MSI’s “Gaming Carbon” motherboards have been around for a little while now and I feel the design is either something you are going to love or hate. I personally think this board is one of the better-looking boards out there with its sleek style and the carbon fiber accents really set the board off. The RGB lighting on the board looks good as well and is pretty tame compared to previous designs.
As far as Z490 motherboards go you have the basic features set including 2.5G LAN, USB 3.2 gen 2, multiple M.2 slots, and more. MSI has added to this by giving you 802.11ax WiFi (WiFi 6) as well as a USB 3.2 gen 2×2 port. Good WiFi is always great to have, I actually just moved and WiFi was so much easier than running a 50-foot Ethernet cable! USB 3.2 gen 2×2 will give you twice the speed of USB 3.2 gen 2 so it is pretty awesome that MSI has included it on this board.
Another thing I really liked about this board was the fact that including the CPU fan header there are 8 fan headers on the board. That should cover most people and of course you can configure each header in the BIOS. Talking about the BIOS it is quite easy to navigate and we found all of our settings no problem at all.
Testing these boards on a test bench it would have been nice to have at least an on-board power button, but besides that there really is not much to complain about. This board is currently selling at our favorite online retailer for $269.99, which we feel is a great price. That is only $10 more than the ASRock Z490 PG Velocita and that board lacks the WiFi and USB 3.2 gen 2×2 port. Overall ThinkComputers gives the MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi Motherboard a 9 out of 10 score.
– Sleek design and great RGB lighting
– 12+1+1 digital power design
– WiFi 6
– USB 3.2 gen 2×2
– Easy to navigate BIOS
– 8 fan headers
– No on-board power / reset buttons