We’re reviewing the piece as we found the EVGA Z490 motherboard a stable unit for overclocking. It’s been a long road, but EVGA has finally made an ATX piece that ensures safe heavy-loads for 10th-gen Intel CPUs.
At their lowest price points, motherboards connect all of your PC components. They also give you enough connection points for all of your hardware like Ram sticks, storage drives, the GPU, the CPU, and the fans.
To make motherboards more valuable, manufacturers add additional features. These features include extra ports, a quality audio chip, or reliable, sturdy construction with heat-dissipation features.
Other motherboards specialize in overclocking. That means it has voltage and temperature tech that helps keep your CPU in check as it increases speed.
The Z490 motherboard has overclocking features, a quality audio chip, and extra ports. Better yet, it sells for an attractive price point. However, most of these features are a stripped-down version of EVGA’s Dark ATX motherboard.
Full Name: Z490 FTW WIFI
Price Point: $329.99
The EVGA Z490 motherboard packs the most advanced features you would expect for a 10th-gen Intel CPU PC build.
EVGA Z490 overview
The EVGA Z490 is built to last. It has 100% solid-state capacitors plus 150% gold sockets to protect every connection. That’s why it ensures long-lasting effectiveness.
On top of that, it has reinforced PCIe slots to protect your expensive drives and GPUs. Add onboard voltage and temperature monitoring, and you can be sure this unit will keep everything tight and safe.
Another essential feature is its onboard CMOS, reset, and power buttons. In particular, the SafeBoot reset button brings the motherboard back to its last working state. It takes you straight to BIOS without clearing the CMOS or the other info on your drives.
A particular feature it has to help you overclocking your unit is its 14 Phase Digital VRM. That allows the motherboard to manage the voltage and the temperature of the CPU automatically.
Additionally, you could boot the BIOS without a CPU installed via SPI tech. In other words, you could run the BIOS with a USB flash drive. The package includes a USB flash drive.
Regarding PCI slots, the Z490 is Intel Optane ready. Although Optane memory is still not very popular, I highly recommend picking up a 16 GB Optane piece to fit into a 4×16 slot. It dramatically improves the speed of your PC.
Lastly, the EVGA Z490 motherboard is Nvidia SLI ready. That means it can connect two different Nvidia cards for extra power.
Form Factor: ATX
Lenght: 305mm (12”)
Width: 244mm (9.6”)
- Chipset: Intel Z490 (made for 10th-gen Intel CPUs, although it can accept older-gen as well).
- SATA ports: 4 Native Sata 6.0Gbps Ports & 2 SATA M.2 6.0Gbps addo-on ports.
- USB: 5x USB 2.0 ports & 4 3.2 gen-2 ports for internal headers.
- Memory: 4 DIMM Dual-Channel Unbuffered DDR4 4400 MHz (128GB max)
- PCI-E Slots: 2×16 plus 1×1
- NVME Support on PCIe Slot or SATA port
- Audio: Realtek ALC122 7.1 HD Channel Audio Chip
- Display: DP 1.2 & HDMI 1.4
- Fan headers: 2 CPU PWM & 6 PWM/DC
- Ethernet: Intel i219V Gigabit NIC (Includes WiFi antenna)
It’s worth noting the operating systems that work with the EVGA Z490 motherboard:
- Windows 10 32/64bit
- Windows 8 32/64bit
- Windows 7 32/64bit
Keep in mind Intel Kaby Lake-S CPUs only support Windows 10 operating systems.
If you’re looking to build a PC, here’s a great way to start:
The power of theZ490 FTW motherboard
The FTW model is designed from the ground up for the 10th generation Intel high-end i9 processors. These CPUs deliver top-tier performance for gaming, streaming, and content creation. The temperatures of the i9 models are dangerous, though, so you’d want a high-airflow case.
What you’re going to love about this model is its dual M.2 110mm slots for small NVMe SSD cards. It gives you plenty of space for high-speed storage drives. Keep in mind it accepts 3.0 gen SSDs, though, as 4.0 pieces are for AMD chipsets only. On the good side, you can place an Optane memory stick on one of the M.2 ports.
Next, its onboard ARB header can configure over 125 LED lights with the included EVGA ELEET X1 software. That should be enough for most enthusiasts PC builders.
It’s advanced audio chip also delivers an outstanding audio quality, which is one of the better parts of the motherboard. It grants you 7.1 high-fidelity HD surround sound through your headphones or speakers. The EVGA Nu Adio FPH manages the audio, but it doesn’t give you any sound profiles like what you’d see on Asus motherboards.
Lastly, it can set various BIOS profiles through its Robot OC Bios software. You may switch between overclocking profiles and regular profiles easily. Moreover, there’re a couple of boxes on the motherboard that display the CPU temperatures and voltage in real-time. You could even configure these boxes to show what you want to see, like the temperature of your GPU.
Z490 Hands-on review
The Z490 motherboard is below the $549 Z490 Dark. Obviously, as the cheaper version of one of their most premium motherboards offerings, the Z490 FTW is more straightforward and has fewer ports.
The primary difference between both is that Dark has an 18 phase power delivery system, whereas the FTW has a 14 phase power delivery.
As a step down from the Dark, it has two fewer native SATA ports. However, it packs an extra USB header port plus overclocking support for DDR4 Ram sticks. It also increases the Ram capacity from 440MHz to 4600MHz.
Additionally, the Dark has a better Ethernet connection plus an extra PCIe slot. Other than that, there are no significant downgrades between the two versions.
Still, the Z490 can perform better at overclocking than the Dark model. It delivers a more stable overclocking than most motherboards on similar pice points.
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EVGA z490 motherboard additional features
Aside from what I’ve said, the EVGA Z490 also packs cable cutouts for easier cable management.
As I said before, the board also adds metal-reinforced PCIe slots for heavy video cards like the upcoming Nvidia RTX 30 series.