The Intel Z490 Overview: 44+ Motherboards Examinedby Gavin Bonshor on April 30, 2020 10:00 AM EST
MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WIFI
MSI's MPG models represent a more affordable gaming-centric option when compared with the MEG range. Starting with the top MPG model out of three for Z490, the MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WIFI has two PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, six SATA ports, dual Ethernet on the rear with a Realtek 2.5 and Intel Gigabit controller pairing, as well as Intel's Wi-Fi 6 wireless interface.
Its design consists of carbon look heatsinks across the board with integrated RGB LED lighting at the top of the rear panel cover, and again on the chipset heatsink which can be customized via the MSI Mystic Light RGB software. Following a similar design is the PCB, which is black with grey lined printing. For expansion is three full-length PCIe 3.0 slots which operate at x16, x8/x8, and x8/x8+4, with two PCIe 3.0 x1 slots. The board has two PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots with individual heatsinks, while the six SATA ports support RAID 0,1, 5, and 10 arrays. The MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WIFI has support for DDR4-4800 memory across four memory slots, with a total capacity of up to 128 GB.
Being the top model of its Z490 gaming-focused MPG range, the MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WIFI has plenty on the rear panel. Starting with networking, there is a Realtek RTL8125B 2.5 G Ethernet port, Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 wireless interface antenna connectors which has BT 5.1 support, as well as a PS/2 combo port for legacy keyboard and mice. Looking at USB, MSI has included a single USB 3.2 G2 20 Gbps Type-C, four USB 3.2 G2 10 Gbps Type-A, and two USB 2.0 ports. A Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec powers the five 3.5 mm audio connectors and S/PDIF optical output, while a DisplayPort and HDMI video output pairing make it possible to use integrated graphics on supported Comet Lake processors.
The MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WIFI slots into the competitive Z490 mid-range segment. It ticks a lot of boxes with good USB 3.2 G2 support, with Intel's Wi-Fi 6 wireless interface and a Realtek 2.5 G Ethernet controller. It has support for multi-graphics setups, as well as users looking to utilize the Intel integrated graphics, and has enough storage capacity for gamers to utilize in creating a solid Intel-based gaming system. MSI hasn't provided information on pricing at this time.