This post is a work in progress as I get reviews, opinions and information from suppliers. I will keep this page updated as best I can.
With the 9th generation of Intel CPUs being announced it also means there is a brand new motherboard chipset being released which has full support and some additional features. What I am looking to do though is distinguish which model is truly the best Z390 motherboard for the i9 9900k and i9 9700K CPUs. If you are more interested in the best Z370 motherboards then do check out our complete guide to the best available models as they support the new 9th Gen CPU lineup with a BIOS update.
I have spent a lot of time going through the list of Z390 motherboards with an eye on selecting the best models for each type of builder and gamer. With that in mind, I have been forced to include a couple last generation motherboards as for some there will be a Z370 motherboard for i9 9900K that suits there budget and features.
Best Z390 Motherboard for i7 9700K & i9 9900K
With over 50 motherboards for the launch of the i9 9900k and possibly even more over the coming months, it makes deciding which Z390 motherboard is the best for you. This is where this list comes in handy! Usually, I just list the top few based on the most common requirements whether that be enthusiast builders looking for everything, overclockers looking for the best overclocking motherboard or the budget and cheapest options available. I have still done that but you will also see that I have listed out the specification of each motherboard a little differently from normal to highlight the main difference or the reason you may want to consider one motherboard over another.
ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming Motherboard – Best Motherboard for i9 9900K
Much like previous Intel CPU lineups the ASUS ROG Strix usually comes out on top for gamers and PC builders looking for value for money. This year is no different, the ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E is a mobo that delivers in features, aesthetics, build quality and price. The full Asus ROG Strix Z390 lineup of mobos will allow for some reliable and powerful overclocks while keeping the price cheaper than the enthusiast Maximus XI boards.
The ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E is more or less the Z370 variant with a refresh and updated chipset, as well as the associated updated features for Z390. Personally, I prefer the look of this refresh as it comes with a dark themed heatsink instead of the silver/grey from last time around. If you have the Z370 model already I would suggest not upgrading unless you really want the different look and feel, or the extra features for Z390 are needed. The main selling point of the ASUS ROG Strix is the ability for overclocking. Much like the previous variant, the Z390 has amazing scope for overclocking, meaning you will be able to overclock to over 5GHz assuming your CPU can get that high and you have one of the best CPU coolers available. The mobo also comes packed full of features that every gamer should be making the most of, such as 2 M.2 slots, 6 SATA connectors and of course as many USB 2.0, 3.1 as you can shake a stick at!
Something to keep in mind when buying a new Z390 motherboard is longterm support with BIOS updates. ASUS does have you covered with their stellar track record of keeping mobos updated with the latest BIOS for both added support and stability.
ASUS ROG Strix motherboards, as mentioned, as great for overclocking and that continues when mixed with the i9 9900k and i7 9700k processors. If I were picking a Z390 motherboard for a standard medium tier gaming build then the ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming Motherboard is the only one I would be looking at right now. Packed with features, looks great, value for money proposition and from a brand that you know will keep you right. The reason this is top of my list overall is simply down to value for money, this Z390 motherboard is the best value for money.
ASUS ROG Maximus XI Extreme – Best Premium Z390 Motherboard
If you are looking for the best of the best, the ASUS Z390 flagship motherboard is really where you should be spending your hard earned cash. If you have been in this industry for a while then you will know that the Extreme mobos are always the flagships for ASUS and then come packed with the best features and come loaded with high-quality chips which allow for great overclocking, audio and internet connections.
The ASUS ROG Maximus XI Extreme certainly doesn’t disappoint. For this generation it has won my vote of Best Z390 Motherboard for i7 9700K and i9 9900K, I don’t say that lightly either. The board, in general, does look very sleek with a dark theme and RGB lighting to accent the general design across the heatsink and chipset, with also additional underside RGB to stand the board out a little more. It looks even better in person! Something of a unique feature is the LiveDash OLED screen which will display the live overclocking speed on the CPU. A very nice touch for those of us that like to show off our overclocking muscle!
Let’s get into the real reason you’re reading this, why should you buy the ASUS ROG Maximus XI Extreme over any other model. The mobo boasts 6 SATA ports, 3 M.2 Slots with all 3 being fed directly into the ROG DIMM.2 for much better cooling support, something I am sure many of readers will be happy to read based on feedback! As expected it has 3 full PCIe 3.0 slots which run on x16, x8 and x4 and supports 3xCrossFire and 2xSLI for those of you with multiple graphics cards. RAM support is up to 64 GB at 4400MHz. For overclockers and enthusiast builders, you will be happy to read that there are also a host of DIP switches specifically for overclocking and dedicated start and reset buttons on the motherboard. Another very important feature is the BIOS Flashback button and CMOS clearing switch.
Like all of the currently announced Maximus XI mobos this comes with a Supreme-FX S1220 8 channel HD codec for audio, Intel I219V Gigabit NIC for Wifi and the Aquantia AQC111C 5 Gigabit powered LAN port. You will also have more than enough USB ports on the rear IO with a total of 10, yes 10! This is made up of three USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A, one USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C and six USB 3.0 Type-A ports.
The Z390 ASUS ROG Maximus XI Extreme is the best of the best when it comes to Z390 motherboards for both the i7 9700K and i9 9900K CPUs. If you are looking for a motherboard that can support great overclocking, comes with more premium features and has some real life saving “oopsy” features then you NEED this motherboard.
ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero, Wifi and Black Ops 4
I mentioned earlier in this post that there are over 50 new motherboards coming out with the Z390 chipset. ASUS has the majority of those 50 with a total of 19 different models spanning all of their branded board lines. Everything from an enthusiast level, mid-level and budget and more commercial or “Professional”. From a strict gaming point of view, you have the full Maximus and Strix boards to choose from, all with varying features and prices.
The ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero is very similar to Code and Formula boards but with the only real differences being how they look and likely the quality of controllers and will increase the further up the range you buy. All of the Maximus range has the same power delivery meaning they should all perform similarly.
If you are wanting a premium motherboard at a slightly cheaper price then the ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero might be the option for you. The ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero is the lowest model in the enthusiast Maximus range from ASUS. The only choice you will need to make is if you want Wifi or even the special edition Black Ops 4 version, which does look nice if you’re a fan of the game.
All 3 versions have 2x M.2 slots, 6x SATA ports with RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 Array supported. The PCIe slots on on all of the Maximus XI Heros are full length PCIe 3.0 at x16, x8 and x4 (x8/x8 or x8/x4/x4) the top two slots also have ASUS Safe Slot which will reduce the chance of your graphics cards sagging – very important if you have one of the new aftermarket RTX graphics cards.
If you are looking at connectivity then you will be pleased to read that it comes with a total of 8 USB ports; 3x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C and 4x USB 3.0 Type-A ports. With LAN support coming through the Intel I219V Gigabit powered LAN port. If you do pick the Wifi model the only difference is the inclusion of a wifi adapter; Intel 9560 2T2R Wave 2 802.11.
ASRock Z390 Taichi & ASRock Z390 Taichi Ultimate
The flagship Z390 motherboard from ASRock is the ASRock Z390 Taichi Ultimate which is much like the regular Z390 Taichi. Both models have the same power delivery and the exact same PCIe slots; 3xPCIe full-length slots with x16, x8, x4. Both models have the same RAM support with 4200MHz and up to 64 GB and also have 3 M.2 Slots and 8x SATA ports.
If I am honest I’m not a fan of the general look and feel of both Taichi boards. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as I didn’t like last generations either. That being said I can’t fault the features, quality of controllers or even the price. This flagship certainly does offer up a decent value for money proposition. Asrock has clearly targetted a specific type of user, the enthusiast and worker. I wouldn’t recommend this board for those looking for something just for gaming.
The differences come down to the quality of controllers that are used. The Ultimate comes with a secondary LAN port Aquantia 10 G NIC. Actually, the Ultimate is one of the only Z390 motherboards to come with a Aquantia 10 G NIC which I am sure will put a smile on a few faces. The ASRock Z390 Taichi Ultimate is the only motherboard that I would consider a good all-rounder for professionals, gamers, streamers and enthusiast builders. With 8 USB ports (3x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C and 4x USB 3.0 Type-A ports), Realtek ALC1220 codec, DisplayPort and HDMI 1.4 port as well as the upgraded 2T2R Wave 2 802.11ac for Wifi.
The Ultimate also comes with some handy features for builders and overclockers. 8 4-pin fan headers which I think is the most any Z390 mobo has, meaning you can keep those temps nice and cold. You also have the assistance of start and reset buttons for quick and easy management while building and overclocking.