ReviewsMotherboardsBEST Z790 Motherboards

BEST Z790 Motherboards [Hands-On Tested]

We have finished our Z790 motherboard testing and have rounded up the top options based on performance, cooling, stability, features, and overall pricing.

Expert Verified By

Z790 motherboards represent the best of the best that Intel has to offer. Not only that, but the newest Intel 14th-gen series also works flawlessly with this chipset. With that said, if you are searching for a good Z790 motherboard, you have come to the right place. In this guide, I will walk you through the best Z790 motherboards based on our hands-on testing and analysis.

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Here are my recommended Z790 Motherboard picks, with specs, pros, cons, who should get them, and comparison!

Motherboard
MSI Z790 Tomahawk Max WiFi
ASRock Z790 Nova WiFi
ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi
GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS ELITE AX
ASUS ROG STRIX Z790-I Gaming WiFi
MSI MEG Z790 ACE MAX
Looks
MSI MAG Z790 Tomahawk MAX WiFi Gaming Motherboard (Supports 12th/13th/14th Gen Intel Processors, LGA 1700, DDR5, PCIe 5.0, M.2, SATA 6G, 2.5Gbps LAN, USB 3.2 Gen2, Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.4, ATX)
ASRock Z790 Lightning WiFi (Phantom Gaming) 14th, 13th & 12th Gen Intel® Core™ Processors (LGA1700) DDR5 Windows® 10 64-bit / 11 64-bit Motherboard
ASRock MB ASROCK | Z790 Steel Legend WiFi
ASRock MB Z790 PG Riptide R
ASUS ROG Strix Z790-I Gaming WiFi 6E LGA1700 (Intel 14th,13th&12th Gen)mini-ITX gaming motherboard(PCIe5.0,DDR5,10+1 power stages,Thunderbolt 4,2.5GbLAN,USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 front panel TypeC,M.2/NVMe SSD)
GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS Master EATX Motherboard with DDR5, PCIe 5.0, WiFi 6E, 10GbE LAN, Q-Flash Plus
Award
Best Overall Z790 Motherboard
Best High-End Z790 Motherboard
Best White Z790 Motherboard
Best Value Z790 Motherboard
Best Mini-ITX Z790 Motherboard
Best Overclocking Z790 Motherboard
VRM
16+1+1
20+1+1
16+1+1
16+1+2
10+1
24+1+2
Memory
DDR5-7800MHz
DDR5-8000+MHz
DDR5 7200+ MHz
DDR5-7600+MHz
DDR5-7600MHz
DDR5-7800+MHz
What We Liked
Excellent performance, Adequate storage and USB options, Stealthy looks
Rock solid VRM design, Active cooling with an integrated heatsink fan, PCIe Gen5 storage
Unique white aesthetics, Robust 16+1+1 phase VRM, Superb connectivity options
Bang for the buck, RGB lighting, Solid performance
10-layer PCB layout, ThunderBolt 4 Type-C connectivity, and PCIe 5.0 x16 slot
Beefy VRM structure, Massive heatsinks with improved cooling, Thunderbolt4 connectivity, Gen5 SSD and PCIe slots
What We Disliked
No Debug LEDs
A bit pricey
Relatively pricey, No Debug LED
No Gen5 M.2 slot, No debug LED
VRM isn’t that powerful
Very expensive and Thunderbolt4 speeds reduce to 20Gbps on USB4 devices
USB Ports
10x Rear, 7x Front
10x Rear, 9x Front
10x Rear, 8x Internal USB headers
10x Rear, 7x Front
9x Rear, 3x Front
10x Rear, 10x Front
Storage
4x M.2, 8x SATA 6G
6x M.2, 5x SATA
5x M.2, 8x SATA
4x M.2, 6x SATA
2x M.2, 6x SATA
5x M.2, 6x SATA
RGB
Short On Time?
The right choice for any gamer who wants a balanced set of features.
Whether it is performance, looks, or features, a high-end option from head to toe.
My favorite Z790 motherboard in terms of looks - really brings a breath of fresh air to any PC build.
Offers the most value for money while offering a respectable set of features and solid performance.
A great choice for small PC builds that don't compromise on performance.
The ultimate choice for hardcore enthusiasts who plan to push their CPU/GPU to the absolute limits.
Motherboard
MSI Z790 Tomahawk Max WiFi
Looks
MSI MAG Z790 Tomahawk MAX WiFi Gaming Motherboard (Supports 12th/13th/14th Gen Intel Processors, LGA 1700, DDR5, PCIe 5.0, M.2, SATA 6G, 2.5Gbps LAN, USB 3.2 Gen2, Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.4, ATX)
Award
Best Overall Z790 Motherboard
VRM
16+1+1
Memory
DDR5-7800MHz
What We Liked
Excellent performance, Adequate storage and USB options, Stealthy looks
What We Disliked
No Debug LEDs
USB Ports
10x Rear, 7x Front
Storage
4x M.2, 8x SATA 6G
RGB
Short On Time?
The right choice for any gamer who wants a balanced set of features.
Buy On Amazon
Buy On NewEgg
Motherboard
ASRock Z790 Nova WiFi
Looks
ASRock Z790 Lightning WiFi (Phantom Gaming) 14th, 13th & 12th Gen Intel® Core™ Processors (LGA1700) DDR5 Windows® 10 64-bit / 11 64-bit Motherboard
Award
Best High-End Z790 Motherboard
VRM
20+1+1
Memory
DDR5-8000+MHz
What We Liked
Rock solid VRM design, Active cooling with an integrated heatsink fan, PCIe Gen5 storage
What We Disliked
A bit pricey
USB Ports
10x Rear, 9x Front
Storage
6x M.2, 5x SATA
RGB
Short On Time?
Whether it is performance, looks, or features, a high-end option from head to toe.
Buy On Amazon
Buy On NewEgg
Motherboard
ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi
Looks
ASRock MB ASROCK | Z790 Steel Legend WiFi
Award
Best White Z790 Motherboard
VRM
16+1+1
Memory
DDR5 7200+ MHz
What We Liked
Unique white aesthetics, Robust 16+1+1 phase VRM, Superb connectivity options
What We Disliked
Relatively pricey, No Debug LED
USB Ports
10x Rear, 8x Internal USB headers
Storage
5x M.2, 8x SATA
RGB
Short On Time?
My favorite Z790 motherboard in terms of looks - really brings a breath of fresh air to any PC build.
Buy On Amazon
Buy On NewEgg
Motherboard
GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS ELITE AX
Looks
ASRock MB Z790 PG Riptide R
Award
Best Value Z790 Motherboard
VRM
16+1+2
Memory
DDR5-7600+MHz
What We Liked
Bang for the buck, RGB lighting, Solid performance
What We Disliked
No Gen5 M.2 slot, No debug LED
USB Ports
10x Rear, 7x Front
Storage
4x M.2, 6x SATA
RGB
Short On Time?
Offers the most value for money while offering a respectable set of features and solid performance.
Buy On Amazon
Buy On NewEgg
Motherboard
ASUS ROG STRIX Z790-I Gaming WiFi
Looks
ASUS ROG Strix Z790-I Gaming WiFi 6E LGA1700 (Intel 14th,13th&12th Gen)mini-ITX gaming motherboard(PCIe5.0,DDR5,10+1 power stages,Thunderbolt 4,2.5GbLAN,USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 front panel TypeC,M.2/NVMe SSD)
Award
Best Mini-ITX Z790 Motherboard
VRM
10+1
Memory
DDR5-7600MHz
What We Liked
10-layer PCB layout, ThunderBolt 4 Type-C connectivity, and PCIe 5.0 x16 slot
What We Disliked
VRM isn’t that powerful
USB Ports
9x Rear, 3x Front
Storage
2x M.2, 6x SATA
RGB
Short On Time?
A great choice for small PC builds that don't compromise on performance.
Buy On Amazon
Buy On NewEgg
Motherboard
MSI MEG Z790 ACE MAX
Looks
GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS Master EATX Motherboard with DDR5, PCIe 5.0, WiFi 6E, 10GbE LAN, Q-Flash Plus
Award
Best Overclocking Z790 Motherboard
VRM
24+1+2
Memory
DDR5-7800+MHz
What We Liked
Beefy VRM structure, Massive heatsinks with improved cooling, Thunderbolt4 connectivity, Gen5 SSD and PCIe slots
What We Disliked
Very expensive and Thunderbolt4 speeds reduce to 20Gbps on USB4 devices
USB Ports
10x Rear, 10x Front
Storage
5x M.2, 6x SATA
RGB
Short On Time?
The ultimate choice for hardcore enthusiasts who plan to push their CPU/GPU to the absolute limits.
Buy On Amazon
Buy On NewEgg

Last Updated:


  • May 5, 2024: I have replaced the MSI MPG Z790 Carbon WiFi with the MSI Z790 Tomahawk Max WiFi because the latter offers a better, well-rounded set of features for a lower price.

Best Z790 Motherboards

Here are our tested recommendations for the Best Z790 Motherboards:

  1. Best Overall: MSI Z790 Tomahawk Max WiFi
  2. Best High-End: ASUS ROG Maximus Z790 HERO
  3. Best White: ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi
  4. Best Value: ASRock Z790 PG Riptide
  5. Best Mini-ITX: ASUS ROG Strix Z790-I Gaming WiFi
  6. Best Overclocking: Gigabyte Z790 AORUS Master

MSI Z790 Tomahawk Max WiFi

Best Overall Z790 Motherboard

MSI Z790 Tomahawk Max WiFi - Best Overall Z790 Motherboard
MSI Z790 Tomahawk Max WiFi

Power Phases: 16+1+1 | Memory: 4x DDR5 7800+(OC), Max. Capacity 256GB | Video Outputs: 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x DisplayPort 1.4| USB Ports: 10x Rear (4x Type-A 5Gbps, 4x Type-A 10Gbps, 1x Type-C 10Gbps, 1x Type-C 20Gbps), 7x Front (4x USB 2.0, 2x Type-A 5Gbps, 1x Type-C 10Gbps) | Network: 2.5G LAN, Wi-Fi 7 | Storage: 4x M.2, 8x SATA 6G

Pros

  • Great VRM design for high performance
  • Adequate storage options
  • Plenty of USB ports
  • Stealthy looks

Cons

  • No Debug LED

My favorite motherboard of all the Z790 options available right now has to be the MSI Z790 Tomahawk Max WiFi. It features a stealthy, sleek black design with beautiful yellow accents – no RGB lighting. The board is made from 6 layers of 2oz thickened copper and has overcurrent and overvoltage protections baked in to offer unmatched stability during high-performance sessions. Speaking of which, the power delivery is also quite up to mark with a 16+1+1 VRM design, where each phase is rated for 90A. The VRM heatsink is also good as it uses 7W/mK thermal pads, but I would have liked it more if the two heatsinks were connected through a heat pipe.

Regardless, the VRM design is more than enough even to handle the mighty i9-14900K without any hiccups. You also get an impressive memory configuration as the board supports over 7800MHz of DDR5 RAM. Similarly, there are 3x USB-C ports (2x rear, 1x front) where one of the rear ports can have speeds of up to 20Gbps. The storage options are also quite adequate, with 4x M.2 slots and 8x SATA 6G ports (although you lose 2x SATA ports if a SATA SSD is installed in the M.2 3rd slot).

Even when our in-house hardware expert, Nauman Siddique, personally tested the MSI Z790 Tomahawk Max WiFi in his rig, he was impressed by how this board is simply the complete package.

The MSI MAG Z790 Tomahawk Max WiFi motherboard is a jack-of-all-trades option with a mix of new-generation features and backward compatibility. It has a robust power design, ample expansion slots, and effective cooling. Plus, the connectivity options are plentiful, with a focus on the new WiFi 7 standard. This motherboard is a good choice for gamers and general users looking for a modern, future-proofed motherboard at a competitive price point.

Buy It If:

Take a look at some pictures of the MSI Z790 Tomahawk Max WiFi from our review:

✅You want an adequate set of all features: The MSI Z790 Tomahawk Max WiFi does not lack in any department, from a 16+1+1 VRM design to 10x rear USB ports and 4x M.2 slots; it has got it all. As such, I highly recommend it to anyone who’s building an Intel PC and wants an all-in-one motherboard.

✅You want to pair it with a physically heavy GPU: The top PCIe slot (which can also support Gen5 speeds) is reinforced with steel. As such, the slot has very good structural integrity to handle the weight of a heavy GPU. 

✅You don’t want to break the bank on a motherboard: The MSI Z790 Tomahawk Max WiFi is not nearly as expensive as several other high-end Z790 motherboards. Sure, it is not cheap either, but it is relatively better in terms of pricing – especially if you factor in all the features and performance it brings to the table.

Don’t Buy It If:

❌You want a debug LED: This is not a big deal for most gamers, but if you plan to tweak around with your PC or if you’re not a very experienced PC builder, then not having a debug LED can make issues a bit more difficult to troubleshoot.

What Makes It The Best Overall Z790 Motherboard?

The main reason why I have picked the MSI Z790 Tomahawk Max WiFi as the best overall Z790 motherboard is because it is perfect for any task. Whether you want to go down the overclocking route or just want a balanced amount of features and performance, the Tomahawk Max WiFi has got it all. 

Performance: 9/10 Value: 9/10
Features: 9/10 Design: 9/10

ASRock Z790 Nova WiFi

Best High-End Z790 Motherboard

ASRock Z790 Nova WiFi - Best High-End Z790 Motherboard
ASRock Z790 Nova WiFi

VRM: 20+1+1 | Memory: 4x DIMM 192GB, DDR5 8000+  | Video Outputs: 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x DisplayPort 1.4 | USB Ports: 10x Rear (1x Type-C 20Gbps, 4x Type-A 10Gbps, 3x Type-A 5Gbps, 2x USB 2.0), 9x Front (1x Type-C 20Gbps, 4x Type-A 5Gbps, 4x USB 2.0)| Network: 2.5G LAN, Wi-Fi 7 | Storage: 6x M.2, 4x SATA 6G

Pros

  • Rock solid VRM design
  • Active cooling with an integrated heatsink fan
  • Beautiful RGB design
  • PCIe Gen5 storage

Cons

  • A bit pricey

If you can spend a bit more money on even better features, I would recommend the ASRock Z790 Nova WiFi. First up, it is one of the most beautiful and stylish motherboards our team has ever tested. It’s got bright RGB lighting all around the RGB covers and at the bottom of the board, plus the NOVA branding and gradient colors add flair. Of course, being a high-end Z790 motherboard, it has some of the most well-built VRM structures I have ever seen. The board boasts a 20+1+1 design to offer unparalleled stability during peak overclocking.

On top of that, ASRock has really knocked VRM cooling out of the park here. The two massive heatsinks are connected through a 6mm heat pipe, plus there is an actual VRM cooling fan that can spin at over 8000 RPM to keep the VRMs cool. Moving on, the memory support is just as impressive as it can handle 8000+MHz frequency. As for storage and USB ports, there are no issues at all because we get a PCIe Gen 5 M.2 port and more than enough high-speed ports.

Here’s how Nauman Siddique, our senior hardware tester, described the ASRock Z790 Nova WiFi:

The ASRock Z790 NOVA WiFi motherboard impresses with its feature-rich design, including a robust 20+1+1 power stage VRM, extensive M.2 connectivity, and Gen5-based ports. It excels in stock performance and overclocking, offering excellent value for its price point. Overall, this motherboard is a fantastic choice for enthusiasts seeking a high-spec motherboard with plenty of features and firm performance.

Buy It If:

Take a look at the ASRock Z790 Nova WiFi from our in-house testing:

✅You want top performance with no chance of instability: Given the ASRock Z790 Nova WiFi’s 20+1+1 VRM design along with a beefy heatsink that has an embedded fan, you get exceptional overclocking potential without any worries about thermal throttling.

✅You are after fast-speed storage: With 6x M.2 ports where one can run at Gen5 speeds, I highly recommend the Z790 Nova WiFi to anyone who plans to run a lot of SSDs.

✅You want a stylish motherboard: Thanks to bright RGB lighting all around the board and stylish branding, the ASRock Z790 Nova WiFi is the perfect choice for anyone who plans to show off the gaming rig.

Don’t Buy It If:

You can’t afford a bit pricey motherboard: While the ASRock Z790 Nova WiFi is not overpriced, it is still a rather pricey motherboard. However, it makes up for it with its top-tier performance and high-end specification.

What Makes It The Best High-End Z790 Motherboard?

No matter how you look at it, the ASRock Z790 Nova WiFi is filled to the top with high-end features. For instance, it has a top-tier VRM design that offers 20+1+1 power phases, a solid cooling solution with a built-in fan, plenty of M.2 ports, extensive connectivity options, and a stylish design with beautiful RGB lighting. For all of these reasons and more, I have picked it as the best high-end Z790 motherboard.

Performance: 10/10 Value: 9/10
Features: 10/10 Design: 10/10

ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi

Best White Z790 Motherboard

ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi
ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi

VRM: 16+1+1 | Memory: 4x DIMM 192 GB, DDR5 7200+ | Video Outputs: HDMI, DisplayPort, eDP | USB Ports: 10x Rear, 8x Internal USB headers | Network: Dragon 2.5 GbE LAN, WiFi 6E | Storage: 5x M.2, 8x SATA

Pros

  • Unique white aesthetics
  • Robust 16+1+1 phase VRM design
  • Superb connectivity options
  • Versatile networking

Cons

  • Relatively pricey
  • No Debug LED

One glance at the Z790 Steel Legend made it clear to me that ASRock has used a very attractive design pattern on the PCB that adds a bit of personality to the board. The chipset heatsink is covered with a camouflage pattern, while the I/O cover and VRM heatsinks signify the impressive build quality of the motherboard. Under the massive VRM heatsinks, ASRock has equipped the board with a robust 16+1+1 phase VRM design with 60A SPS power stages. In my testing, the MOSFETs were operating at around 75.8C at an ambient of 28C, which signifies the impressive thermal solution implemented by ASRock.

Connectivity is also rather impressive, as ASRock has equipped this variant with 10 rear USB ports, including a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port. For storage, the 5 M.2 slots and 8 total SATA ports do an admirable job, while the networking is handled by a Dragon 2.5 GbE LAN port as well as WiFi 6E.

Our motherboard expert, Nauman Siddique, was also in awe of the Z790 Steel Legend’s design:

“ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WiFi is a beautiful board providing a combination of silver and white color accents with vivid and evenly done RGB lighting”.

Buy It If:

Here are our captured pictures of the Z790 Steel Legend:

✅You want a unique all-white motherboard: I think ASRocks’ Z790 Steel Legend elevates itself above the crowd thanks to its unique white theme and distinctive aesthetics.

Don’t Buy It If:

You want more diagnostic options: I found the lack of a Debug LED to be a minor hiccup during testing, but that can be seen as a nitpick.

What Makes It The Best White Z790 Motherboard?

There is a stark lack of white-themed motherboards on the market, and with the Z790 Steel Legend, ASRock has filled a much-desired void. With its robust VRM and unique aesthetics, the Z790 Steel Legend definitely sweeps the title of the best white Z790 motherboard on the market.

Performance: 8/10 Value: 8/10
Features: 9/10 Design: 10/10

GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS ELITE AX

Best Value Z790 Motherboard

GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS ELITE AX - Best Value Z790 Motherboard
GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS ELITE AX

VRM: 16+1+2 | Memory: 4x DIMM 192 GB, DDR5 7600+ | Video Outputs: 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x DisplayPort 1.2 | USB Ports: 10x Rear (1x Type-C 20Gbps, 2x Type-A 10Gbps, 3x Type-A 5Gbps, 4x USB 2.0) , 7x Front (1x Type-C 10Gbps, 2x Type-A 5Gbps, 4x USB 2.0) | Network: 2.5G LAN, Wi-Fi 6E | Storage: 4x M.2, 6x SATA 6G

Pros

  • True bang for the buck
  • Solid performance
  • Offers high-speed USB ports
  • RGB Lighting
  • Plenty of storage options

Cons

  • No Gen5 M.2 slot
  • No debug LED

If you want the most bang for your buck, I recommend the GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS ELITE AX. It has a black aesthetic with gray accents, and you get some RGB effects below the chipset cover. Overall, while it is not the most stylish motherboard out there, it does the job pretty well. GIGABYTE has used a 16+1+2 VRM structure, and in all our testing, the motherboard performed flawlessly. It is not the best choice for peak overclocking, but it does a great job running all AAA titles and stress tests without stability issues.

The two massive VRM heatsinks are joined together using a 6mm heat pipe, and 7.5W/mK thermal pads are also used. Similarly, the memory support follows the adequate theme as it can handle over 7600MHz+ of DDR5 RAM. As for storage, while you get 4x M.2 slots, I would have loved to see one Gen5, too, but I can’t complain because the pricing is very attractive. The same applies to USB ports as well – you get a 20Gbps Type-C port and 3x Type-A ports that can transfer at up to 10Gbps, a great set given its pricing.

Overall, if you want a solid daily driver without drilling a hole in your pocket, I say the AORUS ELITE AX is your best friend. Plus, this is also the conclusion our hardware expert Nauman Siddique drew after testing this board:

The GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS ELITE AX is a well-balanced motherboard with a feature set that would easily provide the daily-driver requirement in the main-stream mid-range market segment.

Buy It If:

We took these pictures of the GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS ELITE AX during our review:

✅You want solid performance: With its 16+1+2 VRM design, the GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS ELITE AX offers solid performance without facing any stability issues. The VRM heatsink also does a great job of keeping the board out of any trouble.

✅You want the most features without spending too much: Apart from the performance aspect, the AORUS ELITE AX is a great option for anyone low on cash. This motherboard really does not compromise in any aspect and offers a little something for everyone.

Don’t Buy It If:

You want a Gen5 SSD slot: Even though I personally wouldn’t consider it as a big deal because the board costs way less than other options and the performance difference between Gen5 and Gen4 SSDs is marginal at best – if a Gen5 M.2 Slot is a must, you may want to consider other options.

What Makes It The Best Value Z790 Motherboard?

Given its low pricing, the GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS ELITE AX offers the most well-balanced feature set our team has ever tested. It has plenty of M.2 slots, enough high-speed Type-A and Type-C USB ports, a rock-solid VRM structure with adequate cooling, and even a tad bit of RGB lighting. As a result, the price-to-performance ratio of the AORUS ELITE AX is unmatched, and that’s why I’m recommending it as the best value Z790 motherboard. 

Performance: 8/10 Value: 10/10
Features: 8/10 Design: 8.5/10

ASUS ROG STRIX Z790-I Gaming WiFi

Best Mini-ITX Z790 Motherboard

ASUS ROG STRIX Z790-I Gaming WiFi
ASUS ROG STRIX Z790-I Gaming WiFi

Chipset: Z790 | Memory: 2x DIMM , DDR5-7600MHz | Video Outputs: HDMI, ThunderBolt | USB Ports: 9x Rear, 3x Front  | Network: 2.5 Gbe LAN, WiFi 6E | Storage: 2x M.2, 6x SATA 

Pros

  • 10-layer PCB layout
  • ThunderBolt 4 Type-C connectivity
  • PCIe 5.0 x16 slot

Cons

  • VRM isn’t that powerful

I found the design of the Strix Z790-I to be quite nice overall. The black PCB works well with the rugged aesthetic of the VRM heatsink and the I/O cover. The build quality is outstanding thanks to a 10-layer PCB layout, which conducts heat efficiently and ensures system stability, allowing for better overclocking performance. The board features an 8-pin ProCool II power connector with 10+1 VRM Power Stages, delivering 105A of power delivery, enough to run a 14th-generation PC system smoothly in my tests. ASUS opted for a quiet thermal dissipation system that diverts heat from a ventilated loop from the core to keep the VRM cool even after vigorous performance.

 It consists of 2x PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots, one PCIe 5.0 x16 slot, and a PCIe 5.0 M.2 x4 card slot, which I quite appreciate. WiFI 6E support is provided in addition to 2.5 GbE Ethernet LAN connectivity to provide the users with the best gaming experience. 2x ThunderBolt 4 Type-C ports are provided for dual bidirectional fast data transfer.

WARNING: Be sure to confirm case compatibility before buying a mini-ITX motherboard.

Buy It If:

ASUS ROG STRIX Z790-I Gaming WiFi
ASUS ROG STRIX Z790-I Gaming WiFi

You want a durable mini-ITX motherboard: Typically, a 10-layer PCB layout in a mini-ITX motherboard is unforeseen, provides system stability, and creates headroom for overclocking.

Don’t Buy It If:

You want more expansion slots: Of course, the Z790-I does have limited potential for future expansion due to its compact frame.

What Makes It The Best Mini-ITX Z790 Motherboard?

The ASUS ROG STRIX Z790-I Gaming WiFi is the top contender for the Best Mini-ITX Z790 Motherboard thanks to its top-notch performance, with clever space-saving VRM heatsink architecture and the fastest DDR5 memory specification, which makes it a top priority for users looking for a Mini-ITX Z790 motherboard.

Performance: 8.5/10 Value: 8/10
Features: 8/10 Design: 8/10

MSI MEG Z790 ACE MAX

Best Overclocking Z790 Motherboard

MSI MEG Z790 ACE MAX - Best Overclocking Z790 Motherboard
MSI MEG Z790 ACE MAX

VRM: 24+1+2 | Memory: 4x DIMM 256GB, DDR5 7800+ | Display Outputs: 1x Type-C DisplayPort | USB ports: 10x Rear (7x Type-A 10Gbps, 1x Type-C 10Gbps, 2x Type-C Thunderbolt4 40Gbps ), 10x Front (4x Type-A 5Gbps, 2x Type-C 20Gbps, 4x USB 2.0) | Network: 2.5Gbps, WiFi 7 | Storage: 5x M.2, 6x SATA 6G 

Pros

  • Beefy VRM structure
  • Massive heatsinks with improved cooling
  • Thunderbolt4 connectivity
  • Gen5 SSD and PCIe slots
  • RGB design 

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Thunderbolt4 speeds reduce to 20Gbps on USB4 devices

The MSI MEG Z790 ACE MAX is my go-to option for any high-end PC build that requires top-tier overclocking. First up, the motherboard’s design gives off a very aggressive vibe with the MSI dragon on the VRM covers that lights up beautifully. But that’s not why I recommend this board; that award goes to its unmatched VRM structure, which consists of 24+1+2 power phases, each rated for a whopping 105A. As a result, this board’s performance numbers and raw potential are simply unlike any other board we have ever tested. You can really squeeze every bit of performance out of any flagship CPU without any crashes.

To keep up with its impressive VRM design, the heatsink uses a stacked fin array design, an aluminum cover, a U-shaped heat pipe, and 7W/mK thermal pads. Of course, MSI had to knock on all the other features of the park as well, and they did so right. First, there are 5x M.2 slots, and one of them supports Gen5 speeds. Plus, the USB connectivity is simply unparalleled. You not only get high-speed Type-A and Type-C ports both at the front and the rear but there are two Thunderbolt4 ports as well. My only complaint here is that while these ports can reach speeds of up to 40Gbps with Thunderbolt devices, they cut down to half (20Gbps) on USB4 devices.

After thoroughly testing the MSI MEG Z790 ACE MAX, here’s what Nauman Siddique had to say:

The MSI MEG Z790 ACE MAX is a flagship motherboard that impresses with its top-tier features, including Gen5 connectivity, Thunderbolt 4.0 support, and a robust 24+1+2 VRM design. It offers excellent thermal performance and integrates advanced sensors for monitoring. While it comes at a premium price, it justifies the cost with its impressive performance and a 3-year warranty.

Buy It If:

Check these pictures of the MSI MEG Z790 ACE MAX before our testing:

You want unmatched overclocking potential: If you take overclocking very seriously and want a motherboard that offers a best-in-class VRM design and equally impressive VRM cooling, the MSI MEG Z790 ACE MAX is a no-brainer.

You prefer Gen5 Speeds: Along with a Gen5 M.2 slot, the board also offers 2x Gen5 PCIe slots, which is a really good option for anyone who wants Gen5 connectivity.

You are after Thunderbolt connectivity: Similarly, the MSI MEG Z790 ACE MAX also comes with 2x Thunderbolt 4x ports that can offer speeds of up to 40Gbps, which makes this board perfect for displaying even an 8K display along with all the perks of Thunderbolt.

Don’t Buy It If:

You want something less pricey: Given all its high-end features and performance numbers, the MSI MEG Z790 ACE MAX is by no means an affordable motherboard. Be prepared to damage your wallet!

What Makes It The Best Overclocking Z790 Motherboard?

If we put all the high-end Gen5 slots, aggressive RGB design, and blazing-fast Thunderbolt4 connectivity aside, just the 24+1+2 VRM structure where each phase can handle 105A and stacked fin array heatsinks with copper heat pipes for cooling means the MSI MEG Z790 ACE MAX can handle overclocking like no other motherboard on the market, and that’s why I have picked it as the best overclocking Z790 motherboard.

Performance: 10/10 Value: 7/10
Features: 10/10 Design: 9/10

Important Motherboard Key Terms

  • Chipset: The chipset is a set of chips that controls communication between the CPU and other components on the motherboard, such as RAM, storage, and expansion cards. The chipset is also responsible for managing the system’s clock speed and power consumption.
  • BIOS (Basic Input/Output System): The BIOS is a firmware program that is stored on a chip on the motherboard. It is responsible for booting up the computer and initializing the hardware. The BIOS also provides a user interface for configuring the system settings.
  • Expansion slots: Expansion slots allow additional hardware components to be installed on the motherboard, such as graphics cards, sound cards, and network cards. Expansion slots are typically located on the bottom or right edge of the motherboard.
  • Form factor: The form factor of a motherboard is its size and shape. The most common form factors for desktop computers are ATX, microATX, and mini-ITX.
  • DIMM slots: DIMM slots are sockets on the motherboard where memory modules are installed. DIMM stands for Dual In-Line Memory Module. DIMM modules are the most common type of memory used in desktop computers.
  • Socket: The socket is the connector on the motherboard where the CPU is installed. The type of socket on the motherboard determines the type of CPU that can be used.

How We Tested & Picked The Best Z790 Motherboards

  • VRM and Overclocking Potential: Beefy VRMs are essential for CPU and GPU overclocking scenarios and general optimal performance. As such, it’s necessary to keep a keen eye out since inefficient VRMs would result in your CPU and GPU bottlenecking, i.e., your Intel-based PC would undergo thermal throttling, rendering it incapable of delivering its theoretical potential power, thanks to an incompetent VRM design.
  • Principal Budget and Relative Affordability: While building a gaming PC centralized around Intel’s 13th/14th Generation CPUs and 700-Series Chipsets, it’s best to stick with full-sized ATX or E-ATX Z790 motherboards if you’re looking to save some money, as manufacturers offer a variety of Z790 Motherboards in these form factors. At the same time, holding your horses while choosing from the Flagship E-ATX Z790 Motherboards is essential since these boards tend to overcharge you for features.
  • Expansion Slots/Connectivity: Some Z790 Motherboards may offer multiple PCI-e 5.0×16 slots. At the same time, some miniature motherboards will only provide a solitary PCI-e 4th Gen (x16) slot.  Moreover, you should have an estimated idea of how many and which type of USB ports you’d like to utilize since a few of the Cheapest Z790 Motherboards will cut down on comparatively faster USB connections to drive prices down.
  • Heatsinks/PCB Layers: The general rule of thumb is to choose a board with advanced heat dissipation techniques while ideally incorporating multiple heatsinks for optimal heat radiation away from your Motherboard’s components. The thicker your Motherboard’s PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards), the lower your temps.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which socket does the Z790 utilize?

The Z790 sports the LGA 1700 CPU Mounting Platform, the same as the preceding Z690 and accompanying 600-Series Motherboards.

Is the Z790 compatible with the Intel 13th Generation?

Yes. Both 12th Generation (Alder Lake) and 13th Generation (codenamed Raptor Lake) Intel CPUs utilize the same CPU Mounting Socket, i.e., the LGA 1700.

Can I use the last-generation Core i9-12900K with a Z790 Motherboard?

Since the Alder Lake Core i9-12900K is based on the LGA 1700 CPU Socketing Mechanism, it is usable with any of the Best Z790 Motherboards. However, we wouldn’t recommend such an unorthodox pairing as far as the value proposition is concerned.

Does the Z790 support DDR5 Memory?

Yes, the Z790, in a similar fashion to its predecessor, the Z690 chipset, enables full support for DDR5 RAM. However, different (relatively budget-oriented) variants of Intel’s 700-Series Chipsets, including the Z790, will also be compatible with good old DDR4 Memory.

Recent Updates


  • April 28, 2024: I have replaced the ASRock Z790 PG RipTide with the GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS ELITE AX because GIGABYTE’s pricing is more attractive for the features it offers. Similarly, I have also swapped the GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS MASTER with the MSI MEG Z790 ACE MAX because the MSI’s motherboard showed impressive performance in our testing.
  • October 21, 2023: Few text changes to improve readability. No products were changed.
  • August 22, 2023: Fixed misaligned images. No products were changed.
  • July 23, 2023: Added ASRock Z790 Steel Legend Wi-Fi as the Best White Z790 Motherboard.
  • May 31, 2023: Few text changes to improve readability. No products were changed.

 
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