ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming Preview
Published: 20th May 2020 | Source: ASUS | Price: |
Back in the days of yore the ITX format was very much a product for those who demanded a tiny form factor to fit in their chassis, with almost any other considerations being secondary. The manufacturers were helped by the two main companies - Intel and AMD - who left a lot of the controllers for SATA ports, USB ports and the like off their chipset. This allowed the manufacturers to not include extra controllers and save a little bit of PCB space.
Now both Intel and AMD produce chipsets which are a one stop shop for all your devices and connectivity. This means that the designers of motherboards not only need to find a place to put all those headers and ports, but the extra demands placed upon the chipset and CPU combination require extra cooling too. Work is heat after all. So not only do they need to find more room on the PCB to fit the extra headers, but also they need more room to cool things, and more room for those extra touches such as RGB that we take for granted these days. The ITX form factor hasn't increased in size to take this into account though, which leads to some innovative solutions to the problem. It almost makes one want to go out and become and engineer.
A quick look at the design of the cooling on the ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming shows the level of attention to detail necessary to pull off this trick. Multiple levels, tied together as much as possible, with active cooling to help things along. It's very impressive here, but even more so in the flesh.
As always with an ITX motherboard it's all the elements you require, whilst still being limited in size. Think of it as being everything you need from a motherboard, without giving you extra PCI Express slots or SATA ports that do nothing but gather dust on most of our ATX boards. The Strix still has support for 4800 MHz DDR4, two M.2 drives, WiFi 6 and 2.5G LAN. Like a teaspoon of nutmeg it's small but powerful.