Best Budget Z490 Motherboards: ATX, Micro ATX, and Mini ITX

With the release of Intel 10th gen processors, we also saw brands releasing their Z490 motherboards as well that are compatible with these CPUs. Therefore, we have reviewed the best budget Z490 motherboards, because not everyone wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a motherboard.

We will be taking a look at a couple of ATX options, as well as micro and mini ITX, so you’re covered in just about any scenario. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best budget Z490 motherboards.

Best Budget ATX Z490 Motherboards

1Gigabyte Z490 Vision G

Gigabyte has always had some nice wallet-friendly motherboards, and the Z490 Vision G is no exception. It cuts no corners, comes with all the nice things you’d expect from a Z490 chipset, and best of all, it has a reasonable price tag.

To kick things off, the Vision G looks stunning. It’s a black PCB with white heatsinks all across, and they look nice. The heatsinks cover the M.2 slots and provide cooling for the VRM section as well, which does help with stability when overclocking. They’re designed to provide better airflow, and they do give you better heat dissipation.

On to the more important things, this being a Z490 chipset, overclocking is important. Therefore, Gigabyte’s 12 phases digital VRM and 50A smart power stage makes an appearance here, to make sure things are stable and there are no issues.

You’re also looking at four DIMM slots for dual-channel, non-ECC DR4 memory, as well as two M.2 slots with heatsinks. The LAN section is decent, with an Intel 2.5GbE LAN chip, which will give you pretty good speeds when necessary. Oh, and the audio part is pretty good, with a Realtek ALC1220-VB2 chip to take care of it. Overall, if you’re looking for a good Z490 chipset that also looks nice, this is it.

2ASUS TUF Gaming Z490 Plus

Even though people seem to dismiss most of ASUS’s motherboards that aren’t part of the ROG lineup, the TUF Gaming Z490 Plus is reason enough to reconsider. At a reasonable price, you get a Z490 motherboard that more than covers all the important aspects, and then some.

To begin with, the motherboard comes with a simple, if not understated look. It’s all black and has two RGB lights and a couple of addressable strips as well if you want to add more. It comes with a couple of heatsinks, of which the most important is the one going over the VRM section, and the one covering the M.2 drive.

While we’re at the VRM section, you’re looking at 12+2 DrMOS power stages, and a 6-layer PCB, so it’s obvious ASUS did pay attention to this quite a bit. The Digi+ VRM adds a bit of durability and increases performance, while the heatsink keeps things cool.

You also have four DIMM slots, as well as a few other neat features, such as Intel Wi-Fi 6 wireless, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C front header that also supports Thunderbolt 3, as well as a Realtek S1200 codec that does miracles when it comes to audio. Overall, if you’d prefer an understated look and don’t need flashy lights, this might be a great choice.

3Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Elite

Gigabyte has a lot of customers who love their AORUS lineup of motherboards, and the new AORUS Elite just gives you more reasons to become one such customer. It’s a pretty subtle looking motherboard that even though it looks nice, it focuses on functionality rather than aesthetics.

The all-black design is pretty neat, and won’t be turning any heads. However, it also helps disguise the multiple heatsinks of the motherboard – there’s one for each of the two M.2 slots, as well as for the VRM section, which is rather nice.

The VRM section of the motherboard is one Gigabyte paid attention to – you have their 12 phases digital VRM, and the 50A smart power stage, which makes for a very reliable and durable solution and is a nice addition.

When it comes to the other features of the motherboard, you have four DIMM slots that take non-ECC, unbuffered DDR4 memory, as well as a Realtek 2.5GbE LAN chip. Audio is also taken care of by Realtek, with the Gigabyte AMP UP Audio that uses the Realtek ALC1200 codec.

The only thing missing from the AORUS Elite is wireless networking, but if you were to pay a bit more, you could get the AC version of the motherboard that does include that. Otherwise, this is a nice motherboard choice.

4MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Edge Wi-Fi

MSI are no strangers to excellent budget motherboards, and the MPG Z490 Gaming Edge is a great example of that. It checks all the boxes, but it also includes a couple of nice extras that you won’t find with many other motherboards.

MSI paid attention to the looks of the motherboard, and it shows when you take a quick look at it. The overall black design has a couple of important heatsinks where it counts, and it also has MSI’s Mystic Light RGB for those who prefer a shinier PC, too. The heatsinks help keep the M.2 drive and the VRM section cool even under load.

One thing that we found notably impressive is memory support. Even though you have only four DIMM slots, you can go with up to 128GB of RAM, and at up to 4800MHz, which is more than anyone else offers at the moment. To add to this, you have a very fast M.2 slot with a heatsink, and an additional one without a heatsink so you can add plenty of storage.

Last but not least, you also get 2.5GbE LAN, as well as Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax, which means networking is well taken care of, too. This might be one of the best Z490 motherboards overall if you don’t mind the understated look.

5MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Plus

When it comes to the most budget-friendly Z490 boards, we would have to say the Z490 takes the cake. It comes at a price that’s lower than all the other options on our list, yet it doesn’t cut corners where you don’t want it to. Nothing is lacking, and there are some impressive things that you get for this price, so let’s take a closer look at it.

The first impressive thing we must mention is the RAM situation. Yes, you get four DIMM slots, dual-channel memory, the usual. What’s not usual is the maximum of 128GB of RAM and the support for 4800MHz chips. That’s something you won’t find with many other non-MSI motherboards.

Then, you have the heatsinks that are all over the motherboard. They help keep crucial elements such as one of the M.2 SSDs, and more importantly the VRM section, cool. The VRM section is another one of the highlights of this motherboard, as it’s one of the most durable and reliable solutions out there. The digital power design also helps with overclocking, too.

Last but not least, you also have some of the more “standard” features – 2.5GbE LAN, Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax, Twin Turbo M.2 slots, and a pre-installed I/O shield. Overall, it’s an excellent choice for people looking to save a few bucks.

Best Budget Micro ATX Z490 Motherboard

Gigabyte Z490M Gaming X

If you’re going with a micro ATX motherboard, that doesn’t have to mean you’ll be losing features, right? Well, Gigabyte agrees, which is why their Z490M Gaming X is our recommendation for the best budget micro ATX Z490 motherboard.

To begin with, you have Gigabyte’s Direct 11+1 phase digital VRMs with DrMOS stages. This is an excellent solution, made even more reliable by the MOS heatsink that keeps the VRM section cool even when you’re stressing the motherboard. This makes for a quality and reliable solution in just about any scenario.

Furthermore, you’ve got four DIMM slots that take non-ECC, unbuffered DDR4 memory, which is pretty much on par with what you’d expect. There’s also a heatsink on the M.2 slot that will keep things cool, which is a nice addition. While there’s no Wi-Fi, you do get Intel GbE LAN, so fast networking shouldn’t be a problem.

The audio section of the Z490M Gaming X is also well taken care of, by Gigabyte’s AMP UP audio chip with a Realtek ALC1200 codec, and you get pretty good quality audio. Add to all of this the USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, and you’ve got yourself a pretty nice micro ATX solution that’s compact, but doesn’t cut any corners. Well, except for Wi-Fi. But that can be solved.

Best Budget Mini ITX Z490 Motherboard

ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac

Not everyone wants a full-size build, and if you’re after one that’s as compact as possible, you might find it hard to get a motherboard that doesn’t cut any corners and comes in a mini ITX form factor. When it comes to Intel 10th gen processors, the ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac is a great pick.

For starters, even though compact, you get two M.2 sockets, and both of them are covered with a heatsink which should keep things cool when necessary. Unfortunately, there’s no heatsink on the VRM section, but on such a compact motherboard, can you complain about that?

When it comes to memory, you’re looking at two DIMM slots, which is standard for this kind of motherboard. What is not standard is that you can go up to 4400+MHz (OC) with memory, much higher than most of the competition. You also get support for up to 64GB of memory.

The audio is taken care of by a 7.1 channel Realtek ALC1200 codec, which does give you pretty decent quality audio. You get 2.5GbE LAN as well, and an Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi module. While there’s no Wi-Fi 6, this is a budget motherboard and there’s not much to complain about.

Overall, if you’re looking for the best compact motherboard for your next mini ITX build that’s based on a 10th generation Intel processor, the ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac could very well be the best way to go about it.


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