9 Best Z390 Motherboards

The Z390 chipset is a premium chipset made for 9th gen, K series Intel CPUs. While most of the 9th gen CPUs aren’t the best choice right now the 9900K is still a pretty capable gaming CPU and if you can find it cheap, it can be a great base for a high-end gaming build. This is why our best Z390 motherboard list includes only models capable of running the 9900K.

The budget picks as well as one mATX pick aren’t great for overclocking the 9900K. Everything else on this list can run an overclocked 9900K without issues. We’ve included two budget, two mid-range, as well as two high-end boards. You can also find two mATX picks along with the best Mini-ITX Z390 motherboard at the end of this list, below the ATX picks. Before we start let’s answer this question: are 9th gen Intel CPUs a good buy in 2020?

Should You Get An Intel Series 9xxx CPU In 2020?

The short answer is no, you shouldn’t unless you find a 9900K for cheap. Intel crippled the 9th gen i5 and i7 series by disabling hyperthreading on these CPUs. This makes them a pretty bad buy right now because you can get the 10600K, which is a better gaming choice than both the 9600K and the 9700K, for the same price as the 9700K.

Next, the Ryzen 7 3700X costs less than the 9700K while having hyperthreading and coming with a decent box cooler. This is an excellent choice for users who use their PC both for gaming and work. The Ryzen 5 3600 costs less than the 9600K and it offers hyperthreading and, again, and decent box cooler.

The only buy we can recommend right now is getting the 9900K used for a minimum of 60 percent of its original retail price. The cheaper the better. If you cannot find a good deal on a used CPU, you could get the 10700K, which is basically a 9900K with higher boost clocks. Also, the 10700K requires a Z490 motherboard, which will also support 11th gen Intel CPUs. As you can see, with the 10700K you get better performance and a platform that supports future CPUs from Intel; a much better choice than buying a used 9900K.

Finally, the new Ryzen CPUs are just around the corner so if you can wait, wait. The Ryzen 5000 CPU series could bring a massive gaming performance boost over the Ryzen 3000 series (yeah, AMD went to 5000 from 3000, it’s weird we know). If the rumors are true, the Ryzen 5000 CPUs will be the best choice for gamers once they come out near the end of 2020. By waiting a couple of months, you could get a 10600K-like gaming performance for less in the form of the Ryzen 5 5600; a much better solution than any Intel 9th gen series CPU.

Best Z390 Motherboards – Our Picks

Best Z390 Motherboards – Our Picks
AwardModel 
Best Budget Z390 MotherboardMSI MPG Z390 Gaming Plus msi mpg z390 gaming plus
Gigabyte Z390 Gaming X gigabyte z390 gaming
Best Mid-Range Z390 MotherboardMSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon msi mpg z390 gaming pro carbon
Gigabyte Z390 Designare gigabyte z390 designare
Best High-End Z390 MotherboardGigabyte Z390 Aorus Master gigabyte z390 aorus master
MSI MEG Z390 Godlike msi z390 meg godlike
Best Micro-ATX Z390 MotherboardGigabyte Z390M Gaming gigabyte z390 m gaming
ASUS ROG Maximus XI Gene asus rog maximus xi gene z390
Best Mini-ITX Z390 MotherboardASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX-AC asrock z390 phantom gaming

Best Budget Z390 Motherboard

MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Plus
ChipsetIntel Z390
Memory4 × DDR4 DIMM, max. 128 GB
Storage2 × M.2, 6 × SATAIII
Multi GPU SupportAMD Crossfire
Expansion Slots2 × PCIe x16, 4 × PCIe x1
Back Panel Ports1 × PS/2
1 × DVI-D
1 × HDMI
1 × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
3 × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
2 × USB 2.0
1 × LAN
6 × Audio jacks
Wi-FiNo

The MSI Z390 Gaming Plus is an excellent choice in the budget market. The 8+1 phase VRM isn’t the best but it should serve the purpose of running a stock 9900K. The board has pretty good memory support and can run DDR4 memory up to 4400MHz.

As for the storage options you have six SATA III ports and two M.2 slots. There are two PCIe x16 slots along with four PCIe x1 slots. The second PCIe x16 slot works at x4 mode so it isn’t suited for a multi-GPU setup. The audio setup is pretty basic, with the Realtek ALC892 audio codec at the helm.

The rear I/O includes two USB 3.1 gen1, two USB 3.2 gen2 (one of which is USB-C), two USB 2.0 ports, a gigabit LAN port (1Gb), DVI and HDMI ports, as well as a selection of audio ports. Not great but not terrible. The aggressive black and red design looks pretty good and the board also includes a bit of RGB LEDs on the backplate.

GIGABYTE Z390 Gaming X
ChipsetIntel Z390
Memory4 × DDR4 DIMM, max. 128 GB
Storage2 × M.2, 6 × SATAIII
Multi GPU SupportAMD Crossfire
Expansion Slots2 × PCIe x16, 4 × PCIe x1
Back Panel Ports1 × PS/2
1 × HDMI
1 × USB 3.1 Gen 2
5 × USB 3.1 Gen 1
2 × USB 2.0
1 × LAN
6 × Audio jacks
Wi-FiNo

Next, we have the Z390 Gaming X from Gigabyte. This board should be suitable for some light OC since it comes with a 10+1 phase VRM design. Just make sure to equip the CPU with a powerful cooling system since the 9900K can run pretty hot when overclocked.

As for the rest of the specs, they are pretty good for a budget board. You get support for DDR4 4266, six SATA III, and two M.2 slots, as well as the same PCIe slot array as on the MSI Gaming Plus. The rear panel hosts five USB 3.2 gen1 ports, one USB 3.1 gen2 port, two USB 2.0 ports, as well as one HDMI, Gigabit LAN port (1Gb), and audio jacks.

As for the audio, it’s a basic setup powered by the Realtek ALC892. Gigabyte used black red and silver to create a pretty attractive board. It includes one M.2 heatsink, back panel armor, and a better VRM unit for about the same price as the MSI model.

Best Mid-Range Z390 Motherboard

MSI MPG Z390 GAMING PRO CARBON
SocketLGA 1151
ChipsetIntel Z390
Memory4 x DIMM, DDR4, max. 128 GB
Storage2 x M.2, 6 x SATA
Multi-GPU Support2-Way SLI, 3-Way CrossFire
Expansion Slots3 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 3 x PCIe 3.0 x1
USB Ports1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 6 x USB 2.0
Wi-FiNo

Our primary choice, the MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon, offers a lot while keeping a relatively affordable price. It’s made for running the 9900K at 5Ghz or slightly higher thanks to its 10+1+1 VRM design. The board supports memory up to 4400MHz DDR4 and it comes with 6 SATA III ports and two M.2 slots.

Expansion ports include three PCIe x16 slots with support for SLI and Crossfire. You can run the three PCIe x16 slots in x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4 mode. You also get three PCIe x1 slots. Next, we have the audio section, based around the Realtek ALC1220P-VB2 codec. A solid solution for a mid-range motherboard.

The board comes with gigabit Intel LAN (1Gb). The rear I/O features four USB 3.1 gen2 ports (one of which is USB-C), two USB 2.0 ports, and HDMI and DisplayPort, as well as the LAN port and a selection of audio jacks.

GIGABYTE Z390 Designare
ChipsetIntel Z390
Memory4 × DDR4 DIMM, max. 128 GB
Storage2 × M.2, 6 × SATAIII
Multi GPU SupportNvidia SLI, AMD Crossfire
Expansion Slots3 × PCIe x16, 2 × PCIe x1
Back Panel Ports1 × PS/2
1 × HDMI
1 × DisplayPort
2 × Thunderbolt 3 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
2 × USB 3.1 Gen 2
4 × USB 3.1 Gen 1
2 × USB 2.0
2 × SMA
2 × LAN
1 × Optical S/PDIF Out
5 × Audio jacks
Wi-FiYes

Our second pick is one of the best looking Z390 motherboards, the Gigabyte Z390 Designare. The board should perform well running a 5GHz OC 9900K thanks to its 12+1 phase VRM design. It also supports fast DDR4 4266MHz memory.

The storage options include six SATA III ports and two M.2 slots. As for the expansion slots you get three PCIe x16 slots (x16, x8, and x4) along with two PCIe x2 slots and support for both SLI and Crossfire. The board features dual gigabit LAN (1Gb+1Gb) along with a Wi-Fi card that offers Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5 connection.

The rear panel packs a lot of fast ports, which is the main advantage of this board over the similarly priced competition. You get two USB 3.1 gen2 ports, four USB 3.1 gen1 ports, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and a DisplayPort and HDMI combo. The rear I/O also includes a PS/2 port and a set of audio jacks.

The Realtek ALC1220-VB audio codec runs the audio section, which is in line with the price point. The design of this board is amazing. Colors fit great one with another and subtle blue LED lighting is so much better than a bunch of RGB LED arrays.

The mid-range Z390 market includes other great choices. You have the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro Wi-Fi as a great lower mid-range board with wireless connectivity. Then we have the Z390 Aorus Ultra for those who want an additional M.2 slot instead of two Thunderbolt 3 ports. The ASUS ROG Strix Z390-F Gaming is another quality yet expensive mid-range board. Finally, the Z390 Taichi from ASRock is another excellent mid-range choice that packs lots of features and is great for overclocking the 9900K.

Best High-End Z390 Motherboard

Gigabyte Z390 AORUS MASTER
ChipsetIntel Z390
Memory4 × DDR4 DIMM, max. 128 GB
Storage3 × M.2, 6 × SATAIII
Multi GPU SupportNvdia SLI, AMD CrossFire
Expansion Slots3 × PCIe 3.0 x16
3 × PCIe 3.0 x1
Back Panel Ports1 × Power/Reset button
1 × Clear CMOS button
2 × SMA antenna connectors
1 × HDMI
1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
3 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
2 × USB 3.2 Gen 1
4 × USB 2.0/1.1
1 × LAN
1 × Optical S/PDIF Out
5 × Audio Connectors
Wi-FiYes

The high-end Z390 segment includes two tiers. You have the high-end tier with cards selling at a premium price that’s hovering around the 9900K MSRP and then you have the flagship boards, specced out to the max, suitable for extreme overlocking, and selling for almost four-digit prices.

The first high-end board we have today falls into the former category. The Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Master is a high-end Z390 board without a shockingly high price. It features 12+1+1 phase VRM, enough for running the 9900K at 5Ghz or above. Memory support goes up to DDR4 4400.

Storage options include six SATA III ports and three M.2 slots, each of them having its own heatsink. There are three PCIe x16 slots (x16, x8, x4) along with three PCIe x1 slots and support for both SLI and Crossfire. The board’s audio section revolves around the Realtek ALX1220-VB codec coupled with the ESS SABRE 9118 DAC, which is a solid solution for the price.

Connectivity options include gigabit (1Gb) LAN and a Wi-Fi chip with Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5. Rear I/O features four USB 3.1 gen2 (one is USB-C) ports, two USB 3.1 gen1 ports, and four USB 2.0 ports. The rear connectors also include the LAN port, one HDMI port, along with audio jacks and the power and Clear CMOS buttons.

Visually, the board’s quite attractive. There’s plenty of RGB effects but they don’t feel overly aggressive or cheap. Also, the combination of a black PCB and silver NVMe heatsinks looks striking.

MSI Z390 MEG Godlike
SocketLGA 1151
ChipsetIntel Z390
Memory4 x DIMM, DDR4, max. 128 GB
Storage3 x M.2, 1 x U.2, 6 x SATA
Multi-GPU Support2-Way SLI, 4-Way CrossFire
Expansion Slots4 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x1
USB Ports1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 5 x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 6 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 4 x USB 2.0
Wi-FiYes

Our second pick is the MEG Z390 Godlike from MSI. This is a beast of a motherboard that packs every feature you might need. First of all, its 16+1+1 phase VRM is more than enough for extreme overclocking. Next, you can run DDR4 4600Mhz on this board without issues.

The storage options include six SATA III ports and three M.2 slots. The board features four PCIe x16 slots (x16, x8, x4, x2) along with three PCIe x1 slots. When it comes to expansion capability, this board is a beast.

The Z390 Godlike also has a quality audio section powered by the Realtek ALC1220-VB codec and the ESS SABRE 9118 DAC. As for the connectivity options you have (just) a 1Gb LAN along with a Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5. Rear I/O hosts four USB 3.1 gen2 ports (one if which is USB-1), two USB 3.1 gen1 ports, and dual LAN ports. You can also find the regular selection of audio ports along with a 6.3mm headphone jack for Hi-Fi cans.

Finally, the rear panel also includes a BIOS Flashback and clear CMOS buttons. Other OC-friendly features include a BIOS switch and power and reset buttons on the PCB along with a small display that works as a dashboard. When it comes to design, we like the Gigabyte board more. It has prettier colors, less aggressive RGB effects, and its design is not over the top like it’s the case with the MSI model.

When it comes to alternatives, you have the excellent MSI Z390 ACE for great OC results for less cash. Next up is another great, feature-packed board that isn’t as expensive as flagship models. We’re talking about the ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero. When talking about other flagship models you have the ASUS Maximus XI Formula.

Best Micro-ATX Z390 Motherboard

Gigabyte Z390 M Gaming
SocketLGA 1151
ChipsetIntel Z390
Memory4 x DIMM, DDR4, max. 128 GB
Storage2 x M.2, 6 x SATA
Multi-GPU Support2-Way CrossFire
Expansion Slots2 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 2 x PCIe 3.0 x1
USB Ports1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 6 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 4 x USB 2.0/1.1
Wi-FiNo

The mATX Z390 boards are mostly low-end models and the Z390M Gaming from Gigabyte looks like a solid choice for the money. The 10+2 phase VRM should handle the stock 9900K without issues but we wouldn’t overclock it on this board. Next, you have DDR4 4266 memory support. Storage options are excellent for an mATX board. They include six SATA III and 2 M.2 ports.

The expansion slots include two PCIe x 16 slots (X16, and x4) along with one PCIe x1 slot. Multi GPU support is limited to Crossfire and with the second PCIe x16 slots working at only x4 speed you can’t utilize two GPUs to their fullest. We would like to see a better audio section since the one found here includes only the basic Realtek ALC892 codec.

As for the connectivity you have 1Gb LAN and that’s it. Rear I/O features two USB 3.1 gen2 ports (one of which is USB-C), four USB 3.1 gen1 ports, along with a DVI and an HDMI port, a selection of audio jacks, a LAN port, and a PS/2 port. The design is solid, with a large I/O shroud and multicolored PCB. A great alternative to the Z390M Gaming is the Z390M Gaming Edge AC from MSI. It has a better VRM as well as wireless connectivity but it also costs considerably more.

Asus ROG Maximus XI Gene Z390
ChipsetIntel Z390
Memory2 × DDR4 DIMM, max. 64 GB
Storage2 × M.2, 2 × ROG DIMM.2, 4 × SATA
Multi GPU SupportNone
Expansion Slots1 × PCIe x16, 1 × PCIe x4
Back Panel Ports1 × Wi-Fi antenna
1 × PS/2
1 × HDMI
3 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A,
1 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
6 × USB 3.1 Gen 1
2 × USB 2.0
1 × LAN
1 × Clear CMOS
Wi-FiYes

The second choice is a premium model from ASUS. The ROG Maximus XI Gene (Z390) is a feature-packed board with a 10+2 phase VRM that should handle overclocked 9900K without issues. This is a board aimed at users who plan on overclocking their CPU as soon as it’s installed, and its high price confirms that.

When it comes to the storage you have four SATA III ports, which is in line with other mATX boards. But where it gets interesting is the number of M.2 slots. The board comes with only two DIMM slots for memory, with support for up to DDR4 4800. The third DIMM slot can host a ROG DIMM.2 Module, which hosts two NVMe drives. The board itself has two more M.2 slots, putting the total number of M.2 slots to four.

This is excellent news for users needing lots of fast storage, but it does mean you get only two DIMM slots for memory. Connectivity options include 1Gb LAN along with Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5. On the rear, we find four USB 3.1 gen2 ports (one of which is USB-C), six USB 3.1 gen1 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a selection of audio ports, a clear CMOS button, and a BIOS flashback button. Since this board is made for overclocking the 9900K, you also get the POST code, safe boot button on the PCB, as well as the power button, also found on the PCB.

Best Mini-ITX Z390 Motherboard

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac
SocketLGA 1151
ChipsetIntel Z390
Memory2 x DIMM, DDR4, max. 64 GB
Storage2 x M.2, 4 x SATA
Multi-GPU SupportNone
Expansion Slots1 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x1
USB Ports1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
Wi-FiYes

The Mini-ITX Z390 market includes some interesting models, with the best being the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX-AC. It all comes down to the VRM since you’ll probably use the 9900K. And this one has an excellent VRM that includes only 5 phases, without phase doublers and made of quality components.

This allows the 9900K to work at 5GHz without issues. The VRM will run a bit hot but it won’t reach concerning temperatures. Other features include support for up to DDR4 4500, two M.2 slots, and four SATA III ports, with a massive heatsink above the primary M.2 slot. Expansion slots include just one PCIe x16 slots, in line with other Mini-ITX boards.

The board comes with a 1Gb LAN along with a Wi-Fi 5 chip that also offers Bluetooth 5 connectivity. The audio section rocks for such a small board. The Realtek ALC1220 codec is at the base, with the SNR DAC and an Amp helping it to deliver excellent audio experience. Finally, the front panel audio connector includes a NE5532 headset amplifier with support for up to 600 Ohm headsets.

The rear I/O is packed to the brim. You get four USB 3.1 gen2 ports, two USB 3.1 gen1 ports, one Thunderbolt 3 port, the usual array of audio ports, and a DisplayPort and HDMI combo. Overall, this is a perfect mini-ITX board for 9900K-based SFF gaming builds. It can also be a great basis for a HTPC thanks to its great audio section and lots of storage options.

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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