Intel has unveiled its brand new series of 10th Generation desktop CPUs, and, as you’d expect, these processors are being accompanied by a plethora of brand new Z490 motherboards that have the chipset required to equip your rig with one. Each motherboard developer has come up with a large selection of models to choose from, but MSI’s lineup of Z490 motherboards trumps the competition with better features for  a similar price. 

It can be tough to know which specific MSI Z490 to go with if you’re not a motherboard expert, and that’s what this article is for. This buyer’s guide will give you a detailed overview of what you should look for when buying a motherboard, as well as which MSI Z490 boards are the best choice at every price point.

Strong power delivery and thermal performance

New desktop processors like the Intel Core i9-10900K feature more cores and a higher power draw than the previous generation, and as such, you need a motherboard that has a powerful voltage regulator module (VRM) on it so that it can deliver enough power to the CPU in order to make things like overclocking possible. 

(Image credit: MSI)

To keep things as stable as possible, you want to aim for a motherboard that has both a high phase count as well as strong measures to combat heat buildup. VRMs that have a high number of phases can withstand being pushed to the limit more reliably and safely than those that don’t, and cooling systems prevent the heat that builds up during overclocking from impacting your rig’s efficiency (and thus, performance). MSI’s premium Z490 lineup, which consists of the Z490 GODLIKE, Z490 ACE, and Z490 Unify, all come with 16 phases on their VRMs and active cooling systems like heat sink fans. In addition, they each have MOSFETs rated at 90A, which allow maximum power delivery to the CPU. 

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