Ten months ago, AMD released the Ryzen 3000 series desktop processors in one of the most monumental hardware launches of the modern era. This final step completed the Red brand's ascent back into the forefront of the desktop processor market that began with the launch of the first generation of Ryzen CPUs. Today, Intel is finally firing back with the launch of the 10th Generation Intel Core processors, along with a new motherboard standard to drive them.
As should be no surprise, the focus will remain on the new motherboards. While the 10th Gen Intel Core processors will not support PCIe 4.0 connectivity due to signal integrity issues, many of the Z490 motherboards are designed to support the PCIe 4.0 specification. This is accomplished by adding clock generators to help clean up the signal. Generally speaking, when it comes to long-term platform support, AMD has been the trendsetter. Has AMD's long support of the AM4 socket on its newer generation processors inspired Intel to take similar steps?
So what is Z490 offering right now? For starters, there has been a large focus on VRM and VRM cooling design. With the top-level Intel Core i9-10900K featuring 10 cores along with HyperThreading, the ability to deliver clean, continuous power is going to be one of the primary factors that separates a good Z490 board from the competition. With the introduction of HyperThreading on Intel's mid-range line-up, power delivery is going to be vital in all segments.
The ASUS ROG STRIX Z490-E Gaming is our first look at ASUS's new Z490 lineup. The STRIX family bridges the gap between the excellent value of TUF series boards and the no-expense-spared MAXIMUS series boards. This middle ground is perfect for high-end builds where budget is still a factor, but so are aesthetics and a broad feature set. The ROG STRIX Z490-E is at the top end of the ASUS Z490 STRIX series, and there is a lot of board being offered here!
The ASUS ROG STRIX Z490-E Gaming features a robust VRM cooling solution complete with an optional active cooling fan, all paired with no less than 16 power stages from Vishay. BIOS flashback has also been included, as well as ASUS's excellent BIOS designed to provide an optimal, stress-free overclocking experience. The ASUS ROG STRIX Z490-E Gaming also offers great connectivity with plenty of USB options on the rear I/O and internally. All of this performance is bundled in an attractive, neutral package with excellent RGB options for those who want more flare in their final build.
Let's take a closer look at what the ASUS ROG STRIX Z490-E Gaming has to offer.
|CPU Support:||Intel 10th Gen or later processors|
|Power Design:|| CPU Power: 16 phase* |
Memory Power: 2 phase
|Integrated Graphics:||Dependant on installed CPU|
|Memory:||4x DIMM, supports Dual-channel DDR4-4600 (OC) MHz|
|BIOS:||AMI UEFI BIOS|
|Expansion Slots:|| 3x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots |
3x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
|Storage:|| 2x SATA 6 Gb/s port |
2x M.2 port (SATA3/PCIe 3.0 x4)
|Networking:||1x Intel I2225V 2.5 Gb/s LAN|
1x Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
|Rear Ports:||2x Antenna ports|
1x Bios Flashback Button
1x HDMI port
1x DisplayPort 1.4
1x Optical SPDIF out port
1x LAN (RJ45) port
1x USB 3.2 (Gen2) Type-C port
2x USB 3.2 (Gen1) ports
3x USB 3.2 (Gen2) Type-A ports
2x USB 2.0 ports
5x 3.5 mm audio jacks
|Audio:||1x Realtek ALC1220 Codec|
|Fan Headers:||8x 4-pin|
|Form Factor:||ATX Form Factor: 12.0 in x 9.6 in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm|
Packaging and Contents
The front of the ASUS ROG STRIX Z490-E Gaming box features a black background with a nice shot of the board on the right and a stylized, multicolored ROG logo on the left. "ROG STRIX Z490-E Gaming motherboard" is printed in the center left, with the ROG logo in the top left. The ASUS logo and all the certification badges have been put along the bottom edge. The back of the box has all the highlights: a top-down shot of the board, several panels detailing prominent features, a shot of the rear I/O, and the specifications list. The box design is well executed and matches the board perfectly.
Opening the box, the board sits in a cardboard tray encased in an anti-static bag. The accessories are stored underneath.
The accessories are quite good. On top of the standard inclusions are thermistor cables, RGB extension cables, cable ties, and even an additional 40 mm VRM cooling fan. Notably absent is any kind of rear I/O shield because the shield is integrated into the board.
The full list of accessories includes:
- Manual and support DVD
- Strix "thank you" card and sticker sheet
- 4x SATA 6 Gb/s cables
- Thermistor cable pack
- 2x RGB extension cables
- Cable ties
- Assistant fan and mounting hardware
- Wi-Fi antenna
- 2x M.2 mounting hardware
The ROG STRIX Z490-E Gaming is a quintessential ASUS design, a black PCB matched with black heat sinks and a touch of color on the rear I/O cover. While the RGB lighting gives the STRIX flare and personality, the neutral colors also let it match and blend in with almost any build.
The CPU socket is open enough for most air coolers. The VRM features a large three-section heat sink with a bracket to mount the optional 40 mm fan on the top left.
There are two M.2 slots on the ASUS ROG STRIX Z490-E Gaming; one below the first PCIe x16 slot and another below the second PCIe x16 slot. Both slots feature full-coverage heatsinks.
The ASUS Z490 PG ROG STRIX Z490-E Gaming offers three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, with the top two steel-reinforced, as well as three PCI Express 3.0 x1 slots. The board has a total of six SATA 6 Gb/s ports on the side, angled 90 degrees from the board.
The ASUS Z490 PG ROG STRIX Z490-E Gaming has a great I/O offering that includes an optical S/PDIF out port, Wi-Fi 6, and lots of USB connectivity.
- 2x Antenna ports
- HDMI port
- DisplayPort 1.4 port
- 2x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A ports
- BIOS flashback button
- 4x USB 2.0 ports
- 3x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A port
- USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C port
- RJ-45 LAN port
- Optical SPDIF out port
- 5x 3.5 mm audio jacks
Networking on the ASUS Z490 PG ROG STRIX Z490-E Gaming is handled by Intel's new I225V 2.5 Gb/s controller, as well as an AX201 Wi-Fi 6 module.
Our Patreon Silver Supporters can read articles in single-page format.