Asus has written to HEXUS with details of its first salvo of motherboards for Intel's 10th Gen Core CPUs. It has detailed over a dozen new motherboards featuring Socket LGA 1200 and the new Intel Z490 chipset that range from Mini-ITX to EATX, from bright RGBs to blackout, under various Asus and ROG brands / families such as ROG Maximus, ROG Strix, Prime, TUF Gaming, and ProArt.
Before going into any details, Asus would like to stress that its new Z490 boards are built to cope with the demands of up to the highest-end Core i9 models in Intel's latest CPU lineup, with TDPs up to 125W. Whichever board you choose will have beefed up VRMs with most models featuring two auxiliary power inputs with ProCool solid-pin connectors as standard.
Every new Asus Z490 motherboard can run faster RAM than ever before, and the ROG Maximus XII models take this further, as you might expect, with Asus proprietary OptiMem III technology using an enhanced trace layout for better signal integrity. In practice Asus says that the OC enthusiasts that favour the Maximus line will be able to dial in memory speeds beyond 5,000MHz.
At the high end, both CPU and memory overclocking features are welcomed by enthusiasts and Asus says that its AI Overclocking technology can make such technological shenanigans easier and more effective than ever. If you buy an Intel K processor the Asus proprietary algorithm "carefully determines the quality of your CPU's silicon and predicts its optimal clock speed and voltage settings in a compatible motherboard". On the topic of AI enhancements, Asus also leverages AI Cooling (works with Asus Q-Fan intelligence) on all Z490 models, and AI Networking optimisations in its new motherboards. Furthermore, the ROG/Maximus motherboards lines offer 'GameFirst VI' tech, and the ProArt motherboard has 'CreationFirst' optimisations. Asus says these optimisations prioritise appropriate traffic, response times etc.
Elsewhere with these new designs users will benefit from features such as cutting-edge connectivity options such as; USB 3.2 Gen 2x2, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 10 / 5 /2.5Gb Ethernet, and Intel WiFi 6. Nearly all the new boards come with Thunderbolt 3 headers to support a Thunderbolt 3 expansion card. Intel Optane memory and chipset RAID support is present too.
Moving onto integrated audio, which should always be checked carefully when purchasing a new motherboard, Asus says it has implemented shielded circuits, independent traces, and Japanese capacitors throughout the range. Asus ROG and ROG Strix Z490 motherboards come armed with SupremeFX audio based on S1220/A chips coupled with dedicated op-amps. Meanwhile the Maximus XII lineup includes a dedicated ESS Sabre audiophile-grade DAC and a special headphone amplifier (except for the OC focussed Apex). Lastly, Asus includes its Sonic Studio III software with integrated virtual mixer. Select models include a DTS Sound Unbound package.
Ponder over the full Asus Z490 motherboard features and comparison table, above. Click the image to zoom in.
Asus Z490 motherboards will be available from 20th May 2020 in the UK. Asus says that these enthusiast level boards will soon be joined by Asus and ROG H470, B460, and H410 motherboards, giving users more choices to suit their requirements and budgets.