ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range

Vyncent Chan
14 Min Read
ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range
  • Appearance - 8.3/10
    8.3/10
  • Features - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Materials - 7.7/10
    7.7/10
  • Performance - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • User Experience - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value - 4.5/10
    4.5/10

Summary

With such a lofty price tag, the ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming faces stiff competition from the higher tier ROG Maximus XII boards.

Overall
7.6/10
7.6/10

Pros

+ Comes with a nice set of included accessories
+ Aggressive aesthetics will go well with a full-on gaming build
+ Strong power delivery system
+ Supports iGPU output
+ Q-CODE readout allows for more convenient troubleshooting
+ Very feature-rich BIOS

Cons

– No on-board power buttons discourages bench setups
– AI overclocking could do with more finetuning options
– Installation process of the first M.2 SSD is unnecessarily difficult
– Overpriced relative to its more premium brethren

The ASUS ROG Strix family consists of products that are essentially distilled down from the Republic of Gamers’ lineup of premium products, and today we are taking a look at the ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming. As a board carrying the “E” suffix, it is the highest end of the ROG Strix Z490 boards. And as you might expect, it gets quite a bit of premium features from its more premium brethren from the ROG Maximus XII family too.

Unboxing

We did an unboxing of the ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming above, but if you want to check out the pretty impressive complement of accessories that come with the motherboard, take a look down below.

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 5

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 5

Appearance

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 6

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 6

ASUS definitely stepped up their game with the ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming, with a design that looks clean while also being aggressive enough to fit right into the ROG Strix family. There’s some mirror effect on the I/O shield, which allow the board to look pretty even when you turn off the lights.

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 7

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 7

For the 10th Gen Intel Core processors, ASUS went all out with the cooling. Instead of what looks more like ornamental hunks of aluminium, they now feature deep grooves for airflow around the VRM area for better cooling, as well as to increase the surface area. The little bracket above the heatsink is where you can mount the optional fan, although it will probably be unnecessary for most users.

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 8

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 8

The lower half of the board is filled with the PCIe slots and M.2 slots. The PCH heatsink is covered by this oversized plastic shroud that also extends onto the “Northbridge” heatsink. More on that later. The two main PCIe x16 slots are reinforced to prevent them from being damaged by the heavy GPUs you might use with the ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming.

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 9

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 9

ASUS reserves the integrated I/O shield treatment for the more premium of their boards, and apparently they deem the ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming to be high-end enough to get one. You can spot the DisplayPort and HDMI ports which will allow you to use the iGPU. Those who were expecting more modern ports here will be quite disappointed to find a total of four USB 2.0 ports, instead of replacing them with more USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 ports.

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 10

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 10

You don’t get a backplate of any kind on the back of this board, but you do get a massive decal running across a quarter of the board. I am not sure what is this for, as you won’t even get to see it once you install it into a case. Oh well. I guess you can enjoy it for a few minutes before you throw it into a case.

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 11

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 11

RGB is very tastefully sprinkled across the board, with the I/O shroud getting the bulk of the lighting, while the PCH gets a stylized ROG logo instead of the usual ROG eye emblem. One concern I have is that the PCH’s RGB accents will largely be covered up by a large GPU, which will render it pointless.

Specifications

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming

[table style=”table-hover”]

CPU support Intel LGA 1200
10th Gen Intel Core desktop processors (Comet Lake-S)
Pentium Gold & Celeron processors
Power 1 x 24-pin ATX
1 x 8-pin EATX 12V (ProCool II)
1 x 4-pin EATX 12V
ASUS ASP1900B PWM controller (7+1 phase)
14 x Vishay SiC639 (50A) powerstage for CPU
2 x Vishay SiC639 (50A) powerstage for iGPU
Chipset Intel Z490
Memory 4 x DDR4 DIMM, max. 128GB un-buffered memory
Multi-GPU Support 2-way NVIDIA SLI
3-way AMD CrossFireX
Expansion slots PCIe 3.0 x1
PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16 electrically)
PCIe 3.0 x1
PCIe 3.0 x16 (x8 electrically)
PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4 electrically)
Storage 6 x SATA 6 Gb/s, supports RAID 0,1,5,10
1 x M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4/SATA (disables SATA_2 when M.2 SATA SSD is used)
1 x M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 (disables SATA_5 & SATA_6 when M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD is used)
Network Intel WiFi 6 AX201 (2×2 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.1)
Intel I225-V 2.5G LAN
USB Rear I/O:
3 x USB 3.1 (10 Gbps)
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C (10 Gbps)
2 x USB 3.0 (5 Gbps)
4 x USB 2.0
On-board headers:
1 x USB 3.1 (10 Gbps)
1 x USB 3.0 (5 Gbps) (2 ports each)
2 x USB 2.0 (2 ports each)
Audio SupremeFX S1220A CODEC
5 x gold-plated audio jacks (rear)
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
1 x front panel audio connector
Display output 1 x HDMI 1.4
1 x DisplayPort 1.4
Other onboard connectors 1 x CPU fan header
1 x CPU_OPT fan header
1 x AIO_PUMP header
1 x VRM_HS_FAN header (VRM fan)
1 x W_PUMP+ header
2 x Chassis fan headers
1 x Temperature sensor connector
2 x AURA RGB headers
2 x ARGB Gen 2 headers
1 x Thunderbolt 3 header
Overclocking features BIOS Flashback
Q-CODE readout
Q-LED debug LEDs
CPU_OV jumper
Included accessories User’s manual
4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable
1 x M.2 Screw Packages
1 x M.2 rubber package
1 x 40mm assistant fan (VRM fan)
1 x Wi-Fi Antenna
1 x ARGB extension cable
1 x RGB extension cable
1 x Thermistor
1 x Driver disk
1 x ROG Strix stickers
1 x ROG Strix thank you card
Form factor ATX (12″ x 9.6″)

[/table]

System

[table style=”table-hover”]

CPU Intel Core i5-10600K (ES), 6C/12T @ up to 4.8 GHz, 14nm
RAM 2 x 8GB TEAMGROUP T-Force Xtreem ARGB DDR4-3600
Motherboard ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming (BIOS ver. 0503)
GPU ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER Advanced Edition 8GB GDDR6
Storage 120GB Kingston A400 SSD
960GB Kingston UV500 SSD
1TB Seagate FireCuda SSHD
CPU Cooling Cooler Master ML240R
Case Vector Benchcase
PSU Cooler Master V850 Gold
Monitor BenQ EL2870U

[/table]

User Experience

Build

As a regular ATX board, the ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming will fit into all ATX cases, but of course we aren’t going to install it in a case. For those of you who are, you will love the integrated I/O shield as it is one less thing to worry about in your build.

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 12

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 12

An issue that you might have with the ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming is when you decide to install your M.2 storage. Somehow ASUS decided that a plastic cover like this should extend over the first M.2 slot and also the “Northbridge” heatsink. It is held down by a total of three screws, and the worst part is that you won’t be able to lift the cover off if you have a GPU installed, thus complicating any upgrades down the line.

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 13

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review — ROG Strix attempts the premium price range 13

Both the M.2 slots sport aluminium heatspreaders, complete with thermal pads pre-applied. That’s nice, but you will need to undo another two screws per piece to install a SSD under them. The good thing is that you will most probably not change SSDs throughout the lifespan of your PC, so while this is frustrating when you are setting up your build, it isn’t going to affect you that much down the line.

BIOS