Best Z390 Motherboard for Gaming in 2022

Alex | Last Updated On February 4th, 2022

Intel’s newest Z390 motherboards were designed to be compatible with their 9th generation Coffee Lake processors. Released back in 2018, Z390s are still considered top-class and some of the most powerful motherboards available in the market today.

However, I understand how difficult it is for buyers to ultimately choose one since there are so many options.

The best Z390 motherboard is the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra. This motherboard comes equipped with premium onboard WiFi and ethernet capabilities as well as an excellent audio chipset. Furthermore, it offers outstanding overclocking capabilities and a 12+1 power delivery system with efficient thermal dynamics. This is the perfect Z390 motherboard for all gamers and PC enthusiasts.

In this in-depth guide, I’ll discuss:

  • What factors to consider when purchasing a new motherboard
  • The best 6 Z390 motherboards
  • Why each motherboard deserves to be on the list
  • And much more

Let’s get started.

Factors To Consider When Buying The Best Z390 Motherboard

1. Socket

CPU motherboard socket, empty place

Z390 motherboards come with LGA 1151 socket support. For this reason, you’ll need an 8th or 9th generation Intel CPU that’s equipped with an LGA 1151 socket.

I recommend choosing your CPU before selecting your motherboard because the CPU is more impactful on your computer’s performance.

2. Form Factor

Form factor refers to the specific size and dimensions of your motherboard.

The different motherboard form factors are:

  • Extended-ATX: 12 x 13 in
  • Standard-ATX: 12 x 9.6 in
  • Micro-ATX: 9.6 x 9.6 in
  • Mini-ITX: 6.7 x 6.7 in
  • Nano-ITX: 4.7 x 4.7 in

In general, smaller motherboards have fewer slots and features.

Standard-ATX and micro-ATX are the most common motherboard form factors. So, make sure your computer case has enough space to fit the motherboard you’re interested in purchasing.

I recommend measuring or looking at the specifications of your current motherboard if you’re looking to upgrade your motherboard. If you’re building a new computer, check the case’s specifications to see what size motherboard it can hold.

3. Features

Modern-day motherboards can potentially come with a variety of different features. For instance, you can purchase a motherboard that has onboard WiFi and Bluetooth. So, keep in mind what extra features you’d like on your new motherboard.

4. Expansion Slots

Expansion slots, or PCIe slots, allow you to connect additional components to your motherboard. For instance, you can connect an additional GPU, network card, WiFi card, and so forth by using extra PCIe slots.

Depending on how you plan on using your computer, you’ll need a motherboard with enough expansion slots to suit your needs.

5. SLI/Crossfire Support

SLI or Crossfire supports on your motherboard allows you to support dual graphics cards. So, if you’re looking to boost your computer with two GPUs, you’ll need a motherboard that offers SLI/Crossfire support.

However, it’s essential to know that SLI requires the second GPU to have the same VRAM, GPU, and an SLI bridge. Crossfire motherboards only require the second graphics card to have the same GPU.

6. DIMM Slots

DIMM, or memory slots, allow you to install RAM onto your motherboard. The number of DIMM slots you’ll have available depends on which motherboard you select. Furthermore, the specific form factor you choose for your motherboard will impact how many DIMM slots are available.

For instance, standard-ATX have a maximum of eight DIMM slots, while micro-ATX motherboards have a maximum of four DIMM slots.

Top 6 Z390 Motherboards

Now, let’s dive into the list of the best Z390 motherboards available on the market today.

The Aorus Ultra is a pure performance motherboard that’s perfect for gamers or computer users who need a lot of capacity. The direct touch heatpipe allows for advanced thermal efficiency, and you won’t have to worry about the motherboard heating up. Also, overclocking is extremely easy and stable.

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Key Specs

  • Form Factor: Standard-ATX
  • RAM: 4 x 4400MHz DDR4, maximum 128GB
  • PCIe Slots: 3 x PCI-E x16, 3 x PCI-E x1
  • I/O Ports: 1 x HDMI port, 1 x USB Type-C, 3 x USB 3.1, 2 x USB 3.1, 4 x USB 2.0, 1 x RJ-45, 2 x SMA antenna connectors, 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector, 5 x audio jacks
  • Memory: 3 x M.2., 6 x SATA 3

High Level Summary

Gigabyte’s Z390 motherboard line has eight different options, with the Aorus Ultra sitting at the top of the list. Design-wise, the motherboard showcases an all-black PCB with silver accents. Although the colour scheme is neutral, the RGB lighting equipped onto the motherboard allows it to shine inside your PC.

Review

This Z390 motherboard has all the features you’d expect, but Gigabyte added many additional features as well. The Aurus Ultra comes with a built-in 802.ac WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0. Furthermore, it’s equipped with three PCIe x4 slots that all have M.2. heatsinks to prevent your M.2. drives from overheating.

The H-Fi grade WIMA FKP2 audio capacitors and Nichicon audio capacitors in the motherboard provide outstanding built-in audio quality. You also get an internal header on the front of your case that allows you to connect a Type-C connection.

As far as power delivery goes, the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra offers a 12+1 all-digital power phase design. In addition, there is an extra 4-pin which brings more stability to your processor.

Gigabyte has also updated their BIOS on their Z390 motherboards, and the new EZ BIOS Mode is perfect for beginners.

All in all, the Aorus Ultra offers a ton of value for its price point, which is why it’s ranked number one on this list.

What We Like
Great for CPU overclocking with efficient VRM cooling
All-inclusive software suite
Excellent thermal dynamics
Know Before Buying
Only average memory overclocking
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The Asus ROG Maximum XI Hero features a standard-ATX form factor, and the design is consistent with what Asus has always done with ROG. Everything comes in a plain matte black fill with a lot of brushed metal and premium looking heat sinks.

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Key Specs

  • Form Factor: Standard-ATX
  • RAM: 4 x 4400MHz DDR4, maximum 64GB
  • PCIe Slots: 3 x PCI-E x16, 3 x PCI-E x1
  • I/O Ports: 5 x USB 3.1, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB 2, 1 x PS/2, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x optical S/PDIF, 5 x audio
  • Memory: 2 x M.2, 6 x SATA 3

High Level Summary

There are also two RGB areas on the motherboard which can be controlled using the Asus Aura Sync software.

The CPU socket features a ten phase power design, which is more than enough power for 8th and 9th generation Intel CPUs. It also offers ample power delivery for overclocking. To deliver that power, it includes a single 8-pin and a single 4-pin power connector above the CPU socket.

In terms of heat dissipation, there is a lot of cooling features on this motherboard. There is a massive heatsink on the rear I/O, a heatsink at the top, and another one over the M.2. slot.

This motherboard has 4 DIMM slots and supports up to 64 GB of DDR 4400 RAM.

Furthermore, there are two addressable RGB headers, two normal RGB headers, one USB 3.1 (see also USB 3.0 VS SATA 6) gen1 port, two USB 2.0 ports, and much more.

Review

In terms of the price point for this motherboard, the Asus ROG Maximum XI Hero offers the best value compared to its competitors.

The number of features equipped with this motherboard is more than enough to satisfy most PC enthusiasts. There is great audio, heat dissipation, memory support, fan headers, and so forth.

Furthermore, I don’t think anyone will be able to max out this motherboard. There are just too many ports and features.

The Asus also comes equipped with built-in wifi and Bluetooth so you don’t need to worry about buying an additional network card. It’s one of the most consistent boards that I’ve tested. It’s idle power draw of only 56W was the lowest in the Z390 lineup. Moreover, the NVMe and SATA benchmark speeds were among the fastest as well.

The ROG Maximum XI Hero is an effective and well-balanced motherboard for any type of system.

What We Like
Great overclocking
Class-leading efficiency
Additional Asus features
Know Before Buying
Premium price tag
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The Z390 Aorus Pro is the best budget Z390 motherboard for hardcore gamers. A few of the core features include an Intel 9560 802.11ac Wave 2 WiFi module, an Intel I219-V 1 GbE ethernet connection, and a Realtek ALC1220- VB HD audio codec. So, this motherboard comes fully equipped with premium internet stability and sound quality.

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Key Specs

  • Form Factor: Standard-ATX
  • RAM: 4 x 4,266MHz DDR4, maximum 128GB
  • PCIe Slots: 3 x PCI-E x16, 3 x PCI-E x1
  • I/O Ports: 5 x USB 3.1, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 4 x USB 2, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x HDMI, 1 x optical S/PDIF, 5 x audio
  • Memory: 2 x M.2, 6 x SATA 3

High Level Summary

It comes with Gigabyte’s 12+1 power delivery and two efficient heatsinks that keep the motherboard cool under high-capacity tasks.

In terms of design, the Aorus Pro features the coveted Gigabyte falcon inspire design which uses black undertones and orange trim.

Furthermore, the Pro offers many RGB options with four integrated and customizable RGB zones. Even if you’re not using the Aorus Pro for gaming, it still offers a lot of value for the price tag it has.

Review

This motherboard sits below the Aorus Ultra in the Gigabyte Aorus lineup I discussed earlier in this guide.

However, the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro is only a little bit more expensive than it’s competitors at the budget-friendly section of the motherboard market. However, it justifies it’s slightly higher cost in strides.

Where this motherboard truly shines is the VRM design and cooling dynamics it offers. Gigabyte went all out to provide a budget-friendly motherboard with excellent thermal efficiency. It has VRM/MOSFET cooling with two aluminum heatsinks, 1.5mm thick thermal pads, a thermal heatpipe, and 8 hybrid 4-pin fans. These are each rated for a max of 2A current over-current protection.

There are also eight thermal sensors through the entire PCB with two external sensors. Furthermore, the motherboard uses Smart Fan 5 to control the functionality of the headers.

It’s equipped with ample PCIe versatility, great specs, and a multitude of different ports. Furthermore, it performs better than it’s rivals. It’s consistently faster in applications, better in games, and always near the top during benchmark tests.

Overall, if you care about excellent gaming performance, many RGB features, high frame rates, and fast storage, the Z390 Aorus Pro is the perfect choice.

What We Like
Excellent performance in all situations
Versatile, competitive features
Beautiful design
Know Before Buying
No debug LED
Awkward placement of USB 3.1 Gen-2 port
Uses more power than other Z390 board for clocking 
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The Asus ROG Strix lineup of motherboards are known for their premium features and functionality. The same is said for the Asus ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming motherboard. This is a high-end motherboard that leads the pack in multiple departments. However, the most standout feature of this motherboard is its incredible power delivery.

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Key Specs

  • Form Factor: Standard-ATX
  • RAM: 4 x 4,266MHz DDR4, maximum 128GB
  • PCIe Slots: 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 3 x PCIe 3.0 x1
  • I/O Ports: 5 x USB 3.1, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 4 x USB 2, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x HDMI, 1 x optical S/PDIF, 5 x audio
  • Memory: 2 x M.2, 6 x SATA 3

High Level Summary

The Z390-E offers a robust VRM design that is even capable of handling the Intel Core i9-9900K at overclocked settings. So, this motherboard is a dream for PC enthusiasts who are passionate about overclocking their computer components.

In terms of how it compares to its rivals at the same price point, the Asus Z390-E provides better RGB options and a more polished software interface.

Review

The Asus ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming motherboard offers a sensible blend of features and connectivity, built into a concentrated system that caters to the majority of PC gamers looking for a Z390 motherboard.

Performance wise, I have no complaints with this motherboard. Using eight cores at 5.1 GHz with cool temps and low voltage is no easy accomplishment.

With the new and improved ROG Strix lineup, Asus brings a multitude of different hardware level tweaks. The Z390-E Gaming motherboard includes ProCool sockets for its power connections, SupremeFX audio, and a UEFI BIOS that offers deep-dive capabilities or a simple setup all on one page. Furthermore, it has ASUS ProClock technology and OptiMem II for improved performance stability and overclocking margins.

I was able to overclock my Intel Core i9-9900K to highest degree compared to rival motherboards at 5071 MHz.

All in all, the Asus ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming motherboard offers a breadth of features useful for hardcore gamers and overclockers.

What We Like
Robust power delivery system
High RAM Compatability
Neutral styling
Onboard WiFi and Bluetooth
Know Before Buying
Mostly suited for mid to high-end builds
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The Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming is the first mini-ITX form factor motherboard on our list. This motherboard is perfect for gamers looking to build a smaller computer with premium functionality.

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Key Specs

  • Form Factor: Mini-ITX
  • RAM: 4 x 4,266MHz DDR4, maximum 128GB
  • PCIe Slots: 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16
  • I/O Ports: 2 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C header, 4 x USB 3.0, 4 x USB 2.0, 3 x LAN
  • Memory: 2 x M.2, 6 x SATA 3

High Level Summary

This board comes equipped with ALC1220A audio, Intel GbE LAN, Intel 9560 802.11ac WiFi, 4 SATA ports, and 4 fan headers.

There are 12 RGB LEDs located underneath the right-hand side that are controlled by the Asus Aura software. Even though they shine extremely bright, you can also add more lighting effects through the addressable RGB and Aura RGB header behind the VRM heatsink

I’m also a big fan of how modern motherboards like the Z390-I come with integrated shields. There’s also dual video outputs for anyone who wants to use Intel’s on-board graphics instead.

In terms of design, the ROG Strix Z390-I has distinctly evolved from its predecessors. The overall look uses a neutral color palette for sleek and modern look.

Review

All the features you’d expect from a high-end gaming motherboard from Asus are seen on the Z390-I Gaming motherboard.

The best part about the motherboard is that the performance and overclocking capabilities are as good as premium full-size motherboards.

Moreover, the only issue I had with this motherboard is how the USB 2.0 and HD audio connections are placed. They are located right between the PCIe lane and M.2. heatsink which makes for awkward wiring inside your PC. If you want to know how many PCIe lanes does M.2 slot use, check this article.

Overall, the Asus Rog Strix Z390-I Gaming motherboard performs extremely well for its size. The motherboard’s ability to overclock captured my attention, and I didn’t know that overclocking a system could be so simple.

Furthermore, instead of only making sure there was an increase in clock speeds, the AI overclocking feature resulted in a fully stable system that was able to run through stress tests. The motherboard was extremely stable throughout every performance test, and there weren’t any signs of CPU or VRM throttling due to thermal issues.

If you’re looking to build a new mini-ITX gaming computer, I highly recommend the Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming.

What We Like
Many RGB lighting options
High quality VRM components
High quality audio, WiFi, and ethernet
Integrated I/O shield
Know Before Buying
Only 3 phase VCore VRM
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This motherboard comes with all the features you need in an all-in-one motherboard. It has a Realtek ALC1220 audio chipset, dual Gigabit Ethernet and dual-band 802.11ac wireless from Killer.

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Key Specs

  • Form Factor: Extended-ATX
  • RAM: 4 x 4,600 MHz DDR4, maximum 128 GB
  • PCIe Slots: 4 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x1
  • I/O Ports: 2 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C header, 4 x USB 3.0, 4 x USB 2.0, 3 x LAN
  • Memory: 3 x M.2, 6 x SATA 3

High Level Summary

Before we dive into all the key details about this motherboard, it’s important to go over the MEG in MSI MEG Z390 Godlike. MEG stands for MSI Enthusiastic Gaming and this series is
equipped with the most advanced technologies.

So, it’s important to know that the MSI MEG Z390 is perfect for PC enthusiasts who want to build a powerhouse computer.

Review

Although the MSI MEG Z390 Godlike will make a dent in your wallet, you are getting a lot of features for your money. This mother is equipped with best in class VRM, excellent audio, great custom features, superb networking, and an additional streaming card.

However, most casual PC users won’t need even a fraction of everything this motherboard has to offer. So, if you’re looking for the best of the best, the MSI MEG Z390 Godlike is the perfect choice.

Keep in mind, the motherboard’s form factor is extended-ATX and requires larger PC cases.

What We Like
Ample PCIe connectivity
Incredible design and build
Excellent overclocking
Latest-gen Killer 1550 WiFi
Native USB 3.1 gen 2
Excellent audio
Know Before Buying
No 10 GB/ps ethernet
Storage performance
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Conclusion

Best Flagship Z390 Motherboard

Well there you have it. The 6 best Z390 motherboards for hardcore gamers and PC users needing a lot performance capability.

These motherboards are all towards the higher-end of the scale when it comes to modern PC motherboards. This is because more modern computer technology offers more features and capacity.

I hope you enjoyed this detailed list and are confident about which motherboard you need for your computer.

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