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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  • 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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