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Intel Z590 Motherboard Roundup: Entry-Level VRM Test

Today we’re taking a look at the VRM thermal action of 8 entry-level Intel Z590 motherboards, which does not conveyed these are affordable for everyone, but they are considered budget-conscious Z5 90 motherboards with costs starting at $170. If you're spending Z590 money, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a good one. As you’re about to see, be extended beyond the spec-sheet and when it comes to VRM performance, there are a few simulations that certainly lag behind the pack.

Asrock Z590 Phantom Gaming 4

Starting with the most inexpensive board, the Asrock Z5 90 Phantom Gaming 4 comes in at $170. At least relative to other Z590 boards it is cheap, however even then I don't feel like you’re getting much motherboard. I’ve seen better equipped I/ O on an Intel NUC, so it’s pretty horrible for an ATX motherboard. You get a handful of USB ports, three audio jacks, a PS/ 2 port and a HDMI output, that’s it. But we're here for the VRM and I can tell you that’s not much better , nor is the cooling.

Installed over the discrete Sino Power MOSFETs are two of the smallest VRM heatsinks you’re likely to ever find featured on an ATX motherboard. Removing them discovers a 6-phase Vcore with all phases peculiarity two Sino Power SM4 508 fets on the low-side and two SM4503 fets on the high-side, each feeding into a pair of inductors. So at least there’s a dozen low& high-pitched slope fets, but I’m still not expecting good things from this board.

Asrock Z590 Pro4

For an extra $ 15, the Z5 90 Pro4 appears slightly better, though oddly this board does away with the USB Type-C port on the I/ O committee. The upgrades here include a DisplayPort output and perhaps most importantly a 2.5 Gigabit LAN port using the Realtek Dragon RTL8 125 BG controller, which admittedly I have not yet been event with.

In calls of council features, the Pro4 is a reasonable upgrade at $185. The biggest modernize has been made to the VRM, and that’s important for our testing. The committee boasts a 6-core vcore VRM, but this one has been upgraded with 50 A Vishay SiC6 54 powerstages, and we’re getting two per phase, feeding into a pair of inductors.

Not only has Asrock ameliorated the current handling abilities but they’re likewise strapped on some good heatsinks which they’re fixed down abusing fucks rather than plastic excerpts and that drastically increases the mounting pressure. The Pro4 looks reasonable, but let’s move on.

Asus Prime Z5 90 -P

Looking at Asus boards now, "were having" their most inexpensive ATX model, the Prime Z5 90 -P. At the time of writing, it's just$ 5 more than the Asrock Pro4 at $190. The I/ O panel isn’t peculiarly superb though it is slightly better than the Pro4.

The cooling also appears most substantial with two fairly significant heatsinks and members of the board itself is noticeably heavier. Under the heatsinks even though we find a jolly passable vcore VRM, composed of Alpha& Omega AOZ5 316 50 A strength places. In total, there are ten which have been teamed up in duets for a 5-phase vcore.

Had Asus included a 6th phase I feel like this board could be quite good at $ 190, but with only 10 supremacy theatres I’m not expecting it to perform that well, despite the great heatsinks.

Asus TUF Gaming Z590-Plus

The TUF Gaming takes a leap to $240, or $50 more than the Prime Z5 90 -P. There’s too a $260 version offering Wi-Fi support and that’s actually the example we have in for testing. Because the VRM, cooling and the rest of the board remains the same, we’ll quote pricing for the locate model opened we’re not interesting in the wireless support.

In periods of rear I/ O, the TUF Gaming isn’t much of an ameliorate over the Prime Z5 90 -P -- without the Wi-Fi option it's essentially the same, though there are some ameliorates under the existing boasts, the 2.5 Gbit LAN now uses an Intel controller rather than Realtek, for example.

However, it’s the VRM that we're most interested in and here we find a significant upgrade. Asus is still utilizing 50 A powerstages but they’re On Semi NCP3 02150 ’s and there’s 14 of them in total, configured in duets for a 7-phase vcore. That's a significantly greater current ability which should drastically improve VRM thermal concert for this model.

MSI Z590-A Pro

Next up "were having" the MSI Z5 90 -A Pro and ever since canning the Z390 version of this board, MSI’s prepared sure their most entry level framework isn’t an discomfort. Priced at $190, it’s priced to match other committees we have in for testing like the Asus Prime Z5 90 -P, Asrock Z5 90 Pro4 and the Gigabyte Z5 90 UD.

In expressions of boasts, the board is surprisingly good. Not simply do you get Intel 2.5 Gbps LAN, but they’ve also included 8 USB ports on the I/ O body, half of which are USB 2.0, but still it’s nice to see more than half a dozen ports on offer.

The Z5 90 -A Pro comes furnished with an superb VRM, more. The vcore fraction aspects a dozen Alpha& Omega 55 A capability stagecoaches, these are higher rated and more efficient powerstages than what Asus used on the similarly priced Prime Z5 90 -P, and there’s two more of them. MSI has also included some rather large heatsinks, so this should be an entry-level Z5 90 board to be on the lookout for when we get to the thermal testing shortly.

MSI Z590 Torpedo

We find that MSI movements quite a bit in premium for the next best pose, just like Asus. The MSI Z590 Torpedo comes in at $240, to match the Asus TUF Gaming Z5 90 -Plus.

When compared to the TUF Gaming, the Torpedo offers an extra USB 3.2 port on the I/ O board, and a second LAN port, though it’s just a 1 Gbit connection, but that’s in addition to a 2.5 Gbit port driven by an Intel controller.

The Torpedo is a premium-looking board and it should be at this cost point. Though I’m not sure how favourite the blue heatsinks are going to be, it’s nice visit a motherboard with a little of reference. The blue-blooded heatsinks are huge really, and under them you’ll find an affecting 7-phase vcore VRM. MSI has use two On Semi 60 A superpower stages per stage sense there are 14 for merely the vcore portion of members of the board. With that, we expect this to be one of the best performers of the roundup.

Gigabyte Z590 UD

Gigabyte's most entry-level ATX Z5 90 motherboard is the Z5 90 UD which will rectify you back $190. When compared to the MSI Z5 90 -A Pro, the I/ O panel is similar, even though it is slips USB Type-C and a number of audio jacks, but the I/ O shield is pre-installed.

The board reviews decent, peculiarity the normal color and gray-headed topic. The VRM heatsinks inspection reasonable though simply the larger primary heatsink is fixed into place exerting bolts for peak organizing pressure.

Of course, it’s what’s under the heatsinks that’s the most important thing and now we find a big 12 -phase vcore VRM, with each phase driven by a Vishay SiC6 51 A 50 A powerstage. In total, there was still 12 powerstages, so although it is not the most extreme vcore VRM we’ve seen so far, it’s still mighty impressive for the price.

Gigabyte Z590 Gaming X

Finally, "were having" the Gigabyte Z590 Gaming X, which for a merely $20 additional than the UD, you get what looks to be a much better motherboard( $210 ). The I/ O committee has been upgraded to include a USB Type-C port along with 6 audio jacks and, of course, the I/ O shield is still pre-installed.

The VRM heatsinks have also been upgraded and are bigger which is a bit sarcastic given the powerstages ought to have refurbished, attaining them most efficient, which means they’ll output less heat, but that’s how these things seem to go.

The Gaming X still works a dozen Vishay powerstages in a 12 -phase configuration, but we find 60 A editions, so this board should be slightly better than the UD in terms of VRM thermal performance.

Evaluation Setup

Before we get to the graphs, let’s talk about the test ailments. For this testing and all future LGA1 200 VRM thermal testing we’ve built a dedicated organization inside the Corsair 5000 D Airflow suit. Powering it "were having" the Corsair RM8 50 x PSU and the Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix White saving things cool.

The 5000 D has been configured with a single back 120 mm exhaust devotee and a single 120 mm intake fan. On the top of the case is the H1 50 i 360 mm radiator with three 120 mm exhaust love. This is a standard configuration, breeze overflow is good, and in a 21 position chamber, we’d say this is an optimal setup.

For recording temperatures we're utilizing a digital thermometer with K-Type thermocouples. We'll be reporting the meridian back PCB temperature. Lastly, we're not reporting Delta T over Ambient, instead we maintain a area temperature of 21 positions and to ensure a consistent ambient temperature, a thermocouple is sentiment next to the test system.

For testing the motherboards we’ve got three configurations squandering two different 11 th-gen Intel Core processors. The first experiment calls a asset Core i9-11900K as we're interested to see how each of these timbers configures this processor. Then of course, we’ll overclock the 11900 K for a stress test, and for a more loosened stress evaluation we’ll likewise be including the 11600K, both of which will be overclocked to 4.9 GHz using 1.35 v.

For stressing the system we're expend the Blender Gooseberry workload which will run for an hour, at which point we'll be reporting the maximum PCB temperature, recorded exercising k-type thermocouples.


Here’s a look at VRM thermal action working a stock Intel Core i9- 11900 K processor and the first thing you’ll want to note is that this isn’t an apples to apples exam. The sustained CPU all-core frequency can vary quite a bit, with the Asrock committees being by far the worst, though they are running within spec.

Basically Asrock has decided to limit their entry-level Z5 90 motherboards to the Intel base spec( 125 W TDP ). They’re the only manufacturer doing this with Asus, Gigabyte and MSI all participating in the 11900 K at between 4.7 GHz and 4.8 GHz depending on the board model.

Normally Asrock doesn’t power limit their timbers and I believe this isn’t the action for their more expensive simulates, though I’ve yet to test them. So has Asrock time decided to follow the Intel specifications, or are they lacking confidence in their intend?

Out of interest, I removed the superpower restrictions employing the Intel XTU software and that consider the 11900 K boost up to an all-core frequency of roughly 4.8 GHz on the Phantom Gaming 4. The only issue being that this discovered temperatures soar to 101 grades, a 28 measure increase over what the board did out of the box with the 125 watt TDP limits enforced.

So if you miss the same uncapped out of the box experience that you’ll receive on the Asus Prime Z5 90 -P, Gigabyte Z5 90 UD or MSI Z5 90 -A Pro with the Phantom Gaming, you’ll have to be okay with dangerously high-pitched VRM temperatures.

Even the Asus Prime Z5 90 -P wasn’t especially affecting hitting 78 C, but at least the 11900 K wasn’t power restriction now. Still, that roughly 80 C operating temperature examines fairly bad next to the Gigabyte Z5 90 UD and MSI Z5 90 -A Pro, both of which ran at around 60 C, though they were running the 11900 K 100 MHz slower. For a more apples to apples analogy, let’s move on to the OC results.

With all motherboards overclocked to 4.9 GHz, power consumption for only the CPU increased to between 219 and 229 watts, will vary depending on the model.

It’s worth noting that none of these boards capability throttled the 11900 K after an hour of stress testing in Blender which is quite impressive, though for some reason the Asrock councils had trouble maintaining 4.9 GHz exactly, although they didn’t throttle. Of course, the Phantom Gaming 4 operating temperature is less than ideal, affecting 112 C on the rear place of the PCB, which is not the internal factor temperature which is bound to be at least 10 units hotter.

The Asus Prime Z5 90 -P, which wasn’t exactly impressive, was considerably better than the Phantom Gaming 4, peaking at 96 C. The Asrock Z5 90 Pro4 was cooler again at 86 C and while that’s an acceptable answer, it’s not great, peculiarly relative to similarly priced Z590 boards from the likes of Gigabyte and MSI.

The Gigabyte Z5 90 UD peaked at precisely 74 C, while the Gaming X edition was only slightly better at 73 C. The MSI Z5 90 -A Pro peaked at 70 C, while the Torpedo ranged at really 68 C. The best develop came from the Asus TUF Gaming Z5 90 -Plus which peaked at 67 C.

To be fair, all boards that rolled between 67 C and 74 C were excellent, and these results are near enough to call a tie. When it comes to VRM thermal execution, they’re all much of a muchness and you’d purchase based on board pieces, design, premium, and so on. But before we wrap up the testing, here’s a look at how they fair with an overclocked 11600 K.

For those of you who never intend on pairing your Z590 motherboard with an 11900 K or don't plan on stressing the CPU for extended periods of time, this is how they got to get with the Core i5- 11600 K. Basically all timbers guided with relative affluence, even the Phantom Gaming 4 peaked precisely shy of 80C. The remain of the battalion operated at well under 70 C, which is a very comfortable result, and you’d have no issue running these boards 24/7 with an overclocked 11600 K.

What We Learned

That’s how "the worlds largest" cheap Intel Z5 90 motherboards from top creators perform, and overall they are surprisingly good. The only unpleasant council that you should eschew is the Asrock Z5 90 Phantom Gaming 4, and while I'd usually trimmed some slack to the cheapest offering, I feel this is something Asrock needs to stop doing.

We assume they’re trying to capture purchasers by offering the most economical Z590 board out there, but they’re eventually taking advantage of their clients. The Phantom Gaming 4 should be at best a B5 60 committee , not Z590. The mind of Z590 is to offer CPU overclocking for flagship sides, and moving at well over 100 C in a cool room exercising a well ventilated lawsuit is completely unacceptable.

Therefore, you’re ever going to be far better off coming up with the additional $20 to land the MSI Z5 90 -A Pro or Gigabyte Z5 90 UD, even if you only plan on passing a Core i5 constituent, they’re simply much better quality boards.

The other issue I have with these Asrock councils is that they enforce the 125 watt TDP restraint out of the box. I wonder, is this the case for all Asrock Z5 90 boards or exactly "the worlds largest" inexpensive mannequins? I don’t have the answer on that one hitherto, but I have obtained the most expensive modelings, so I’ll be able to test those shortly.

If Asrock has removed the capability the restriction on their more expensive Z5 90 timbers this creates an shameful situation whatever it is you don’t certainly know what kind of performance their Z590 boards furnish out of the box, you could be looking at an all-core frequency of four. 3 GHz or 4.8 GHz, or anything in between.

Thankfully the Asrock Z5 90 Pro4 is a lot better, at least compared to the Phantom Gaming 4, but next to participating MSI and Gigabyte motherboards, it’s a hard pass. In terms of value, the Gigabyte Z5 90 UD and MSI Z5 90 -A Pro are hard to beat and I’d argue that they can’t be hit. The Asus Prime Z5 90 -P is underwhelming at $190 with its weak feature set and unimpressive VRM performance.

On the other hand, the Asus TUF Gaming Z5 90 -Plus is excellent. It’s also expensive at $240, though that seems to be the croaking price for a nice Z590 board. The MSI Z590 Torpedo was also very competitive at this premium spot, while the Gigabyte Z590 Gaming X is uncontested at $210.

Overall, if you’re looking for an inexpensive yet high quality Z590 motherboard, I’d recommend the MSI Z5 90 -A Pro and as a backup option the Gigabyte Z5 90 UD. If you’ve got a bit more money to expend and want a few extra features and a better quality VRM, the Asus TUF Gaming Z590-Plus or MSI Z590 Torpedo would be our go-to options.

Shopping Shortcuts:

Gigabyte Z590 UD on Amazon

Gigabyte Z590 Gaming X on Amazon

MSI Z590-A Pro on Amazon

MSI Z590 Torpedo on Amazon

Asus Prime Z5 90 -P on Amazon

Asus TUF Gaming Z590-Plus on Amazon

Asrock Z590 Phantom Gaming 4 on Amazon

Asrock Z590 Pro4 on Amazon

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