ASUS vs MSI: Which Motherboard is Better? – 2021 Round-up

Austin
| Last Updated: February 23, 2021

Digital Advisor is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

ASUS and MSI have developed a major rivalry over who can create the best gaming motherboard to dominate the PC gamer market.

The two tech giants are battling it out in almost every arena, from aesthetics and performance to competitive prices. With all the competitive offerings, choosing between them can be a difficult task.

Let's see who takes the trophy in 2021.

ASUS vs MSI Motherboard

ASUS and MSI are both popular motherboards. Here is a quick comparison:

Title

Strengths/Wins

Downsides/Issues

ASUS

  • Most stable motherboards with strong VRM modules

  • Most granular software solutions

  • Offers 3 years warranty for all its products
  • Some models like ASUS Prime Z390 don’t come with an integrated WiFi adapter

  • Reported difficulties during the installation

  • Highly expensive for most people on tight budgets

MSI

  • Apart from gaming and other computer hardware, it also offers car infotainment products

  • More motherboard color combinations to choose from including white arctic series motherboards

  • More affordable
  • Has a limited warranty period of just 1 year

  • Comes with software solutions but with less control over its motherboard

  • Some models lack WiFi connectivity

ASUS Introduction

ASUS is a Taiwanese tech giant named after Pegasus, the mythological winged horse. In Greek mythology, Pegasus symbolizes knowledge and wisdom.

Founded in the year 1989 as a motherboard manufacturing company, ASUS has evolved over the decades to become one of the world's leading PC vendors.  ASUS was ranked number one in the Taiwan Top 10 Global Brands in the 2008 IT Hardware category.

This brand has, however, experienced some setbacks along the way. Users have reported problems associated with ASUS laptop battery life and screen display. 

Despite these pitfalls, ASUS has continued to soar high and stamp its authority as a lead tech manufacturing company.  

Started with a handful of employees making motherboards, ASUS has diversified into a multinational computer and electronics company. Electronics by ASUS include laptops, mobile phones, monitors, WIFI Routers, tablet PCs, graphic cards, servers, and other multimedia products.

Photo credit: gamecrate.com

MSI Introduction

Micro-Star International (MSI) is a trusted tech company known for developing and providing computer hardware and other related products. The company was founded in August 1986 by 5 members in Taiwan.

The company has today expanded to mainland China and now provides warranty services globally.

MSI prides itself as a manufacturer of top-tier motherboards suitable for gaming.  These motherboards are made with advanced cooling solutions and equipped with Core Boost to fulfill gaming requirements.

While MSI motherboards are ranked among the best and durable in the market, they are not as stable as their rival ASUS.

They are, however, considered the best motherboards for gaming. It has sponsored several esports teams. MSI Masters Gaming Arena is an international gaming event also hosted by the MSI company.

MSI also manufactures other electronics like industrial computers, graphic cards, laptops, desktops, servers, and car infotainment products.

Company Comparison

ASUS and MSI motherboards are the two most popular brands for quality and affordable gaming motherboards. Let's see their manufacturers and who owns them.

ASUS


MSI





  • ASUS manufactures its products in Taipei City in Taiwan

Where Are Their Products Made?

  • MSI products are manufactured in New Taipei City in Taiwan
  • ASUS products are manufactured by Asustek Computer Inc.

Who Manufactures Their Products?

  • MSI products are manufactured by  Micro-Star International Co. Ltd.
  • ASUS is owned by Asustek Computer Inc.

Who Owns These Companies?

  • MSI is owned by Micro-Star International Co. Ltd.
  • Established in 1989, ASUS has been around for 3 decades

How Long Have They Been Around?

  • Founded in August 1986, MSI has been in operation for over 3 decades
  • Products come with a 3-year warranty

What’s Their Warranty?

  • Has a 1-year warranty for products

What ASUS Does Better Than MSI

ASUS and MSI are two motherboard manufacturers that produce high-quality gaming motherboards with closely related features. There are, however, a few areas that ASUS outperforms MSI:

  • ASUS comes with a list of its software, unlike MSI. A host of software solutions can be used to control the motherboard when booted into windows. MSI has the same software solutions but lacks granular control.

  • ASUS comes with a 3-years warranty, which beats MSI that has just a 1-year warranty.

  • ASUS products have been around for a long time and their quality products have won an excellent reputation. The long warranty period and general performance beat MSI motherboards.

  • Although MSI motherboards are equally good for gaming, ASUS products have gained more customer loyalty and a huge following as the best in the market. 

  • Apart from motherboards, ASUS also offers an excellent gaming laptop line and a wide range of hardware and electronic products. These include networking equipment, graphic cards, tablet PCs, projectors, WIFI routers, mobile phones among other related products.

  • Comparing ASUS and MSI motherboards for Ryzen processor performance, ASUS performs better. ASUS is also good at managing space and setups compared to MSI.

  • ASUS motherboards are more stable compared to MSI. For example, after over 48 hours of testing which included overclocking, the ASUS P4T i850 Pentium 4 ATX motherboard would not crash. 

  • ASUS motherboards offer good RAM support of up to 128 GB 4400 MHz to 4800 MHz that can support dual-channel memory DDR4. MSI supports a slightly less impressive 64 GB DDR4 at 4233 MHz to 4300 MHz clock speed.

Generally, ASUS motherboards outperform MSI. That does not mean MSI is a bad choice. Depending on your budget and other gaming requirements, you can weigh the two before making a purchase.

Both ASUS and MSI also have other electronic hardware far from motherboards that you can choose from.

Photo credit: wccftech.com

What MSI Does Better Than ASUS

MSI gaming motherboards have an edge over their ASUS counterparts in areas like:

  • Price range - Although MSI motherboards perform almost as well as ASUS, they are considerably more affordable.

  • Aesthetics - Both ASUS and MSI come with a range of motherboard color varieties to choose from. MSI, however, comes with a wide range of color combinations including white arctic series motherboards, which gives it an edge over ASUS.

  • Although both ASUS and MSI offer great gaming experiences, MSI is more popular as the lead provider of gaming motherboards. They have sponsored a few e-sport teams and also hosted the international gaming event MSI Masters Gaming Arena. 

This has won MSI customer loyalty and a massive following across the globe.

From this review, it's evident that ASUS motherboards outperform MSI in many areas. That does not, however, undermine other great values that come with MSI motherboards.

Anyone operating under a tight budget can go for MSI motherboards and still enjoy an excellent performance at a great value. In addition to motherboards, MSI has other great products you can check out, like an MSI gaming laptop or GeForce RTX and GTX graphics card lines.

ASUS vs MSI: Similarities

The reason ASUS and MSI are the most popular motherboard manufacturers is their top-tier, high-performance products. 

Aesthetics

Color combinations greatly improve the look of your motherboard. Both brands, ASUS and MSI, are conscious of how many gamers want PC components that look as great as they perform. 

Both of them come with a variety of color combinations to choose from.

Performance

Both ASUS and MSI have performance-boosting features such as optimized overclocking and cooling, making both machines great in handling intense tasks.

Software Solutions

Photo credit: techspot.com

With advancing technology, motherboards come with a host of software to control the motherboard. Both ASUS and MSI have their own set of software. ASUS software has more granular control over the motherboard.

UEFI

UEFI, or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, offers a great interface and granular control over the motherboard. Both ASUS and MSI use UEFI which replaced BIOS, although ASUS has more improved control over the motherboard.

Diversity

Both ASUS and MSI started up as motherboard manufacturers over 3 decades ago. Today ASUS and MSI electronics are some of the most renowned brands. Most people's favorite gaming computers come from ASUS and MSI.

Additionally, they have expanded into making tablet PCs, laptops, WIFI Routers, graphic cards, monitors, servers, and other multimedia products. 

ASUS Products vs MSI Products

ASUS and MSI motherboards are both great for gaming enthusiasts. The two brands rival each other on most features that make one a better choice over the other.

Some of the aspects that make either of them stand out are overclocking speed and cooling zone rate.

Below is a side by side comparison of Asus and MSI flagship, intermediate, and entry-level products.

Flagship Products: ASUS vs MSI

ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme TRX40 Gaming AMD 3rd Gen Ryzen

Photo credit: anandtech.com

This the most expensive motherboard from ASUS motherboards with the highest performing features like advanced overclocking and active cooling.

  • USB 3.2 generation 2.2 support with five M.2 drives and 4733MHz memory OC performance

  • GameFirst V technology and technology, ASUS-exclusive Aura Sync RGB lighting, and color OLED display

  • Water cooling zone and fan extension card II, 10K capacitor, and microfine alloy chokes

  • WiFi 6 with MU-MIMO support, onboard Aquantia Ethernet (10Gbps)

  • PCle-zone M.2 aluminum heatsink and active-cooling VRM heatsink

  • ProCool II power connectors and 16 Infineon TDA21490 power stages

This ASUS motherboard model is for enthusiast-level audio performance

Photo credit: msi.com

MSI MEG Z490 Godlike

  • Has memory support of 4x DIMM,128GB, and DDR4-5000 (OC)

  • Storage of 3x M.2, 6xSATA 6Gbps Xpander-z

  • Rear USB of 8x USB 3.2, 2x USB 2.0

  • Video ports 2x thunderbolt 3 and Network of 1x10GB Aquantia, 1x2.5Gb Realtek Lan Intel WiFi 6 wireless

  • Top CPU performance and PCIe 4.0 support.

  • Touch cooler, unfortunately, that does not increase the overclocking performance

  • Overclocking running at 5.3 GHz all-core peak hit with i9 peaks at 99 degrees Celsius

This is among the top-performing motherboards from MSI with wireless WiFi Suitable enthusiast-level gamers. 

Intermediate Level Products: ASUS vs MSI

ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero

With this motherboard model, you can fine-tune almost every aspect of a system. This is made possible by Al Suite 3’s dashboard-style control panel.

  • M.2 aluminum heatsink and ROG cooling zone and active PCH heatsink

  • AMD AM4 socket ready for 2nd and 3rd Generation AMD Ryzen processors

  • ASUS SafeSlot, premium components, BIOS flashback, and pre-mounted I/O shield

  • Aura sync ROG lighting with Generation 2 addressable headers and RGB headers

  • Overclocking and cooling profiles provided by automated system-wide tuning

  • MU-MIMO support 2.5 Gbps and gigabyte Ethernet offered by onboard WiFi 6 (801.11ax)

Photo credit: asus.com

A good model for those looking to grow the gaming world, it's more extensive than other rival brands. It has good components from monitors to graphics.

MSI MEG Z490 Ace Motherboard

Photo credit: msi.com

  • MSI MEG Z490 Ace motherboard is very stylish and has improved hardware. It comes with a user guide and four SATA cables

  • Comes with cable extensions and a WIFI antenna for RGB functions

  • Has coolers in the VRMs. However, on the downside, it has big chunks of aluminum instead of finned unit

  • On its three M.2 slots are individual heatsinks

  • MSI comes with a 40mm fan placed behind the I/O shield capable of running up to 12,000rpm to facilitate VRMs cooling

High VRMs cooling makes this model best for long hours of gaming

Entry-Level Products: ASUS vs MSI

ASUS Prime A320M-K AMD Ryzen AM4 DDR4 HDMI VGA M.2 USB 3.1

Photo credit: asus.com

This model has comprehensive cooling controls and is easy to install.

  • Performance and memory improved by ASUS OptiMem

  • Dynamic cooling delivered by FanXpert advanced fan controls

  • Competent longevity and reliability provided by 5x protection II hardware-level

  • Warm crystal clear sound provided by on-board 8 channel HD audio

  • Intel Core processors make it exclusively for the 8th generation

This motherboard has a solid foundation and is also very flexible with leading industry technology.  It is quite affordable at only $64.99.

MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk Motherboard

It has well-balanced features to offer the best experience from the excellent cooling ability to strong overall performance.

  • A 16-core chip is easy to push 4.25GHz due to simple UEFI and clear LLC settings which makes overclocking numbers a good experience

  • VRM heatsinks though with good design are great in cooling beneath high-quality power stages

  • Ample fan and good UEFI-based control is a big boost to MSI

  • All M.2 slots have thermal pads and also allocated heatsink metals

Photo credit: msi.com

Notable shortcomings are of less importance which makes it appealing to the buyer. It is also in an affordable range.

Conclusion

After a closely contested race between ASUS and MSI, the ASUS motherboard emerges as the winner for 2021. Considering its general appeal and performance, it's without a doubt that ASUS would be the better choice both for gaming and overall computing needs. That does not, however, write off MSI as a bad brand. It may not impress as much as ASUS, but it still has cool features that many brands lack.

Many people still swear by MSI motherboards and so you want to make a purchase based on features you find appealing to you. The buck stops with you as the buyer depending on your tastes and preferences.

People Also Ask

There are some questions about ASUS and MSI that users and those who intend to acquire these motherboards would love to have answered.

Below are some of the most common questions.

What Does AO Mean on ASUS Motherboard?

AO is a common error code experienced by ASUS users. It means that the initial memory testing procedure and configuration failed. This problem may also be associated with memory settings.

AO may also mean the handover from the initial process is complete and one should not worry.

Photo credit: asus.com

Where to Find ASUS Motherboard Serial Number?

Serial numbers are very important in electronics. They protect users against counterfeit and stolen products. They are recorded by the manufacturers and can help in identifying irregular goods.

To find your ASUS motherboard serial number, check for it on the bottom or the top side of the motherboard. It should be somewhere below the barcode.

What MSI Motherboard Do I Have?

Motherboard model (system Model) or motherboard manufacturer (system Manufacturer) is always found on the systems summary screen. 

For example, to determine MSI motherboard type, it may appear as MICRO-STAR INTERNATIONAL as the manufacturer and ms-7599 as the system model.

Note that most motherboards have model and manufacturer names that are always printed on the motherboard also referred to as baseboard.

Photo credit: computer-realm.net

How Much Does an MSI Motherboard Cost? 

MSI motherboards are generally affordable. Different models come at different prices. 

The most expensive model from MSI so far is MSI Godlike AM4 AMD X570 ATX model at $1,299.

The cheapest model so far is the MSI ProSeries Intel Coffee Lake H310 motherboard at $54.9.

These are updated prices as of the year 2021. 

How Much Does an ASUS Motherboard Cost?

ASUS motherboards are among the most expensive on the market, but with good reason. They manufacture the best quality motherboards.

The most expensive motherboard from ASUS as of now is ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme TRX40 Gaming AMD 3rd Gen Ryzen at $849.99.

The cheapest motherboard from ASUS so far is ASUS Prime A320M-K AMD Ryzen AM4 DDR4 HDMI VGA M.2USB 3.1 that costs $64.99.

Austin

When the tech company I worked for restructured and I ended up jobless, I decided to put the wealth of knowledge and management skills to use somewhere new. I’d checked out a few buyer’s guides on the site in the past and reached out to the previous owner. A few months later, here we are. Now, I get to be behind the scenes, helping people find the best tech.