Best ATX Motherboards (LGA 1200) for Intel i9-10900K ‘Comet Lake’ CPU

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Winner
ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490 (WiFi 6) LGA 1200 (Intel 10th Gen) ATX Gaming Motherboard (14+2 Power Stages, DDR4 4800+, 5Gbps LAN, Intel LAN, Bluetooth v5.1, Triple M.2, Aura Sync)
Best Price-Performance Ratio
ASUS Prime Z490-A LGA 1200 (Intel 10th Gen) ATX Motherboard (14 DrMOS Power Stages,Dual M.2, Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet, USB 3.2 Front Panel Type-C, Thunderbolt 3 Support, Aura Sync RGB)
ASUS ROG Strix Z490-H Gaming Z490 LGA 1200 (Intel 10th Gen) ATX Gaming Motherboard (12+2 Power Stages,DDR4 4600, Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet, USB 3.2 Gen 2, Aura Sync)
Model
ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490
ASUS Prime Z490-A
ASUS ROG Strix Z490-H
Test Result
Test Result 9.8/10 Excellent May 2020
Test Result 9.6/10 Very Good May 2020
Test Result 9.5/10 Excellent May 2020
Manufacturer
ASUS
ASUS
ASUS
Form Factor
ATX
ATX
ATX
Chipset
Intel Z490
Intel Z490
Intel Z 490
Suitable for 10th Gen Intel Comet Lake CPUs?
Connectivity
Value for money
Pros
  • Best equipped motherboard for the i9-10900K
  • High Quality Components
  • Cooling Heatsinks
  • Great WiFi
  • Best price-performance ratio
  • Great motherboard for i9-10900K
  • Great connectivity
  • Fair pricing
  • Good price-performance ratio
  • Supports RAM speed up to 4600Hz
  • High-performance Gaming Networking
  • Fast Connectivity
Cons
  • Software bloat
  • VRM design
  • ASUS-exclusive Aura Sync RGB lighting
Recommended by us?
Winner
ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490 (WiFi 6) LGA 1200 (Intel 10th Gen) ATX Gaming Motherboard (14+2 Power Stages, DDR4 4800+, 5Gbps LAN, Intel LAN, Bluetooth v5.1, Triple M.2, Aura Sync)
Model
ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490
Test Result
Test Result 9.8/10 Excellent May 2020
Manufacturer
ASUS
Form Factor
ATX
Chipset
Intel Z490
Suitable for 10th Gen Intel Comet Lake CPUs?
Connectivity
Value for money
Pros
  • Best equipped motherboard for the i9-10900K
  • High Quality Components
  • Cooling Heatsinks
  • Great WiFi
Cons
  • Software bloat
Recommended by us?
Best Price-Performance Ratio
ASUS Prime Z490-A LGA 1200 (Intel 10th Gen) ATX Motherboard (14 DrMOS Power Stages,Dual M.2, Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet, USB 3.2 Front Panel Type-C, Thunderbolt 3 Support, Aura Sync RGB)
Model
ASUS Prime Z490-A
Test Result
Test Result 9.6/10 Very Good May 2020
Manufacturer
ASUS
Form Factor
ATX
Chipset
Intel Z490
Suitable for 10th Gen Intel Comet Lake CPUs?
Connectivity
Value for money
Pros
  • Best price-performance ratio
  • Great motherboard for i9-10900K
  • Great connectivity
  • Fair pricing
Cons
  • VRM design
Recommended by us?
ASUS ROG Strix Z490-H Gaming Z490 LGA 1200 (Intel 10th Gen) ATX Gaming Motherboard (12+2 Power Stages,DDR4 4600, Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet, USB 3.2 Gen 2, Aura Sync)
Model
ASUS ROG Strix Z490-H
Test Result
Test Result 9.5/10 Excellent May 2020
Manufacturer
ASUS
Form Factor
ATX
Chipset
Intel Z 490
Suitable for 10th Gen Intel Comet Lake CPUs?
Connectivity
Value for money
Pros
  • Good price-performance ratio
  • Supports RAM speed up to 4600Hz
  • High-performance Gaming Networking
  • Fast Connectivity
Cons
  • ASUS-exclusive Aura Sync RGB lighting
Recommended by us?

Best ATX Motherboards (LGA 1200) for Intel i9-10900K

The new Intel i9-10900K CPU from the new Comet Lake generation offers amazing performance, especially for gamers.

Intel has drilled a lot of holes in the top models for the new ‘Comet Lake’ CPU series: While the Core i9-9900(K) still had to make do with eight cores, the five models within the Core i9-10900 series now all have ten cores.

They can even make the Windows operating system believe that they have 20 processing units using hyperthreading technology.

Depending on the model, the basic clock rate is between 1.9 and 3.7 gigahertz, but for demanding tasks, a single computing unit may now briefly operate with up to 5.3 gigahertz instead of “only” 5.0 gigahertz.

New: The 10900K and 10900KF CPUs achieve the 5.3 Gigahertz not only by turbo technology, but also by “Thermal Design Velocity Boost”.

This means: It may exceed the TDP limit significantly for a short time. But for this, an effective cooling for the CPU must be available, otherwise the processor will die an agonizing heat death.

But which motherboard offers the best performance to go with the Intel i9-10900K CPU?

Ranking First: ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490

ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490

Pros

  • Best equipped motherboard for the i9-10900K
  • High Quality Components
  • Cooling Heatsinks
  • Great WiFi

Cons

  • Software bloat

Best performing LGA 1200 motherboard for i9-10900K

The Comet Lake S processors are here with a new socket. Appropriately, we assess the new tenth generation decore, Intel’s Core i9-10900K, and the Z490 mainboard ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero following in the review. How much more performance is possible?

Overview of Intel Comet Lake-S

The ASUS mainboard is based on the Z490 chipset and the LGA 1200 socket, which Intel introduced with the Comet Lake S series.

This is the tenth generation of desktop processors that are now starting on the market. They are based on the Skylake architecture, i.e. they have a structure size of 14 nanometers.

Much has not changed with Comet Lake-S, but Intel now clocks the CPUs a bit higher and offers hyperthreading on almost all models.

The specified thermal power dissipation (TDP) of the processors with free multiplier, i.e. the K models, is 125 watts each.

This also applies to the Core i9-10900K, which is the most powerful CPU in the new series.

It offers ten cores and 20 threads and clocks up to 5.3 Gigahertz on two cores using the Thermal Velocity Boost – all cores simultaneously achieve 4.9 GHz.

Since the power consumption also tends to rise above the increased TDP with Comet Lake-S, the change to a new socket was necessary according to Intel.

Therefore, a new chipset had to be found – this is where the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero (Wi-Fi) comes in.

  • Scope of delivery
  • Mainboard
  • User manual and driver DVD
  • ROG stickers
  • SATA cable
  • optional fan
  • front I/O adapter
  • WLAN antenna
  • RGB extension cable
  • M.2 screws
  • Key fob

Design and features

The Maximus XII Hero belongs to the premium class of the new Z490 lineup.

In this country it is only subject to the Maximus XII Extreme and Maximus XII Formula, so the price is high at just under 430 Dollar.

While the ROG Maximus XI Hero (Test) still had silver accents, the successor is completely in matt black.

The Aura RGB lighting on the I/O cover and the chipset cooler provides nice lighting effects, but can also be deactivated at any time.

Speaking of coolers, the eight-layer motherboard has all kinds of coolers.

The voltage regulators (VRMs) and the transistors (MOSFETs) are covered by three heat sinks and a continuous heatpipe left, below and above the socket.

Near the upper right corner of the board, the included 40 millimeter fan can be optionally installed.

However, this should only be interesting for extreme overclockers. In a regular system with sufficient air circulation, it’s at least not necessary.

The cooling elements should counteract the increased heat development caused by the new TDP.

ASUS regulates the power supply with 14 + 2 phases and the MOSFETs are also designed for currents of up to 60 amps.

For the CPU there is again an 8 + 4 pin connector. Weaker processors below the Core i9-10900K should probably work stable with the 8-pin connector alone, especially the models without a free multiplier and with lower TDP.

However, we recommend using both connections for the top CPU. By the way, the 8-pin connector has a metal sheath and the pins are reinforced to better handle higher currents.

Connectors

Furthermore, additional metal heat sinks also cover the chipset near the right center of the mainboard and the three M.2 slots in total.

The latter all support the PCIe 3.0 interface with four lanes. Whether the connectors are already compatible to PCIe 4.0 is not clear from the ASUS documents.

The Comet Lake S series doesn’t support them anyway, but the Z490 chipset will probably be able to use the newer standard with the next generation – that’s why other manufacturers are already building the necessary components into some of the motherboards that have just been launched.

Two of the M.2 slots are long enough for corresponding SSDs in the 22110 format and on the other M.2 slot, a maximum of SSDs with a length of 80 millimeters can be installed.

Only the topmost connector can be used at any time with the full bandwidth.

The middle one shares the bandwidth with the third PCIe slot and the bottom one with two SATA connectors.

RAID systems are possible and Intel Optane storage also supports the ASUS Maximus XII Hero.

To get to the upper two M.2 slots, seven screws have to be removed – this can take a bit more time than usual when assembling the system, but is not a serious shortcoming.

The upper two of the three large PCIe slots offer metal reinforcement and share the bandwidth of 16 lanes.

Multi-graphics card setups are therefore possible. There are also three small PCIe x1 slots.

For the internal connection of hard disks and SATA SSDs, the motherboard offers a total of six SATA ports, each with six gigabits per second (Gbit/s).

All kinds of USB ports

The board also features a high variety of USB connections. A total of 17 USB ports are available, ten on the rear and seven more for accessories or front connections on the case.

For an easier understanding, the USB standards are described below only with their old names. We will now briefly show you the differences to the current names:

  • USB 3.0, recently also USB 3.2 Gen 1 offers a maximum transfer rate of five Gbit/s
  • USB 3.1, recently also USB 3.2 Gen 2 offers a maximum transfer rate of ten Gbit/s
  • as well as USB 3.2, recently also USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 offers a transfer rate of maximum 20 Gbit/s
ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490

At the rear, i.e. on the I/O panel, ASUS installs two USB 2.0, four USB 3.0 and four USB 3.1 ports, including a type C port with ten Gbps.

Because of the price, we would have expected at least one USB 3.2 port with 20 Gbps. Internally, four USB 2.0, two USB 3.0 and one USB 3.1 ports are available.

Apart from the USB ports, there is also a BIOS flash key, a clear CMOS key, an HDMI 1.4 output, two Ethernet ports, the plugs for the WLAN antennas as well as analog audio outputs and a digital audio output on the rear.

Good connectivity and SupremeFX audio

The first Ethernet port is connected to Intel’s internal network chip and has a maximum performance of 1 Gbps.

Again, the second port even achieves up to five Gbit/s thanks to a Marvell chip. The mainboard also masters the current Wi-Fi 6 standard, since an Intel AX201 card is installed.

The included 2×2 antenna can be easily connected via the back. Bluetooth 5.1 is also on board.

Unfortunately, there is no Thunderbolt 3 port, but only a header, so that an additional expansion card is necessary.

In terms of audio, the latest version of ASUS’ SupremeFX is available. Among other things, it offers automatic impedance detection for front and rear headphone outputs, 7.1 surround support and a DAC + AMP.

For memory there are four DIMM slots. The motherboard supports a maximum of 128 Gigabyte DDR4 RAM with 4,800 MHz – however, this XMP clock is only possible when operating with two modules.

If you use all four slots, the certified maximum clock rate drops to still high 3,600 MHz. Without XMP profile, 2,933 MHz is possible on the Intel side with new Core i9 or Core i7 CPUs, with processors below that only 2,666 MHz.

Furthermore, the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero offers six different fan connectors, five connectors for water cooling and its sensors as well as ARGB connectors for lighting effects with Aura Sync.

There is also an error code display, a start button, a retry button and a FlexKey button that can be assigned as desired.

There are four DIMM slots for main memory. The motherboard supports a maximum of 128 Gigabyte DDR4 RAM with 4.800 MHz – this XMP clock is only possible when using two modules.

If you use all four slots, the certified maximum clock rate drops to still high 3,600 MHz. Without XMP profile, 2,933 MHz is possible on the Intel side with new Core i9 or Core i7 CPUs, with processors below that only 2,666 MHz.

ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490

Furthermore, the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero offers six different fan connectors, five connectors for water cooling and its sensors as well as ARGB connectors for lighting effects with Aura Sync.

There is also an error code display, a start button, a retry button and a FlexKey button that can be assigned as desired.

In regards to Cinebench R20 and CPU values of the benchmarks, the new Core i9 does a good bit better than its predecessor of the ninth generation.

However, if we look at the results for the overall system performance, the differences turn out only slight.

The performance in games is mostly equal and the difference in percent is only in the single-digit range.

In general, it is nevertheless remarkable what Intel still gets out of the older Skylake architecture. But this also costs energy efficiency and the temperatures are still very high under load.

Experience with the Thermal Velocity Boost

As mentioned at the beginning, the Core i9-10900K clocks up to 5.3 GHz. This is however the best value for two of the ten cores.

With Turbo Boost 3.0 and Turbo Boost 2.0 it’s 100 MHz less in each case. Intel specifies 4.8 GHz or 4.9 GHz with Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB) for all cores.

According to Intel’s specifications, the TVB only takes effect at a CPU temperature of a maximum of 70 degrees.

The specified power limit of 125 watts simply doesn’t give this power, which is why there is a second power limit of 250 watts.

Actually, the latter should only be held for a short period of less than one minute – this time value is called TAU.

As it turned out during the test, mainboards handle these three limits (PL1, PL2 and TAU) as well as the temperature specification differently and sometimes ignore them completely.

For example, we never automatically achieved the advertised clock rate of 5.3 GHz on two cores, but instead we achieved a permanent boost of 4.9 GHz on all cores.

The TAU limit also apparently varied constantly, as we sometimes achieved values of just over 6,000 points on Cinebench, but sometimes also around 6,300 points.

The power consumption under load also fluctuated accordingly.

We also tested the new processor on an MSI MEG Z490 ACE (test) and although both mainboards showed an all-core clock rate of 4.9 GHz, the Asus model achieved somewhat better results, but also allowed the CPU 40 watts more power at peak times.

Because the Core i9 processor already scratched the 100 degree limit in the Prime95 stress test, it came to thermally induced throttling after a while.

Therefore, we have refrained from overclocking attempts for the time being, but will soon go into overclocking in a separate article.

Furthermore, we also installed a 360 millimeter AiO water cooling due to the strong heat development, but the temperatures varied between 77 and 82 degrees Celsius in stress tests.

Verdict: Best performing LGA 1200 motherboard for i9-10900K

ASUS offers with the ROG Maximus XII Hero (Wi-Fi) a motherboard with many functions, which is well prepared for the Intel processors of the tenth generation.

Since the Z490 chipset doesn’t offer many innovations, the differences to the previous model unfortunately turn out slightly. We consider the ample heat sinks and the three M.2 slots to be positive.

But the round overall package also has its price.

With a recommended retail price of around 400 Dollar, the motherboard is quite expensive, but this is also the case with other competitor models in this class.

For enthusiasts, the ASUS board certainly offers enough features, especially in terms of connections or connectivity. Nevertheless, we would have liked to see a Thunderbolt 3 port or at least a USB port with up to 20 Gbit/s.

All in all the best performing LGA 1200 motherboard for the i9-10900K CPU.

Ranking Second: ASUS Prime Z490-A LGA 1200

Pros

  • Best price-performance ratio
  • Great motherboard for i9-10900K
  • Great connectivity
  • Fair pricing

Cons

  • VRM design

Best price-performance ratio motherboard for Intel i9-10900K

Due to apparent errors in the activation of some product pages, over the weekend we received the first views of the new motherboards from ASUS and MSI for the tenth generation of Intel processors, Comet Lake. We summarize the information for you here:

It looks like two mainboards of the Z490 Prime series are coming, the ASUS PRIME Z490-A and the ASUS PRIME Z490-P.

Both mainboards are aimed more at the beginner’s area. The ASUS TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS Wi-Fi has also appeared and is aimed at enthusiasts.

ASUS PRIME Z490-A

The PRIME Z490-A supports the LGA 1200 socket with a twelve-phase power supply, which is fed by an eight-pole and a four-pole auxiliary power supply.

The motherboard has two large cooling surfaces, apparently made of aluminum, which are colored in a silver-gray look. The PRIME Z490-A will offer three PCIe-3.0-x16, three PCIe-3.0-x1 and two M.2 slots.

ASUS PRIME Z490-P

The ASUS Prime Z490-P is very similar to the Z490-A, but here the information is a bit more comprehensive:

The RAM supports speeds up to 4,600 MHz in overclocking, whereby four DDR4 memory slots can hold up to 128 GB memory.

ASUS Prime Z490-A LGA 1200

The motherboard has two PCIe-3.0-x16, three PCIe-3.0-x1 and two M.2 slots.

Additionally, there is an M.2 socket with Key-E connector. Two USB 2.0 ports, one HDMI and one DisplayPort port, two second-generation USB 3.2, two USB 4.2, one LAN port, one optical SPDIF port and five analog audio ports are offered at further ports.

Four first-generation USB 3.2 ports are supported on the front panel.

ASUS TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS WiFi

The ASUS TUF Gaming Z490-PLUS WiFi will be in the middle class.

This is also evident in the equipment, here the processor is equipped with a twelve-phase power supply (8+4 pins), which should be able to supply the probably power-hungry Intel processors with enough power.

The motherboard has two PCIe-3.0-x16, three PCIe-3.0-x16, two M.2 slots, but only one of them has a cooling cover.

Other connectivity options include PS/2, one DisplayPort and one HDMI port, two USB 3.2 gen. 2 (Type A and Type C), and four USB 3.2 gen. 1.

Furthermore, the motherboard has WiFi-6 as well as Blutooth 5.1 and a Realtek S1200 sound chip with five analog connectors.

Verdict: Best price-performance ratio motherboard for Intel i9-10900K

All in all, the PRIME Z490-A motherboard offers the most performance for the price. For most people this motherboard is the best option for the money you have to pay.

Yes, you have to compromise on some features, but most are not really that important for most people.

Ranking Third: ASUS ROG Strix Z490-H

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-H

Pros

  • Good price-performance ratio
  • Supports RAM speed up to 4600Hz
  • High-performance Gaming Networking
  • Fast Connectivity

Cons

  • ASUS-exclusive Aura Sync RGB lighting

Great motherboard for the Intel i9-10900K CPU

In addition to the ROG Maximus mainboards with Z490 chipset newly introduced by Asus in the premium segment, six further ROG offshoots are joining the unveiling of Comet Lake-S.

Broadly positioned in ATX, mATX is also new in Mini-ITX. With three boards the Prime line follows additionally.

2.5 Gbit LAN, Wi-Fi 6 and DDR4 RAM up to 4,800 MHz also in Mini-ITX

The ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming and the ROG Strix Z490-G Gaming stand out from the mass of new releases from Asus in the mainboard array with a Z490 chipset.

Less conspicuous due to an overflowing variety of functions, both of them offer a remarkable equipment in a more compact size apart from the classic ATX format.

For example, Asus will also install Intel’s I225-V LAN chip for 2.5 Gbit LAN in the cheaper midrange mainboards with a Z490 chipset from now on.

The mini-ITX board Asus ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming also needs an additional 8-pin connection from the power supply unit, apart from the obligatory 24-pin connection, for a reliable power supply.

Moreover, the mini-ITX model, just like the likewise new Maximus Z490 mainboards, knows how to handle faster DDR4 RAM because Asus guarantees compatibility with modules up to 4,800 MHz ex works.

Despite the decimated form factor, the ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming is almost in no way inferior to the larger ROG Strix Z490-G Gaming in Micro-ATX in terms of the offered functions.

Thus, apart from the mentioned LAN chip, a WLAN module with Wi-Fi 6 is also part of the features offered ex factory.

Two M.2 recordings are fully connected via four PCIe lines and can handle fast SSDs via NVMe protocol.

Instead of the usual six SATA ports, the mini-ITX mainboard can have a maximum of four of these ports, as is usual in this form factor.

Four ATX mainboards in the ROG-Strix Z490 line

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-H

As usual mainstream mainboards in the ATX form factor, Asus has a total of four boards in the Strix series with a Z490 chipset at the start of Comet Lake-S.

As before, the concise distinguishing features are only slight in all variants.

All of them are – according to the current status – united by the faster LAN chip from Intel, which not only allows Gigabit LAN, but also enables faster data transfer into the network with up to 2.5 Gbit/s.

Provided that the remote station also masters the standard.

Asus has also partially installed a current WLAN module with Wi-Fi 6 directly from the factory on the ROG Strix Z490-E/F/H Gaming motherboards.

The current fastest USB standard, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 for a data transfer with up to 20 Gbps, isn’t supported by the ROG Strix boards, though.

The advantage is still reserved for the premium and upper class mainboards of the ROG Maximus series, just like 10 Gbit LAN.

Verdict: Great motherboard for the Intel i9-10900K CPU

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-H

With a total of three mainboards, Asus has also reissued the Prime series with the new Z490 chipset.

One of them was launched directly at the market launch in the more compact Micro-ATX.

The budget boards also accept Intel’s new desktop CPUs of the Comet Lake-S type via the LGA 1200 socket and accordingly come with an inflated power supply.

Heat sinks for the voltage converters are now also standard in the lower price range. Even with the cheaper Z490 mainboards, the 2.5 Gbit LAN chip from Intel is partly offered.

Buyers expect limitations when connecting the M.2 slots, because only one of the two existing receptacles for PCIe SSDs supports the highest possible transfer speed over four lines.

The new models Prime Z490M-Plus, Prime Z490-A and Prime Z490-P also have limitations when it comes to USB ports.

On the one hand, the number of interfaces is limited, and with USB 3.2 Gen2 (formerly USB 3.0) data transfer is still only possible at a maximum of 10 Gbps.

All in all, the ASUS ROG Strix Z490-H is a great motherboard for the Intel i9-10900K CPU for a fair price.

Verdict: Best ATX Motherboards (LGA 1200) for Intel i9-10900K

The absolute performance winner of our review is the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490. Although it is a bit pricey, you will not have to compromise on anything.

If you are concious of price-performance ratio the ASUS Prime Z490-A is an excellent choice in combination with the Intel i9-10900K.

Another slightly cheaper option is the ASUS ROG Strix Z490-H, which offer good performance, also.


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