MSI has banded together with watercooling expert EK Water Blocks (EKWB) to incorporate the latter's monoblock on the upcoming MPG Z490 Carbon EK X motherboard.
The details on the MPG Z490 Carbon EK X's monoblock are still a bit slim, but it appears to hail from EKWB's Momentum series. If this variant is like any other from that family, it should be manufactured from nickel-plated copper with an acrylic top piece with standard G1/4-inch ports.
The design is complemented with a bit of carbon-fiber eye candy. EKWB specifically designed the monoblock to cool both an Intel 10th Generation Comet Lake-S CPU and the motherboard's power delivery subsystem. Fully addressable D-RGB lighting is on the table as well.
The MPG Z490 Carbon EK X is actually the MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi in disguise. The ATX motherboard comes equipped with a beefy 12-phase power delivery subsystem and a combination of a 8-pin EPS and 4-pin power connectors to feed the processor.
The MPG Z490 Carbon EK X has four DDR4 RAM slots optimized to support up to a maximum of 128GB of memory and memory speeds that exceed the 4,800 MHz mark. In total, there are six SATA III ports and two M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 ports that can handle drives with lengths up to 110mm. MSI advertises the MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi has three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and two PCIe 3.0 x1 slots. Multi-GPU support includes two-way Nvidia SLI and three-way AMD CrossFire setups.
USB options here are pretty plentiful. You get two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C port and two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports. If you need additional USB ports, the motherboard also provides one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 header and two USB 2.0 headers. Video outputs consist of one HDMI port and one DisplayPort output.
The motherboard leverages Realtek's RTL8125B controller to offer the sole 2.5G Ethernet port. Optionally, Wi-Fi 6 networking, which includes Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity, is also available if your prefer a wireless connection to the internet.
On the audio end, the motherboard employs the Realtek ALC1200 codec to supply a high-definition 7.1-channel audio experience through the five 3.5mm audio jacks and single optical S/PDIF port.
EKWB's Z390 Momentum monoblocks typically sell for $189.09. We expect the new MPG Z490 Carbon EK X to cost a small premium over the vanilla MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi.