Today, we’re looking at EVGA’s extreme overclocking Z390 motherboard the EVGA Z390 DARK. As in the past, the DARK series is EVGA’s top-of-the-line serious overclocking oriented motherboard which has all the bells and whistles you need for going sub-ambient. It’s not a flashy board, you won’t find any RGB LEDs on this monster, it’s real estate is dedicated to extreme overclocking hardware.
Up today is another Z390 Motherboard from MSI, the MEG Z390 ACE. MSI has updated their naming scheme recently introducing the MEG, MPG, and MAG series of motherboards. All three are Gaming centric with the “MEG” sitting at the top of the stack as the Extreme Gaming series followed by the Performance and Mainstream boards.
Today we will be looking at another motherboard in the Z390 series, this time from ASRock. The last time we connected with them was in January where the X399 Phantom Gaming 6 motherboard for Threadripper was reviewed, and positively. This time around, we have something from the mainstream platform and likely a fairly familiar name if you have been reading our forums over the past few years in the Z390 Extreme 4. The Extreme 4 was typically highly regarded as one of the best ‘bang for your buck’ type motherboards with a solid feature set as well as capable power delivery for overclocking the CPU. We will break it down in this review and see if it is still able to maintain that crown of being one of the better Z390 boards without paying a premium.
In a first for Overclockers.com, we had a chance to visit Supermicro at CES 2019 and check out some of their gaming and workstation oriented hardware. Supermicro is better known in the server and data center space but has been making a strong push in the consumer market over the last few generations supplying Intel-based boards for the consumer gaming segment.
Continuing CES 2019 coverage on day three (our last full day), we ran into our friends at EVGA who had some pretty cool things to show off. First, we saw their flagship RTX 2080 Ti K|ngP|n card which uses a hybrid CLC cooling solution, the impressive Z390 Dark motherboard adorned with gold plating and a 90° socket orientation, and finally, their first dip into sound cards with a high-end Nu Audio add-in-card.
For our next motherboard review, we will be looking at an offering from AORUS, GIGABYTE’s gaming, and high-performance lineup. There are several (seven to be exact) Z390 AORUS SKUs which span all sorts of uses and price points. Today, we will cover the Z390 AORUS Master which sits towards the top of the AORUS lineup.
Today on the test bench we have our first Z390 based motherboard for review. As you know from the title, this isn’t a board from “the big four” as I like to call them, but from Supermicro, a company much better known in the enterprise and server space than for the consumer side and gaming. The C9Z390-PGW we will be looking at isn’t their first foray into this arena however, as they have had consumer level motherboards since the Z170 days.
Back in the day, a new CPU, be it a refresh or brand new architecture, users have come to expect an increase in both clock speeds, as well as some form of IPC increase. Today, in the era of what I like to call ‘core wars’ AMD has started going wide and adding more cores and threads to their CPUs while Intel was behind ever so slightly in core count (for the mainstream platform) and pricing, but excelled in single threaded performance as well as loads that did not surpass the core/thread count. Fast forward to today, in an effort to answer the competition on this platform, Intel has released the Core i9-9900K Processor sporting eight cores and 16 threads with base clocks at 3.6 GHz and Boost clocks hitting the magic 5 GHz mark.
October 8th was the release date for some embargos for the new Z390 chipset. And with this date coming and going we saw the major board partners show off most/all of their new lineups. With this brings new naming conventions, new looks, and new features on the motherboards. We’ll list the boards from each partner along with any high-level features.