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Five Z490 Mini-ITX Motherboards Available Now

If you are planning to build a small gaming machine powered by the latest 10th Gen Intel Core processor; here are five Z490 mini ITX motherboards you can choose from. These mini ITX Z490 motherboards are built with Wi-Fi 6 wireless connectivity (except for one); can support DDR4 memory speeds up to 5000MHz (OC); some are built with a good VRM and power phase design with active cooling solution; supports high speed USB 3.2 Gen2 and some even Thunderbolt 3. If you are in the market for such a small motherboard, check them out below.

Z490 Mini-ITX Motherboards Available

Meet This Generation’s Z490 Mini-ITX Motherboards

Currently, there are five Z490 mini-ITX motherboards that are available in the market. These are based on the latest Intel Z490 Series chipset; and yes, they are capable of overclocking an unlocked 10th Gen Intel Core processor. Although, I don’t think these mini-ITX motherboards can really push the CPU with a (very) high clock speeds. But I expect that they would be able to do at least some mild or decent overclocking, both CPU and memory.

Also, the motherboards below are listed in alphabetical order. Despite being limited in size and capabilities, they do have their own unique features; aside from the common features found on most Z490 motherboards. Below is a brief specifications table of the five Z490 mini-ITX motherboards, after that let’s discuss some of their (unique) features.

MotherboardASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3ASRock Z490M-ITX/acASUS ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming Z490GIGABYTE Z490I AORUS UltraMSI MEG Z490I Unify Gaming
CPU Support10th Gen and "future" gen Intel Core Processors10th Gen Intel Processors10th Gen Intel Processors10th Gen Intel Processors10th Gen Intel Processors
CPU SocketLGA 1200LGA 1200LGA 1200LGA 1200LGA 1200
ChipsetIntel Z490Intel Z490Intel Z490Intel Z490Intel Z490
Power Phase9 w/ 90A Power Choke8 w/ 60A Power Choke8+2 power stages8 w/ 90A Smart Power Stage8 w/ 90A Smart Power Stage
MemoryDual Channel DDR4 up to 4666+ (OC)
Max. 64GB
Dual Channel DDR4 up to 4400+ (OC)
Max. 64GB
Dual Channel DDR4 up to 4800 (OC)
Max. 64GB
Dual Channel DDR4 up to 5000 (OC)
Max. 64GB
Dual Channel DDR4 up to 5000+ (OC)
Max. 64GB
Expansion Slots1x PCIe 3.0 x161x PCIe 3.0 x161x PCIe 3.0 x161x PCIe 3.0 x161x PCIe 3.0 x16
Storage4x SATA 6.0 Gbps
2x Ultra M.2 Gen3 x4 and SATA
4x SATA 6.0 Gbps
2x Ultra M.2 Gen3 x4 and SATA
4x SATA 6.0 Gbps
2x M.2 Gen3 x4 and SATA
4x SATA 6.0 Gbps
2x M.2 Gen3 x4 and SATA
4x SATA 6.0 Gbps
2x M.2 Gen3 x4 and SATA
LAN2.5 Gigabit LAN, Dragon RTL8125BG2.5 Gigabit LAN, Dragon RTL8125BGIntel I225-V 2.5Gb EthernetIntel 2.5GbERealtek RTL8125B 2.5Gbps
WirelessIntel 802.11 a/b/g/n/ax, Dual Band 2.4/5GHz
WiFi6 + Bluetooth 5.1
Intel 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Dual Band 2.4/5GHz
Bluetooth 4.2
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, Dual Band 2.4/5GHz
Bluetooth 5.1 (Windows 10 19041 and up)
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, Dual Band 2.4/5GHz
Bluetooth 5.1
Intel Wi-Fi6 AX201 802.11ac, Dual Band 2.4/5GHz
Bluetooth 5.1
Audio7.1 CH HD Audio, Realtek ALC12207.1 CH HD Audio, Realtek ALC1200SupremeFX 8-channel HD Audio S1220A7.1 CH HD Audio, Realtek ALC1220-VB7.1 CH HD Audio, Realtek ALC1220
Rear I/O2x Antenna Ports
1x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
1x HDMI Port
1x DisplayPort 1.4
1x Optical SPDIF
2x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A
1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Thunderbolt 3 Type-C
2x USB 3.2 Gen1
1x RJ-45
HD Audio Jacks
Clear CMOS Button
2x Antenna Ports
1x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
1x HDMI Port
1x DisplayPort 1.4
2x USB 2.0
4x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A
1x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C
2x RJ-45
HD Audio Jacks
1x ASUS Wi-Fi Module
1x Intel I225-V 2.5Gb Ethernet
1x DisplayPort 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0a
3x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A
1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C
2x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
2x USB 2.0
1x USB BIOS FlashBack Button(s)
3x LED-illuminated audio jacks
2x SMA antenna connectors (2T2R)
1x DisplayPort
1x HDMI port
1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C
1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A
4x USB 3.2 Gen1
2x USB 2.0/1.1
1x Q-Flash Plus button
1x RJ-45 port
3x audio jacks
Wi-Fi / BT Antenna
1x DisplayPort
1x HDMI port
2x USB 2.0 ports
2x USB 3.2 Gen1 5Gbps Type-A
1x USB 3.2 Gen2 10 Gbps Type-C
1x Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps)
1x RJ-45 port
1x Optical S/PDIF out
HD audio connectors
Clear CMOS button
BIOS128Mb AMI EUFI128Mb AMI EUFI256Mb AMI EUFI256Mb AMI EUFI256Mb AMI EUFI
Form Factor6.7-in x 6.7-in, 17.0 cm x 17.0 cm
8 Layer PCB
6.7-in x 6.7-in, 17.0 cm x 17.0 cm6.7-in x 6.7-in, 17.0 cm x 17.0 cm6.7-in x 6.7-in, 17.0 cm x 17.0 cm
10 layer PCB
6.7-in x 6.7-in, 17.0 cm x 17.0 cm
10 layer PCB

ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 Motherboard

ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX-TB3 Motherboard-02

ASRock released two Z490 mini ITX motherboards, and the Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 is the more feature-rich and higher end Z490 ITX motherboard between the two. Judging the by looks and the name of the motherboard alone, one can tell that it’s a premium motherboard geared towards enthusiasts and gamers.

It features a 9 power phase design with 90A power chokes. There are two active fans that cools the heatsink of the MOSFETs to handle Intel’s 10th Gen 10 Core CPU. ASRock is also incorporating their Base Frequency Boost technology in this motherboard; proving base frequency boost on non-K series CPUs. Although, I wouldn’t count on this feature much; as there is a possibility that Intel might patch and close this “feature”. This is, after all, out of Intel’s specs.

The ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 is also built with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, aside from Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax. Wi-Fi 6 is basically a standard on the Z490 motherboards, but not all Z490 motherboards are built with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.

There are RGB lighting at the bottom part of the motherboard, but I find the positioning of the other two SATA connectors a bit odd. It’s located right above the PCIe x16 slot; on the same daughterboard where the two M.2 slots are located.

The ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 is available on Amazon.com here and Newegg.com here

ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac Motherboard

ASRock Z490M-ITX-ac Motherboard-02
Among the five mini-ITX Z490 motherboard listed here, the ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac is the cheapest. But it’s also the motherboard with lesser features compared to the other four. It also doesn’t have that gaming-vibe to it; it’s just a plain and simple mini-ITX motherboard. This is more of a value-oriented motherboard, rather than a flagship or high-end product.

ASRock has to cut some corners in order to bring it at a more affordable price. It features an 8 power phase design with 60A power chokes. It’s lower compared to the Phantom Gaming-ITX, but it does also feature the Base Frequency Boost technology as well (for now at least). Another area where the feature is less stellar is its connectivity options. The ASRock Z490-ITX doesn’t have Thunderbolt 3 connection, and it doesn’t seem to feature the newer and faster WiFi 6 802.11ax. Bluetooth is also only version 4.3/3.0.

The number of USB and audio ports on the rear I/O panel is also fewer; but surprisingly, it has two Ethernet LAN ports. I think this motherboard with be okay to pair with something like a Core i5-10600K or i7-10700K. It may be able to handle the i9-10900K, though I wouldn’t expect much when it comes to its overclocking capabilities. Anyway, if you want a mini-ITX on the cheap side, this is a good option. But if you are planning to get a non-K CPU, better wait for the H470/B460 motherboards to be released.

The ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac is available on Amazon.com here and Newegg.com here

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming Mini-ITX Motherboard

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming -01
Like its predecessor, the Asus ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming is probably going to be the more popular mini-ITX motherboard here. It has a really attractive set of features, not to mention it looks aesthetically pleasing as well. The RGB lighting is very minimal; you can only see RGB lighting on the ROG logo on top of the M.2 heat sink shield area.

It doesn’t have Thunderbolt 3 support, but it sports the latest Wi-Fi 6 connectivity and the faster USB 3.2 Gen2 connection. Its audio section is also beefed up with SupremeFX S1220A codec. Like the other higher-end Z490 mini-ITX motherboards, this one also has an active cooling fan located on VRM section near the rear I/O ports. Asus is using a custom Delta Superflo; a custom-made low noise fan that is said to cool the VRM area by up to 12° Celsius.

When I visually inspected the motherboard, it looks like Asus has properly laid out the onboard headers and connectors. The CPU and AIO pump headers are located on top and the four SATA connectors are located at the bottom right-side edge of the motherboard. I really don’t like it when motherboard manufacturer’s put the SATA connectors behind the DIMM slots, or to the left of the DIMM slots. It’s hard to access and cable manage those SATA ports if ever located on top of the PCIe slot and to the left of the DIMM slots.

The Asus ROG Strix Z490I-Gaming also comes with all the bells and whistles Asus usually bundle with their ROG motherboards. This includes 5-way optimization feature, Sonic Studio III, Armoury Crate, and RAMCache III. Almost forgot, but this motherboard features an 8+2 power stages that combines the high-side and low-side MOSFETs and drivers into a single package. This basically has two more power stages compared to the other ITX motherboards.

The ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming Z490 is available on Amazon.com here and Newegg.com here

Gigabyte Z490I AORUS Ultra Mini-ITX Motherboard

GIGABYTE Z490I AORUS Ultra -01
Another Z490 mini-ITX motherboard that I think will be popular is the Gigabyte Z490I Aorus Ultra. Based on specs sheet, it has a direct 8 phase digital power design with 90A smart power stage. Gigabyte is also using a 10-layer PCB; twice the copper in the PCB; and looks like Gigabyte has implemented a robust power delivery system with digital PWM, driver MOSFET, Tantalum capacitor and CPU power connector.

Gigabyte also designed the Z490I Aorus Ultra to support PCIe 4.0 interface or at least be “ready” for PCIe 4.0. Right now, the 10th Gen Intel CPU doesn’t support PCIe 4.0, but the next gen Rocket Lake is said to support PCIe 4.0. So, this offers a bit of “future-proofing” if ever you plan to upgrade the CPU later.

This Z490 mini-ITX motherboard is said to be capable of supporting up to 5000MHz (OC) DDR4 memory speed. That’s really fast, although I haven’t seen someone overclocking their memory to 5000MHz using this motherboard yet. There is no active fan cooling solution, but Gigabyte is using a large multi-layered heatsink with two 2 heat pipes. There’s also RGB lighting on the right-hand side of the motherboard.

The Gigabyte Z490I Aorus Ultra doesn’t have Thunderbolt 3 support, but it’s built with the latest Wi-Fi 6 AX201 with Bluetooth 5.1 and USB 3.2 Gen2 connectors. If you want a bit of future proofing and some RBG lighting, you might want to consider this one.

The Gigabyte Z490I Aorus Ultra is available on Amazon.com here and Newegg.com here

MSI MEG Z490I Unify Gaming Mini-ITX Motherboard

MSI MEG Z490I Unify Gaming-01
Last, but definitely not the least, is the MSI MEG Z490I Unify Gaming mini-ITX motherboard. Looking at its specs, it’s very similar to the Gigabyte Z490I Aorus Ultra. It has 8 phase power design with 90A smart power stage; a 10 layer PCB; up to DDR4-5000MHz (OC) memory support; similar wired and wireless connectivity options as well. They are almost identical specs-wise , but the MSI MEG Z490I Unify has a number of advantages over Gigabyte’s mini-ITX motherboard.

The MEG Z490I Unify features an active fan cooling solution, aside from the large heatsinks and heat pipe. It features Thunderbolt 3 connection with up to 40Gbps of speed via the USB Type-C connector. It also boasts an Intersil Digital PWM with ISL69269; making it fully capable of handling high-end CPUs like the Core i9-10900K. And when it comes to audio, it has a 7.1 channel HD audio with S/PDIF output at the back.

Aesthetically speaking, the MSI MEG Z490I Unify features an all-black clean looking design. There are no RGB lighting, just a simple dragon logo near the rear I/O ports. The only thing that I don’t like in this motherboard is that two of the SATA connectors are located on the left side of the DIMM slots; sandwiched between the M.2 shield, PCIe x16 and DIMM slots.

Also, one thing that is not clear to me is whether this motherboard is PCIe 4.0 ready or not. In its marketing page, there is no emphasize or highlight that it will support the next gen PCIe 4.0. However, at the bottom, there is a single line saying “Ready 4 the Future: Support Lightning Gen 4 Solution for the future”. Not really sure about that; but if you want a clean-looking all-black ITX motherboard loaded with features, this could be your best option.

The MSI MEG Z490I Unify Gaming is available on Amazon.com here

There you have it! These are currently the Z490 mini-ITX motherboards available and released. I’m not sure if more models will come out in the (near) future. But if ever manufacturers will release more ITX motherboards, perhaps it will be based on the H470 chipset instead.

10th Gen Intel Core CPUs Latest Pricing and Availability

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I love computers since I was a kid. I’m always fascinated with new technology, especially in the PC world. Many years ago, I was curious if the reviews I read were true and real. So, why not test them myself and share my first-hand experience? And thus, here we are. Thanks for reading!

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