ASUS Prime Z490-A

MOTHERBOARD ASUS Prime Z490-A
FORM FACTOR ATX
VOLTAGE REGULATORS 12+2 Dr.MOS
MEMORY SUPPORT 4x / 128 GB
M.2 & SATA PORTS 2x, 6x SATA 3.0
USB PORTS USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C, USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
PCIE SLOTS 6x

ASUS Prime series motherboards are not changed too much since their release, and still, these boards are much targeted for professional use. The specific model we've there is the Z490-A which undercuts some of the ASUS Rog Strix series motherboards when it comes to features and comes at a slightly low price, making them a compelling option to consider.

No matter if you are building a cheap or entry-level build for office work or your first gaming build, this motherboard serves as a solid foundation for your build. This motherboard's looks are not changed much as it still comes in the same black-colored PCB with white heatsinks and circuits printed on it, which goes diagonally from one end to the other.

There is a shiny look on the heatsinks of this motherboard, and the integrated IO shield increases its value and aesthetics. Though still with all these things, it's not going to give you looks that other premium motherboards offer. But if you are building a white gaming build or a PC with little or no RGB lights, it's not going to look attractive in the build.

There are also RGB lights under the heatsink and on the IO cover of this motherboard which glows and increases its beauty.

The 12+2 Phase, Dr.MOS power design of this motherboard, gives smooth power delivery to the processor and offers exceptional overclocking potential. Storage needs for this motherboard are fulfilled by six SATA 3.0 slots and two M.2 slots from which the upper one has M.2 heatsink for heat dissipation.

You might miss onboard Wi-Fi on this motherboard, but interestingly it has a 2.5G NIC and M.2 E Key slot for M.2 Wi-Fi Modules. This motherboard's rear side has seven USB Type-A ports that include both USB 3.2 Gen1 and USB 2.0 ports, along with a Type-C port.

Long story short, if you are looking for an ATX motherboard for your budget build, ASUS Price Z490-A is one of the best choices to consider. Though, for some reason, if you don't like this motherboard, we have got an alternative to it from MSI.

Pros
  • Very easy to setup.
  • BIOS is easy to use.
  • Supports overclocking for Comet Lake CPUs.
Cons
  • Slightly expensive.

MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk

MOTHERBOARD MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk
FORM FACTOR ATX
VOLTAGE REGULATORS 14 Phase
MEMORY SUPPORT 128 GB / 4x
SATA & M.2 PORTS 6x 3.0, 2x
USB PORTS USB 3.1 Gen2/Gen1 Type-A & Type-C
PCIE SLOTS 4x

Those users who are willing to experience the premium overclocking power and a couple of other features for a lower price can consider the MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk. This motherboard seems a very appealing choice because of the affordable price and Meg MPG series like features. This motherboard’s core features include two full-length PCIe x16 slots that support multiple graphics cards configuration and two PCIe x1 slots. There are six SATA 3.0 slots and two M.2 slots and dual ethernet ports on the IO, but unfortunately, this motherboard lacks Wi-Fi 6, as found in MPG Z490.

Previously we’ve seen some black and red color scheme of the Tomahawk motherboards, but that doesn’t seem much attractive, though this one comes in subtly black and grey colored PCB and heatsinks. Also, there are few RGB lights and few straight white-colored lines running diagonally across the motherboard. This board’s processor is powered by an eight and 4-Pin power connector and has 14 phase design voltage regulators that offer excellent overclocking power. You can install memory up to 128 GB, which you can split across four DIMMs, and it also supports highly overclocked modules.

Six SATA 3.0 slots power the storage need on this motherboard, and two M.2 slots and goodness are that both have heat spreader. The networking on this motherboard is slightly better than others as it has both 1G and 2.5G Ethernet port on IO. The rear IO panel on this motherboard has a couple of USB Type-A and Type-C ports, including the USB 3.2 Gen2, USB 3.2 Gen1, and USB 2.0 ports. This motherboard also has two display output ports, including one HDMI and one Display port.

Unquestionably this motherboard is excellent enough because of its price to performance value and premium features. MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk has everything a modern gaming rig needs, and I’m sure it will never disappoint you with its performance. The only bad thing I found in this motherboard is moderate VRM temps.

Pros
  • Very affordable price.
  • Premium features.
  • Dual Ethernet ports.
  • Pair of M.2 with heat spreaders.
Cons
  • Moderate VRM temps.

MSI Z490-A PRO ProSeries

MOTHERBOARD MSI Z490-A PRO ProSeries
FORM FACTOR ATX
VOLTAGE REGULATORS 12+2 Dr.MOS
MEMORY SUPPORT 128 GB 4800 MHz
SATA & M.2 PORTS 6x, 2x
USB PORTS USB 3.2 Gen1/2 Type-A, Type-C
PCIE SLOTS 5x

The company itself targeted this motherboard for professional use and content creators because of entry-level features and, of course, the affordable price. This motherboard’s overall design is identical to the MSI x570-A Pro, but they revamped it with 12 phase design voltage regulators. This motherboard also lacks RGB lights and premium features like IO cover, Wi-Fi, and a lot more things. Instead of fancy looks, they gave this motherboard more professional looks, and the black base with heatsinks and grey accent makes it attractive. More interestingly, this motherboard comes with 2.5G NIC and a pair of M.2 slots with M.2 heatsink over the primary slot and four right-angled and two straight angled SATA slots.

You can install memory up to 128 GB with a clock speed of 4800 MHz, which is pretty good in entry level motherboard across the four DIMMs, and it excites the users. This motherboard supports multiple graphics card configurations as it has two full-length PCIe x16 slots with PCIe STEEL Armor on the primary slot and three PCIe x1 slots. The heatsink on the primary M.2 slot gives decent cooling to the NVMe SSD and allows you to run it at its full potential.

When it comes to overclocking the Comet Lake processors, this motherboard will never disappoint you, but the PCIe 3.0 slots might be disappointing for future Rocket Lake processors. This motherboard’s back IO has one USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C port, two USB 3.2 Gen1, and two USB 2.0 ports. This motherboard also has a pair of display output ports, including the one HDMI and Display Port.

Target as professional, but the NIC, M.2, and 4800 MHz memory support make it more premium and attractive. This motherboard’s good is its budget-friendly, 12 Phase Power Design VRM, and plenty of storage and connectivity options. While the disappointing things in this motherboard are one USB 3.2 Gen2 port, missing IO cover, no extended heatsink over VRM, and straightforward aesthetics.

Pros
  • 12 Phase Design VRM.
  • Very budget-friendly price.
  • USB 3.2 Gen2 port and header.
  • 4800 MHz memory support.
  • 2.5G NIC in the budget-friendly motherboard.
Cons
  • Only one USB 3.2 Gen2 port.
  • Missing IO cover.
  • No extended heatsink over VRM.
  • Straightforward aesthetics.

ASRock Z490 Extreme4

MOTHERBOARD ASRock Z490 Extreme4
FORM FACTOR ATX
VOLTAGE REGULATORS Dr.MOS 11 Phase
MEMORY SUPPORT 128 GB
SATA & M.2 PORTS 6x, 2x
USB PORTS USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C, Gen1 Type-A, USB 2.0
PCIE SLOTS 5x

ASRock has a few motherboard lineups, but the Extreme4 series seems to be features-enriched and comes at a very affordable price when it comes to value. ASRock Z490 Extreme4 comes with all of the basic features, but the premium stuff is only available in the Phantom or Taichi series.

This motherboard got some stable Dr.MOS 11 Phase Power Design VRM, which offers decent overclocking performance for Comet Lake processors. Another reason to consider this board is the 4266 MHz memory support and several USB 3.2 Gen2 ports. Also, two Ultra M.2 slots offer more transfer bandwidth, 2.5G LAN, and RGB lights.

The ASRock Z490 Extreme4 is an ATX motherboard; there are cuts on this motherboard’s edges, which looks attractive and unique. It comes with LGA 1200 socket and the Z490 chipset, which is slightly expensive than the other two but offers excellent overclocking abilities. You can nearly install any Comet Lake processor on this motherboard, and it will be compatible with Rocket Lake CPUs. Around the CPU socket, you will find the voltage regulators, as mentioned before, and 50A chokes with Nichicon capacitors and all covered with two large sizes extended heatsinks. On the top, there is an 8-Pin and a 4-Pin power connector. Also, four DIMMs lack a locking option on the left side, and next to them, there are a couple of RGB and fan headers.

An excellent design with PCIe Gen4 slots (Intel CPUs doesn’t support them yet) pair of M.2 slots with heatsinks over them, and plenty of other features. The downside of this motherboard is missing Wi-Fi and minimal USB ports on the rear IO panel.

Pros
  • Very attractive design.
  • Still affordable for its features.
  • PCIe Gen4 slots for Rocket Lake CPUs.
  • Will support 11th Gen CPUs.
  • Pair of M.2 with heatsink over them.
Cons
  • Doesn't have integrated Wi-Fi.
  • Minimal USB ports on rear IO.