ASUS ROG Strix Z490-E Gaming Review
The launch for the Z490s was interesting for us. Normally we start off with the ASUS Prime and move into more upper range motherboards as we go along until we reach the apex - the peak, not the ASUS motherboard. This time around we got the beefy flagship models out of the way on day one and found that they were all incredibly strong, with their own little idiosyncracies which made them attractive for different reasons.
Thus when we moved away from those we were very interested to find out how the models which fit much more within the average enthusiasts budget perform against their more illustrious contemporaries. After all, we might want a Maximus XII Extreme, but few of us have the wedge necessary to make it a reality. The Strix though, that's a bit more attainable. Sure it's still a fair chunk of change, but that seems to be the way of things at the minute. The days when a decent motherboard could be had for just north of a hundred seems to be a distant memory.
Performance of the Strix-E was a slightly mixed bag, and perhaps speaks about its sights being set upon the enthusiast rather than the "anything will do" brigade. How so? Well with the enormous caveat that all of the Z490s are incredibly close and any of them will make you a very happy person, the Strix at stock was a hair below the other three motherboards we've tested. Not anything you'd actually ever notice in the real world, but still just a teensy shade below the very best of the stock offerings. However, if you're spending this much on a motherboard then you really should take advantage of the overclocking potential it brings to the table. With the Strix-E that is right on point with the bigger names we've reviewed so far, hitting 5.2 GHz across our Core i9-10900Ks ten cores. It's worth noting it required a tiny bit more voltage and the temperatures we saw on the previous page reflect that. However, the performance increased in line with the Maximus XII Extreme, for example, and so if you're willing to put a little time in then you'll be richly rewarded.
The looks are probably the one area that will divide opinion. Either you love the slightly glitchy nature of the design with the Strix word in particular not lining up properly. Or, perhaps, if you're like us then you'll find it just reminds you too much of those days before V-SYNC when we were tolerating terrible banding. It's just makes us want to take a scalpel to the logo and realign it so it's neat. As we say, it's very much a matter of personal taste, but even as a fat old punk it's too grungy for my taste. Fortunately the rest of the Strix looks lovely, and with your hardware in place you'll notice less than you do just looking at it here. Even more fortunately the features on the Strix-E more than make up for this slight misstep, being well rounded with more than enough connectivity options to satisfy even the most peripheral-rich user.
The ASUS Strix range has always sold in huge numbers and there is nothing about the ASUS Strix Z490-E Gaming to make us believe that is likely to change any time soon. The price, if anything, makes it more desirable than those we've reviewed so far.