MSI MEG Z490 Unify Review
If you've been following along our reviews in recent times you'll have noticed how much we're impressed by the swathe of RGB that has saturated the market. Whether you're buying a keyboard, mouse, motherboard, graphics card, or just some cooling fans, it's almost impossible to escape the lure of brightly coloured lights ready to illuminate your world.
However, those lights do come with some minor drawbacks. Firstly, not everyone wants a system that resembles the spaceship in Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. Secondly, the headers for the RGB LED strips are usually white and stand out brightly against the all-black PCBs we're used to seeing if you don't utilise them. Lastly, of course, nobody can agree upon a uniform standard so the wiring for almost all RGB technology is different and you can't just mix and match across brands.
Enter the MSI MEG Z490 Unify. A motherboard which sticks to the all black parts and PCB that are the basis for all modern motherboards, but entirely dispenses with the RGB onboard, limiting itself to just a couple of LED strip headers and these are in black, keeping that Spinal Tap aesthetic. This allows those of you who want a motherboard without its own light display to be happy, as well as reduce the cost of manufacture and thus purchase, whilst lastly reducing the amount of software you have to install. We know it's not obligatory to install the Mystic Light software on the other MSI motherboards, but without it you'd be left with a rainbow cycle, which isn't to everyone's taste.
That isn't all it has to offer though. Let's take a look.
Specifications wise the Unify ticks all the boxes we've seen from the other Z490 motherboards around this price point. So much connectivity is included in the chipset that you won't be left wishing you'd spent a little more money to gain another vital pair of USB ports. Heck you won't even find yourself wanting for storage slots, with 3 M.2 slots and 6 SATA ports.
Here is our handy "here are you fan and pump headers" guide, for those of you who don't want the hassle of looking through our close up photographs on the next couple of pages.