One of the main components that is the requirement for every PC user is the motherboard.
The reason is that almost all the PC components are connected through the motherboard. So having a poor-quality motherboard can cause various issues in the PC.
In 2020, the best motherboard was the Z490. It was released in the middle of the year. Around May 20, 2020, the first Z490 motherboard hit the market.
It gained a lot of popularity. The next year its competitor arrived in the market. Its name was Z590 motherboard. It entered the market on 27 January 2021.
We will investigate Z490 vs. Z590 specifications. Also, why both these motherboards have been ruling the market for the previous 2 years. After reading this article, you will be able to tell which motherboard you want to go with for your build.
Table of Contents show
Z490 VS Z590: General Specifications
|Intel Z490||Intel Z590|
|Supported Socket||LGA 1200||LGA 1200|
|Intel CPU Compatibility||10th And 11th Gen Processors||10th And 11th Gen Processors|
|CPU PCI-E Version||3.0 10th Gen / 4.0 11th Gen||3.0 10th Gen / 4.0 11th Gen|
|Max USB 3.2 – 20Gbps (2×2) Ports||0||3|
|Max USB 3.2 – 10Gbps (2×1) Ports||6||10|
|Max USB 3.2 – 5Gbps (2×1) Ports||14||14|
|Integrated Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi 6||Wi-Fi 6/6E|
|DMI Lanes And Version||X4 / ver. 3.0||X8 / ver. 3.0|
|Memory Support||Max 2933 MHz||Max 3200 MHz|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price|
When a chipset is released, all the major companies release its copy with a few external features added to it. The Core chipset is mostly the base company.
Companies like ASUS, GIGABYTE, MSI, etc., reach the market with the same chipset but more features.
They add external features like more ports, etc., but the core chipset is the same. They can also release their chipsets. But it is up to them.
We will investigate the original and the main chipset released by Intel. The general specifications for both the Intel Z490 vs. Z590 chipset will be discussed below:
- Best z690 motherboards
- Best z370 motherboard for overclocking
Intel Z490 Chipset Review
The size of the motherboard is one important thing to be kept in mind while building a PC. If the motherboard is huge, then fitting it in your case can be an issue.
The dimensions for the Intel Z490 chipset are 25 x 24 mm, which is reasonable. When the Z490 was released, it was only compatible with the 10th Generation processors.
Later it was made compatible with the 11th Generation processors as well. But still, the motherboard will work best with 10th Generation processors.
The Z490 has a socket that Intel calls the LGA 1200. This socket is the most up-to-date and advanced in the market.
The best part is that it provides support for Comet Lake as well as Rocket Lake desktop CPUs. This much can only be found in this motherboard and its successor.
The Z490 is known as the “most overclocking friendly” chipset that Intel has ever made.
If you are looking to build a decent gaming PC, then this motherboard is the way to go. It provides support for high-end processors ranging from i7 to i9 and above.
It also contains x4 DMI support. It comes with PCIe Gen 4, which provides a default of 16 lanes. The more lanes, the better the communication with components.
This motherboard also comes with the latest Wi-Fi 6 AX201 specifications. Also, the Z490 supports about 2933 MHz of memory frequency which is a good amount for gaming.
The bus speed for Z490 is 8GT per second. This much speed is suited best for gaming.
Intel Z590 Chipset Review
The latest and most popular chipset released by Intel up till now is the Intel Z590 Chipset. This chipset has an optimal size of 25 x 24 mm, considering that it is top of the line.
The Z590 comes with in-built support for both 10th Gen and 11th Gen processors. This is the requirement for every gamer nowadays.
The support for both processors is in-built. This means that it is backward compatible. Hence, both Gen processors work at their best in this chipset.
Intel did not introduce a new socket, but it kept its previous and best socket up till now. The socket name is LGA 1200. It has support for the Comet Lake as well as the Rocket Lake processors.
The capability to overclock the Intel Z590 is second to none. It provides 6W overclocking capacity so games can run at the best performance.
The Z590 contains x8 DMI 3.0 support. The Z590 also comes with the latest PCIe 4 Gen ports. There are a total of 20 lanes in this port.
It contains the most up-to-date version of integrated Wi-Fi, which is Wi-Fi 6-E. The Z590 provides high-end memory support up to 3200MHz.
The games with this support run smoother than ever. Also, this motherboard provides a bus speed of 8GT per second.
The highest transfer rate by far is of the Z590 motherboard, which is 20 GB/s. The Z590 motherboard comes equipped with 6 SATA 3.0 ports and 14 USB ports. Hence, a lot of stuff can relate to the Z590 motherboard.
Z490 Vs Z590: Similarities & Differences In-Depth
Even though the Z590 was released a year after the Z490, the Z490 is still quite similar. There are some specifications in which the Z590 motherboard counters Z490 by a margin.
First comes the similarities among these motherboards. They have dimensions of 24 x 25 mm, and they support the Comet and Rocket Lake processors.
The Z590 is backward compatible, where the Z490 is not. They even have the same LGA 1200 sockets. Hence, providing them with the capability to support both the top processor lines.
Both these motherboards contain overclocking features up to 6W and contain PCIe 4.0 ports which provide fast data transfer rates. The amount of PCIe lanes is different.
Not only this but, both these chipsets contain 14 USB and 6 SATA 3.0 ports. These are more than enough for all the important components to be connected.
Up to 3 monitors can relate to them. There are also some differences between the Z590 vs. Z490.
One difference is that Z490 contains the Wi-Fi 6 adapter option. Whereas the Z590 contains Wi-Fi 6-E, which is better with relation to connectivity.
Also, the Thunderbolt 4 connectivity provides the Z590 an edge over the Thunderbolt 3 connectivity that Z490 provides.
Z490 Vs Z590: Chipset & Socket
The socket is an important feature of the motherboard. The type of socket is what determines what core processor will fit in the motherboard.
The socket used in the Z490 is the LGA 1200. This socket has the right number of pins to hold a high-end processor.
Hence, providing the path for the processor to connect with the other components on the motherboard. The Z590 has the same socket, making them similar in this context.
Coming to the chipset, the Z490 provides about 4 Direct Media Interface (DMI) lanes. These lanes connect the motherboard with the GPU and some other components.
This means the more the DMI lanes on a motherboard, the faster the connection between other components and chipset.
The Z590 contains double the Z490 DMI lanes. It contains 8 DMI lanes hence increasing the connectivity speed by 2 times. The Intel Z590 has 10 USB ports of 3.2 Generation with a 2×1 configuration.
On the other hand, the Z490 has only 6 of these ports. Now talking about the USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 configuration ports. The Z590 contains 3 of these ports.
The Z490 contains no such ports. The Z590 succeeds the Z490 in both the number of ports and DMI lanes.
Z490 Vs Z590: Memory Support & PCIe 4.0 Support
PCI Express Lane (PCIe lanes) provides high-speed connections with external devices like GPUs, Wi-Fi cards, SSD, etc.
The two most used versions of PCIe are 3.0 and 4.0. These two are the best up to date. As technology progresses, so most new things get outdated time by time.
Around a year ago, PCIe 3.0 was the hype. But now, as it is getting old, PCIe 4.0 is taking its place gradually.
With the increased performance, it unlocks a new era of express lanes in the motherboards. The Z590 contains 20 transfer lanes, whereas the Z490 has a total of 16 lanes.
The Memory support for Z490 is 2933 MHz for a DDR-4 ram. This is quite less than that of Z590.
The Z590 has a frequency of 3200 MHz with the same DDR-4 Ram without overclocking. The Z590 provides a huge improvement in the working of memory.
Both the Z590 and Z490 have been designed in such a way that when overclocking, their performance gets a boost.
Both motherboard chipsets provide overclocking capabilities up to 5333 on DDR4 RAM. If you have the resources to buy a new Motherboard, then extensive overclocking is recommended. If not, then use your chipset as it is.
Z490 Vs Z590: The Overclocking Performance
Overclocking the components of a motherboard and pushing them to their limits can be done for better performance.
If the PC being built does not require heavy app usage, then the original configuration is enough.
Overclocking is a requirement for most PC gamers. If you are not satisfied with the responsiveness of your PC, then overclocking is an option.
I will recommend you do the overclocking at your own risk as it can decimate your PC components. If you are willing to do it, then let us continue!
While overclocking, the main thing to keep an eye on is the TDP. The Thermal Design Power (TDP) tells about the maximum voltage the component is getting.
The motherboard can be overclocked by 6W of power. If the voltage is increased higher than this, the chance of motherboard failure increases.
The imminent heat can disrupt the working of other components hence rendering the PC useless.
It is advised to overclock any component of your PC after opening the sides of your case. This allows extra heat to get out of the case and keep your components cool.
If you are thinking about overclocking the Z590 motherboard, then it is not a problem. But overclocking the Z490 motherboard might cause issues.
Z490 Vs Z590: Ports & Features
The Z490 vs. Z590 contains a set of USB 3.2 ports. The ports are available in 3 different configurations.
One is the 2 x 1 configuration. The Z490 contains 6 such ports. But the Z590 motherboard exceeds this number by 4 hence providing 10 such ports.
The other configuration is the 2 x 2 configuration. When the Z490 motherboard was released, this configuration was not available. This is the reason that it contains no 2×2 ports. But the 590 comes with around 10 such ports.
Such ports provide high-speed connections with the devices attached. The 3rd type of port comes in a 1×1 configuration.
Both the motherboards contain 10 ports of this configuration. The number of ports might change with the price you pay for the motherboard.
Other than USB ports, there are SATA ports that are used to connect devices like SSD and hard drives. Both these motherboards use the 6.0 version (latest). They have the same 6 ports on each motherboard.
These values are what the original Intel motherboards provide. One main feature that both have is the Wi-Fi adapter.
The Wi-Fi adapter that the older one uses is the Wi-Fi 6 chip with wireless connectivity. On the other hand, Z590 uses the Wi-Fi 6-E chips, which are better.
Z490 Vs Z590: Price Comparison
Scrolling down the Amazon page, you will find many sellers who sell the motherboards. But among them are a few which are trustable.
The companies like GIGABYTE, MSI, ASUS, etc., provide components that are worth buying. Due to Covid, there is a crisis all over the world.
Financially many countries have faced economic stress. This became the reason for inflation all over the world.
The motherboards from such companies are surely breathtaking, but the crisis has caused a huge rise in the prices.
The Z490 motherboard has a starting price of $169. Some sellers even require $600 – 650 for Z490 chipsets.
The motherboards with high prices mostly provide extra external features with the motherboards like more SATA and USB ports.
Now coming to the Z590 motherboard, the price range is quite large. The starting price for this motherboard is around $180.
The maximum price that I have seen is around $850 – 900. The price is too much for this motherboard. But if we look at the specification, then it seems fair to some extent.
From the above stats, one thing is clear that Z590 has a much higher price than Z490. But if we keep in mind the difference in their specification, then it does not seem much.
Why Should You Choose An Intel Z490 Chipset?
One reason is that the Intel Z490 is considered one of the high-end motherboards.
It is quite like the Z590 in most specifications like the size, SATA ports, etc. One main thing is that it supports both 10th and 11th Generation processors.
Its support for Comet Lake and Rocket Lake processors makes it one of the best CPUs in the world.
Also, the Wi-Fi 6 wireless support is an edge that Z490 has over other motherboards in the market. The Thunderbolt 3 connectivity speed increases its performance by x2.
One thing that it surely is lacking is the USB 3.2 2×2 (20Gbps) ports. Also, most people complain about the price that a good Z490 motherboard can be bought.
The price surely is high, but buying a high-end motherboard does cost a lot. Hopefully, after covid, the prices might lower down.
Why Should You Choose An Intel Z590 Chipset?
Intel Z590, the motherboard that is on the top of high-end motherboards. It has an interesting set of specifications that make it top of the line.
The addition of Thunderbolt 4 and the USB 3.2 2×2 (20Gbps) provides a huge boost in performance. Also, the PCIe 4.0 configurations are much better than Z490.
Most of the remaining specifications can be found in the Z490, too, like the 6 SATA 3.0 ports. It also provides compatibility with the 10th and 11th Generation CPUs.
One thing that it provides better than other motherboards is its Wi-Fi 6-E wireless adapter. This increases the connection speed by a margin.
It also contains the capability of overclocking up to 6W. Higher overclocking then can cause issues.
The price of this motherboard is what most users talk about. Compared to its predecessor, Z490, its price is around $100- 150 more, where the specifications are not that much better.
Intel Z590 Vs. Z490 Motherboards: Which Should You Buy?
If you are looking for a motherboard that can provide almost the same performance as the Z590. Then Z490 is the way to go!
The Z490 has almost the same specifications as the Z590. The main thing that people require is the motherboard’s connectivity with different processor generations.
If you have a 10th or 11th Generation processor like i5, i7, i9 processors, then you are in luck. The Z490 supports such processors.
But this is not a good choice with the low-end processors. For such people, an upgrade is recommended.
If you have enough money to buy a Z590 processor, then at present, there is no better suggestion.
Also, who does not like the fastest internet connectivity! The Z590 also provides the one extra thing that other motherboards lack.
It is that the Z590 can be overclocked to a recommended amount of 6W. This is a good option if you are an overclocking type of guy.
My Final Verdict:
After all the discussion, one thing is quite clear. That the Z590 does exceed the Z490 in many areas. But this doesn’t make Z490 useless. Because in its context Z490 is the only competitor for Z590 in the market by now.
The qualities like the Thunderbolt 4 connectivity speed and the 24 PCIe lanes boost the Z590 performance by a margin. Also, the Wi-Fi 6-E connectivity improves the gaming performance by a notch. But for the Z490 to have an 11th and 10th Gen support is a big point too.
For users that have a tight budget for building a PC, the Z490 is highly recommended. On the other hand, users with an open budget can buy any of these, but I would recommend the Z590 more.
Frequently Asked Questions
#1 – Is Z490 or Z590 better?
I recommend Z590 motherboards as they contain more specifications than the Z490.
Also, if you want to have the best PC build possible, then Z590 is the way to go. The only problem I see is the price. Otherwise, it is better than any motherboard in the market.
#2 – Can you use 10th Gen Intel on the Z590?
Z590 is the high-end motherboard that provides support for the 10th Generation as well as the 11th Generation processors. This functionality was available in the first Z590 chipset that Intel released. Hence it became the reason that people support it a lot.
#3 – Does Z490 support 11th Gen?
Yes, the Z490 does support the 11th Generation. The first motherboard of Z490 came with only 10th Gen support. Later that year, when 11th Gen processors entered the market.
This functionality was added to the Z490 too. But I recommend using this processor with only 10th Gen processors.
#4 – Is Z490 high-end?
Z490 is considered a high-end motherboard because it rivals the Z590 at almost the same level. Even though it was released before the Z590, its specifications are the same as the Z590. We can safely say that Z490 is not out of the race.
#5 – Does Z590 support PCIe 4?
Yes, the Z590 motherboards support PCIe 4.0. Also, the Z590 contains 24 PCI express lanes. Hence, improving its performance by a margin. This improvement in the Z590 is one of the reasons for the boost in its performance.
#6 – Is Z590 backward compatible?
Yes, the Z590 is backward compatible. The backward compatibility can be seen in the case of processors. The Z590 is compatible with the latest Rocket Lake processors. But it is backward compatible with the Comet Lake processors too. This improves its user demand a lot.
#7 – Can I use 10900k on a Z590?
The answer is yes. The 10-900k processor is a 10th Generation Comet Lake processor. As I have discussed above quite a lot, the Z590 is backward compatible with the Comet Lake or 10th Generation processors. So, if you have a 10900k, then there will be no issue with its working.
#8 – Is Z490 future proof?
It has officially been released that Z490 motherboards can now work with the 11th Generation Rocket Lake desktop processors. This surely is good news for the Z490 buyers as their build will be future-proof in the motherboard context. So, the Z490 can be considered future proof.
#9 – Will the Z490 support the 11th Gen Asus?
The Z490 does support the 11th Generation processors. If people have motherboards before the announcement of Z490 being compatible with the 11th Gen processors.
Then they might have to update their BIOS. Whereas people with the new Z490 motherboard do not need to do this.
#10 – Does Z590 support Comet Lake?
The Z590 motherboard does support the Comet Lake processors. The backward compatibility of the Z590 makes it different from other processors.
For a high-end processor to have backward compatibility is truly a masterpiece. Most processors do not provide this feature.
Graduated in Journalism and has been publishing his work for the past decade. In addition to working as an author at the NeoGamr, his career highlights include editing gaming hardware-related magazines.