Board Features

The Supermicro C9Z490-PGW is an ATX motherboard with a premium controller set, with the inclusion of a Broadcom PEX8747 PLX chip. The PLX chip allows for muxing which means the four full-length PCIe 3.0 slots which can operate at x16/x0/x16/x0 or x8/x8/x8/x8, with the 16 lanes from the CPU essentially doubled up (peak bandwidth is still limited to 16x upstream). It also includes a PCIe 3.0 x1 slot, as well as a pair of PCIe 3.0/SATA M.2 slots and four SATA ports with support for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays. The C9Z490-PGW can officially accommodate DDR4-4000 UDIMM memory, with a maximum capacity of up to 128 GB supported across four memory slots. For cooling, the board includes six 4-pin headers, with two for CPU fans, three for chassis fans, and one dedicated to water pumps.

Supermicro C9Z490-PGW ATX Motherboard
Warranty Period 3 Years
Product Page Link
Price $395
Size ATX
CPU Interface LGA1200
Chipset Intel Z490
Memory Slots (DDR4) Four DDR4
Supporting 128 GB
Dual-Channel
Up to DDR4-4000
Video Outputs 1 x HDMI 2.0a
1 x DisplayPort 1.4
Network Connectivity Aquantia AQC107 10 GbE
Intel I129-V GbE
Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC1220
PCIe Slots for Graphics (from CPU) 4 x PCIe 3.0 (x16/x0/x16/x0, x8/x8/x8/x8) (PLX)
PCIe Slots for Other (from PCH) 1 x PCIe 3.0 x1
Onboard SATA Four, RAID 0/1/5/10 (Z490)
Onboard M.2 2 x PCIe 3.0 x4/SATA
USB 3.1 (20 Gbps) 1 x USB Type-C (Rear panel)
USB 3.1 (10 Gbps) 2 x USB Type-A (Rear panel)
1 x USB Type-C (Header)
USB 3.0 (5 Gbps) 2 x USB Type-A (Rear panel)
2 x USB Type-A (One header)
USB 2.0 4 x USB Type-A (Two headers)
Power Connectors 1 x 24-pin Motherboard
1 x 8-pin CPU
Fan Headers 2 x 4-pin CPU
1 x Water Pump
3 x 4-pin Chassis
IO Panel 2 x Antenna Ports (Intel AX201)
1 x HDMI 2.0a output
1 x DisplayPort 1.4 output
2 x USB 3.2 G2 Type-A
1 x USB 3.2 G2 Type-C
2 x USB 3.2 G1 Type-A
1 x RJ45 (Aquantia)
1 x RJ45 (Intel)
1 x Clear CMOS button
5 x 3.5 mm audio jacks (Realtek)
1 x S/PDIF Optical output (Realtek)

The rear panel for a premium Z490 model is one of the most scarce for USB we have seen, with one USB 3.2 G2x2 Type-C, two USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, and two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports. Users can add another single USB 3.2 G2 Type-C port, two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A, and four USB 2.0 ports through the use of internal headers. It includes two video outputs consisting of a DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0a output, with five 3.5 mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output powered by a Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec. The C9Z490-PGW includes an Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 interface, which is the only difference between the slightly cheaper C9Z490-PG model. Wired networking includes a premium Aquantia AQC107 10 GbE controller, as well as an Intel I219-V Gigabit PHY. 

Test Bed

As per our testing policy, we take a high-end CPU suitable for the motherboard that was released during the socket’s initial launch and equip the system with a suitable amount of memory running at the processor maximum supported frequency. This is also typically run at JEDEC subtimings where possible. It is noted that some users are not keen on this policy, stating that sometimes the maximum supported frequency is quite low, or faster memory is available at a similar price, or that the JEDEC speeds can be prohibitive for performance. While these comments make sense, ultimately very few users apply memory profiles (either XMP or other) as they require interaction with the BIOS, and most users will fall back on JEDEC supported speeds - this includes home users as well as industry who might want to shave off a cent or two from the cost or stay within the margins set by the manufacturer. Where possible, we will extend out testing to include faster memory modules either at the same time as the review or a later date.

Test Setup
Processor Intel Core i7-10700K, 125 W, $374
8 Cores, 16 Threads 3.8 GHz (5.1 GHz Turbo)
Motherboard Supermicro C9Z490-PGW (BIOS 1.1)
Cooling ID-Cooling Auraflow X 240mm AIO
Power Supply Corsair HX850 80Plus Platinum 850 W
Memory G.Skill TridentZ DDR4-2933 CL 14-14-14-34 2T (2 x 8 GB)
Video Card MSI GTX 1080 (1178/1279 Boost)
Hard Drive Crucial MX300 1TB
Case Corsair Crystal 680X
Operating System Windows 10 1909 inc. Spectre/Meltdown Patches

Readers of our motherboard review section will have noted the trend in modern motherboards to implement a form of MultiCore Enhancement / Acceleration / Turbo (read our report here) on their motherboards. This does several things, including better benchmark results at stock settings (not entirely needed if overclocking is an end-user goal) at the expense of heat and temperature. It also gives, in essence, an automatic overclock which may be against what the user wants. Our testing methodology is ‘out-of-the-box’, with the latest public BIOS installed and XMP enabled, and thus subject to the whims of this feature. It is ultimately up to the motherboard manufacturer to take this risk – and manufacturers taking risks in the setup is something they do on every product (think C-state settings, USB priority, DPC Latency / monitoring priority, overriding memory sub-timings at JEDEC). Processor speed change is part of that risk, and ultimately if no overclocking is planned, some motherboards will affect how fast that shiny new processor goes and can be an important factor in the system build.

Hardware Providers for CPU and Motherboard Reviews
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27 Comments

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  • :nudge> - Monday, December 21, 2020 - link

    Too little too lake Reply
  • orsoleads - Monday, December 28, 2020 - link

    Great info. This will be great for my new set up. Will be adding to my list to order next week. Thanks a bunch. Regards - http://www.google.com Reply
  • Duncan Macdonald - Monday, December 21, 2020 - link

    Or with Threadripper you can have 64 PCIe 4.0 lanes direct from the CPU - no switch required,

    The total bandwidth on the Supermicro is only that of 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes - the switch does not magically add bandwidth. The bandwidth on Threadripper 3rd gen (3970x etc) is eight times the bandwidth of the Intel CPU (a PCIe 4.0 lane has twice the bandwidth of a PCIe 3.0 lane).

    Even the latest Ryzen chips have more bandwidth due to having PCIe 4.0 lanes instead of PCIe 3.0 lanes.

    The board is probably on special offer to clear out this deadweight item.

    The only good reason for buying it is to replace a broken motherboard.
    Reply
  • npz - Monday, December 21, 2020 - link

    The primary purpose is to allocate enough lanes to more devices, not to provide more total peak bandwidth. This is so you can add four x8 devices instead of just two normally.

    And comparing to Threadripper is ridiculous. It's nowhere near the same price range, especially now with retail price inflation across the board for AMD cpus. The proper comparison is with Ryzen and frankly Ryzens could definitely the same switch. And no, having PCIE 4.0 does NOT make a difference as far as allowable lanes are concerned since you do not convert between pcie 3.0 to 1/2 pcie 4.0 as some people think. Adding a pcie 3.0 x8 device to a pcie 4.0 board will still consume a full 8 lanes!
    Reply
  • npz - Monday, December 21, 2020 - link

    Rather than focusing on upstream bandwidth, the proper way to view such switches is like a network switch, since pcie protocol operate in a similar manner. Think about lanes as ports on a network switch instead. Some network devices/computers consume a certain amount of ports and you need a switch that has enough ports to support all those devices Reply
  • tygrus - Thursday, December 24, 2020 - link

    It works when devices can use more lanes & bandwidth but assumes they don't all need their full bandwidth all of the time. Splitting the bandwidth across more lanes allows devices to usually hit their peak as long as other devices aren't hogging the bandwidth at he same time. Reply
  • Jorgp2 - Monday, December 21, 2020 - link

    lol the cheapest TR and motherboard combo is like $2000 Reply
  • Operandi - Monday, December 21, 2020 - link

    Yeah, this particular board is potintless given the platform. Aside from that Supermicro should really lean into what they do best and thats build solid boards aimed at professionals. Sure target the DIY enthusiast but drop the gamer slogans, and marketing, "play harder" ughhh.... just stop. Reply
  • lmcd - Monday, December 21, 2020 - link

    The point is specifically the platform. Wouldn't this be one of the only boards capable of 2-card SLI with 3090s (not that such a thing is performant) without a NUMA-required CPU? Reply
  • JimmyZeng - Tuesday, December 22, 2020 - link

    Then you'll notice 2 slot 3090s are hard to find. Reply

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