent 8+2 phase power delivery which is on par with much larger gaming motherboards
Metal heatsink cools the VRMs efficiently
BIOS has a clean yet feature-rich UI that makes it easy to tune your system hardware

Selecting A Motherboard For Your i5-6600k | Detailed Buying Guide

Here’s the part where I talk to you about key factors you must consider before choosing a motherboard.

There are 4 main points, and I will go through each one in detail so you can make an informed decision for yourself.

You don’t have to choose a motherboard I have reviewed in my article, but I highly recommend you read through the buying guide.

It all comes down to the type of work you plan to do on your system, your budget, how long you plan to use it before upgrading, etc.

The 6th gen Intel chips are pretty old at this point and the only upgrade path for you is Kaby Lake (Intel 7th gen chips).

There is no increase in core count up until Coffee Lake (8th gen). Kaby Lake is just a more refined Skylake with higher clock speeds out of the box (and slightly more OC potential).

What Kind of Games Are You Looking to Play?

This one is quite important because it will decide whether you should OC your processor or not.

See, 4 Skylake cores aren’t terrible in 2022 but they aren’t excellent either.

To squeeze some extra life out of these old i5 processors you need to overclock them. But all that is moot if you just play casual games or use higher resolutions.

With casual games, you aren’t too concerned with the framerate. And with higher resolutions most of the load will be on your GPU, so you don’t need a really fast CPU.

Although, pairing an i5-6600k with something like an RTX 3080 can introduce bottlenecking even at 4k resolution and ultra-high settings.

Let’s say, you got an i5-6600k for really cheap on the second-hand market (or from a friend). And you want to build a PC by spending as little additional cash as possible.

In that case, I recommend a B150 or H170 motherboard.

With a basic B150 or H170 motherboard, you can throw in 16GB of RAM (go for dual 8GB sticks) and an entry-level graphics card. That should be enough to hit 60fps in many AAA games with low settings at 1080p.

Even at stock clock speeds of 3.5Ghz base and 3.9Ghz boost, the i5-6600k can handle games pretty well (provided you aren’t running other software in the background).

But if you’re playing e-sports games such as Overwatch, Dota 2, CS: GO, etc., framerates are important.

Having higher refresh rates gives you a massive advantage over anyone playing at 60Hz. Besides, 144Hz 1080p monitors are dirt cheap these days. 

But in order to reliably hit those framerates in modern e-sports games, you really need to OC that i5-6600k. And pair it with some good DDR4 RAM (3000Mhz or faster).

For overclocking the processor and memory, you need a Z170 motherboard.

Do You Plan to Upgrade Your Processor in the Future?

Let’s be honest here, the Skylake and Kaby Lake chips are pretty much outdated at this point.

If you own a Z170 board, the most you can upgrade to is an i7-7700k. Going from an i5-6600k to an i7-7700k is not a big upgrade. 

You go from 4 cores and 4 threads to 4 cores and 8 threads (with slightly higher clock speeds). Is it worth it down the line? Depends.

If you got your i5-6600k for a really cheap price right now, you could upgrade to an i7-7700k a couple of years down the line.

And while the difference in gaming performance won’t be massive, those extra threads will allow you to multitask better.

Like if you stream and game at the same time. Certain modern games do take advantage of the extra threads and having hyperthreading can make a difference in those.

If you plan to upgrade, I highly recommend getting a decent Z170 board instead of a B150 or H170.

Are You Interested in Overclocking Your i5-6600k?

If you’re going to keep the system for a while, it might be a good idea to invest in a Z170 board.

Even if you don’t want to overclock right now, you can do so 1 or 2 years from now when that extra 15 or 20% performance becomes necessary.

But if you’re looking to pair this i5-6600k with an RTX 2060 or above, I highly recommend you OC right from the start to reduce bottlenecking as much as possible.

Especially if you’re still running a 1080p display or playing e-sports games. And if you’re going to buy a Z170 board, make sure to get a decent cooler along with it. AIO, tower-cooler, it’s your choice.

Even a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo or Cryorig H7 should be enough to hit 4.2GHz, but nobody can predict the silicon lottery.

With a high-end cooler and a decent chip, you might be able to hit 4.7Ghz while staying under 1.4 volts on Vcore. 

If you do go with a Z-series board, make sure it has good VRMs and an adequate number of power phases.

VRM modules located above the CPU socket convert power from the PSU into something that’s usable by the processor and RAM.

More power phases mean smoother power delivery that fluctuates less often, resulting in stable (and higher) overclocks. 

More power phases result in the current being distributed across more VRMs, resulting in less heat production. Less heat means the VRMs don’t lose efficiency over time, and they are also less likely to fail in the long run.

What is the Form Factor of Your Build?

Not everyone is making a mid-sized tower build, some of you might be interested in a more compact setup.

Maybe your desk space is limited, or you move around a lot and wish to take the PC with you.

Either way, a mini- ITX or micro ATX board will be needed for these compact builds (as opposed to just ATX, which is the standard size).

To complement these tiny motherboards, you also need a low-profile RAM kit and a low-profile CPU cooler.

It all comes down to the specific model of CPU case you’re using.

There are build guides on YouTube for anybody who is interested in a small build that still packs plenty of power. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use an AMD processor with an Intel motherboard?

A: No you cannot since both platforms are very different. AMD and Intel use different CPU sockets as well as chipsets.

You need to look up the chipsets and sockets supported by your processor (whether it’s AMD or Intel) before purchasing a motherboard.

Q: Should I get an i5-6600k in 2022 or just save up for a modern build (with Intel 12th gen and AMD Ryzen 5000-series chips)?

A: It depends on your budget and what you’re upgrading from. If you look around, you can find used i5-6600k processors for really cheap (sometimes in combo deals with the motherboard).

And if you’re using an ancient chip like the AMD FX-6300, even the i5-6600k will give you a significant boost in gaming performance (while adding support for DDR4 memory).

Q: What should I look for while buying used processors?

A: If possible, ask for in-person demonstrations of the processor so you can personally verify clock speeds, thermals, OC, etc.

This is only possible if the seller is local. If you can’t verify these things in person, ask the seller to upload screenshots of HWMonitor/ MSI Afterburner data while inside a game to get thermals/ clock speeds.

Q: Do Intel Core i5-6600k processors come with coolers in the box?

A: No, Intel K-series processors (the ones that are unlocked) don’t include coolers. So you have to buy a cooler in addition to the CPU.

Q: How do I overclock my Intel i5-6600k?

A: First, make sure you have a Z170 motherboard and a decent cooler. Then, check out this overclocking guide. You’ll find plenty of OC guides for both Skylake and Kaby Lake processors (the same procedure works for an i7-6700k/ i7-7700k).


In summary- get the motherboard that best suits your budget and needs.

I know, it’s a massive oversimplification of things. But honestly, these days pretty much any half-decent motherboard will get the job done just fine.

It isn’t like the early 2000s where your choice of motherboard could literally make or break the system.

Even mid-range Z170 motherboards have 8 power phases with good onboard audio (and LED lighting if you care about that).

I personally have a lot of confidence in the MSI Z170A Gaming M3/ M5/ M7 series of boards since I have used it personally. And achieved great overclocks with superb stability over the course of several years.

A lot of these old Z170 and Z270 boards are hard to find brand-new, especially on sites like Amazon.

So you must resort to local markets/ 2nd-hand sellers. If you do buy 2nd-hand, make sure to check the condition of the board (VRM temperatures, BIOS version, etc.) before purchasing.