ASUS today announced its latest range of Z490 motherboards that are designed to unleash the full potential of the new 10th generation Intel Core processors. Made for gamers, enthusiasts, and professionals alike, each ASUS and Republic of Gamers Z490 motherboard is packed with improvements to take clock speeds to the next level.
The Z490 chipset offers plenty of features including a built-in Wi-Fi controller, multiple USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, Intel Optane memory as well as chipset RAID support. ASUS even included their own OptiMem III technology to ensure better signal integrity. They also threw in AI Overclocking to predict optimal speeds and voltage settings for the motherboard, so users can draw more power from their CPU with just one click.
ROG Strix Z490 Motherboard – Comparison
Here’s a comparison chart of the entire ROG Strix Z490 series motherboards, to better help with your decision making when getting a Z490 motherboard from ASUS ROG.
ROG Maximus XII Extreme
ROG Maximus XII Extreme tops the Z490 lineup, and should appeal to builders using top-end CPUs, multiple graphics cards, fast storage and peripherals. A set of MicroFine Alloy chokes work with teamed power stages and ASUS ProCool solid pins to deliver stable power to the Intel Core CPU. Highly-conductive thermal pads conduct heat away from the VRM, effectively transferring it to a massive heatsink array. A solid aluminum plate provides additional cooling, dissipating heat from the NVMe storage drives. Maximus XII Extreme also takes advantage of ASUS OptiMem III technology and its daisy-chain topology for improved signal integrity.
Maximus XII Extreme gives builders access to memory clocks of 4800 MHz and beyond, allowing them to explore the upper limits of overclocking. It features out-of-the-box compatibility with over 80% of 4600 MHz DDR4 kits, and has an onboard POST code LED display next to the Power-on, Retry, and Safe Boot buttons.
Four M.2 slots allow for builds with fast, ample storage, with two situated underneath the main body armor in the middle of the board, and another two on the DIMM.2 card with accompanying heatsinks to ensure sustained and reliable storage performance.
An assortment of USB ports is available, including a next-generation USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C® port capable of speeds of up to 20 Gbps. Three additional USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports — one Type-C and two Type-A — deliver speeds of up to 10 Gbps. Wired connections come by way of an Intel Ethernet I225-V controller that provides 2.5 Gb Ethernet and an Marvell® 10 GbE controller. Those who prefer a cord-free solution can take advantage of WiFi 6 and Bluetooth® 5.1 connectivity.
Maximus XII Extreme has a bundled ThunderboltEX 3-TR card, an Intel-certified Thunderbolt™ 3 add-on card that provides bi-directional speeds of up to 40 Gbps via a single cable. Additionally, an integrated Thunderbolt 3 header can support up to six devices in a daisy-chain and provide up to 100 watts of power to fast-charge devices.
ROG Maximus XII Formula
ROG Maximus XII Formula sets the ideal foundation for liquid-cooled builds. Its VRM features a CrossChill water block designed in collaboration with EK Water Blocks. The CrossChill EK III hybrid heatsink is capable of running up to 50°C cooler than standard air-cooled designs.
A POST code LED display and dedicated power and reset buttons can be found on the upper right corner of the board. Two M.2 slots are situated underneath the heatsinks on the front of the board, with another at the rear — and all can be configured into a RAID array for maximum parallel storage performance.
Maximus XII Formula features 10 Gb and 2.5 Gb Ethernet, along with WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity. There are also numerous USB ports for connections to peripherals. Users can take advantage of AI Cooling, as well as AI Networking with GameFirst VI technology.
ROG Maximus XII Hero (Wi-Fi)
ROG Maximus XII Hero (Wi-Fi) delivers balanced performance and is more than ready for the demands of 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs. It can accommodate up to three NVMe storage devices, all cooled by dedicated heatsinks. This board features an Intel WiFi 6 adapter and two Ethernet ports, with one delivering speeds of up to 5 Gbps. Users can take advantage of AI Overclocking for the best clocks and voltage settings at the press of a button, while the ASUS OptiMem III trace layout enables higher memory frequencies and lower latencies.
Maximus XII Hero (Wi-Fi) incorporates RGB LED accents into its stealthy, blacked-out aesthetics. Users can customize the look of their build with Aura Sync and the onboard Gen 2 addressable RGB LED headers.
ROG Strix Z490-E
With 14+2 and 12+2 power stages respectively, Strix Z490-E Gaming are ready to overclock the latest 10th Generation Intel Core CPUs with ease. This pair of motherboards feature a heatsink with an embedded heat pipe to cool the power stages, and a secondary heatsink to cool the Z490 chipset. Their six-layer PCBs and ProCool II auxiliary power connectors ensure smooth and stable power delivery. Strix Z490-E Gaming has an optional fan that can be attached to the VRM heatsink for additional cooling during overclocking. Four DIMM slots employ a daisy-chain topology for peak frequency potential, and can drive RAM to speeds of 4600 MHz and beyond.
Intel I225-V controllers provide baseline Ethernet speeds of up to 2.5 Gbps. Strix Z490-E Gaming has built-in WiFi 6 and Bluetooth connectivity. Two M.2 slots are available for NVMe SSDs, and those slots are found under heatsinks to ensure consistent performance.
A comprehensive array of USB ports can be found on the back panel of both motherboards, with Strix Z490-E Gaming featuring a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C® connector on its front panel. Superfast Thunderbolt™ 3 connectivity is also available via the optional ThunderboltEX 3-TR card.
ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming
The mini-ITX ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming motherboard features a compact eight-layer PCB for signal integrity and passive heat dissipation, and features an 8+2 power stage VRM with activate cooling for overclocking.
Despite its size, Strix Z490-I Gaming can accommodate two M.2 devices, and they can be found underneath the heatsinks to ensure adequate cooling within the confines of small-chassis builds. A total of 13 USB ports are available, including three USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A and one Type-C connector at the rear panel.
ROG Strix Z490-A Gaming
ROG Strix Z490-A Gaming turns heads with its dashing white finish, and that’s further accentuated by rows of RGB LED strips. Specifications-wise, it’s similar to Strix Z490-H, apart from slight differences in the rear USB ports, as well as the availability of a front-panel USB Type-C connector.
ROG Strix Z490-G Gaming (Wi-Fi)
ROG Strix Z490-G Gaming (Wi-Fi) caters to microATX enthusiasts with its gaming-friendly features and broad connectivity. Though considerably smaller than its ATX siblings, Strix Z490-G Gaming (Wi-Fi) still incorporates a 12+2 teamed power stage design and four DIMM slots.
Connectivity comes by way of superfast 2.5 Gb Ethernet and WiFi 6. Two PCIe x16 slots and a PCIe x1 slot can accommodate expansion cards, while two M.2 slots are available for high-speed NVMe storage. A heatsink on the primary M.2 slot keeps the SSD cool under sustained loads.
TUF Gaming Z490-Plus (Wi-Fi)
TUF Gaming Z490-Plus features a six-layer PCB for better heat dissipation and signal integrity, as well as a 12+2 teamed power stage design with DrMOS components. TUF capacitors with high heat tolerance and ProCool solid-core auxiliary power inputs complement the main power circuitry. There are two PCIe x16 slots available, with one featuring the metal-reinforced ASUS SafeSlot design. Two M.2 slots are on hand for NVMe SSDs, with one of them covered by heatsink to keep thermal throttling at bay.
The rear I/O panel features USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports with both Type-A and Type-C connectors, and that’s complemented by a Gen 2 front-panel header. An onboard Thunderbolt 3 header is available for users looking to add a ThunderboltEX 3-TR card.
The regular TUF Gaming Z490-Plus board has an Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller featuring TUF LanGuard circuitry to protect it from electrostatic discharge. The wireless-enabled TUF Gaming Z490-Plus (WiFi) features WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity.
Z490-Plus features Realtek S1200A onboard audio that supports DTS® Custom surround sound virtualization that can be tailored for specific gaming genres.
Two rows of RGB LEDs along the right of the board can be customized via Aura Sync. There are also three strip headers on the board, including a Gen 2 header, for users looking for additional customization options.
ProArt Z490-Creator 10G
ASUS ProArt Z490-Creator 10G packs everything a professional creator or developer needs, with the added bonus of additional connectivity features. The I/O panel features two Thunderbolt 3 Type-C connectors powered by the latest generation Intel ‘Titan Ridge’ controller, each capable of speeds of up to 40 Gbps. The Thunderbolt connection also supports up to 12 devices in a daisy chain, and DisplayPort 1.4 video signals.
To cater to the graphical needs of content creators and graphics professionals, ProArt Z490-Creator 10G has three PCIe x16 slots so they can install up to three graphics cards in up to a x8-x8-x4 lane topology.
At the rear, four USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A connectors support speeds of up to 10 Gbps, and two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports offer speeds up to 5 Gbps. There’s also a 2.5 Gb Ethernet controller and a 10 Gb Ethernet card for superfast networking performance.
ASUS Prime Z490M-Plus
Reliable and affordable, the compact Prime Z490M-Plus motherboard is a true workhorse. Its 8+1 DrMOS VRM power stage design offers unwavering power, while heatsinks on the power delivery circuitry ensure consistent power delivery to the 10th Generation Intel Core CPU. Memory is given a boost, too, with the ASUS OptiMem trace design pushing memory frequency to speeds of up to 4400 MHz.
An Intel Gigabit Ethernet port can be found alongside USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A and Type-C ports. Five onboard SATA ports are ready for HDDs, with two M.2 slots available for NVMe storage devices. The rear I/O panel features DisplayPort, HDMI™ and DVI output.