On 11th January 2021, Intel took advantage of the CES 2021 Platform to introduce their brand new chipset known as Z590. This new chipset is a successor to the Z490 chipset that was released with the Intel 10th Gen Comet Lake processors. The new chipset aims to bring even more features with improvements in various categories to take full advantage of the upcoming 11th Gen Rocket Lake processors, set to release in March of 2021 according to the latest reports.
The older Z490 chipset will still support the upcoming 11th Gen Rocket Lake processors, however, Intel does recommend the Z590 chipset motherboards for maximum optimization. The 11th Gen processors are built on a slightly different architecture than the typical Skylake refresh that we are seeing for quite some time now. This makes Z590 an option to consider for those who are looking to buy a brand new Intel 11th Gen CPU but do not have any existing motherboard. Although 2020 and 2021 have been hit with an incredible shortage of CPUs and GPUs, motherboards have not been hit as hard as the aforementioned components. However, new system builders will have to move quickly because the 11th Gen CPU stock might not last long after release.
With that out of the way, here are the 5 best Z590 motherboards to buy in 2021.
1. ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero (WiFi 6E)
Premium Offering from ASUS
Chipset: Z590 | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR4-5333 | Expansion Slots: 2 x PCIe 4.0/3.0 x16 (x16, x8/x8, x8/x4) + 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (max. x4) | Video Outputs: 2x HDMI 2.0 and 2x Thunderbolt 4 | USB Ports: 10x rear IO, 9x internal | Network: 2x 2.5GbE Ethernet, 1x Wi-Fi 6E | Storage: 4x M.2, 6x SATA
The ASUS ROG Maximus series is the flagship series of motherboards from ASUS for Intel. The Maximus series has had some legendary motherboards over the years, and it is known for its premium offerings and extensive reliability. The same is the case with the ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero, which is the more “reasonable” offering from the Maximus lineup.
In typical ASUS fashion, the Maximus XIII Hero packs some really high-end components in a well-rounded package. The VRM design of the Maximus XIII Hero is deemed to be one of the best in the whole Z590 market, and that should really help deliver clean power reliably to overclocked 11th Gen CPUs. This board will be particularly excellent at overclocking the upcoming Core i9 11900K, which is supposed to have a boost frequency of up to 5.3 GHz.
Apart from the VRM, the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero is jam-packed with features. It incorporates WiFi 6E, and pairs that with two 2.5GbE Ethernet ports. The board also features 4 M.2 slots, which is quite a lot for any normal PC builder. Of course, the Z590 chipset brings PCIe Gen 4, which will be available on two of those 4 M.2 slots. The board also features Thunderbolt 4, with two rear-facing ports for a host of different applications. The Maximus XIII Hero is also rife with USB options, with 10 USB ports on the rear and 9 more available through internal headers.
Aesthetically, the Maximus XIII Hero is a fantastic-looking board. It features an aggressive design with a majority of the PCB being covered by a black shroud. This limits the exposure of the PCB so that the board appears cleaner when there are components installed on it. The RGB implementation is also really clean and the board looks great with the two huge lighting zones lit up and synchronized with the rest of the components of the build. The diagonal lighting across the VRM heatsink and I/O cover looks particularly attractive when the board is installed inside a case. ASUS ROG series always puts aesthetics towards the top in their priority list and that shows with the ROG Maximus XIII Hero.
All in all, the ROG Maximus XIII Hero packs every feature in the book and couples them with a really strong power delivery system. It may come as no surprise to enthusiasts that this comes at a hefty price, as the Maximus XIII Hero is one of the most expensive boards on the market so it’s definitely not for everyone.
2. MSI MEG Z590 ACE
Robust but Expensive
- Strong Power Delivery
- Robust Memory Support
- Great Connectivity Options
- Impressive RGB Implementation
- Incredibly Expensive
Chipset: Z590 | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR4-5600 | Expansion Slots: 1x PCIe x16, 1x PCIe x16 (x8), 1x PCIe x16 (x4), 2x PCIe x1 | Video Outputs: 1x HDMI 2.0 and 2x Thunderbolt 4 | USB Ports: 8x rear IO, 7x internal | Network: 1x 2.5GbE Ethernet, 1x Wi-Fi 6E | Storage: 4x M.2, 6x SATA
MSI’s premium MEG series is a lineup that is focused on enthusiasts and is thus named MSI Extreme Gaming. One of the finest products in that lineup is the MSI MEG Z590 ACE motherboard which is a high-end Z590 offering from MSI. It aims to fill the gap between the midrange MSI Performance Gaming motherboards and the really high-end Godlike series motherboards.
The MEG Z590 ACE features an incredibly robust power delivery system that is capable of handling any 10th Gen or 11th Gen Intel CPU with strong overclocks. An overclocked 11900K should be no problem for the VRM setup of the MEG Z590 ACE. MSI has also included hefty VRM heatsinks with the ACE so the thermal performance of the motherboard is also really good. The VRM design is one of the strongest points of this motherboard.
The MEG Z590 ACE does not skimp on any features either. The board offers the options of Wi-Fi 6E as well as a 2.5GbE Ethernet port for connectivity. In terms of storage, the ACE offers 4 M.2 slots and 6 SATA ports, which is the same configuration as the Maximus XIII Hero from ASUS. Thunderbolt 4 is also included in the Z590 ACE, with two USB-C ports on the rear I/O that support this technology. The USB configuration includes 8 rear ports and 7 ports available through the internal headers.
In terms of looks, the Z590 ACE is not exactly the most beautiful board in the world but it is certainly not unattractive. It uses the same approach of PCB covers as the Maximus XIII, with two similar zones of lighting. One can easily figure out that MSI’s design goal was to make the Z590 ACE a bit more dramatic and aggressive than other motherboards in the same category. This is why they have included a full RGB MSI dragon logo on the I/O cover, with a smaller RGB zone on the chipset as well. These RGB areas look really good when they are lit up in a completed system.
Overall, the MSI MEG Z590 ACE is a really premium motherboard with no obvious missing features. However, its price is a serious concern as it is even more expensive than the Maximus XIII Hero while offering no real advantage to the ASUS offering. Potential buyers might be better off getting the ASUS Maximus XIII Hero if they want a better price-to-features ratio.
3. Gigabyte AORUS Master Z590
A Well-Rounded High-End Option
Chipset: Z590 | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR4-5400 | Expansion Slots: 1x PCIe x16, 1x PCIe x16 (x8), 1x PCIe x16 (x4) | Video Outputs: 1x Displayport 1.2 | USB Ports: 10x rear IO, 9x internal | Network: 1x 10GbE Ethernet, 1x Wi-Fi 6E | Storage: 3x M.2, 6x SATA
The Z590 AORUS Master from Gigabyte is another motherboard that falls in the reasonably high-end category. It might not be as ridiculously overkill as its AORUS Extreme bigger brother, but it still packs almost all the features that one might reasonably expect from a high-end board, albeit at a much lower price point. It is even a bit more competitive than the ASUS ROG Strix Maximus XIII Hero, although it’s not a cheap board by any means.
Under the huge VRM heatsinks, the AORUS Master packs quite a solid power delivery system that is enough to feed even the most demanding Intel chips on the market. The robust VRM design ensures that the board provides clean and stable power to the CPU when it demands it, to improve the stability of the overclocks and the boost behavior of the CPU under stock conditions. The VRM is cooled by a large finned heatsink that ensures that the temperatures are kept in check.
The AORUS Master is also quite a feature-packed board, with some features that are not even available on more expensive variants. One of the said features is the inclusion of a 10GbE Ethernet port in conjunction with Wi-Fi 6E for connectivity. This makes the connectivity setup of the AORUS Master Z590 even more versatile than the ones on the ASUS Maximus XIII Hero and the MSI MEG Z590 ACE. The AORUS Master does lack any Thunderbolt 3 ports, however, and that is a bit of a downside at this price point. It does, however, feature 3 M.2 Slots and 6 SATA ports for your storage needs.
In terms of aesthetics, there is really nothing special about the AORUS Z590. It features an industrial design leaning towards color-neutral tones, with a splash of Gigabyte orange here and there. The PCB is covered mostly with plastic covers to provide a cleaner overall look. The RGB zones are confined to the chipset AORUS logo and some design elements on the I/O cover. All in all, the aesthetics of the AORUS Master are not the reason you might want to consider this motherboard.
The AORUS Master is a nice alternative to the Maximus XIII Hero at a slightly cheaper price, although it does lack any Thunderbolt connectivity whatsoever. Whether or not that impacts their decision significantly, is up to the potential buyer.
4. Gigabyte Z590 Vision G
Best Looking Z590 Board
Chipset: Z590 | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR4-5333 | Expansion Slots: 1x PCIe x16, 1x PCIe x16 (x8), 1x PCIe x16 (x4) | Video Outputs: 1x HDMI 1.4 and 1x Displayport 1.2 | USB Ports: 10x rear IO, 7x internal | Network: 1x 2.5GbE Ethernet | Storage: 4x M.2, 6x SATA
Gigabyte’s Vision lineup is a line of aesthetically beautiful motherboards as well as graphics cards that offer a minimalistic design with beautifully implemented RGB lighting for those of us who prioritize aesthetics over everything else. The Z590 Vision G is an excellent motherboard from the Vision lineup that combines exceptional aesthetics with a decent feature set.
In terms of power delivery, the Gigabyte Vision G is no slouch either. Its VRM setup closely resembles that on the Z590 AORUS Master, although it is toned down a little bit due to the price category of the Vision G. This means that this motherboard should be able to handle any current Intel chip at overclocked settings relatively comfortably, provided that you do not intend to break any overclocking records with it.
The Vision G is also reasonably well-equipped in the features department. It has 4 M.2 slots and 6 SATA ports for storage, with two of those M.2 slots supporting PCIe Gen 4 connectivity. The networking on the board is handled by a 2.5GbE Ethernet port, although the board lacks any kind of Wi-Fi connectivity which might be an annoyance to some users. The Vision G is also equipped with 10 rear USB ports and 7 ports accessible through the internal headers.
The aesthetics category is where the Vision G really shines. It is one of the most beautiful Z590 motherboards on the market. It features a white-on-black design with a minimalistic design language that would pair excellently with some NZXT and Corsair cases. Two zones of RGB are present on the board, with the larger one occupying the top left corner of the I/O cover. The aesthetics of this board are its definite selling point.
All in all, the Vision G Z590 is a solid motherboard in terms of power delivery and features, but it is the design of the board that really elevates it to the next level. There are a couple of features missing from the board that would have made it an even better value for the money, but overall it’s simply a great Z590 motherboard.
5. ASUS TUF Gaming Z590-Plus
A Budget Alternative
Chipset: Z590 | Memory: 4x DIMM, 128GB, DDR4-5133 | Expansion Slots: 1 x PCIe 4.0/3.0 x16 slot, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, 2 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots | Video Outputs: 1x HDMI 2.0 and 1x Displayport 1.4 | USB Ports: 7x rear IO, 7x internal | Network: 2x 2.5GbE Ethernet | Storage: 3x M.2, 6x SATA
The TUF Gaming lineup from ASUS is one of the more relatively affordable motherboard lineups on the market. ASUS usually strips off some of the bells and whistles from the Strix boards, while keeping the good power delivery and a solid feature set to create the TUF variants of those boards. This means that the TUF Gaming Z590-Plus is an excellent motherboard for the price, even if it lacks some features.
The TUF Gaming Z590-Plus offers a decent power delivery system that might not be as good as the one on the Maximus XIII Hero, but it should be enough to handle most of the upcoming Intel 11th Gen CPUs even at overclocked settings. The feature set of the TUF Gaming is not bad either, with 3x M.2 slots and 6 SATA ports for storage. There is no WiFi, however, the board does have 2x 2.5 GbE Ethernet ports. Furthermore, ASUS has included 7 rear USB ports coupled with 7 more available through the internal headers.
The ASUS TUF Gaming Z590-Plus is unremarkable in the department of aesthetics. Most of the PCB is covered by black covers with little-to-no RGB lighting visible anywhere. The board will be a good fit for blackout builds, although it might not be the board to buy for lighting enthusiasts. The board also lacks any Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, but that is something that can be forgiven at this price point.
Overall, the ASUS TUF Gaming Z590-Plus is an excellent motherboard for the price. It is quite a bit cheaper than the other boards mentioned in the list and still delivers on multiple grounds including power delivery and features. It might be lacking Wi-Fi and Thunderbolt but that can be excused given the price. This is definitely the board to consider if you need a well-performing Z590 motherboard without any extra bells-and-whistles.