5 Best Z490 Motherboards for i7-10700K Builds

best motherboards for 10700k
best motherboards for 10700k

Intel’s 10th Gen consumer desktop processors are here, including the upper-mid-range Core i7-10700K. We also have a new socket and chipset, the LGA 1200, and the Z490, which are a requirement if you plan on upgrading to Comet Lake. If you’re already on an LGA 115X platform, then you’re in luck, as all CPU cooler mounting hardware is already fully compatible.

Today we’re looking to assist PC builders who have decided to purchase the 10700K by suggesting a range of the best Z490 motherboards for whatever you’re planning to do with your rig (e.g., gaming, overclocking, or opting to go SFF). If you want additional advice on your upcoming 10700K build, be sure to let us know in the comments section below!

Are you not planning on overclocking the i7-10700K?

If not, then you shouldn’t worry too much about which Z490 motherboard to pick, as any product from the major manufacturers is sufficient. On paper, the VRM specs of most available Z490 boards have good enough VRM layouts and cooling to support the 10700K at stock settings.

Instead, look at Z490 motherboards that have other features you desire, such as 10G LAN, Thunderbolt 3, and that are within your budget. If you’re having trouble deciding on a model not listed in this roundup, also check out our extensive Z490 guide!

That said, let’s discuss our favorite Z490 motherboards for those who’ve decided to pick up the 10700K.


Best Motherboards for 10700K – Our Recommendations

AwardMotherboardDesignVRM
Best Entry-Level Z490 for i7-10700KMSI MAG Z490 TomahawkMSI Z490 MAG TOMAHAWK14 Phase (12+1+1)
Best Overall Z490 for i7-10700KMSI MEG Z490 UnifyMSI-Meg-Z490-Unify17 Phase (16+1)
Best High-Performance Z490 for i7-10700KAsus Maximus XII ApexASUS Z490 ROG MAXIMUS XII APEX16 Phase (8+8)
Best mini-ITX Z490 for i7-10700KMSI MEG Z490I UnifyMSI MEG Z490I Unify12 Phase (8+1+1+2)
Best mATX Z490 for i7-10700KAsus ROG STRIX Z490-G Gaming (Wi-Fi)ASUS ROG Strix Z490-G Gaming WiFi14 Phase (12+2)

Best Entry-Level Motherboard for i7-10700K (<$200)

MSI Z490 MAG TOMAHAWK

Perhaps you’ve managed to stretch your budget to include the 10700K and can’t spring for a high-end Z490 motherboard. If you still want reliable performance without a high-end price tag? The best entry-level option for the 10700K (so far) is the MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk. As evident with most of the selections in this guide, MSI has nailed their Z490 lineup, offering a wide range of killer motherboards with excellent VRMs and features spanning a wide range of price brackets.

At $190, this is an impressive option for under $200 – with a decent 12+1+1 VRM design and a plethora of features not seen on other sub-$200 Z490 boards. Some of the highlights of the MAG Tomahawk include dual LAN (Intel 219V & Realtek 2.5GbE), 6 SATA 6Gb/s ports, 2x M.2 slots, USB Type C, not to mention stellar audio from the Realtek ALC1200-VD1 CODEC.

If you want an entry-level option with the features of a board that costs an additional $100, then the MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk is your best bet!


Best Overall Motherboard for i7-10700K

MSI Meg Z490 Unify

If you’re looking for the best bang-for-your-buck that offers the greatest VRMs, VRM cooling, and feature-set for the money – then we suggest pairing the 10700K with the MSI MEG Z490 Unify. Another stellar offering from MSI, the Unify has a fantastic VRM design for its $299 price-point. If you’re planning to overclock your 10700K build, this motherboard is more than sufficient.

The Z490 Unify is the best ATX Z490 at $300 for the 10700K, hands down – offering a 16+1 phase VRM design on a 6-phase PCB similar to the MSI Z490 Godlike (which is $750), and a very similar feature set to the MSI Z490 MEG Ace – despite being $100 cheaper!

The Z490 Unify sports 2.5G LAN (specifically the RT8125B module that resolves a pesky packet-loss issue reported with many RT8125 non-B’s), built-in Wi-Fi 6, 3x M.2 slots (with heatsinks), and 6x SATA 6Gb/sports. The only thing this motherboard doesn’t have is RGB, but that’s a definite pro for some, so take that how you will.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better all-purpose pick for the 10700K for under $300 – we’re sure the MSI MEG Z490 Unify is going to be wildly popular for high-end Comet Lake builds.


Best High-Performance Motherboard for i7-10700K

ASUS Z490 ROG MAXIMUS XII APEX

The Asus Maximus XII Apex. It is important to note that the Apex only has 2x DIMM slots, so make sure you consider the RAM you want carefully. We recommend highly binned 2×8 GB kits for world record DDR4 runs (an Asus engineer hit 6600 MHz!), or a high-end 2×16 GB kit for ensuring you never run out of RAM while sacrificing just a bit of memory overclocking performance.

We suggest you take the time to look at an in-depth review or teardown of the Apex. You get so much more opposed to something like the Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Master, for just an additional $40. You get a programmable flex button, safe boot button (the most awesome button ever conceived), a retry button (note that the flex button is programmable as either one), and a BIOS switch button. Not to mention an extremely good BIOS (making binning or posting your CPU quality ratings fast and simple), that supports on-die voltage reading and power draw via Asus EC, which is supported by HWinfo.

The Apex is a favorite for extreme overclockers, though it’s not necessarily the best for gaming.


Best mini-ITX Motherboard for i7-10700K

MSI MEG Z490I Unify

When it comes to ITX Z490 motherboards, you have only a handful to choose from – but the best option is undoubtedly the MSI MEG Z490I Unify.

Why? Well, the Z490I Unify offers the best VRM design and cooling out of all the Z490 ITX motherboards, 8+1+1+2 phases with 810A (720A + 90A), giving it superior thermal performance.

Feature-wise, the Z490I Unify is on-par with the ASRock Phantom Gaming-ITX (also an excellent Z490 mini-ITX motherboard), but the VRM quality and better hardware compatibility (reduced height) make the MSI a go-to for 10700K SFF builds. Like with the Z490 Unify (ATX version), the Z490I Unify does not include RGB – so keep that in mind!

Note: If you require Thunderbolt 3 for your build, then we recommend going for the ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX instead.


Best mATX Motherboard for i7-10700K

ASUS ROG Strix Z490-G Gaming WiFi

As mentioned in our extensive Z490 motherboard roundup, our favorite mATX Z490 board is the Asus ROG STRIX Z490-G Gaming (Wi-Fi).

What sets the Z490-G apart from the competition a great mix of gamer-friendly features at a $239 price tag – including integrated Wi-Fi 6, 6x SATA 6Gb/sports, 2x M.2 slots, and 4x DIMM slots supporting up to 128GB of DDR4-4400 memory. VRM-wise, the Z490-G has as an impressive 12+2 phase design – more than suitable for overclocking your 10700K.


Summary

The Core-i7 10700K is a definite sweet-spot for high-performance gaming in today’s market. Whatever your needs, you should find a reliable platform for your next build in this guide.

Best Entry-Level: MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk – An entry-level board that gives some flagship models a run for their money in terms of features. The Tomahawk is a great way to keep the overall cost of your build down while leaving plenty of headroom to overclock the 10700K.

Best Overall: MSI MEG Z490 Unify – Arguably, the best all-around ATX Z490 board for any 10th Gen Intel processor, let alone the 10700K. Extraordinary power delivery, sleek blacked-out design, and a wildly competitive feature-set at its price-point.

Best High-Performance: Asus Maximus XII Apex – The undisputed king of extreme overclocking, with a head-turning toolkit and practical feature-set. Outstanding value compared to many of the other high-end flagship models from other manufacturers.

Best mini-ITX: MSI MEG Z490I Unify – Best-in-class VRM on a mini-ITX board ensures your next SFF build turns out to be a nuclear reactor!

Best mATX: Asus ROG STRIX Z490-G Gaming (Wi-Fi) – The best mATX board for nearly any mid-to-high-end Comet Lake build, especially the 10700K.

As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below, and thanks for reading!

Related:

guest
1 Comment
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments