Intel's 10th generation processors came out this year, and they require a different type of socket than previous processors. They also work on newer chipsets, with the Z490 being the best of them. Unfortunately, many motherboards based on this chipset have high prices that are not for everyone. The good news is that more affordable motherboards are also being launched, one of them being the ASUS TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS (WI-FI). For a mid-range price, it promises to deliver top performance and excellent build quality. We've tested it, we've formed an opinion about it, and we're now ready to share our findings with you. If you're curious to learn more about the ASUS TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS (WI-FI) motherboard, read on:
ASUS TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS (WI-FI): Who is it good for?
This motherboard is an exceptional choice for you if:
- You're a gamer, and you want to build a desktop PC using a new 10th Gen Intel processor
- You want a powerful Z490 motherboard that can handle overclocking
- You want to pay a reasonable price for a motherboard that delivers everything you need
Pros and cons
Here are the best things about the ASUS TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS (WI-FI):
- It's one of the more affordable Z490 motherboards
- Beautiful, well thought out design
- Large Voltage Regulator Modules (VRMs) and heatsinks
- Generous amount of fan headers (connectors)
- Headers for connecting fans or LED strips with RGB lighting
- It comes with USB 3.2 Gen2 and Gen1 ports, and additional headers on the motherboard
- Wireless connectivity featuring the ultrafast Wi-Fi 6 standard
On the other side of things:
- Intel's 10th Gen processors that work on the Z490 chipset don't support PCI Express 4.0, only PCIe 3
- The motherboard has fewer USB ports than others and only two M.2 slots for solid-state drives (pricier motherboards have more USB ports and three M.2 slots)
The ASUS TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS (WI-FI) is one of the best mid-range motherboards based on the Intel Z490 chipset, both in terms of price and features. For about 200 USD, you get large heatsinks that cooldown the motherboard under stress, VRMs (Voltage Regulator Modules) that let you overclock your 10th Gen Intel processor, plenty of headers for adding fans and coolers, and even RGB headers for connecting RGB-enabled hardware components. This motherboard can deliver first-rate performance, and the benchmarks we ran also showed that it's great for high-end gaming if paired with a fast Intel processor. Unless you need or want a lot of USB ports or more than two M.2 SSDs, the ASUS TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS (WI-FI) is an excellent choice.
Hardware specifications and design
ASUS TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS (WI-FI) is an ATX motherboard with a size of 12 x 9.6 inches or 30.5 x 24.4 cm. It looks beautiful and has a good design. Unlike entry-level or even many mid-range motherboards, this one doesn't expose all its integrated circuits and capacitors. Instead, ASUS uses quite a few metal covers and heatsinks on top of certain areas of the board, like the CPU VRMs, ports section, chipset, or the M.2 slot used by one of the SSDs that you can mount.
The ASUS TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS (WI-FI) is a motherboard designed for Intel processors from the 10th generation. As such, it features an LGA 1200 socket and the top Z490 chipset. This chipset is the best you can get for Intel's 10th generation processors, and it's also the one you should look for if you intend to overclock your CPU.
Speaking of overclocking, the large VRM (Voltage Regulator Module) and its heatsinks should provide plenty of headroom for increasing your CPU's frequency and voltages. The electrical power required by the CPU and the rest of the motherboard is delivered via two EPS connectors.
There's a regular 24-pin ATX connector on the motherboard's right side and another 4-pin/8-pin connector on the top-left. According to ASUS, the latter is an enhanced version of the EATX 8-pin socket that's 25% better than a traditional one. They call it a ProCool socket and say that it can deliver up to 480 Watts instead of the 384 Watts offered by regular 8-pin sockets.
ASUS TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS (WI-FI) has four DDR4 DIMM slots that support a maximum of 128 GB. The RAM's maximum speed can go up to 4800 MHz in overclocking mode, but the compatible 10th Gen Intel processors can only use RAM that runs at up to 2933 MHz, natively.
On this motherboard you get all the essentials you need today: one metal-reinforced PCIe 3.0 x16 slot for connecting a dedicated graphics card, one PCIe 3.0 x4 slot, and three PCIe 3.0 x1 slots for other cards you might want to mount. Additionally, the motherboard also comes with six SATA 6Gbps ports and two M.2 slots for PCI Express 3.0 solid-state drives. Both of them support the 2242/2260/2280 form factors, and one of them can also fit 22110 storage devices.
As for dedicated graphics, there's good news but also bad news: the motherboard offers support for AMD 2-Way CrossFireX Technology, but it doesn't support NVIDIA 2-Way SLI Technology.
When it comes to connectivity, the ASUS TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS (WI-FI) motherboard has both wired and wireless chipsets on it, and they're both great ones. The Ethernet part is handled by an Intel I219-V 1Gb chipset, and the Wi-Fi is managed by an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 chipset. The latter comes with 2x2 MIMO, support for all the Wi-Fi standards including Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.1.
Audio is delivered by a high definition Realtek ALC S1200A codec with 7.1 surround sound that supports playback at up to 24-Bit/192kHz.
On the input/output back panel, you get five USB 3.2 Type-A ports (1 x Gen 2 and 4 x Gen 1), and one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port. On the computer case front panel, you can connect another USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, and three USB 2.0 Type-A ports.
Regarding the cooling system options, the motherboard has ports for both air fans and liquid cooling systems: one processor fan connector, one CPU OPT fan connector, three chassis fan connectors, and one AIO_PUMP connector. Furthermore, if you're a fan of RGB lighting, you also get two Aura RGB strip headers and one addressable Gen 2 header.
For all the technical details about this motherboard, you should visit its official webpage, here: ASUS TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS (WI-FI) Specifications.
The ASUS TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS (WI-FI) is a motherboard that supports the latest 10th Gen Intel Core processors, using the excellent Z490 chipset. It looks great and it should offer high-end performance.
On the next page of this review, you get to see the benchmark results we got from the ASUS TUF GAMING Z490-PLUS (WI-FI).