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NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review: Shrouds Everywhere

Solid performance, budget-friendly price and feature-rich

NZXT N7 Z490
(Image: © NZXT)

Software

NZXT doesn’t include a bunch of applications, but takes more of a single program route with its CAM software. CAM monitors your PC, controls fans and RGB lighting, audio, and includes overclocking capabilities. The program is easy to use and worked well in our short time with it, controlling fans and making some on-the-fly system adjustments when overclocking.

Firmware

To give you a sense of the Firmware, we’ve gathered screenshots showing a majority of the BIOS screens.

NZXT worked with ASRock to help develop this board and it shows a bit with the overall setup of the BIOS. Across the top are several headers, including Main, Overclocking, Advanced, Tool, PC Monitoring, and more. Editable fields are on the left, while descriptions of each selection are on the right.

The BIOS is black, white and purple, matching NZXT’s brand colors while also being easy to read. Most options are found just under the sub-heading and you do not have to dig down to find commonly used options. Overall, the BIOS is ergonomic for the user, with most of what you need easily accessible. We didn’t have any issues working in this BIOS.

Test System and Comparison Products 

Our test system uses Windows 10 64-bit OS (1909) with all threat mitigations applied. The motherboard BIOS used is the latest non-beta available to the public, unless otherwise noted. The hardware used is as follows: 

CPUIntel i9-10900K (opens in new tab)
MemoryG.Skill Trident Z Neo 2x8GB DDR4 3600 (F4-3600C16D-16GTZNC) (opens in new tab)
Memory 2G.Skill Trident Z Royale 4x8GB DDR4 4000 (F4-4000C18Q-32GTRS) (opens in new tab)
GPUAsus ROG Strix RTX 2070 (opens in new tab)
CPU CoolerCorsair H150i (opens in new tab)
PSUCorsair AX1200i (opens in new tab)
SoftwareWindows 10 64-bit (opens in new tab) 1909
Graphics DriverNvidia Driver 445.75
SoundIntegrated HD audio
NetworkIntegrated Networking (GbE or 2.5 GbE)
Graphics DriverGeForce 445.74

For this review, we’ll be directly comparing the NZXT N7 Z490 ($229.99) to the Biostar Z490GTA Evo ($249) and the ASRock Z490 PG Velocita ($259.99 (opens in new tab)). 

Benchmark Settings

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
PCMark 10Version 2.1.2177 64
Essentials, Productivity, Digital Content Creation, MS Office
3DMarkVersion 2.11.6866 64
Firestrike Extreme and Time Spy Default Presets
Cinebench R20Version RBBENCHMARK271150
Open GL Benchmark - Single and Multi-threaded
Application Tests and Settings
LAME MP3Version SSE2_2019
Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 1.2.2
Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19GB 4K mkv to x264 (light AVX) and x265 (heavy AVX) 
Corona 1.4Version 1.4
Custom benchmark
7-ZipVersion 19.00
Integrated benchmark
Game Tests and Settings
The Division 2Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080
Forza Horizon 4Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080

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Joe Shields
Motherboard Reviewer

Joe Shields is a Freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He reviews motherboards.

  • Shadowclash10
    This is a very interesting looking motherboard. To be honest I don't like NZXT's design language as much, but I understand the appeal.
    Reply
  • olaf
    MEH ... you'r just paying for that stupid shourd ... atleast its not RGB...
    Reply
  • ajr1775
    Looks like a functional improvement over their last Intel offering in terms of value. If I was in the market I would consider it.
    Reply
  • eye4bear
    You mention in the article that the rear I/O panel has "a PS/2 port for ancient devices". My PS/2 port on my Gigabyte POS mb has saved my tail more than once when it fails to initialize the USB ports rendering my wireless mice and keyboards useless. However, is it just me but I do NOT see a PS/2 port?
    Reply