The Intel Core i9-11900K may not have wowed reviewers – including us – with its launch, but that’s not to deny it’s an impressive CPU in its own right. With high performance, PCIe 4.0 compatibility and a very versatile onboard GPU, this CPU is Intel’s current flagship and it’s no slouch. To get the best from it you do need a high-end Z590 motherboard, both in terms of power delivery but also to fully exploit to feature set of this 11th generation CPU. In this article, we’ll recommend the best motherboards that get the most from the Intel Core i9-11900K.
Best Motherboards for i9-11900K – Our Recommendations
Best Value Motherboard for i9-11900K
This Gigabyte motherboard, the Z590 AORUS Elite AX, comes with everything you need to get the most out of the i9-11900K, at – for Z590 boards – a very reasonable $240 asking price. There’s a strong 12+1 Phase Voltage delivery design, with 60A DrMOS power stages and good heatsinking which doubles up aesthetically with a classy anodized finish. Three M.2 Slots take care of on-board storage, with the top one being PCIe 4.0. There are just 2 full-length PCIe slots, and one additional PCIe 1x slot, along with 6 SATA ports for additional storage needs. It includes WiFi 6 and 2.5 Gb Ethernet, and a decent ALC 1220 audio chip. The rear panel is fleshed out with 9 USB ports and a USB-C port, whilst there’s an internal USB 3.2 header to connect to your case port as well. It even has Q-flash for easy BIOS upgrades. Overall this board has an impressive spec sheet and looks like a much more expensive board, but keeps the cost reasonable without cutting corners. It’s our recommendation for running an i9-11900K whilst keeping an eye on the budget.
Best Gaming Motherboard for i9-11900K
The MSI Z590 Gaming Edge WiFi sits below the Gaming Carbon but borrows almost all of the specification, making it a great option for a focused gaming machine. It has a 14+1 Phase VRM design with 75 Amp power stages, and heavy heat sinking and a heat pipe to take care of power delivery to the CPU. Gaming connectivity comes by way of the near-ubiquitous 2.5Gb Ethernet port, and WiFi 6E. There’s a USB C port and 6 type A ports on the rear of the board, which is adequate for complex peripheral set ups plus of course the standard internal USB 3.2 header to connect to your case. There’s 3 M.2 slots with the primary one being PCIe 4.0, and six SATA ports – although some are disabled if you use the second or third M.2 slots so ensure your storage set up is compatible. It has 3 full length PCIe slots, handy for adding capture cards or other expansion cards that may be x4, plus 2 additional X1 slots offering versatile expansion pathways.
The aesthetic exceeds expectations with slick black heatsinking and subtle RGB highlights, meaning this board will integrate well into most builds. Overall it’s a solid full featured option for a gaming PC with the i9-11900K at its heart.
Best Overclocking Motherboard for i9-11900K
Memory overclocking has come back to the fore on Intel CPUs. Traditional CPU overclocking routes yield limited performance benefits on these self-boosting chips and one of the easiest ways to boost benchmarks is through tweaking memory. ASRock have thrown their hat into the ring with the Z590 OC Formula, a board aimed squarely at the enthusiast. There’s a host of engineering tricks to get the very best from high-end RAM kits: SMD mounted RAM slots for better signal integrity, a 12 layer PCB allowing more direct trace routing, and a process they call ’back drilling’ which truncates signal paths and reduces signal distortion. Confirming its credentials as an OC board, there are just 2 RAM slots here. To assist in CPU overclocking there’s a full array of DIP switches, onboard power and reset switches, dual BIOS, voltage probe points, and even an OLED display to keep an eye on vital stats as you tune the PC. Uniquely, it has profile switches to allow easy switching between different saved settings. The CPU power stages are exceptional as well, combining with a heat pipe, finned heatsinks and active cooling fans to draw heat away from high current components. A sturdy backplate supports and protects this heavyweight board. We’d be very surprised if this motherboard isn’t at the top of the leaderboards for both CPU and RAM OC records such as the attention to detail and tenability of the design. The rest of the specification certainly isn’t lacking either. It’s our pick as the standout OC motherboard of the Z590 line up.
Best High-end, Overall Motherboard for i9-11900K
If you want to do a little bit of overclocking, a bit of content creation, and a bit of gaming, which board should you choose? The ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E makes a strong case for itself at the high end of the Z590 motherboard tiers. This board combines strong overclocking credentials with classy looks and a good feature set to offer a diverse, high-end fundamental building block of your PC. The VRMs consist of 14+2 phase 70 Amp power stages, plenty to overclock the i9 to its limits, and extensive heatsinking. There’s a neatly integrated bracket to mount a VRM fan for intense overclocking attempts. A segmented LED display gives BIOS codes to assist with troubleshooting and there are BIOS flash and clear CMOS buttons on the rear. The Audio chipset is as high quality as you’ll get outside of a dedicated sound card with the ALC 4080 Codec, shielding, and high-end capacitors in the audio stage. Four M.2 slots, one of them being PCIe 4.0 enabled, three full-length PCIe slots and all the other standard connectors round out the main specifications. The rear I/O is particularly well specified with dual LAN, two USB C ports and 8 additional USB ports, as well as a comprehensive audio output section. Overall if you need a higher-end Z590 motherboard that can do a bit of everything well, the Asus ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming has all bases covered.
Best ITX Motherboard for i9-11900K
If you’re planning a compact build then there are few Z590 options, but we’ve chosen the MSI MEG Z590I Unify as the perfect Z590 partner to the i9-11900K. This discrete ITX motherboard packs a bunch of features into its diminutive form factor. Like all our recommended boards there’s a good deal of emphasis on strong power delivery, and that’s particularly important on this ITX board. With 8 phase 90 Amp Smart Power Stages and a heat pipe design to cool the VRMs. This board includes a heatsink fan – a nice addition when heat density is bound to be heightened by the reduced heatsink size. This board really shines in the connectivity it offers. The basics are covered with WiFi 6E and 2.5Gb LAN, but they’ve also taken advantage of the i9-11900K’s native thunderbolt support to offer dual thunderbolt USB-C ports on the back panel, allowing 40Gb/s transfers and up to 8K display connectivity. They’ve even found room for 8 USB ports in addition to that. There’s the single PCIe 4.0 full-length slot, and a pair of M.2 slots – we’d recommend getting the largest PCIe 4.0 drive you can afford as a primary drive here.
In conclusion, this $380 mITX board lets you get the most out of the Intel Core i9-11900K for gaming, content creation or any other use you care to throw at it, all in a compact and attractive package.
Best Motherboard for i9-11900K White-themed Builds
Gigabyte has changed the game with their Vision series of motherboards, offering a fresh clean aesthetic paired with a killer feature set. They’re really aimed at content creators, with the Z590 Vision D model having 2 inbuilt thunderbolt ports for exceptionally fast external drives or 8K displays. However, there’s nothing to prevent you from using this board in a gaming build or all-around PC to give it a unique high-end look. As with all the Z590 motherboards recommended here, the VRMs are strong enough to handle this flagship CPU, with heat pipe assisted VRM cooling. Three full-length PCIe slots allow multiple GPUs for rendering or other GPU accelerated workloads, and three M.2 slots provide onboard storage with the primary one being PCIe 4.0. There’s a high-quality audio CODEC chip and Dual LAN as well as inbuilt Wifi 6. Overall this board is a very slick white and silver accented motherboard that will form the centrepiece of a fantastic looking i9-11900K build that doesn’t skimp on performance.