If you happen to have an existing Intel LGA1151 motherboard for one of the 9th Generation Core processors and want to upgrade to the 10th Generation processors you’ll be needing a new motherboard. The new 10th Gen Core ‘Comet Lake’ processors feature a new socket called LGA1200 and you’ll find that on motherboards running Intel 400 series chipsets.
ASUS today introduced their brand new Intel Z490 motherboards for gamers, enthusiasts and professionals that will showcase the full potential of the new 10th Generation Intel Core family of CPUs.
ASUS is launching an incredible 18 motherboards based on the Intel Z490 chipset:
Pricing has only been announced for 10 of the 18 boards, but it looks like there will be a board that is affordable to everyone. The lowest priced board is the ASUS PRIME Z490M-PLUS at $149.99 and the most expensive is going to be the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XII EXTREME at $750.00.
ASUS sent over the ROG MAXIMUS XII HERO (Wi-Fi) over to Legit Reviews to check out. The ROG MAXIMUS series is aimed at overclockers and extreme gamers. All ROG MAXIMUS XII boards feature comprehensive cooling, premium components and extensive connectivity options to get the most from Intel Comet Lake processors.
The ROG MAXIMUS XII HERO (WI-FI) is priced at $399.99, so it comes loaded with ROG features like AI overclocking, AI cooling, AI Networking, Aura Sync illumination, and OPTIMEM III just to name some.
When it comes to power deliver the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XII HERO (WI-FI) features a 14+2 phase teamed power design. The teamed architecture allows two power stages to work in tandem to provide more power to the CPU. Infineon TDA21490 power stages are used on all 16 phases and each is rated for 60 Amps. Each power stage is accompanied by a high-permeability alloy-core choke rated to handle 45 Amps. 10K Japanese-made metallic black solid-polymer capacitors handle the input and output filtering duties.
The power architecture differs on each of the ROG MAXIMUS XII boards, so keep an eye on that if that is an important feature for you. The ROG MAXIMUS XII HERO (WI-FI) actually has the lowest Amp rating of the four ROG Maximus XII boards. The power design on a board often impacts both CPU and DRAM overclocking, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.
The ROG MAXIMUS XII HERO (WI-FI) comes with a 40mm fan and cooling kit that can be used while overclocking to help keep the power system running cool under high performance settings.
Here is a quick look at the new Intel socket LGA1200 open and ready for a brand new Intel Core i9-10900K processor to be popped in. This board supports all of the new 10th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold and Celeron processors.
The Intel ASUS Z490 chipset paired with the 10th Generation Intel Core Comet Lake-S officially supports up to 2933 MHz memory kits. Thanks to ASUS OptiMem III proprietary memory trace layout tweaks and other improvements reaching over 3600 MHz on this board is certain. In fact, ASUS was able to run a Corsair 32GB (2x16GB) memory kit at 4600 MHz with CL18 timings on this board. They were also able to run four 32GB DDR4 modules at 3600 MHz without issue! The memory multipliers go over 5000 MHz, so get ready to see some wild memory kits and new overclocking records this summer.
Moving around to the Rear I/O panel you can see the impressive connectivity offered by the ROG MAXIMUS XII HERO (WI-FI) motherboard. You have four USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (1 being USB Type-C), four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI 1.4b, Intel I219-V 1Gb Ethernet, Marvell AQtion AQC111C 5Gb Ethernet, Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201, optical S/PDIF out and then the BIOS FlashBack button along with the CLEAR CMOS button. The audio on this board is handled by the ROG SupremeFX 7.1 Surround Sound High Definition Audio solution. This is comprised of a Realtek S1220 codec and ESS ES9023 DAC + RC4580 OP AMP.
Looking along the board we see a Gen 2_2 header, but don’t get too excited as that is not for an optional USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 add-in-card. This is the AURA addressable Gen2 header that allows you to connect individually addressable RGB WS2812B LED strips or WS2812B based LED strips. The maximum power draw is 3A (5V) and the board can handle a combined maximum of 500 LEDS.
It would have have USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 as a feature, since 20 Gbps speeds over USB are insane. ASUS does have one board that offers USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 and that would be the ROG MAXIMUS XII EXTREME.
The ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XII HERO (WI-FI) motherboard features three M.2 slots, so those that want to run Intel IRST and NVMe RAID for ultimate SSD storage speeds will be able to do so. All thee M.2 slots are found under aluminum heatsink covers, so a screwdriver is needed to access them. ASUS placed thermal pads on the heatsink above each drive, so just remove the protective cover above the drive slots you will be using. Two of the slots support up to M.2 22110 drives and one of the slot supports up to M.2 2280 drives. Intel Optane Memory is supported on this platform. Just to the right of this image you can see part of the passive heatsink that is attached to the Intel Z490 chipset.
There are no slots or features of major importance on the back of the board. There is also no backplate or covering, which is why we sat the board on the box and not our wood table.
We can’t show off any performance benchmarks or even show a processor installed in this board, but we will be able to show you all that in May 2020 when the performance embargo lifts. We can’t wait to see how the Intel Core i9-10900K and Core i7-10700K processors perform in the new Intel Z490 platform!