5 Best Motherboards for i5-10600K

Intel has launched its new generation of processors and among them, there are a few interesting pieces. Probably the most interesting CPU from the 10th gen Core lineup is the Core i5-10600K. This 6-core/12-thread CPU is in the sweet spot for many gamers.

But once you decide to get it, the follow-up question of which board to pair it with could lead you to spending days looking at Z490 boards lineup. It looks like there’s a ton of Z490 boards on the market right now, and many of those are good products that offer a lot for the money. But which motherboards are the best to pair with the 10600K? Well, stay with us and find out. But first, let’s answer why would you even get the Core i5-10600K.

Best Motherboards for i5-10600K – Our Picks

Best Motherboards for i5-10600K – Our Picks
AwardModel 
Best Budget Motherboard for i5-10600KMSI Z490-A PRO msi z490 a pro
Best Mid-Range Motherboard for i5-10600KMSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk msi mag z490 tomahawk
Best High-End Motherboard for i5-10600KASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming asus rog strix z490 e gaming
Best Micro-ATX Motherboard for i5-10600KASUS ROG Strix Z490-G Gaming Wi-Fi asus rog strix z490 g gaming wifi
Best Mini-ITX Motherboard for i5-10600KASUS ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming asus rog strix z490 i gaming

Why Pick the i5-10600K?

First of all, this is the cheapest unlocked processor from Intel right now. The company decided to launch the i3 series without a K model. On top of that, the Core i5-10600K shows incredible gaming performance when overclocked. Run it stable at around 5GHz and you’ll be able to reach 10900K levels of gaming performance.

Great news is that the 10600K is very easy to overclock since it runs much cooler than its bigger cousins, the 10700K and the 10900K. Pair it with a solid AIO or a quality air cooler and you’ll be able to reach 5GHz. And the best thing of all is that you don’t need an expensive board to do that. Even some budget Z490 boards have VRMs good enough to sustain the Core i9-10900K at 5GHz. Running an OCed 10600K wouldn’t be the slightest problem for those boards.

Finally, the CPU’s 6 core design might look like a limiting factor for some users, especially regarding performance with next-gen games, which should start arriving at the end of the year. But the next-gen transition period will last for a couple of years, during which the 10600K will keep its current level of gaming performance.

Even after that, this CPU should reach more than playable framerates in true next-gen titles. And if you invest a bit more in mid-range or high-end Z490 motherboard, you’ll be able to swap it for an 8-core or 10-core 11th gen Intel CPU and get a foolproof solution for the entire generation of games. Now, let’s check them boards.

Best Budget Motherboard for i5-10600K

MSI Z490-A PRO
ChipsetIntel Z490
Memory4 × DDR4 DIMM, max. 128 GB
Storage2 × M.2, 6 × SATAIII
Multi GPU SupportAMD Crossfire
Expansion Slots2 × PCIe x16, 3 × PCIe x1
Back Panel Ports1 × PS/2
1 × DisplayPort
1 × HDMI
1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2
2 × USB 3.2 Gen 1
2 × USB 2.0
1 × 2.5G LAN
6 × audio jacks
Wi-FiNo

The MSI Z490-A PRO is one of the cheapest Z490 motherboards but it packs a solid punch. The most important part, the VRM, is great for its price. The board can run the 10900K at 5Ghz without any throttling taking place so it shouldn’t have any issues running an OCed 10600K.

The issue, for some users, could be the limited set of features on this board. Affordable price had to mean either lower quality VRM or fewer features and MSI (luckily) picked the latter. Most of the features are pretty solid. You get support for up to 4800MHz DDR4 memory, two M.2 slots, and six SATA III ports.

Dual PCIe x16 slots (but only PCIe 3.0 since the current generation of Intel CPU doesn’t support PCIe 4.0) and three PCIe x1 slots. You also get 2.5Gb LAN and a solid audio section, both made by Realtek. But at the back, there are just a couple of fast USB 3.2 ports along with a couple of video outs and that’s pretty much it. Also, don’t expect stuff like BIOS flashback, troubleshooting LEDs, dual BIOS, or POST code.

The alternative could be the ASUS Prime Z490-P. This one packs pretty good VRM and has almost the same features. You get 1Gb LAN instead of 2.5Gb and you also get a poorly populated rear panel.

Best Mid-Range Motherboard for i5-10600K

MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk
ChipsetIntel Z490
Memory4 × DDR4 DIMM, max. 128 GB
Storage2 × M.2, 6 × SATAIII
Multi GPU SupportAMD CrossFire
Expansion Slots2 × PCIe x16, 2 × PCIe x1
Back Panel Ports1 × PS/2
1 × DisplayPort
1 × HDMI
1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C
1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2
4 × USB 3.2 Gen 1
2 × USB 2.0
1 × 2.5G LAN
1 × 1G LAN
1 × optical S/PDIF Out
5 × HD Audio Connectors
Wi-FiNo

The MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk is the sweet spot for users who want to overclock their 10600K without needing a wide range of features. The VRM on this board is excellent, good enough to run the 10900K over 5GHz without issues. The board’s also pretty good from the rear end, with lots of USB 3.2 ports and dual gigabit LAN (1Gb + 2.5Gb).

You also get support for up to 4800MHz DDR4 memory, two M.2 slots, and six SATA III ports. The board comes with two PCIe x16 slots but it doesn’t support SLI, only Crossfire. There are also two PCIe x1 slots for expansion cards. The audio section, powered by the Realtek ALC1200-VD1, is excellent for the price. You won’t get advanced OC features, but they aren’t needed except if you want to push both your CPU and your memory to their ultimate limits.

Finally, the board looks rather nice. The unobtrusive design is highlighted by large heatsinks, with both M.2 slots getting one. There’s also a couple of subtle RGB effects that should look great in the dark. If you want an alternative, get the ASUS ROG Strix Z490-H. It’s basically the same, with a bit better audio section, three PCIe x16 instead of two, a BIOS flashback button, and a dedicated M.2 slot for a Wi-Fi card. If you need a Wi-Fi board in the same price range, the MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Edge is the one to get.

Finally, if you care about the design and want to have a board that’s not only packed with features but also pretty, the GIGABYTE Z490 Vision G is an excellent choice. The black and silver-grey combination of colors is striking. So are the large heatsinks and excellent VRM. The board has virtually the same features as the Z490 Tomahawk but it’s just a bit more expensive. If you ask us, the slick design is worth the price difference.

Best High-End Motherboard for i5-10600K

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming
ChipsetIntel Z490
Memory4 × DDR4 DIMM, max. 128 GB
Storage2 × M.2, 6 × SATAIII
Multi GPU SupportNvidia SLI, AMD Crossfire
Expansion Slots3 × PCIe x16, 3 × PCIe x1
Back Panel Ports1 × USB BIOS FlashBack
1 × DisplayPort
1 × HDMI
1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
3 × USB 3.2 Gen 2
2 × USB 3.2 Gen 1
4 × USB 2.0
1 × 2.5G LAN
2 × SMA
1 × Optical S/PDIF out
5 × audio jacks
Wi-FiYes

If you want to explore the boundaries of the extreme 10600K overclock, get this board. The ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming is packed with OC-friendly features such as POST code, excellent passive cooling, troubleshooting LEDs, BIOS flashback, and a superb VRM unit. The rest of the board is packed with ports and slots. Memory can go up to 4800Mhz DDR4. There are two M.2 slots and six SATA III Ports. The board comes with three PCIe x16 slots and it supports both Crossfire and SLI. There are also three PCIe x1 slots.

At the rear end you can find 2.5Gb LAN, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity, a bunch of USB 3.2 ports, BIOS flashback button, and also four USB 2.0 ports, if someone still needs those. The audio section is powered by ASUS’ proprietary audio codec and it’s excellent. This is a complete product for those in need of advanced features. The alternative would be the MSI MEG Z490 Unify, which is as good for overclocking but isn’t as packed with features.

If you want something even more expensive, take a look at the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490. It has the same VRM unit along with the same OC features. But, its POST code is placed on top of the board instead of the bottom and it also comes with additional features. Stuff like dual gigabit LAN (5Gb + 1Gb), even more USB 3.2 ports, shielded audio section, and three M.2 slots. Also, the Maximus XII Hero looks amazing.

Best Micro-ATX Motherboard for i5-10600K

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-G Gaming Wi-Fi
ChipsetIntel Z490
Memory4 × DDR4 DIMM, max. 128 GB
Storage2 × M.2, 6 × SATAIII
Multi GPU SupportAMD CrossFire
Expansion Slots2 × PCIe x16, 1 × PCIe x1
Back Panel Ports1 × USB BIOS FlashBack
1 × DisplayPort
1 × HDMI
1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C
1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2
4 × USB 3.2 Gen 1
2 × USB 2.0
1 × 2.5G LAN
2 × SMA
1 × optical S/PDIF Out
5 × audio jacks
Wi-FiYes

The ASUS ROG Strix Z490-G Gaming Wi-Fi is one amazing mATX board. First of all, you can run any CPU on this one thanks to its superb VRM that’s just one step below the ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E. Next, this board’s small but packed. The usual support for up to 4800MHz DDR4 memory is there, as are two M.2 slots (nice to see on an mATX board). You also get 6 SATA III ports and two PCIe x16 ports with support for Crossfire. The board features 2.5Gb LAN along with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity.

There are some OC-friendly features such as colored troubleshooting LEDs and BIOS flashback. The rear panel hosts six USB 3.2 ports along with a couple of video outs and two USB 2.0 ports. The audio section is the same as on the ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E. Overall, this is a near-perfect mATX board that will satisfy anyone. If you need a (much) cheaper alternative take a look at the ASUS Prime Z490M-PLUS. It doesn’t have a great VRM, but it should run slightly overclocked 10600K without issues and it’s very affordable.

Best Mini-ITX Motherboard for i5-10600K

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming
ChipsetIntel Z490
Memory2 × DDR4 DIMM, max. 64 GB
Storage2 × M.2, 4 × SATAIII
Multi GPU SupportNone
Expansion Slots1 × PCIe x16
Back Panel Ports1 × USB BIOS FlashBack
1 × DisplayPort
1 × HDMI
1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
3 × USB 3.2 Gen 2
2 × USB 3.2 Gen 1
2 × USB 2.0
1 × 2.5G LAN
2 × SMA
3 × audio jacks
Wi-FiYes

Last but not least, we have the best Mini-ITX board for the 10600K. Now, ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming is expensive but it’s worth the price. First of all, the VRM is pretty good for a Mini-ITX board. You can create a powerful SFF build inside an M-ITX case with a slightly overclocked 10600K with this one. Next, the support for up to 4800MHz DDR4 along with dual M.2 slots and four SATA III ports. A usual set of storage options for a high-end Mini-ITX board.

It comes with one PCIe x16 slot, a Wi-Fi 6 card, and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity. The audio section is the same one that’s found on all high-end boards from ASUS. In other words, it’s great. The board features 2.5Gb LAN along with some nice features such as different colored troubleshooting LEDs and BIOS flashback. Finally, the rear panel is richly populated for a Mini-ITX board. There are four USB 3.2 ports, two USB 3.1, and two USB 2.0 ports.

Design-wise, the ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming looks slick and monolithic despite its humble size. The rear panel armor looks like it’s fused with heatsinks and together they turn the board into a seriously thick boy. When it comes to alternatives, we recommend the MSI MEG Z490I Unify. A (slightly) cheaper alternative would be the GIGABYTE Z490I AORUS Ultra, which also comes with solid VRM and a nice set of features.

Goran Damnjanovic
Goran Damnjanovic
Goran is Levvvel's senior hardware writer. He studied psychology but found that video games and PC hardware were much more interesting. Over the years he's developed expertise in everything gaming tech related.
Goran Damnjanovic
Goran Damnjanovic
Goran is Levvvel's senior hardware writer. He studied psychology but found that video games and PC hardware were much more interesting. Over the years he's developed expertise in everything gaming tech related.

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