MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi Motherboard Overview
MSI has changed their design up a little bit from their MPG Z390 boards, you still have the black PCB, but when it comes to accents you have gunmetal rather than the silver. Of course since this is a “Carbon” motherboard you have carbon fiber finishes on the I/O cover and chipset heatsink. The MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi is a standard ATX motherboard.
Starting at the CPU socket we have Intel’s new LGA1200 socket, this socket supports 10th generation Intel Core “Comet Lake-S” desktop processors and should support the upcoming “Rocket Lake-S” processors as well. While the socket is not backwards-compatible with older Intel CPUs, it is cooler-compatible, so your older Intel cooler should work on this socket no problem.
This board makes use of a 12 phase all digital power design that features 50A power stages. So that configuration will give you 600A of output. The power delivery components are covered by two large heatsinks that are connected by a heatpipe. The I/O cover sort of goes over one of the heatsinks, which really brings the board together.
At the top corner of the board you’ll find an 8-pin EPS connector, plus an additional 4-pin.
Moving over towards the memory slots right before them you’ll find your CPU fan header. The memory slots support dual channel DDR4 memory up to 4800 MHz. Along the edge of the board you’ll find a Corsair RGB header, 3-pin addressable RGB header, four 4-pin fan headers, 24-pin ATX power connection and a USB 3.2 gen 2 header. I really like that all of the fan headers are together and easy to find.
Coming down the board you have a USB 3.2 gen 1 header and six SATA 6GB/s ports all of which are at a 90-degree angle. All of the SATA ports are controlled by the Z490 chipset.
Along the bottom of the board you’ll find the rest of the headers and connections which include your HD audio header, 4-pin standard RGB header, two 4-pin fan headers, serial port header, two USB 2.0 headers, TPM header, a switch to turn the RGB LEDs on an off, clear CMOS jumper, a 3-pin addressable RGB header, Thunderbolt headers, and your front panel headers.
The bottom of the board is made up of three large heatsinks, two cover the two included M.2 slots, while the other covers the Z490 chipset. The top M.2 slot supports SSDs up to 110 mm, while the bottom slot supports SSDs up to 80 mm. Both slots will take both PCI-Express and SATA M.2 SSDs.
When it comes to expansion slots you have three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16, x8, x4) and two PCI-Express 3.0 x1 slots. The two top x16 slots are metal reinforced.
This board does come with an integrated I/O shield, which is nice to see. As far as connection on the rear I/O you have a combination PS/2 port, two USB 2.0 ports, DisplayPort, HDMI, a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C port, four USB 3.2 gen 2 ports, 2.5G Ethernet, WiFi antenna connection, and your audio connections.
For those wondering about RGB lighting you have lights under the chipset heatsink and on the I/O cover. Overall I think the lighting looks great, especially if you match your build with an MSI graphics card!