In-depth evaluation of the mid-to-high-end Z490 motherboard and MSI MEG Z490 ACE Ares board worth buying

I. Introduction

The configuration that Mushroom has always used before is MSI’s Z490 Tomahawk missile, and the processor is 10700K, which is very cool to use. But Mushroom was upgraded from 9900K before, and it didn’t feel much upgrade after using 10700K.

Later, Intel’s 10th-generation processors reduced prices, and even introduced a disguised price reduction product such as 10850K. The price of the 10-core, 20-thread overclockable Intel processor was pulled to the early 3k position, but the mushrooms still failed to resist. The devil in my heart placed an order to buy a 10850K processor.

The processor is upgraded, won’t the motherboard be replaced with a higher-positioned Z490 motherboard? After some selection of mushrooms, MSI’s Z490 ACE was chosen. The appearance of this motherboard, the materials and workmanship, and the reputation of the players are very good, and there is almost no one at the same price. MSI has learned this year. With strong overclocking capabilities and Bios optimization in place, MSI has also made the motherboard materials to fill in the only shortcomings of its own motherboard. Now in every price range of the motherboard market, you can see the star MSI motherboard products with superior materials and powerful functions, entry-level mortars, low- and mid-range Tomahawk missiles, mid-to-high-end ACE, and flagship super god boards.

If you want to buy a good motherboard this year, you must take a look at MSI’s products.

2. Unpacking the MSI MEG Z490 ACE Ares Board

The MSI Z490ACE motherboard box is still very heavy and it feels very solid.

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The left side of the package is the color printing of the motherboard, and the right side is the motherboard model, MSI AEG series, Z490 ACE motherboard.

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The back of the box introduces the various features of the motherboard, power supply scale and heat dissipation, 2.5G wired, Wifi 6 wireless, motherboard lighting effects, sound effects and some parameter interfaces and other information.

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Open the box, the motherboard lies quietly inside, and the outside is an electrostatic bag.

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There are various accessories at the bottom. Sure enough, high-end motherboards and accessories are more abundant.

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A simple list of various wires, stickers, manuals and the like..

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3. The appearance of MSI MEG Z490 ACE Ares Board

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The appearance of the motherboard is very beautiful. Whether it is the IO interface part, the south bridge and the M2 part at the bottom, there are large areas of metal coverings. The surface of the metal parts is beautifully treated, and the appearance is very high.

The IO interface part of the motherboard has a large cover plate with MSI’s MSI LOGO on it, and beautiful lighting effects.

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The power supply part of the motherboard has a metal cover to assist in the heat dissipation of the power supply part. The surface of the metal parts is also beautifully treated, matte, brushed, and AEG logo on it.

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The memory has four slots, and there is metal reinforcement at the bottom of the memory slot.

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The metal reinforcement at the bottom of the memory stick is one-piece, and the surface has a mirror treatment, which makes the appearance and texture great.

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The auxiliary power supply socket of the CPU is in the upper left corner of the motherboard, dual 8Pin configuration, the standard configuration of high-end motherboards.

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There is a 4Pin fan socket next to the memory slot, and there is a Debug indicator, which is convenient for booting and checking errors.

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There is a Type-C front socket under the power supply interface of the motherboard, and then there is a USB3.0 interface front socket below, placed horizontally.

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The lower part of the motherboard is designed for full coverage. There are three M2 slots, all covered by heat sinks, and the south bridge is also covered by a large area of ​​heat sinks.

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The surface of the heat sink is frosted, brushed, and mirrored, with various combinations.

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There is also a dragon shield LOGO in the south bridge in the lower right corner, which is very beautiful.

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The left audio part of the motherboard also has a cover.

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There is also a 2-digit display in the lower right corner of the motherboard, which can be used to display temperature and the like. There are two buttons next to it, a power button and a restart button. There is also a physical light effect switch next to it, which can be used to switch the main board light effect.

In the lower left corner of the motherboard are various interfaces, three fan interfaces, two light effect interfaces, one 3-pin 5V, and one 4-pin 12V.

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In the IO interface part of the motherboard, there are two physical buttons, one is used to clear Bios and the other is used to upgrade Bios. Then there is the PS2 interface, which is compatible with the mouse and keyboard. Then there are 8 USB interfaces, one of which is a Type-C interface, which supports a maximum bandwidth of 2 x 2, 20Gbps, and two wired Lan ports, one 1G and the other 2.5G. On the far right is the audio interface and Wifi 6 antenna interface.

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There is a half-packed metal backplane on the back of the motherboard, which can strengthen the motherboard without significantly increasing the weight of the motherboard.

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In addition, on the back of the motherboard’s power supply circuit, there are metal parts to assist in fixing, so that the motherboard’s power supply and heat sink can be stressed more reasonably, and it can also assist in heat dissipation.

The metal back plate of the motherboard also has a beautiful design, which is very cool.

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PCB is a 6-layer board with good materials.

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4. Disassembly of MSI MEG Z490 ACE Ares Board

Take a look at the motherboard when you get it. There are still a lot of surface coverings on this Z490 ACE motherboard of MSI.

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Remove all the covers on the main board and place them according to the corresponding positions.

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First of all, let’s take a look at the power supply and heat dissipation module. It consists of two parts, and a heat pipe is used in the middle to balance the heat of the two parts to achieve the best heat dissipation effect and temperature control performance.

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The heat dissipation module is hollowed out to obtain a larger contact area with the air and increase the efficiency of heat exchange.

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There is also a small temperature control fan on the side of the heat dissipation module, which is used to control the temperature of the heat dissipation module and play a role of active heat dissipation.

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Let’s look at the motherboard. Although all the covers on the motherboard have been removed, the motherboard is still very beautiful with densely packed components.

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First of all, the power supply module part. Looking at this neat DrMos, inductor and capacitor, you can feel the power of this power supply module is very powerful.

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Power supply input part, dual 8Pin CPU auxiliary power supply socket, next to the input inductor and capacitor, used for filtering and stabilizing. Mushroom recommends using two independent 8Pin module lines for input here, instead of dividing one into two. One dividing into two does not share the power consumption evenly through two wires. The power consumption of the 10th generation Intel processor with 10 cores and 20 threads is still very exaggerated. In the case of overclocking, the physique is not very good, and the power consumption is directly rushed to 400W.

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Under the dual 8Pin socket is the PWM controller, ISL69269, which is a high-end PWM controller that has been used in server motherboards before. This PWM controller supports three outputs, but the actual application of MSI ACE here is different from others. Other people’s homes are 7+1+1 or 6+2+1, and MSI ACE directly 8+0+1 here, which is very extreme !

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There are 8 DrMos on the left, silk screen ISL99390B, maximum 90A. The bottom two Mos are the upper and lower bridges.

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The upper power supply part has 8 DrMos, silk screen ISL99390B, maximum 90A.

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Then on the back of the motherboard, we can see 8 ICs.

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Look closer, these 8 IC silk screen 17AFs should be ISL6617A, this is a PWM phase doubler, seeing these 8 phase doublers, then the power supply of this MSI Z490 ACE motherboard is very clear. The main control PWM controller is ISL69269, which outputs 8+0+1 phase PWM signals. The processor’s Vcore power supply has 8+8=16 phases and adopts a phase double design. The Mos is ISL99390B, which is a 90A DrMos. There is one phase at the bottom on the left, Vsa power supply, no VGT power supply.

Vsa power supply adopts upper and lower bridge design, 1 phase, upper bridge silk screen 4C029N, lower bridge silk screen 4C024N, the former has a maximum current of 46A and the latter has a maximum current of 78A.

There are two power supplies under the processor, which should be VIO power supply. MSI’s VIO power supply here is relatively strong, and it seems to have a good performance in memory overclocking.

The inductance and capacitance configuration at the back end of DrMos is also more powerful.

There is also an IDT6V4 in the M2 slot, which is used for PCIe4.0. With the 11th generation intel processor, this M2 slot should support PCIe4.0.

Four beautiful memory slots with metal reinforcements at the bottom.

There is a front socket with Type-C interface in the lower right corner, and a front socket with USB3.0 interface below.

The right side of the memory slot has a phase of memory power supply, one up and two down, the upper bridge 4C029N, the lower bridge 4C024N, the former has a maximum current of 46A, and the latter has a maximum current of 78A. Although this memory has only one phase of power supply, it is redundant. I’m quite a lot. There is also a Debug indicator on the right side and four white LEDs. There are also voltage detection points for each power supply of the motherboard for extreme overclocking.

Next to the Type-C socket, there is an ON Semiconductor NB7N1104 chip, a dual-channel USB3.1 Gen2 master chip, and a bandwidth of 10Gbps. The Mos on the USB3.0 socket is used for power supply.

The bottom left corner of the motherboard is the south bridge chip of the Z490 motherboard. The process should be 14nm, the package area is very small.

Below the South Bridge chip is its power supply. Although the power supply has only one phase, the configuration of this capacitor is very exaggerated. Two tantalum capacitors and three Panasonic aluminum polymer capacitors are all capacitors with excellent electrical performance. Then you can see multiple HD3SS3415 chips, 3.3V, PCIe3.0, USB3.1 4-channel analog differential switches, which are used to expand SATA and USB interfaces.

The largest chip is NCT6687D, which is used for IO monitoring

Behind the IO interface of the motherboard, there is a GL850G chip for USB HUB. There is a familiar 1104 beside it.

Next is ASM3241. The Type-C interface on the back of MSI’s Z490 ACE motherboard supports a maximum bandwidth of 2 x 2 20Gbps, and the main control is this chip.

Next are two network card chips, the upper one is Intel’s I219V, gigabit, and the lower one is Xiaocrab’s RTL8125, 2.5G. The standard configuration of high-end motherboards has dual Lan ports, and one of the Lan ports is 2.5G bandwidth.

Sound card chip, ALC1220 of Little Crab, top sound card chip.

There is an ESS DAC chip below, ESS SABRE9018Q2C.

The PCIe slot has metal reinforcing ribs on the full length, and there is a row of PCIe channel switching chips below.

There is also a NUC126NE4AE between the two PCIe slots below, which is a single-chip microcomputer chip for USB transmission.

Familiar physical power-on and restart buttons in the lower right corner, and a physical switch on the mainboard lighting effect next to it.

The densely packed pins on the back of the motherboard look great.

There are also white dots to prevent users from installing the wrong motherboard fixing posts.

Written by

Digital Nomad

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