NZXT initially used ECS as its motherboard OEM, pcba but has opted to use ASRock this time spherical for a new N7 model. This has the identical N7 infused armor, albeit utilizing a combined metallic and plastic instead of simply steel which does scale back the overall value. Aiming for the mid-vary market, NZXT’s N7 Z490 options 2.5 GbE, Wi-Fi 6, twin M.2, and PCB board four SATA ports, and we give it our focus in this overview. In the beginning of September, NZXT reached out to me explaining that they supposed to launch a brand new motherboard into an already cramped Z490 market. One in all the weather NZXT needed to address over its motherboard offerings was the firmware and overclocking, provided that ECS is not actually a well-liked identify on those two fronts. This time round, NZXT has leveraged ASRock’s providers for the underlying platform, on prime of which NZXT has layered its own styling and form. Armed and outfitted with an inexpensive mid-ranged characteristic set, the NZXT N7 Z490 features a premium HD audio codec, combined with 2.5 GbE and an Intel Wi-Fi 6 interface. Perhaps one of the vital notable options is the boards full cover armor plating (plastic and metal), which users conversant in NZXT’s earlier motherboards will recognize. It stretches across the entirety of the PCB, only displaying the CPU socket area, memory slots, and the highest and backside edges of the board. Looking at reminiscence assist nearer, the N7 Z490 includes the capability to install up to 128 GB, with speeds of up to DDR4-4266 supported. That is a few pegs lower than other models available on the market, but the chance of normal customers choosing increased speeds than this is more likely to be slim attributable to value. The board uses two PCIe 3.Zero x4 M.2 slots for storage, with four SATA ports available. On the rear panel, the N7 Z490 uses just two USB 3.2 G2 ports, a single Type-C, and just one Type-A, with two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A and two USB 2.Zero ports. In our performance testing, the N7 Z490 carried out and behaved like another Z490 board we’ve examined from ASRock. We saw the N7 Z490 do well in our Non-UEFI Post time take a look at, get a very good lead to our DPC latency test, and noticed aggressive performance in our computational and gaming benchmarks. Overall, for any inventory degree performance, it was hard to seek out fault with the board. For overclocking, the NZXT N7 Z490 carried out better than any NZXT board I’ve tested to this point (I’ve owned all of them). Just like different ASRock models, when adjusting the CPU VCore voltage in the firmware, it reverts the LLC profile to level 1 for tighter and aggressive VDroop control. It feels as if the firmware is not fairly polished to the usual we’d anticipate for launch – in our manual overclock testing, setting 1.250 V within the firmware at 4.8 GHz, all cores gave us a load VCore of 1.384 V, which is method too much. This introduced much more problems at larger overclocks and precipitated loads of downclocking, which skewed our outcomes, with a possible problem within the board’s loadline calibration profile settings. More data on this in the evaluate. The NZXT N7 Z490 has an MSRP of $230, which places it in direct competitors with models such because the ASRock Z490 PG Velocita ($235), the GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Elite AC ($220), and the ASUS Prime Z490-A ($230). The entire competing fashions embrace assist for faster memory, extra SATA ports, with the ASUS model providing better USB 3.2 G2 connectivity. What NZXT has squarely in its favor is a competitive networking combination, with a singular and uniformed aesthetic because of the PCB (read more on ezproxy.cityu.edu.hk`s official blog) armor, which appears nice. The crux of the matter is whether or not the NZXT N7 Z490 steps up to the problem in our test suite.