Asus Prime Z390-A : No easy answer

intel has just released its ninth
generation of iCore processirs and with it comes a new generation of motherboard.
It’s always an exciting moment for me to review new generation motherboard
because it is opportunity for manufacturer to showcase what they’ve
learned and what they developed in the past development cycle which is quite
short I have to admit, only nine months from the Z270 to Z370 and Z370 to Z390. Anyways, I’m digressing, disgracing, digressing… any who
today we are reviewing Asus latest Prime Z390-A, its flagship best seller
motherboard. So yes lots of expectations and lots of scrutiny on that very new
platform. Is it worth it? Will it bring us a bunch of new features which will make
it worth the extra expenditure nine short months after the Z370 release?
well wonder no more young damsel in distress!
The Frenchman that you have here will answer those questions for you, right
after this (laugh noise) (INTRO MUSIC) So before going to the motherboard I am
going to cover the chipset. And the Z390 chipset is in all point identical to the
Z370 chipset, its predecessor. The only differences are the number of available
USB 3.1 second generation, the 10 gigabit ones, and for the first time we
do have a Wi-Fi standard adapter which is integrated within the chipset so
manufacturer won’t have to add an external silicon chip for Wi-Fi adapter
and that’s actually pretty cool but it is also the problem we’ve met in the
past three generation of chipset: nothing has really changed since the Z270 and the Z390 chipset is a refresh of the Z370 chipset. But that is also good news for
us because both chipset would support the same processor. The Z370 is frontward compatible and this Z390 is backward compatible. So yes! 8700k, no
problem. You can throw it on the Z390 and your i9-9900k, if anybody can find those, you can throw it on your Z370. I do have to
say that early benchmarks show that the Z370 has a performance issue with the
latest 9th generation of Intel processor and you might find yourself
with the loss of 10 to 20% performances on those processors alone. But let’s see,
because they’re going to be certainly some BIOS update and those performance
differentials might just disappear. So let’s jump right in the motherboard. So
the Prime series is Asus entry-level for any given chipset and usually what that
means is that asus is trying to do balance play or juggle between
affordability and feature-rich product meaning that this is the biggest bang
for your buck. this is where you’re gonna find the richest motherboard for the
lowest possible price and that is why usually I’m very excited to review those
kind of motherboards but enough talking and let’s do some unboxing. (MUSIC PLAYING) first we have a two-way SLI bridge, a fan
bracket for extra airflow on our M.2 solid-state drive, a couple of SATA
cables, our front connector bridge, a padded IO shield, our M.2 solid-state
drive screw and screw raisers, and finally the usual user manual coupon and
DVD drivers. So let’s take a closer look to our motherboard. Form factor wise, we
have an ATX motherboard meaning 30.5 centimeter long port 24.4 centimeter wide. No protective backplate on the back of our
PCB. Powering it, we have a LGA 1151 CPU socket which will be compatible with the
8th and 9th generation iCore Intel CPUs. Memory wise we have the usual dual channel which can support up to 64 gigabytes of DDR4 RAM, overclockable up
to 4,266 megahertz and that is two
hundred and sixty-six megahertz more then available on its predecessor, the
Prime Z370-A, so that is actually a five percent bump in the clock. That’s pretty
cool Staying in the memory, we have a dual M.2 solid-state drive configuration on our board. One which can support up to
eleven centimeter long M.2 solid-state drive modules and one up to
eight centimeter. Okay so now I want to point out at something which might seem
insignificant, or a detail, but which has a lot of importance to me. The M.2 solid state drive heat shield is separated from the chipset heatsink and
that is a big deal because in the previous generation they were merged
together and that did bring an issue in thermo transfer, because M.2 Solid Stade
drive tend to overheat much much faster than any other
component in your build therefore the chipset will overheat as
well and would impact overall performance of your build. So yes it
looks like a small thing but it’s actually a big deal and kudos to Asus
for that. As in its two predecessors the Z390 chipset is Optane ready meaning that our M.2 Solid Stade
drive can swap data up to 32
gigabit per second and as I mentioned previously it does also mean that they
will thermos throttle very quickly and produce a lot of heat. And that is why we
have a thermal pad ready for use on the other side of our M.2 Solid Stade
drive heatshield. Moving upwards towards the PCIe Express’s. We have six slots: three
single slots, single speed, and three 16 slots with different speeds. Note that
only the 16 slots closest to the CPU can deliver up to 16 full BUS speed, and it’s
been in gray to show that difference, so if you have only one video
card, this is where you want it to be for optimal performances. If you are going
for a two GPU configuration, both of our 16 slots will be sharing the same BUS bandwidth and therefore will have eight by eight BUS speed configuration. And if
you are going to use the three 16 slots PCI Express Lanes
we will have a eight by four and four BUS bandwidth configuration. Note that
the two first 16 slot PCI Express have been metallically reinforced since they
are the ones most likely to carry the heavy weight of video cards in the build.
Staying in peripherals we have 3 USB 2nd generation plugs, and I’m gonna stop you
right there. That seems to be a small detail once more, but there’s a reason
why we have more 2nd generation is based not only for your front panel but more
and more accessories in your build are using these plugs to power and transfer
data for example if you have a clever or intelligent power supply unit such as HX 1000i , from Corsair, which can read the wattage output and input of your power
supply in it then you’ll have to plug it in there so that the software can
recognize it secondly if you are going to you know use a all-in-one water
cooling a setup for your processor then it will take it’s 5volt from a USB 2nd
generation and of course you still need one for your front panel peripherals
we also have a USB 3.1 first generator front panel connector which can transfer
data up to five gigabit per second and finally a USB 3.1 first-generation
type-c front panel connector SATA wise our motherboard is equipped with six
third-generation SATA plugs which can all transfer up to six gigabit per
second individually I wise we have starting from the left a ps2 keyboard
mouse plug to second generation USB plug for USB 3.1 second generation including
one type C and that is where the Z390 is different from the Z370 because we
have more 3.1 second generations they can all transfer data up to 10 gigabit
per second and that is also a small improvement but for people like me you
are swapping that day in and out this is a well needed improvement to 3.1
first-generation USB plugs which can all transfer data up to five gigabits each
individually I’ll display an HDMI plug for our integrated graphics our usual
Intel one Gigabit LAN and finally the usual 5+1
optical audio channels alright so we’ve seen the general aspect of the Prime Z90-A, and already we can tell there is a few nice evolution compared to its
predecessor but here comes my favorite part of the reviews enthusiastic part of
it and if you follow my channel you know that kind of a custom water-cooling geek and for me a good well-rounded motherboard needs to be able to do it
all even on a budget and it needs to accommodate a custom water cooling as
well as you know air flow or all-in-one cooling system and in this case the
Prime Z390-A did not disappoint me. we have no less than 7 fan connector two
of which are compatible with pump PWM and let’s note that we can connect an
external thermal sensor right here if needed and if five six or seven fans is
not enough for your build who are you some Mariner you can install an
extension cord right here and add up to eight additional fans coefficient time
I did say earlier in the review that the enthusiastic part of the motherboard
would be my favorite part of the review but it is not the case so aesthetical
party is actually my favorite part and that’s because this board, has all the
other previous Prime motherboards, are AURA compliant, and in a nutshell if you
do not know what alright compliancy is first I want you
to take a closer look at yourself and your life and where you at right now is
a young man or woman for you not to know what AURA compliancy is! You got a job. In
a nutshell the AURA effect will sync all your different components RGB to
glow and dance in a synchronous beautiful and glamorous way. And this
board is fitted with two RGB strips. One right behind the IO roof and one right
behind our chipset head shield. And if that is not enough you have an
additional 2 RGB AURA compliant connectors on your motherboard. One here
and one there. But I regret the fact that there is no RGB addressable connector,
hmm… Alright, so conclusion time. The Prime Z390-A will cost you anywhere between 190 to 200 dollars before taxes and you know, for this kind of motherboard,
well featured robust solid motherboard it was a good idea to have it under $200
and specifically given the evolutions and improvement that we’ve noticed from
its predecessors a Prime Z370-A and I’m gonna mention very quickly the fact that
we have more 3.1 second generation USBs on the board both for back IO and front
panel the fact that you have more USB 2.0 front panel connector again a small
thing but really needed because again accessories and components will need
those to be powered and transfer information so that you can read it out
on your computer the fact that there is a separation between the M.2 Solid State Drive heat shield and the chipset heatsink and finally the fact that
RAM clock is bumping up from 4 Gigahertz to 4,266. Five
percent more about a bit more than five percent, it’s more like six percent
more clock for our RAM, so all those are really good stuff. On the lower point, what I’m gonna regret is a fact that we do not have the RGB addressable
connector on this motherboard and I really wanted to see it. The fact that I’m not a fan of how it looks really, specifically the i/o housing, I think it’s just too tall it’s way too tall for what it is and if you take a
closer look to it I mean I saw it but there is this big gap in space right
there which is needless I don’t know why they did this I’m not a fan of that
particular thing but these points are not deal-breakers of course the pros
completely outweigh the cons but the real issue here and the real elephant in
the room like we say in France, is: Is it worth upgrading from your Prime Z370 to
your Prime Z390? and the answer is no. If you had purchased the Prime Z370 last
year, you motherboard has 95 percent or 90 percent of the feature present on
this motherboard fir 1 and secondly your prime Z370 is compatible to the latest
ninth generation of micro processor so for my money if I have a Prime Z370 or
any Z370 motherboard in my build. I’m not gonna upgrade. I’m gonna keep
with it, I’m gonna stay with it. I don’t need to spend more money or 200 bucks. If
you have an older build, a Z270 or Z170, yes. it’s definitely worth it, you have great
value, really great features and even some engineering changes that Asus had
foresight to apply on this particular board. So in this case, go for it. Don’t
think twice if you’re still here it probably means because you like my
channel or you fell asleep in front of my review if it is the case wake up
but what I would really appreciate it if you did subscribe to
my channel like share and all that stuff because I’m a pretty small Channel and I
need to grow it so yeah anything you can throw at me I’ll take it

100 thoughts on “Asus Prime Z390-A : No easy answer

  1. Question , would a evga 850g2 80+ gold power supply be good enough for an i5 /i7 and say a gtx 1060 or gtx1070 ?

  2. hey if anyone sees this, im going with the i7 8700k, i was gonna go with the Z370 A but should i go with this motherboard for futureproofing?

  3. Thanks for the review I still have a z87-g45 MB with i54690k. Time to upgrade been trying to decide on a MB that doesnt have the top heat spread like the ROG boards as I would like to go with the Phantax 350x case but there isn't much headroom at the top for the fans. This looks like a good fit for the case along an i59600k or an I79700k. Cant decide yet.

  4. Loving your videos, I'm watching your STRIX Z390-E as well as this one to decide which to get, very pleased a got a sub from me!

  5. What would you say it's the best motherboard for an i5-9600k and rtx 2070 in a 180 dollars price range? , im looking for the best motherboard possbile in these money , i really want a good motherboard that will allow me to overclock and that would be future proof , can you recommend me one? Thank you

  6. I like your video and all but i have to correct you that asus prime z390-a does not have integrated wifi. I kinda regret buying it for this feature. But otherwise, i like it.

  7. I'm thinking about upgrading, what's the best motherboard money can buy for a i7 8700k or a i9 9900k built for extreme overclocking.? I'm coming from a Asus Z170-A but love my 6700k so much but it's slowly starting to show it's age now for some games & other work. All responses must be in USD.

  8. So if I only use one M.2 for a boot drive do I want to put it in the first slot or the one with the heat sink? Also you earned a sub my friend, I’m new to the custom PC community and I love the master race!

  9. Salut, je viens de découvrir ta chaine, bravo pour tes super vidéos très complètes!!! J'adore

    Cependant je n'arrive pas a me décider pour la carte mère, puis- je prendre cette Prime-A (dont j'aime le look blanc et le prix) ou est-ce mieux de monter sur les Strix ou Maximus? Je suis un peu perdu.
    Je souhaite construire un PC gamer i9 9900k / rtx 2080 ti. Overclocker le CPU a plus de 5ghz n'est pour l'instant pas une priorité pour moi.
    Merci beaucoup!

  10. So sad this doesnt have wifi. Im looking for a mobo that would look good for a white build, anything with white/black/silver will do, any suggestions?

  11. Hey Laurent

    I have an rtx 2070 with an i5-9600k and a hydro H115i watercooler 280mm. I am wondering which board will be better for my setup, I was wondering between this one and Z390 gaming plus or tomahawk. will be buying an 970 ssd for motherbord aswell

    Hope you can help me.

  12. im seeing on some places that it has two m.2 slots, and on other places that it only has 1, how many does it have?

  13. So Is there inbuilt Wifi card? I could not find any indication anywhere, heard from you first time. Please clarify my doubts. Merci 🙂
    Excellent video by the way. I liked the colored annotations.

  14. Your videos are fantastic. From the animation to the breakdown of specs (plus you're very likeable in general). Happy to subscribe (:

  15. I got this motherboard and thought it was trash. Only bought it based off your video. Bad overclocking with RAM. Couldn't run my RAM @ 3200 MHz XPM like I could other boards. Id say avoid this at all costs. I ended up spending more and getting a really high end board but I'd say go with EVGA for a board. It's a good video but I think it makes the board seem better than actually is. I will admit it does look really good though.

  16. great video very informative and its exactly what i wanna get im upgrading from a 6600k to 8700k and your review has sold me this

  17. Just got this card, and I'm thoroughly unimpressed with the audio volume. Even @ 100 with loudness equalization, Its just decently loud compared to my last onboard card. Is anyone else having this issue, or is there a software ya'll are using?

  18. I checked many websites and even ASUS’s own website, there was no trace of the Z 390 having any sort of Intergrated WiFi, and I even checked some forums where people asked this question and all the replies said no. So did you make a mistake here or does it actually have Integrated WiFi?

  19. For some reason my rgb chipset doesn't work :(, the tiny bulbs at the right does tho, but I don't know why the others don't

  20. I’m coming from a STRIX 270F. I’m upgrading my CPU to a 9600k, is this Prime z390 or the STRIX 390 better?

  21. I really like your Mobo reviews.
    My question is: is it capable to overclock i9 9900k to 5 GHz?

    Oh and you kinda remind me of Paul Rudd whom I like very much 😅😁😜

  22. Planning on using this for my first PC build, so dont judge if this is a stupid question but is it compatible with Ryzen 5 2600x cpus as well or only Intel?

  23. it has 2 m.2 right? I dont really get it and I need help. I have 1 M.2 SATA and 1 M.2 NVME. Can I put in both of them?

  24. My biggest bitch on the prime, it has 2, that's TWO 4 pin chas headers????? WTF only has 2 chas fans installed on these newer, hotter CPU's and MB's?

  25. If I'm buying a motherboard for the first time, should I get the 370 or 390 in this video? My cpu is an i7 8700k but I might upgrade it to a 9th gen later.

  26. If am not mistaken,you forgot to mention the crystal audio, is it a feature that doesnt worth to get atention at? I like ur chanel btw 🙂

  27. Is this motherboard worth to buy for being my first one? And can this motherboard support a 2×8 gbt DDR4 3200 hz?

  28. Hey! Great vid! Need your advice! I’m buying a new mb and can’t decide between this one and the rog strix z390-E… i play cs go and some assassins creed and doom… (can’t wait for doom eternal). So i have a 9600k so to overclock it maybe by 25%, wich board you recomend! The 50€ more on the strix do really matter???

  29. Holy crap ive been using my single gpu in the wrong slot for over a month. I even tripple checked the manual and I still missed that. Thank you so much for the video!

  30. Strange thing is that you can't install an Aorus 1080 Ti on this MB due to SATA port height. Those ports are way too high.

  31. i just upgraded to this motherboard but its not letting me use my MSI Radeon RX 580 8 GB ARMOR OC Graphics Card. It works with r9 270x and 2080 8gb. dont know whats going on anyone know whats happening?

  32. I have a question: I want to buy this Mainboard too and i have two HyperX RAMs with 3200 MHz. Are my RAMs compatible with this Mainboard? Because without OC, this Mainboard only supports 2133 MHz, so if i use my RAMs, the Mainboard can only get 2133 MHz out of the full 3200 MHz right? So the Mainboard will run at 2133 MHz only and cant get the rest out of it. So what do i have to do? Something in the BIOS maybe? I ve heard of the Intel XMP, when i enable it, does the Mainboard use the full 3200 MHz of my RAM then? I just want to make sure…

  33. When Laurent says it doesn't have addressable RGB, does that mean things like GPUs or CPU coolers with their own RGB won't be able to be changed at all? Sorry if this is a dumb question.

  34. Thank you! First video I find with detailed explanation on how to plug the hardware to get the best of the mb. I can't believe I haven't found out about this channel before! Great vids! Merci beaucoup, mon ami! Subscribed from Argentina

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