Best Z490 Micro ATX Motherboard

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With the recent launch of their 10th gen lineup of desktop processors, Intel confirmed the use of the LGA 1200 socket, meaning that it will be incompatible with older generation LGA 1151 motherboards. So, if you are interested in a 10th gen processor, you will need to purchase a new 400 series Intel-compatible Z490 motherboard, and if you are in the market for an mATX form factor, below we have curated a list of the best Z490 Micro ATX motherboards for your Intel 10th gen Intel processor.

The mATX motherboard form factor is an excellent choice since it is priced lower than the standard ATX boards, allowing you to spend the money elsewhere in your build. When choosing a motherboard, there are many factors to consider to ensure the best possible use case for your scenario.

Perhaps, the most important of these is the VRM or Voltage Regulator Module, which acts as a power supply by regulating the power input to the CPU. The more the number of VRM power phases, the better since the power input is more regulated, implying higher stability and better-overclocking capabilities.

Other essential features are support for high-speed USB and ethernet, M.2 NVME support for fast storage, a number of fan headers, and RAM slots. If you are an overclocking enthusiast, then a great VRM cooling solution will be very beneficial. Also, BIOS flashback is a useful feature in some motherboards, which would let you restore a corrupted BIOS. Continue reading for our list of recommended motherboards to choose from for your build.

Best Micro ATX Z490 Motherboards:

1. ASUS ROG Strix Z490-G (WiFi)

Key Features

  • 12+2 VRM Power Phases
  • Intel WiFi 6 wireless
  • Four-lane PCIe 3.0 M.2 slots
  • 2.5G Ethernet
  • 4x DIMM slots supporting up to DDR4 4600Mhz RAM

The ASUS ROG Strix Z490-G is ASUS’s high-end offering for the mATX form factor. Featuring a 12+2 VRM power phase configuration complete with high-quality chokes and capacitors along with their Dgi+ VRM, the motherboard is undoubtedly capable of overclocking the Intel 10th gen processors with ease. As far as memory is concerned, the motherboard has four ram slots supporting up to 128 GB of DDR4-4600 RAM, provided you overclock the system. The dual PCIe 3.0 M.2 slots allow for more expandability and RAID configurations with blazing-fast NVME SSDs. It also features customizable AuraSync lighting with 4 RGB headers included on the motherboard.

The onboard WiFi 6 with an antenna included and 2.5G ethernet allows for superfast internet connectivity, and the SupremeFX S1220A CODEC supports a plethora of audio options to suit your needs. There are two USB 3.2 Gen2 ports at the rear which enable fast data transfer speeds. ASUS’s feature-rich BIOS will make tasks like overclocking much more straightforward, and the RAM cache feature is excellent in allowing for speedier software load times.

The motherboard also features heatsinks for the VRM and M.2 slots along with support for two chassis fans. Being a high-end motherboard, it makes no compromise on the build quality with the best components possible to ensure longevity and the best performance. The price tag of $240 is on the pricer side but will serve you well if you can afford it. Consider the K series i9 or i7 lineup of the Intel 10th gen processors when choosing this motherboard as it will guarantee the best results for the mATX form factor.

2. GIGABYTE Z490M Gaming X

Key Features

  • 11+1 VRM Power Phases
  • Intel Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 Four-lane PCIe 3.0 M.2 slot
  • 4x Dual-Channel DIMM slots supporting up to DDR4 4400Mhz RAM
  • PCIe 4.0 Hardware Design

Gigabyte’s offering at a price tag of $160 offers a good value for what it brings. The 11+1 VRM phases, which include the low RDS(on) MOSFETs to ensure a lower temperature, will allow for exceptional overclocking. With the drop in price, one can justify the loss of WiFi 6 and 2.5G internet over performance, and the included Gigabit Ethernet is sure to be suitable for regular use. The motherboard also supports dual-channel DDR4-4400 memory up to 128GB. The motherboard has a single four-lane PCIe 3.0 M.2 slot for fast storage. Gigabyte has also provided 2 RGB headers for use with their RGB Fusion software. As for connectivity, there are 2 USB 3.2 Gen2 ports included for fast data transfer speeds.

Gigabyte has ensured board durability by reinforcing the PCIe and memory slots and a shielded PCB layer to prevent interference. VRM and M.2 heatsinks also keep the components at a lower temperature and increase performance. There is also support for three chassis fans and a pin for a water pump. Another significant feature is the PCIe 4.0 hardware design, which ensures future compatibility when Intel makes use of the element in future releases. Gigabyte also provides an excellent BIOS for overclocking the processor and setting the fan control curves. The Q-Flash Plus feature allows for a CPU-less BIOS update option. 

Overall the Gigabyte Z490M Gaming X provides a significant amount of protection and some amount of future-proofing for a considerable price and is an excellent option if you plan on using the motherboard with CPUs such as the K series of Intel’s 10th gen i7 lineup as it offers a good value when paired with them.

3. ASUS Prime Z490M-PLUS

Key Features

  • 8+1 VRM Power Phases
  • Intel Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2 Four-lane PCIe 3.0 M.2 slots
  • 4x Dual-Channel DIMM slots supporting up to DDR4 4400Mhz RAM
  • Reinforced PCIe slot

The ASUS Prime Z490M-Plus is a budget-oriented motherboard module. With an 8+1 VRM power stage configuration, the motherboard is equipped with the typical layout seen in conventional budget boards. The heatsink provided for cooling the VRMs is a bonus ensuring lower temperatures and some overclocking capabilities. Also, the Digi+ VRM is the same one found in higher-end motherboards. The motherboard supports DDR4 RAM up to 128GB and speeds of 4400Mhz. It also has ASUS’s OptiMem technology to improve overclocking and even faster RAM speeds. Two M.2 slots supporting PCIe 3.0 for fast storage are also present. 

The board supports three chassis fans with an additional AiO pump header. A single RGB header is present for use with ASUS’s AuraSync. The primary PCIe slot has a reinforced brace, and the reinforced solder joints around the PCIe and DIMM pins ensure longevity. As for connectivity, the board includes the standard combination of 2 USB 3.2 gen 2 ports. ASUS’s excellent BIOS again provides a smooth and customized overclocking experience with the EZ and Advanced modes. In the end, the ASUS Prime Z490M-Plus seems to be the best motherboard for a budget build. The best processor to pair this up will be the K series i5 and i7 of the Intel 10th gen processors.

4. ASRock Z490M Pro4

Key Features

  • 10 VRM Power Phases
  • M.2 Key E WiFi support
  • 2 Four-lane PCIe 3.0 M.2 slots
  • BASE Frequency Boost
  • Reinforced PCIe Steel Slot

 The final recommendation on our list is the ASRock Z490M Pro4. This motherboard is a great recommendation if you are working with the non-K series of i5 and i7 Intel 10th gen processors. This board comes equipped with 10 VRM power phases, which are surprisingly higher than the other offerings at this price point, which makes overclocking much more achievable at this price point. As for RGB, there are two LED headers and two additional addressable RGB headers, allowing for individual LED control with their Polychrome software. 

As for RAM, there are 4 DIMM slots, supporting speeds up to 4500MHz and 128GB. The board supports four chassis fans and one CPU fan, which is higher than the usual motherboards. ASRock has made use of its BFB technology to increase the base clock frequencies even for non-K processors for higher performance, though an excellent cooling solution is necessary. By installing a card in the M.2 Key E slot, one can make use of 802.11 ac WiFi connectivity, which is not available in other motherboards at this range. There is also the provision of heatsinks for the VRMs and M.2 slots to keep the temperature low.

The ASRock Z490M Pro4 is an excellent motherboard for this budget, especially if you are looking for performance gains from your non-K 10th gen Intel processors. For a budget of $150, the motherboard is a terrific deal, but keep in mind that it would be better off with taking the first two of our recommendations if overclocking is important to you.

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