MSI MEG Z490 Godlike Review 5

MSI MEG Z490 Godlike Review

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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 because of signal integrity issues, many 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 Godlike series from MSI, as the name would suggest, is designed to showcase what the brand is capable of. When cost is thrown out and everything else is thrown in, the result is a board that aims to be the best at everything. For the MSI MEG Z490 Godlike that means a top-tier 16 phase VRM with 90 A power stages, as well as a finned and actively cooled heatsink. It also means not just 2.5 Gb/s LAN, but 10 Gb/s LAN as well.

The MSI MEG Z490 Godlike further features a plethora of connectivity options, including two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the rear I/O. The three M.2 slots feature double-sided heat sink coverage, not to mention the M.2 Xpander-Z Gen4 card that offers two additional M.2 slots with ample cooling and built in thermal probes.

Let's take a closer look at what the MSI MEG Z490 Godlike has to offer.


CPU Support:Intel 10th Gen or later processors
Power Design: CPU Power: 17 phase
Memory Power: 2 phase
Chipset:Intel Z490
Integrated Graphics:Dependant on installed CPU
Memory:4x DIMM, supports dual-channel DDR4-5000+(OC) MHz
Expansion Slots: 3x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots
1x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
Storage: 6x SATA 6 Gb/s port
3x M.2 port (SATA3/PCIe 3.0 x4)
Networking:1x Realtek RTL8125B 2.5G LAN
1x Aquantia AQC107 10G LAN
1x Intel 802.11ax WiFi Module
Rear Ports:2x Antenna ports
1x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard port
1x Clear CMOS button
1x BIOS Flashback button
1x Optical SPDIF out port
2x LAN (RJ45) ports
2x Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports
4x USB 3.2 (Gen1) ports
2x 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:10x 4-pin
Form Factor:E-ATX Form Factor: 12.0 in x 10.9 in, 30.5 cm x 27.7 cm
Exclusive Features:
  • Nahimic 3 Audio
  • 2.5 Gb/s Realtek LAN
  • Intel WiFi 6
  • Mystic Light
  • Frozr heatsink design
  • M.2 Shield Frozr
  • NVIDIA SLI support
  • PCIe Steel Armor
  • Pre-installed I/O shielding
  • Dragon Center
  • Click BIOS 5
  • 16 Phase VRM design
  • M.2 Xpander-Z Gen4
  • 10 Gb/s LAN
  • Double Side M.2 shield
  • Dual Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Dual BIOS
  • Dynamic Dashboard II
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