Best Intel Z390 Motherboards

Best Intel Z390 Motherboards

Which is the Best Intel Z390 Motherboard?

Are you considering an Intel 9th Generation processor? Then, you’ll need the best Z390 motherboard to match. Our guide streamlines your search for the perfect budget motherboard. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Intel Z390 Platform: Versatile for various PC builds, from everyday use to 4K gaming.
  • Variety of Choices: With so many Z390 motherboards available, choosing takes time. Each one offers different features and prices.
  • Our Guide’s Role: We’ve worked hard to clear up your confusion. We’ve tested eight top motherboards for performance, features, and value.

But hold on, how do these Z390 motherboards compare head-to-head? And what hidden gems might you discover in their specifications? Stay tuned as we explore further into each option, unveiling their strengths and weaknesses. The perfect motherboard for your next powerful rig is just around the corner. Are you ready to discover it?

1. MSI MEG Z390 Godlike: The Ultimate Z390 Motherboard Choice

Dubbed the best overall Intel Z390 motherboard, the MSI MEG Z390 Godlike stands out but comes with a hefty price tag of £533. With a 4.5/5 score, it’s packed with features. But what makes it so unique?

  • Pros:
    • Strong application performance.
    • Outstanding audio and storage capabilities.
    • Generous PCI connectivity.
    • Advanced on-board additions for enthusiasts.
  • Cons:
    • Less impressive for gaming.
    • Quite expensive.

So, why is the MSI MEG Z390 Godlike our top pick? This Z390 motherboard is about more than just about the basics. Supports 128GB DDR4, extensive M.2 and SATA connectivity, U.2 connection, and four PCI-E x16 slots—more than any other board reviewed. Plus, enhanced Realtek audio, dual Gigabit Ethernet, and 802.11ac wireless. 

The design is almost entirely metal, giving it a unique, dark aesthetic. Although not the best for gaming, it’s unbeatable for high-end work and creative projects. Its exceptional application performance is noteworthy, though gaming results may vary.

Are you curious how it compares to its closest rival, the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Xtreme? Stay tuned to discover why the MSI MEG Z390 Godlike might be the powerhouse you need for your next build.

2. Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Xtreme: A Gamer’s Z390 Motherboard Dream

The Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Xtreme, priced at £500, is acclaimed as the best Intel Z390 motherboard for gaming. Scoring a solid 4.5/5, it brings a unique blend of features. But what sets it apart in the gaming world?

  • Pros:
    • Superior gaming performance compared to rivals.
    • Abundant high-end tweaking options.
    • Eye-catching, colourful design.
    • There is excellent connectivity at the back.
  • Cons:
    • It could be more impressive in general applications.
    • Slightly limited in storage and PCI versatility.

Why do we favour the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Xtreme? This motherboard isn’t just about performance; its aesthetics are equally striking. It stands out visually with extravagant heatsinks and an abundance of RGB LEDs. It’s equipped with features for extreme CPU tweaking, like additional PCBs, on-board buttons, and a POST display.

But there’s more. It offers steel-supported PCI and memory slots for multi-GPU setups, three M.2 sockets, and up to 128GB of DDR4. Enhanced audio circuitry and robust networking options, including 10 Gbps wired and dual-band wireless, add to its appeal.

Though its gaming prowess is unmatched in the Z390 range, it slightly lags behind the MSI MEG Z390 Godlike in application performance.

Are you a gaming enthusiast or a tweaker? Then, the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Xtreme might be your perfect match. But how does it compare to the MSI MEG Z390 Godlike for your specific needs? Stick around to find out!

3. Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro: The Mid-Range Z390 Motherboard Master

The Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro, a mid-range marvel, shines with its £173 price tag and a 4.5/5 score. It’s not just another motherboard; it’s a fusion of consistent performance, robust features, and striking design. But what makes it stand out from its peers?

  • Pros:
    • Stellar performance across various scenarios.
    • A versatile set of well-defined features.
    • An eye-catching design that appeals.
  • Cons:
    • Slightly pricier than its competitors.
    • Lacks a few minor features.

So, why are we impressed by the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro? This motherboard isn’t just about doing the job; it’s about excelling in it. Its solid PCI options, matched with steel supports around PCI and memory slots, set a high standard. But that’s not all.

Here’s more:

  • Unique Selling Points:
    • Two M.2 slots with heatsinks are rare at this price point.
    • Six SATA ports plus an extra four-pin CPU power connector for overclocking.
    • Quality networking and audio hardware.
    • Abundant on-board fan connectors and USB options, including a front-panel USB 3.1 Type-C connector.
    • The rear I/O is well-equipped with five USB 3.1 ports and support for Gen 2 protocol.

Outperforming its affordable rivals in application tests, this board offers a balance seldom seen in mid-range options. It’s about more than just being faster but delivering a complete package. 

Slightly pricier for a good reason. The Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro justifies every penny with its features and performance. Dubbed as the best mid-range all-rounder, it raises the question: Is this the motherboard you’ve been waiting for? Stay tuned as we explore more!

4. Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi): Elegance Meets Speed

The Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi) is an attractive choice for its £286 price tag, securing a 4/5 score. This motherboard goes beyond aesthetics, focusing on solid, consistent performance. How does it stand out in a competitive market?

  • Pros:
    • Consistently well-balanced performance.
    • Visually attractive with a sleek design.
    • Robust core specifications for diverse needs.
  • Cons:
    • More connectivity options are available in rivals.
    • Slightly expensive compared to some alternatives.

Why does the Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi) catch our attention? It’s not just another motherboard; it brings something unique. Here’s what makes it stand out:

  • Unique Features:
    • Suitable for both single and dual-GPU setups.
    • Equipped with two M.2 connectors and six SATA ports.
    • Enhanced with wireless capabilities, with an option to reduce the price if wireless isn’t needed.
    • Dark metal heat sinks and RGB LEDs add to its aesthetic charm.

Despite some competitors offering more connectivity, the Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi) excels in performance. It consistently outperforms others in benchmarks, particularly in applications and gaming.

Is this the motherboard that brings both style and speed to your setup? With its combination of elegance and efficiency. But how does it genuinely fare against others like the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9? The comparison might surprise you – keep reading to find out!

5. MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk: The Budget-Friendly Powerhouse

The MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk, priced at an affordable £140, earns a respectable score of 3.5/5. Its board combines solid gaming speed and reasonable features, making it an ideal choice for entry-level builds. But what makes it a standout option in the budget category?

  • Pros:
    • Reliable gaming performance.
    • Well-suited for single-GPU setups.
    • Impressive on-board connectivity.
    • It is more affordable than many rivals.
  • Cons:
    • Less potent in general applications.
    • Limited in multi-GPU capabilities.
    • Mediocre storage and memory performance.

Why do we appreciate the MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk? It’s the most budget-friendly option in the Z390 lineup, yet it doesn’t compromise on essential features. Here’s a closer look at what it offers:

  • Key Features:
    • Capable of handling decent single-GPU gaming rigs.
    • Includes two M.2 connectors and six SATA ports.
    • Offers plenty of fan connectors and four USB connectors on board.
    • Provides reasonable USB 3.1 connectivity at the rear.
    • Suitable for most mainstream builds with entry-level networking and audio.

Though it might not excel in application performance or multi-GPU setups, the MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk holds its ground with its gaming capabilities and price point.

Considering its affordability, is this the correct motherboard for your first gaming rig? The MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk might be the perfect stepping stone for gamers on a budget. But how does it compare to more expensive options? Let’s dive deeper to find out!

6. ASRock Z390 Extreme4 Motherboard: Balancing Performance and Affordability

The ASRock Z390 Extreme4, priced at a reasonable £167, scores a 3.5/5. This motherboard balances good application performance and features but falls short in the gaming department. What are the key aspects that make it worth considering?

  • Pros:
    • Strong performance in applications.
    • Good PCI and SATA connectivity.
    • Generous options on the rear I/O.
  • Cons:
    • Lacks gaming prowess.
    • Trails behind in some applications.
    • Understated physical design.

Why do we find the ASRock Z390 Extreme4 appealing? It’s affordable compared to its Phantom Gaming 9 counterpart and has solid core features. Here’s what it offers:

  • Notable Features:
    • Solid multi-GPU support.
    • Ample M.2 connectivity and eight SATA ports – two more than many rivals.
    • Decent back-panel connectivity, including five USB 3.1 ports and a Type-C connector.
    • Supports 64GB of DDR4 memory.
    • Equipped with a quality Realtek ALC1220 audio codec and standard wired networking.

While the ASRock Z390 Extreme4 shows commendable performance in application benchmarks, it doesn’t match up to the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro. Additionally, its gaming performance could be more robust, and its design could be more subdued.

Though it may not be a top performer in every aspect, the ASRock Z390 Extreme4 has its strengths, especially in storage and work-related tasks. But is it the right choice for your specific needs? Stay tuned as we explore how it compares to more rounded options like the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro!

7. ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9: Feature-Rich but with Limitations

The ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9, priced at £271, receives a moderate score of 3.5/5. This motherboard is abundant in features but struggles with benchmark performance. Let’s delve into what it offers and where it falls short.

  • Pros:
    • Exceptional networking capabilities.
    • A generous array of ports and connectors.
    • Extensive storage options.
  • Cons:
    • Underperforms in many scenarios.
    • The design needs visual appeal.
    • Slightly expensive for its offering.

What makes the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9 appealing? Despite its drawbacks, its specifications are noteworthy:

  • Specifications:
    • Fast 2.5Gbps networking and wireless internet.
    • Ample ports on its rear I/O.
    • Robust PCI options, three M.2 connectors, and eight SATA connectors.
    • Enhanced on-board USB connectivity, buttons, and a POST display for troubleshooting.

Compared to the Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi), the ASRock has better storage and rear I/O capabilities. However, it must consistently catch up in application benchmarks, storage speed, and gaming performance.

While the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9 offers many features, especially for storage and connectivity, its performance issues can’t be overlooked. Is it the right choice for your needs, considering the alternatives? Stay with us as we compare it with other contenders and uncover the best option for your setup.

8. Asus TUF Z390-Plus Gaming: Durability Meets Affordability

The Asus TUF Z390-Plus Gaming, priced at a modest £161, scores 3/5, highlighting its focus on durability and affordability, though it lacks speed. Let’s explore what makes it a viable option for specific users.

  • Pros:
    • Enhanced durability in crucial components.
    • Adequate specifications for basic needs.
    • Budget-friendly pricing.
  • Cons:
    • Underwhelming performance in most benchmark tests.
    • Other boards in the same range offer more features.

Why do we see potential in the Asus TUF Z390-Plus Gaming? It stands out as a reliable entry-level motherboard:

  • Key Aspects:
    • TUF-branded durability enhances the board’s lifespan.
    • Solid for single-GPU builds, offering two M.2 connectors, six SATA ports, and ample PCI-E x1 slots.
    • Reasonable rear I/O with several USB 3.1 ports.

Despite its durable construction, the Asus TUF Z390-Plus Gaming must catch up in benchmark performance, particularly in gaming and complex tasks. It shows some strength in single-threaded tests but struggles with more demanding workloads.

While it ensures stability and is a decent choice for those on a budget, its performance limitations are evident. Boards like the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro outshine it in speed, and options like the MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk offer better value. Is the Asus TUF Z390-Plus Gaming the right fit for your needs, or should you consider other options? Stay with us to discover the ideal motherboard for your setup.

Testing Criteria for the Top Intel Z390 Motherboards in 2020 – Our Evaluation Process

Discovering the best Intel Z390 motherboard involves rigorous testing. How do we ensure that we’re recommending the best? Here’s a look at our comprehensive testing process.

  • Benchmark Tests:
    • Geekbench 4 for single- and multi-core application speed.
    • Maxon’s Cinebench R15 for CPU and OpenGL GPU performance.
    • Assessing NVMe and SATA Storage Speeds Using CrystalDiskMark.
    • SiSoft Sandra for memory performance and processor arithmetic speeds.
    • Gaming tests with 3DMark: Performance Benchmarks Include Fire Strike, Time Spy, Shadow of Mordor, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
    • Power efficiency tests during idle and under stress with Prime95.
  • Test Rig Specifications:
    • Intel Core i7-9700K processor at 3.6GHz.
    • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060.
    • Samsung 970 Evo M.2 SSD and Samsung 860 EVO SATA SSD.
    • 16GB of 3000MHz DDR4 memory.

The Z390 chipset, an upgrade from the Z370, supports 8th and 9th generation Coffee Lake CPUs. It’s compatible with LGA 1151 sockets used since 2015, meaning a vast range of processors, from the Core i5-8600K to the Core i9-9900K, can be accommodated.

  • Key Chipset Features:
    • DDR4 support, up to 128GB.
    • Enhanced USB support, with up to six USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports.
    • Includes native support for six SATA 3 ports and 14 USB 2 ports.
    • Compatibility with AMD CrossFire and Nvidia SLI protocols.
    • Intel Optane memory support.
    • Added native support for 802.11ac wireless internet, with many boards featuring superior wireless chips.

The Z390 chipset is more than just a minor update from the Z370. It’s tailored for high-end consumer needs, offering power and versatility. But is it worth upgrading from a Z370, or should you opt for a Z390 for your next build? Let’s delve deeper into what these chipsets offer and how they cater to different user needs. Stay tuned for more insights!

Key Motherboard Considerations

When choosing a new motherboard, looking beyond just the chipset is essential. Let’s delve into the critical aspects you should consider.

  • Memory Slots:
    • Check the number of memory slots. Most boards we tested have four, providing future upgrade space. However, some budget or smaller boards offer only two.
    • Ensure the board’s specifications meet your needs for high-speed or high-capacity memory.
  • PCI Sockets:
    • These are crucial as they host graphics cards, PCI-based SSDs, and wireless cards.
    • For setups with two GPUs or numerous M.2/PCI-based SSDs, ensure the motherboard can handle the required bandwidth. Otherwise, you might face reduced performance.
  • Storage Connectivity:
    • Verify if the motherboard has enough SATA ports and M.2 connectors for your storage needs.
    • Check if M.2 connectors utilize total bandwidth from their PCI-E x4 connections for optimal storage speed.
  • Connectors and Cooling:
    • Look for adequate connectors for CPU cooling, USB, front-panel connections, and system lighting/fans.
    • Compatibility with the motherboard is vital for advanced setups like synchronized RGB LEDs or complex water-cooling.
  • Audio and Networking:
    • Basic Gigabit Ethernet and audio are standard but may not suffice for gaming, high-end work, or creative applications.
    • For better performance, many motherboards offer enhanced audio chipsets, DACs, and superior wireless and wired networking.
  • Form Factor:
    • Most Z390 motherboards use the standard ATX form factor, fitting well in mid- and full-sized towers.
    • Some high-end models use E-ATX, which is broader. Ensure your case can accommodate these before purchasing.

Choosing the correct motherboard balances your current needs with future expansion possibilities. It’s not just about processor compatibility; it’s about ensuring every component of your build works harmoniously. So, have you considered all these factors for your next motherboard purchase? Stay tuned for more insights on making the best choice for your setup!

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