Z490 vs Z590 Motherboards for Comet Lake S: Which is Best?

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i9-11900K release
i9-11900K release

After the initial leaks for Intel’s new CPUs were released, Intel has announced that both the 11th generation of Comet Lake S processors, and their new Z590 motherboards, will be releasing in the first quarter of 2021 – with Intel aiming to reaffirm itself as the leader in single-core performance and gaming focused processors

Of course, the Z590 motherboards will continue to have a LGA 1200 socket, so 10th generation Intel CPUs will also be compatible. Therefore, whether you already own a current generation Intel CPU, or are looking to purchase one of Intel’s new CPU offerings in the near future, both Z490 motherboards and Z590 motherboards will be compatible. But now you may be wondering: Is it worth waiting for these new Z590 motherboards? 

The first main advantage of the Z590 is the fact that it will have native PCIe Gen 4 support, while also providing an additional x4 PCIe lanes – for a total of x20 lanes. Of course, several Z490 motherboards also have PCIe Gen 4 support, but the Z590 will have x8 DMI support –though this can only be used with an 11th generation processor, as previous generation CPUs will throttle the bandwidth to x4.

Also, the Z590 will have better overall connectivity in comparison to the Z490, as it will have USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (Type-C, 20 GB/s) support, for up to 3 ports (unsupported by the Z490 chipset), as well as 10 USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 (10 GB/s) ports (Z490 can only support 6 such ports). 

Additionally, because of the technological advancements of the past year, Thunderbolt 4 slots can be found in Z590 motherboards, as well as Wi-Fi 6E. This new iteration of wireless networking allows hardware to connect via 6 GHz wireless blocks, meaning more usable wireless bands in the 6 GHz spectrum. 

All in all, the Z590 motherboards will not offer much in terms of performance – since there have not been any new overclocking features exclusive to this chipset – but it can be useful for those looking to expand their connectivity with Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, and the extra four PCIe Gen 4 lanes. Whether or not this is worth waiting for, of course, is arguable, but patience usually does pay off when it comes to purchasing PC hardware.


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