Motherboard Shopping Tips

The Intel Core i9 10900K is one of the most potent processors right now in the market, but you can’t utilize the full performance of this processor without having a potent motherboard. There are some quick shopping guides for buying a motherboard, and they will probably help you pick the best motherboard for i9 10900K.

Socket & Chipset: The first thing you need to look at in a motherboard is the socket, as it ensures the physical compatibility of the processor. The only socket compatible with this processor is LGA 1200, while all of the motherboards with this socket come with a Z490 chipset if you are looking for premium options. The chipset connects different components attached to the motherboard, and if you own some premium chipset motherboard, you will have some overclocking advantage.

Connectivity Options: The connectivity options on a motherboard are not a must to check before buying, but you will not have any problem with a low number of ports and slots if you do. This includes the latest USB 3.2 Gen2 10GBPS ports, including both USB Type-A and Type-C ports. Also, the SATA and M.2 slots on the motherboard are essential to look like most of the time, users face problems because of a low number of storage ports, and eventually, they need to change the motherboard.

RAM & PCIe Slots: Another thing you need to care about the motherboard is the number of memory and the PCIe x16 slots. Some motherboards come with only two memory slots, mostly the ITX boards, while they only have a single PCIe x16 slot that doesn't support Crossfire or SLI support. So if you plan to install multiple graphics cards on the motherboard, you may need to change it and get some motherboard with more than one PCIe x16 slot. 

Budget: No matter what computer component you are buying, you always need to take care of the budget as the component doesn't need to be much expensive, and if it's cheap, you don't have to compromise on many things. Of course, if you are getting ITX motherboards, they will be expensive, and you need to compromise on many things. Also, don't spend a large portion of your budget on one component while ignoring the others or waste a lot of money on RGB lights or looks.

Gigabyte Z490 AORUS ELITE AC

Gigabyte has some premium motherboards like Z490 Xtreme and some budget-friendly options like Z490 Elite AC in their Aorus series. Both of them are well suited for Intel Core i9 10900K, but that depends on your budget and needs. The Z490 Aorus Elite AC has potent heatsinks over the voltage regulators, which offers exceptional overclocking headroom, but you might need some good aftermarket cooling solution for that. The networking side of this motherboard is powered by Dual-Band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and 2.5G NIC, which offers a great online gaming experience. 

The memory support of this motherboard is excellent as it has four RAM slots allowing users to install 128 GB of DDR4 memory clocked at 4933 MHz. There are two PCIe x16 slots where one runs at x16 mode while the other at x4 and thus results in a two-way Crossfire. There are two M.2 slots and six SATA3 slots, and luckily both of the high-speed slots come with their dedicated heat spreaders. The rear side of this motherboard has two USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A and a single Type-C port along with some other USB, Ethernet, and Audio ports. 

There are a few RGB lights on the black base of this motherboard which you can change with the RGB Fusion application to produce various effects with it. Overall this motherboard is excellent for a flagship processor like Intel Core i9 10900K, but a few USB ports on the rear side and the absence of Wi-Fi 6 also disappoint the users. The price of this motherboard is reasonable for the features it offers, but still, a price cut will be excellent. 

Summary: Entry-level Aorus series motherboard packed with potent VRMs and offers exceptional overclocking headroom for a reasonable price.

MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Edge WiFi

MSI Z490 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi was a premium motherboard and too expensive for any budget build, but if you are saving some money and can compromise on features cut down, the MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Edge Wi-Fi. Even though it's cheap, it still comes with premium stuff like two M.2 slots where one has its integrated heat sink, six SATA slots, Wi-Fi 6, Intel 2.5G NIC, and four memory slots that allow you to install 128 GB of RAM clocked at 4800 MHz. This motherboard looks much similar to the MSI Z490 Gaming Carbon, but they've changed a lot of things too. 

This motherboard doesn't have RGB lights except for a few lights underneath the chipset, but the heatsinks with excellent cuts and pattern printed give great aesthetics. There are two PCIe x16 and two PCIe x1 slots, and it comes compatible with AMD Crossfire in two ways. The BIOS of this motherboard is straightforward to use, and you can easily overclock your processor with it. Still, unfortunately, it doesn't come with a BIOS flashback button which means you can't easily recover the BIOS in case of corruption. No doubt it's one of the great motherboards that you can consider for your i9 10900K when you can't afford its expensive sibling. 

Summary: Cheap alternative of Z490 Gaming Carbon provides many similar features, but few are not available, overall a great mid-range option.

MSI MEG Z490 GODLIKE

When you have the Comet Lake flagship processor in your hands and looking to get a motherboard for showing off, there might be no other better option for you than the MSI MEG Z490 GODLIKE. Targeted for enthusiasts, this motherboard has excellent connectivity options and a great set of accessories, but it will also make your wallet empty. MSI has made this flagship motherboard compete with Asrock’s Z490 Taichi and Asus Z490 ROG Maximus XII Extreme by offering better price and performance. If money is not a problem for you and you are willing to push the Intel Core i9 10900K or i7 10700K to their limits, this motherboard is worth considering. 

The core features of this motherboard include support for 128 GB of DDR4 memory clocked at 5000 MHz, six SATA3 slots, three M.2 slots with dedicated heatsink for all of them, two ethernet ports on the rear, integrated Wi-Fi and a lot more things. It also has three PCIe x16 slots with PCI Slot Armor and allows you to install multiple graphics cards but are only compatible with AMD Crossfire. There are many USB3 ports on the rear side, including USB Type-A and Type-C and two Thunderbolt ports. 

The only downside of this motherboard is its price which is too much for a casual gamer and PC build, and also the E-ATX size reduces the casing compatibility of this motherboard. The fast 10Gbit ethernet port is exceptional in this motherboard, and the bundled M.2 expander also makes it compelling. 

Summary: MSI top-notch motherboard, expensive price, packed with many features that any enthusiast demands, not built for casual gamers.