Z490 AORUS MASTER LGA1200 Motherboard Review

You're not ready for flagship yet


It’s hard being the hard-working little brother but your elder brothers get all the glory. That’s the situation that the AORUS MASTER has served within the AORUS family of motherboards, serving as the mainstream carrier for the series yet the company drums up the XTREME and WATERFORCE flagships leaving the MASTER-class to serve a heavy role. While the Z390 AORUS Master was reasonably positioned in the market, with X570 starting a paradigm shift in pricing for motherboards, it was inevitable board makers will sustain this uptick. The previous model, the Z390 AORUS MASTER launched with a 360$ price tag but the Z490 AORUS MASTER will see its MSRP go past $500.  This is the new normal for motherboard pricing but board makers aren’t leaving it as it is as they’re trying to back the price jump with flagship features that intends to please the enthusiast market.

Today we’ll take a look at the Z490 AORUS MASTER. Now, in a more mature role, this board is aimed at delivering high-end features for the 10th-gen Intel Core CPUs and is intended to be an all-rounded to compete with other sub-$600 flagships from other brands. It’s definitely upped its game from what we’ve seen before from the Intel front of the AORUS MASTER-class but with AORUS pushing it a bit further, they’ll need to tick a lot more boxes.

Read on to find out more about the Z490 AORUS MASTER in this review. Let’s begin!

Z490 AORUS MASTER LGA1200 Motherboard Review

Intel 400 series Chipset – Z490

Let’s be honest Intel, I’d usually do a full breakdown of the chipset for this generation but truth be told, it’s pretty much the Z390 with WIFI6 and LGA1200 socket. Intel cites that the new motherboards required a new power configuration hence the new socket but then again, that’s for the socket, the chipset itself is left with just WIFI6. Intel could’ve released second-gen Z390 but it wouldn’t make motherboard makers happy, would it? For motherboard makers though, they have full freedom to explore newer power implementations. With experience from AMD’s high core-count chips, the Z490 should inherit a lot from the X570 of last-generation in the power delivery side and have some space to play around with the features.

Intel Z390, B460, Z370 and Z270 Chipset Comparison
Feature Z490 B460 Z390 Z370
Max PCH PCIe 3.0 Lanes 24 24 24 24
Max USB 3.1 (Gen2/Gen1) 6/10 ? 6/10 0/10
Total USB ? ? 14 14
Max SATA Ports 6 6 6 6
PCIe Config x16
x8/x8
x8/x8/+4
x16
x8/x8
x8/x8/+4
x16
x8/x8
x8/x4/+4
x16
x8/x8
x8/x4/+4
Memory Channels (Dual) 2/2 2/2 2/2 2/2
Intel Optane Memory Support Y ? Y Y
Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) Y ? Y Y
Max Rapid Storage Technology Ports 3 ? 3 3
Integrated WiFi MAC Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 5 N
Intel Smart Sound Y ? Y Y
Integrated SDXC (SDA 3.0) Support ? ? Y N
DMI 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0
Overclocking Support Y N Y Y
Intel vPro ? ? N N
Max HSIO Lanes 30 ? 30 30
Intel Smart Sound ? ? Y Y
ME Firmware 14 14 12 11

Table courtesy of Anandtech

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