Most high-end and mainstream Z490 motherboards are equipped with 2.5GbE LAN, and some flagship models even up to 10GbE LAN.
However, at the budget level, not all motherboards have 2.5GbE LAN. After all, strong power delivery generates a lot of heat, so you need systems in place to ensure that everything stays as cool as possible. ASUS didn’t mention much about this, but so far, the evidence shows that only some of ASUS’s Z490 models will support PCIe Gen 4.
If you plan to upgrade your CPU in the future, why not get a motherboard that will be prepared for the arrival of PCIe Gen 4?
Faster Connectivity – Networking and I/O
Another improvement that comes with Z490 motherboard models is faster networking speeds. To satisfy the demand for overclocking, motherboard designers – ourselves included – have included more powerful VRMs on their Z490 motherboards.
VRM phases on these premium motherboards range from 12 to 16 phases, and some of them offer 90A MOSFETs as well, such as our MEG series of motherboards: Z490 GODLIKE, Z490 ACE and Z490 Unify. MSI is the only developer that offers an active cooling solution for its high-end MEG models. Among these, there are some important improvements over previous Z390 motherboards. MSI, Gigabyte, and ASRock all provide Thunderbolt 3 ports; however, ASUS only provides Thunderbolt 3 support with its flagship model. For our Z490 board lineup, we’re offering at least 2.5GbE LAN for all of our boards. If you’re looking for a motherboard that can handle overclocking the Intel Core i9-10900K, strong power delivery is definitely something you should prioritize.
In addition to power delivery, some motherboards have active VRM cooling solutions, too. In addition to this, the formal TDP has increased from 95W to 125W as well. In addition to 2.5GbE LAN, Wi-Fi 6 support is now considered a standard for Z490 motherboards.
For I/O, some high-end motherboards feature support for Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20Gbps). Thanks to help from the powerful and efficient heat sink fans, the VRM temperature in these motherboards is significantly lower than ones without active cooling solutions.
For these reasons, we suggest builders choose the motherboard with the best power delivery and the most effective active cooling systems.
Higher Memory Frequency
Intel has introduced a new memory routing technology called “Tabbed Routing” to the Z490 platform. Alongside the arrival of Intel’s 10th Generation processors, motherboard developers like MSI have launched more than 40 new Z490 motherboards to accompany the new CPUs. These include greater capacity CPU power delivery systems, higher memory frequency support, and high-speed connectivity including 10GbE/2.5GbE LAN, Wi-Fi 6 and I/O like Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20Gbps).
More Powerful Power Delivery and Thermal Performance
The Intel Core i9-10900K has 10 cores, which is two more than the Intel Core i9-9900K. This means that the i9-10900K draws more power, and thus could be a challenge for motherboard VRMs to handle. All of them feature 16 phases of power delivery, and each of their MOSFETs are rated at 90A. Most Z490 motherboards support up to 4600MHz, and some can even handle 5000MHz.
Since most PC enthusiasts are willing to pay for expensive high-frequency memory, we recommend choosing a motherboard that has top-notch memory support.
PCIe Gen4 Ready for Future Upgrades
Most Z490 motherboards are PCIe Gen 4 ready, even though Intel 10th Gen CPUs and Z490 chipsets don’t support PCIe Gen 4. It’s 200MHz-300MHz higher on average compared to older Z390 models, which is a big jump. These motherboards have implemented PCIe Gen 4-capable circuits and components, meaning that they’ll be ready for use with future generation Intel CPUs with this technology, allowing these boards to enjoy the benefits of Gen 4 graphics cards and faster PCIe Gen 4 M.2 SSDs.
Our Z490 motherboards, as well as those from Gigabyte and ASRock, are all designed to be PCIe Gen 4-ready. Due to this, you can see a significant increase in memory frequency support on Z490 motherboards. With this new circuit routing, cross talk noise is reduced, and as a result the signal is improved.