GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS PRO (Intel LGA1151/Z390/ATX/2xM.2 Thermal Guard/Realtek ALC1220/RGB Fusion/Gaming Motherboard)View on Amazon
ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi) Z390 Gaming Motherboard LGA1151 (Intel 8th 9th Gen) ATX DDR4 DP HDMI M.2 USB 3.1 Gen2 802.11AC Wi-FiView on Amazon
ASUS ROG Strix Z390-F Gaming Motherboard LGA1151 (Intel 8th and 9th Gen) ATX DDR4 DP HDMI M.2 USB 3.1 Gen2 Gigabit LANView on Amazon
Gigabyte Z390 AORUS MASTER (Intel LGA1151/Z390/ATX/3xM.2 Thermal Guard/Onboard AC Wi-Fi/ESS Sabre DAC/Gaming Motherboard)View on Amazon
MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC LGA1151 (Intel 8th and 9th Gen) M.2 USB 3.1 Gen 2 DDR4 HDMI DP Wi-Fi SLI CFX Micro ATX Z390 Gaming MotherboardView on Amazon
ASUS Prime Z390-P LGA1151 (Intel 8th and 9th Gen) ATX Motherboard for Cryptocurrency Mining(BTC) with Above 4G Decoding, 6xPCIe Slot and USB 3.1 Gen2View on Amazon
Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Elite (Intel LGA1151/Z390/ATX/2xM.2/Realtek ALC1220/RGB Fusion/Gaming Motherboard)View on Amazon
GIGABYTE Z390 Gaming X (Intel LGA1151/Z390/ATX/2xM.2/Realtek ALC892/Intel LAN/HDMI/Gaming Motherboard)View on Amazon
GIGABYTE Z390 DESIGNARE Gigabyte (Intel LGA1151/Z390/ATX/2xM.2/Thunderbolt 3/Onboard AC Wifi/12+1 Phases Digital Vrm/Motherboard)View on Amazon
ASUS Socket 1151 DDR4 M.2 U.2 ATX Motherboard for 9th Generation Intel Core Motherboards WS Z390 PROView on Amazon
Last update on 2022-08-18 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API
When thinking about building a PC at home, the motherboard is a component that tends to be overlooked. However, no matter what purpose you use your PC for, whether it’s daily use, highly demanding office work, or professional gaming, choosing an appropriate motherboard should be on the top of your priority list, as it’s the part that connects everything together.
Among the wide variety of motherboards on the market, the Z390 line from Intel stands out as one of the most powerful. To help your selection process less challenging, our article today will discuss the best Z390 motherboards available.
This Z390 motherboard outperforms others when it comes to capability over price. The model has the 12+1 phase digital VRM (voltage regulator module) just like its AORUS Ultra counterpart, but it comes at a lower price. The advanced thermal design with screw mounted heatsinks as well as Smart Fan 5 with hybrid fan headers and FAN STOP makes it much more convenient for users when you no longer have to deal with the heat that your computer may generate. Being made from materials with high durability, the Z390 AORUS Elite from Gigabyte surely lasts a long time and acts as a strong base for the rest of your PC.
This product supports Intel 8th and 9th Gen Core i3, i5, i7, i9, so no more worries over the compatibility of it with your computer. Although it may not operate as well as more expensive models, remember that the amount of money you save up on your motherboard can be spent on other components which will certainly increase the overall efficiency.
The Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra is like an upgraded version of the Elite, with more interesting features to further boost the performance of your computer. Similar to the Elite, the Ultra has the 12+1 phase digital VRM and the advanced thermal design, but the thermal system is improved with direct touch heat pipe.
On the more technical style, this model supports 8th and 9th Intel Core processors; and it has dual channel (DDR4, 4 DIMMs), together with triple M.2 slots in case you’re in need of high operating speed. You can say that the whole product is thoughtfully designed when it features RGB Fusion with multiple LED lights that allow for addressable LED strips.
The Ultra costs a bit more than the Elite indeed, but if you’re willing to pay the extra money, you’ll be compensated with so many additional functions that make your PC all the more capable.
The Gigabyte Z390 Designare is a perfect match for consumers that belong to the creative group considering its multiple high-bandwidth interfaces. This product comes with several noteworthy advantages, including the Intel Thunderbolt 3 which is a full-spec thunderbolt with 3 ports and two Gigabit Etherner ports plus Wi-Fi with the speed of 1.73 gigabit per second. In addition, it supports 8K passthrough from DisplayPort 1.4 graphic cards and features the third x16 slot that lets you switch between PCH and CPU lanes. For all of these perks, the Z390 Designare owns a pretty reasonable price tag that makes it a smart choice for everyone.
Nevertheless, there are some certain drawbacks with this model, the most noticeable one being its limited CPU overclocking. If you don’t care much about the Core i9-9900K’s mediocre CPU capacity then this is not a big problem for you, yet if you’re more on the technical side, don’t forget to take this into consideration.
The Gigabyte Z390 Gaming X is a more affordable product. ITs 10+1 phase VRM design makes it suitable for those light users or for people who want a decent motherboard but don’t want to spend too much of their budget.
First and foremost, this model can support two-way crossfire multi-graphics with PCIe Armor and six SATA III. Being equipped with audio capacitors and audio noise guard, the Z390 Gaming X offers you excellent audio quality, so you’ll get the best audio possible with such a low price.
The disadvantage, however, lies in the fact this product doesn’t come with any technology that helps with the thermal aspect. In other words, you may need to go out and purchase a separate cooling component, otherwise your whole unit may get too hot from all the heat generated during operation.
The most superior characteristic of the Z390 AORUS Master in comparison with other models is its VRM design, which is a 12+1+1 phase VRM. This upgrade, paired with an improved cooling system, grants your PC higher CPU and GPU overclocking capabilities with less power required, eventually optimizing the overall performance.
Another aspect that the Z390 AORUS Master excels in is memory overclocking. It gives you different options for storage, which include six SATA III ports and three M.2 slots. As if that’s not attractive enough, each of these come with their own thermal guards, so heat during the operating process is no longer a problem.
Besides storage, this model’s connectivity is also a feature that you have a few choices to select from. You can choose between gigabit (1 Gb) LAN and a Wi-Fi chip that features Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5. When it comes to rear I/O features, the options consist of four USB 3.1 gen2 ports, two USB 3.1 gen 1 ports and four USB 2.0 ports. Furthermore, you’re offered many rear connectors, including HDMI port, LAN port and audio jacks.
This product belongs to the genre of mini-ITX Z390 motherboards, and it’s the best of the group. The VRM that’s designed with 5 phases without phase doublers let your computer deliver phenomenal performance, allowing the 9900K to work at 5 GHz while not having or causing any problem. Although the VRM can get a bit hotter while working, the temperature won’t rise up to concerning level, thus you don’t have to be worried.
For the rear I/O, we think there’s no rival that can compete with the Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX/AC. Four USB 3.1 gen2 ports, two USB 3.1 gen1 ports, a combined port that works for both DisplayPort and HDMI, the standard audio ports, a Thunderbolt 3 port; all of them are packed in one single motherboard, guaranteed to satisfy all your basic needs regarding rear connectors. The audio quality is also superb with advanced technology implemented.
The ROG Maximus XI Gene Z390 is a high-quality product from the well-known brand of Asus. Being equipped with a 10+2 phase VRM, it has no difficulty functioning with the overclocked 9900K.
Regarding storage options, the feature that sets the Asus ROG Maximus XI Gene Z390 apart is its number of slots for M.2. Similar to many other Z390 motherboards, this model has two standard M.2 slots, but it also has two additional M.2 slots that can be transferred from those used for other purposes. Consequently, in total, this product has four M.2 slots.
When it comes to rear I/O, the Asus ROG Maximus XI Gene Z390 also outnumbers other Z390 motherboards, with four USB 3.1 gen2 ports, six USB 3.1 gen1 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a BIOS flashback button, a CMOS button, and various ports for audio.
After looking at seven best Z390 motherboards that we introduce above, we believe that you’ve had a rough idea of what to expect from a Z390 motherboard. However, we think there are still a lot of things we can do to make your selection process even easier. In this next section, we will present to you the key factors that you should keep in mind when shopping for a suitable Z390 motherboard.
The first thing you should not forget when you consider buying a Z390 motherboard, or any motherboard in general, is the product’s physical size. Generally speaking there are three sizes which are:
ATX: 12 inches x 9.6 inches
Micro-ATX: 9.6 inches x 9.6 inches
Mini-ITX: 5.9 inches x 5.9 inches
It’s obvious that you can’t fit a larger motherboard into a case that belongs to a smaller one, but you can surely fit a smaller model into a larger case. However, we suggest you not do that. Our recommendation is that you use a motherboard that neatly fits in its case, so all the features could be utilized and you can designate the right amount of space for the right product.
If you want to save up as much space as possible, a mini-ITX model like the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX-AC would definitely do you wonders. If space is not your top concern but at the same time you don’t want your device to invade every inch of what you’ve got, settle for a micro-ATX such as the Gigabyte Z390M Gaming. Bear in mind that the larger the size of your motherboard is, the more features and slots it’ll have, so you may want to have a good balance between functionality and space.
2. Voltage Regulator Module (VRM)
Voltage regulator module, also known as VRM, is the part that you need to pay attention to as it’s in charge of distributing power to the components that are linked to the motherboard.
It may sound tedious because who cares about how the power is distributed as long as the whole unit can function properly, besides, the computer does it automatically, right? Nonetheless, if you want to try new things or simply find overclocking your CPU or GPU interesting, the VMR is an aspect that you can’t miss.
Checking the memory of a Z390 motherboard includes checking max supported memory, memory speed, number of available memory slots and multi-channel support. These types of information can be easily found in the spec’s of the motherboard, so don’t forget to look at them closely and carefully.
Many motherboards come with a wide variety of additional features like more M.2 slots, higher audio quality, some even have built-in Wi-Fi. Flashy and appealing as they may seem, it can turn out that you never use them at all, and eventually wasting quite a large amount of money.
We advise you to do research in advance to know what standard and extra features that a motherboard can offer, then compare them with your demands, and finally make your decision. It’s not a wise idea to splurge on functions you never need, but it’s equally not great to cut down on the costs and settle for an inadequate model. Weigh up the functionality and the price, and find the balance between them before purchasing.
1. What exactly is a Z390 motherboard?
Z390 motherboards are motherboards that can operate effectively with the 8th and 9th generations of CPUs from Intel. Products under this name are often on the more advanced, cutting-edge side, with numerous features such as improved rear I/O connectivity or built-in Wi-Fi.
2. How do Z390 motherboards work?
Z390 motherboards are designed in a special way to make them remarkably suitable for overclocking.
So what is overclocking? You’ve come across this term many times throughout our article, but there’s a possibility that you’re still not fully aware of its meaning. To put it simply, overclocking refers to the process in which you run your CPU at a speed that exceeds the speed at which it’s officially designed to run. With overclocking, you can achieve the maximum speed possible, therefore you can do your tasks at the optimal settings.
3. If I’m interested in overclocking, what do I have to look out for?
If overclocking is something that you’re passionate about, you need to pay attention to the VRM. Like explained above, the VRM plays a pivotal role in energy control and power distribution, so you’ll need an excellent VRM for excellent overclocking.
4. Why do the prices of Z390 motherboards vary greatly?
There are a myriad of factors that can affect the final price of a motherboard. From standard to added features, the implementation of each one can increase the price by a narrow or wide margin depending on the nature of that feature. Even when the features are the same on two models, their prices can still be different due to the discrepancy in how great of a performance that those features deliver.
In some cases, a manufacturer can overcharge you for a motherboard. Even though it’s not common, there's still a chance that you may pay more than you actually receive. As a consequence, you should look at more than one model to have some certain comparison instead of diving right in and buying the first product you see.
5. I see that socket compatibility is a factor that’s usually mentioned when it comes to buying guides for motherboards. Why isn’t it mentioned here?
It’s true that socket compatibility is important. There are two main types of socket: LGA 1151 and AM4. However, since the target of our article today is Z390 motherboards which all use LGA 1151 sockets, you don’t have to worry much about this.
Finding an exceptional Z390 motherboard is no easy task, and finding one that suits you is even harder. Understanding this problem, throughout our article today we’ve tried our best to give you as much information as possible with a view to helping you pick out your perfect fit. To provide you with even more support, here’s a list of the best Z390 motherboards as well as the aspect that they excel in that we’ve compiled:
Best Overall: Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra
Best High-End: Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Master
Best Micro-ATX: Asus ROG Maximus XI Gene Z390
Best Mini-ITX: ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX/AC
And that concludes what we’ve got to say about the best Z390 motherboards. We hope that you find our article helpful and can rely on it to decide on which motherboard you’re gonna purchase. Keep us updated on your choice in the comment section, and please look forward to our future posts!