ASUS Prime Z390-A Review

Serious gamers demanding good performance and features at an affordable price will be pleased with the ASUS Prime Z390-A motherboard.

Every gamer knows that the motherboard is a critical component that determines a rig’s overall performance. ASUS claims that this board delivers maximum performance when paired with Intel’s 9th generation Intel core processors.

ASUS Prime Z390-A Review

We take a critical look at Prime’s Z390’s performance. Will it give gamers even better performance than its remarkable predecessor, the Z370?

ASUS Prime Z390-A Motherboard LGA1151 (Intel 8th And 9th Gen) ATX DDR4...
  • Designed for 9th and 8th generation Intel Core processors to maximize connectivity and speed with M. 2, USB 3. 1 Gen2 and ASUS Optimum II for better DRAM overclocking stability
  • Revamped 5-Way Optimization that has the intelligence to overclock a CPU based on smart prediction and thermal telemetry. OptiMem II: Careful routing of traces and vias, plus ground layer optimizations to preserve signal integrity for improved memory overclocking
  • 5X Protection III Hardware-level safeguards with Safe Slot Core, LAN Guard, Over voltage Protection provide longevity, reliability. FanXpert 4 delivers advanced fan control for dynamic system cooling
  • Patent-pending Safe Slot Core fortified PCIe slots prevent damage caused by heavyweight GPUs
  • 8-channel HD Gaming Audio featuring Realtek ALC887 high definition audio codec

ASUS Prime Z390-A Motherboard (Our Review) 

Overall Assessment 

ASUS has long been one of the top motherboard manufacturers. Their Prime series focuses on offering serious gamers an entry-level motherboard that can overclock some of Intel’s latest processors. 

The new ASUS Prime Z390-A is no exception to this rule, and it fits the Prime tier perfectly.

We can see that the ASUS Prime Z390-A motherboard features an upgraded chipset. Do you recall our popular ASUS Prime X370-Pro review? We loved the older 370 chipsets.

The Prime Z390-A provides seasoned and first-time builders a premium quality motherboard with a stress-free and feature-packed experience. 

It impresses with its professional look that can be further customized using the bundled ASUS Aura Sync. 

This standard-sized ATX motherboard fits virtually any case you can think of. Don’t let its size fool you, though. The Z390-A comes with optimized cooling, incredible data transfer speeds, and easy-to-use one-stop controls.

We think the ASUS Prime Z390-A is an excellent, budget-friendly motherboard with some genuinely inspired features.

Supported Processors

The Prime Z390-A helps gamers get the maximum performance out of Intel’s 8th and 9th generation Socket 1151 Intel Core, Pentium, and Celeron processors. 

Gamers will love the fact that this motherboard supports Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0. This feature automatically lets your processor cores run faster than the rated frequency during peak graphics and performance loads. 

With these valuable bursts of added processing power, gamers can expect to see an increase in framerates and smoother overall gameplay.

Memory

It’s no slouch when it comes to memory. This board has 4x DDR4 DIMM slots. Gamers can easily overclock the memory to achieve speeds of up to 4266MHz and beyond. 

The Z390-A is limited to an astounding 128GB of RAM, meaning only the most hardcore gamers will be able to max out their system. This amount of RAM is also far more than what we saw in our Prime Z390-P review.

A bonus feature is that all DIMM slots come with ASUS’s Q-DIMM technology. 

This handy feature lets you flip only 1 DIMM lock for easy access when swapping out the memory module. The Q-DIMM feature is convenient when you want to upgrade your memory on the go.

Peripherals

In true Prime style, the ASUS Prime Z390-A offers gamers a variety of valuable expansions and peripherals. It sure provides much more than what we saw in our ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe review.

You can use 6x SATA ports, each supporting RAID, and 2x M.2 ports to install storage devices with. The M.2 ports significantly increase your system’s performance as they speed up heavy data transfers.

We’re happy to say that the Prime Z390-A has plenty of USB ports. It comes with 4x 3.1 Gen 2 USBs, 5x 3.1 Gen 1 USBs, and 6x 2.0 USBs. That’s more than enough for most gamers. 

ASUS installed the USB ports at convenient places, The different positions make expansion and installation easier with far better cable management, resulting in a better-looking build.

ASUS decided to include one PS/2 port. Yes, this legacy port ensures compatibility with an older keyboard and mouse, but we doubt gamers will often use it. 

For networking, a capable Intel I219V chip manages things behind the scenes. This network chip has the advantage of lowering your CPU’s overheads, resulting in a less resource-heavy networking experience. 

Experienced tweakers will find shaping and improving network traffic easier with the Turbo LAN utility. This easy-to-navigate utility lets you configure application priority on the network. For instance, you can prioritize traffic for your online gaming sessions, resulting in less network lag when things get serious.

ASUS Prime Z390-A Motherboard LGA1151 (Intel 8th And 9th Gen) ATX DDR4...
  • Designed for 9th and 8th generation Intel Core processors to maximize connectivity and speed with M. 2, USB 3. 1 Gen2 and ASUS Optimum II for better DRAM overclocking stability
  • Revamped 5-Way Optimization that has the intelligence to overclock a CPU based on smart prediction and thermal telemetry. OptiMem II: Careful routing of traces and vias, plus ground layer optimizations to preserve signal integrity for improved memory overclocking
  • 5X Protection III Hardware-level safeguards with Safe Slot Core, LAN Guard, Over voltage Protection provide longevity, reliability. FanXpert 4 delivers advanced fan control for dynamic system cooling
  • Patent-pending Safe Slot Core fortified PCIe slots prevent damage caused by heavyweight GPUs
  • 8-channel HD Gaming Audio featuring Realtek ALC887 high definition audio codec

Graphics

The ASUS Prime Z390-A has a fantastic set of PCIe slots. Gamers will be delighted with the 3x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots. These slots can be used in multi-graphics setups, using either NVIDIA 2-Way SLI or the AMD 3-Way CrossFireX Technologies.

There’s a standard number of HMI/DVD-D output ports that can be used with an Intel processor with integrated graphics. 

Audio

Audiophiles will fall in love with the sound on the Prime Z390-A. 6 Audio ports, split into 5 3.5mm audio jacks with 1x S/PDIF output, are controlled by an efficient Realtek S1220A HD audio codec. This capable audio codec delivers crystal-clear sound across 8 channels.

Aesthetics

ASUS is a renowned leader in the RGB front with its fantastic Aura software. The ASUS Prime Z390-A board continues this tradition. This motherboard provides you with complete RGB lighting control over two RGB strip headers.

Users can use a variety of functional presets to change the appearance of their RGB lights. The presets mean you spend less time fine-tuning your lights and more time looking at them.

Our only complaint is that we would have loved to see at least one addressable RGB header. This addressable RGB header would have provided even more options for customized lighting.

The stylish ASUS black and silver keep things looking sleek, and customizing around the color scheme is a straightforward experience.

Another beautiful Prime motherboard that you may like is the ASUS Prime Z270-A.

Overclocking

An essential part of the Prime Z390-A is its overclocking features. 

Newcomers to the overclocking world will be thrilled with the ASUS AI Overclocking software. 

AI Overclocking delivers optimal specs by determining the processor’s hardware limits. It finds the perfect voltage frequency for your gaming rig. You never have to worry again about running an underpowered computer, or worse, frying your expensive CPU.

The AI Overclocking feature is also an important safety feature to help newcomers by protecting the system from being damaged from wrong settings. 

Experienced DIY tweakers don’t have to fret, though, ASUS didn’t take all the fun out of overclocking. The Z390-A board still provides users with manual options to tweak their system performance. 

Conclusion

The ASUS Prime Z390-A is far better than any Z370 series chipset motherboard. It offers more in terms of peripherals, aesthetics, and overclocking capability. 

The Z390-A is also one of the easiest motherboards to pick up and install. The included ASUS AI Overclocking utility, accessible through both BIOS and Windows, is a fantastic bonus. 

After all, you want to spend your time enjoying your hardware and not spend weeks configuring every aspect of your motherboard. This motherboard is one of our favorites and is a great advocate for the Prime series. 

If you want a motherboard with less power and fewer features for a lower price, look at our ASUS Prime Z270-A review.

Pros

  • Automatic overclocking
  • One-Stop control software
  • Fantastic audio
  • Q-Slot and Q-Dimm makes installation quick
  • BIOS updates smoothly
ASUS Prime Z390-A Motherboard LGA1151 (Intel 8th And 9th Gen) ATX DDR4...
  • Designed for 9th and 8th generation Intel Core processors to maximize connectivity and speed with M. 2, USB 3. 1 Gen2 and ASUS Optimum II for better DRAM overclocking stability
  • Revamped 5-Way Optimization that has the intelligence to overclock a CPU based on smart prediction and thermal telemetry. OptiMem II: Careful routing of traces and vias, plus ground layer optimizations to preserve signal integrity for improved memory overclocking
  • 5X Protection III Hardware-level safeguards with Safe Slot Core, LAN Guard, Over voltage Protection provide longevity, reliability. FanXpert 4 delivers advanced fan control for dynamic system cooling
  • Patent-pending Safe Slot Core fortified PCIe slots prevent damage caused by heavyweight GPUs
  • 8-channel HD Gaming Audio featuring Realtek ALC887 high definition audio codec

Cons

  • No addressable RGB headers
  • No onboard WiFi or Bluetooth

Common questions about ASUS Prime Z390-A motherboard

Is the ASUS Prime Z390-A motherboard better than the Prime Z390-P?

The ASUS Prime Z390-A motherboard is better than the Z390-P. The Z390-A offers better overclocking and more onboard features, albeit at a slightly higher price.

What is the ASUS Prime series?

The ASUS Prime series motherboards use the latest 8th and 9th generation Intel processors. It supplies entry-level motherboards packed with features and performance to give users great value for money. 

Do I need to install more fans on my ASUS Prime Z390-A?

You only need to install more fans if you are planning on manually overclocking your motherboard and it starts overheating. The ASUS Prime Z390-A comes with Fan Control 4, which is a handy software utility. You can use this software to tweak the performance of their connected fans to create optimal cooling.

Customer Reviews

“I use the Z390-A daily for rendering videos. It works flawlessly. The Aura RGB lighting is a pleasant surprise.”

Gargamel314

5/5 stars

“I didn’t realize that this motherboard is only supported by Windows 10. My older Windows 7 didn’t work on it at all. After the update to Windows 10, the Prime Z390-A works perfectly well. I wish I had known about this sooner.”

C. Kramer

3/5 stars

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