Best Z490 Motherboards of 2021: Complete Reviews With Comparisons


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The most recent Intel Comet Lake and Rocket Lake desktop microprocessors will require the latest LGA 1200 CPU socket.

For such microprocessors, you will need the best Z490 motherboard.

If you are upgrading from a 10th generation Intel CPU to an 11th generation replacement, chances are you already have the Z490 chipset on your existing motherboard.

However, if you upgrade from a 9th gen to a 10th gen, you might have to replace your LGA 1151 socket motherboard with one of the newer Z490 boards.

To make things smoother for you with a Z490 replacement, we have compiled five top-ranking options with the LGA 1200 socket.

Comparison Chart

Gigabyte Z490 Vision G Motherboard

ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac Motherboard

Asus ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming Motherboard

Asus Prime Z490-A Motherboard

MSI MEG Z490 Godlike Gaming Motherboard

Best Z490 Motherboard Reviews

1. Gigabyte Z490 Vision G Motherboard

If you are looking for an affordable board equipped with features for content creation, the Gigabyte Z490 Vision G motherboard is an excellent choice.

Additionally, the Gigabyte Z490 Vision G can be a solid foundation for creating a Z490-based computer system.

Review

Gigabyte brings forward its Vision series motherboards for content creators, video editors, and music producers.

The Z490 Vision G motherboard is a no-compromise board that provides excellent stability and functionality.

If you are a creator, this motherboard can provide you with a platform to work quickly and efficiently.

The Z490 Vision G is the budget-friendly choice among the Gigabyte Vision Series motherboards.

Go for the more expensive Vision D if you need built-in Wi-Fi, Thunderbolt 3 ports, and additional RGB lighting connectors with Vision G’s features.

  • Memory, Expansion, and Storage Interfaces

The Gigabyte Z490 Vision G has four memory slots capable of holding up to 128GB of system memory.

Memory overclocking speeds can reach up to 5000MHz with any of the 10th Gen Intel i9 and i7 processors.

For expansion options, the Vision G motherboard has three PCIe x16 slots and two PCIe x1 slots.

The three x16 slots run at x16, x8, and x4 lanes, respectively.

The Vision G allows multiple graphics cards using the expansion slots.

You can choose to have 2-Way NVIDIA SLI, AMD Quad-GPU CrossFire, NVIDIA Quad-GPU SLI, or 2-Way AMD CrossFire.

The storage interface on the Gigabyte Z490 Vision G allows two M/2 connections and six SATA 6Gbps storage devices.

  • Other Connectors

The motherboard provides five USB 3.2 Gen2 ports, six USB 3.2 Gen1 ports, and two USB 2.0 ports.

You can connect peripheral cooling devices using three system fan headers and a water cooling CPU fan header.

You can install RGB lighting strips or connect RGB fans using the two addressable RGB headers and two 4-pin RGB headers for aesthetics.

Other input and output devices on the rear panel include a PS/2 serial port, a DisplayPort, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port, and six audio jacks.

Additional internal connectors allow a CMOS jumper, a TPM header, and two Thunderbolt add-in card connectors.

PROS

  • Creator-focused board
  • ATX form-factor with well-balanced sockets
  • One of the more affordable options
  • Exceptional power delivery and heat dissipation
  • Elegant white, silver, and purple color scheme

CONS

  • No built-in Wi-Fi adapter
  • Some may not like the board’s overall design
  • Sits on the lower end of the Gigabyte Vision lineup

2. ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac Motherboard

If an ATX motherboard is too big for you, you should check out the ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac motherboard.

It has a mini-ITX form factor that makes it an excellent choice for smaller PC builds.

However, the ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac is a bit more expensive than the Gigabyte Z490 Vision G.

Since it sits at a higher price point, you can expect some extra features that are not available on the ATX Vision G.

Review

The ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac works well under stock speeds and light overclocking based on our test runs.

With a motherboard like this one, you won’t need a large, bulky computer enclosure.

It offers everything you need on a small circuit board, and it does away without multiple expansion slots.

The built-in Wi-Fi adapter is a plus.

While the motherboard is compatible with the latest 10th Gen Intel Core processors, the built-in Wi-Fi does not have the best available features.

By the time you need an upgrade in wireless connectivity, you have to replace the entire motherboard.

  • Memory, Expansion, and Storage Interfaces

With its mini-ITX form factor, the ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac motherboard only has two memory slots with a maximum capacity of 64GB.

Another downside of the small size of the ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac motherboard is the reduced number of expansion slots.

The board only has a single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot running along the bottom edge of the board.

As such, you would not find any multi-graphics support on this motherboard.

Finally, storage connectors only allow four SATA 6Gbps connections in addition to the two M.2 slots.

  • Other Connectors

If you look at the rear I/O panel, you will find the two antenna ports for the built-in Wi-Fi.

Internal connections allow one addressable RGB header, one 4-pin RGB header, one CPU fan, and two system fans.

You will find four USB 3.2 Gen2 ports, two USB 3.2 Gen1 ports, and two USB 2.0 ports.

Additionally, the rear panel includes a single legacy PS/2 port, an HDMI port, a DisplayPort, two Ethernet ports, and three audio jacks.

PROS

  • Mini-ITX form factor enables compact builds
  • With built-in dual bandwidth Wi-Fi
  • Very stable motherboard
  • Pairs well with an Intel 10600 CPU
  • One of the cheapest Z490 mini-ITX motherboards

CONS

  • Reduced sockets and connectors
  • Only two memory slots
  • Other boards in the same price range have more features
  • Does not have a VRM thermostat

3. Asus ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming Motherboard

Like the ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac, the Asus ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming motherboard has the mini-ITX form factor.

You can also use it to create a smaller build with a 10th Gen Intel Core processor.

The Asus ROG brand carries more popularity than similar ASRock products, and it costs a little bit more than the latter.

With the small price jump from the ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac, the Asus ROG Strix Z490-I offers the latest wireless connectivity features.

Review

The Asus ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming motherboard has an Intel I225-V 2.5Gb Ethernet adapter with Asus LANGuard.

With it, you can expect to have reliable wired connections.

This motherboard also offers the best components for wireless connectivity.

It sports an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201, which is capable of supporting maximum data rates of 2.4Gbps.

In addition to high-end Wi-Fi, the Asus ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming motherboard has the latest in Bluetooth connectivity.

  • Memory, Expansion, and Storage Interfaces

The memory, expansion, and storage connectors on the Asus ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming motherboard are pretty much similar to those on the ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac.

The Asus ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming has two memory module sockets that can hold up to 64GB of system RAM.

Using a 10th Gen Intel Core i9 or i7 CPU, this motherboard can run memory speeds up to 4800MHz.

Since the Asus ROG Strix Z490-I is a gaming motherboard, it would be best to use the single PCIe 3.0 x16 expansion slot for a high-quality graphics card.

With only one expansion slot, multi-graphics is also not an option with this motherboard.

The storage interfaces on the Asus ROG Strix Z490-I only allow four SATA 6Gbps storage devices and two M.2 sockets.

  • Other Connectors

The rear panel of the Asus ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming motherboard has three audio jacks, one DisplayPort, one HDMI, an Ethernet jack, and an Asus Wi-Fi module.

Internal connections allow one CPU fan, two system fans, one Aura RGB strip, and one addressable LED strip.

USB connectors include two USB 3.2 Gen1, four USB 3.2 Gen2, and two USB 2.0.

PROS

  • Mini-ITX form factor allows smaller builds
  • Offers the latest Wi-Fi 6 specs
  • Carries the high-end ROG brand from Asus
  • Gives everything you need in a small motherboard
  • User-friendly UEFI BIOS

CONS

  • Fewer expansion options
  • One of the more expensive options
  • Max 64GB RAM

4. Asus Prime Z490-A Motherboard

If you want a good value full-size motherboard with a Z490 chipset, Asus offers the Prime Z490-A motherboard.

It has an ATX form factor, which means it has enough space for more memory and expansion slots.

Like the Gigabyte Z490 Vision G, the Asus Prime Z490-A motherboard is a stable ATX board for building a 10th Gen Intel Core system.

Unlike the ROG models, Asus created this motherboard to attract a more professional audience.

Review

The Asus Prime Z490-A motherboard is a perfect board for those seeking to build a system that can offer powerful productivity.

Nevertheless, it would work fine as the baseboard of a gaming computer.

The Asus Prime Z490-A is a black circuit board with white and silver features covering the heatsinks.

While the board does not offer built-in wireless connectivity, it has enough expansion slots to support graphics cards and a Wi-Fi adapter.

  • Memory, Expansion, and Storage Interfaces

Unlike the mini-ITX boards presented here, the Asus Prime Z490-A boasts four DDR4 slots for memory modules.

These slots can hold up to 128GB of system memory, and overclocking speeds can reach up to 4800MHz.

The board offers three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and three PCIe 3.0 x1 slots.

The first two x16 slots run at x8 lanes if used simultaneously.

To use all 16 lanes for a connection, you can only use one of the top x16 slots.

The third x16 slot only runs maximum at x4 lanes.

With the multiple x16 slots, you can run more than one graphics card using NVIDIA 2-Way SLI or AMD 3-Way CrossFireX.

The ATX form factor Asus Prime Z490-A also allows up to six SATA storage drives running at 6Gbps.

Additionally, the board has two M.2 slots for PCIe 3.0 storage devices.

  • Other Connectors

The Asus Prime Z490-A allows up to 15 USB ports, eight on the rear and seven on the front panel of your computer.

The rear panel USB ports include four USB 3.2 Gen2, two USB 3.2 Gen1, and two USB 2.0.

On the other hand, the front panel allows up to four USB 2.0, two USB 3.2 Gen1, and one USB 3.2 Gen2.

The rear panel also carries an Intel I225-V 2.5Gb Ethernet port, a DisplayPort, an HDMI, five audio jacks, and an optical S/PDIF out port.

Internal connections include two CPU fan headers, two system fan headers, one pump header, two addressable Gen 2 lighting headers, and two Aura RGB strip headers.

PROS

  • One of the cheaper options
  • Standard ATX form factor fits most PC towers
  • Multiple expansion slots allow graphics cards and a Wi-Fi module
  • More storage options than the mini-ITX boards
  • Offers up to 15 USB ports

CONS

  • There are better boards in the same price range
  • Doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi

5. MSI MEG Z490 Godlike Gaming Motherboard

Some of you might want to go over the top with a Z490-based platform.

In that case, the E-ATX type of form factor MSI MEG Z490 Godlike is one of the cheaper enthusiast-grade motherboards.

While other top-level large form factor motherboards cost way above 1000 bucks, the MSI MEG Z490 won’t even break that mark.

Of course, it is the most expensive option on this list, but it packs in more power and pizazz than any of the other boards here.

Review

Among the options here, the MSI MEG Z490 presents the best board design.

Its massive heatsinks make heat dissipation effortless while adding to the overall handsome looks of the board.

The board boasts outstanding cooling solutions, improved stability, and unlimited connectivity.

It carries two Thunderbolt3 ports, a Realtek 2.5G LAN controller, an Aquantia AQC107 10G LAN controller, and an Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 adapter.

The Wi-Fi adapter is also capable of supporting Bluetooth 5.1.

  • Memory, Expansion, and Storage Interfaces

While many more expensive E-ATX motherboards have up to eight memory slots, the MSI MEG Z490 only has four DDR4 memory slots that can hold up to 128GB RAM.

The larger E-ATX doesn’t seem to add much to expansion options.

Its three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots can run either at x16/ x0/ x4 or at x8/ x8/ x4 mode.

The heatsinks covering up the areas surrounding the expansion slots allow only a single PCIe 3.0 x1 slot.

With the three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, you can use multiple graphics cards using either 3-Way AMD CrossFire or 2-Way NVIDIA SLI.

Aside from the massive heatsinks, another advantage of the larger form factor is the extensive storage interface.

In addition to six SATA 6Gbps, the board has three M.2 slots, two of which support SATA and PCIe 3.0 x4 connections.

  • Other Connectors

The rear panel has a Clear CMOS button, a Flash BIOS button, a PS/2 port, two Ethernet ports, two Wi-Fi antenna connectors, and two Thunderbolt3 ports.

It also holds five audio jacks and a S/PDIF Out port.

Internal connections allow a CPU fan, a water pump, a Water Flow connector, and eight system fans.

With all of these cooling options, you won’t have to worry about cooling your PC.

The board also offers extensive RGB lighting features.

It has one 4-pin RGB header, two addressable LED connectors, and one CORSAIR LED header.

While the rear panel has two USB 2.0, four USB 3.2 Gen1, and two USB 3.2 Gen2, internal connections allow up to four USB 2.0, four USB 3.1 Gen1, and one USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C.

PROS

  • Enthusiast-grade motherboard
  • Extensive power stages complement large form factor
  • Remarkable board design
  • Has the latest Wi-Fi 6 specs
  • Includes two Thunderbolt 3 ports

CONS

  • May require an extra-large PC enclosure
  • Most expensive among the options
  • More than twice as expensive as any of the alternatives
  • Other E-ATX boards have more memory slots

Final Recommendation

To wrap things up, the best Z490 motherboard on this shortlist is notably the Asus Prime Z490-A if you want to keep things within a very friendly budget.

It has all the connections for a complete system, and it doesn’t even break the bank.

However, if you want to go way over the top, you can save on the MSI MEG Z490 and still get the best CPU, memory modules, GPUs, and storage devices.

These two motherboards can advance you to the 10th Gen Intel Core processors if you try to shift from any of the Z370 platforms.