We dismantle the new Intel platform. We are talking about overclocking and features on the example of ASUS Z490-A Gaming.

Intel Now it is very AMD reminiscent with its effects, when the platform has survived there is nothing to change and you have to forget about reasonable TDP, temperatures and relying on frequencies. And with such an introduction Heart i9-10900 K – these are not the stones you buy, put and they somehow work for themselves. No, these are the stones you buy, install and go headlong into settings. They don’t give any total benefit, but every BIOS intervention leads to noticeable results – new base or memory frequencies, temperatures or voltages. And from that you just catch a hum, say, a piece of iron.

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But high is expensive. And it’s not just about stones with price tags for 45,000 rubles, but about the general fixation. This cools down to 250-300 watts, and the memory, which is officially continued at 5 GHz, and, of course, motherboards that give all these parameters, and most importantly, do not burn out during overclocking. We’ll have a lot of motherboards in our tests, and we’ll start with Asus Rog Strix Z490- A Gaming . It’s not the top with a bunch of unnecessary options, but not the budget option with limited capabilities and a truncated VRM.

What is happening

For those who don’t particularly follow the iron world, we’ll give a quick breakdown of what’s happening in the market. Intel, today, with confidence and with enviable tenacity, gives way to AMD and its Ryzen. The latter offer very inexpensive cores. Yes, with a few small issues, but at such a tasty price point that the entire Core line is extremely difficult.

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At the same time, Intel actually has nothing to respond to the competitor. A few years ago, the company fell into production hell when it switched to new technology processes and now uses technologies from five years ago – if AMD makes its crystals at 7nm , then Intel remains at 14nm, which does not reduce power consumption and the cost of the stones themselves. A strange shift in architecture is superimposed on this. The Intel Core i9-10900K discussed today, although officially called Comet Lake, is primarily based on Skylake, which first appeared on the Core i7-6700K in 2015.

Introducing the new Intel Z490 platform.  The thrill of speeding up or money going down the drain?

First of all, the cards are prepared for WiFi 6. In some, the module is included. In some, like ours, only the connector is soldered underneath. Second, many Z490-based motherboards, especially those in the upper segment, will support PCIe 4.0, which will appear in future Rocket Lake processors. Our A-Gaming, however, does not have such training.

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Now for the motherboard itself. The most important is the new LGA 1200 socket. Externally it does not differ from the old one and supports coolers for 1151. The Z490-A’s RAM is suitable for 128 GB with a frequency of 4600 MHz. True, we didn’t take that, there are no bars, but Thermaltake’s 4400 MHz gained. In addition – under the graphics card there are three PCIe x16 with the formula x16 or x8 + x4 + x4, and under the expansion cards – PCIe x1 and x4.

Under WiFi 6, an additional M.2 is soldered

Underneath the drives are six third SATA version and two full size M.2. The top is covered with a metal radiator with thermal padding. It’s simply removed, plus any screws remain in the heatsink, and they don’t need to be searched throughout the case.

Then the backlight. From built-in – there is a logo on the cooling cover. In addition, you can connect two LED strips and attach them to control Aura sync . And it already has different glow modes, as well as syncing between devices. And not only from ASUS, but also other manufacturers certified under Aura.

The board comes in a regular, albeit pretty, box. The package is standard: two cables for RGB strips, four SATA, clips, a key chain, a thermocouple, stickers, a manual and a driver disk. The basis is the Intel Z490 chipset . From Z390, it differs only in the strapping.

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Introducing the new Intel Z490 platform.  The thrill of speeding up or money going down the drain?

From the external control on the board, there is only one BIOS update button on the rear panel and four LEDs indicating boot errors. For a motherboard with such a price, that’s not enough, but ASUS has come up with an interesting chip called the Flex Key . This is a connector on the button and bulb assembly of the case, which allows you to reassign the reset key. Now she can always change the backlight mode, as well as restart the computer immediately with a call to BIOS.

Introducing the new Intel Z490 platform.  The thrill of speeding up or money going down the drain?

Well the last one is the back panel. There are three main things. The first is two USB 3.2 Gen. 2 speeds up to 20 Gbit / s. The second is Intel’s 2.5 Gb / s network. And the third is based on the Supreme FX S1220A sound . Naturally, the Japanese capacitors are declared for him Nichicon Software Sonic Studio 3 and most interestingly, support DTS: X . This is an object-oriented codec, and it “pulls” sound around not along the tracks, but rather based on objects and their location in space.

There are 164 films released in this standard, but in Russian they usually do not work: our tracks constantly code in AC-3 and lose all modern technology. However, DTS: X is supported by many games, not the latest level. In the roster and Metro exodus , and Gears 5 , and Borderlands 3 , and The Division 2 , and even Forza horizon 4 .

Introducing the new Intel Z490 platform.  The thrill of speeding up or money going down the drain?

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The tests

For testing, we set the best Intel Core i9-10900K. Three sections screwed with cooling Thermaltake Floe Riing RGB 360 TT Premium Edition , and from them we had a memory – two slats for 3600 and 4400 MHz. She won, by the way, without a doubt. It was necessary to play with slot machines: in the first two frequencies were not set.

Now for the most important thing – the VRM area. It is assembled on 14 lines of 50 A each – twelve go to the processor and two go to memory. Against the backdrop of dear 90A brethren, the line doesn’t sound cool. But theory suggests that with a peak of 310 watts, the processor will need less than 250A, and twelve lines of 50A each are sufficient.

Introducing the new Intel Z490 platform.  The thrill of speeding up or money going down the drain?

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Much more important is how they cool. There are two fairly large radiators on it, and in the standard they struggle. Of course, our standard is high. We measure the VRM temperature under overclocking, in this case 4.9 GHz at 1.27 V and under Prime95. Added to this is work on an open bench and underwater. In other words, no external blowing. As a result, an impressive 85-86 ° С turned out on the radiators. That’s a lot, but at the same time we tested the Gigabyte card for 35,000, and there are exactly the same indicators.

However, in 3dsmax, which already looks like real use, the radiators turned out to be only 54 ° C, and after launching the turntable, even under Prime, it turned out to be 44 ° C, which is usually ideal. By the way, ASUS itself says almost directly that the VRM fan should be installed. And just for that, the corresponding holder is included in the kit and the connection contacts are soldered next to the VRM. The only thing is, it’s not clear why the turntable wasn’t immediately put into the box. The item is inexpensive.

Introducing the new Intel Z490 platform.  The thrill of speeding up or money going down the drain?

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Before we go overclocking, let’s say our 5GHz processor was only taking 1.33V, which isn’t safe for Intel at long range. But the other processor in our hands took the “five” at 1.23V, so the numbers claimed by Intel are achievable, but they depend on the instance.

Tenth series

The tenth Intel Core series mentioned in the article was presented at the end of May 2020. In fact, they are the direct heirs of the ninth series, but with an increased number of cores. If in 2019 the top-end i9-9900K carried eight cores on board, then the new flagship i9-10900K – ten. At the same time, its main price competitor – Ryzen 9 3900X – offers 12 cores. And the next oldest Ryzen 9 3950X – 16 cores.

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In addition to the flagship, Intel’s tenth line included 23 additional processors. They are divided into four main lines. All Core i9s have ten cores, Core i7 – eight, Core i5 – six, and Core i3 – four. At the same time, unlike the previous series, all stones support Hyper Threading and process two threads per core.

When it comes to the convenience of overclocking specifically on ASUS, the card is inferior to the best solutions in the BIOS menu and capabilities, but very conditionally. Absolutely all the tools to configure the stone are there, and the only thing to accept is some difference between the voltage displayed in the BIOS and what is displayed in the monitoring programs, as well as a very big difference between the modes of operation. ‘calibration of the load line.

For example, at the fifth level, the voltage at the peaks hardly increases, but at the next sixth, it instead of 1.24 remains around 1.27 V. This is not particularly critical, the temperatures were still below 90 ° C, but for complete satisfaction need some kind of LLC in intermediate mode.

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Introducing the new Intel Z490 platform.  The thrill of speeding up or money going down the drain?

Enough about the Z490-A and automatic overclocking systems. The most aggressive of these is AI Overclocking . It immediately displays all cores at 5 GHz, but at the same time puts on huge voltages and brings the processor to 100 ° C. In addition, with AI overclocking there is a 5- way Optimize mode . It also speeds up memory, but Prime95 failed to go below it – the voltage on the stone reached 1.33 V, and the system fell.

More interesting modes P1 and P2 . There is a small remark. In theory, the i9-10900K consumes 125 watts. But this is achieved by the fact that the processor is heavily cut in frequency. Therefore, almost all motherboards with Z490 have a lock mode. ASUS calls it Multi-Core Enhancement and it works very efficiently. In fact, it takes 4.9 GHz at 1.25 V and does not heat stone above 82 ° C. And those are reasonable limits for our 10900K.

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Finally, we note that a lot of software is supplied with the card. This is the already mentioned Sonic Studio for sound control and radar output in games. Also have GameFirst VI to configure network settings. And the most important utility, for which we are extremely grateful to ASUS recently, is Armory Crate .

It has a lot of general settings like a game collection, all kinds of discounts, and backlight control. But the coolest thing is the driver update point. And it, unlike similar programs from its competitors, really works and is not buggy. Plus, Crate rolls right after installing Windows, and technically you’ve just installed the system in just five minutes.

Introducing the new Intel Z490 platform.  The thrill of speeding up or money going down the drain?

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That’s all. The overall impression on the new Intel platform is mixed. It’s interesting, productive on its own, but it lacks some really cool processors that would tear the competition apart. And without them we just have another Z270 with some new features and some extra and very expensive cores.

Source : Game Informer