Before we jump to the motherboard ranking and shopping tips, we need to shed some light on the Intel Core i9 9900k CPU itself. The Intel Core i9 9900K was a performance-focused, enthusiast-class gaming CPU released by Intel based on the Coffee Lake architecture. While the 9th Generation of CPUs from Intel including the 9900K were built using the same archaic 14nm architecture, these CPUs did have some significant tweaks in their design which made them faster and more efficient than ever before when talking about Intel’s consumer desktop CPUs. The i9 9900K was a bit of a trailblazer due to i9 9900k benchmarks, unmatchable gaming performance and excellent productivity performance that made it a dream purchase for any enthusiast at the time. Our guide will not only help you buy best motherboards for i9 9900k, but it’ll also share shopping tips and buying guide decisions, also factors, as such, Overclocking, Wi-Fi, Performance, Budget, Value, and ATX Factors.
Fast forward to 2021, and the Core i9 9900K is still one of the most powerful gaming CPUs on the market despite the launch of subsequent CPU generations from both Intel and AMD Zen 3 Architect. While yes, it is not the chart-topper it once used to be, but considering the minor performance differences between the different high-end CPUs nowadays, one would be hard-pressed to find any noticeable difference when judging real-life performance.
Armed with 8 Cores and 16 Threads with a Boost Clock of 5 GHz, the Core i9 9900K is certainly not the easiest CPU to handle in terms of power requirements. It demands clean and stable power from the motherboard, especially when overclocking to achieve maximum frequencies dependably. For this reason, the choice of motherboard is crucial if you want to pair it with a temperamental CPU such as the 9900K.
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Our Recommendations of Best Motherboards For i9 9900k
Which chipset is truly worthy of pandering to all the demands of the strongest processor in the world? All your questions will be answered by our blow-by-blow list of the best i9 9900k motherboards (Z390 chipset) you must add to your shortlist for your dream system.
Choosing the motherboard for i9 9900K proved to be a bit more work than what we anticipated, as the advanced overclocking potential and power demands of the flagship Intel CPU dictated our choices throughout the process. At the end of the day, we settled for the following 5 motherboards that provide the best price-to-performance ratio for different price points, so there is something for everyone to consider.
1. ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E
Best High End Motherboard for i9 9900k
- Robust Power Delivery System
- High RAM Compatibility
- Attractive Aesthetics
- Great Connectivity Options
- Lots of USB Ports
- Very Expensive
- Not Suitable for Minimalistic Builds
Chipset: Z390 | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR4-4266 | Expansion Slots: 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 | Video Outputs: HDMI and DisplayPort | USB Ports: 8x rear IO, 7x internal | Network: 1x 1 GbE LAN, 1x Wi-Fi | Storage: 2x M.2, 6x SATA
The ASUS ROG Strix series of motherboards has always been known to offer some of the most premium features available for any particular chipset, and the same trend continues in the Z390 line. Although ASUS has multiple motherboards sporting the Strix moniker in the Z390 lineup, our pick is the high-end variant namely the ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E. We picked this over the ASUS ROG Maximus XI.
The Z390-E excels in multiple departments but perhaps its most standout feature is its incredible power delivery. The ROG Strix Z390-E flaunts a robust VRM design that should be more than capable of handling the Core i9 9900K even at overclocked settings. The 9900K is a fan-favorite among enthusiasts due to its excellent overclocking behavior, and the Z390-E would ensure that it hits and sustains the maximum frequencies that one can expect from this piece of silicon.
In terms of connectivity and storage features, the Z390-E from ASUS is jam-packed as well. There are plenty of USB ports both on the rear IO and through the internal headers for convenience, and the board has 2 M.2 slots, and 6 SATA ports to install storage drives as well. Connectivity-wise, the Z390-E is equipped with both Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi capabilities to provide the best of both worlds. Aesthetically, the Strix Z390-E is a highly attractive board, and gets our reward for the best High End Motherboard for i9 9900k with an overall stealthy black aesthetic with ample helping of RGB over the I/O cover as well. The RGB can help the user personalize the look of the board quite easily.
All in all, the ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E is a premium motherboard that offers a host of high-end features which would pair nicely with an enthusiast-class CPU such as the 9900K. The only significant drawback is its price, but it should be justifiable if you plan to keep your gaming motherboard/rig for an extended period of time before upgrading.
2. MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon
Best Overclocking Motherboard for i9 9900k
- Solid VRM Design
- Aggressive Looks
- Tasteful RGB Implementation
- Excellent VRM Cooling
- High RAM Compatibility
- Lack of Wi-Fi
- Quite Pricy
Chipset: Z390 | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR4-4400 | Expansion Slots: 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 | Video Outputs: HDMI and DisplayPort | USB Ports: 6x rear IO, 9x internal | Network: 1x 1 GbE LAN | Storage: 2x M.2, 6x SATA
The MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon is a seriously performance-focused Core i9 9900k motherboard offering from MSI, which is evident from the MPG moniker that stands for “MSI Performance Gaming”. Further extending the MSI vs ASUS debate in motherboards, the Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon is a versatile motherboard that combines excellent power delivery components with an array of high-end features, to make a well-rounded package that would pair perfectly with the 9900K.
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Under the substantial VRM heatsinks, we find an excellent VRM design that is capable of providing the current and power necessary to keep the 9900K stable even at extreme overclocks. The massive VRM heatsinks and the adjoining metal components dissipate the heat rapidly from the VRM which keeps it cool even under intense operation. This power delivery system should give you no issues unless you want to enter extreme overclocking competitions with liquid nitrogen and the like.
The Pro Carbon is also reasonably well-equipped in other aspects. The obvious lack of Wi-Fi is a clear oversight by MSI that sets the board back a bit relative to the competition, but other than that there is little to point a finger at. The connectivity features are excellent with the board offering plenty of USB ports, 2 M.2 slots, multiple PCIe x16 slots, and 6 SATA ports for the convenience of the user. The design of the board is quite unique, with aggressive styling particularly over and around the area of the VRM heatsink. The chipset heatsink is also extended in a stylish manner to merge with the heatspreader of the M.2 slot, which gives it a unique look as well as making it the Best Overclocking Motherboard for i9 9900k. The RGB is tasteful and not overpowering at all, which is a nice touch in a performance-focused board such as this one.
Overall, the MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon is a poorly named, yet expertly constructed motherboard that should complement the Core i9 9900K almost perfectly. Lack of Wi-Fi in this 9900k motherboard, lets it down a bit, but that can be solved quite easily with an inexpensive dongle.
3. Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra
Best Z390 Motherboard for i9 9900k
- 12-Phase VRM Design
- Three M.2 Slots
- Attractive Design
- Surplus of USB Ports
- No Onboard Displayport
- Unremarkable BIOS
Chipset: Z390 | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR4-4400 | Expansion Slots: 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 | Video Outputs: HDMI | USB Ports: 10x rear IO, 7x internal | Network: 1x 1 GbE LAN, 1x Wi-Fi | Storage: 3x M.2, 6x SATA
With all the tight competition, GIGABYTE jumps into the fray as well. For the past few chipset generations, GIGABYTE seemed to be falling behind in the race for the best motherboards mainly due to their basic BIOS which was bodied by other manufacturers. This time around they took up arms to turn the tables around through the AORUS Z390 series with their emboldening VRM design. This is why for the buyers going to shop, this is the Best Z390 motherboard for i9 9900k. For this list, we chose the most balanced board out of the coveted AORUS series, GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS Ultra. This is also the best atx motherboard for i9. Besides, it edges the gigabyte z390 aorus pro, since Ultra has more life features.
It provides fins for its VRM heatsink and is the only board to do that. Moreover, it provides better thermal contact between the board and the backplate with thermal pads due to more surface area being in contact. This board has a high-quality VRM, 12 phases, 6 with doublers, and includes all the features of all the other boards. And if that’s not enough, real-world testing shows the best thermals, with a normal price-tag for the quality of the motherboard. Triple ultra-fast NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 with triple thermal guards are further enhancing the experience like never before. Don’t worry too much while deciding between the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro and Ultra.
It uses a digital CPU power design that includes both digital PWM Controller and DrMOS. These 100% digital controller and additional 8+4 Solid-pin CPU power connectors offer incredible precision in delivering power to the motherboard’s most power-hungry and energy-sensitive high-quality components enabling the hungry enthusiasts to such as much power as they need for their 9900K. It provides proper compatibility to DDR4 at 4266MHz.
It has a dexterous audio system that aptly detects the impedance of your head-worn audio device and prevents issues such as low volume and distortion. In terms of cooling, it comes with Smart Fan which allows the users to interchange their fan headers to reflect different thermal sensors at different locations on the motherboard and gives users up-to-the-second details on flow rate and temperatures. Last but not least, the aesthetics have taken a significant U-turn with their new neutral looks and RGB lighting, allowing the boar to blend into any type of system with its subtle yet appealing visuals.
The bottom line is, if you’re not avidly engaged in the BIOS configuration and have no major issues with the BIOS, then this board has so much more to give you in the form of, arguably, one of the best VRM systems on this list and, to top it off, a heartening investment from a price-to-performance standpoint.
4. ASRock Z390 Taichi
Best Overall Motherboard for i9 9900k
- Decent Power Delivery
- Three M.2 Slots
- Relatively Affordable
- Good Connectivity
- Polarizing Design
- Unremarkable RAM Compatibility
- Lack of RGB
Chipset: Z390 | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR4-4200+ | Expansion Slots: 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 2 x PCIe 3.0 x1 | Video Outputs: HDMI and DisplayPort | USB Ports: 8x rear IO, 8x internal | Network: 1x 1 GbE LAN, 1x Wi-Fi | Storage: 3x M.2, 6x SATA
ASRock’s Taichi-branded motherboards often hit the perfect sweet spot in terms of the mid-range, price-to-performance category. The ASRock Z390 Taichi carries forward the same trend and offers a perfect blend of good build quality, decent power delivery, and a host of features that make it a solid choice for your 9900K-based gaming PC.
Perhaps the best thing about the Z390 Taichi is its VRM design which should be considered above average in terms of Z390 motherboards, Sure, it might not hold a candle to some of the most premium Z390 boards such as the aforementioned Strix Z390-E, but it is still capable of handling the i9 9900K at stock or under reasonable overclocks. One should not expect to break any overclocking records concerning the 9900K while using this board.
The Z390 Taichi also offers a healthy mix of features and conveniences as well. For starters, this is one of the few Z390 motherboards with three M.2 slots which is a great thing to have in a mid-range board. It is also equipped with 6 SATA ports, plenty of USB ports and also USB 3.1 gen2, Gigabit Ethernet for connectivity. Wi-Fi is lacking in this board as well but that is not such a big issue at this price point. Its design, however, is a bit polarizing among enthusiasts due to its “in-your-face” approach about decals such as the gears on the PCB, etc. Many people don’t seem to mind those details, however, so it is a bit of a subjective factor.
The ASRock Z390 Taichi is the Best Overall Motherboard for i9 9900k, especially if you are looking to hit that sweet spot found in the mid-range market category for Z390 boards. It does cut some corners here and there, but none of them affect the functionality of the board in any significant way which makes it a great choice at this price point.
5. Z390-A Pro
Best Budget Motherboard For i9 9900k
- Affordable Choice
- Acceptable VRM Performance
- Clean Stealthy Look
- Only 1 M.2 Slot
- No Wi-Fi
- Few USB type c Ports
- Fewer PCIe Slots
Chipset: Z390 | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR4-4400 | Expansion Slots: 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 4 x PCIe 3.0 x1 | Video Outputs: VGA, DVI-D and DisplayPort | USB Ports: 6x rear IO, 8x internal | Network: 1x 1 GbE LAN | Storage: 1x M.2, 6x SATA
MSI’s best budget offering, the MSI Z390-A Pro, also makes a decent contender to be paired with your i9 9900K. Even though it is certainly not the most high-end board available on the market for this CPU, it can certainly handle the 9900K at stock speeds and can even dabble with some light overclocking, provided you have an appreciation for its limitations.
The VRM design of the board is acceptable and inoffensive. There is nothing particularly remarkable about this power delivery system, but it should get the job done regardless. Even at this price point, MSI has included some decent, finned heatsinks for the VRM components which is definitely a nice touch. One should not expect this board to be stable under aggressive overclocks on the 9900K, but it should be perfectly fine if you are looking for the Best Budget Motherboard For i9 9900k and do not push it too hard with manual tuning.
Other notable features on the board include the addition of VGA and DVI-D to the standard selection of DisplayPort for the onboard video options. This allows the consumer to connect a variety of displays to the board since older displays generally do not support the DP standard. There is a single M.2 slot, 6 SATA ports, and an unimpressive number of USB ports on the board, which can be somewhat understandable at this price. The looks of the board are also understated and stealthy, and there is no lighting to be found anywhere on the board itself. This should suit those builders perfectly who are looking to build a blackout-themed gaming PC focusing on the i9 9900K itself.
While the MSI Z390-A Pro is certainly not a premium offering from MSI, it does get the job done appreciably well. The highlight of this choice is definitely it’s pricing, which is as low as one-third when compared to some of the offerings on this list. Keeping that in mind, it makes perfect sense why some gamers would want to pair the 9900K with this motherboard.
6. Gigabyte Z390M
Best Micro ATX Motherboard for i9 9900K
- Compact Size for Micro-ATX Cases
- Clean Brushed Metal Design
- Variety Of Display Outputs
- Lack of Wi-Fi
- Average Power Delivery
- Few USB 3.1 gen2 Ports
- Lack of Lighting
Chipset: Z390 | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR4-4266 | Expansion Slots: 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 2 x PCIe 3.0 x1 | Video Outputs: DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort | USB 2.0 and 3.0 Ports: 6x rear IO, 6x internal | Network: 1x 1 GbE LAN | Storage: 2x M.2, 6x SATA
If you are looking for a solid Z390 motherboard for i9 9900K but in a compact micro-ATX form factor, then this one might just be the perfect choice for you. The Gigabyte Z390M does cut some corners due to its smaller size, but it carries the same general design and feature list as its full-ATX sibling in the Gigabyte Ultra Durable family. Micro-ATX motherboards are a great way to save some money while still getting most of the features that one would normally expect from a full-size ATX motherboard. You might also want to check out our picks for the top 5 Micro-ATX cases that would pair perfectly with this board.
In terms of power delivery, the Z390M is not quite the best of the bunch. The VRM design and the overall characteristics of the phase power delivery system can only be classified as passable. This is because the Z390M is a Micro ATX version of the Z390 UD and carries more or less the same power. Since both of these boards belong to the ultra-budget UD line from Gigabyte’s lineup, one can only expect the basics when it comes to VRM design. Still, you should have no problems running the i9 9900K at stock settings with this board, as overclocking should be avoided due to stability concerns.
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As far as the onboard features go, this motherboard for i9 9900k is relatively well-equipped for the best budget-oriented motherboard. Now it does not have all the bells and whistles as some of the premium motherboards on this list, but it does cover most of the bases quite well. A glaring omission that may be a bit of a bummer to most consumers is the lack of WiFi, but that can be fixed easily with the help of a cheap dongle. The board does have 2 M.2 Slots, 6 SATA ports, Gigabit Ethernet, Multiple PCIe x16 and x1 slots for various cards, and 4 full DIMM Slots which is definitely not a guarantee in affordable Micro-ATX motherboards. There is also the inclusion of DVI-D on the back which can be helpful for users with older monitors.
The Gigabyte Z390M is definitely not the motherboard that everyone should keep a lookout for, however, if you are in the market for Best Micro ATX Motherboard for i9 9900K that does not break the bank, then this one is a great option. It is well-rounded and provides most of the features that one would find on an ATX board at this price point. If you are comparing Micro-ATX with Mini-ITX as far as your options go, then this board should also have the edge in the overall value motherboard for i9 9900k.
7. Gigabyte Z390 I AORUS Pro WiFi
Best Mini-ITX Motherboard for i9 9900K
- Decent VRM Design
- Ideal for Compact SFF Builds
- M.2 Slot on the Back
- Only 2 DIMM Slots
- Only 1 PCIe x16 Slot
- No PCIe x1 Slots
- Few USB 3.1 Ports
Chipset: Z390 | Memory: 2x DIMM, 64GB, DDR4-4400 | Expansion Slots: 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 | Video Outputs: HDMI and DisplayPort | USB Ports: 6x rear IO, 5x internal | Network: 1x 1 GbE LAN, 1x Wi-Fi | Storage: 2x M.2, 4x SATA
Mini-ITX motherboards are a bit more niche-focused than the aforementioned micro-ATX boards due to their specific dimensions. Where the Mirco-ATX motherboards are little more than smaller variations of standard ATX boards, mini-ITX motherboards have to be specifically engineered to fit in the smallest of cases, so there is quite a bit of R&D that goes into this category. In Gigabyte’s renowned AORUS lineup, the Z390 I WiFi hits the perfect balance of price to performance while offering a unique mini-ITX size that would pair perfectly with our recommended compact SFF mini-ITX cases.
The AORUS Z390I has a perfectly respectable power system, making it one of the best motherboard for core i9 9900k, which is unsurprising due to its AORUS heritage, but still nice to see in such a small factor. The VRM is also adequately cooled with large heat-spreaders that do look quite nice as well. One can expect to perform some light overclocking of the intel i9 9900K with this motherboard as well, although the results might not be as promising as some premium motherboards on this list. Still, it is great to see a solid VRM design in this category of motherboards that often gets overlooked in favor of larger, more expensive offerings. We also have a Mini-Itx Motherboards For I9 9900k Guide.
One can also say that the Z390I is jam-packed in terms of features. Due to its size, it has to cut some corners which are expected, but it also tries to make up with some extra features that are not expected in this class. While yes, it only has 2 DIMM slots and a single PCIe slot, the manufacturers did manage to put in 2 M.2 slots in this form factor with a clever trick. The trick being that one of the slots is on the backside of the board itself, so that saves a bit of clutter on the front of the PCB. WiFi is also included, as well as Gigabit Ethernet, a bit of RGB, and the standard display output ports. Still, this list is nothing to scoff at when your board is fighting for every inch of space.
All in all, the AORUS Z390I is the Best Mini-ITX Motherboard for i9 9900K if the mini-ITX form factor is your thing. Due to the rising popularity of mini-ITX cases in recent years, manufacturers have actually shifted their focus and allotted more R&D budget to this segment which was once neglected, resulting in great boards like the AORUS Z390I. Now, enthusiasts can enjoy the full performance of the Core i9 9900K in a motherboard that might just fit into their outstretched palm.
Shopping Tips For Motherboards
You might be wondering how we picked these 5 specific i9 9900k motherboards out of a vast array that is available on the market. Well, there are several reasons that might contribute to one’s purchase decision when searching for the best motherboards for i9 9900K. Buying a motherboard for a modern gaming or creation-centric PC is not as straightforward as one might expect, as there are several factors that can complicate matters depending on how much value you want to squeeze out of your investment. However, you should also avoid spending a fortune on your motherboard just for the sake of it. Following are some of the factors to consider before buying a motherboard.
The very first decision in the buying process will be dictated by your choice of CPU, as the two big players in the processor game, AMD and Intel, both use different motherboards with different sockets and chipsets. AMD is currently on the AM4 Motherboards in terms of the socket, while Intel is using the LGA 1200 socket as of the time of writing. Judging the compatibility factor beforehand is absolutely crucial in order to ensure that your CPU and your motherboard support each other out of the box.
VRM and Power Delivery
This one is a bit more focused towards advanced users, but still it is very important to consider before buying a motherboard specifically for an enthusiast-class CPU such as the i9 9900K. A motherboard’s VRM or power delivery system is tasked with taking the direct power that is coming from the wall and converting it into clean, stable, and usable phase power for the CPU itself. The VRM design is absolutely crucial in order to get the best overclocking performance from high-end CPUs, and it should definitely be considered in the purchasing process. Furthermore, the VRM thermal performance is another factor that dictates the performance of the VRM components. Although Phase Power and Power Delivery would require a topic on their own, don’t ignore these factors, as Phase Power and other key points mention here decide the fate.
Desktop motherboards usually come in 3 different sizes, which usually correspond to the different case sizes that are available on the market. The most common and the standard size is the ATX form factor, which is supported by a variety of standard mid-tower and full-tower cases. For a more compact experience, one might choose to go with the Micro-ATX form factor which is a bit smaller than the ATX style and fits in the majority of compact cases, mid-tower cases, and full-tower cases.
While these are some of the more critical factors to consider when buying a motherboard, there are several others that are also crucial to the longevity and performance of your system. To get an in-depth look at the various factors that should dictate your motherboard choice, check out our comprehensive motherboard buying guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the Intel Core i9 9900K is still one of the fastest processors for gaming one can buy. Sure, it may not be topping the charts in every title anymore due to the release of subsequent CPU generations, but it packs more than a punch even for high-end machines. Gamers can expect to pair the Core i9 9900K even with the latest GPUs such as the RTX 3000 series, and still get the maximum performance out of the GPU without a hint of bottlenecking.
The Intel Core i9-9900K is compatible with the Z390 and Z370 (MSI Z370 Review) chipsets on the high-end, which are the two chipsets that support the full range of overclocking. Furthermore, the intel 9900K is also supported on the mid-range Intel Q370, B365, B360, H370, and H310 chipsets, all of which are deemed to be best budget-oriented options for motherboards. When buying a motherboard for the i9 9900K it is best to stick with the Z370 or Z390 since this CPU is exceptionally good at overclocking which can only be performed on the fully unlocked Z-series motherboards.
The Core i9 9900K and the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X are both fantastic CPUs but they have some differences that make them suitable for different types of buyers. On one hand, the Core i9 9900K is slightly faster when it comes to raw gaming performance, so it should be prioritized over the 3900X if you are building a PC strictly for gaming. On the other hand, the Ryzen 9 3900X has 12 cores, 24 threads and is much faster when it comes to CPU for productivity tasks such as editing and streaming. So, the choice between the two really depends on your specific workload.
Yes, the intel i9 9900K is still a perfectly viable option for high-end gaming PCs in 2021. While the latest crop of processors from both Intel and AMD might be faster on paper, chances are, you would be hard-pressed to notice the small advantage that those CPUs hold over the 9900K in real life. Moreover, the 9900K is also a bit cheaper nowadays due to its age, so it can be a great deal if you are looking for a high-end gaming processor but do not quite have the budget for a flagship gaming CPU such as the 11900K from Intel or the 5900X from AMD. Make sure to check out the guide on why i9 9900k is a bad value proposition. This could help you assist your buying decision.
Generally, the B series chipsets from Intel are targeted towards the mid-range or budget segments of the market, and for a premium CPU such as the i9 9900K, those do not make a lot of sense. You give up on a lot of features when choosing a B365 chipset motherboard for this enthusiast-class CPU, the most important of which is the lack of overclocking support. Furthermore, the B series motherboards are often constructed with cost-saving measures in mind, so they can use inferior quality VRM components which can really hurt your CPU’s performance in the long term.