looking for info/help choosing a z390 motherboard

Feb 10, 2019
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My current motherboard is having more and more issues, and I refuse to buy used. So, its time to upgrade. I'm coming from an i7-4790k @ 4.6 GHz prime95 stable, 16GB of low latency DDR3 1866 RAM. I will be keeping my case, fans, GPU (980ti), PSU (Corsair AX760), HDD, and SSD.

I'm looking to get an i7-9700k (no I'm not interested in spending $100 more on a 9900k, and I want the better thermals vs the 8700k), and probably 16 or 32 GB of DDR4-3200 (reduced latency). I expect to overclock the cpu to at least 5.0 GHz on all cores (turbo off), and put the command rate on the RAM to 1.

I'm having trouble deciding on the mobo though. I'd like to keep it under $200, but definitely not willing to spend more than $300 on it. I've been rather disappointed overall with my current motherboard (GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-SOC Force). Here are some of the issues that I'd like to avoid with the new mobo:
•bad fan controller - the Asus board I had for the AMD system before my current one was so much better in this regard. Specifically, I'd like to set the target max temp (or fan curves) from the BIOS - no extra Windows software.
•properly disable turbo - in my current system, I need to enable turbo, set it to the same as my target clock, then disable it again. Otherwise, it will limit my speed to the turbo speed, even with turbo disabled.
•it applied way to much voltage on default settings - default should be manufacturer specified settings from Intel.

features that I do care about:
•audio - how do these different boards compare to each other (I can't seem to find much info on this topic)? Asus Crystal Sound 3 vs AudioFX, Gigabyte's AMP-UP, MSI's Audio Boost 4, etc.
•Being able to hand the relatively mild overclock I listed above - I was leaning towards the Asus Prime Z390-A, but then heard that only Gigabyte seems to offer decent VRMs in the sub-$200 prices, with Asus in particular being bad.
•longevity - its been 4 years since I built my last high end PC. Things change. Notably, I'm noticing that the manufacturers don't seem to bragging about capacitor lifespan anymore. Are they using cheaper capacitor now?
•fan headers - it seems many boards are coming with fewer headers (assuming everyone wants liquid cooling). I use air cooling (Noctua), and don't intend to switch - not worth the risks (or maintenance for the type that will actually outperform a d15, not to mention the increase of noise, closer to my ears. I have 4 system fans (plus the cpu fan)

things I don't care about:
•RGB - especially if they are going to put it over heat sources - this will only contribute to overheating (even LEDs produce some level of heat, noticeable at higher output)
•m.2 - I have no intention of using it. I'm happy with the load times from my SSD.

built in WiFi is nice, but not strictly necessary. I'm currently stuck with a Verizon Jetpack 8800l. While's its speed is good, it tends to overheat and randomly cut the wifi off for a few seconds. I'll likely be converting an old PC into a router, so i can turn off the wifi on the device and use ethernet. If wifi is included, the designs with the antenna port at the top are nice - better to keep it away from the audio outputs.

What do you guys recommend?

tl;dr - I'm looking for a board with good audio, that can run a 9700k at 5.0 - 5.2 GHz, and DDR4-3200 CL14 (command rate 1), without overheating the VRM, with a reasonable price tag.

Thank you.
 

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