Any computing enthusiast will tell you that a motherboard is one of the key features of a computer. The motherboard acts as the backbone that works to keep all of your PC’s elements together in one place so that they can communicate with each other.
Without the help of a motherboard, your hard drive, CPU or GPU would not be able to interact or function properly. The motherboard is the primary circuit board within your every day or gaming computer that all of the other components connect to in order for your computer to work well.
With this in mind, it is easy to note how critical it is to have a powerful and substantial motherboard for your PC.
Intel has been one of the most prolific players in the computing industry for decades, with a wide range of products to improve our technology. However, since the arrival of some more cost-effective competitors, Intel has had to work much harder to compete with their computer hardware.
The answer to this issue is their new series of motherboards. With better overclocking support, performance, and more connectivity, the new motherboards are a force to be reckoned with.
If you have an 8th generation or 9th generation ‘Coffee Lake’ processor, you will need at least a 300 series motherboard in order to perform.
Their most prominent chipset was the Z370, which had a lot of new features that impressed PC builders up until recently. With the newer Z390 chipset, gamers and computer users had a new option to look out for.
But with both still available on the market, it can make you wonder which is worth your money?
As Intel have been innovators in technology for years, we will be looking at their Z370 and Z390 motherboard chipsets, and comparing the two to see which is the better buy.
Intel initially launched their Z370 and Z390 as chipset ranges, however, they have recently branched out into a full range of motherboard options.
The Intel Z370 motherboard is an impressive component for any computer, however, the Z390 is the newer model of the same type of series.
Intel Z370 motherboards and Z390 motherboards are two of the most popular and highest standard motherboards available on the market. These motherboards are specifically designed for computer and gaming enthusiasts.
Z390 motherboards released only a year after the Z370 with just a few more features and specifications. The two in the series are the only Intel motherboards that fully support the CPU and are great for memory overclocking.
They can easily handle multiple graphics cards on your gaming rigs and are loaded with USB ports and NVMe SSD connections.
ASUS Prime Z370-A
Thunderbolt 3 support
Easy VRM cooling
It only has 6 total I/O panel USB ports
ASUS Prime Z390-A – Motherboard
Intel Mid-High Range Build
LGA1151 (8th and 9th Gen only)
4 x DDR4 4,266MHz (up to 64GB)
AI Suite’s 5-Way Optimization (For Overclocking)
Realtek S1220A Audio Support
three thermal sensors
Almost Touching High-end Price Levels
No Onboard Wifi
As these two motherboard chipsets are very similar in nature, it is best to compare the two with a specifications table to really tell what each one is capable of.
Just from looking at the specifications, it is clear that the Z370 and the Z390 are not that different from each other. If you look for yourself, you will notice that the vast majority of the specifications are the same between these two chipsets.
It simply seems that the Z390 only just takes the lead with a few more features that can give it a competitive advantage.
From looking at the specifications, it is clear to see that there are a few features that make these motherboard chipsets great additions to your gaming computer.
For example, Intel 8th and 9th Gen processors are now only compatible with the more recent 300 motherboard series such as the Z370/390.
The Intel Z370 motherboard chipset has been a firm favorite for gaming enthusiasts ever since its release in 2017. However, the additional spec that is included in the Z390 is what really has gamers excited!
The Z390 has a few more upgrades than the Z370 with its USB 3.1 Gen 2 support, a maximum 128GB DDR4 RAM limit, rather than the 64GB DDR4 RAM limit found on the Z370, and 802.11 AC Wifi-support integrated system in the chipset itself.
The Intel Z390 chipset’s integrated connectivity allows for much faster wireless connectivity, which can grant you access to high-bandwidth wireless connections with speeds of up to 1.73 Gbps.
This has progressed massively from its predecessor, by almost doubling the usual bandwidth. This will have a huge impact on your online gaming experience, especially for those that require internet connectivity such as World of Warcraft, or League of Legends.
Having a faster WiFi connection can make or break your online gaming life, without the worry of lagging or slow connectivity, you can reach a higher level at a faster rate.
When we look at the specifications and features of the Z370 versus the Z390, most of the features are quite similar. This goes for the number of USB 3.0 ports, PCI-Express lanes, and SATA ports- they are all the same on both the Z370 and the Z390.
So, what’s the difference?
Both the Z370 motherboard and the Z390 motherboard have 6 SATA ports, and 24 PCI-E 3.0 lanes for your convenience. However, when it comes to CNVi support, the Z390 performs, where the Z370 does not.
The biggest variation between the Z370 and the Z390 is the addition of the USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports. It seems that in terms of main differences, the Z390 is just an upgraded version of the Z370!
Here at WePC, we know how important performance is to our users. A well-performing computer will make or break your everyday use, but will especially improve your gaming and media-heavy experiences.
When it comes to performance, both the Z370 and the Z390 motherboard chipsets are key players in the game.
Seeing as we are talking about “the game”, if you are interested in gaming, then the Z390 far outperforms the Z370. With this motherboard’s highly improved integrated wireless module, your internet speed will be upgraded greatly.
Whilst this will not have much of an impact on your regular internet browsing or even online video streaming, it will however have a huge effect on heavy media, fast-paced multiplayer games that rely upon a WiFi connection.
With this in mind, if you have gaming at the forefront of your priorities, then the Z390 is far better performing than the Z370.
We have to say, the Z370 is a great working motherboard that has become popular among so many gaming enthusiasts. However, with times changing and the desire for the USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, the Z370 motherboard chipset falls flat.
In spite of this, some third party manufacturers did create a way around this issue by using separate controllers that could connect with USB 3.1 Gen 2. In our opinion, native support will always be the best option, as it is more reliable, has a better connection, and works faster.
This is true with the Z390 motherboard as it comes equipped with not one, two, or three USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, but six!
With the Z390 motherboard, you can utilize the USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports that will make your data transfers so much faster, and your computer’s responsiveness ultimately stronger.
The Z390 can deliver improved power and support the 9th generation Intel CPUs. Many users are currently reporting that the Z390 also has the edge when it comes to RAM overclocking. The Z390 has consistently been considered the far more reliable option if this is the case.
In addition, when we think about channel support, both the Z370 and the Z390 offer dual-channel memory and 4 slots. However, the Z370 offers a RAM capacity of 64 GB, where the Z390 motherboard can now provide up to 128 GB of DDR4 memory.
Furthermore, the Z390 also has progressive overclocking support that will work to ensure maximum OC performance at all times.
ASUS Prime Z370-A
ASUS Prime Z390-A – Motherboard
When looking for a new motherboard chipset, the pricing and availability will always be a critical part of the search. When Intel released their Z300 model lines, they were at the highest end of the price range. However, since newer series have been released, prices have only fallen.
Since the Intel Z390 is simply a newer and more upgraded version of the Z370 motherboard, it comes as no surprise that it is available at a slightly steeper price than the Z370.
Although a little more costly, it could be argued that the additional features and specifications of the Z390 make the price tag worth it.
With added WiFi and stronger wireless connectivity, we would argue that spending the extra dollars on the Z390 would be highly beneficial, as this can take your gaming to the very top level.
However, with gaming and computing moving more towards connectivity, WiFi support, and the Gen2 USB ports, finding a Z370 motherboard is becoming more and more of a difficult task. The majority of gamers are now opting for the Z390 versions, and so Z370 motherboards are not flooding the market as they once were.
We recommend this ASUS Prime II 9th Generation Intel Z370 motherboard if you think that this chipset is the one for you.
However, the selection of the Z390 motherboard is far more complicated. There are so many that you can choose from, with some impressive capabilities. As the Z370 is beginning to be pushed out of the market, by newer, more innovative motherboard models, the price of Z390 chipsets have only decreased in recent years.
When it comes to motherboard chipsets, you will definitely want the best of the best. If this is the case, then you cannot go far wrong with the Z390 motherboards.
The main reason for this is that they are better equipped with VRMs that will handle the newer Intel Core 9th generation processors of the modern-day.
If you are already working with a Z370 and are wondering whether it will withstand newer processors, you should know that some Z370 motherboards can cope with the newer processors, but not all, and it would be a risk to take in purchasing a Z370.
Technology moves so fast, and you are better off keeping up with it if you want to have the best gaming rig.
In addition, the Z390 also has extensive overclocking support that will work to ensure maximum OC performance at all times, which is a massive plus-point.
What really tips the Z390 over the edge is the fact it has USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports and an impressive 802.11 AC integrated WiFi support within the Z390 chipset, that the Z370 does not. At the end of the day, it comes down to your specific needs, but if you ask us, the Z390 is the way forward.