Visual Inspection

If you are familiar with NZXT's previous N7 motherboards, the N7 Z490 follows a very similar aesthetic with near full-cover armor plating hiding the black PCB. In a move which looks down to reducing the overall cost, one of the complains on the Z390, NZXT has opted for a metal and plastic cover as opposed to the full metal cover. The NZXT N7 Z490 is an ATX sized model, with the armor plating and large power delivery heatsink combining to create a fairly seamless design. It should also be noted that the NZXT N7 Z490 is also available in white, which reminds me of the stylings of the ASUS TUF Z97 Mark S which we reviewed over six years ago.

Looking at the NZXT N7 Z490 side by side with the armor on and off, it clearly covers the majority of the board. The N7 in itself doesn't include any integrated RGB LED lighting, but NZXT has added an RGB and fan controller which can be controlled using its CAM software. Users can add their own RGB LED strips via two NZXT RGB LED, one 12 V RGB LED, and one 5 V addressable RGB header. For cooling, the N7 Z490 has seven 4-pin headers which are divided up into one for a CPU fan, one for an AIO pump, and five for chassis fans. Located in the bottom right-hand corner is a basic overclockers toolkit which consists of a reset and power button pairing, with four POST LEDs to allow users to diagnose POST issues. 

In the top right-hand corner are four memory slots with the capability to install up to 128 GB, with maximum supported speeds of DDR4-4266. In the storage department, NZXT includes two PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, with one featuring support for both PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA drives which is located along the bottom. In regards to SATA, there are just four right-angled SATA ports along the bottom `right-hand side of the board, with support for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays.

The NZXT N7 Z490 is using a 10-phase design for the power delivery, which is being controlled by an Intersil ISL69269 PWM controller. It is operating in an 8+2 configuration, with eight Vishay SiC632A 50 A power stages for the CPU VCore, and two Vishay SiC632A 50 A power stages for the SoC. For the board's VCCSA, the N7 Z490 is using an Intersil RAA220001 driver, with a Sinopower SM4337 high-side and Sinopower SM4436 low-side MOSFET pairing. The VCCIO uses the same MOSFET configuration but is instead controlled and driven by an Anpec APW8828 controller.

Keeping the power delivery cool is an L-shaped heatsink, which is hollowed out to allow airflow in. The heatsink itself doesn't include any fins for passive airflow to catch, so it relies solely on airflow being directed down the hollowed out channel. Despite not including a fin array, the mounting between the heatsink and the power delivery is solid, with very good impressions on the thermal pads.

Looking closer at the audio section of the PCB, it is using five Nichicon fine gold series audio capacitors, which are assisting the premium Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec. The codec itself doesn't include any EMI shielding, but the audio PCB is separated from the rest of the board's componentry.

On the rear panel is a scarce selection of input and output, with just two USB 3.2 G2 ports, a Type-A and a Type-C. Also present are two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A and two USB 2.0 ports, with a further two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A (one header) and six USB 2.0 ports available through the use of internal headers. There is a single HDMI 1.4b video output, with five 3.5 mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output which is powered by a Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec. 

What's in The Box

Included in the NZXT N7 Z490 accessories bundles are four SATA cables, an Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 interface antenna, and N7 users manual. 

  • 4 x SATA cables
  • Intel AX200 antenna
  • User manual
NZXT Z490 N7 Overview BIOS And Software
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  • meacupla - Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - link

    what, only 6 USB ports on the back?

    It should be 8 minimum for 2020.
    Reply
  • eek2121 - Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - link

    Not really? In the back of my machine right now I have a keyboard, mouse, and mic plugged in. In the front I range from 0-2 devices depending on what I am doing. Reply
  • Arsenica - Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - link

    As a case manufacturer they should be focused on having lots of front ports.

    2 Type-C front connectors should be the bare minimum (this MB one has 1) and for the next generation they should be thinking on ways to bring Thunderbolt 4 to the front ports.
    Reply
  • tmanini - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    last I looked the trace length for thunderbolt from controller to port was something like 2 inches. PCIe traces can only go so far and have geometric considerations for impedance and jitter. Getting one on the front of a tower isn't so simple. Reply
  • Arsenica - Sunday, October 11, 2020 - link

    In that case a front panel integrated TB hub may be the solution. Reply
  • snowmyr - Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - link

    Yeah but, and hear me out on this shocker: you aren't everyone. Reply
  • meacupla - Thursday, October 8, 2020 - link

    Yes really.
    Mouse, 1 port
    Keyboard, 2 ports
    Game controller, 1 port
    Wireless headset dongle, 1 port
    USB capture card, 1 port

    oh, look, that's 6 ports used.

    Seriously, this mobo costs $230. Why would you settle for less USB ports on the back?
    Reply
  • OMGWhyMe - Thursday, October 8, 2020 - link

    Which keyboard uses 2 ports? Reply
  • IKROWNI - Thursday, October 8, 2020 - link

    I have a g910 which uses 2 usb ports. My son has a corsair that uses 2 usb ports.

    I have a

    dragonfly black usb dac (1 port)
    Logitech g910 (2 port)
    Bose speakers (1 port)
    Blue yeti mic (1 port)
    Valve index (3 port)
    Phone charging cable (1 port)
    Logitech power play mouse pad (1 port)
    Logitech g502 lightspeed mouse (1 port)
    Xbox controller dongle (1 port)
    Extra micro charge cable for programming various esp8266 devices (1 port)

    So yea I'd love a mobo with more usb ports
    Reply
  • littlebitstrouds - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    And that's why you're on ryzen no? expansion possibilities... go buy a USB card or two... or usb dock. Half these issues have easy solutions, not to mention you wouldn't want that many cables coming out of your computer anyway, it's messy. Get a dock. Reply

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