Best Intel Motherboards: April 2021

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Right here is the most recent replace to our record of advisable Intel motherboards in our sequence of motherboards patrons guides. All numbers within the textual content are up to date to replicate pricing on the time of writing.

Greatest Intel Motherboards: April 2021

Intel’s newest 11th Technology Rocket Lake processors have launched and formally on sale, which suggests Z590 motherboards with PCIe four.zero could make use of the brand new . Regardless of the preliminary response to critiques of the Core i9 and Core i7 being considerably detrimental, the mid vary Core i5 appears to be an excellent providing, and Rocket Lake it is nonetheless seen as a technological development of Intel’s portfolio with the brand new core design. To make use of one in every of Intel’s new Rocket Lake processors, or certainly its earlier Comet Lake processors, Intel has loads of chipsets obtainable providing totally different entry worth factors and functions. Loads of Intel’s newest Z590 and B560 fashions are nonetheless but to hit retail, however they’re slowly filtering by means of. This leaves some worth in its current Z490 vary, and it is time to give our picks as we glance forward in our newest motherboard patrons information for April 2021.

Listed here are our decisions within the motherboard marketplace for Intel. For AMD suggestions, head on over to our AMD information. That is often up to date month-to-month.














Intel Motherboards Suggestions

April 2021
Motherboard Amazon Newegg MSRP
Intel ‘Clear Mixture of Value/Options’ Motherboard
MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi $324
GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Extremely $329 $330 $300
Intel Worth Motherboard
MSI Z490-A Professional $149 $130 $160
Favourite Intel Micro-ATX Motherboard 
ASRock B560M Metal Legend $120 $120
Favourite Intel Mini-ITX Motherboard
ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 $229 $280
Intel ‘Cash isn’t any Object’ Motherboard
MSI MEG Z590 Godlike $1000 $1019

Our suggestions for motherboards are primarily based totally on private and professional opinion. There are notably many various motherboards throughout the Intel chipsets together with B460, Z490, the most recent Z590/B560 chipsets, and the workstation-focused W480 chipset. A few of our decisions and choices listed here are additionally restricted by what inventory is offered.

Intel Rocket Lake and Z590

For these on the lookout for Z590 fashions, we have compiled particulars on over 50 of them in our Z590 motherboard overview. We have additionally taken a have a look at over 30 budget-focused B560 fashions too:

Our evaluation of Intel’s newest 11th technology Rocket Lake processors can also be obtainable to learn:

For customers on the lookout for different choices, we have additionally gone over a number of chipset households as nicely within the hyperlinks beneath.

Greatest Intel Motherboard For Gaming/Efficiency

On this occasion, we’re recommending each a Z590 and Z490 mannequin as Rocket Lake is now upon us, however the inventory and availability of Z590 appear to be a limiting issue proper now. Our advisable Z490 board appears to be going out and in of inventory and we count on the Z590 inventory to land someday this month (we hope).

Z490: GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Extremely ($329 at Amazon/$330 at Newegg)

If we’re on the lookout for a mannequin that blends worth, efficiency, and performance, then there are numerous high-quality merchandise to decide on. Efficiency is one angle for comparability, in addition to the controller set, the facility supply, and the growth slot help – retaining all these in thoughts whereas being cheap with worth could be a tough job. One mannequin which stands out is the GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Extremely which is designed for avid gamers however has the flexibility to be the muse for a stable high-performance system with an excellent function set at a mid-market worth too – if you’ll find one that’s.

The GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Extremely sits beneath the extra premium GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Grasp within the product stack however retains a lot of the identical with reference to function set and functionality. When it comes to controllers, the GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Extremely contains an Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE Ethernet controller, with help from an Intel AX201 interface which provides Wi-Fi 6 and BT 5.1 connectivity. Additionally on the rear panel is a single USB three.2 G2 20 Gbps Kind-C port, with three USB three.2 G2 Kind-A, two USB three.2 G1 Kind-A, and 4 USB 2.zero ports. There are 4 reminiscence slots with help for as much as 128 GB, with official help for as much as DDR4-4800 which is nice for a mid-range mannequin. For storage, there’s three PCIe three.zero x4 M.2 slots with every slot inclusive of its personal M.2 heatsink, and 6 SATA ports which embody help for RAID zero, 1, 5, and 10 arrays.

 

The GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Extremely has an MSRP of $300 however Amazon is at the moment itemizing it for $329, with Newegg’s worth on the time of writing sitting as $330. This appears to be a brief problem that’s plaguing numerous fashions at current, with inventory ranges simply not sufficient to maintain up with the demand. Regardless of the discrepancy within the worth, it is nonetheless a good board with a mix of premium options.

Z590: MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi (MSRP $324)

Regardless of Intel’s newest Z590 fashions both not being obtainable at retail, or totally introduced, one mannequin that piqued our curiosity within the mid-range is the MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi. Usually the Gaming Carbon is positioned on the new mid-range, the Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi has loads of options and on the time of writing, is an excellent various to Z490 fashions.

A few of its major options embody three M.2 slots, with one PCIe four.zero x4 M.2 and two with help for PCIe three.zero x4 and SATA drives. Typical of a mid-range Z590 mannequin, there’s Intel’s new AX210 Wi-Fi 6E CNVi and one Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE controller which is now a staple for many distributors in the best way of networking. The rear panel contains one USB three.2 G2x2 Kind-C port which is now native to Intel’s Z590 chipset, in addition to three USB three.2 G2 Kind-A, two USB three.2 G1 Kind-A, and 4 USB 2.zero ports. MSI is utilizing a Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec for its onboard audio resolution, and in addition features a small, however helpful BIOS Flashback button on the rear panel.

Though there is not but a complete record of Z590 pricing at the moment and a few Z590 fashions are but to filter into retailers, the MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi seems set to incorporate a ‘cheap’ MSRP of $324.

Greatest Intel Motherboard: The Worth Choice

MSI Z490-A Professional ($149 at Amazon/$130 at Newegg)

The time period ‘worth’ might be taken any alternative ways, as it may be associated to finances however with loads of high quality, or it may be relative to how a lot cash is offered. Costs of high-end motherboards have elevated through the years – I keep in mind when a high-end board would value $175, whereas in the present day the entry mannequin of Z590 begins at $175! This makes finances chipsets, or the earlier technology, extra palatable in value.

With numerous Intel LGA1200 chipsets obtainable with the H410, B460, H470, and Z490, there are numerous stable contenders on this explicit space. My decide for worth is the MSI Z490-A Professional. This is not on a budget-based Intel chipset similar to H410, but it surely permits customers to overclock and squeeze out extra efficiency from Comet Lake and Rocket Lake processors. The MSI Z490-A Professional is likely one of the least expensive Z490 fashions obtainable available on the market and has a stable function set for the value. This features a 12-phase energy supply, a Realtek ALC1200 HD audio codec, two PCIe three.zero x4 M.2 slots, a Realtek 2.5 GbE Ethernet controller and a single USB three.2 G2 Kind-C port on the rear panel.

The largest function of word on the MSI Z490-A Professional is the facility supply, with a 12-phase design in addition to the inclusion of a Realtek RTL8125B 2.5 GbE Ethernet controller. It additionally features a stable finances storage configuration with six SATA slots and two PCIe three.zero x4 M.2 slots, with one slot coming with a heatsink, and the opposite reliant on the consumer putting in one, or going for passive cooling. The rear panel is fairly normal for a board of this caliber, with a single USB three.2 G2 Kind-A, 5 USB three.2 G1 Kind-A, and two USB 2.zero ports. It contains an HDMI and DisplayPort video output pairing for customers seeking to leverage Intel’s UHD built-in graphics, in addition to six three.5 mm audio jacks powered by a Realtek ALC1200 HD audio codec.

Regardless of the existence of the budget-focused H410, H470, and B460 chipsets, and extra not too long ago B560 and Z590, not one of the H and B sequence fashions formally help CPU overclocking. When combining a Comet Lake desktop processor or Rocket Lake with ample cooling, it might provide wonderful efficiency. The MSI Z490-A Professional is not simply one of many least expensive Z490 fashions with an MSRP of $160, but it surely’s really stable on paper too, for each overclocking and with a bunch of value-orientated options, however nonetheless greater than succesful controller set for a board at this worth level. The Z490-A Professional is at the moment obtainable for $149 at Amazon and even cheaper at Newegg for $130, so we advocate shopping for it from Newegg. Its largest competitors comes by way of the equally spectacular GIGABYTE Z490 Gaming X mannequin at $160, but it surely lacks the two.5 GbE Ethernet controller and as a substitute opts for an Intel Gigabit controller, and makes use of a USB three.2 G2 Kind-A as a substitute of the Kind-C on the MSI.

Greatest Intel Motherboard: The Greatest Micro-ATX Motherboard

ASRock B560M Metal Legend ($120 at Newegg)

In earlier guides, we have had many requests to incorporate a class for micro-ATX dimension fashions, so we have determined to incorporate one for April and going ahead. The Micro-ATX kind issue has trade-offs with its bigger ATX sized choices, albeit with much less PCIe slot actual property because of the dimension limitations, but it surely does provide additional room for options in comparison with the small kind issue mini-ITX fashions. We have observed that the Z sequence chipsets have only a few mATX boards on provide, whereas the B sequence chipsets are stuffed with them. Provided that the overwhelming majority of micro-ATX fashions look to chop again on sure options, our decide relies on a steadiness of worth versus options, and we really feel there is not any higher mannequin to suit these standards than the ASRock B560M Metal Legend.

The ASRock B560M Metal Legend is the smaller variant of the ATX sized B560 Metal Legend and presents customers a combination of distinctive city camouflage-style aesthetics, silver heatsinks, and contains some RGB LEDs. Primarily based on Intel’s B560 chipset, there is not any official CPU overclocking help, however Intel does permit for reminiscence overclocking, with the B560M Metal Legend supporting as much as 128 GB of DDR4-4800 reminiscence throughout 4 reminiscence slots. Storage choices embody twin M.2 slots, with one in every of these permitting for as much as PCIe four.zero x4 quick NVMe drives, and the opposite restricted to PCIe three.zero x4 and SATA drives. For SATA units, there are six SATA ports, together with 4 with right-angled connectors and two with straight-angled ports.

The board additionally contains one full-length PCIe four.zero x16 slot, with two PCIe three.zero x1 slots for units similar to extra networking, audio, and storage controllers. On the rear is a Realtek RTL8125BG 2.5 GbE controller, HDMI, and DisplayPort video output pairing, with a Realtek ALC807 HD audio codec powering 5 three.5 mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output.

 

For the value, and taking out the dearth of CPU overclocking help which is a limitation of the B560 chipset, the ASRock B560M Metal Legend is a stable providing at $120 when paired with an excellent non-Ok processor, significantly one of many Core i5 components. Taking different B560 micro-ATX sized fashions into consideration, there’s a lot obtainable together with the ASUS Prime B560M-A ($110), the MSI MAG B560M Bazooka ($139), and even on Z590, there’s the ASUS Prime Z590M-Plus ($229). Not solely is the ASRock B560M Metal Legend cheaper than many of the fashions above, however there is not a lot distinction to suggest the value enhance, and with the Metal Legend, it does include a novel aesthetic, which is in fact down to private desire. The ASRock B560M Metal Legend is at the moment that can be purchased at Newegg for $120.

 

Greatest Intel Motherboard: The Greatest Mini-ITX Motherboard

ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 ($229 at Amazon)

There are simply six Z490 mini-ITX fashions to pick from for small kind issue lovers and avid gamers, and simply six for Intel’s Z590 chipset, however one in every of our favorites is from ASRock. These fashions are typically well-liked with lovers on the lookout for a stable steadiness of options, good high quality componentry, and pricing. The ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 is an replace over the earlier Z390 mannequin, with an analogous function set, however designed for Intel’s LGA1200 socket.

Out of the small handful of accessible mini-ITX Z490 motherboards, solely two embody Thunderbolt three connectivity on the rear panel: the ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 and the MSI MEG Z490I Unify. The explanation for choosing the equally priced ASRock over the MSI, having seen quite a few ASRock mini-ITX fashions through the years, together with the Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac earlier than, we all know what to anticipate from ASRock and it is a feature-packed mannequin for its dimension. Other than the one Thunderbolt three Kind-C connector on the rear panel, it features a Realtek RTL8125BG 2.5 GbE Ethernet controller and Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 interface pairing for the networking, in addition to supporting as much as two PCIe three.zero x4 M.2 drives, one on the entrance and one other slot on the rear.

Additionally on the rear panel are 5 three.5 mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output powered by a premium Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec and three USB three.2 G2 Kind-A and two USB three.2 G1 Kind-A ports. A handily situated clear CMOS button is featured in the course of the rear panel, with a PS/2 keyboard and mouse combo port, and two video outputs together with a DisplayPort and HDMI pairing, though the Thunderbolt three Kind-C port may also output video. The ASRock additionally helps as much as DDR4-4666 formally, with a most capability of as much as 64 GB throughout two reminiscence slots. Along with the 2 PCIe three.zero x4 M.2 slots are 4 SATA ports with help for RAID zero, 1, 5, and 10 arrays.

 

The ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 is a stable motherboard for lovers to overclock on with its Eight+2 section energy supply, in addition to the potential basis for a monstrous single graphics card gaming system. The Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 has an MSRP of $280 and is at the moment obtainable at Amazon with a really enticing price ticket of $200, and $269 at Newegg. Regarding the competitors, we reviewed the MSI Z490I Unify ($270) with an analogous function set and a 10-layer PCB, in addition to the GIGABYTE Z490I Aorus Extremely ($270). The ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming is barely costlier with an MSRP of $300, and we have but to evaluation any mini-ITX Z590 fashions as of but.

One necessary factor to think about is boards such because the ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 make stable choices for Rocket Lake, because it contains the aptitude for PCIe four.zero with one of many M.2 slots, and the full-length PCIe x16 slot. For $229 at Amazon, it’s totally tough to discover a mini-ITX board that is as feature-packed, so when you want a small LGA1200 board with help for each Comet Lake and Rocket Lake, that is what we advocate whereas shares final.

Greatest Intel Motherboard: Cash Is No Object

MSI MEG Z590 Godlike (N/A at Amazon/$1000 at Newegg)

Our earlier decide for our ‘cash isn’t any object’ was the MSI MEG Z490 Godlike which sat on the prime of MSI’s desktop choices as a worthy flagship. With Intel’s new Rocket Lake processors coming on the finish of this month, inventory of Z590 is skinny on the bottom, to say the least. We count on this to choose up going into April, however one mannequin which is at the moment obtainable at Newegg is MSI’s new flagship mannequin, the MEG Z590 Godlike.

The MSI MEG Z590 Godlike is a improbable instance of a premium flagship mannequin with loads of aesthetic upgrades over the earlier Z490 model. This contains MSI’s improved Dynamic Dashboard II which blends in seamlessly with the black and silver design. Customers on the lookout for loads of RGB LED will recognize a big customizable RGB MSI Dragon brand on the rear panel cowl, with a cool new triangular formed set of LEDs constructed into the chipset heatsink. The one factor that may go away a nasty style right here is that $1000 often comes with a mix CPU/chipset water block, which this board would not have.

MSI has opted for a really overkill energy supply which consists of a direct 20-phase design only for the CPU, with premium 90 An influence levels and a pair of Eight-pin 12 V ATX CPU energy inputs. Different options embody a pair of full-length PCIe four.zero slots working at x16 and x8/x8, with one other full-length PCIe three.zero x4 slot situated alongside the underside of the board. For storage, there are 4 PCIe M.2 slots, together with one working at PCIe four.zero x4 and three with help for PCIe three.zero x4 and SATA drives. MSI additionally contains six SATA ports with help for RAID zero, 1, 5, and 10 arrays.

The MSI MEG Z590 Godlike has official help for DDR4-5333 reminiscence with Rocket Lake which is an enchancment over the past technology, with a complete capability of as much as 128 GB obtainable throughout 4 reminiscence slots. Rear panel connectivity can also be spectacular with Intel’s newest Thunderbolt four controller offering two Kind-C and two mini-DisplayPort inputs, in addition to two USB three.2 G2 Kind-A, and 6 USB three.2 G1 Kind-A ports. The Z590 Godlike additionally presents twin Ethernet with one Aquantia AQC107 10 GbE and an Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE controller pairing, in addition to Intel’s latest AX210 Wi-Fi 6E CNVi for entry to the 6 GHz Wi-Fi band and BT 5.2 connectivity. It is usually utilizing Realtek’s ALC1220 HD audio codec which provides help for 7.1 encompass sound by way of 5 three.5 mm audio jacks and one S/PDIF optical output.

The MSI MEG Z590 Godlike has an MSRP of $1019 and at current, it is obtainable at Newegg for $1000. Inventory worldwide for parts is sketchy, to say the least. We do count on inventory of the Z590 Godlike together with different Z590 fashions to filter into retail channels faster as Rocket Lake’s processor launch looms on the finish of the month. Because it stands, the MSI MEG Z590 Godlike is the one flagship mannequin even listed on Newegg at the moment, with Amazon’s listings additionally being slim pickings too. That being stated, MSI has elevated the value of its flagship mannequin for Intel’s newest desktop mannequin from $750 to $1000-$1017, and judging by what’s on provide, it is simple to see the place the cash has been spent. 

Z590: Critiques (Coming Quickly)

We have lined as a lot as we will in our Z590 and B560 overview previous to getting our arms on Rocket Lake, and on the time of writing, we have examined 4 Z590 motherboards and reviewed one, the ASRock Z590 Taichi. As we get by means of our stack of Z590 fashions and the critiques, we’ll study extra about Rocket Lake conduct, and as firmware matures, we’d see some bumps in efficiency.

We’ve a number of fashions in for take a look at already, such because the ASUS Maximus XIII Hero, the MSI Z590 Ace, the GIGABYTE Z590 Tachyon, the GIGABYTE Z590 Aorus Grasp, and the ASRock Z590 Metal Legend.

Is there a selected Z590 or B560 mannequin that you simply suppose we must always evaluation? Please tell us within the feedback beneath.

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