Last Updated on July 1, 2020 by Scott Krager
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 generation of motherboards has arrived to support these 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 a vital 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 Motherboard 2020
- ASRock Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac (Best i5-9600K Z390 Motherboard For 2020)
- MSI Z390M MPG Gaming Edge AC (Best Micro ATX Z390 Motherboard For 2020)
- Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Best i7-9700K Z390 Motherboard For 2020)
- Gigabyte Aorus Pro (Best Z390 Motherboard For Gaming)
- MSI MEG Z390 GODLIKE (Best i9-9900K Z390 Motherboard For 2020)
The motherboards for 9th-Gen CPUs 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 useful feature is the integrated Intel Wireless-AC 2×2 capability (which can provide you up to the theoretical speed of 1700 Mbps but would also depend 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 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 after a BIOS update) 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.
Best Z390 Motherboard 2020 Buying Guide
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 2020
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 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 heatsink 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 the rest of your gaming rig.
All in all, it’s impressive, has a lot of features, can be used in a high-end build, support overclocking, and also has a reasonable price (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 2020
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.
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 utilize 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 (now called USB 3.1 Gen 1), 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, some features are missing, like M.2 heatsink, but I don’t think that these features are that much crucial 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 2020
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 a 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 from any damage during installation. The rear I/O panel features 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’s MEG (a high-end board).
Also we, and many other reviewers, find this mobo particularly useful 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.
GIGABYTE AORUS PRO: Check Price On Amazon
Best Z390 Motherboard 2020 For Value
Aorus Pro is in middle-tier of the Z390 motherboards Gigabyte has released since October last year. It means that while this motherboard isn’t supposed to do any chart-topping performance, it should get the job for most users.
So let’s check it out.
Its overall design resembles with the other motherboards from the Aorus line-up, apart from some slight changes.
At the top left corner, you’ll find the 8-pin and 4-pin power connectors while the top right corner has an addressable LED header along with a typical LED header.
The other RGB headers, Fan headers, and USB 2.0 internal headers can be found on the bottom side. One good thing I noticed here is that heatsinks make good contact with the components they’re supposed to cool.
The 12+1 VRM is fantastic for even the i9-9900K CPU and will undoubtedly help with the power delivery required for 5.0 GHz overclocking mark. To keep the temperature lower, which is necessary for optimal power delivery, the heatsinks on this board are stronger and bigger than what you normally get in other mobos.
You can go up to 5 GHz with this CPU pretty easily, but anything beyond that mark would require at least a good AIO cooler.
There are usual suspects at the rear I/O panel which comes with a shroud. 4 USB 2.0 ports, 3 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 3.1 type-A ports, a single Type-C port, along with 7.1 audio output and 1 Gigbit LAN is what you’ll find here. There’s no DisplayPort, but I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker.
On the right side of the socket, there are 4 reinforced DIMM slots with 3 RGB strips running between them.
For storage connections, there are six SATA 6 Gb/s ports – nothing to write home about, but definitely more than enough – with support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10.
For audio, there’s ALC1220-VB Enhanced chipset along with WIMA Audio Capacitors – a top class combo for built-in sound as of now. It means you can have as good onboard audio as you can have on any other board.
For graphics expansion, there are three PCIe x16 slots. Two of them are armored so that they can hold even the heavier graphics cards in the market. One thing worth mentioning here is that if you populate both of these slots, both of them will operate at x8 mode.
So, if you’ve got only a single graphics card, make sure to install it in the PCIe x16 slot running at x16 mode (PCIEX16), rather than the one running at x8 mode (PCIEX8). The third PCIe x16 slot runs at x4 mode (PCIEX4).
For other less-demanding adapters, there are three PCIe x1 slots too.
Moreover, there are 2 M.2 slots. Both of them come with a heatsink and shield – unlike other boards where only one of them is usually shielded.
Being a gaming motherboard, I was expecting Aorus Pro to perform well in games like the Rise of Tomb Raider, Far Cry Primal, and Ghost Recon, etc, but the whole experience went way beyond my expectations. Not only it performed well, but it also fared better than some of its pricier competitors.
All in all, this is the best Z390 motherboard in terms of value. Yes, it may have some features missing from high-end motherboards, but it has the best price-to-performance ratio overall.
If all you care about is some fast storage, plenty of USB ports, a bit of RGB, and high frame rates, this is the way to go. Oh, and the high-performance onboard audio is just the cherry on top.
MSI MEG Z390 GODLIKE: Check Price On Amazon
Best Z390 Motherboard For i9-9900K
MSI’s GODLIKE lineup has traditionally been the crème de la crème among motherboards.
So when Intel announced their Z390 chipset, there was a natural expectation that MSI would soon release a new product from this high-end lineup.
So here’s that new product in the form of MEG (MSI Enthusiast Gaming) Z390.For those who don’t know, starting from this generation, MSI motherboards would come up in the form of different series/categories such as MEG, MPG, MAG, and Pro.Out of those four, MEG, MPG, and MAG are for gamers and have the abbreviations of MSI Enthusiast Gaming, MSI Performance Gaming, and MSI Arsenal Gaming, respectively.
Among them, MEG series is for enthusiasts, while the other two series will be geared towards consumers with slightly less budget. The fourth one, the PRO series, is for home/business users.With this little intro out of the way, let’s come to our main topic: MEG Z390 GODLIKE.
Being an e-ATX motherboard, it’s quite large. But even with this much size, you won’t find any unused space thanks to the huge number of features MSI has put in here.
The PCB and the majority of the backside are black and blend well with the grey color in some areas such as M.2 heatsinks.On the topmost heatsink, there’s the MSI logo, while the GODLIKE Logo is on the rear I/O panel’s shroud.On the right side of this shroud, there’s a small OLED display which can be used to display custom messages and other stats.
Although USB 2.0 and video outputs are absent from the rear I/O panel, there are some goodies in the form of a 6.3 mm headphone jack, dual LAN ports, and clear CMOS + Bios flashback buttons. To be frank, who willingly use USB 2.0 port nowadays?Rest of the things on this rear panel include:
- 2 USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports
- 1 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port
- 3 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A Ports
- 5 Audio jacks (3.5 mm)
- 1 PS/2 port for legacy hardware
- WiFi and Bluetooth Antenna Connectors
As far as the socket is concerned, it’s big enough to fit most of the CPU coolers in the market, but some very big ones may create an issue or two. On the right side of the socket, there are 4 DIMM slots with a dark chrome finish which really helps you distinguishing them with the rest of the board.
Below this socket, there’s an LED light which says ‘MEG’ in bright green light. Below this LED light, there are 3 M.2 slots. All three of these slots have doubled-sided heatsinks (heatsinks both above and below the M.2 slots) to ensure proper cooling.
For further cooling, there are eight case fans headers, 1 CPU header, and 1 high amp pump header. These three types are placed on places like above the CPU socket, below the socket, top-right corner of the board, and bottom-left corner, etc.
Apart from this, 4 PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots support two-way SLI and quad-CrossFire setup. Alongside, there’s 1 PCI Express 3.0 x1 slot, 6 SATA ports, and a single U.2 Slot (at the right bottom corner). This U.2 port supports PCI Express 3.0 x4 NVME storage.
Then, there’s Streaming Boost capture card. For those who don’t know, a capture card is an expansion card used to stream your games.
It receives signals from the graphics card on your PC, records them, and then it can send them to video game sites, like Twitch. So, if you are/want to be in Twitch streaming, you’ll be pleased to get that free with GODLIKE.
Thanks to 3 audio codecs, the audio performance is just excellent. There’s a DAC built-into this board, which can further enhance your experience, especially if you have a headphones pair with the 6.3mm audio jack.
So after reading all of this, a question may come into your mind: Is it really… GODLIKE?
Apart from a high price (600 Bucks at the time of this review), I couldn’t find any flaw here. From design to storage options, and from streamBoost to the OLED screen on the I/O shroud, this board shows its class.
Thanks to 16-phase VRM, this board is really suitable for overclocking your i9-9900K. It comes with the GameBoost Dial – a physical dial that can do overclocking on 11 different levels. Thanks to this, while playing games like Far Cry 5 and Tomb Raider, we got higher benchmarks than any other z390 board in the market.
This is the reason why MEG GODLIKE is the best high-end Z390 Motherboard as of now.