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What's the Best Z490 Motherboards in 2021? Our Top Picks According to Thousands of Reviews

Studydroid's reviewers and experts has collected 9,498 objective reviews from many customers and with a little help from our editor, List of the Best Z490 Motherboards that you may be fancy. You will see some major brands such as: MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte, ASRock, NZXT


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    MSI
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    ASUS
9
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Overview

In the series of us writing about motherboards, we would like to introduce to you the Z490 motherboard today. The Z490 chipset was launched in the second quarter of 2020 by not anyone else, but Intel. The Z490, hence, features an Intel socket, lots of latest configurations and cool features.

The Z490, in overall, is not the best motherboard out there, but take a look at the price of the boards, it’s a motherboard for standard needs of home gaming and non-professional video editing. In this article, we will recommend some of the greatest picks for the best Z490 motherboards.


Buying Guides

Lying in the series of Intel 400 chipsets, the Z490 stands out as one of the best-selling mainboards of 2020. The most highlighted feature about the Z490 chipset is the USB configurations. Intel is so generous that they make up to 10 in total USB 3.2 ports, 6 of which can be as fast as 10Gbps, which you should know,  almost doubles the speed of SATA 3.0. Below are the detailed specifications and buying guide for the best Z490 motherboards.

1. The socket

Motherboard Z490 features an Intel LGA1200 socket, which was also created by Intel. This socket is said to be compatible with multiple Intel CPU lineups, including the latest i9. Below are the list of available Central Processing Units:

  • Intel Core i9-10900 (including the K, KF, F, T).

  • Intel Core i7-10850 (including the K, KF, F, T).

  • Intel Core i7-10700 (including the K, KF, F, T).

  • Intel Core i3-10100 (including the K, KF, F, T).

  • Intel Core i5-10400 (including the K, KF, F, T).

  • Intel Core i5-10600 (including the K, KF, F, T).

  • Intel Core i3-10320 (including the K, KF, F, T).

This socket is a fairly new socket, so be noted that this is the list at the current writing time, and the list can go on in the future when new lineups and processor models are introduced, because the brands always want its newest CPUs to work perfectly with the previously introduced sockets and mainboards, so they will only change when it’s needed.

2. PCIe 3.0

While the world is preparing for the PCIe revision 4.0, PCIe 3.0 is still new to the world. We would love to talk about PCIe 4.0, but unfortunately, the Z490 is not the one that supports it. This version features the bandwidth of 8GT/s (giga transfers per second), which is half of what the PCIe 4.0 supports (16 GT/s). 

The Z490 motherboard’s chipset is capable of handling up to 24 lanes of PCIe 3.0, which adds up to 192 GT/s in total. The PCIe configurations available are PCIe x 1, PCIe x 2 and PCIe x 4. The capability of supporting PCIe 3.0, along with PCIe backward compatibilities enable gamers to integrate any flagship graphics card available in the market, including the latest NVIDIA GTX and Radeon series, and the lightning fast NVMe drives.

3. RAM and Storage

The mainboard is designed to handle 128GB of RAM, which can be divided into 4 DIMM slots. Besides, the chipset also offers up to 6 interfaces of SATA 6Gbps, which is equivalent to 750 MB/s transfer rate for a little slower SSD drives. 

For external connections, the motherboard can handle a total of 10 USB 3.2; some sort of that, the Z490 can offer 6 USB 3.2 Gen 2 at 10Gbps and up to 10 USB 3.2 Gen 1 at 5Gbps. USB 2.0 is also supported with a total of 14 ports. You can also connect to portable SSD drives, docks, your external secondary monitor, and pretty much anything else. 

The motherboard is born in the Intel family, so it was packed with lots of Intel newest technology, one of which is the Intel Optane, a technology that helps the drives operate faster and boost into the operating system within a blink of an eye. Here are the list of some recommended NVMe drives for you to choose from:

  • AORUS  NVMe Gen 4 SSD (1-2 TB) with up to 5000/4400 MB/s R/W rate.

  • Corsair MP600 Gen.4 NVMe M.2 (500GB - 2TB)  at up to 4950/4250 MB/s R/W rate.

  • Samsung 980 Pro (up to 1TB) at 7000/5000 MB/s R/W rate.

  • WD Black SN850 (up to 2TB) at up to 7000/5300 MB/s R/W rate.

  • and many more.

4. Sizes of the motherboard

The special thing about motherboards is that the manufacturers can decide to put the chipset in a larger mainboard or a smaller mainboard as long as it satisfies all the requirements made for the Z490. The two most popular sizes for Z490 are:

  • The ATX, developed by Intel in 1995, featuring the size of 12 inches x 9.6 inches.

  • The E-ATX, which is an extended version of the ATX, as we have seen in the MSI MEG.

  • The Mini-ITX, a smaller version, featuring the size of 6.7 inches x 6.7 inches, as in the ASUS ROG Strix Z490.

 

However, most brands chose ATX for their X490s because it fits most of the cases being sold in the market.

5. Cooling system

Considering cooling systems while buying motherboards might sound pointless, because the cooling part usually comes from external cooling solutions, for example, water cooling, or air cooling. However, motherboards can take part in the support parts when they do have some heatsink or thermal pad by default in order to somehow distribute the heat more effectively, and leave the rest of the work to optional cooling solutions. 

The computer produces a lot of heat doing the tasks that require intense computation power such as editing or gaming. The need is to distribute the tremendous amount of heat to cool the system down, helping prevent the system from exploding, and performance dropping. These efforts are made to achieve one true goal, to keep the system performance stabilized. Two types of cooling system are used, which are:

  • Air cooling system: The noise you often hear when turning on the computer is the noise of the fan or fans. The fans are designed to make an air flow around the computer to distribute the heat and eventually for the heat to escape through the tiny holes on the mainframe. The aluminum case on some modern laptops also helps to do it because metals conduct heat better than plastic, and metals are thinner.

  • Water/Liquid cooling system: This type of cooling system results in a very big and monstrously designed laptop. Water cooling provides a silent solution to flow the heat out of the mainboard; it does that much more effectively than air cooling without making any sound at all. Heat is taken out of the CPU by a special type of liquid or on some cheaper version, water, that always flows around a closed set of tubes, carrying the heat outside. Again, this type of system has nothing to be criticized, but the drawback here is the price. It’s so expensive that it can’t be used in normal affordable computers.

6. Intel technologies

Why do you buy Intel products? Because of the Intel technologies. Intel has been a leading company in terms of creating new innovations to help speed up and secure the computer. Many names are called, and here is the list of supported technologies for Z490:

  • Intel Optane - a trademarked technology to speed up the internal memories.

  • Intel Virtual Technologies (VT-d, VT-x).

  • Intel HD Audio.

  • Intel Rapid Storage to speed up storage drives.

  • Intel Platform Trust Technology to help operating systems manage encryption keys and credentials in the identity verification and drive encryption.

  • Intel BooGuard.

7. Extending capability

You want to be able to upgrade your computer in the future, or simple want to use it for different purpose, here are some of the requirements we have heard from the customers:

  • More HDMI ports: HDMI ports can be extended by buying an additional graphics card; however, if you want to be supported out of the box, you might want to look for motherboards with lots of HDMI connections.

  • More PCIe 4.0: Although the chipset can support up to 24 lanes of PCIe 4.0, the motherboards might support them in different ways. 24 lanes can be splitted into multiple PCIe slots, one of which features different numbers of lanes. For example, 16 lanes can be divided into one PCIe x 8, which is an 8-lane PCIe slot, one PCIe x 4 and four PCIe x 1. Therefore, you need to consult the motherboard description according to your needs for PCIe slots.

  • Wi-Fi and Ethernet: Some motherboards even try to defaultly integrate Wi-Fi network cards into the board. It takes up PCIe lanes, unfortunately, to connect to the built-in Wi-Fi; however, you get better support and speed compared to USB-connected Wi-Fi dongle or optionally purchased Wi-Fi PCIe network cards.

8. Overclocking

Finally, it is overclocking. Overclocking is the process of deep intervention into how the processor works, into how much voltage the processor uses or how fast its clock runs. This is a take-your-own-risk feature that has existed in Intel motherboards for several decades, and it’s always attracted enthusiasm from people. Among the sisters and brothers in the 400 series, the Z490 is the only sibling that can enable users to overclock their CPUs, which is a real plus.

 

We don’t want to dig deep into this topic because it would take time, so to conclude, be informed that you should have a truly deep understanding about this before trying to for real overclock your computer.


The best Z490 motherboards

1. MSI MEG Z490 GODLIKE Gaming Motherboard 

As a member of the brand MSI, the MSI MEG Z490 GODLIKE Gaming Motherboard  stands out as one of the best Z490 motherboards available. This is also a member of the advanced premium motherboards created by MSI for gamers. The board, as specified by the chipset, supports LGA1200 for many 10th generation CPUs, 128GB of RAM divided into 4 DIMM slots. 

The mainboard features triple turbo M.2 with double-side M.2 shield Frozr, which can transfer data at up to 32GB/s speed. The M.2 Xpander-Z Gen 4 S accessory also offers the ability to expand another two additional M.2 slots. On the rear panel, we have 2 Thunderbolt revision 3 that can support up to 40GB/s of bandwidth, daisy chain configuration and 4K displays. 

Although Gigabit Ethernet sounds a little unnecessary, the motherboard was created with a ten-gigabit Ethernet card, along with Wi-Fi revision 6.0. Finally, Frozr heatsink is designed with active cooling, Zero Frozr technology and MOSFET Backplates. In conclusion, the motherboard is created with all the newest advances in the world, featuring all kinds of technologies on the foundation of Intel Z490 chipset.

  • LGA 1200 CPU - 10th generation CPUs.

  • 128GB of RAM.

  • Triple Turbo M.2.

  • 2 Thunderbolt at 40GB/s.

  • Ten-gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6.

  • Active cooling Frozr heatsink.

2. ASUS ROG Maximus XII Formula Z490

Branded ROG, ASUS ROG Maximus XII Formula Z490 is premium, fast, and well-designed. The black motherboard features 16 infineon power stages, each rated to handle up to 70 amps, high-quality chokes and durable capacitors to provide reliable source even in the most extreme tasks by the users. 

The Hybrid Cooling System is a combination of the CrossChill EK III VRM Block and Extra-large heatsinks for VRM, along with the solid steel backplates, helping cool the system down significantly. The connectivity is said to be the fastest, and indeed, is the fastest. 

It features two Ethernet solutions, a ten-gigabit and a 2.5G Ethercard, along with Wi-Fi 6, being able to provide bandwidth needed for thousands of games at the same time. Finally, DTS Sound Unbound and Sonic Studio III are available to draw you deeper into your actions.

  • Extreme power solution.

  • Hybrid Cooling System.

  • 10G and 2.5G Ethernet + Wi-Fi 6.

  • DTS Sound Unbound and Sonic Studio III.

3. GIGABYTE Z490 Vision G

The budget choice for us today is a model from Gigabyte. The GIGABYTE Z490 Vision G though lacks some features from the maximally supported configurations, still is a premium motherboard. It supports up to 128GB of 4400MHz internal memory, 10th LGA1200 CPUs obviously. The Cooling Solution witnesses a direct 12 phase Digital VRM for the best performance. 

The Advanced Thermal Design is made with the Micro-Block Surface Heatsink and Next Generation Direct Touch heatpipe. Secondly, the Gigabyte Z490 features the famous M.2 Guard by Gigabyte, which cuts the power to the drives when it detects strange power behaviors. The standard Realtek ALC1220-VB2 is present.

  • Z490 definition.

  • 4 slots of 4400MHz RAM.

  • USB 3.2 gen 2.

  • ATX form factor.

  • M.2 electrostatic guard.


FAQs

1. Is LGA1200 a new socket by Intel?

Yes, to date it is one of the newest. LGA is succeeded by the LGA1700 which features a significant improvement; however, the LGA1700 motherboards are not currently sold widely, so the Z490 is still new to the computer builder community. 

2. What about the warranty?

Most popular mainboard breaks often fall into water spill or socket damage. In those cases, you’d not be warranted because it’s your fault. Otherwise, the mainboards are really hard to malfunction. However, motherboards still come with a one-year or three-year warranty policy, depending on the brand.

3. How can I build a computer with the mainboard?

A mainboard is obviously not enough to run a computer, and a deep knowledge in the field is required to build your own computer from scratch. Here are what you need:

  • A processor, needs to be compatible with the socket and the mainboard.

  • RAM (Random Access Memory).

  • At least one boot drive (it can either be an HDD or SSD or even USB Flash).

  • A set of mouse and keyboard.

  • Monitor.

  • Power supply that fits the form factor (typically ATX).

  • Power cord, HDMI or VGA cable, Ethernet cable, or Wi-Fi network.

  • A case.

  • Optional water cooling solution.

 

And the tools:

  • A screwdriver.

  • A manual.

 

Everything about installing a computer should be available in the manual that comes with your device. Be sure to handle the components with care, especially the socket and the processor, because they’re easy to break and expensive to replace.

4. How do I choose the power supply?

The standard procedure is to check the voltage and the current the power supply can provide. It has to be at least equal to the power needed by the form factor (mostly ATX definition) in order for the mainboard to boot up. Otherwise, it would not work or even damage itself because of the low voltage. 

However, some motherboards as we introduced are manufactured with the power guard, which prevents overpower by the mainboard that kills it.

5. What case should I buy?

The case is not needed to run a computer, but in order to protect the computer components, you should buy one. To buy a case, you need to check the compatibility by comparing the form factor (mostly ATX) of your motherboard and the supported by the case. 

Sometimes, you can modify the case a little for it to fit with other form factored boards; however, you wouldn’t need it in most cases. You’ll also want to check out some RGB light options for your case; however, it would consume more electricity and put more pressure on your power supply.


Final Thoughts

Intel Z490 was introduced in the middle of last year and features all kinds of new advances. The Z490 motherboards are made for home gamers, home designers and many other intense tasks that are meant for content creators. Here is the list of the best Z490 motherboards.


Thank you for reading my recommendations today. We hope we have recommended the best z490 motherboards, and your selection is one of our picks. Thank you and see you in the next articles.

Study Droid
Study Droid
Website "Studydroid.com" was founded by Studydroid Team, Studydroid many key products not only in the family but also in many fields of life. AmazingInfo is known as the list of the best equipment and facilities, for example: Electronics, Furniture,  Kitchen & Dining…
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