Today we’re taking a look at the VRM thermal operation of 8 entry-level Intel Z590 motherboards, which does not signified these are affordable for everyone, but they are considered budget-conscious Z5 90 motherboards with rates starting at $170. If you’re spending Z590 money, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a good one. As you’re about to see, going beyond the spec-sheet and when it comes to VRM performance, there are a few models that certainly lag behind the pack.

Asrock Z590 Phantom Gaming 4

Starting with “the worlds largest” cheap committee, the Asrock Z5 90 Phantom Gaming 4 comes in at $170. At least relative to other Z590 boards it is cheap, however even then I don’t feel like you’re get much motherboard. I’ve seen better equipped I/ O on an Intel NUC, so it’s pretty horrible for an ATX motherboard. You get a handful of USB ports, three audio jacks, a PS/ 2 port and a HDMI output, that’s it. But we’re here for the VRM and I can tell you that’s not much better , nor is the cooling.

Installed over the discrete Sino Power MOSFETs are two of the smallest VRM heatsinks you’re likely to ever find boasted on an ATX motherboard. Removing them discovers a 6-phase Vcore with each phase peculiarity two Sino Power SM4 508 fets on the low-side and two SM4503 fets on the high-side, each feeding into a pair of inductors. So at least there’s a dozen low-toned& high surface fets, but I’m still not expecting good things from this board.

Asrock Z590 Pro4

For an extra $ 15, the Z5 90 Pro4 glances slightly better, though funnily the board members does away with the USB Type-C port on the I/ O body. The upgrades here include a DisplayPort output and perhaps most importantly a 2.5 Gigabit LAN port utilize the Realtek Dragon RTL8 125 BG controller, which admittedly I have not yet been knowledge with.

In terms of committee facets, the Pro4 is a reasonable upgrade at $185. The biggest upgrade has been made to the VRM, and that’s important for our testing. The committee facets a 6-core vcore VRM, but this one has been improved with 50 A Vishay SiC6 54 powerstages, and we’re getting two per period, feeding into a pair of inductors.

Not only has Asrock refurbished the current handling abilities but they’re also buckled on some decent heatsinks which they’re fixed down utilizing fuckings rather than plastic excerpts and that drastically increases the mounting pressure. The Pro4 looks nice, but let’s move on.

Asus Prime Z5 90 -P

Looking at Asus cards now, “were having” their most affordable ATX model, the Prime Z5 90 -P. At the time of writing, it’s just$ 5 more than the Asrock Pro4 at $190. The I/ O panel isn’t especially superb though it is slightly better than the Pro4.

The cooling too seems more substantial with two fairly significant heatsinks and members of the board itself is noticeably heavier. Under the heatsinks though we find a somewhat passable vcore VRM, composed of Alpha& Omega AOZ5 316 50 A strength theatres. In total, there was still ten which have been teamed up in pairs for a 5-phase vcore.

Had Asus included a 6th period I feel like this board could be quite good at $ 190, but with simply 10 power stages I’m not expecting it to perform that well, despite the great heatsinks.

Asus TUF Gaming Z590-Plus

The TUF Gaming takes a leap to $240, or $50 more than the Prime Z5 90 -P. There’s also a $260 version offering Wi-Fi support and that’s actually the pose we have in for testing. Because the VRM, cooling and the rest of the board remains the same, we’ll quote pricing for the locate simulation held we’re not interested in the wireless support.

In expressions of rear I/ O, the TUF Gaming isn’t much of an ameliorate over the Prime Z5 90 -P — without the Wi-Fi option it’s essentially the same, though there are some ameliorates under the existing boasts, the 2.5 Gbit LAN now expends an Intel controller rather than Realtek, for example.

However, it’s the VRM that we’re most interested in and now we find a significant upgrade. Asus is still expending 50 A powerstages but they’re On Semi NCP3 02150 ’s and there’s 14 of them in total, configured in pairs for a 7-phase vcore. That’s a significantly greater current ability which should drastically improve VRM thermal performance for this model.

MSI Z590-A Pro

Next up we have the MSI Z5 90 -A Pro and ever since canning the Z390 version of the board members, MSI’s attained sure their most entry level modeling isn’t an humiliation. Priced at $190, it’s priced to match other boards we have in for testing like the Asus Prime Z5 90 -P, Asrock Z5 90 Pro4 and the Gigabyte Z5 90 UD.

In words of aspects, the board is surprisingly good. Not only do you get Intel 2.5 Gbps LAN, but they’ve also included 8 USB ports on the I/ O panel, half of which are USB 2.0, but still it’s nice to see more than half a dozen ports on offer.

The Z5 90 -A Pro comes given with an superb VRM, very. The vcore section pieces a dozen Alpha& Omega 55 A supremacy theatres, these are higher rated and more efficient powerstages than what Asus used on the similarly priced Prime Z5 90 -P, and there’s two more of them. MSI has also included some rather large heatsinks, so this should be an entry-level Z5 90 card to be on the lookout for when we get to the thermal testing shortly.

MSI Z590 Torpedo

We find that MSI jump-starts quite a bit in premium for the next best pattern, just like Asus. The MSI Z590 Torpedo comes in at $240, to match the Asus TUF Gaming Z5 90 -Plus.

When compared to the TUF Gaming, the Torpedo offers an extra USB 3.2 port on the I/ O body, and a second LAN port, though it’s precisely a 1 Gbit connection, but that’s in addition to a 2.5 Gbit port driven by an Intel controller.

The Torpedo is a premium-looking board and it should be at this toll point. Though I’m not sure how favourite the blue heatsinks are going to be, it’s nice determine a motherboard with a little of person. The off-color heatsinks are huge indeed, and under them you’ll find an impressive 7-phase vcore VRM. MSI has utilized two On Semi 60 A influence stages per time represent there are 14 for simply the vcore component of the board. With that, we expect this to be one of the best musicians of the roundup.

Gigabyte Z590 UD

Gigabyte’s most entry-level ATX Z5 90 motherboard is the Z5 90 UD which will mount you back $190. When compared to the MSI Z5 90 -A Pro, the I/ O panel is similar, even though it is throws USB Type-C and a number of audio jacks, but the I/ O shield is pre-installed.

The board seems decent, peculiarity the ordinary black and gray theme. The VRM heatsinks seek respectable though exclusively “the worlds largest” primary heatsink is fixed into place utilizing screws for peak mounting pressure.

Of course, it’s what’s under the heatsinks that’s the most important thing and now we find a massive 12 -phase vcore VRM, with each phase driven by a Vishay SiC6 51 A 50 A powerstage. In total, there are 12 powerstages, so while not the most extreme vcore VRM we’ve seen so far, it’s still mighty superb for the price.

Gigabyte Z590 Gaming X

Finally, “were having” the Gigabyte Z590 Gaming X, which for a merely $20 added than the UD, you get what seems to be a much better motherboard( $210 ). The I/ O body has been upgraded to include a USB Type-C port together with 6 audio jacks and, of course, the I/ O shield is still pre-installed.

The VRM heatsinks have been previously been refurbished and are bigger which is a bit sardonic given the powerstages have been modernized, meeting them more efficient, which means they’ll output less hot, but that’s how these things seem to go.

The Gaming X still expends a dozen Vishay powerstages in a 12 -phase configuration, but we find 60 A copies, so this board should be slightly better than the UD in terms of VRM thermal performance.

Exam Setup

Before we are going to the graphs, let’s talk about the test plights. For this testing and all future LGA1 200 VRM thermal testing we’ve built a dedicated structure inside the Corsair 5000 D Airflow example. Powering it we have the Corsair RM8 50 x PSU and the Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix White saving things cool.

The 5000 D has been configured with a single buttock 120 mm spend supporter and a single 120 mm uptake fan. On the top of the case is the H1 50 i 360 mm radiator with three 120 mm weary devotees. This is a standard configuration, air flowing is good, and in a 21 position room, we’d say this is an optimal setup.

For recording temperatures we’re abusing a digital thermometer with K-Type thermocouples. We’ll be reporting the peak buttock PCB temperature. Ultimately, we’re not reporting Delta T over Ambient, instead we maintain a room temperature of 21 units and to ensure a consistent ambient temperature, a thermocouple is outlook next to the test system.

For testing the motherboards we’ve got three configurations use two different 11 th-gen Intel Core processors. The first measure employs a furnish Core i9-11900K as we’re interested to see how each of these timbers configures this processor. Then of course, we’ll overclock the 11900 K for a stress research, and for a more loosened stress measure we’ll too be including the 11600K, both of which will be overclocked to 4.9 GHz using 1.35 v.

For stressing the system we’re expend the Blender Gooseberry workload which will run for an hour, at which point we’ll be reporting the maximum PCB temperature, recorded utilizing k-type thermocouples.


Here’s a look at VRM thermal carry-on exercising a stock Intel Core i9- 11900 K processor and the first thing you’ll want to note is that this isn’t an apples to apples test. The sustained CPU all-core frequency can vary quite a bit, with the Asrock committees being by far the worst, though they are running within spec.

Basically Asrock has decided to limit their entry-level Z5 90 motherboards to the Intel base spec( 125 W TDP ). They’re the only producer doing this with Asus, Gigabyte and MSI all participating in the 11900 K at between 4.7 GHz and 4.8 GHz depending on members of the board model.

Normally Asrock doesn’t power limit their timbers and I believe this isn’t the example for their more expensive sits, though I’ve more to test them. So has Asrock exactly decided to follow the Intel specifications, or are they lacking confidence in their motif?

Out of interest, I removed the strength restraints applying the Intel XTU software and that see the 11900 K boost up to an all-core frequency of roughly 4.8 GHz on the Phantom Gaming 4. The only issue being that this appreciated temperatures skyrocket to 101 stages, a 28 stage increase over what the board did out of the box with the 125 watt TDP restraints enforced.

So if you miss the same uncapped out of the box experience that you’ll receive on the Asus Prime Z5 90 -P, Gigabyte Z5 90 UD or MSI Z5 90 -A Pro with the Phantom Gaming, you’ll have to be okay with dangerously high VRM temperatures.

Even the Asus Prime Z5 90 -P wasn’t peculiarly impressive hitting 78 C, but at least the 11900 K wasn’t power restraint now. Still, that almost 80 C operating temperature examines relatively bad next to the Gigabyte Z5 90 UD and MSI Z5 90 -A Pro, both of which ran at around 60 C, though they were participating in the 11900 K 100 MHz slower. For a more apples to apples similarity, let’s move on to the OC results.

With all motherboards overclocked to 4.9 GHz, power consumption for merely the CPU increased to between 219 and 229 watts, depending on the model.

It’s worth noting that none of these cards influence controlled the 11900 K after an hour of stress testing in Blender which is quite impressive, though for some reason the Asrock councils had trouble maintaining 4.9 GHz precisely, although they didn’t throttle. Of route, the Phantom Gaming 4 operating temperature is less than ideal, affecting 112 C on the rear side of the PCB, which is not the internal ingredient temperature which is bound to be at least 10 positions hotter.

The Asus Prime Z5 90 -P, which wasn’t exactly affecting, was far better than the Phantom Gaming 4, peaking at 96 C. The Asrock Z5 90 Pro4 was cooler again at 86 C and while that’s an acceptable ensue, it’s not huge, specially relative to similarly priced Z590 boards from the likes of Gigabyte and MSI.

The Gigabyte Z5 90 UD peaked at exactly 74 C, while the Gaming X form was only slightly better at 73 C. The MSI Z5 90 -A Pro peaked at 70 C, while the Torpedo ranged at just 68 C. The best reaction come back here the Asus TUF Gaming Z5 90 -Plus which peaked at 67 C.

To be fair, all councils that guided between 67 C and 74 C were excellent, and these results are near enough to call a tie. When it comes to VRM thermal act, they’re all much of a muchness and you’d purchase based on board features, scheme, toll, and so on. But before we wrap up the testing, here’s a look at how they fair with an overclocked 11600 K.

For those of you who never intend on pairing your Z590 motherboard with an 11900 K or don’t plan on stressing the CPU for extended periods, this is how they got to get with the Core i5- 11600 K. Basically all committees overtook with relative naturalnes, even the Phantom Gaming 4 peaked merely shy of 80C. The remainder of the pack loped at well under 70 C, which is a very comfortable result, and you’d have no issue running these committees 24/7 with an overclocked 11600 K.

What We Learned

That’s how “the worlds largest” cheap Intel Z5 90 motherboards from top makers act, and overall they are surprisingly good. The only frightful card that it was necessary to eschew is the Asrock Z5 90 Phantom Gaming 4, and while I’d naturally chipped some slack to the cheapest offering, I feel this is something Asrock needs to stop doing.

We assume they’re trying to capture buyers by offering the most cheap Z590 board out there, but they’re ultimately taking advantage of their customers. The Phantom Gaming 4 should be at best a B5 60 council , not Z590. The impression of Z590 is to offer CPU overclocking for flagship percentages, and moving at well over 100 C in a cool room expending a well freshened bag is completely unacceptable.

Therefore, you’re always going to be far better off coming up with the additional $20 to acre the MSI Z5 90 -A Pro or Gigabyte Z5 90 UD, even though they are you simply plan on flowing a Core i5 duty, they’re simply much better quality boards.

The other issue I have with these Asrock boards is that they enforce the 125 watt TDP restraint out of the box. I wonder, is this the case for all Asrock Z5 90 boards or merely the most cheap models? I don’t have the answer on that one more, but I have purchased the most expensive simulates, so I’ll be able to test those shortly.

If Asrock has removed the superpower the restriction on their more expensive Z5 90 timbers this creates an shameful situation where you don’t certainly know what kind of performance their Z590 boards give out of the box, you could be looking at an all-core frequency of 4. 3 GHz or 4.8 GHz, or anything in between.

Thankfully the Asrock Z5 90 Pro4 is a lot better, at least compared to the Phantom Gaming 4, but next to contesting MSI and Gigabyte motherboards, it’s a hard pass. In calls of value, the Gigabyte Z5 90 UD and MSI Z5 90 -A Pro are hard to beat and I’d argue that they can’t be pulsated. The Asus Prime Z5 90 -P is underwhelming at $190 with its weak feature set and unimpressive VRM performance.

On the other hand, the Asus TUF Gaming Z5 90 -Plus is excellent. It’s likewise expensive at $240, though that seems to be the travelling cost for a respectable Z590 board. The MSI Z590 Torpedo was also very competitive at this toll top, while the Gigabyte Z590 Gaming X is uncontested at $210.

Overall, if you’re looking for an economical more high quality Z590 motherboard, I’d recommend the MSI Z5 90 -A Pro and as a backup option the Gigabyte Z5 90 UD. If you’ve got a bit more money to deplete and demand a few extra features and a better quality VRM, the Asus TUF Gaming Z590-Plus or MSI Z590 Torpedo “wouldve been” our go-to options.

Shopping Shortcuts:

Gigabyte Z590 UD on Amazon

Gigabyte Z590 Gaming X on Amazon

MSI Z590-A Pro on Amazon

MSI Z590 Torpedo on Amazon

Asus Prime Z5 90 -P on Amazon

Asus TUF Gaming Z590-Plus on Amazon

Asrock Z590 Phantom Gaming 4 on Amazon

Asrock Z590 Pro4 on Amazon

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