The most recent generation of Intel Core CPUs have arrived accompanied by the brand new Z490 motherboard platform. Incredibly, there are over 50 Intel Z490 motherboards that you can buy, with prices which range from $150 completely up to $1,300. That’s a lot more models than there must be, making the task of shopping for the very best Z490 board a fairly daunting one. Despite the fact that Z490 and Z390 chipsets, plus the 10th-gen CPUs are incredibly similar from its predecessors, Intel has opted once more to move to a fresh socket, from the LGA115x onto LGA1200. Most LGA115x coolers will continue to work in the brand new sockets, but if you are investing in a 10th-gen Intel Core processor, you will need to buy a fresh motherboard.
This buying guide is supposed to simplify the procedure of deciding on a new of Z490 motherboard, however in doing this we’ve had to overlook an enormous swath of boards inevitably. The principal goal is to assist you avoid any bad boards which are generally bought at the entry-level, Mini-ITX, and Micro ATX segments.
We’ve chosen a best mid-range option which talks about boards priced around the $200 mark. But beyond those, motherboards priced between $200 and $400 are largely ignored for no other reason that they are pretty good. Each of them feature very capable VRMs, so it’s simply a matter of picking your desired price and comparing the three or four 4 boards that occupy that segment predicated on the features you need.
For instance, the Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Ultra and MSI MEG Z490 Unify both cost $300 plus they both feature monstrous VRMs. Even if the MSI is marginally better equipped, at that time it will not matter, both are overkill even for an overclocked Core i9-10900K. Gigabyte runs on the flasher design, while MSI’s Unify range is more minimalist. What we’re trying to state is, there’s no bad or wrong option, you’re quite definitely splitting hairs at that time and we observed all good boards when moving past a mainstream budget.
COST EFFECTIVE Z490 Motherboard
Asus Prime Z490-P or MSI Z490-A Pro
Starting with the very best value entry-level Z490 category, select from two surprisingly good budget ATX boards: the Asus Prime Z490-P and MSI Z490-A Pro.
You may expect all Z490 boards to take care of K-series Intel processors well, but that’s rarely the case with budget-oriented models, particularly if you intend on overclocking. Because of an excellent VRM implementation, both these Asus and MSI boards handled the Core i9-10900K at 5.1 GHz.
Features are sparse, but that’s not unusual for Z490 boards priced around $160. Put face to face, they’re both excellent and evenly matched. Our suggestion is to opt for the model that’s cheaper in your region or whichever you like from a design perspective. Perhaps you have a preference for the Asus BIOS, for instance.
There are also several motherboards in order to avoid in this cost range: the Gigabyte Z490M Gaming X and Z490 UD are subpar in terms of VRM quality and battle to overclocked well. We saw them failing woefully to pass core-heavy workloads with the 10700K and 10900K. But if they’re offered by much lower prices compared to the Asus and MSI boards, maybe they may be decent value pairings with a Core i5-10600K, just note your upgrade path will be limited.
For boards you should avoid no matter what: the Asrock Z490 Phantom Gaming 4, Z490 Pro4, Z490M Pro4 and even the Z490 Steel Legend. We’re hoping Asrock can fix the Steel Legend with a BIOS update but also for now we’ve seen that board throttling the VRM prior to time.
Best Mid-range $200 Z490 Motherboard
MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk or Gigabyte Z490 Vision G
With a bit more budget, you can find some really nice boards for up around $200. From day one, a stick out which we featured inside our early 10th-gen coverage may be the MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk, it’s an excellent quality motherboard coming in at $190. Inside our testing, the Z490 Tomahawk peaked at only 74 degrees owning a Core i9-10900K clocked at 5.1 GHz using 1.35v, and that means you don’t have to spend big money to achieve the most out of Intel’s new 10-core processor, even though it is very power hungry when overclocked.
MSI has truly gone with twelve powerstages for the vcore VRM on the Tomahawk, by using a dozen 55A powerstages for a combined 660A capacity. MSI also contains massive heatsinks which weigh a combined 393 grams. For comparison, the MSI Z490-A Pro includes 237 grams worth of heatsinks. Additionally you get some good nice features such as for example 2.5 Gbit LAN, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 for 20 Gbps support and some extra USB ports in comparison with the cheaper boards.
Our alternative pick, the Gigabyte Z490 Vision G could possibly be worth taking into consideration over the Tomahawk for just two reasons: at $200, it’s the only Z490 board in this cost range to provide three full length PCIe x16 slots, though only the principal slot is wired for full x16 bandwidth as LGA1200 processors don’t support enough PCIe lanes. The secondary slot is wired for x8 bandwidth so when used will half the bandwidth open to the principal PCIe x16 slot. Then your third slot is wired for x4 bandwidth.
The Vision G offers two extra USB 3.2 ports on the I/O panel, though it drops Gigabit networking while retaining 2.5 Gbit LAN. In conditions of VRM performance the Vision G is roughly on par with the Tomahawk.
Also worth mention may be the Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Elite. We’ve tested that board and it’s very good, but at the same price as the Tomahawk we have a tendency to choose the MSI board. The same holds true for the Asus TUF Gaming Z490-Plus, overall another good board.
Best mATX Z490
Asus ROG Strix Z490-G Gaming Wi-Fi
An application factor that appears almost forgotten on the AMD side, it’s still well and alive with Intel boards. There are in least 5 mATX options now with boards from Asrock, Asus, Gigabyte and MSI.
The Asrock Z490M Pro4 uses the same atrocious VRM as the Phantom Gaming 4, so that you can give that board a difficult pass. The Gigabyte Z490M Gaming X also uses the same VRM as the Z490 UD, so avoid that board.
The Asus Prime Z490M-Plus will come in at just $150. It isn’t the very best mATX motherboard you can purchase, but we’re pleased to report that is a high-quality motherboard. The vcore part of the VRM packs eight 50A power stages, configured as a teamed 4-phase. We grabbed this board and after some quick tests, the email address details are quite impressive. It runs around 4C hotter compared to the Prime Z490-P and which means with a Core i5-10600K overclocked to 5 GHz with 1.35v, you’re looking at a peak operating temperature of just 66 degrees with a reasonably well venti