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Z490 Motherboard List, Specifications, Features and Intel Core CPU Compatibility

4 Mins read


In April 2020, Intel officially released its 10th Generation Core desktop microprocessors, developed under the name Comet Lake-S. The new family of CPUs is still being produced on Intel’s proven 14++ nm manufacturing process, which is why they are able to reach impressively high clocks. Alongside with them, Intel also released new Z490 chipset that will power motherboards which will offer support for Comet Lake-S CPUs.

Although new Comet Lake-S CPUs can work on motherboards with H470 and B460 chipsets, Intel put a lot of emphasis on the Z490 chipset, as this one is the most powerful, and is necessary to take advantage of new CPUs that support overclocking. Compared to its predecessors like the Z390 and Z370 chipsets, the Z490 brings nothing new to the table except the new LGA 1200 socket. Having this new socket also means that motherboards equipped with this chipset offer no forward or backward compatibility with other Intel’s CPUs, which has become a norm in recent years due to company’s business policy.

Z490 Chipset Specifications and Intel Core CPU Support

The Z490’s most important feature is its support for new 10th Generation Intel Core CPUs, primarily the Come Lake-S family CPUs. Unlike AMD’s high-end X570 chipset, which offers support for PCIe 4.0 bus interface, the Z490 still only supports PCIe 3.0 bus interface. The novelty here, however, is that Z490 is able to support up to 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes (which is quite a lot), each with maximum supported speed of up to 8Gb/s, and is able to address up to 6 SATA ports.

Great thing about Z490 chipset is that it can support a whooping number of 14 USB ports, from which 10 of them can be USB 3.2 ports, and six of them can be USB 3.2 Gen2 (10 Gb/s) ports. The chipset also comes equipped with Intel’s integrated LAN, as well as Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 AX201 integrated wireless module. There is also another reason why motherboards with Z490 chipset, despite its rather modest technical improvements, are worth purchasing – they come with support for a wide variety of the latest Intel technologies, such as Intel Optane Memory Support, Intel Rapid Storage Technology, Intel HD Audio, Intel Smart Sound Technology, and Intel Platform Trust Technology.

Since they are primarily designed for serious gamers, tech enthusiasts, and professionals, motherboards with Z490 chipset can accommodate Intel’s most powerful CPUs with a maximum supported TDP of up to 125W. This means that these motherboards can work perfectly with high-end processors such as Intel Core i7-10700K, or Intel Core i9-10900K, and can support memory modules working at frequencies of up to 5,000 MHz thanks to overclocking.

Last but not least, most Z490 motherboards, just like AMD’s X570, come with high-end equipment, such as 2.5 GbE LAN, on-board Wi-Fi modules, RGB lighting, BIOS flash buttons, 8-channel audio, S/PDIF out connectors, USB Type-C connectors, and support for NVIDA and AMD multi-GPU configurations. All of the new tech included means these motherboards cost more, however, their price is understandable given the fact that they are primarily designed for advanced PC users.

Intel Z490 Motherboards List

Are Z490 Motherboards Future-proof?

In last few years, Intel has angered a lot of consumers with its policy of introducing new CPU sockets with each new CPU generation, thus forcing consumers to buy new motherboards. This issue has become particularly frustrating to high-end users who are forced to spend a lot of money each year to achieve modest performance improvements. Unlike Intel, AMD has been frequently rolling out new BIOS updates to older motherboards in order to make them compatible with their latest CPUs.

According to some rumors and leaks that came from Gigabyte, motherboards featuring the Z490 chipset won’t suffer the same fate as their predecessors. The upcoming Rocket Lake CPU family will apparently use the same LGA 1200 socket, and boards featuring the Z490 chipset will be able to support them. It is also worth to note that Gigabyte’s motherboards come with PCIe 4.0 bus interface straight-out-of-the-box, despite the fact that Comet Lake-S CPUs don’t support it. This probably means that these boards will be compatible with the upcoming series of CPUs, and will be able to put their PCIe 4.0 bus interface to good use.

How to Pick the Right Z490 Motherboard?

Since many manufacturers have already released numerous variants of motherboards featuring the Z490 chipset, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of buying options available at your disposal. When it comes to choosing the right motherboard for your next PC build, personal preferences must be taken into consideration. Down below you can see a list of things you should consider before purchasing the right Z490 motherboard.

  • Overclocking – Most Z490 motherboards are great for overclocking, however, different models use different VRMs, and thus produce different overclocking results. Usually motherboards that support higher RAM speeds, also tend to achieve better CPU overclocking results.
  • Multi-GPU support – Although multi-GPU setups aren’t very good for gaming, they are good for video editing, simulations and CAD/CAM software. If you are a serious professional, or content creator, choosing the motherboard with the most PCIe x16 slots is a must.
  • Storage – Some Z490 motherboards feature only one M.2 SSD slot, while some of them feature up to three. Depending on how much space you need, choosing the board with the most storage connectors seems like an obvious choice.
  • Size – Z490 motherboards come in various forms: from mini-ITX to ATX. If you plan to build a mid-tower or big tower PC, go with an ATX board. If you plan to build powerful a HTPC or mini PC, go with mini-ITX board.
  • Internet Connectivity – If you have an access to high-speed Internet, go with motherboards that feature 2.5 GbE LAN. If you don’t want to bother with cables, go with boards that feature on-board Wi-Fi modules.
  • Accessibility – some boards feature multiple USB 3.2 Gen2 ports, while some even come with USB Type-C ports that support Thunderbolt 3 standard. Depending on your preferences, you should choose the board that best suits your needs.

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About author
Before he joined ViCadia, Nicholas worked as a journalist for several tech magazines. Over the years he gained a lot of knowledge about computers. His main area of interest are processors, motherboards, and operating systems.
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