ASUS Prime Z390-A Motherboard

Last updated date: May 20, 2021

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ASUS Prime Z390-A Motherboard

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We looked at the top Motherboards and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Motherboard you should buy.

Update as July 2, 2019:
Checkout The Best Motherboard for a detailed review of all the top motherboards.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 53 expert reviews, the ASUS Prime Z390-A Motherboard placed 6th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

Designed for 9th generation Intel Core processors, the Prime Z390-A delivers maximum performance with customizable style. 5-Way Optimization provides AI overclocking and dynamic fan calibration while dual M.2 and USB 3.1 Gen2 delivers maximum transfer speeds. Aura Sync RGB with addressable headers customize your build. The overclocking module of AI Suite’s 5-Way Optimization has been revamped for the Z390 platform. With a revised back-end that has the intelligence to overclock a CPU based upon smart prediction and thermal telemetry, this new version quickly delivers overclocking results that would typically take days of manual tuning. With x4 PCI Express 3.0/2.0 bandwidth, M.2 supports up to 32Gbps data-transfer speeds. It’s the perfect choice for an operating system or application drive, providing fast access to data. Also, with backward compatible USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A and reversible USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C ports, you’ll experience ultimate connection flexability and blazing data-transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps. Our OptiMem II tech carefully maps memory signal pathways across different PCB layers to reduce vias and also adds shielding zones that significantly reduce crosstalk. And to further enhance overclocking headroom for fully stacked memory configurations, we’ve employed a highly customized T-Topology layout that delivers time-aligned signaling. Each header can dynamically reference three thermal sensors, and via Fan Xpert 4 you can even map the temperature of supported ASUS graphics cards to optimize cooling for GPU and CPU-intensive tasks. Prime Z390-A utilizes a unique audio codec designed in close collaboration with Realtek — the Realtek S1220A. It also features an unprecedented 120dB signal-to-noise ratio for the stereo line-out and a 113dB SNR for the line-in, providing pristine audio quality. Additionally, a new impedance-sensing circuit automatically adjusts gain to ensure the optimal volume range for your headphones. A well-tuned enthusiast system deserves a matching aesthetic. ASUS Aura offers full RGB lighting control with a variety of functional presets for the built-in RGB LEDs as well as strips connected to the onboard RGB headers.* And it can all be synced with an ever-growing portfolio of Aura-capable ASUS hardware.

Expert Reviews

Expert Summarized Score

7 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

132 user reviews

What experts liked

The ASUS Prime Z390-A has been designed specifically for 9th and 8th generation Intel Core processors. It delivers maximum performance with its revamped 5-Way Optimization feature, which automatically overclocks your CPU based on smart predictions and thermal telemetry, saving you days’ worth of manual tuning.
- Easy PC Mod
March 14, 2019 | Full review
Other than the great connectivity, there are also many tuning and protection features, such as the overclockers “dreamland” ASUS AI Overclocking, Overvoltage Protection, Safe Slot Core (intended for safe holding of the heavyweight GPUs in the slot) and a lot more.
- The Tech Lounge
February 4, 2019 | Full review
The Prime Z390-A has three full-length PCIe 3.0 slots with two getting treated to ASUS Safe slot armor protection and the slots operate at x16, x8 and x4 from top to bottom. This means the Prime Z390-A officially supports two-way SLI and up to three-way CrossFire multi-graphics card configurations.
- Anand Tech
October 8, 2018 | Full review
The motherboard supports PCI-Express 3.0, multi-GPU technologies from NVIDIA and AMD, SATA 6Gb/s, M.2 with PCIe/NVMe support, USB 3.1 Gen 2, Intel Optane technology, IRST, high definition audio and more. Naturally, there are some additional features that are specific to ASUS’ design such as their Fan Extension header, overvoltage and overcurrent protection. There are also ESD guards and built in surge protection for the network port.
- Hard OCP
March 2, 2019 | Full review
The Prime Z390-A does not only feature a rich and robust board, but it is also a good looking one. It comes equipped with 2 native RGB strips
- Laurent's Choice
October 30, 2018 | Full review
It has two M.2 slots competent of operating ultra-fast NVMe-M.2 SSDs, resulting in a data transfer rate of nearly 4 GB/s. This gives the M.2 PCIe SSDs up to eight times quicker than SATA 6G SSD.
- Engage Expo
February 23, 2019 | Full review
This motherboard serves fit for rigorous gaming and overclocking. The feature of 5-way optimization helps in enhancing the working capacity of the CPU by minimizing the heat. The overclocking results are instant for the motherboard.
- Guild Cafe
March 24, 2019 | Full review

What experts didn't like

Not that great chipset improvement over its predecessor Z370
- The Tech Lounge
February 4, 2019 | Full review
Sadly, ASUS doesn’t use its integrated / built-in I/O shield. This isn’t terribly surprising at lower and even mid-range price points
- Hard OCP
March 2, 2019 | Full review
Nothing new there. Note that there is no PCB back shield on this board.
- Laurent's Choice
October 30, 2018 | Full review
Efficiency is not up to the mark. Lack of efficient power to performance.
- Engage Expo
February 23, 2019 | Full review
Presence of 4 pin headers that are non-accessible. RGB lights are not pluggable
- Guild Cafe
March 24, 2019 | Full review

An Overview On Motherboards

  • The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Motherboard can serve as its own mini-computer, with a 64-bit quad-core ARM CPU. It’s mostly popular for helping students learn computer science, but it can be used as a standalone computer. It will support the latest Linux distributions, as well as Windows 10 IoT. If you’re developing an IoT application, this will be the board for you.
  • The first item on your motherboard shopping checklist should be compatibility. The MSI Pro Series Intel Z270 Motherboard supports 6th and 7th generation Intel Core, Pentium and Celeron LGA 1151 socket processors. The ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero Motherboard supports Intel processors, including Celeron, Core i5, Core i3, Core i7, Core i9 and Pentium Gold using an LGA 1151 socket. The Gigabyte ATX DDR4 Motherboard is also an LGA 1151 socket motherboard, supporting 6th and 7th generation Intel Core processors.
  • Once you’ve squared away compatibility, it’s time to look at the number of ports. The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Motherboard has one HDMI port and 4 USB ports, while the ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero Motherboard has four memory slots. With the ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero Motherboard, you get a front-panel USB 3.1 slot, as well as two CPU slots, one PCH slot, and three PCIe slots. The Gigabyte ATX DDR4 Motherboard gives you six USB ports on the rear I/O. You can also hook up three drive configurations via SATA Xpress, which would give you a total of six drives.
  • The Gigabyte ATX DDR4 Motherboard has four memory slots with up to 64 GB of DDR4 dual channel system memory.
  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Motherboard offers unprecedented speed in the Raspberry Pi line of boards. This is due to a stronger processor and improved onboard connectivity.
  • Gamers will want to take a serious look at the ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero Motherboard, which builds in one-click processor overclocking. You’ll also get support for NVIDIA 2-way SLI and AMD 3-way CrossFireX graphics, providing stunningly realistic visuals with your games. The MSI Pro Series Intel Z270 Motherboard is also built for gaming, with Multi-GPU SLI/CFX support. Its build also maximizes response time, which comes in especially handy when you’re gaming.
  • The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Motherboard supports graphics with a new system-on-chip that improves its video capabilities.
  • Even if you’re fairly tech-advanced, you likely don’t want to dedicate a large chunk of your week to setting up your motherboard. The MSI Pro Series Intel Z270 Motherboard excels at being easy to set up. The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Motherboard and ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero Motherboard can be much trickier. The software suite that comes with the ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero Motherboard suffers from bloat, so you’ll need to set aside room on your computer to handle it.
  • With the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Motherboard, you’ll need several accessories before you can use it, but considering it operates independently from other components, it still may be an easier investment.
  • Each motherboard has its own power requirements, so you’ll want to check that out before you buy. The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Motherboard requires a 2.5A power supply. It also can tend to get extremely warm when you’re working it too hard. The MSI Pro Series Intel Z270 Motherboard has a 10-phase PWM supply that uses two large heatsinks to keep it cool. You’ll also get a dedicated water pump header with this model. The ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero Motherboard keeps overheating at bay using a combination of real-time dynamic system monitoring, a flow-rate heater feed and a dual-water temperature header.
  • You should also look at the storage array. With the Gigabyte ATX DDR4 Motherboard, you get support for the NVMe storage format, as well as two M.2 slots. That means you can add two speedy SSDs, dramatically boosting your speed.
  • One benefit of the MSI Pro Series Intel Z270 Motherboard is the improved audio codec, which becomes especially important if you’re using your PC for gaming. You’ll want to make sure it’s compatible with your system, though, as there can tend to be conflicts. With the ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero Motherboard, the company has done a great job at setting up the onboard audio. The Gigabyte ATX DDR4 Motherboard features AMP-UP audio technology that provides impressive sound.
  • Today’s consumers need compatibility with the devices they use every day. The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Motherboard has Bluetooth compatibility incorporated into the board, offering Bluetooth 4.1/Low Energy support. The ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero Motherboard has also enhanced its Bluetooth compatibility to address the needs of gamers.
  • You’ll need Wi-Fi compatibility with the motherboard you choose, as well. The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Motherboard and ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero Motherboard both have Wi-Fi built in, letting you connect with minimal effort. Neither the MSI Pro Series Intel Z270 Motherboard nor the Gigabyte ATX DDR4 Motherboard includes Wi-Fi, so you’ll need to buy a separate Wi-Fi adaptor.
  • Price will likely factor into your decision, especially if you have a fixed budget for your entire PC. The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Motherboard has the best price, retailing for less than $50, but it has a very specialized use. The MSI Pro Series Intel Z270 Motherboard and MSI Pro Series Intel Z270 Motherboard are on the high end, selling for between $200 and $300 each, while you can find the Gigabyte ATX DDR4 Motherboard in the $100-$200 price range.
  • One weakness of the MSI Pro Series Intel Z270 Motherboard is that its onboard LEDs are monochromatic. But you can shut off the LEDs if you’d prefer.
  • Build can also come into play, especially if you want your motherboard to last for a while. The ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero Motherboard is built with a ROG Armor steel covering to keep your board functioning through years of wear. The Gigabyte ATX DDR4 Motherboard’s PCIe slots are shielded with metal for next-level protection.
  • If you think you’ll occasionally need customer support, the MSI Pro Series Intel Z270 Motherboard has prompt support available to work with you on any issues you’re having.

The Motherboard Buying Guide

The motherboard is the heart and soul of a computer, helping all of its various parts communicate with each other. If you buy a computer, the motherboard will be included, eliminating your need to even think about it. But if you want to build your own computer or upgrade the one you have, you’ll need to know what features to look for in a motherboard.

Before you can start shopping for a motherboard, you’ll need to know exactly what your computer will hold. That determines the form factor you choose. If this seems intimidating, don’t worry. There are standards for motherboards, and manufacturers design them to fit in the most popular types of computers on the market. Still, you’ll need to know the socket, CPU and chipset of your computer if you’re retrofitting your motherboard to an existing PC. If not, you’ll still be looking at matching all of your components to your motherboard, so it’s best to go with something as standard and up-to-date as possible.

In addition to fitting it into your computer, it’s also important to look at the number of expansion slots it has, as this will be what you use to connect components like your graphics card, sound card and storage devices. Today’s motherboards do most of their connecting through PCIe ports, which come in four different sizes. The most commonly used today is PCIe 3.0, but you’ll need to look specifically at what you’ll be connecting and base your purchasing decision on that.

Another important factor in your choice of motherboard is the graphics output. This determines the quality of the images you see on the screen. Although this is important for everyone, gamers usually need to prioritize this feature, as do those who work in graphics-intensive fields like video editing. If you fall into that category, you’ll want to look for a standalone GPU, rather than one built into the CPU. In that case, opt for a motherboard that has enough ports for that additional connection.

If you’re new to working with motherboards, it can help to specifically look for one that’s easy to set up. Some boards also come with customer support, allowing you to reach out for help if something doesn’t seem to be working correctly. Looking at these factors on the front end can help save you time once you get started installing your board.