Best Z490 Motherboard For Gaming (Reviews & Comparisons)

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best z490 motherboards

There is no denying that Intel’s new Z490 platform is looking up to be one of the most sought-after. While we do have to admit that most people are shifting over to AMD, Intel still enjoys great brand loyalty, to say the least.

That is why if you are building a new PC and you are looking for the best Z490 motherboard, this is the roundup that you should be consulting as I have taken some time to find out the best motherboard options that are available for you to buy.

All the options that I have listed are great and have been thoroughly tested, which means that you will not find yourself in a situation where you might have some lack of understanding. The purpose was to cover as many motherboards across different price brackets so our readers have an easier time making the right decision as to what they want.


Best Z490 Motherboard: Specs & Comparison Chart


Image Name Price Rating Specs
NeoGamr’s Pick ASUS ROG Strix
Z490-E
  • Supported CPU: 10th Gen Intel
  • RAM Slots: 4x DDR4, Upto 128GB
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Dimensions: 12″ x 9.6″ In
  • Memory Speed: 4800MHz (OC)
  • Mounting: 9 Holes
Premium Pick MSI Mpg Z490
Gaming Edge
  • Supported CPU: 10th/11th Gen Intel
  • RAM Slots: 4x DDR4, Upto 128GB
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Dimensions: 12″ x 9.6″ In
  • Memory Speed: 5000MHz (OC)
  • Mounting: 9 Holes
Small Product Image 3- ASUS ROG Strix Z490-A Gaming ASUS ROG Strix
Z490-A Gaming
  • Supported CPU: 10th Gen Intel
  • RAM Slots: 4x DDR4, Upto 128GB
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Dimensions: 12″ x 9.6″ In
  • Memory Speed: 480MHz (OC)
  • Mounting: 9 Holes
Editor’s Choice MSI MEG Z490
Unify
  • Supported CPU: 10th/11th Gen Intel
  • RAM Slots: 4x DDR4, Upto 128GB
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Dimensions: 12″ x 9.6″ In
  • Memory Speed: 5000Mhz (OC)
  • Mounting: 9 Holes
ASUS Prime
Z490-A
  • Supported CPU: 10th Gen Intel
  • RAM Slots: 4x DDR4, Upto 128GB
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Dimensions: 12″ x 9.6″ In
  • Memory Speed: 4800MHz (OC)
  • Mounting: 9 Holes
GIGABYTE Z490
Vision G
  • Supported CPU: 10th Gen/11th Intel
  • RAM Slots: 4x DDR4, Upto 128GB
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Dimensions: 12″ x 9.6″ In
  • Memory Speed: 5000MHz (OC)
  • Mounting: 9 Holes
ASUS Prime
Z490M-PLUS
  • Supported CPU: 10th Gen Intel
  • RAM Slots: 4x DDR4, Upto 128GB
  • Form Factor: Micro ATX
  • Dimensions: 9.6″ x 9.6″ in
  • Memory Speed: 4400MHz (OC)
  • Mounting: 8 Holes
MSI MEG
Z490I Unify
  • Supported CPU: 10th/11th Gen Intel
  • RAM Slots: 2x DDR4, Upto 64GB
  • Form Factor: Mini-ITX
  • Dimensions: 6.7″ x 6.7″ In
  • Memory Speed: 5000MHz (OC)
  • Mounting: 4 Holes

A Quick Look At The Best Z490 Motherboards:

  • ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E (Best Z490 Motherboard For Overclocking)
  • MSI Mpg Z490 Gaming Edge (NeoGamr’s Pick)
  • ASUS ROG Strix Z490-A (Best Performance)
  • MSI MEG Z490 Unify (Premium Pick)
  • ASUS Prime Z490-A (Best Bang For Buck)
  • GIGABYTE Z490 Vision G (Best Underdog)
  • ASUS Prime Z490M-PLUS (Best Micro-ATX)
  • MSI MEG Z490I Unify (Best Mini-ITX)

Best Z490 Motherboard


Now, when you are talking about choosing the right motherboard, the process itself is not that difficult. But as you already know, I will be going over a definitive buying guide, too. But for now, we want to focus more on the reviews.

Therefore, I would like to start looking at all the best options that you can buy in this very instance, so you do not have to stress over making the wrong decision.


#1 – ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E


– Specifications:

  • LGA 1200 socket.
  • Intel Z490 chipset.
  • 14+2-phase power delivery.
  • Optimized thermal design.
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6 (AX201)
  • SupremeFX S1220A audio codec.

– Advantages:

  • Some of the best features in a motherboard.
  • Incredible value for money.
  • Great cooling.
  • Rear I/O panel is loaded.
  • The BIOS is easy to use.

– Drawbacks:

  • Memory profiles are only accessible in EZ Mode.

Asus is not a new player in town, and we are all well aware of that. The fact that they have been making great motherboards for as long as we can remember serves as a testament to that and how good Asus has become with their products.

The ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E proves just that and more; the Strix lineup was meant to be a more affordable way of enjoying some of the ROG features in a motherboard that does not cost as much, and it has paid off well, too. That is why we are looking at a great offering that is available here.

For starters, you are looking at a motherboard that brings some of the best features for the price you are paying. Not just that, the overall cooling of the motherboard is adequate, and well built, as well. Asus has paid good attention to the rear I/O, and you are getting access to a lot of ports.

One of the things that I always loved about Asus motherboards is their BIOS, and that is not any different here. The BIOS Is not only incredibly easy to use, but it is also intuitive, giving you the chance to set everything up right away.

For the features you are getting, the Z490-E proves to be an excellent value for money that is not going to let anyone down.

My only complaint here is that to access memory profiles, you will have to change the BIOS into EZ mode, which is not something everyone prefers.

– My Verdict:

Honestly, if you are just building a new Z490 based system and you want to be sure that you have access to a good motherboard, getting your hands on the Strix Z490-E makes a lot of sense. This is one of the motherboards that cannot go wrong in terms of value as well as the features that it brings to the table.


#2 – MSI Mpg Z490 Gaming Edge


– Specifications:

  • LGA 1200 support.
  • Intel Z490 chipset.
  • Dual-channel DDR4 memory supports up to 128GB.
  • Lighting USB 20G support.
  • Twin-turbo M.2 slots.
  • Onboard 2.5G LAN and Wi-Fi 6.

– Advantages:

  • Great value for money.
  • Stealthy looks.
  • Easy to use and convenient BIOS.
  • Runs without any stability issues.

– Drawbacks:

  • The features are only standard.

We all are aware of how MSI is no stranger to great motherboards. After all, I have been using their offerings for some time now, and their products have always been on par with what the other market is selling at the moment. MSI is one of the leading brands in the market, and for all the right reasons.

With that said, the motherboard in question today is the MSI Mpg Z490 Gaming Edge; it is one of the more affordable entry into the Z490 realm, which is a great thing because you are not diversifying and not spending all your money on a motherboard that you don’t need.

With that said, there’s enough to love about this motherboard, starting with the price. I was not expecting a motherboard this cheap to perform this good, but the Gaming Edge defied my expectations and then some. It works well in all aspects and does not let anyone down.

In addition to that, you are getting one of the stealthier motherboard options in the market with just the right amount of RGB lighting, which is not a lot to begin with. So, if you are on the conservative side of things, this is for you.

In terms of the overall performance and stability, the motherboard does deliver goods at that point, too. You are looking at solid overall performance across the board with great stability, as well. This is excellent, considering how affordable this motherboard is

With so much good about this motherboard, there is one downside that came to be. With this motherboard, you are not going to be getting access to the advanced features, and the looks on this motherboard are basic at best.

– Final Thoughts:

While it might not seem like right away, the MSI Mpg Z490 Gaming Edge is a home run in many ways than one. For a great price, you are getting a motherboard that is even better and can certainly compete with other options that are certainly more expensive than this one and without breaking a sweat.


#3 – ASUS ROG Strix Z490-A Gaming


– Specifications:

  • LGA 1200 socket.
  • 12+2-phase power design.
  • Optimized thermal design for better performance.
  • Onboard 2.5G LAN.
  • Dual M.2 ports.
  • Intel Z490 chipset.

– Advantages:

  • Looks excellent in white and black.
  • Great build quality overall.
  • Loaded with features.
  • BIOS is one of the easiest to use or update.
  • Great components.

– Drawbacks:

  • Having no Wi-Fi is a letdown.

Asus is not a company that shies away from great motherboard offerings. They have a long list of options available, and while it can confuse even the most informed buyers, it is the right way. By doing this, Asus is creating more and more options that are available for everyone to buy, and that is what makes them such a good company.

With that said, the ASUS ROG Strix Z490-A Gaming is on the table today, and I have to say that white motherboards are slowly becoming my favorite as this motherboard looks amazing. However, looks are not the only thing that we are measuring here. How does this motherboard hold up? Let’s find out.

I cannot help but discuss how good the motherboard looks in its black and white scheme; if you are building a monochromatic build, this is the motherboard that you should go for. However, that is not all; you are also getting incredibly stable performance, and you are going to get a wonderful experience out of it.

In addition to that, you also have access to Intel’s 2.5G LAN, and the USB BIOS flashback is a feature that I would expect from a motherboard of this stature. Needless to say, the performance is delivered across the board when you are looking for it.

In addition to that, I am commending Asus’ dedication to providing the best components for the price; the ASUS ROG Strix Z490-A Gaming uses solid capacitors that have great overall quality, so they are not going to let you down at all.

On the opposite side of things, my only issue here is that the motherboard does not ship with any Wi-Fi support out of the box. This seems weird at this price point, but somehow, Asus has decided against it, so it is important to take note of.

– Why This?:

It is safe to say that the ROG Strix Z490-A Gaming is a job well done from Asus; while it might not seem like the case right away, but you are still getting a motherboard that delivers on the excellent performance that also remains consistent across the board.


#4 – MSI MEG Z490 Unify


– Specifications:

  • LGA 1200 socket.
  • Intel Z490 chipset.
  • Wi-Fi 6 support out of the box.
  • Frozr Heatsink for active cooling.
  • Triple M.2 slots.
  • Dual-channel DDR4 RAM up to 128GB.

– Advantages:

  • Minimalist and dark PCB for those who want something colour neutral.
  • Great build quality overall.
  • Actively cooled VRM.
  • One of the best power-phases.
  • Great feature set with Wi-Fi 6 out of the box.
  • Separate audio chips for front and back audio.

– Drawbacks:

  • Complete lack of RGB is not for everyone.

The fact MSI motherboards have become the industry standard for a lot of people is something that we are definitely in support of. These motherboards have been around for some time now, and the best part is that MSI is continuously learning from what they are making, and that allows for some amazing motherboards offering.

The MSI MEG Z490 Unify is just another example, and I have reviewed this motherboard in one of our previous roundups. For anyone who is looking for a good experience, this is one of the best motherboards available that you can check out this very instance.

With that said, the motherboard offers a minimalistic, dark PCB design for anyone who is looking for a color-neutral build. MSI has improved their build quality over the past couple of years by a massive measure, so you are also getting access to that.

The fact that the VRMs are actively cooled is just another cherry on top here, as you don’t get to see them very often. The power-phase design is also great as far as stability is concerned. MSI has also included a hefty set of features such as onboard Wi-Fi 6 and separate audio chips for the rear and front audio jacks.

Honestly, my only gripe with this motherboard is the absolute lack of lighting, and while my system has enough lighting on its own, a lot of people might change their minds over this.

– My Opinion On It:

The great thing about MSI is that they are constantly surprising us with the motherboards that they have to offer, with the MEG Z490 Unify being another example in the long list of amazing products that MSI has to offer. It is not going to let you down in any case, and that is what makes this a great buy.


#5 – ASUS Prime Z490-A


– Specifications:

  • LGA 1200 socket.
  • Intel Z490 chipset.
  • Enhanced power solution with 12+2-phase power design.
  • Comprehensive cooling for VRM and PCH.
  • Boosted Memory Performance.
  • Intel 2.5G LAN.

– Advantages:

  • Great value for money.
  • Easy to install and use.
  • One of the best BIOS available.
  • The feature set is excellent for the price.

– Drawbacks:

  • Lacks some of the gamer-centric features.

At this point, you may have started noticing a pattern because I’m reviewing motherboards that are a lot similar or are by the same company. That is because the market, while it is not as saturated as some of the other markets, it only has a few players left, with Asus being one of the leading options.

The ASUS Prime Z490-A is a great motherboard for anyone who is not looking to spend a ROG level of money and still wants some good performance. That has been the case with the Prime series since the start; these motherboards are excellent in every sense of the way as they are more affordable but still deliver great value for money.

If you are looking for a great motherboard in general, this is a brilliant offering that will deliver top-of-the-line performance. But there is more; the Prime Z490-A delivers great overall value and is loaded with all the essential features that one would need without making you feel like you are spending a bit too much here.

In addition to that, the motherboard offers excellent stability in terms of overall usage, and you are not going to be running into any crashes of sorts that will hinder your experience. The BIOS is one of the best that I have seen, and it is still as easy to use as you would normally expect from in the first place.

Last but not the least, the motherboard is super simple and easy to set up, all thanks to how well-rounded the features are and how simple it works.

Honestly, my only complaint here is that the motherboard lacks on some of the gamer-centric features that have become a part of the gamer DNA at this point.

– Final Words:

While this cannot be called the best motherboard by Asus, it certainly is one of the finest, and that is what we need to know. The performance on all fronts is excellent and you will not be running into any issues.


#6 – GIGABYTE Z490 Vision G


– Specifications:

  • LGA 1200 socket.
  • Intel Z490 chipset.
  • Direct 12-phase power design.
  • Advanced thermal design.
  • Intel 2.5G LAN.
  • Realtek ALC1220-VB2 120 dB with Nichicon MW

– Advantages:

  • The VRM design is one of the most solid ones.
  • Great overclocking features.
  • Great overall aesthetics.
  • Excellent set of features.

– Drawbacks:

  • No Wi-Fi support.

We are finally looking at something, and this time around, we have Gigabyte visiting us. I’ll be honest, my first actual gaming motherboard was from Gigabyte, it was one of their Gaming series Z170 motherboards, and I remember being absolutely in love with it because of how solid it was.

Gigabyte has come a long, long way, and that is something that we are all aware of; and today, we are looking at their GIGABYTE Z490 Vision G, one of the motherboards that Gigabyte claims that it is for creators, but hey, don’t let that hold you back, as this motherboard still delivers excellent performance on all fronts.

For starters, if you are looking for something that you want to overclock to your heart’s content, this is the motherboard that you should be going for in the first place. The VRM design is solid across the board and works well without any hiccups. In addition to that, you also get solid overclocking support and features that make the overall experience all the easier.

Another thing that I love about this motherboard is how white aesthetics are being nailed here. Gigabyte has done a fantastic job here as this is undoubtedly one of the best-looking motherboards that you can buy, and that too, without a doubt.

My only complaint here is that this motherboard does not ship with any Wi-Fi out of the box, and that is not what most of us would want.

– Final Verdict:

It is safe to say that Gigabyte has a home run on their hand with the Vision G; not only is it one of the best looking motherboards available in the market, but if you are looking for something that has great performance across the board, this is the one that you should be spending money on as it is not going to let you down.

Granted, the lack of Wi-Fi is something that might come in the way of some people, but overall, this motherboard is excellent in every case.


#7 – ASUS Prime Z490M-PLUS


– Specifications:

  • LGA 1200 socket.
  • Intel Z490 chipset.
  • 8+1 power solution.
  • Proper cooling for VRM and PCH with hybrid fan headers.
  • Boosted Memory Performance.
  • Ultra-fast connectivity options.

– Advantages:

  • Simple, straightforward aesthetics.
  • Good performance.
  • Great value for money.
  • Easy to install.

– Drawbacks:

  • Not a lot of advanced features.

I’m finally getting to look at something different, and this time around, it is from Asus. Now, the reason why I said that it is something different is that so far, I have only looked at ATX motherboards, and that leaves us with a lot of great micro ATX options too. This one here is a micro ATX for those who are looking for something smaller.

Now, it is important to understand that the whole appeal of this motherboard is the fact that you are getting something smaller and convenient, as well. The motherboard has a very simple white and black aesthetic which has been popularized a lot in recent releases, and this one looks good, too.

If you are looking for something simple and barebones, this motherboard is great for that. I was most surprised by the stable performance that this tiny motherboard is capable of offering, and while I would not call it a hefty overclocking champion by any means, it still manages to hold itself together with ease, and that is what is important here.

The overall performance is great through and through, so you are not losing out anything here, to begin with. You cannot find a better offering in the micro ATX range anywhere else.

As far as the downsides are concerned, the motherboard is lacking on any of the advanced features, and this can dissuade some buyers from actually considering this motherboard.

– The Verdict:

If you are searching for a motherboard that is not going to cost you a lot of money, and you are not concerned with top of the line, groundbreaking performance, then the ASUS Prime Z490M-PLUS is surely something that you should be going for because it does deliver on all the fronts and does so with a great experience too.

Granted, it does lack some of the more advanced features, but for anyone who is looking for a good motherboard overall, this is a great offering that you cannot go wrong with at all.


#8 – MSI MEG Z490I Unify


– Specifications:

  • LGA 1200 socket.
  • Intel Z490 chipset.
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Intel 2.5G LAN.
  • Aluminum cover with an extended heatsink.
  • Frozr heatsink for better cooling performance.
  • Dual-channel DDR4 support.

– Advantages:

  • One of the best build qualities.
  • Great overall VRM design.
  • The high speed 2.5G LAN and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity are great to have.
  • Overclocking performance is excellent.
  • Ships with Thunderbolt 3.

– Drawbacks:

  • You are not getting a lot of USB ports.
  • The SATA ports are placed awkwardly.
  • VRM could use more cooling when overclocking.

I am finally on the last motherboard, and I have the revered MSI back with us again. But this time around, have decided to look at a mini ITX motherboard because over the past couple of years, these motherboards have become a lot more popular, with more and more people are looking at going smaller.

Now, the good news is that the MSI MEG Z490I Unify is the motherboard that you should be going for if you are looking for something solid and something that has excellent performance across the board.

The motherboard is giving you solid build quality, and not just that, the overall VRM design is one of the best I have seen in any motherboard that is available in the market, especially in this mini ITX category. In addition to that, you also have a high speed of 2.5GB LAN along with Wi-Fi 6 compatibility.

However, the one thing that surprised me the most is just how good this motherboard is when you are discussing overclocking. Why did it surprise me? Well, look at how small the motherboard is, and you will realize what I am talking about. In addition to that, you are also getting support for Thunderbolt 3.

With a great motherboard overall, I do have a few concerns. For starters, you are not getting a lot of USB ports to begin with, and the placement for SATA ports is odd at best. Last but not the least, if you want to overclock the CPU, you are going to need proper cooling for VRMs.

– My Verdict:

I know that for a lot of people, mini ITX is not something that a lot of people don’t really go for one reason or another, but overall, this is one of the best form factors for anyone who is looking for something that is smaller and does deliver fantastic performance across the board. I can tell you that you are not going to be disappointed by how good this motherboard is.


Best Z490 Motherboard For 10th Generation Intel Processors!


With all the motherboards out of our way, the next step is to start looking at the proper guide that will help you make the right decision because that is going to be an important thing to do here. Since for a lot of people, making the right decision is not easy.


Form Factor, Memory Support, And PCI Slots


Whenever you are buying a new motherboard for your PC, there are going to be a few things that you will have to consider before you decide which one you are going to go for.

Standard Motherboard Sizes

For starters, you will need to decide on the form factor because you will have to buy for the build. You can go for the standard-sized ATX motherboards that are the most common, but if you are looking for something smaller, you can go for micro ATX, but if you want something even smaller, you can always choose a mini ITX motherboard.

Next, up, you have to be sure that the motherboard has adequate memory support and enough PCI Express slots, so you do not have to worry about not having enough memory or expansion.


SATA Connections, M.2, And WIFI


Next up, when you are deciding on a motherboard, another important thing that you need to understand is that you are going to need to add storage to the motherboard. Now, most people use SATA only for mass-storage purposes, so it is not as important.

However, having M.2 connectors are important because you want to add faster storage at some point when building a PC. Normally, the motherboards that are available in the market ship with 2 slots by default but can go as high as 4 slots. In addition to that, you can always get add-in cards if you want to add more SSDs.

Showing the Sata ports of MSI z97

Last but not the least, having Wi-Fi is also an important aspect, especially in the modern-day and age where most people are shifting towards wireless connectivity.

All these things combined make up for a great motherboard, and be sure that you are checking these things before you go ahead and buy the right motherboard.


Decent Overclocking Potential


In addition to that, when you are choosing a motherboard, you will need to be sure that the motherboard has good overclocking potential. For that, you will need to be sure that the motherboard that you are picking up has a good VRM and power delivery design because these things are the most important.

Image of Three MSI Meg Motherboards

Again, a lot of the times, you can end up making mistakes in this choosing process, so it is better that you are being properly aware of the things, so you can easily take care of things and you will not have to worry about anything that might come your way.

Rest assured, once you have taken care of this, you will do just fine in the rest of the choosing process, and that is what I can assure you.


Expansion Slots & Storage


When buying a motherboard, you will need to be sure that you are going to find something that has ample slots for expansion. You are going to need something that you can add more storage like. Or you can add enough RAM or enough PCI Express devices. The choice is yours, really, and you have to keep that in mind.

Image of Asus ROG Strix z490

Most of the times, people don’t pay attention to this and completely overlook this factor, and it is better that you are not doing so. It would be unwise if you are doing that. Therefore, when finding a motherboard, make sure that it checks all the boxes so you can have a proper experience.

The point is to not end up with a motherboard that is not good enough, and you will be able to make the right decision.


Socket & Chipset Is Right


Last but not the least, when you are choosing a motherboard, you will have to be certain that you are picking the right socket and the chipset, or else the entire build will go to waste. The key here is to be sure that you are choosing the right socket and the right chipset because that is an important aspect.

Image of Gigabyte z490 Chipset

Rest assured, once you have picked the right socket and the chipset, the building process will become a lot easier and simpler, too. After all, these things are the ones that have to deal with the support process, and you will need to pay attention to this the most.

Once you are done with this, you will not have to pay attention to anything else, and you can just get the supported CPU and get done with it, which is what seems to be the most important thing.


Final Verdict:

If you are looking for a good motherboard, finding the right one can be a technical nightmare for a lot of people. Especially if you are not sure about what you want to invest in. The good news is that you can easily find the motherboard that you want to get your hands on by being a bit careful.

The purpose of this roundup is to be sure that you can find the right motherboard with ease. I have listed motherboards that are from almost all the price brackets that we would think about, and in addition to that, I even have a proper buying guide for you.

This guide will help you make the best possible decision when you are choosing a motherboard, and things are not going to come in the way, either.


Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – What is the best Z490 motherboard?

Honestly, all the motherboards that I have tested are amazing in their own right. It is all about choosing the one that you think is good for you and going with it.

#2 – Is the Z490 motherboard good?

Yes, the Z490 is Intel’s flagship chipset, so all the motherboards that are based on this chipset are great in almost every way.

#3 – Is Z490 better than Z390?

Yes, Z490 is capable of running the newest 10th generation of Intel processors, whereas the Z390 is only limited to the 9th generation of processors.

#4 – What is the best motherboard for i9 10900k?

Considering how Core i9 10900K is a flagship processor, you can use the Strix Gaming by Asus, or you can go for the Z490 MEG Unify by MSI. You will need power and a stable motherboard for the 10900K.

#5 – Is Z490 future proof?

Yes, Z490 is completely future-proof as many motherboard manufacturers are releasing BIOS updates to support the 11th generation of processors as well. So, you are good to go.

#6 – What socket is 10th Gen Intel?

The 10th generation Intel processors use LGA 1200 socket, and the same socket is going to be used when the 11th generation of processors are released.

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