Whether you are building a machine for day-to-day use or something that supports high-end gaming and office work, know that the motherboard is one of the key components that should be carefully chosen. With manufacturers constantly bringing in new versions of motherboards, you typically have a wide variety of options to choose from, both in terms of features and well as pricing. This makes the overall process of buying the best Z390 motherboard quite tedious.
Also if you are looking to equip your system with the latest hardware, a professional worker in need of high end features in your laptop, or even a competitive gamer, the latest offering in the motherboard market happens to be the Z390 motherboards. These motherboards were introduced to the market in October 2018, and are known to be one of the most powerful offerings in the category currently available to consumers.
The best Z390 motherboards are specifically designed to work hand-in-hand with Intel’s 9th generation Coffee Lake processors, and they come equipped with a variety of upgrades, including amazing overclocking capability, USB 3.1 Gen 2 support, and a whole lot more.
All of these aspects together make these motherboards one of the best available options right now, and if you are currently in search of a high performance and powerful motherboard option, the Z390 is a solid option to consider.
Top 6 Best Z390 Motherboards of 2020
1. ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero Z390 Gaming Motherboard
The ROG Maximus XI Hero Z390 motherboard from ASUS is a mid-range model designed specifically for building workstations and gaming rigs. The motherboard is designed to ready for 8th and 9th generation Intel Core processors and comes with onboard 802.11ac Wi-Fi, USB 3.1 Gen 2, and dual M.2 connectors.
This is among the few good-looking Z390 motherboards you can find, thanks to the dark metal finish and the RGB LED lights situated right on the board. This is one motherboard that is built mainly for overclocking, and thanks to the 5-Way Optimization technology used on the board, this can be done easily and efficiently, and you also get to choose between automated and manual tuning.
When it comes to performance, the ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero is one of the fastest, most consistent and in short the best Z390 motherboards you would come across. It is able to deliver consistent speeds, which makes it an ideal choice for gaming. However, this may not be the right motherboard model for you if your work involves performing highly complex and CPU-intensive tasks.
2. Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra Gaming Z390 Motherboard
If you have an open budget and willing to spend over $200 on a motherboard, the Z390 AORUS Ultra motherboard from Gigabyte is certainly an excellent option for you to consider. But, be informed that this motherboard makes up for its high price tag with its top-of-the-line specs.
Right from its great looks to extraordinary speeds and a variety of other features, the AORUS Ultra is one model any user would be pleased to have spent so much money on. This motherboard supports both the 8th and 9th gen Celeron and Pentium processors.
It features a high-performance thermal design, which along with other aspects, is able to deliver great cooling performance for overclocking, gaming, and other computing-intensive tasks.
With Wi-Fi speeds up to 1.73Gbps, you are likely to experience better overall gaming experience and smooth video streaming. Also, this is perhaps the only Z390 motherboard in this price range that comes with two M.2 connectors with heatsinks. The USB options offered by the motherboard are also decent and is inclusive of a USB 3.1 Type-C slot. The Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra is able to deliver excellent gaming performance, way better and faster than many of its competitors.
3. MSI MPG Carbon LGA1151 – Best Z390 Motherboard
If your chase for the best Z390 motherboard will end at finding a model with a combination of affordability, features, and performance, you should take a look at the MPG Z390 Gaming PRO Carbon motherboard from MSI.
One of the highlights of this motherboard is that it supports Intel’s latest flagship processor, the 9th gen i9-9900, which is certainly an acceptable reason for its mid-range pricing because it is one processor with high power requirements and this motherboard is designed to handle the same.
The motherboard on the outside looks quite good and has several connectivity options. Right from 2 x Turbo M.2 slots to 3 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 connectors, you get a wide range of connectivity, which makes your gaming experience efficient. With the Audio Boost 4 with Nahimic 3 technology, you get to enjoy high quality and immersive audio on your device.
Furthermore, the MSI MPG Z390 Gaming PRO Carbon gaming motherboard enables you to personalize your device with millions of colors and different effects using the Mystic Light App. And since the pre-installed rear I/O comes grounded, it protects all the I/O ports from getting damaged due to electrostatic discharge, thus making the assembly process safer and easier.
4. ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming Motherboard
The ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E motherboard is a good addition to the company’s motherboard portfolio and comes with decent looks and some useful features. In terms of looks, the Z390-E has different aesthetics when compared to its predecessor, the Z370-E, and also offers a few extra benefits as well.
In terms of benefits, this motherboard comes with 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 2 x M.2 NVME connectors, and also a USB 3.1 Gen 2 connector, most of which had to be bought separately with the Z370-E. Though this motherboard also belongs to the mid-range category, its pricing, however, is quite high in comparison with its competitors.
The revamped 5-Way Optimization in the ROG Z390 motherboard delivers quicker overclocking results that would otherwise take several days for completion. There are built-in RGB LED lights and also strips connected to the RGB header, which can be controlled with different preset options using the ASUS Aura.
Also, the motherboard comes with a feature to automatically solve boot failures that are often caused by instability and overclocking. The I/O shield in this motherboard is pre-mounted, which means installing the unit will be easier.
5. MSI Z390-A PRO Best Budget Z390 Motherboard
The MSI Z390-A is a less expensive motherboard compared to the other models on our list, and despite its reduced pricing, this unit is capable of delivering amazing performance and comes equipped with great features as well.
This is yet another best Z390 motherboard that is designed to support the 9th generation Intel Core i9-9900K processor, and at the price point that this model comes in, this is a huge benefit you get to enjoy for what you pay. This particular motherboard model from MSI comes in an extended heatsink design, which basically helps get rid of excess heat, thanks to their bigger surface area.
The Audio Boost technology included in the Z390-A PRO motherboard enables it to enhance the audio quality of your device, delivering high-quality sound and immersive audio. There is a PCI-E steel slot, which is able to prevent your graphics card from sagging, and the Turbo M.2 is capable of delivering speeds up to 32Gbps using the PCI-E Gen3 x 4.
Also, this happens to be the only MSI motherboard that comes with a D-sub video output, which can be used as an efficient replacement to HDMI.
6. ASUS Prime Z390-A Motherboard
The Asus Prime Z390-A ATX Motherboard comes with an LGA1151 socket to sit under most of the latest high-end Intel 8th and 9th Gen CPUs. There are 4 DIMM slots available in this mobo to connect up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM.
The smart prediction system of the ASUS Optimum II technology with Revamped 5 Way Optimization enables stability in DRAM overclocking reaching more than 4266MHz frequency even for 8-core processors. Although, the AI overclocking system is still in a wobbly condition according to the users. The manual system works okay.
The Aura Sync RGB lighting with an RGB 4-pin header is an attraction in this black-colored sturdy mobo. The five times better protection level on the hardware equipment with Safe Slot Core on PCIe slots and LAN Guard on the Gigabit LAN connection breezes more life on the sensitive components. There are three PCIe x16 channels to support heavy-weight GPUs with 2-way SLI or 3-way CrossFireX support for MultiGPU compatibility.
The connectivity is maximized with two contemporary M.2 NVMe slots among which one is also SATA compatible. USB 3.1 Gen1 and Gen2, USB 2.0 ports with HDMI and DisplayPort completes the required features in the I/O section. The 8 channel audio system with Realtek ALC887 audio codec and DTS Headphone output is a well-managed design. Although, the sound quality in this motherboard hasn’t gained much satisfaction among the customers.
Z390 Motherboards Buyer’s Guide
The Z390 motherboards are the more recent introduction from Intel, which are designed with a higher clock and more cores when compared to the company’s previous motherboard option, the Z370.
This new offering is designed to be capable of extending up to 8 cores and 16 threads, delivering extraordinary processing power, which makes these motherboards an excellent option for users whose work involves constant multitasking, content creators, and a whole lot of other highly demanding tasks.
The Z390 motherboards can support the latest flagship Intel processor, Core i9-9900K, which is a huge benefit for users who are gaming enthusiasts and require an extremely powerful system to carry out other tasks as well, such as streaming, recording, etc., and the highlight is that all of these can be carried out simultaneously.
Since these new motherboards come equipped with some truly great features, such as built-in Wi-Fi, better connectivity options, and a lot more, you can expect a strong performance from your device.
How Do They Work?
As many of you would be aware, a motherboard is basically the primary circuit board present inside a computer that enables all the other components of the computer to communicate with one another.
The best Z390 motherboards do the same but come with some high-end components to do the same more efficiently. These boards come equipped with up to 6 USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, while the previous models had only up to 4, and also have 802.11ac Wi-Fi capabilities integrated into them. These aspects make the motherboards ideal for gaming and other computing-intensive jobs.
Furthermore, since it is the Z series we are talking about, the Z390 motherboards are designed with amazing overclocking capabilities, which allows you to give your computer a significant speed boost depending on your purpose for the device.
Even if you will be using it as a workstation, this capability will help you attain maximum performance from the machine, and you can also play your favorite games at their highest settings without any lag.
Z390 Motherboards Benefits
- Outstanding overclocking capabilities: As discussed earlier, all the Z series motherboards, including the Z390, are designed with overclocking in mind, and this latest version is known to be the most powerful and efficient of all.
- Wi-Fi connectivity: The Z390 motherboards come with CNVi support, also known as Integrated Connectivity, which is Intel’s wireless connectivity architecture used in their processors. What you get with this built-in support is high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity.
- Exceptional performance: Many of the top Z390 motherboards, including those on our list above, are equipped with advanced technology and highly efficient features, which together make the boards to deliver optimum performance, including great speeds.
- USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports: In order to enjoy lightning-fast data transfer speeds, you need a motherboard that comes with supporting technology. The Z390 motherboards come with a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port (some models have more than one), which not only gives you better connectivity options but also improves data and power transfer rates, reaching speeds up to 10Gbps.
Furthermore, as you would have come across in our motherboards reviews above, some models also come with a variety of other features, design-based and otherwise, such as RGB LEDs, immersive audio output capability, modern and efficient design, and a whole lot more, each of which extends benefits of their own.
How to Choose the Best Z390 Motherboard?
With hundreds of Z390 motherboard models having been launched by different manufacturers, shortlisting a few from the long list can be really challenging. As with any other computer component, there are a few factors you should consider when it comes to choosing the best Z390 motherboard for your needs:
M.2 and SATA
The Z390 motherboard you choose should have sufficient M.2 connectors and SATA ports in order to support the amount of storage you want in the device you are building. However, remember that this isn’t just enough; in order to make sure that you attain good storage speeds, you need to make sure that the M.2 connectors on the motherboard are capable of properly utilizing the bandwidth extended by the PCI-E connections.
Of course, every single motherboard on the market will be able to run one graphics card. But, at times, you may require multiple GPUs for varied purposes; in that case, you need to make sure that the Z390 motherboard model you choose can run more than one GPU, and also that it has enough bandwidth to do the same without any compromise in its performance.
Of course, the cost is always an important factor to consider when you buy any product, even a motherboard. In this case, you need to compare the cost of different motherboards from different manufacturers to get an idea of how much money the component will take up from your overall budget for building the system. All you need to do in this respect is to check if the Z390 motherboard of your choice has all the components and features you are looking for, without costing you loads of money.
This is because, there will be models that charge extra for something that doesn’t add value to the board; for instance, most Z390 motherboard models today come with RGB LEDs, which add only to the aesthetics of the component and contribute nothing towards performance. If you see that board is being charged extra just for its looks, you could save some money avoiding buying it.
The number of memory slots available in the Z390 motherboard you choose is also an essential factor to consider. Almost all models today come with four slots, which will be more than sufficient to even future-proof your system. But, do remember that there are some less expensive models that offer only two memory slots, which can be insufficient and a hindrance during different instances of using your device.
In addition to these factors, you can also take a look at the motherboards’ audio output capability, cooling ability, networking capability, and also their form factor so you know that you are investing in the best Z390 motherboard.
Installing a Z390 Motherboard
- Before proceeding with the installation process, you need to understand and be aware of the Z390 motherboard’s layout, because this will help maintain your system clean and neat.
- Once this is done, move on to installing onto the motherboard your CPU and CPU cooler, after which you will have to install the DDR4 RAM.
- Remember to use less pressure while installing the RAM in order to avoid any damage to the components.
Install the I/O panel.
- Now, the motherboard is ready for installation. Make sure it is aligned properly and screw it in.
Though the whole installation process is not highly complicated, you will get thorough installation guides from respective manufacturers of the Z390 motherboards, which should make your work a lot easier.
If you are building a complete workstation or gaming rig with Intel’s 9th generation processors, the Z390 motherboard is the perfect option available for you right now. With its faster speeds, good computing power, and high-end features and specs, these motherboards can deliver the ultimate performance and gaming experience you desire. The models on our list come with different price tags, making it easy for you to choose one that falls within your budget.