For the launch of Intel’s 10th Gen Comet Lake desktop processors, MSI will be launching no fewer than eight new models. MSI has a model to cater to most price points including its familiar MEG, MPG, and MAG series, which are determined by feature set, controllers, with options ranging from mini-ITX all the way to E-ATX. One very notable thing MSI has done is add Realtek 2.5 G Ethernet to every model in its Z490 product stack, from top to bottom. I can remember a meeting I had with members of the MSI design and marketing team couple of years ago where they asked for my input in London, and I said "You need to focus more on networking support" - It looks like MSI has listened.

MSI MEG Z490 Godlike

Starting with the most extravagant Z490 offering from MSI, the flagship MEG Z490 Godlike, MSI has pushed the boat out once again amalgamating its impressive and flash RGB inspired look, with a high-quality feature set, a larger updated OLED display, and more USB connectivity than you can shake a stick at.

Following on from previous iterations of its flagship bearing Godlike brand, the MSI MEG Z490 Godlike has a premium controller set with two Intel Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports on the rear panel. With a strong networking array consisting of an Aquantia AQC107 10 G, and Realtek RTL8125B 2.5 G Ethernet controller pairing, and an Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 wireless interface, MSI has gone all-out with its latest and greatest model designed for desktop.

The MSI MEG Z490 Godlike supports up to DDR4-5000 memory, with four slots and a maximum capacity of up to 128 GB. Adding into its claim as one of the top Z490 models, it advertises a 16-phase power delivery for the CPU with a stacked fin array heatsink designed to keep it cool.

Design-wise, the new Z490 Godlike has a newly implemented OLED panel takes center stage, which MSI is calling Dynamic Dashboard II. It also supports RGB and custom GIF files, with plenty of RGB LEDs integrated around the board, with support for MSI's Mystic Light RGB software. Offering  up to three onboard PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, MSI includes its PCIe 3.0 x4  Xpander-Z Gen4 S M.2 add-on card allowing for a further two PCIe 3.0 M.2 drives to be used. The Godlike also has six SATA ports with support for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays.

On the rear panel is an impressive array of IO which is spearheaded by two Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C, two USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, four USB 3.1 G2 Type-A, and two USB 2.0 ports. Also present are two Ethernet ports with one controlled by an Aquantia AQC107 10 G, and the other by a Realtek RTL8125B 2.5 G controller. This includes 2x2 antenna connectors for the Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 wireless interfaces, with five 3.5 mm and S/PDIF optical output powered by (INSERT), and handily located Clear CMOS and BIOS Flashback buttons.

Always offering an impressive and extravagant take on whatever chipset it is launched on, the MSI MEG Z490 Godlike on paper looks to cement itself as one of the most premium models designed for enthusiasts. Not only for performance users, but for content creators with dual Thunderbolt 3 Type-C, and lots of high-speed USB connectivity. All of this will come at a cost, with MSI not currently providing us information with pricing at this time.

GIGABYTE Z490 Vision G MSI MEG Z490 Ace
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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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