ASUS Z390 Launch Event @ Red Bull Gaming Sphere London
Peter Donnell / 2 weeks ago
Today marks the release of the new Intel Z390 chipset, in preparation for the upcoming 9th generation processors. We’ve already spoken about new motherboards from Gigabyte, and of course, Asus today, which you can read here and here. However, we were extended the invitation recently to go to a private event in London, and here’s what we saw while we were there!
The Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London, a major hub of eSports and PC gaming in central London. It’s a fun place to hang out, and the perfect place for ASUS to gather press from around Europe for a product launch. They wasted no time, getting straight into the Z390 Platform overview. As you can see, both 8th Gen and 9th Gen CPUs are supported on the new chipset.
The Motherboard Reveal
Of course, they had a very large number of boards to show us in the presentation. I’ll annotate the images here, as we see them up close further down the page. First up, their TUF Alliance boards, built with partners to ensure maximum compatibility with all other TUF Alliance components; chassis, coolers, memory and more.
Prime Z390 Series
Most of the new boards are obviously similar to existing Z370 chipset boards. However, a few new features on the software side, as well as tweaked aesthetics, and the new CPU support help keep Z390 interesting to those who haven’t upgraded in a while.
The new UEFI and Windows software can test your CPU for you. It’ll score the silicone based on quality, performance, power usage and more. It’ll also rate your cooling setup. The end result is a base score that the motherboard can use to give an overclock prediction and apply the results for you. It’s said to get close to a manual overclock and could prove very useful even to the pros. It’s learning all the time too and will adjust based on outside factors such as temperature changes throughout the year.
Rog STRIX Z390
The more popular entries for the enthusiast and gamer. Blending all the main features and competitive prices; plus they look stunning too!
Are we up to XI already? Yikes! The Hero WiFi, which we’ll have a full review of soon. Check out our preview here if you so desire!
The Code and Formula variations, with their stunning EK Water Blocks and RoG Armour
The flagship Extreme, which features more robust water cooling, and passive cooling features. Of course, this should be the go-to board for extreme overclockers. It also features a built-in OLED display.
A mini-ITX monster, which was displayed with the stunning new double capacity DIMMS. These double height RAM modules allow for 64 GB to be installed with just two slots; perfect for Mini-ITX then!
A Closer Look
After the presentation was over, we were able to walk the floor and get a closer look at the boards on offer. I won’t lie, there’s a lot of them here! It seems that ASUS is going all-in on this launch with products from the wallet-friendly to the extreme. First up, the WS Z390 Pro and Prime Z370-A.
Get TUF Again!
More of their new TUF Alliance boards, with the fantastic looking Z370-Plus Gaming II on the left for those sticking with 8th Gen, while the Z390 models on the right cater to the new chips.
RoG Maximus XI
The more enthusiast-focused boards are going to be priced just above the most expensive Prime model, which is just over £200, and will go all the way to around £400 and a little over for the flagship. These have the best connectivity, power delivery, overclocking, aesthetics and more compared to the more mainstream Prime motherboards.
With a focus on extreme cooling, the Formula certainly stands out. It has a more robust design similar to that of the Code (left). However, the MOSFET is cooled by a huge water block for improved overclocking stability.
This will likely be one of the most popular XI boards, it’s the mid-range model of the flagship series; a good ballance of extreme features and price at around £250.
Black Ops 4 Edition
The same board, but with some custom design on the rear I/O guard and other heatsinks. A little niche for my taste, but it does look pretty badass.
The main consumer gaming side of things is looking tidy too. Pretty much all have reinforced PCI slots, custom decals, LED/RGB lighting, robust heatsinks, and great audio/connectivity. Perfect for high-end gaming PCs that don’t need the enthusiast features and prices of the Maximus range.
Prices and Availability
Pretty much all Z390 motherboards hit the market today, just in time for the launch of the new Intel 9th Gen CPUs. Not much has changed since Z370, however, new CPU support, improvements to Intel Management Engine, some cooling UEFI innovations, and USB 3.1 Gen 2, certainly make it more appealing. Now, all we need are some Intel CPUs (on their way), and we’ll be putting plenty of Z390 motherboards to the test for you.
Thank you to the ASUS staff once again for inviting us to London for a fun day and night. Lots of cool tech, gaming hardware, and your hospitality. Until next time!