NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review

NZXT continues its line of Intel platform motherboards with the N7 Z490. Join us as we put it through its paces and check it out.

@TylerBernath
Published Tue, Dec 22 2020 8:39 AM CST
Rating: 89%Manufacturer: NZXT (N7 Z490)

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 01 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 57 IMAGES

NZXT has been releasing motherboards for the last few years focusing on Intel Z series platforms. Past releases were done in partnership with ECS, but the latest platform release, the N7 Z490, has ended that partnership in favor of a new solution designed with ASRock.

This should result in a much higher quality motherboard, with EFI features that rival the Taichi, Extreme4, and Pro4 lineups from ASRock.

The design aesthetic stays nearly the same, with a full armor covering the motherboard, the CPU socket area the only bare PCB to be seen. As for its design, let's catch up with that below!

Specifications and Marketing

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 02 | TweakTown.com

Hardware support starts with 10th Generation Intel Core processors; this includes Core i3, i5, i7, and i9. Of course, we are on the Intel Z490 chipset that includes DDR4 -4266MHz memory support across four slots. We continue down to include 4x SATA III ports and 2x PCIe 3.0 m.2 for storage while the popular RTL8125 gives us 2.5Gbe support and the Intel AX200 gives us Wi-Fi 6.

Pricing

The NZXT N7 Z490 carries an MSRP of $229.99 with a one-year warranty.

Buy at Amazon

NZXT H710i Mid Tower PC Gaming Case

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$169.99$169.99$169.99
* Prices last scanned on 1/16/2021 at 1:24 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Packaging, Accessories, and Overview

Packaging and Accessories

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 05 | TweakTown.com

Board packaging is mostly white in appearance, with the image of the motherboard centered. Above, we have the model number.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 06 | TweakTown.com

The back of the packaging offers a full rundown on the board specs in several languages.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 07 | TweakTown.com

Included in the box we have the Wi-Fi antenna, SATA cables, and manual.

NZXT N7 Z490 Overview

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 08 | TweakTown.comNZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 14 | TweakTown.com

As we mentioned, a large part of this board is covered in armor. You can choose between white or black colorways.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 10 | TweakTown.com

Diving in for a closeup, the N7 Z490 offers front panel audio and RGB connections along the bottom, while further to the right, we find USB headers and fan connections. Far right, we have the power and reset buttons.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 11 | TweakTown.com

Around the corner, you will find a USB 3.2 Gen 2 header and the 24-pin power input.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 12 | TweakTown.com

At the top, you have two more fan connections along with NZXT RGB connections, followed by two more fan connections and CPU power in 4-pin and 8-pin form factors.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 14 | TweakTown.com

The rear I/O starts with CMOS and antennas. This is followed by HDMI, USB 2.0, and USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, including a Type-C. Lastly, we have USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports and 2.5Gbe above audio.

PCB and Circuit Analysis

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 17 | TweakTown.comNZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 18 | TweakTown.com

The VRM of the N7 Z490 is a 10 Phase design that includes 8x Vishay SiC632A power stages for CPU vCore and 2x Vishay SiC632 stages for SOC. System Agent uses a pairing of Sinopower 4337 for the high side and 4436 for the low side.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 15 | TweakTown.com

Next up, we have the chipset hiding between PCIe slots.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 16 | TweakTown.com

Sliding to the left of the chipset, we find the AX200 and Nuvoton Super I/O.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 20 | TweakTown.com

VRM cooling is handled by a pair of aluminum blocks, while the chipset is handled by the flat square block to the right.

UEFI, Software and Test System

UEFI

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 50 | TweakTown.comNZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 51 | TweakTown.com
NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 52 | TweakTown.comNZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 53 | TweakTown.com
NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 54 | TweakTown.comNZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 55 | TweakTown.com
NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 56 | TweakTown.comNZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 57 | TweakTown.com
NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 58 | TweakTown.comNZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 59 | TweakTown.com
NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 60 | TweakTown.comNZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 61 | TweakTown.com
NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 62 | TweakTown.comNZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 63 | TweakTown.com
NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 64 | TweakTown.comNZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 65 | TweakTown.com
NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 66 | TweakTown.comNZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 67 | TweakTown.com

EFI for the N7 Z490 is clean, the main page showing the installed CPU and memory. Overclocking has its own section supporting CPU and cache ratio changes along with AVX2. The advanced menu offers configuration for storage devices and onboard solutions, such as Wi-Fi, LAN, and USB.

The tool menu offers a proper erase function for SATA and NVMe drives with BIOS flashing options.

Software

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 21 | TweakTown.com

A huge part of the software platform includes NZXT CAM. This software offers a full monitoring suite that provides for CPU, GPU, and memory.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 22 | TweakTown.com

The second menu item is system specs, which shows you installed memory and storage devices along with GPU.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 23 | TweakTown.com

Lighting control is big with CAM, and this allows you to sync RGB devices, including cooling solutions in NZXT's lineup.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 24 | TweakTown.com

CAM does include overclocking software for your GPU. This includes core, memory, and power limit options.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 25 | TweakTown.com

Test System

WPrime, Cinebench and AIDA64

WPrime, CPUz, Cinebench, and AIDA64

WPrime

WPrime is a leading multi-threaded benchmark. In our setup, we will manually set the number of cores for the CPU under test.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 30 | TweakTown.com

The N7 Z490 scored quite well in WPrime, 2.3 seconds for 32M and 58.7 seconds for 1024M.

Cinebench

Cinebench is a long-standing render benchmark that has been heavily relied upon by both Intel and AMD to showcase their newest platforms during unveils. The benchmark has two tests, a single-core workload that will utilize one thread or 1T. There is also a multi-threaded test which uses all threads or nT of a tested CPU

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 31 | TweakTown.com

We haven't made the switch to R23 quite yet with our Intel test platform. That said, R20 scores 540 1T and 6410 nT with the N7 Z490.

RealBench

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 32 | TweakTown.com

Realbench uses both video and photo workloads to benchmark your CPU. We use the Heavy Multitasking workload in this setup. N7 scores 32 seconds in this scenario.

AIDA64 Memory

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 34 | TweakTown.com

AIDA64 has stayed as our means of testing memory bandwidth. In this scenario, the N7 is equal to the two previous platforms we have tested.

Unigine and UL Benchmarks

PCMark 10

PCMark is a benchmark from UL and tests various workload types to represent typical workloads for a PC. Everything from video conferencing, image import, and editing, along with 3D rendering, are tested.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 34 | TweakTown.com

Looking at our scores, the N7 does well 11885 in Digital Content, 10620 for essentials, and 9798 productivity.

Unigine Superposition

Superposition from Unigine is a DX12 based benchmark. We test with the 720p LOW preset as this removes all but the most basic GPU loading, with all of the FPS coming from the CPU.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 36 | TweakTown.com

With this test, we see 261 FPS from the N7 Z490.

3DMark Timespy

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 36 | TweakTown.com

3DMark Time Spy gives us a CPU score of 13663, the highest to date.

3DMark Firestrike

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 37 | TweakTown.com

NZXT scores 28543 in CPU tests and 9476 in Combined.

Gaming

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 38 | TweakTown.com

Running through Tomb Raider with our N7 Z490, we see 197 FPS at 1080p and 100 FPS at 4K.

System I/O Benchmarks and Power Consumption

System I/O Benchmarks

Storage with CrystalDiskMark

Storage tests are all handled by our Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 SSD.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 39 | TweakTown.com

Starting testing, we hit the rear panel USB 3.2 ports to see how well they perform. Utilizing our WD Black P50, the N7 hits 1085 MB/s read and 991 MB/s write.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 40 | TweakTown.com

With CDM, moving to NVMe storage with our Sabrent Rocket. We see a peak of 3567 MB/s read and 2704 MB/s write.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 41 | TweakTown.com

4KQ1 reaches 78.3 MB/s read and 168 MB/s write.

Networking with iPerf

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 42 | TweakTown.com

Next up, we run through testing for Wired and Wi-Fi networking. The N7 peaks at 2316Mbps for wired and 1395Mbps for Wi-Fi 6.

Power Consumption

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 43 | TweakTown.com

System Power consumption idled at 129 watts for the N7. CPU load peaked at 479 watts, and gaming showed 421 watts.

Overclocking, Thermals and Final Thoughts

Overclocking

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 44 | TweakTown.com

Similar to past Z490 platforms we have tested, I run the ratio up until the board didn't boot. After that, we hit the last known good ratio and run the voltage down as low as we can go at that clock. For the NZXT N7 Z490, we were able to run all-core 5GHz on our 10900K at 1.21v.

Thermals

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 45 | TweakTown.com

Firing up our thermal imager, we grabbed an image of the motherboard while under test. From here, we see a bit of heat building on the top VRM heat sink at 30+c and M.2 slot under the CPU socket.

Final Thoughts

Intel platforms have almost become a niche as AMD has stolen a lot of market share over the last few years. NZXT combats this with a fantastic looking motherboard, complete with thermal armor available in black and white colorways. On past solutions, we did note NZXT offered special edition motherboard plates, so we hope to see some of those come over to the Z490 platform as well.

The move to ASRock as the manufacturer has increased the build quality of the NZXT motherboard platform as a whole, the biggest difference coming in BIOS/EFI where we now have a legit solution for overclocking.

NZXT N7 Z490 Motherboard Review 01 | TweakTown.com

This board will be especially good when used in conjunction with parts from the NZXT ecosystem. Above, I built up this board for testing in the H710i and paired it with an X73 to make for a sweet looking blackout build.

What We Like

Aesthetics: For those that enjoy themed builds, the N7 Z490 offers a fantastic looking board in two colorways.

Features: NZXT fills all the basics with a board supporting 2.5Gbe, Wi-Fi 6, and USB 3.2 Gen 2.

Layout: NZXT put some thought into its Z490 board's layout, angling the internal headers for USB 3.2 to make for a cleaner build interface.

Price: For a premium solution, NZXT has priced the N7 Z490 very competitively at $229.

What Could Be Better

USB Ports: The N7 Z490 fails to utilize space on the rear I/O, making for a solution with just 4x superspeed ports.

Performance

85%

Quality

85%

Features

95%

Value

90%

Overall

89%

The Bottom Line

NZXT has put together a decent gamers board that offers all of the basics you would need for the 10th Gen Intel platform.

TweakTown award
89%

NZXT H710i Mid Tower PC Gaming Case

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$169.99$169.99$169.99
* Prices last scanned on 1/16/2021 at 1:24 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

Newsletter Subscription
We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription
Latest News
View More News
Latest Reviews
View More Reviews
Latest Articles
View More Articles