MSI Z490-A Pro

Looking at MSI's entry-level Z490 model, the MSI Z490-A Pro which is designed for more professional users and content creators, it's interesting to see that MSI has included a single Realtek 2.5 G NIC. Also included are two PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, six SATA ports, and support for up to 128 GB of DDR4-4800 memory across four slots.

Similar to the aesthetics of the MSI X570-A Pro, the overall design of the MSI Z490-A Pro has been revamped with its beefier 12-phase power delivery. It drops the integrated RGB LEDs of other MSI Z490 models and goes for a more subtle and professional design with black heatsinks, and a black and grey accented partnered PCB. Its core feature set includes two full-length PCIe 3.0 slots which operate at x16+4, with three PCIe 3.0 slots. For memory, there are four slots with support for up to DDR4-4800, with a maximum capacity of 128 GB.

In terms of storage support, there are two PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, with four right-angled SATA, and two straight angled SATA ports bringing the total of SATA ports to six. Only the top M.2 slot has a heat sink included, with the six SATA ports garnering support for RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 arrays. 

On the rear panel is a basic set of IO, with one USB 3.2 G2 10 Gbps Type-C, two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A, and two USB 2.0 ports. There is a Realtek RTL8125B 2.5 G powered Ethernet port and a pair of video outputs consisting of a DisplayPort and HDMI output. For onboard audio, there is five 3.5 mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output controlled by a Realtek ALC1200 HD audio codec, with a single PS/2 keyboard and mouse combo port for users with legacy peripherals. 

Overall the MSI Z490-A Pro caters more to professional users but includes more premium networking with a Realtek 2.5 G Ethernet controller which is a bump over previous versions of the A Pro. The two full-length PCIe 3.0 slots support dual AMD Crossfire graphics card setups, with a decent looking power delivery on a budget-focused model. MSI hasn't provided pricing information as of yet.

MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk Supermicro C9Z490-PG & C9Z490-PGW
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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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