Last Updated on
Last Updated on
The time has come.
Intel has released its 9th-Generation CPUs in the form of Core i5-9600K, i7-9700K, and i9-9900K processors, and as it happens each year for some time, a new motherboard-generation have come to support new CPUs.
Almost every time, these newer motherboards come with new chipsets.
In case you don't know, a chipset acts as the communication center of your motherboard and determines which CPUs, Graphics Cards, and hardware peripherals can be connected to that motherboard.
Apart from this, it also plays an important role in whether you can overclock your CPU. Yes, you also need an overclockable CPU for this purpose, but not all chipset allow that.
And if that is the case, all the money you have put into that CPU goes worthless.
Lastly, a chipset determines how many expansion cards you can plug into that motherboard.
So now that you have read what exactly a chipset is and what does it do, let's come to the main topic: Z390 chipset.
Best Z390 Motherboards 2019
The motherboards for 9th-Generation have come with the new Z390 chipset which, among other things, gives native support for up to six USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports that are capable of transferring data with up to 10 Gbit/s (1.25 GB/s) speed.
Another good feature is the integrated Intel Wireless-AC 2x2 capability (which can provide you up to the theoretical speed of 1700 Mbps but would also depends on your overall network infrastructure), and Bluetooth 5.
Before this, there would be a separate controller for WiFi in WiFi-capable motherboards, but now Intel has shifted the majority of that module onto the chipset.
Apart from this, all the other features found in the previous Z370 chipset (such as Intel Optane and Intel High Definition Audio) are also present.
Overall, Z390 feels like a patch update over the earlier z370 chipset, rather than a whole new 'generation' update.
Both of them offer CPU overclocking, have same 14nm architecture, use same LGA1151 socket, give same RAID support (0, 1 5 10 levels), and both of them support the same number of SATA ports.
That's why, to get new Z390 motherboards or not, will totally depend on you.
Yes, you can put 9th-Gen CPUs on the older Z370 motherboards too and it will work fine, but those motherboards aren't specifically built for these new-gen processors.
With improved TDP and design enhancements, Z390 motherboards are better suited for this task.
On top of that, Z390 motherboards will most likely be compatible with the next-gen CPUs (10th-Gen?) whenever they'll be released. So you'll HAVE to make a purchase, sooner or later.
With this out of the way, let's take a look at the 5 best z390 motherboards to be released so far. These boards support i5-9600K, i7-9700K, as well as i9-9900K.
ASRock Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac: Check Price On Amazon
Best i5-9600K Z390 Motherboard 2019
For many years, mini ITX builds were considered only by budget users, and many people didn't use to think of them when buying/assembling a High-end PC.
But the tides have been turned, and now you can have a 9900K processor fit into a mini ITX PC case, thanks to this motherboard by ASRock: Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac.
In terms of features, this one has dual M.2 slots, a Thunderbolt 3 controller (capped at half-speed though, which is 20 Gbps), Up to 1700 Mbps WiFi capability, Bluetooth 5.0, as well as a large voltage regulator heat sink for a good level of overclocking.
I should mention here that while both M.2 slots support PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA interfaces, the top slot (the one under the PCH heatsink) supports 60mm and 80mm drives, and the bottom slot (the one underneath the board) is exclusive for 80mm drives.
On its backside, there's a clear CMOS button (to reset BIOS settings to default if you ever want to), a PS/2 port for old peripherals, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, 4 USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, along with DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0 ports.
Between the four USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, there's a USB Type-C connector that can be used for data as well as graphics output.
The only thing you'll miss here is the USB 3.1 Gen2 front header, and there are only 4 SATA 3 ports as compared to six ports in many z370 boards by ASRock.
On the top edge of the board, there are onboard RGB headers and an addressable RGB header which means you can connect it with compatible RGB components such as case fans, RGB CPU coolers, and even PC chassis.
As a whole, the RGB lighting is a little modest when compared to what other high-end boards offer. I am totally fine with it, but if love RGB, you have to make sure it blends well with rest of your gaming rig.
All in all, though, it's really impressive, has a lot of features, can be used in a high-end build, support overclocking, and has a reasonable price too (under 200 bucks at the time of this review).
There aren't many mini ITX boards with Z390 chipset out in the market so far. The competition will increase when now boards will be released. But as of now, this is the best mini ITX Z390 motherboard.
MSI Z390M MPG Gaming Edge AC: Check Price On Amazon
Best Micro ATX Z390 Motherboard 2019
Like mini-ITX boards, there aren't too many mATX Z390 boards yet.
But among those I've seen so far, MPG Gaming Edge by MSI is my favorite.
Costing you almost as much as ASRock phantom, this board has everything you can imagine in an mATX mobo.
As far as PCIe slots are concerned, you have two x16 slots which allow users to have two-way SLI /CrossFire multi-GPU setup. There are two more PCIe 3.0 x1 slots which can be utilized by things like PCIe WiFi card, or internal sound card etc.
It has four DDR4 slots so you can have as much as 64 GB RAM memory.
Apart from this, there are two M.2 slots and four SATA ports. You can have RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10 setup in SATA storage devices, while M.2 storage devices can only have RAID 0 and RAID 1.
Other goodies include Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec ( for 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio), Bluetooth 5 (with backward compatibility for older standards) and WiFi AC connectivity (for up to 1733 Mbps).
Having WiFi AC standard means advanced features like MU-MIMO are present and you can really benefit from it if you have an AC WiFi router for the home network.
In terms of USB connectivity, there are two USB 3.1 Gen 2 (1 Type-A and 1 Type-C) and four USB 3.0 Type-A ports at the back.
In case you want to increase that number, there are internal USB headers for another four USB 3.0 ports (also called USB 3.1 Gen 1 by many), one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, and four USB 2.0 ports at the front.
In addition to this, one HDMI port and 1 DisplayPort are also there.
All in all, this is the best mATX motherboard you can have for 9th-Gen CPUs. Yes, there are some features missing, like I/O shield and M.2 heatsink, but I don't think that these features are that much important for most PC builders.
And even if you consider them highly, the goodies in this board easily outweigh the cons.
Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero: Check Price On Amazon
Best i7-9700K Z390 Motherboard 2019
Asus ROG is a well-known brand among PC enthusiasts (I bought their Strix Z370-f motherboard last year for my build and so far it's good) and Maximum XI Hero is the latest Z390 motherboard by them.
In terms of price, it falls between midrange and high-end bracket, but you can fit any Intel CPU from 8th-Gen and 9th-Gen into it.
Design-wise, it has an ATX form factor (which means it can only be fit into mid/full tower cases) and has more than enough good looks.
Thanks to heavy black and grey-colored finishing, it certainly looks elegant. A benefit of having such color scheme is that almost any RGB color-setting will blend well with this mobo.
As a whole, it's well-built and looks really durable. Different components like I/O shield and M.2 slots are well-protected too.
There are two M.2 slots. Both of them are covered with heatsink (to keep the temperature down and also add to the aesthetics), and both of them support NVMe as well as Intel Optane technology.
For conventional storage options, there are six SATA ports for HDDs/SSDs.
For RAM, there are four DIMM slots (like ASRock Phantom and MSI Gaming Edge) on which you can have as much as 64 GB memory.
For expansion cards, there are three PCIe X1 slots, while three PCIe x16 slots can give you 2-way SLI or 3-way Crossfire multi-GPU setup. Metal-covers on the slots looks solid, and are totally capable of holding heavy video cards.
On the backside, there's a built-in I/O shield which protects the connectors/ports form any damage during installation. Speaking of ports, there are four USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (three are of Type-A while the other one is of Type-C), 2 USB 2.0 ports, and 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports.
Apart from this, there are PS/2 ports for legacy peripherals, BIOS (to update BIOS) and CMOS control buttons, an Ethernet port, Intel’s 9560 CNVi PHY for 1.7 Gbps WiFi connectivity, HDMI port 1.4b, and DisplayPort 1.2.
Audio capacitors with low SNR and ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC help to give an enhanced sound experience overall.
On the upper front corner are the power and reset buttons which will go at the top of the case you'll fit this board into.
Apart from this, there are eight 4-pin Fan headers, two RGB headers, as well as two Addressable LED headers. For RGB, there's Asus AURA which lets you customize all the different portions of RGB lighting here in this board.
While gaming, we didn't notice any frame-rate drops. In fact, Maximus' performance was only bettered by MSI' MEG (a high-end board).
Also we, and many other reviewers, find this mobo particularly good for overclocking, which is why this is the best motherboard for i7-9700K processors at the moment.
Yet, it's a bit pricey as compared to other competitors which may hold some users back.
Latest posts by William Johnson (see all)
- 10 Tips To Become A Better Player In Wolfenstein 2 - October 26, 2018
- How To Control Your CPU Fan Speed For An Improved Performance - October 18, 2018
- How to Apply Thermal Paste - October 16, 2018