Question Z390 Motherboard Reviews?

Alec Lockhart

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So, I am in search for a Z390 motherboard. I will be upgrading to an i9-9900K, so I need a pretty beefy one. I am considering the Gigabyte Aorus Master, ASRock Phantom Gaming 9 and lastly the MSI MEG ACE. I have been researching like crazy, and I am really leaning toward the Gigabyte or the ASRock, but I am still at a loss.

Amazon reviews have been less than favorable for the Aorus. There are a couple reviews that basically call this thing garbage. Who is to trust? Most other sources praise the Aorus.

The Gaming 9 has great reviews, but is missing some features.

The ACE has been criticized pretty heavily due to VRM cooling, which makes sense.

Overall, I just want a moderate OC experience with good VRMs and features without breaking the bank (under $300). I would also ideally like to order from Amazon.

Let me know what you guys think.
 

cin19

Titan
Moderator
Don't bother to read the reviews from amazon, newegg, or something like that. You should read the review from professional PC hardware sites.
Like the Gigabyte z390 Aorus Master
https://www.guru3d.com/articles-pages/gigabyte-z390-aorus-master-review,1.html

After read those reviews, make up your mind to buy the one you like.
 

jon96789

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The Aorus Master gives the specs of their VRM as a 12+2 phase which is very good for high powered CPUs... MSi does not give any specs on their VRM design which makes me suspect. Their X570 Ace has a very good VRM design but at least they give the specs (a 12+2 phase as well) on that one. Their Z390 board has less components on the VRM design which may mean a weaker VRM design. Since the 9900K does require a lot of power, i would lean to the Aorus Master
 

fbm211

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Aorus Master. Solid reviews. Any reason your not considering Asus Maximus Hero. Best Bios in the industry imo. (Although I'm torn between the Aorus Master And Asus Maximus Hero for my next upgrade.)
 
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Alec Lockhart

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The Aorus Master gives the specs of their VRM as a 12+2 phase which is very good for high powered CPUs... MSi does not give any specs on their VRM design which makes me suspect. Their X570 Ace has a very good VRM design but at least they give the specs (a 12+2 phase as well) on that one. Their Z390 board has less components on the VRM design which may mean a weaker VRM design. Since the 9900K does require a lot of power, i would lean to the Aorus Master
So, both are technically 12 phase (6 x 2) according to the comparison sheet, but the MSI board is a (6 x 2) + 0 whereas the Gigabyte board is a (6 x 2) + 2. I will not be using the integrated graphics, so that +0 is fine for me. As far as components go, MSI uses good stuff.

The only thing that's keeping me from the Aorus is mostly the BIOS and some misc. reviews I have seen that say Gigabyte has poor quality control. I have experience with MSI as well which helps.
 

Alec Lockhart

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Aorus Master. Solid reviews. Any reason your not considering Asus Maximus Hero. Best Bios in the industry imo. (Although I'm torn between the Aorus Master And Asus Maximus Hero for my next upgrade.)
I agree that Asus is a good company, but their lying scheme with VRMs has made me avoid them (no doublers, true 4-phase, not 8).

I have always bought Asus in past, but for the Z390 boards I dunno.

So far 2/2 votes for Aorus though.
 

jon96789

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On a side note, MSi has been getting a lot of flack for their MPG line of AM4 motherboards... Their X570 MPG line of boards are generally panned for their atrocious 4+2 or 5+2 VRM designs which cannot handle the current draw of the AMD 105-watt CPUs. Their VRMs hit temps of 100-125 degrees and also throttles down the CPU when the boards hit the thermal limits of the VRMs. They work fine with the 65-watt CPUs but to claim that their boards can handle the top end AMDs makes me suspect them more. I had a MSi MPG X570 Gaming Pro Carbon with a AMD 3900x and it cooked the VRMs because it would throttle the CPU at 95 degrees.

That's why I now try to look at the power supply design of the boards more. I got burned once (punny) and do not want to end up wasting money again. The ASUS board VRMs that replaced the MSi runs super cool, at about 40-50 degrees C compared to my previous MSi boards 95 degrees, a huge difference.

With each new CPU, Intel and AMD are pushing the power limits on the motherboards. You just gotta make sure that your board can supply the necessary current to the CPU without overheating....
 

Alec Lockhart

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On a side note, MSi has been getting a lot of flack for their MPG line of AM4 motherboards... Their X570 MPG line of boards are generally panned for their atrocious 4+2 or 5+2 VRM designs which cannot handle the current draw of the AMD 105-watt CPUs. Their VRMs hit temps of 100-125 degrees and also throttles down the CPU when the boards hit the thermal limits of the VRMs. They work fine with the 65-watt CPUs but to claim that their boards can handle the top end AMDs makes me suspect them more. I had a MSi MPG X570 Gaming Pro Carbon with a AMD 3900x and it cooked the VRMs because it would throttle the CPU at 95 degrees.

That's why I now try to look at the power supply design of the boards more. I got burned once (punny) and do not want to end up wasting money again. The ASUS board VRMs that replaced the MSi runs super cool, at about 40-50 degrees C compared to my previous MSi boards 95 degrees, a huge difference.
In all fairness, this is X570 vs. Z390 and MPG vs. MEG lines. Asus uses a different VRM design for the X570 boards. I appreciate the input, but I don't believe it scales in this situation.

Sidenote, opinions on the 3900X?
 

cin19

Titan
Moderator
Sorry I don't read any those reviews yet, so i can't make any recommend. But from what you said, may buy the Gigabyte Aorus Master, at least no the MSI MEG ACE because the VRM cooling.

Because you want to oc the i9 so that you want the MB has good VRM and VRM cooling, and read the review to see which MB can do better, eg. oc the i9 to 5ghz, and you want to see the core voltage is lower for oc to that ghz. Also you want to comparison the RAM oc too, and look for the features ( RGB or no RGB, USB c-type) you want, because some of the feature you may never use.
 
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jon96789

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Depends on what you will be using the PC for... If you are primarily a gamer, then Intel will be the way to go... But if you using the PC for work (especially video or photo encoding, editing), the AMD 3900x is the way to go... The 12-cores of the AMD really kills the Intel CPUs in that type of work.

You have to get used to the idea that the AMD CPU core speed is quite suspect. For example, my 3900x is rated 3.8 GHz base and 4.6 Turbo by AMD, but the Turbo mode is only rated for a couple of cores, not all cores. My CPU will hit 4.5 GHz on a couple of cores, the rest will hit 4.3 GHz. But when my CPU is working on video encoding, all the cores will settle down on a speed of about 4.0 GHz. Even when using Prime95 to stress the CPU, the speed does not increase much, hitting an average of 4.1 GHz.

I do not overclock my CPU. But I can tell that the AMD is quick when multi-core apps are used. When I encode a 1080P video with H.264 codec in the highest quality mode, it can take about 20-40 minutes. Doing the same encode on an Intel i9-9900K took over an hour.

Finally, the 105-watt CPUs really demands a good power supply design on the motherboard. A lot of AM4 boards cannot meet the power requirements for the latest AMD CPUs. The boards were designed for the older 65-watt CPUs and they are fine for that purpose, but they fail miserably with the 3800x/3900x/3950x. Generally ASUS appears to have the best boards, with Gigabyte second, but MSI's MPG line is terrible (the MEG line is okay).

Of course, with the higher power draw, the 3900x CPU runs a lot hotter as well. My old Intel i7-6700K averaged 35 degrees C and maxed out at about 65-70 degrees with an air cooler. My AMD 3900x averages 50 degrees on idle and can hit close to 90 degrees under load, and that's with a 280mm AIO cooler.
 
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In my opinion:

Graphics Cards - MSI. I've had 4 MSI GPUs without any issues.
Motherboards - Gigabyte. I still have a system with a Core 2 Quad using a Gigabyte motherboard - no issues. My recent build is using a Gigabyte z390 Gaming SLI motherboard (with an i5-9600k) and is running great.
 
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Alec Lockhart

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Depends on what you will be using the PC for... If you are primarily a gamer, then Intel will be the way to go... But if you using the PC for work (especially video or photo encoding, editing), the AMD 3900x is the way to go... The 12-cores of the AMD really kills the Intel CPUs in that type of work.
Fair evaluation! I have considered Ryzen but the gaming performance wasn't as good.
 

Alec Lockhart

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Is this a pure gaming build? What graphics card? What resolution/refresh rate is your monitor?

At 1440p and up there isn't much benefit to getting anything higher than an R5 3600.
Yes, for gaming. I have a 1080 Ti currently. Will be upgrading to 1440p 144hz (current 1080p 144hz). I am really going for the i9 to be more future-proof.
 

TJ Hooker

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Future proofing is a fool's errand, nobody knows what sort of CPU is going to be best for gaming years from now. It's your money, but IMO you're better off getting what you need now and for the foreseeable future (which would be a 3600, maybe a 3700X, from the AMD side), and then upgrading when you need to.
 

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