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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  • Tomatotech - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    Get better hubs then. At least mains powered hubs.

    I understand not everyone has wifi/ ethernet printers, bluetooth / radio mouse / keyboard / headset, or usb hubs in their monitors, but there does seem to be slightly less need for lots of USB ports compared to a few years ago.
    Reply
  • Beaver M. - Saturday, May 2, 2020 - link

    Not an option due to several reliability issues and issues recognizing claimed "better hubs" in the first place. Even well known big companies produce crappy USB hubs.

    As a normal user I have
    a printer
    a mouse
    a keyboard
    a gamepad with USB dongle
    a USB headset
    an external HDD
    several external USB ports for USB sticks, temporary Bluetooth dongles, charging devices, etc., which can be up to 4 at a time

    Specialized
    things:
    a joystick
    a USB microphone interface

    Not really unusual.
    Add webcams, card readers, Wifi adapters and many other not really unusual stuff and you still wont have anything rare.

    Lots of USB ports are important. Period. And it doesnt even matter if its an ATX board or a NUC. They are always very important.
    Reply
  • duploxxx - Friday, May 8, 2020 - link

    wow so many USB that you need in the back, how long have you been searching on the internet to find all of these? You can buy cases that also serve USB, or backend brackets….

    a printer : wireless
    a mouse - keyb sure
    a gamepad, connected from the back? often to short cable
    a USB headset ---- audio connection which you can link with USB mic….
    a USB External HDD.... zzz one that you can put away for backup or just horrible initial design from storage perspective
    several external USB.... all front unless you Always use your usb dongles and put them in the back "loooooool"
    joystick.... yeah use gmaepad and joystick at the same time. same as the gamepad regarding cable length

    webcam... easy connection in monitor hub
    card readers... again in the back used all day right....
    USB wifi adapters? really are you joking?

    in other words lots of pathetic feedback... learn to design a desktop computer
    Reply
  • Beaver M. - Saturday, May 2, 2020 - link

    Low USB port count has been a problem far longer than 5 years.
    Only Asus seem to have gotten the hint at some point, but Asus is crappy quality and CS.
    Seeing Gigabyte adding enough now is a good sign, because they usually were the ones having the least amount of them.

    I agree on the hubs. Not only do they die, some of them even nuke your mainboards USB ports through feedback loops. Not to mention they always either have connection problems or issues with sleep or hibernation.
    Reply
  • Chaitanya - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    Whats wierd is most of the boards from Asus and Asrock have multiple 40mm fans to cool VRMs while they seem to stick solid slabs of Aluminium and calling it a day unlike Gigabyte and Msi(on top end atleast) who have proper finned heatsinks. Reply
  • Deicidium369 - Friday, May 1, 2020 - link

    The only reason people think Asus are a high end manufacturer is their price and the truckloads of equipment they give to anyone with more than 10 subs on Youtube. Gigabyte or go home. Reply
  • Beaver M. - Saturday, May 2, 2020 - link

    Agreed. Same with ASRock and their crappy customer support and massive USB issues.

    Gigabyte always tried to add important features. Remember when they added their "extra ounces" of copper? All other manufacturers whined that it doesnt do anything and Gigabyte should stop because its a "waste of resources". LOL!
    Now they all do it because it makes the mainboard much more reliable.
    Sure, they dont have the best OC boards, but in the last few years OC has become very niche, because you cant really OC CPUs well anymore, unless you want to use LN or custom liquid coolers.
    Reply
  • Andrew LB - Sunday, May 10, 2020 - link

    I've been building/repairing/upgrading computers for people for close to 30 years and I've had more problems with Gigabyte than any other current major brand. Abit was even worse but they're long gone. I'm willing to bet that those of you who say a company has bad customer service was due to you contacting them via e-mail. Pickup the phone next time and i bet it will go much easier.
    Best CS from my experience is EVGA.
    Reply
  • taz-nz - Saturday, May 2, 2020 - link

    To many board still don't have attached back plates, should be standard now.

    Nice to see gigabyte bring proper finned heatsink to Mid range board, pity so many other boards still have cosmetic lumps of aluminum, instead of proper VRM heatsinks, and worse that so many still choose to cover the those so called heatsinks with cosmetic plastic covers that only reduce airflow and hurt thermal performance more, while also interfering with large air cooler fitment.
    Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Saturday, May 2, 2020 - link

    "What's interesting is how similar the Z490 and Z390 chipsets are in terms of specifications, which adds the question of why Intel has opted for a new socket, on what is effectively a refresh of its 14 nm process node."

    Baffling is a better word than interesting.

    If AMD weren't so competitive then it would make more sense to paint oneself into a corner even more.
    Reply

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