Finest Intel Motherboards: November 2020

In our collection of motherboards consumers guides, here is the most recent replace to our listing of really helpful Intel motherboards. All numbers within the textual content are up to date to mirror pricing on the time of writing.

Finest Intel Motherboards: November 2020

Shifting into the vacation season for a lot of, Intel just lately unveiled particulars about its Rocket Lake (eleventh Gen) processors set to come back out in Q1 2020. With it should come a brand new wave of 500-series motherboards, and hopefully affirmation from distributors about which fashions will assist PCIe 4.0 natively. This implies we will be in a little bit of a mixture in relation to 400-series vs 500-series, and it’ll all depend upon how the 500-series is rolled out to the market and what kind of pleasure there shall be as Intel strikes down from 10 cores on the high-end to eight cores. Nonetheless, at current we’ve to deal with the present choice of Z490 motherboards for fanatics and efficiency customers trying to construct a brand new Intel-based desktop system. 

Listed below are our selections within the motherboard marketplace for Intel. For AMD suggestions, head on over to our AMD information. That is normally up to date month-to-month.











Intel Motherboards Suggestions

November 2020
Motherboard Amazon Newegg MSRP
Intel ‘Cash is not any Object’ Motherboard 
MSI MEG Z490 Godlike $719 $719 $750
Intel ‘Clear Mixture of Value/Options’ Motherboard
GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Extremely $270 $270 $300
Intel Worth Motherboard
MSI Z490-A Professional $160 $160 $160
Favourite Intel Mini-ITX Motherboard
ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 $270 $270 $280

Our suggestions for motherboards are primarily based completely on private {and professional} opinion. There are notably numerous totally different motherboards throughout the Intel chipsets together with B460, Z490, and the workstation centered W480 chipset. I’ve chosen my high 4 picks primarily based on the 4 market segments, whatever the chipset. We’ve thought of Intel’s HEDT X299 chipset, however we really feel this platform would not characterize worth for cash since HEDT customers sometimes have stricter necessities. We, nevertheless, might contemplate a workstation-based section in future guides if there may be sufficient curiosity from our readers.

The impact of Coronavirus on the motherboard market as a complete has been sadly chaotic, with pricing and inventory ranges on each motherboards and processors remaining sporadic. This has been a a lot greater subject for AMD chipsets reminiscent of X570, with assist for a number of households of processors, whereas Intel chipsets reminiscent of Z490, fashions have remained pretty accessible over the past couple of months. Regardless of this, Coronavirus has had a detrimental impression on {hardware} availability throughout the map, with key occasions reminiscent of CES 2021 transferring to an online-only format. 

Intel has introduced that its Rocket Lake processors shall be accessible in Q1 2021, which incorporates official assist for PCIe 4.0. Fairly a variety of Z490 fashions embody PCIe 4.0 re-drivers and exterior clock turbines, which distributors have been promoting for the reason that launch of Z490. This implies Rocket Lake shall be on the identical socket as Comet Lake (LGA1200), though Intel will launch a brand new 500-series chipset. Customers must purchase these to make sure full assist.

Intel additionally made additional bulletins as to the Rocket Lake particulars: 

For Intel’s newest tenth Era Comet Lake processors which are at present available on the market, nevertheless, inventory and provide have been considerably impacted. The market is awash with its new LGA 1200 socket processors, together with B460, H460, Z490, and the W480 chipsets, amongst others. The entire above has been taken into nice consideration for our November 2020 motherboard information for our Intel-based alternatives, though given Intel hasn’t unveiled any new chipsets, nor has distributors made appreciable reductions on present motherboards, we have opted for a similar picks as we made in October, as nothing has modified. Even monitoring the pricing of motherboards outdoors of flash within the pan offers, pricing stays constant throughout the panorama of Z490 fashions.

One other factor to notice is November does embody the Black Friday gross sales occasion at taking part retailers reminiscent of Amazon. Our costs inside this information don’t mirror Black Friday occasion pricing, as it will possibly change hourly, so we have centered on core pricing with out offers added. We do advocate to maintain a watch out for different fashions on provide, maybe from the next worth level with a major discount. An important factor to think about is options to cost, in addition to energy supply, which with a little analysis and cross-referencing from our chipset overviews listed beneath, will help slim boards right down to a characteristic to go well with a selected consumer’s wants.

For customers searching for different choices, we have additionally gone over a number of chipset households as effectively within the hyperlinks beneath.

Finest Intel Motherboard: Cash Is No Object

MSI MEG Z490 Godlike ($719 at Amazon/$719 at Newegg)

The premium chipset from Intel is the Z490 chipset, which is analogous in specs to the earlier Z390 chipset, however distributors have carried out extra premium options and controllers than ever earlier than. On the high tier of the Z490 product stack, all the main distributors have choices which are fairly frankly overkill. They’re laden with options reminiscent of 10 GbE Ethernet, triple PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, and Thunderbolt 3 Kind-C connectivity. One of the extravagant and premium fashions is the MSI MEG Z490 Godlike which incorporates twin Thunderbolt 3 Kind-C ports on the rear panel, assist for as much as 5 PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots (the bundled Xpander-Z Gen4 M.2 add-on card offers an additional few), in addition to a beefy 16-phase energy supply and an OLED panel.

The MSI MEG Z490 Godlike has official assist for DDR4-5000 reminiscence, with a complete capability of as much as 128 GB throughout 4 reminiscence slots. Storage assist out of the field can be spectacular with every of the three PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots having its personal heatshield, and an additional two accessible from an Xpander-Z Gen4 twin M.2 slot adapter within the field. For SATA units, MSI consists of six SATA ports with assist for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays.

Its design is each futuristic, trendy and clear, with loads of gray metallic shading, on a black contrasting background. There may be additionally loads of built-in RGB LED lighting with some within the rear panel cowl which illuminates the MSI dragon emblem, the chipset heatsink with the Godlike branding, and an OLED panel that may be custom-made through MSI’s Mystic Mild software program subsequent to the reminiscence slots. The MSI MEG Z490 can be utilizing a big 16-phase energy supply with sixteen ISL99390B 90 An influence levels and is managed by an ISL69269 PWM controller working in an 8+1 configuration, with every of the CPU phases doubled up with an ISL6617A doubler.

 

The connectivity on the rear panel consists of the twin Thunderbolt 3 Kind-C ports, two USB 3.2 G2 Kind-A. 4 USB 3.2 G1 Kind-A, and two USB 2.0 ports. A handily situated pair of buttons are current which permit customers to carry out USB BIOS Flashback, in addition to reset the CMOS. Networking consists of an Aquantia AQC107 10 GbE Ethernet controller, with an added Realtek RTL8125B 2.5 GbE controller for good measure, with an Intel AX201 interface offering each Wi-Fi 6 and BT 5.1 connectivity.

The MSI MEG Z490 Godlike has an MSRP of $750 and at current, is retailing with a pleasant discount current at $719 at each etailers. When in comparison with different model’s flagship fashions such because the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Excessive ($750) and GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Xtreme ($799), these embody comparable characteristic units, however what units the Godlike aside from the opposite is its very good equipment bundle, the general networking configuration with a ten GbE and a pair of.5 GbE Ethernet controller pairing with Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, however 5 PCIe 3.0 x4 is unquestionably a profit to these trying to construct a really high-speed storage configuration. Every of the fashions talked about has its personal particular person deserves, however one factor to think about is the added compatibility for PCIe 4.0 when Rocket Lake hits the market subsequent 12 months, which permits customers some PCIe 4.0 assist with out buying a brand new motherboard.

Finest Intel Motherboard For Gaming/Efficiency

GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Extremely ($270 at Amazon/$270 at Newegg)

If we’re searching for a mannequin which blends worth, efficiency, and performance, then there are a variety of high-quality merchandise to decide on. Efficiency is one angle to match, in addition to controller set, the facility supply, and growth slot assist whereas retaining issues as cheap with reference to pricing as attainable. One mannequin which stands out is the GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Extremely which is designed for avid gamers however has the flexibility to be the inspiration for a strong high-performance system with an excellent characteristic set at a mid-market worth too. 

The GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Extremely sits beneath the extra premium GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Grasp within the product stack however retains a lot of the identical with reference to characteristic set and functionality. By way of controllers, the GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Extremely consists of an Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE Ethernet controller, with assist from an Intel AX201 interface which provides Wi-Fi 6 and BT 5.1 connectivity. Additionally on the rear panel is a single USB 3.2 G2 20 Gbps Kind-C port, with three USB 3.2 G2 Kind-A, two USB 3.2 G1 Kind-A, and 4 USB 2.0 ports. There are 4 reminiscence slots with assist for as much as 128 GB, with official assist for as much as DDR4-4800 which is nice for a mid-range mannequin. For storage, there’s three PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots with every slot inclusive of its personal M.2 heatsink, and 6 SATA ports which embody assist for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays. 

 

On Z490 on the $250 to $300 worth level, there’s a stack of fashions to pick from, all of which have their personal deserves and caveats. The GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Extremely has an MSRP of $299 however each Newegg and Amazon do not at present have any offers on this mannequin. Customers can discover the aggressive ASUS ROG Strix Z490-F Gaming for $269 at Newegg, however the GIGABYTE mannequin provides a greater energy supply. The MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon Wifi ($250) is shut by way of options with a Realtek 2.5 G Ethernet controller and far of the identical characteristic set, however the GIGABYTE mannequin appears to be the very best board for below $300 on Z490 on paper, in addition to trying good too. It’s at present available for purchase for $270 at each Amazon and Newegg, which is round $20 cheaper than it was final month and is an effective $30 cheaper than the launch MSRP pricing of $300.

Finest Intel Motherboard: The Worth Possibility

MSI Z490-A Professional ($160 at Amazon/$160 at Newegg)

The time period ‘worth’ may be taken any other ways, as it may be associated to price range however with loads of high quality, or it may be relative to how a lot cash is offered. With plenty of Intel LGA 1200 chipsets accessible with the H410, B460, H470, and Z490, there are lots of strong contenders on this explicit space. My decide for worth is the MSI Z490-A Professional which is not on a budget-based Intel chipset reminiscent of H410, however for customers to overclock and squeeze out extra efficiency from the tenth era Comet Lake processors, the Z490 chipset is required. The MSI Z490-A Professional is likely one of the least expensive Z490 fashions accessible available on the market and has a strong characteristic set for the worth. This features a 12-phase energy supply, a Realtek ALC1200 HD audio codec, two PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, a Realtek 2.5 GbE Ethernet controller and a single USB 3.2 G2 Kind-C port on the rear panel.

The largest characteristic of word on the MSI Z490-A Professional is the facility supply, with a 12-phase design in addition to the inclusion of a Realtek RTL8125B 2.5 GbE Ethernet controller. It additionally features a strong price range storage configuration with six SATA slots and two PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, with one slot coming with a heatsink, and the opposite reliant on the consumer putting in one, or going for passive cooling. The rear panel is fairly customary for a board of this calibre, with a single USB 3.2 G2 Kind-A, 5 USB 3.2 G1 Kind-A, and two USB 2.0 ports. It consists of an HDMI and DisplayPort video output pairing for customers trying to leverage Intel’s UHD built-in graphics, in addition to six 3.5 mm audio jacks powered by a Realtek ALC1200 HD audio codec.

 

Regardless of the existence of the budget-focused H410, H470, and B460 chipsets, none of them formally assist for overclocking or reminiscence sooner than the default JEDEC specs, which when combining a Comet Lake desktop processor with sufficient cooling, can provide superb efficiency. The MSI Z490-A Professional is not simply one of many least expensive Z490 fashions with an MSRP of $160, but it surely’s truly strong on paper too, for each overclocking and with a bunch of value-orientated options, however nonetheless greater than succesful controller set for a board at this worth level. The Z490-A Professional is at present accessible for $160 at Amazon and Newegg. Its largest competitors comes through the equally spectacular GIGABYTE Z490 Gaming X mannequin at $160, but it surely lacks the two.5 GbE Ethernet controller and as an alternative opts for an Intel Gigabit controller, and makes use of a USB 3.2 G2 Kind-A as an alternative of the Kind-C on the MSI.

Finest Intel Motherboard: The Finest Mini-ITX Motherboard

ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 ($270 at Amazon/$270 at Newegg)

With fewer mini-ITX fashions than different kind components on the Z490 chipset, there are simply six fashions to pick from for small kind issue fanatics and avid gamers. One of many largest groundbreakers in mini-ITX is ASRock, and these fashions are usually standard with fanatics searching for a strong steadiness of options, good high quality componentry, and pricing. The ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 is an replace over the earlier Z390 mannequin, with an identical characteristic set, however designed with Intel’s LGA 1200 socket in thoughts. 

Out of the small handful of accessible mini-ITX Z490 motherboards, solely two embody Thunderbolt 3 connectivity on the rear panel: the ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 and the MSI MEG Z490I Unify. The explanation for choosing the equally priced ASRock over the MSI, having seen quite a few ASRock mini-ITX fashions through the years, together with the Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac earlier than, we all know what to anticipate from ASRock and it is a feature-packed mannequin for its measurement. Apart from the only Thunderbolt 3 Kind-C connector on the rear panel, it features a Realtek RTL8125BG 2.5 GbE Ethernet controller and Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 interface pairing for the networking, in addition to supporting as much as two PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 drives, one on the entrance and one other slot on the rear. 

Additionally on the rear panel is 5 3.5 mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output which is powered by a premium Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec, in addition to three USB 3.2 G2 Kind-A, and two USB 3.2 G1 Kind-A ports. A handily situated clear CMOS button is featured in the midst of the rear panel, with a PS/2 keyboard and mouse combo port, and two video outputs together with a DisplayPort and HDMI pairing, though the Thunderbolt 3 Kind-C port also can output video. The ASRock additionally helps as much as DDR4-4666 formally, with a most capability of as much as 64 GB throughout two reminiscence slots. Along with the 2 PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots are 4 SATA ports with assist for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays.

 

The ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 is a strong motherboard for fanatics to overclock on with its 8+2 section energy supply, in addition to the potential basis for a monstrous single graphics card gaming system. The Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 has an MSRP of $280, however it’s accessible at current for $270 at each Amazon and Newegg, which makes the marginally eye-watering MSRP a bit of extra bearable. Regarding the competitors, we reviewed the MSI Z490I Unify ($270) with an identical characteristic set and a 10-layer PCB, in addition to the GIGABYTE Z490I Aorus Extremely ($270). The ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming is barely costlier with an MSRP of $300, however the ASRock is our decide with reference to Intel-based mini-ITX boards for September. One essential factor to think about is boards such because the ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 make strong choices for Rocket Lake, because it consists of the aptitude for PCIe 4.0 with one of many M.2 slots, and the full-length PCIe x16 slot.

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