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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  • 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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