When you’re planning to build a brand new PC, starting with a solid motherboard is essential. This is something you’ll really want to research, especially if you’re planning to run with one of Intel’s new 10th generation processors.
Intel’s 10th generation Comet Lake series uses the new LGA 1200 socket which means you will need a motherboard that can support this. Luckily, there are several different options to choose from. The Z490s are the latest boards to come out especially for Comet Lake processors. However, there are also other mainstream options including H470, B460, and H410 chipset motherboards also available.
For this article, we’ll be covering Z490 motherboards. These offer the best performance and the latest technology including overclocking and two-way Nvidia SLI support. That makes them the ideal type of motherboard to focus on if you’re looking to pair one with a new Comet Lake processor and they will serve you well for years to come.
We’ll also be covering some of the key points to look for if you’re shopping around for a new motherboard to help you with your search. If this is your first time picking up a motherboard, you’ll definitely want to pay close attention to these points.
Best 10th Generation Intel Motherboard: First Look
The Asus ROG Maximus is pricey but provides high performance and fantastic RGB lighting.
For a model that doesn’t cost a fortune, you’ll find great speeds on offer here as well as an appealing design.
The ASRock Z490 Taichi offers a wide range of ports and a solidly built design to make it a perfect option for 10th-gen CPUs.
This motherboard offers great performance and a wide range of ports for its low price.
When it comes to choosing components, we put careful consideration and research into anything we recommend. Choosing the best products can be difficult, particularly when there are so many great options to choose from.
Where possible, we like to get our hands on the products ourselves to test out thoroughly. When this isn’t possible, we make sure to conduct in-depth research around product specifications, customer reviews, and benchmarks. Only after this are we confident in selecting products to recommend. We’d only recommend components we’d be happy to put in our own PC systems.
We know how much work goes into picking up a new part for your system. The last thing you want to do is get it wrong and end up regretting your purchase. That’s why we put together reviews like this, to help you make the best decision with as much information as possible.
What Budget Should I Set For A 10th Generation Intel Motherboard?
The first thing to consider when buying a motherboard is of course the price. Starting here is best because the budget you have really affects the rest of your build. It will also determine things such as how many ports there are and how much memory the motherboard can support.
Deciding on a firm budget is a good start to help you narrow down your choice. For Intel’s 10th generation chips, you’ll be looking at Z490 motherboards if you want the best of the best. The pricing for these motherboards ranges from around $150 to about $200 for mid-range boards. If you’re looking to splash out though, the high-end Z490 motherboards can cost upwards of $800.
For a bit of reference, budget motherboards may have limited RAM slots or only support PCIe 3.0 in order to keep prices low. More expensive models might be able to support PCIe 4.0 on the other hand and can even have additional expandability or RGB lighting.
Before looking at the more technical aspects, it’s important to first consider the size of the motherboard and the case you’ll be installing it in. If you already have a case, then you’ll need to decide what form factor motherboard it supports.
Smaller motherboards will end up missing a few features but they are great for those looking to build a small PC. eATX boards are probably the best if you’re looking to create a powerful and impressive system. However, they are the largest available, so bear that in mind.
There are a few different types of form factors available, which are listed below with their measurements.
- Mini-ITX – 6.7” x 6.7”
- Mini-ATX – 5.9” x 5.9”
- microATX – 9.6” x 9.6”
- ATX – 12” x 9.6”
- eATX – 12” x 13”
Motherboards each have a specific socket type which is what holds your processor. Naturally, you will need to match the socket of your motherboard to the type of processor you will be using.
With Intel 10th generation CPUs, we will be looking at motherboards that support LGA 1200 sockets. If you are looking at AMD processors, you will need to look at different socket types so make sure you’re set on your processor choice before you buy a motherboard.
Another thing to consider is the chipset of the motherboard. The type of chipset your motherboard has determines several things such as the number of SATA ports and PCIe lanes available. It will even determine the generation of USB slots. Ideally, you will consider the chipset and number of ports you need to ensure there’s plenty of options for expandability in the future.
Cooling is essential in any PC build so it’s always something to consider whenever you upgrade your build. You will need to make sure your motherboard has a variety of fan headers to keep things cool.
PWM headers are used to connect fans to your case which keeps your whole build cool. Most motherboards these days will have plenty of fan headers, but it’s always worth checking whether there are enough before you purchase.
Another crucial thing to look at is the amount of maximum memory the motherboard can support. Other things to consider include the speed of the memory supported and the level of multi-channel support. If you’re going to be using this as a gaming PC, this is an important step.
You will be able to find out what memory each motherboard supports on the manufacturer’s website before you purchase.
The number of PCI slots is usually determined by the cost of the motherboard. If you’re unsure what to look for, it’s a good idea to spend some time working out how many PCI slots you need. These slots will be used for things like graphics cards, sound cards, WiFi cards, and extra USB slots.
It’s a good idea to have some spare in case you want to make upgrades in the future but also to maintain some good spacing between components. For example, if you’re looking to install multiple graphics cards, you will need to plan out how your motherboard will support them and how you will arrange them in your case.
How we choose
Variety of RGB LEDs
Great gaming performance
At the top end of the Z490 motherboard, series is the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme. This is a motherboard that makes a statement with its design, its cooling system as well as its eye-watering price.
It’s a motherboard that looks great with strips of RGB lighting across the board and the RGB ROG eye logo as well. It’s not just a pretty face though. This motherboard is capable of pumping out fantastic gaming performance with overclocking support.
In terms of slots, there are steel-supported memory slots, two PCIe x16 sockets, eight SATA ports, and four M.2 connectors. Also included are eight USB 3.2 ports and two Type-C connectors with a super-fast USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 port also.
Asus has taken cooling pretty seriously here. There are an impressive 12 fan headers and six connectors for water-cooling. There are also eight temperature measurement points and a jumper to support a Liquid Nitrogen mode – so you’ll never have to worry about overheating.
Onto the downsides. The main one is the price. Available for around $850, this is not your everyday motherboard. It’s also worth noting that there’s no PCIe 4.0 support to speak of, which at this price is a bit disappointing.
The MSI MEG Z490 ACE model is a great looking motherboard that falls pretty nicely into a mid-range budget. Just like the other motherboards on our list today, this model offers a great level of expandability. You’ll get four DDR4 memory slots, three PCI-E x16 sockets, and dual-GPU support. There are also three M.2 connectors, each with their own heatsinks, which is a welcome addition.
When it comes to running speeds, most reviews out there put this model as a great performer when it comes to application speed, but it doesn’t score the highest for gaming speed. However, you’ll save a bit of money with the MSI board (or a lot of money if you’re looking at the Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme option!), which makes it a pretty appealing model.
As far as the looks go, the MSI MEG Z490 ACE is a pretty nice looking motherboard that doesn’t go overboard with its looks. There’s some RGB lighting, brushed metal heatsink shields, and gold-colored highlights throughout. Of course, you’re not going to see all of this once you have everything plugged in, but it’s a nice touch nonetheless.
The ASRock Z490 Taichi is a sleek-looking motherboard with an eye-catching design. The heatsink has an interesting steampunk-inspired look and RGB LEDs are included for those who like a bit of color in their PC build.
The most notable feature aside from the looks is the support for PCIe 4.0. This is found in the two PCIe x16 slots and one M.2 connector. This makes it a great option for those who want to boost speed in their PC and support faster storage and graphics cards.
The range of ports on offer is a great amount. The Taichi has eight SATA ports and five USB connectors, including the super-fast USB 3.1 Gen 2×2 Type C port.
The downside is that this motherboard is quite pricey. It will set you back almost around $400 so it’s only really for the true enthusiasts and those with cash to spare. Another thing that reviewers have noted is that the application performance is quite underwhelming, which could be something to consider. However, if gaming speed is your primary concern, this motherboard will suit you well.
If you don’t want to spend a fortune on your motherboard but still want to grab all the best features that the Z490 chipset has to offer, the ASUS TUF Gaming Z490-Plus (Wi-Fi) might just be the option for you. Currently retailing at around $200-$230, you can pick up a pretty impressive board to house your 10th generation Intel CPU.
This motherboard has a great level of build quality and it’s pretty hard to see how they’ve kept the costs down. There are large heatsinks as well as a plentiful amount of fan headers to help you keep things cool. Some people may be a bit put off by the yellow highlights on the board, but they aren’t overused.
For a budget motherboard, this ASUS model really shines when it comes to its performance and connectivity. You’ll easily be able to get the most out of your processor with the 12+2 Dr MOS Power Stage which is perfect for those that enjoy a bit of overclocking.
You’ll also get a wide range of USB ports, including a Thunderbolt 3 header on the motherboard as well as WiFi 6 and Intel I219-V Gigabit Ethernet taking care of your
So, these are the pick of the current Intel 10th generation motherboards. Let’s recap their particular strengths…
If you want the best of the best, then the Asus ROG Maximus is a great investment.
For those shopping for a great-looking motherboard that provides great features, the MSI MEG model will be a good choice.
If speed is your main concern, the ASRock Taichi motherboard offers PCIe 4.0 support to help you run a faster gaming system.
For those shopping on a budget, the ASUS TUF Gaming Z490-Plus (Wi-Fi) has a perfect mix of features for the price.
Of course, this roundup doesn’t include all the Intel motherboards out there. Some didn’t quite make the cut but if none of the above sound right for you, we’ve got some honorable mentions.
We hope this guide has helped you find the perfect motherboard for you. How did you like our selections? Do you think there’s another model that should have made the cut? Let us know in the comments section down below.
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