From ASUS Press Release: ASUS is introducing a new and powerful line of Z490 motherboards for gamers, enthusiasts and professionals that will showcase the full potential of the new 10th Generation Intel Core family of CPUs. ASUS and Republic of Gamers are here to help you make the most of this new generation of chips with Z490 motherboards tuned for the tastes of anyone looking for the latest technology in the market. Every motherboard in the ASUS’ Z490 product line-up will showcase improvements and features that will take your clock speeds to the next level.
The new 10th Generation Intel Core family of CPUs offers the best of both worlds: an intoxicating combination of high thread counts and blistering single-core clocks. The Z490 chipset pairs plenty of cutting-edge connectivity options with these new CPUs, including a built-in Wi-Fi controller, abundant USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, Optane Memory* and chipset RAID support. Every board in the line can now run faster RAM than ever, and all ROG models are fitted with our proprietary OptiMem III technology for better signal integrity and AI Overclocking technology that can lend users a helping hand in pushing their CPU to its limits.
PC builders, enthusiasts, gamers and professionals can experience the full potential of the new technology from Intel’s latest processors and ASUS’ family of Z490 motherboards. For further details about the complete ASUS lineup please visit the ASUS Z490 landing page*. A guide with specifications and images for the entire lineup of ASUS Z490 series motherboards is located in the Edge Up Buying Guide**.
*Optane Memory - https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and-technology/opt…
** ASUS Z490 Landing Page - https://www.asus.com/microsite/motherboard/Intel-Z490/
***Edge Up Buying Guide - https://edgeup.asus.com/2020/z490-motherboard-guide-asus-rog/
The ROG Maximus XII Extreme
The Extreme is the crème de la crème of our Z490 lineup, and it should be the first stop for builders using top-end CPUs, multiple graphics cards, and copious amounts of fast storage and peripherals. A set of MicroFine Alloy chokes complements those power stages and helps deliver pristine, stable power to 10th Gen Core chips. To keep the power flowing to those high-core-count CPUs, the Extreme uses ProCool solid pins in its two eight-pin auxiliary 12V inputs and as part of the ATX connector. A high-octane VRM needs equally capable cooling to deliver sustained performance, so the Maximus XII Extreme starts with highly conductive thermal pads that transfer heat into a massive heatsink array. A solid aluminum plate mid-board further dissipates heat from high-end NVMe storage in 4 x M.2 slots without occupying any PCIe slots. The motherboard also combines a cutting-edge OptiMem III design approach with a daisy-chain topology that’s new for ASUS Z490 board's.
ASUS set out to give builders access to everyday memory clocks of 4800MHz with this board, and speeds beyond that are attainable for those ready to explore the outer limits of overclocking. The Extreme also has out-of-the-box compatibility with over 80% of still-stratospheric 4600MHz DDR4 kits. To support overclockers in extracting maximum performance from their CPU and RAM, the Extreme features an onboard POST code LED display next to power-on, retry, and safe boot buttons.
The Extreme’s four M.2 slots are the ideal tools for creating a build with fast, plentiful storage. Two M.2 slots rest underneath the main body armor at the middle of the board, and two more slots come courtesy of an exclusive DIMM.2 card that wraps the storage onboard in heatsinks for reliable sustained performance.
An assortment of USB ports provides peripheral connectivity, including a next-generation USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C port capable of speeds up to 20Gbps. That cutting-edge reversible connector is flanked with three USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports—one Type-C and two Type-A—capable of speeds up to 10Gbps. An Intel I225-V offers a swift baseline of 2.5Gb Ethernet, while an Aquantia 10GbE controller can shuffle gigabytes of data across the network an order of magnitude faster than good old Gigabit Ethernet. Those who prefer a cord-free office can take advantage of Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth® 5.1 connectivity.
The ROG Maximus XII Apex
The Apex starts its record-breaking journey with an overclocking-optimized six-layer PCB and the same 16-teamed-phase power design as the Maximus XII Extreme. ASUS has put a huge heatsink atop the power components to ensure they stay cool. To help deliver the extensive power needed to extract record-breaking potential from 10th Gen Core CPUs, the Apex includes two eight-pin power connectors at its top left corner in addition to the standard 24-pin ATX connector.
The OptiMem III design puts 5000MHz RAM multipliers and beyond at a users’ fingertips, and the extensive array of OC settings in the firmware gives users the tools to go well past stock performance potential. The comprehensive set of headers atop the Apex covers both standard and high-amperage fans, along with liquid-cooling control headers and sensors. ProbeIt voltage measurement points sit alongside the right edge, next to a quartet of DIP switches for controlling your overclocking bench’s boot sequence. The POST code display and pair of Start and remappable FlexKey buttons round out the onboard control hub.
The Maximus XII Formula
If a dream Z490 system includes the ability to liquid-cool as many components as possible, the Maximus XII Formula is an excellent foundation. Its VRM features a CrossChill water block designed in collaboration with industry luminary EK Water Blocks. The CrossChill EK III hybrid heatsink is ASUS’ best-performing VRM heatsink ever, and it’s capable of running up to 50°C cooler than a standard air-cooled design.
A POST code display and dedicated power and reset buttons at the upper right corner of the board make it simple to power on and test a custom rig before buttoning it up in liquid-cooled bliss. Two M.2 slots lie beneath heatsinks on the front of the board and there’s one more around the back—all configurable in a RAID array for maximum parallel storage performance.
The Formula features 10Gb and 2.5Gb Ethernet ports, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth® 5.1 connectivity, and enough USB ports for an entire household’s peripherals all come standard. Owners can also take advantage of the AI Cooling and AI Networking suite with GameFirst VI technology, as well.
The ROG Maximus XII Hero (Wi-Fi)
In its Z490 iteration, the Hero continues its predecessors’ legacy of balanced performance with a design that’s ready for the demands of 10th Gen Core CPUs. Three swift NVMe storage devices can slot into the Hero, each under its own heatsink. This board features a 5Gb Ethernet port, an Intel Wi-Fi 6 adapter and an extra Gigabit Ethernet port. AI Overclocking can figure out the best clocks and voltage settings for your 10th Gen CPU at the press of a button, while our OptiMem III design brings 4800MHz RAM along for the overclocking ride.
The Hero deftly incorporates tasteful RGB LED accents into the stealthy, blacked-out overall aesthetic. Users can roll their own styling with Aura Sync and onboard Gen 2 addressable RGB LED headers.
ROG Strix brings elite DNA to boards for every builder
The Maximus XII boards that form the upper echelon of our Z490 lineup exploit the real estate offered by ATX and larger form factors to pack in as many power stages, ports, controllers, and heatsinks as ASUS engineers can fit on their PCBs. The ROG Strix family takes a healthy dose of that high-performance DNA and infuses it in an attainable family of boards that give mainstream gamers everything they need for winning performance in their systems.
AI Overclocking offers ROG Strix builders an easy way to push chips past stock performance. AI Cooling automatically seeks the best balance between noise and cooling. AI Networking with GameFirst VI ensures your ping times are as low as they can be, even with downloads running in the background. SupremeFX audio on select ROG Strix boards incorporates dual op-amps, impedance matching, and DTS® Sound Unbound 3D virtualization to ensure that music sounds the way it was intended and that no enemy will ever escape unnoticed.
The ROG Strix Z490-E and Z490-F Gaming
This power-delivery subsystem stands ready to overclock an installed 10th Gen Core chip with ease. The Strix-E has 14+2 and the Strix-F has 12+2 power stages. The heatsink resting on those power stages incorporates a heat pipe in its foundation and a secondary heatsink cools the Z490 chipset. ProCool II auxiliary power connectors and six-layer PCBs ensure stable power gets to where it needs to be across both boards.
For extra stability when pushing beyond stock settings, the ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming ships with an optional fan you can attach to the VRM heatsink with the option to use AI Overclocking if needed. The four DIMM slots on both boards employ a daisy-chain topology for peak frequency potential, and they can drive two-stick sets of RAM at 4600MHz and beyond.
The baseline Ethernet speed for the ROG Strix range is 2.5Gb thanks to all-new Intel I225-V controllers. The Strix-E also has built-in Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth® connectivity, while the Strix-F can use its M.2 E-key slot to take in an optional Wi-Fi module. Speedy NVMe solid-state drives can use either of two available slots, and both of those slots come covered by heatsinks to ensure consistent performance under intense I/O loads.
A comprehensive array of USB ports graces the back panel, while internal headers handle even more, including a USB 3.2 Gen 2 front-panel Type-C connector on the ROG Strix Z490-E. If a user’s current or future needs call for Thunderbolt 3 connectivity and its 40 Gbps of bandwidth, they can install the optional ThunderboltEX 3-TR card.
The ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming
The compact PCB is made up of eight layers for signal integrity and plenty of passive heat dissipation, and it boasts an 8+2 power stage VRM with active cooling for overclocking in space-constrained cases.
The Z490-I’s memory slots offer extra performance potential with ultra-fast RAM kits. The short distance to the CPU inherent to the Mini-ITX form factor means users can try their hand at pushing compatible sticks to 4800MHz and beyond. Users will be surprised to find the Z490-I can take in two M.2 devices just like its bigger brothers, both resting underneath heatsinks—an important consideration given the limited airflow in many extra-small cases. Despite its small size, this board comes ready to connect with 13 total USB ports from internal headers and external ports, including three Type-A® ports and a Type-C® USB 3.2 Gen 2 connector at the back panel.
The ROG Strix Z490-H Gaming
The Z490-H has generous heatsinks covering the chipset and 12+2 teamed power stages of the VRM, making this board a fine home for any chip in the 10th Gen Core family. The memory slots can take in DIMMs as fast as 4600MHz as well.
The three main PCIe slots come with SafeSlot metal reinforcement for extra durability if a user needs to move a system with a graphics or expansion card installed. One of the two M.2 slots is topped off by a dedicated heatsink, and a third M.2 E-key slot stands ready to take in an optional Wi-Fi 6 module. Wired networking gives you the lowest ping times if you can run a cord, of course, and the 2.5Gb port brings a new class of speed to this relatively affordable motherboard.
AI Overclocking and AI Networking technologies allows users to take both processing and gaming performance to 11 on the Z490-H, and it stays cool thanks to six total fan headers, a dedicated AIO liquid cooler pump header, and a thermal sensor input. AI Cooling is at hand to keep noise levels in check during intense action, too. Aura Sync and RGB LED strip headers (two standard, one Gen 2 addressable) let users extend this board’s rockin’ style to an external light show.
The ROG Strix Z490-A Gaming
White cases, graphics cards, coolers, PSUs, and peripherals offer custom builders a bold alternative to black and grey components. ASUS just so happens to make all of the above, so it’s only natural that their motherboards follow suit. The Z490-A comes dressed in a dashing white finish that’s bound to look particularly handsome under the hues of RGB LED strips.
Aside from its icy look, this model is quite similar to the Strix Z490-H above. The rear USB port selection is tweaked slightly, and the front-panel USB Type-C connector makes a comeback, as a modern white case is likely to have the cabling for that cutting-edge port.
The ROG Strix Z490-G Gaming (Wi-Fi)
The ROG Strix Z490-G Gaming (Wi-Fi) caters to microATX enthusiasts with gaming-friendly features and broad connectivity. Even though it starts off with a smaller PCB than its ATX brethren, the Z490-G Gaming still incorporates an efficient 12+2 teamed power stage design to make the most of its AI Overclocking capabilities, and four DIMM slots let users choose clocks or capacity.
Fast 2.5Gb Ethernet lets the Z490-G blast packets across the network more than twice as fast as older Gigabit Ethernet controllers, and optional Wi-Fi 6 connectivity lets this board enjoy all the advantages of the next-gen wireless standard when paired with a compatible router. Two PCIe x16 slots and a PCIe x1 slot provide ample room for expansion cards, while two M.2 slots offer real estate for high-speed NVMe storage. A heatsink on the primary M.2 slot keeps an SSD cool under sustained loads.
The TUF Gaming Z490-Plus (Wi-Fi)
The TUF Gaming Z490-Plus (available in both regular and Wi-Fi flavors) has TUF-ened up for 10th Gen Core CPUs in plenty of ways. Its PCB features six layers for better heat dissipation and signal integrity, and the VRM feeding the processor has expanded into a 12+2 teamed power stage design with DrMOS integrated components. TUF capacitors with superior heat tolerance and ProCool solid-core auxiliary power inputs complement the main power circuitry. Two PCIe x16 slots sit mid-board, and one uses ASUS’ SafeSlot metal-reinforced design for added peace of mind when you’re using heavier graphics cards or transporting the machine to a tournament. Two M.2 slots make room for two NVMe SSDs, and one of them is covered by a sizable heatsink to keep thermal throttling at bay even when a system is moving plenty of data around.
The rear I/O panel includes USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports in both Type-A® and Type-C® flavors, and ASUS has added a Gen 2 front-panel header to wire up to contemporary cases. An onboard Thunderbolt 3 header lets users add our ThunderboltEX 3-TR card if they need its bandwidth for audio and video work.
The Gigabit Ethernet controller at the back is driven by an Intel chip, and it’s protected against static electricity discharges with TUF LanGuard circuitry. The Wi-Fi-enabled version of the TUF Gaming Z490-Plus provides Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth® 5.1 connectivity for cord cutters. The Z490-Plus’ Realtek S1200A onboard audio comes with support for DTS® Custom surround sound virtualization that’ll enhance the sonic space depending on the type of game the user is playing (like an FPS, racing, or MOBA title).
Two dashes of RGB LED lighting running along the right side can be tweaked using our Aura Sync software, and three strip headers on the board, including a Gen 2 addressable header, allow the user to build out their style to their taste.
The ProArt Z490-Creator 10G
The ProArt Z490-Creator 10G packs everything a professional creator or developer needs, but its calling card is definitely connectivity. The I/O panel is one of the richest ever in sheer gigabits per second. There are two Thunderbolt 3 Type-C® connectors capable of pushing up to 40 Gbps apiece, powered by the latest-gen Intel Titan Ridge controller.
All the usual Thunderbolt goodies are supported: high-speed peripheral connectivity, multi-device daisy-chaining (across up to 12 total devices), and DisplayPort 1.4 video signals. Two DisplayPort inputs rest next to the Thunderbolt-enabled USB-C ports so users can channel display output from a discrete graphics card into Thunderbolt 3 cables.
Four USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A® connectors (each running at up to 10 Gbps) and two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A® ports (running at up to 5 Gbps) also grace the back panel. The 2.5Gbps Ethernet controller next to the USB ports is complemented by a mighty 10Gbps Ethernet card included in the box that’ll make short work of multi-terabyte transfers to your central media server or other network-attached storage device.
Although the ProArt Z490-Creator 10G has plenty of display outputs, 3D and video artists or game developers will likely rely on a discrete graphics card, and perhaps more than one. The three PCIe x16 slots allow users to install up to three graphics cards in up to a x8-x8-x4 lane topology.
The Prime Z490-A
Under those heatsinks, users will find a 12+2-phase teamed power design with DrMOS integrated circuitry that delivers a solid foundation for 10th Gen Core CPUs. A six-layer PCB underpins that VRM with plenty of copper for improved passive cooling. The DIMM slots can clock compatible pairs of DDR4 sticks up to 4600MHz and take in as much as 128GB of memory, too.
The two onboard M.2 slots on the Prime Z490-A can both take in drives as long as 110mm. Network connectivity comes by way of one 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet port. If the user is cutting wires out of their life, that’s fine, too: just install a CNVi-compatible Wi-Fi module in the M.2 E-key slot. The Prime Z490-A also includes a dedicated header for Thunderbolt 3 expansion cards in the event that work calls for one.
Aura Sync can tweak the subtle integrated lights and configure any strips you attach to the four RGB LED headers. Two of those are Gen 2 addressable headers, so the user won’t be left out of the latest trends in illuminated PCs. The audio codec on the Z490-A is a Realtek S1220A chip with a 120dB signal-to-noise ratio. The premium hardware includes support for DTS:X® Ultra, offering pinpoint-accurate 3D audio for movies and games.
The Prime Z490-P
The Prime Z490-P is the most attainable motherboard in the Z490 family. The 10+1 teamed VRM design proves the point, and 4600MHz RAM support means users will still have access to a full range of memory kits to suit their build’s performance requirements.
The Z490-P’s storage options will satisfy a wide range of builders, too. The dual M.2 slots might be enough on their own, considering the convenience, throughput, and affordability of modern NVMe SSDs, but four SATA ports make room for any bulk storage your build might need. ASUS has also included an E-key slot for a Wi-Fi card, as well as a Thunderbolt 3 header for use with an ASUS ThunderboltEX 3-TR expansion card.
The main PCIe x16 slot uses our SafeSlot Core+ metal-reinforced construction to secure heavy graphics cards if the user needs to move their system. There is also a dash of onboard lighting that can be augmented with three RGB LED strip headers—two four-pin and one Gen 2 addressable. A Realtek Gigabit Ethernet controller and an ALC887 audio codec round out the main specifications.
The Prime Z490M-Plus
Reliability, affordability, and a compact form factor are key aspects of a workhorse machine. An 8+1 DrMOS power stage design for the VRM ensures reliable power, and heatsinks on the power delivery circuitry ensure that the Prime Z490M-Plus keeps 10th Gen CPUs ticking reliably. Memory multipliers ranging up to 4400MHz give a user plenty of options when they are choosing the best balance of performance for a build.
An Intel controller manages the Gigabit Ethernet port alongside USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports in both Type-A® and Type-C® formats. Five onboard SATA ports handle bulk storage, and two M.2 slots stand ready for big, fast NVMe storage devices. The rear I/O panel contains a trio of video outputs (DisplayPort, HDMI™, and DVI) for ready access to output from Intel’s onboard graphics.