Motherboard reviews are very subjective, we expect to see features based on what the current chipset offers, but what else and how does a motherboard separate itself from the pack and stand out? Well for the ASRock Z490 Extreme4 it starts with looks. This has to be one of the best-looking Z490 motherboards that we’ve reviewed and ASRock’s implementation of RGB lighting is great. We’ve seen many companies tone down their RGB lighting, but ASRock has really upped their RGB lighting on the Extreme4 and we really like it! On top of what is already on the board you also get two 3-pin and two 4-pin RGB headers to add even more lighting.
This board does give you everything that you would expect from the Intel Z490 chipset, with maybe the exception of WiFi. This motherboard does sit on the lower-end of ASRock’s product stack so some things are missing or cut-down. I do think most users will appreciate the 2.5G LAN instead of WiFi though. You do get USB 3.2 gen 2 on this board with an internal connector and two ports on the rear I/O. It would have been nice to see at least a couple more ports on the rear I/O. ASRock does however have USB 2.0 and a PS/2 port for legacy users.
The “cut” of the board is different, but that is what makes the board unique. You could argue that if ASRock didn’t cut out the spot where the SATA ports are you could have fit all 6 there, but I really don’t know who is connecting more than a couple SATA drives these days. Talking about storage you get two PCI-Express 3.0 x4 M.2 slots and a Gen4 slot for future Intel processors so you have some future-proofing there.
ASRock’s BIOS is easy to navigate and we did not run into any issues with it. When it came to overclocking we were able to get a stable overclock of 5.1 GHz across all the cores of our Core i9-10900K, which really had more to do with our cooling than anything else.
I think that if you are looking for a Z490 motherboard and don’t need WiFi or a ton of rear USB ports the Z490 Extreme4 is a great choice and you won’t be disappointed. Right now you can pick it up at our favorite online retailer for $184.99. Overall ThinkComputers gives the ASRock Z490 Extreme4 Motherboard a 9 out of 10 score.
– Great design & RGB lighting
– 2.5G LAN
– Gen4 M.2 slot
– Both M.2 slots have heatsinks
– No WiFi
– Minimal rear USB ports