Visual Inspection

If you are familiar with NZXT's previous N7 motherboards, the N7 Z490 follows a very similar aesthetic with near full-cover armor plating hiding the black PCB. In a move which looks down to reducing the overall cost, one of the complains on the Z390, NZXT has opted for a metal and plastic cover as opposed to the full metal cover. The NZXT N7 Z490 is an ATX sized model, with the armor plating and large power delivery heatsink combining to create a fairly seamless design. It should also be noted that the NZXT N7 Z490 is also available in white, which reminds me of the stylings of the ASUS TUF Z97 Mark S which we reviewed over six years ago.

Looking at the NZXT N7 Z490 side by side with the armor on and off, it clearly covers the majority of the board. The N7 in itself doesn't include any integrated RGB LED lighting, but NZXT has added an RGB and fan controller which can be controlled using its CAM software. Users can add their own RGB LED strips via two NZXT RGB LED, one 12 V RGB LED, and one 5 V addressable RGB header. For cooling, the N7 Z490 has seven 4-pin headers which are divided up into one for a CPU fan, one for an AIO pump, and five for chassis fans. Located in the bottom right-hand corner is a basic overclockers toolkit which consists of a reset and power button pairing, with four POST LEDs to allow users to diagnose POST issues. 

In the top right-hand corner are four memory slots with the capability to install up to 128 GB, with maximum supported speeds of DDR4-4266. In the storage department, NZXT includes two PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, with one featuring support for both PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA drives which is located along the bottom. In regards to SATA, there are just four right-angled SATA ports along the bottom `right-hand side of the board, with support for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays.

The NZXT N7 Z490 is using a 10-phase design for the power delivery, which is being controlled by an Intersil ISL69269 PWM controller. It is operating in an 8+2 configuration, with eight Vishay SiC632A 50 A power stages for the CPU VCore, and two Vishay SiC632A 50 A power stages for the SoC. For the board's VCCSA, the N7 Z490 is using an Intersil RAA220001 driver, with a Sinopower SM4337 high-side and Sinopower SM4436 low-side MOSFET pairing. The VCCIO uses the same MOSFET configuration but is instead controlled and driven by an Anpec APW8828 controller.

Keeping the power delivery cool is an L-shaped heatsink, which is hollowed out to allow airflow in. The heatsink itself doesn't include any fins for passive airflow to catch, so it relies solely on airflow being directed down the hollowed out channel. Despite not including a fin array, the mounting between the heatsink and the power delivery is solid, with very good impressions on the thermal pads.

Looking closer at the audio section of the PCB, it is using five Nichicon fine gold series audio capacitors, which are assisting the premium Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec. The codec itself doesn't include any EMI shielding, but the audio PCB is separated from the rest of the board's componentry.

On the rear panel is a scarce selection of input and output, with just two USB 3.2 G2 ports, a Type-A and a Type-C. Also present are two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A and two USB 2.0 ports, with a further two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A (one header) and six USB 2.0 ports available through the use of internal headers. There is a single HDMI 1.4b video output, with five 3.5 mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output which is powered by a Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec. 

What's in The Box

Included in the NZXT N7 Z490 accessories bundles are four SATA cables, an Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 interface antenna, and N7 users manual. 

  • 4 x SATA cables
  • Intel AX200 antenna
  • User manual
NZXT Z490 N7 Overview BIOS And Software
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  • Woomn 44 - Monday, October 19, 2020 - link

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    Reply
  • mrvco - Sunday, October 11, 2020 - link

    RGB powa I expect. Reply
  • SlashZerov - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    My system has
    2x USB keyboards one gaming and one for typing
    1x USB mouse
    1x USB headset Logitech g430
    2x USB occulus rift sensors
    1x USB data to USB for moving data on/off drives
    I also have a couple phone chargers hanging off so yes 6 isn’t enough for the average person.
    Reply
  • YB1064 - Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - link

    Nobody is going to buy this board at the listed price. I'd pay $75-90 for it, tops. 4 layer PCB? Man this aint 1990. Reply
  • Operandi - Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - link

    Wrong platform.

    Also, those heatsinks have very little surface area, more like heatbanks.

    Also, also there is clean design and then there is boring. These are boring.
    Reply
  • s.yu - Thursday, October 8, 2020 - link

    I call this a clean design, half-assed clean is what's boring, this is actually so refined that the issue is getting other hardware to match them. Reply
  • Tomatotech - Friday, October 9, 2020 - link

    For all its many fault, I do like the clean design. Reminds me a little of the various Mac Pro designs. Would be suitable for an exposed mobo mod project.

    I personally would prefer an even more clean look, for example removable coverings over the unused PCIe slots, both for aesthetics and to keep dust out. This mobo was made to be on display and not all mod projects use enclosed cases.
    Reply
  • Polaris198321 - Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - link

    Looks good. however no 6 SATA data ports for fully taking advantage of 2 laptop HDDs and desktop HDDs here. needs buttons for CMOS and bios resetting on io panel found on many Asus high end for the mobo and specially made self-recharging materials and censor on the chips for built-in ups battery backup for 30 minutes in case of blackouts to run in the energy-saving mode for basic needs like the internet and phone usage on a desktop and laptop. 4g LTE - 6g is a must as well if you decide to ditch cable internet for an alternative with both of them soon having yearly cable and internet/phone plans.

    wireless PSU ports on the mobo from the PSU might be tested for ditching the nightmare of cable management in such pc powers here once the light beam mirroring bounce and data/power reception effect is perfected without frying the PSU and mobo that both self-heal and self cool like the DPU and CPU and GPUs to come and ssds and HDDs doing the same thing with fans also on the side like on the haf x tower for vertical GPU mounting for the RTX 3090 and CPU fan mount that also rotate to go vertical to give a bigger CPU fan more breathing space to properly cool an RTX 3090 and intel i9 11 gen desktop CPU/AMD ryzen x3950 CPU with custom DDR 5/ssds from intel at 1 TB each for the ram slots here for hybrid custom video sound music creation editing and data science and gaming at 8k going foward as the bios uefi needs to have the ability for multiboot os for macOS windows OS Linux OS and chrome/andriod OS and iOS here for seamless easy file transfers to and from said devices and for network and usb/microsd backups of the mobo and oses from the mobo bios itself. tb 4 ports for any module CPUs from AMD or ryzen to boot up a dead pc for recovery on the i/o panel with 8k 2.1 HDMI ports and display ports are needed as well for connection to an lg/sony 8k tv theater system with sound systems that can handle live music/video/audio editing and recordings like seen and found on many movie and music recording stations.
    Reply
  • firewrath9 - Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - link

    wat Reply
  • Operandi - Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - link

    Huh...... don't do drugs I guess? Reply

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