In conjunction with Intel’s Rocket Lake CPU announcements, board partners pulled back the curtain on several new Z590-based motherboards to go along with the upcoming chip. The new motherboards promise native PCIe 4.0 support (with Rocket Lake CPUs), USB 3.2 Gen2x2 support from the chipset and upgraded power delivery. Best of all, we’ll get to see some new board designs. All of the major board partners have released a slate of options based on the new chipset -- many of which we’ll eventually review -- and a select few may even make it to our best motherboards page.
On the CPU front, the Rocket Lake CPUs took a step backward on core count at the top end, with the flagship Core i9-11900K set at 8-core/16-threads (like the i9-9900K had in 2018), while the Core i9-10900K was a 10-core/20-thread part. But the reality is, that change won’t affect a lot of users. At this time, there aren’t many (possibly any) games that show a marked performance improvement above an 8-core/16-thread setup. And if your work needs more, you can step up to the HEDT platform or buy an AMD Ryzen 5000 series/X570 combination.
Helping to make up for the core count deficit, the new CPU architecture is supposed to bring significant IPC improvements as well as AVX-512 support, faster base memory speed (up to 3200 MHz), 20 CPU-connected PCIe 4.0 lanes, Intel Xe integrated graphics and more. As with previous launches, Intel will certainly fill out the product stack with other variants such as 6-core/12-thread processors down to 4-core/8-thread parts. When the time comes, we’ll have a full CPU review as well as an updated product list. Until then, we have some high-level information about the new Z590 chipset and the motherboards that go along with it to tide you over.
Intel Z590 Chipset: Same Socket, Different Features
At the time of this writing, Intel has not released the full details of the Z590 chipset. However, we do know a few things that differentiate Z590 from the previous-gen Z490. Unlike Z390 to Z490, the LGA 1200 socket remains the same, which in this case means both Rocket Lake-S and Comet Lake-S chips will work with Z590 based motherboards; Z490 requires a BIOS update to work with Rocket Lake processors. In addition to the flagship Z590 chipset, Intel is also releasing B560 and H510 chipsets. Typically these lesser chipsets are locked to prevent overclocking. However, there are rumors of B560 overclocking. Stay tuned on that front.
The most significant difference between the two chipsets is native PCIe 4.0 support when using a Rocket Lake processor. A Rocket Lake CPU shares 20 PCIe PCIe 4.0 lanes between the PCIe slots/GPU and M.2 socket/storage. It feels like Intel has finally caught up to AMD’s B550 chipset, at least, but still isn’t close to the lane count and flexibility of X570.
Another significant difference with Z590 is the DMI link between the chipset and CPU. On Z590, Intel has doubled the link speed, going from PCIe 3.0 x4 to x8. The jump to x8 effectively doubles the amount of bandwidth available for any chipset-connected devices (storage and networking for example). Additionally, the chipset now has native support for USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (20 Gbps), so we should see these ultra-fast USB Type-A and Type-C ports on most Z590 motherboards.
Other differences are more subtle, outside of the native PCIe 4.0 support on all boards. Here’s a look at how Z590 compares with Intel’s previous mainstream flagship chipsets. Keep in mind some details are still uncertain as we wrote this.
|Socket||LGA 1200||LGA 1200||LGA 1155|
|PCH PCIe 4.0 Lanes (CPU/PCH)||20/?||16/24 (PCIe 3.0)||16/24 (PCIe 3.0)|
|PCIe Configuration||x16, x8/x8, x8/x4/x4||x16, x8/x8, x8/x4/x4||x16, x8/x8, x8/x4/x4|
|USB 3.2 (Gen2/Gen1)||?/??||6/10||6/10|
|SATA 3.0 Ports||6(?)||6||6|
|HSIO Lanes (CPU + PCH)||??||30||30|
|Memory Channels (Max. Supported Speed)||Dual (DDR4 3200)||Dual (DDR4 2933)||Dual (DDR4 2666)|
|Intel Smart Sound||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Intel RST Technology Port Count||-||3 (PCH)||3 (PCH)|
|Integrated Intel Wi-fi 6||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Intel hasn’t shared too many details on the Rocket Lake CPU, including TDP. We know it will have a TDP/PL1 of 125W with a PL2 (turbo) power limit of 250W, with a 56-second duration. With fewer cores and threads to cool, perhaps thermal mitigation will be less of an issue on the new CPUs. But we’ll see the continued use of formidable VRMs and large heatsinks to keep these power-hungry CPUs in check. Some Halo products may include active cooling on the VRMs or even integrate water blocks to cool the VRMs and CPU.
Memory support for the new CPUs also gets a small bump from DDR4 2933 to DDR4 3200 when using the new Rocket Lake-based processors. The new value now matches AMD’s official maximum for memory support. Some of the new boards support overclocked DDR4 to speeds well over 5000 MHz - similar to what we saw with Z490. As usual, your mileage will vary, and working with the correct CPU (with a good integrated memory controller) and memory kit is critical when chasing high memory clocks. That said, the sweet spot for memory speeds and performance per dollar is likely around where it currently is, DDR4 3600-3800 with CL14/16. Much beyond that and the kits’ price goes up sharply while performance doesn’t follow linearly.
The networking situation doesn’t change too much on Z590. The chipset continues integrated support for Intel CNVi Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi 6) and Wireless-AX. All the board partners need to do is add the Wi-Fi card to the board. You’ll find 2.5 Gb NICs on most boards on the wired front, while some flagships go higher with 5 GbE or 10 GbE. The budget boards will use 1 GbE, which is still acceptable for most users. Since most of you don’t have 1 Gb-plus internet service in the first place, the faster ports are still valuable for transfers within your network (assuming the slowest part is up to the task).
Little is known about the USB configuration far, but we know that the USB 3.2 Gen2x2 (20 Gbps) is supported natively. Port counts for USB USB 3.2 Gen1/2 (5/10 Gbps, respectively), haven’t been confirmed either, but we don’t expect it to change much from the six (Gen2) and 10 (Gen1) ports already supported.
No details were shared on the SATA3 6 Gbps port count, but we expect that to remain the same at six as well. Any motherboards with more than six ports use a third-party controller, typically from ASMedia. As mentioned earlier, the most significant difference is simply PCIe 4.0 support from the CPU. Intel has finally caught up to AMD on that front, at least with CPU-connected lanes. All of the fancy new PCIe 4.0 video cards have a native home on an Intel-based system. The performance difference with current-generation video cards usually isn’t much, but still worth having if only for faster storage capabilities.
While Z590 has arrived, we still awhile to wait to see how the new CPUs fare, which is rather unfortunate. At some later point, lower-priced B560 and H510 chipset-based motherboards will be available. But at the time of this writing, there are over 45 Z590 boards to choose from. So if you’re looking to build a new system based on Intel’s latest, there should be something for everyone.
Z590 Motherboards: The Full List (So Far)
With the chipset details out of the way, we’ve provided a list of all Z590 motherboards announced and found on the various company websites. Board partners provided the information listed in the following tables. We’ll break things out by the company on the following page and offer some thoughts on the respective launch lineups.
Sadly, US pricing is an essential piece of information that vendors haven’t provided yet, but we’ll fill in the chart as we receive the information. That said, early pricing info from Europe indicates that prices will be high, especially for flagship boards.
|Model||Size||Price (MSRP)||Price (Amazon/Newegg)|
|ASRock Z590 Taichi||ATX||?||TBD|
|ASRock Z590 PG Velocita||ATX||?||TBD|
|ASRock Z590 Steel Legend||mITX||?||TBD|
|ASRock Z590 Steel Legend WiFi 6E||ATX||?||TBD|
|ASRock Z590 Phantom Gaming 4||ATX||?||TBD|
|ASRock Z590 Pro 4||ATX||?||TBD|
|ASRock Z590M Pro 4||mATX||?||TBD|
|ASRock Z590 Phantom Gaming 4 AC||ATX||?||TBD|
|ASRock Z590 Extreme WiFi 6E||?||?||TBD|
|ASRock Z590 Extreme||?||?||TBD|
|ASRock Z590M Phantom Gaming 4||ATX||?||TBD|
|Asus ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial||E-ATX||?||TBD|
|Asus ROG Maximus XIII Extreme||E-ATX||?||TBD|
|Asus ROG Maximus XIII Hero||ATX||?||TBD|
|Asus ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi||ATX||?||TBD|
|Asus TUF Gaming Z590 Plus WiFi||ATX||?||TBD|
|Asus Prime Z590-A||ATX||?||TBD|
|Biostar Z590 Valkyrie 5.0||ATX||?||TBD|
|Biostar Z590I Valkyrie 5.0||mITX||?||TBD|
|Biostar Racing Z590GTA 5.0||ATX||?||TBD|
|Evga Z590 Dark||E-ATX||?||TBD|
|Evga Z590 FTW WiFi||ATX||?||TBD|
|Gigabyte Z590 AORUS Xtreme Waterforce||E-ATX||?||TBD|
|Gigabyte Z590 AORUS Xtreme||TBD|
|Gigabyte Z590 AORUS Master||E-ATX||?||TBD|
|Gigabyte Z590 AORUS Tachyon||ATX||?||TBD|
|Gigabyte Z590 AORUS Ultra||ATX||?||TBD|
|Gigabyte Z590 AORUS Pro AX||ATX||?||TBD|
|Gigabyte Z590 AORUS Elite AX||ATX||?||TBD|
|Gigabyte Z590 AORUS Elite||ATX||?||TBD|
|Gigabyte Z590I AORUS Ultra||ATX||?||TBD|
|Gigabyte Z590 Vision G||ATX||?||TBD|
|Gigabyte Z590 Vision D||ATX||?||TBD|
|Gigabyte Z590I Vision D||ATX||?||TBD|
|MSI MEG Z590 Godlike||E-ATX||?||TBD|
|MSI MEG Z590 Ace||ATX||?||TBD|
|MSI MEG Z590 Unify||ATX||?||TBD|
|MSI MEG Z590I Unigy||mITX||?||TBD|
|MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi||ATX||?||TBD|
|MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Force||ATX||?||TBD|
|MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Edge WiFi||ATX||?||TBD|
|MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Plus||ATX||?||TBD|
|MSI MPG Z590M Gaming Edge WiFi||mATX||?||TBD|
|MSI MAG Z590 Tomahawk WiFi||ATX||?||TBD|
|MSI MAG Z590 Torpedo||ATX||?||TBD|
|MSI Z590 Pro WiFi||ATX||?||TBD|
|MSI Z590-A Pro||ATX||?||TBD|
|MSI Z590 Pro 12VO||ATX||?||TBD|
MORE: Best Motherboards
MORE: All Motherboard Content