When it comes to choosing PC components, you must choose the correct chipset. As the motherboard is the center of your build, it needs to be compatible with components such as the CPU and GPU. This is determined by the chipset.
If you are specifically looking to purchase an Intel chipset, you have likely come across both the Z590 and the Z490 chipsets. While on the surface they may seem fairly similar, they do have some significant differences. While the Z490 was previously the flagship chipset, it has been overtaken by the recent release of the Z590.
We will be delving into this in more detail, focusing on specifications such as form factor, socket, and features such as onboard Wi-Fi. We have compared and reviewed them in much detail to find out which is the better overall.
The form factor of your chipset is important as you will need to ensure that it is compatible with the rest of your build. If the form factor is not compatible, you will not be able to use the specific model within your build.
When considering the form factor, you will need to take into consideration the package size. Both chipsets are 25 x 24 mm.
In addition to the package size, you will need to check which generation of CPU the chipset is compatible with. Both chipsets are compatible with both 10th and 11th generation core processors.
Given that they both support 11th generation CPUs, they will use Rocket Lake Architecture. This is the newest form of architecture that is specifically designed for Intel. It is much quicker in comparison to Intel’s Comet Lake and has now become the flagship.
When you are choosing a chipset, there are two main competitors. While there are several different companies you can choose from, these are the two most successful.
Before choosing a chipset and motherboard, it is important to remember that the choice you make will have an impact on your build, whether it is new or existing. If you have a new build, you typically have to choose between AMD and Intel and this will affect the GPU and CPU you choose.
If you are upgrading an existing chipset, you will need to ensure that it is compatible with your existing components. In this instance, both of the chipsets are created for Intel. This is why it is essential to check specifications such as the interface, and socket before purchasing to ensure compatibility.
Intel is a well-known and established company. They are a great choice for gaming and their components tend to be slightly less expensive when compared to AMD.
The socket of the chipset is important as this is what will connect your motherboard to other components. It is this socket that determines what types of core processor is compatible with the motherboard.
Both of these chipsets feature an LGA1200 socket. This is widely used with new Intel core processors and it is a popular choice. It is a replacement and a step up from the LGA1151.
If the socket that you have chosen is not compatible with your new or existing components, you will not be able to use it.
When looking at the chipset, in particular, the Z490 features 4 DMI connectivity lines to the CPU which is great. However, the Z590 does stand out for this specification and features 8 lanes.
Another difference between both chipsets is in terms of connectivity. The Z590 features 10 USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 ports, in comparison to the Z490, which only has 6 of these ports. In addition to this, the Z590 has 3 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports, while the Z490 features none. Both chipsets feature an integrated LAN which is MAC.
The chipset link for the Z590 is DMIx8 and for the Z490 is DMIx4. For comparing the two, it is clear that the Z590 is the newer and more future-proof of the two. Overall, this chipset is likely to run faster overall.
There are a handful of different features you will need to consider when choosing between the Z590 and the Z490 chipsets.
While onboard wi-fi is not an essential part of the chipset it is important. If the chipset features integrated Wi-Fi it will run better overall. If the motherboard already features Wi-Fi this is an additional cost that you will not need to take into consideration.
Both the Z590 and the Z490 feature Wi-Fi 6. This is currently the best Wi-Fi specification for motherboards. It is next-gen and is certainly worth upgrading to. It is significantly faster than Wi-Fi 6m and is far more future-proof.
When considering between chipsets, the PCIe interface is an important consideration. The standard interface is important because it determines what types of CPU, SSD, and GPUs you can use.
While many components still use PCIe 3.0, this is slightly outdated and is slowly being replaced with PCIe 4.0. If you are looking to purchase a new chipset, we would recommend upgrading to PCIe 4.0. Both the Z590 and the Z490 use this interface, giving them a future-proofed edge over older chipset models.
In addition to the standard interface, you will also want to look at the number of lanes it features. The Z590 has an impressive 20 lanes, compared to the Z490 which has the typical 16. The higher amount of lanes does give the Z590 the upper edge over the Z490 because this allows for a better motherboard and component communication.
When looking at the memory speed of a chipset, this is commonly referred to as the bus speed. This speed is important as this is what determines how quickly data is transferred between the different components within your PC.
Naturally, the better bus speed a chipset has, the quicker your PC will be for gaming and bringing all of the components together. The bus speed for both the Z590 and the Z490 is 8 GT/s. This is a good amount for gaming. The highest transfer speed for the Z590 20 Gbps, which is optimal for gaming.
Power Design (overclocking)
If overclocking is important to you, you will need to assess the overall power design. This will allow you to see the Thermal Display Power of a chipset to determine the overall heat dissipation.
Both of these chipsets can be overclocked. The thermal display for both is 6W. Given this, you will want to ensure that the chipset is not running on a higher wattage than this. This can lead to overheating and potential damage. A PC component should never be overclocked above its maximum TDP and temperature.
From comparing both of these chipsets, the Z590 is the better option of the two. It is the more futureproof chipset overall with its PCIe interface and a higher number of lanes.
As they are both backward compatible, they can be used with 10th generation CPUs and motherboards which is a great feature if you are not currently upgrading these.
While the Z590 is the more expensive option of the two, it is also a brand new model so this is to be expected. Overall, these are both great choices of chipset, though the specification of the Z590 is more impressive.