ASRock Z490 Aqua Motherboard Review: The $1100 LC Monoblock Flagshipby Gavin Bonshor on October 2, 2020 10:00 AM EST
It is no secret that Intel's 10th generation processors are power-hungry. Intel has been squeezing every last drop of MHz out of the 14 nm process with its fastest desktop processors yet, but sometimes conventional air cooling just won't suffice for those wanting to push the limits even further. ASRock understands this, and building on the success of the elegant (yet wallet-emptying) AMD Aqua, the company unveiled an Intel version.
The Z490 Aqua comes equipped as a premium feature motherboard. The large integrated monoblock which cools both the CPU and the board's power delivery, amd it now features a very cool OLED display. There is also integrated Thunderbolt 3, 10 gigabit Ethernet, as well as its large 16-phase power delivery.
The Z490 Aqua: Time To Make a Splash
ASRock's highly premium and highly priced Z490 Aqua, on looks alone, exhudes over-engineering. As a marketing platform, over-engineering is a good thing, especially when the motherboard costs twice as much as the processor. From my perspective, the visual effect of the ASRock Z490 Aqua makes it one of the best-looking motherboards of all time. The design and implementation of its large CPU and VRM monoblock, with a seemingly endless amount of aluminum plating across the PCIe slot area, looks great. Not only that, but ASRock has included various areas of addressable RGB LEDs built onto the board, with an exquisite OLED panel that can display information ranging from CPU Voltage, CPU Temperature, and POST Status. It really sets it apart from the X570 Aqua we reviewed last year.
The ASRock Z490 Aqua is packed with features and appeal from top to bottom, with high-end enthusiasts using custom water cooling loops the primary target market. It includes one of the most premium desktop feature sets from any board we've seen from ASRock, with triple PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, eight SATA ports, and a solid networking array including a 10 gigabit Ethernet controller, with an additional 2.5 G port. An Intel-based Wi-Fi 6 CNVi provides both wireless networking and BT 5.1 capabilities, with an 8-layer PCB and 2 oz copper PCB for the board's finer circuitry.
I got 99 problems, but an Aqua ain't one
Focusing on the power componentry of the Z490 Aqua, ASRock includes a large 16-phase power delivery, with fourteen premium 90A power stages for the CPU, with two 90A power stages for the SoC. It is cooled by the large custom monoblock, which is the board's main feature, which may be needed should users even attempt to use the power deliveries massive 1260 A current the CPU section is designed to deliver.
Another notable area is that the Z490 Aqua is well equipped in is connectivity, with an Intel Titan Ridge Thunderbolt 3 controller. This provides two 40 Gbps ports on the rear panel as well as with two mini DisplayPort inputs for users looking to leverage the multi-display capabilities of Thunderbolt 3. Also included are three additional USB 3.2 G2 Type-A and a single USB 3.2 G2 Type-C port, with four further USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports. This is a lot of connectivity, so ASRock is trying to deliver on all areas with the Aqua, not just at enthusiasts and overclockers, but content creators too. ASRock also includes a premium audio solution with a separate DAC designed to boost users looking to use front panel audio.
In our test suite, the Aqua is very competitive with other Z490 models we have tested so far, with solid results in our DPC latency testing, which I will note is done at default settings with no OS tweaking. The figures in our power testing were a little more than normal in the idle power states, but the Aqua has lots of controllers and RGB, so it's easy to see why. In the computation and gaming tests, the Aqua showed no gaping flaws and was consistent with other boards in our charts.
The ASRock Z490 Aqua under a thermal imaging camera
It's no surprise with all the bells and whistles it has, that the Aqua is an overclocking stud. The Aqua has solid VDroop control, which is likely due to ASRock's firmware, which reverts the loadline calibration profile to level 1 when any alterations to the CPU VCore are made. Although we didn't manage to push our i7-10700K beyond 5.3 GHz stable, which seems to be the limit of our silicon, we did see much better temperatures and no thermal throttling at 5.2 GHz, unlike other models we have tested. This is all down to the cooling, custom loop. The large monoblock cools both the CPU and the monolithic power delivery, which shows up well in our VRM thermal testing, and puts the Aqua a cut above the rest regarding thermal performance.
In regards to competitors, there isn't much on the market that competes with the all-round nature of the ASRock Z490 Aqua, especially with its custom monoblock. There are only a couple of Z490 models with monoblocks, namely GIGABYTE's X570 Aorus Xtreme WaterForce, which costs a whopping $1300, and the more affordable, albeit less premium, MSI MPG Z490 Carbon EK X ($400). ASRock's Aqua retails for $1100, which is around $200 cheaper than the GIGABYTE but still includes some very premium aspects that a board of this pedigree should include. ASRock also sweetens the deal with very attractive packaging, and an included Aqua themed set of water cooling fittings in the accessories bundle. It should be noted that only 999 of these boards will be made available to the consumer, and being limited edition has its perks, but this does come at a price, $1100, to be exact.
The question then becomes if you really want a motherboard that costs almost 2x of the overclockable Core i9 parts. For system integrators looking to build the most premium Z490 platform system, it makes sense. For companies that employ modders to show off hardware (such as liquid cooling, or power supplies, or DRAM), this also makes sense. For the average user? Read on for our extended analysis and comparison tests.
Post Your CommentPlease log in or sign up to comment.
View All Comments
JenniferMaclean - Saturday, October 3, 2020 - linkvvvv
JenniferMaclean - Saturday, October 3, 2020 - linkI get paid more than $120 to $130 per hour for working online. I heard about this job 3 months ago and after joining this i have earned easily $15k from this without having online working skills. This is what I do.
You can check more.
Laitovesorm - Saturday, October 3, 2020 - linkhttps://spellcasino.com/">[img]https://a.radikal.ru/a36/2010/a0/4c2dedd9b00c.jpg[/img]
Digital service spellcasino.com provides a lot of interesting games, where anybody has an opportunity to play for cash without a VPN or other protected technologies. At the moment a lot of men choose to spend weekend at home.
When a virus is coming, more and more young men choose to stay at home. Extraordinary men don’t like to spend time in sport or playing games all time. That is one of the reasons, why young women used digital casinos and are playing in interesting gambling games.
It is a beautiful web-system, were focused more than 450 nice slot-machines. You may used slot-machines with different topics: cities, Winter, gangsters, Greece, sport, and others. This club is very illustrious in Europe cause of it has good criteria of choice:
- unique logo of an online platform;
- zingy slots;
- well-known bonuses;
- administration 24/7;
As well, more and more basic slots are available https://spellcasino.com/casino/n1-casino-review/">n1 casino bonus code 2020 in an web service. In menu, users may search slots from EGT, Novomatic, IgroSoft, and PlaySon organizations. The digital service give its men with a chance to have fun.
You could use russian slot-mechanisms, like these: Crazy Monkey 2, Resident, Keks, Bratva. If you get membership in the service, you can use mobile casinos: Android, iPhone, iPad, Apps, and other mobile casinos.
There are a lot of games, which provided bonuses at $45. Win rate in more than 100 games nearest 91%. Old men, who using an online service, interesting in casino slots, like roulette, keno, video poker.
Also, there are different financial options, which are included in Spell club. You can do transfer cash with Visa or MasterCard, use EasyPay or CIPS. Some men from Moscos using other payment platforms. Germans prefer to use PayPal.
If you wish to get 500 eur BONUS, you should make 1st deposit – 100 eur. Over 400 interesting casino slots are waiting for you. In the list of slot machines necessary to find games and have enjoyed it. Spins and wagers possible to get, but you should be like other gamers.
In web service possible to use HD video. In the list below web-page clients will find more links with frequent data. At the top of the menu, users may search blacklist of users. Even you don’t know different news from spellcasino.com, possible to search all news in a specific section.
On the website many best slot machines, which give chance to win dollars. Slots are very flexible and flexible in payments. Get 100% bonuses after deposits and be happy playing in different games. A list of sections guys will find review and other information about the casino.
gie51995 - Saturday, October 3, 2020 - linkStart making cash online work easily from home.i have received a paycheck of $24K in this month by working online Abe from home.i am a student and i just doing this job in my spare. .click Here for full Detail.....jobtalk.com
gie51995 - Saturday, October 3, 2020 - linkStart making cash online work easily from home.i have received a paycheck of $24K in this month by working online Abe from home.i am a student and i just doing this job in my spare. .copy Here for full Detail.....jobtalk.com
dicobalt - Tuesday, October 6, 2020 - linkIf I was a water cooling guy this would be great.
spkay31 - Thursday, October 8, 2020 - linkFrom what I've seen these waterblocks are actually not very high quality (despite the high price) and people have complained about leakage in the acrylic at the threading for the hose connectors. I like that a manufacturer has gone further to create a high end product for enthusiasts but the execution should be highly reliable at this price point. To make matters worse I read about a leaking waterblock that a customer contacted Asrock support about replacing (at his expense) and Asrock support was not helpful and provided no ability to buy replacement parts.
SlitheryDee - Thursday, October 22, 2020 - linkI thought it was worth a review. I mean, I'm not buying it, but I love seeing these limited edition monstrosities every now and again.
JustinWitt - Thursday, December 17, 2020 - linkWow, cool review material, I often study these things, for me as a gamer with a lot of experience in the game it is important to follow the trend, changes, and new products. I also started gambling a lot, where the performance of your device does not matter, and most importantly, skill and luck, I recommend https://casinotop.at/1-euro-casino/ go right now and study the best 1 Euro casinos 2020 review, there are collected highly rated and most popular playgrounds, with great bonuses for beginners and excellent conditions and the function of the game, try it now, good luck!