You’re going to need the best Z490 motherboards to take advantage of Intel’s new 10th generation Comet Lake processors but with the flood of new hardware currently hitting the market, it can be hard to decide which one to buy. You’re already making an investment in a new processor so adding a new motherboard to the shopping cart as well is going to be a strain on anyone’s budget.
Fortunately, we’re here to help. We haven’t had a chance to test the boards ourselves, but we can help narrow down your search to the best Z490 motherboards for gaming, enterprise, or whatever your particular need may be.
Best Z490 motherboards at a glance
- MSI MEG Z490 Godlike
- Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Master
- Asus Maximus XII Hero
- MSI MEG Z490 Ace
- Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Elite
1. MSI MEG Z490 Godlike
For when you have more money than God
Form Factor: EATX | Memory support: 4 x 288 pin slots (Up to 128GB 2933/2666/2133 MHz DDR4) | PCI slots: 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x1 | SATA connections: 6 | M.2: 3 | WiFi: Yes | Bluetooth: Yes
Max memory overclock of 5,000 MHz
Built for overclocking
All that hardware can run hot
The MSI MEG Z490 Godlike is without a doubt one of the best Z490 motherboards out there. In addition to more slots and ports than you might know what to do with, the MEG Z490 Godlike squarely targets the gamer set with its customizable RGB lighting and OLED panel to make your gaming rig a veritable canvas.
For all its all of the bells and whistles though, expect to pay as much for this motherboard as you would for a midrange computer and all that hardware and lighting draws a lot of power, so invest in some serious cooling. If you’re buying the MSI MEG Z490 Godlike, you can almost certainly afford it.
2. Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Master
A workhorse of a gaming motherboard
Form Factor: ATX | Memory support: 4 x 288 pin slots (Up to 128GB 2933/2666/2133 MHz DDR4) | PCI slots: 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 | SATA connections: 6 | M.2: 3 | WiFi: Yes | Bluetooth: Yes
Decent feature-to-price ratio
Great for gamers on a budget
No PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
The Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Master is about as close to a workhorse motherboard as you are going to find. While not as specced out as the best Z490 motherboards out there, the Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Master does everything you need it to do and it does it competently, down to the customizable RGB lighting.
So, if you’re looking to build a gaming rig and you’ve go some money to spend, but you’re not swimming in coins like Scrooge McDuck, the Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Master just might be the motherboard to do the trick.
3. Asus Maximus XII Hero
A solid Z490 motherboard, but not the best
Form Factor: ATX | Memory support: 4 x 288 pin slots (Up to 128GB 2933/2666/2133 MHz DDR4) | PCI slots: 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 | SATA connections: 6 | M.2: 3 | WiFi: Yes | Bluetooth: Yes
Loaded with PCIe slots
Lots of cooling options
Needs lots of cooling
If you’re looking for the absolute best Z490 motherboard, you probably won’t go for the Asus Maximus XII Hero – but if you want a Z490 motherboard that will handle all but the most 1337 demands out there, the Maximus XII Hero will get you there. It has enough RGB lighting to satisfy the gamers out there who want to look the part as well as enough bus connections to put up some quality hardware to boot.
All that hardware means you’ll need some serious cooling though. The board features plenty of built-in options for that, but with the cash you save on this midrange board expect to pay it back in trying to keep it from running too hot. The Hero only comes in a WiFi model at the moment, but since it’s marketed as such, expect a non-WiFi model to be released at some point (and make sure you are buying the right one when it does eventually launch).
4. MSI MEG Z490 Ace
A solid deal for a Z490 motherboard
Form Factor: ATX | Memory support: 4 x 288 pin slots (Up to 128GB 2933/2666/2133 MHz DDR4) | PCI slots: 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 2 PCIe 3.0 x1 | SATA connections: 6 | M.2: 3 | WiFi: Yes | Bluetooth: Yes
Excellent general application performance
Decent overclocking potential
Not the best for gaming
The MSI MEG Z490 Ace isn’t as powerful or feature-rich as the MSI MEG Z490 Godlike, but for a mainstream system, the Ace is probably the best Z490 motherboard for general use. It has some overclocking potential and decent specs, but don’t let the RGB lighting fool you, this probably isn’t the gaming rig motherboard you’re looking for. If that’s not what you’re after, then the MSI MEG Z490 Ace might just be as good as it gets.
5. Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Elite
A Z490 motherboard for the rest of us
Form Factor: ATX | Memory support: 4 x 288 pin slots (Up to 128GB 2933/2666/2400/2133 MHz DDR4) | PCI slots: 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 2 x PCIe 3.0 x1 | SATA connections: 6 | M.2: 2 | WiFi: No | Bluetooth: No
No built-in WiFi
Upgrading to a Comet Lake processor means you need to get a whole new motherboard, so for those without a lot of money to spend, the Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Elite might be the best Z490 motherboard out there. Being cheap doesn’t mean it scrimps on features though, just don’t expect all the ports, PCIe, or M.2 slots you’ll find on more expensive boards and you’ll do just fine with this budget offering from Gigabyte.