There is a lot of marketing buzzwords like anything else, but reviews are useful if you can find one of the same model or model family. I am a fan of LinusTechTips on YouTube (since the video style has matured since the start of COVID) as well as Gamer’s Nexus - GN especially goes into what for most would be an excessive level of detail. Wendell from LevelOneTechs also seems to review AsRock boards here and there - the channel is mainly server tech based.
Motherboards are also a bit like cars in that to get the top specs parts you kinda have to bite the bullet and get the premium models many times, but not always - depends what you are trying to do. For example, to drive a top-end CPU like a AMD 7950X or Intel 13900K you should have the beefier VRM’s of a premium board.
Onboard audio may not matter to you if you use a USB headset or other audio device like a PCIe card.
I like boards that have Intel ethernet chips as well - but that isn’t always specified in the specs.
Intel will get you 2.5Gb ethernet on new boards - Realtek is 1Gb or 2.5 iirc. There is also high end boards with Aquantia (Marvell) 10GbE. WiFi/Bluetooth is nearly exclusively Intel based as well as I recall these days.
Mostly just for the features. My Maximus Z390 board came with a VRM water block - I don’t use it, but the board had the correct number of M.2 slots that I wanted, that did not disable PCIe slots to use both (that many boards do - mine disables two SATA ports - which I am not using anyway) plus it came with tons of USB ports on the rear IO which I wanted because I have had bad experience with flights controls connected via a USB hub. So I wanted direct connections, I even got USB extension cables to facilitate it.
For the current server, the TUF board got me the PCIe and M.2 connections I wanted, and was available in a version without WiFi - which I don’t need in a server. All my PC’s are wired and I use only use the WiFi/Bluetooth chip on my gaming rig for the Bluetooth for Xbox controllers.
TUF won out for my Dad’s PC as again he did not need WiFi being in the same room as the router, and has that same connectivity to move him to all-SSD in future, and the price was really good. The same followed for my brother’s new build, and fit the color scheme of black. At this point too, with his the newest, I know exactly what to expect from a TUF board and I have to build & support it so the go-with-what-you-know mentality is a big factor. (I also work in IT, so that bleeds over from the business side of things.)
My first build I thing it was a shot in the dark pick, I fell for the “Military Grade Components” marketing spiel and it came with a certificate of quality in the box (what a gimmick looking back!). My brother’s first build came shortly after mine and so I think that was a matter of “it worked for me and is stable, so we can make the easy choice here”. Obviously it has snowballed.
AsRock was originally spun off from ASUS around 2002 if you look up the history. Their website has turned me away from them in the past because it wasn’t as clear as ASUS - it gave me a “cheap” vibe, which may be partly the case (they seem to have more lower end boards in my stores) but not saying that is bad. I know a couple of people with AsRock boards and haven’t heard of any issues.
AsRock also has a server division and those have to operate 24/7 and are reviewed pretty good. In fact, the backup server in the office at work is a AsRock Rack board and it had been chugging along 24/7 excluding power outages since like 2016?
Part of the thing to know about that industry too is the companies are all geographically close and the engineering skills are pretty unique, I have heard people tend to rotate between the companies to an extent. As well, the UEFIs are done by like one or two companies and just re-branded and modified to suite the hardware on the board. There is certainly lots different between brands and components still but more is similar than most would think.
In a summary type of note - I have not heard of any boards that have been particularly bad. Perhaps a bad value - but that is a different question.
Have you had any issues with your AsRock board?
I also agree with the edited initial post to go with Z series chipsets for Intel. Unless you are building a cheap PC, with like a low end H chipset. Despite Intel always saying they have the mid tier (B760 this time iirc) I always find that when it comes to retail pricing, there is hardly any money saved. A lower end Z board is likely cheaper than the B board anyway since it moves more units, and is then likely to go on sale - matching or beating the B board’s price. Z chipset + K series CPU also meant that even without overclocking, the CPU can be told to run at peak turbos longer than the default and in some cases - indefinitely. That basically made overclocking obsolete.