ASUS Prime Z490-A

Moving down the ASUS Z490 product stack and it wouldn't be a launch without the clean white and silver designed Prime series. Moving away from gamers and more to users looking for fresh and simplistic styling, without breaking the bank on extravagant features, the Prime series offers users a very low-cost entry point to the Z490 market. The ASUS Prime Z490-A is slightly different to the other Prime models as it's quite premium, and as such includes two PCIe 3.0 M.2, an Intel 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet controller, with a Realtek S1220A HD audio codec and a 14-phase power delivery.

Coming with silver and grey heatsinks on a black and silver patterned PCB, the ASUS Prime Z490-A has some integrated RGB LEDs integrated into the rear panel cover, and underneath the chipset heatsink. The Z490-A is using a teamed 12+2 power delivery, with an 8-pin and 4-pin 12 V ATX pairing providing power to the CPU. There are three full-length PCIe 3.0 slots which operate at x16, x8/x8, and x8/x8/+4, with three PCIe 3.0 x1 slots. For storage, there are three PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, with only one coming with a heatsink, and six SATA ports with RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 support. Included onboard is a Thunderbolt 3 header, and has an M.2 Key-E for users looking to add their wireless interface to the board. There are four memory slots which can accommodate up to 128 GB of DDR4-4600 memory.

Focusing on the rear panel, the ASUS Prime Z490-A has a USB Type-C, and seven USB Type-A ports, with an HDMI 1.4b and DisplayPort 1.4 pair of video outputs. Also present is five 3.5 mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output which are powered by a Realtek S1220A HD audio codec, with a single Ethernet port driven by an Intel I225-V 2.5 G controller.

The ASUS Prime Z490-A represents a more modest offering with less aggressive aesthetics and instead opts for a clean silver look. It does half a decent controller set which is led by an Intel I255-V 2.5 G Ethernet controller and has three PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots for high-speed NVMe M.2 SSDs. The Prime Z490-A offers users an alternative to the darker Strix branded boards and has a decent price attached with an MSRP of $230 at launch.

ASUS TUF Z490-Plus Wi-Fi ASUS Prime Z490-P
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  • Andrew LB - Saturday, May 9, 2020 - link

    So these boards bring Wifi6, PCI-Express 4.0, gigabit 2.5, and for people like myself who are upgrading from a Z87 board.... just about everything is a huge leap.... yet you think there is just 'more of the same'? I guess if you're one of those idiots who buys a new CPU every year, then clearly this is not the release for you. Nor would AMD's latest offerings if that same metric is applied.
    So what's your problem with Capitalism? Do incremental design improvements offend you? Or is it profit that does? Hate to break it to you, but its profit motive that fuels innovation. Collectivism is a cancer and by its very nature hinders progress due to it not rewarding exceptionalism. It's why countries like China don't innovate. Otherwise they wouldn't need forced technology transfers from those who manufacture goods in their country.
    Reply
  • Zenzdeluxe - Wednesday, September 2, 2020 - link

    Thanks for that. The hypocrisy of these people. Imagine imbibing in the fruits of the capitalist system which besides continuing innovation, provides more spoils at lower price points for everyone than ever before. The audacity of such entitlement and seemingly collectivist / marxist based criticism is mind boggling. Cognitive dissonance off the scale indeed. Reply
  • ilkhan - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    Details page for GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Pro AX (copy and paste because who can keep them straight otherwise) makes a big deal of no usb-C, but it's there in the picture... Reply
  • ecjp - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    Yeah, I noticed that too. Gigabytes site shows same picture and lists "1 x USB Type-C™ port on the back panel, with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support" in the specs, so I assume its an error in the article. Reply
  • gavbon - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    Thanks for picking that up. I must have been writing about the wrong board. Apologies, it's updated Reply
  • regsEx - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    "Integrated into the Z490 chipset is an Intel Wi-Fi 6 CNVi which allows motherboard vendors to integrate its AX200 wireless solutions directly from the chipset with a CRF module."

    CNVi is an old generation 802.11ac controller. Here it is CNVio2. CRF module is AX201. AX200 is a standalone controller that can work on any system. X570 motherboards with 802.11ax support, for example, packs with AX200 card.
    Reply
  • lunaticbunny - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    There are no boards under $200. Seems like this Z490 chipset got the X570 inflation treatment as well. Reply
  • drexnx - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    just like the X570 boards, they've all got seriously beefed up VRMs

    and maybe the pcie4 tax wasn't just a cash grab? we'll really see when AMD B550 comes out, where those board prices land
    Reply
  • Andrew LB - Saturday, May 9, 2020 - link

    Plenty of boards under $200.
    ASUS Prime Z490M-PLUS
    GIGABYTE Z490 AORUS Elite
    ASUS TUF Gaming Z490-Plus
    ASUS TUF Gaming Z490-Plus wifi
    GIGABYTE Z490 UD
    MSI Z490-A PRO ProSeries

    A bunch of Asrock boards will be under $200 as well. You can see many prices already on Amazon.
    Reply
  • dgingeri - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    It looks like, potentially, at least Gigabyte has decided to include a decent number of USB ports. I can't tell with the Asus board, but all the rest look to have only 6 USB ports, an annoyingly small number. I have been really annoyed with the lack of USB ports on boards for the last 5 years. Heck, with the old 440BX boards, we had 2 ps2, 4 or 6 USB, 1 or 2 serial, and a parallel port. We've lost the other ports, and internal drives in most computers, and not gained USB ports to compensate for it. External hubs aren't going to do it, either, as those stupid things keep dying in a matter of months. Reply

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