We are now waiting for intel to drop the upcoming 11th generation desktop processor and the Z590 series motherboards. But we want to look at an older motherboard and its future applications. The Biostar Racing Z490GTN motherboard has garnered tons of attention for its price and form factor.
Biostar isn’t your top-notch motherboard manufacturer and indeed flies below the radar. The Taiwanese manufacturer has released its Z490 chipset based ITX motherboard, the Biostar Racing Z490GTN. All PC builders don’t favor the ITX form factor, and they’re only a handful of times that people opt-out for the ITX motherboards.
The Biostar Racing Z490GTN motherboard falls in the lower tier, falling behind a lot. There are better premium options, but the Biostar Racing Z490GTN offers the performance of the Z490 chipset. So is the Biostar Racing Z490GTN still a viable option in 2021?
The Overall Design
Right out of the bat, the Biostar isn’t your premium or top-of-the-line motherboard. It gives off a budget vibe with the upgraded Z490 chipset. Biostar kept the board to the minimum without striking visuals or RGB lighting on the motherboard. It is minimal with an all-black PCB with grey elements on the shielding and components.
Biostar has done tons of work to cram features into the small form factor. Cramming a lot of features into the small space has taken its toll. We ran into tons of issues inserting the cooler. It ran into spacing problems, the socket, and the DIMM slots. So we have to use an AIO solution and a smaller air cooler. But if you plan to use any high-end processors, we suggest getting AIO for the whole system.
The board has a single PCIe Gen x16 slot. Note that the system fan header is hard to reach if you install a thick GPU on the motherboard. The board comes with the usual 5V, and 12V LED headers to add some artistic flair to your whole system.
As for the storage, there is a single M.2 slot on the back of the motherboard. You cannot increase the M.2 storage space after installing the motherboard in the chassis. The Four SATA ports are located near the internal USB 3.0 header. Overall the motherboard offers easy to use and easy cable routing.
Racing Z490GTN Technical Specifications:
The Biostar Racing Z490GTN is rocking the high-end Intel Z490 chipset. The smaller form factor of the motherboard limits it to a dual DIMM slot of system memory. The motherboard supports a maximum of 64 GB of RAM. The I/O on the motherboard is reasonably okay with minimal offerings.
|Biostar Racing Z490GTN||Specification|
|CPU||Intel 10th & 11th Gen
|RAM||2x DDR4 DIMM (up to DDR4 4400)|
|Expansion||1x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot
You are limited on the I/O. You can support a Core i9 processor in this motherboard but overclocking is very limited. The 6 + 2 power phase design will barely keep the Core i9 in check, leaving no room for overclocking. The motherboard also supports WiFi 6. But Biostar left the adapter out of the motherboard. So you have to physically buy a WiFi 6 card if you want to connect wirelessly.
Testing and Thermals
We are not entirely going in-depth in this testing and thermals. But we are only looking at the overall performance and the cooling system on the VRMs. We want to use a Core i9 in this motherboard, but that will be choking the performance of the processor. So we opted to use the Core i7 10700K and checked the performance.
The Biostar Racing Z490GTN motherboard fits in well with the Core i7 10700K. The 6 + 2 phase power design holds very well with the 8-core processor. But it isn’t the premium version falling behind most of the Intel motherboards.
There isn’t much room for overclocking the processor. The Core i7 can maintain a stable 5.0 GHz boost clock. There isn’t a problem with system instability. But the VRM did reach up to 86 degrees temperature on load. The problem isn’t severe, but that might be concerning if you are using a higher-end processor.
The overall system handled everything that was thrown at it. The Core i7 10700K was paired with a GTX 1080 Ti graphics card and performed well on all game titles. Like GTA V, Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla maintained a good 100 FPS in high settings in 1080p resolution. Plus, we were able to score 571 in single-core and 5,706 in the multi-core performance in CPU-Z. The processor maxes out at 87 degrees, making it an acceptable temperature mark.
Looking at the motherboard’s thermals and performance, it was meant for HTPC (Home Theatre PC) or SFF gaming computer. It is not intended for overclocking, heavy gaming, or workstation-grade workloads.
Overall Value and Price:
The Biostar Racing Z490GTN has now gone down in pricing. The board has an MSRP of $155.99 and kind of fits the price range. Previously, the board had an MSRP of $200, which didn’t even fit the board’s overall value. Quite expensive if we look at its feature sets.
The reduced value might be an excellent offering for builders. But the feature set and the lackluster performance aren’t very well for the price. You can scale back down to the B460 chipset and get a lot of performance. There are no issues while testing the Z490 motherboard, but the overall temp of the VRMs and lower CPU power do not fit for a Z490 motherboard. You are very limited to overclocking the processor as well.
If you are on a budget and need an ITX motherboard that can support the latest 10th generation processor, the Biostar Racing Z490GTN does fit well. But the limited IO and average feature do keep the cost down, offering an excellent Z490 chipset experience.
It is $90 lower than its competitors, but squeezing extra to buy a better Z490 motherboard looks like the correct course of action. Even scaling back to an H460 motherboard is more favorable, offering the same performance. So the Biostar Racing Z490GTN is a no-go from your suggestion. But if you ever catch this motherboard on sale for around $100, it is quite a good deal considering that you are getting a Z490 chipset on a sub $150 board.