15 Best Z490 Motherboards of 2020

With the release of Intel’s 10th gen Comet Lake-S Desktop CPUs, many are looking to upgrade or build a new PC around these new processors. If you’re one of them and want a good motherboard, we’ve curated a list of the 15 best Z490 motherboards below.

These motherboards all work with Intel 10th gen processors, and we’ll be taking a look at a few different price ranges so there should be something for everyone. Without wasting any more time, let’s take a look at the options.

Best Z490 Motherboards

Best Z490 Motherboards Under $200

1Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Elite

If you’ve built a PC in the past couple of years, you have undoubtedly heard of the AORUS lineup of motherboards by Gigabyte. The Z490 AORUS Elite is their option of a sub-$200 motherboard that checks all the boxes for a great experience with Intel 10th gen processors.

To begin with, this is an all-black design with subtle orange hints, and it does look rather nice. There are no RGB lights on it, which gives it an understated look – whether you like it or not is an individual thing. You do get plenty of heatsinks, though, including two on the M.2 slots, and the 12 phases digital VRM as well.

You have four DIMM slots, which is pretty standard, and they take non-ECC unbuffered DDR4 memory, which is also pretty standard. There is also Realtek’s 2.5GbE LAN solution, but there is no Wi-Fi. You can get the Z490 AORUS Elite AC for a small price difference, which is the same motherboard but with wireless capabilities.

Overall, if you don’t want anything too fancy in terms of looks, but want a reliable motherboard that works well, this is a great pick.

2ASUS TUF Gaming Z490-Plus

While it’s not a part of the much-loved ROG series, the ASUS TUF Gaming Z490-Plus is a very respectable motherboard, and certainly one of the best Z490 motherboards under $200. It looks nice, and it focuses on features that some of the competitors tend to neglect.

First of all, the entire motherboard has a pretty comprehensive cooling system. There are heatsinks on the VRM, the PCH, the M.2, you name it. There’s also hybrid fan headers, as well as support for the Fan Xpert 4 utility.

The VRM section is great, with 12+2 DrMOS power stages and a 6-layer PCB to ensure reliability and durability. Paired with the cooling we just spoke about earlier, it’s one of the best VRM sections on a motherboard in this price range.

You do get dual M.2 slots, one of which has a heatsink, as well as four DIMM slots, on par with the competition. What is a nice addition is Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax module, which gives you fast Wi-Fi. Paired with a 1Gb LAN, networking shouldn’t be an issue.

If you don’t mind the understated black look (which you can amp up with RGB), the TUF Gaming Z490-Plus is a great choice.

3Gigabyte Z490 Vision G

Even though Gigabyte advertises the Z490 Vision G as a motherboard for creators, there’s no denying it’s an excellent motherboard for everyone, at a price under $200. It covers all the essentials and comes with a few nice extras, too.

To begin with, you get a 12 phases digital VRM and a 50A smart power stage, which is an excellent solution as far as VRMs go. There’s also the fact that you have a VRM heatsink to help keep things cool, another nice addition.

While discussing heatsinks, you’ll also get two for the two M.2 slots, and they all come together to give the motherboard a pretty nice aesthetic. If you put it in a transparent case, it’s going to look nice.

Aside from this, you’re looking at four DIMM slots, which is pretty much standard for an ATX motherboard. There’s also support for SLI if you want to go that route, and USB 3.2 Gen 2. Networking is taken care of by an Intel 2.5GbE LAN chip, but there is no Wi-Fi. If you don’t mind this, the Z490 Vision G is an excellent choice.

4MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Edge Wi-Fi

MSI is pretty popular when it comes to bang-for-the-buck solutions, and the MPG Z490 Gaming Edge Wi-Fi is no exception. At under $200, you get a lot of motherboard for your money. And not only do you get a lot in terms of functionality, but it looks pretty nice, too.

To begin with, the all-black design comes with plenty of VRMs all over the motherboard. This also includes the VRM section, which is pretty well made on this motherboard, as well as one of the two M.2 slots that you get on the motherboard.

Memory support is anything but standard. While you do get four DIMM slots, just like with most other ATX boards, the MPG Z490 Gaming Edge supports up to 128GB of DDR4 memory, at up to 4800MHz, which is impressive, to say the least.

To add to this, you also have CrossFire support, as well as two M.2 slots, Wi-Fi 6, 2.5Gb LAN, and a pre-installed I/O shield. Overall, this may very well be the best motherboard under $200, bar none, especially if you like fast memory and plenty of it.

Best Z490 Motherboards Under $300

1ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming

ASUS’ Republic of Gamers has some pretty nice motherboards as part of the lineup, and the ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming is the one you would be looking at if you want to stay under $300. It does come with all the basics, and a few nifty extras, so read on to see if this is the one to go for.

To begin with, there are heatsinks pretty much everywhere around the motherboard, including the M.2 slot and the VRM section. The VRM section is pretty robust, with 14+2 power stages, and a ProCool II power connector to keep things under control, as well as durable capacitors that will remain stable even when pushing the CPU.

Networking is excellent as well, with an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 chip, as well as an Intel 2.5Gb Ethernet, so you shouldn’t have any issues here. The same goes for the audio, too, with a SupremeFX S1220A codec and DTS Sound Unbound. Add to all of this the Aura Sync RGB lighting, and addressable headers for more RGB, and you’re looking at an excellent motherboard that doesn’t cut any corners.

2Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Ultra

If you were to set a budget at around $300, the Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Ultra should make it to your shortlist. It’s got one of the best cooling solutions we’ve seen on a motherboard, and it comes with an impressive VRM section that guarantees reliability.

Speaking of heatsinks, the entire lower half of the motherboard is one massive heatsink. It cools the PCB itself, as well as the three M.2 slots you get with the AORUS Ultra. To add to this, there’s a heatsink on the VRM, and it’s one with cooling fins and a direct touch heatpipe that’s coated with nanocarbon. The short version of it is that it keeps the VRM cool and doing its job well. The VRM itself is a 12 phases digital VRM and it comes with a 50A smart power stage and an array of tantalum polymer capacitors.  

Aside from this, you get a few other “standard” features – four DIMM slots, Intel 2.5GbE LAN, and three PCIe slots that you can use, all of which have Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable Armor. All things considered, this is a really nice motherboard for people who use Intel 10th gen processors and want to overclock.

3ASUS Prime Z490-A

The Prime series by ASUS is always one of the best options for users looking for a black-and-white motherboard design, and that’s no exception with the Prime Z490-A. It comes with a black PCB and white heatsinks all around it, and it looks stunning. But, aside from the heatsinks that cover everything (including the VRM and PCH), there are a few other reasons to go for the Prime Z490-A.

The first one is the VRM section. You’re looking at 12+2 DrMOS power stages, as well as a 6-layer PCB, so reliability and stability should be no problem at all, even under load. Add to this the VRM cooling heatsink, and you’re more than good to go.

To add to this, you have the standard four DIMM slots that you get on an ATX motherboard, as well as an Intel 2.5Gb LAN solution. There’s no Wi-Fi, which is one of the compromises you’ll have to make. You do, however, get front USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C header support, as well as Thunderbolt 3 support, and two M.2 slots.

There’s a bit of RGB on the shield heatsink, and the PCH heatsink, as well as addressable headers, and if you don’t mind the lack of Wi-Fi, this is an excellent motherboard.

Best Z490 Motherboards Under $400

1ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero

The ROG Maximus lineup by ASUS has always been one that gives you quite a lot of high-end features while keeping the price somewhere in the upper midrange. The Maximus XII Hero is no exception, as it comes with everything you’d expect from a good motherboard, and then some.

To begin with, this is a great choice for overclockers thanks to the robust power solution. You’re looking at 14+2 power stages and a ProCool II power connector which maintains a reliable power delivery even when you’re pushing the CPU hard.

Furthermore, the four DIMM slots support DDR4 memory at up to 4800MHz when overclocking, something you won’t find on many motherboards, even at this price range. There’s also 5Gb Ethernet, as well as Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 wireless, as well as a SupremeFX S1220A codec to take care of your audio needs.

There is Aura Sync RGB on the heatsinks (which by the way, cover most of the motherboard, including the VRMs), and you get addressable headers to add more RGB. It’s honestly one of the best motherboards in this price range, bar none.

2Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Master

Sitting right below the top-of-the-line Xtreme, the Z490 AORUS Master by Gigabyte is an excellent motherboard choice for users looking to spend around $400 or less. It checks all the boxes for a good enthusiast motherboard, and it’s built really well.

Now, let’s be clear, if you’re looking for a flashy motherboard with plenty of lights and extras, this is not it. However, if you want a reliable motherboard with subtle looks and excellent performance, you’ve come to the right place. You’re looking at 14 phases digital VRM that comes with a 90A smart power stage and a VRM cooling solution with an array of fins, with a heatpipe coated with nanocarbon. The baseplate is also nanocarbon, too.

Aside from this, you have three M.2 slots with their cooling solutions, as well as USB 3.2 Gen 2, an ESS Sabre DAC to take care of your audio needs, and Intel Wi-Fi 6 alongside the 2.5Gb LAN solution. As you can see, in terms of functionality and performance, the Z490 AORUS Master is an excellent choice. If you don’t mind the lack of RGB, by all means, go for it.

3MSI MEG Z490 ACE

If you’ve looked at MSI motherboards before, you’ll know that they’re pretty much unparalleled when it comes to offering enthusiast-level features at reasonable prices. The MEG Z490 ACE is no exception here, as it comes with a few features you wouldn’t expect, even at this price range.

The first is the excellent heatsink situation – pretty much everything on the motherboard from the PCH to the VRM section is cooled well. The VRM section has a beefy thermal pad as well, and you’re looking at a MOSFET backplate for better heat dissipation, too. There’s even a fan to keep things a bit cooler, and the M.2 slots are cooled, too.

The second is the memory situation. Not only do you have up to 128GB of RAM as an option, but you can go as high as 4800MHz in terms of frequency. You do get three M.2 slots, as well as both LAN (2.5Gb) and Wi-Fi 6 so networking is well taken care of, too.

If your budget is around $400, and you want the most features for your money (and a bit of RGB), the MEG Z490 ACE is the motherboard you should go for.

Best Z490 Motherboards Under $500

ASUS ROG Maximus XII Apex

For people looking for the best thermal design on a motherboard, the ROG Maximus XII Apex by ASUS is certainly one to keep in mind when shopping. Even though this is a pricey motherboard, it comes with all the features you would expect from a good motherboard, and then some.

Let’s discuss that cooling solution for a moment. The 16 teamed power stages of the VRM do require cooling, so you have heatsinks on them, as well as a C-shaped heatpipe to help keep things even cooler. There are also heatsinks on the PCH, as well as a solid steel backplate to help with heat dissipation even more. Add to this the fan headers, and you’re more than set in this regard.

Moving on, you have DDR4 memory with two DIMMs, but you can have up to 5000MHz, which is quite impressive. There’s also support for a multi-GPU setup, as well as 2.5Gb Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6 for all your connectivity needs. Add to this the Aura Sync RGB lighting and addressable headers, and you’re looking at an excellent motherboard below the $500 price point.

Best Enthusiast Z490 Motherboards

1Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Xtreme

Sitting at the top of the Gigabyte Z490 motherboard range (with a price tag to match) is the Z490 AORUS Xtreme. It’s a motherboard that cuts no corners, but the price tag puts it out of reach for many. If you’re considering spending this much on a motherboard, let’s take a closer look at it and see whether you should be considering it.

The first thing we’d like to talk about is the VRM section. Not only do you have a 16 phases digital VRM and a 90A Smart Power Stage, but you’re also looking at a heatsink with cooling fins, and a heatpipe that’s coated with nanocarbon for better heat dissipation. The VRM section is not only reliable and durable but is also cooled rather well.

Then there’s the heatsink situation on the rest of the motherboard – the lower half is completely covered which helps temperatures and stability. There are also four DIMM slots for memory, as well as an AQUANTIA 10Gb Ethernet solution alongside the Intel 2.5Gb LAN. You do also get Wi-Fi 6 as well, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. It’s an excellent enthusiast motherboard for those who can afford it.

2ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme

If you’re getting a high-end motherboard, there’s no denying that the ASUS ROG range has some nice options. The Maximus XII Extreme is one of them, and it’s one of the best enthusiast motherboards you’ll come across, period.

The VRM section is phenomenal. You have 16 Infineon TDA21490 power stages, and they’re all rated at 90 amps. The capacitors are durable, and there’s an excellent extra-large heatsink to keep them cool, too. You do get additional fan headers for extra fans, as well as AI cooling that keeps a good balance between acoustics and thermals.

There are four DIMM slots, which is pretty much what you would expect, and you get four M.2 slots for all your storage needs. The Livedash OLED display and the Aura Sync RGB lighting allow for some neat personalization, and you can set up the motherboard just how you like it.

You do also get a SupremeFX S1220A codec to take care of audio, as well as 10Gb LAN and Wi-Fi 6. Oh, and you also have a fan extension card, as well as a ThunderboltEX 3-TR card in the package, too. A very good option as far as enthusiast motherboards go.

Best Micro ATX Z490 Motherboard

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-G Gaming

When you’re looking to pack as much functionality as possible in a compact motherboard, few options can give you more than the ROG Strix Z490-G Gaming motherboard. It’s a micro ATX board with a reasonable price and plenty of performance to boot.

To begin with, you’re looking at a pretty good VRM situation, with 12+2 power stages and a ProCool II power connector to keep power delivery stable and reliable. This keeps the entire system stable under load, too, which is nice.

We found the four DIMM slots quite good, too. Not only do they support up to 128GB of memory, but you can have it go up to 4600MHz as well.

There’s a heatsink on the VRM and PCH, as well as on one of the M.2 slots, so everything is kept reasonably cool. There are plenty of additional fan headers if you’d like to add more as well. Add to this the Fan Xpert 4 utility, and cooling is well taken care of.

Networking is great, with 2.5Gb Ethernet and a Wi-Fi 6 solution if you’d avoid cables. Add to this the SupremeFX S1220A codec that takes care of audio, and you’re looking at a very balanced motherboard.

Best Mini ITX Z490 Motherboard

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming

People who build compact builds, such as ones using a mini ITX motherboard, might be used to compromising in terms of functionality, just to get a smaller building. Enter the ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming motherboard, a mini ITX board that cuts no corners and comes at a somewhat reasonable price.

To begin with, even though few people will overclock a mini ITX build, you do get an 8+2 DrMOS power stages configuration with a ProCool II power connector to keep things stable even under load. The VRM section does have a heatsink, so keeping it cool isn’t an issue.

You get two DDR4 DIMM slots, and you can install memory at up to 4800MHz, which is pretty impressive. This is not something you see with many other competitive products.

Last but not least, not only do you have on-board Intel Wi-Fi 6, but you also have 2.5Gb Ethernet, so networking is well taken care of. So is audio, thanks to the SupremeFX S1220A codec, which rounds out this great motherboard by ASUS.

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