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Value chipsets are extremely common. However, the two that provide the best performance are of course from the two biggest chipmakers: Intel and AMD. While the AMD Ryzen 5 has truly been crowned king in the value chip for mid-range builds, Intel’s i5-9600k looks to top the leaderboard in this chip market.
However, the awesome features and significant performance of the i5-9600k will only work if it is bundled with a motherboard that works together to bring out the performance of the chip and convert your mid-range value computer to one equivalent of the best. Some of the features that gamers and users of such a chip would be looking for in a motherboard are RGB capability, large memory support, significant cooling systems, and the ability to add many devices to their rig.
Motherboards for i5-9600k Comparison Table
|1. Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro||
|2. Gigabyte Z390 Gaming X||
|3. ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming – ITX/AC||
|4. ASUS Prime Z390-A||
|5. ASUS ROG Z390 Maximus XI Pro||
|6. MSI MEG Z390 Godlike LGA1151||
|7. ASUS ROG Strix Z370-E||
|8. MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk||
|9. MSI Enthusiast Gaming||
We have scoured through Amazon and other sites to find some of the top boards that work with the i5-9600 and will bring out its amazing cache of raw power. We have reviewed these, and our observations are found below.
It is important to note that the i5-9600k works great with a Z390 board, and all of the options are Z390 model boards.
Motherboards for i5-9600k Processor Buying Guide
1. Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro
The top seller in the motherboard market is Gigabyte. Their products are found in a significant number of computers in the world. The Z390 Aorus Pro motherboard is a formidable contestant for top-notch motherboards, especially when used with the i5-9600k
- Dual-channel non-ECC Unbuffered DDR4 with 4 DIMMs
- Intel Optane memory ready
- Multiple heatsinks and heat pipes allow for conventional or liquid cooling
What We Like About Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro
Gigabyte has created this motherboard to be compatible with not only 9th generation chips, but all 8th generation Pentium and Celeron i9 through i3 chips as well.
This motherboard allows the integration of RGB support, allowing for colored fan operation. It also comes with a redesigned RGB Fusion application which allows for an intense lighting experience.
This motherboard also includes enhanced audio control, thermal guards, and other built-in protections.
What We Don’t Like About Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro
While not surprising, this is one of the more expensive motherboards. In fact, as compared with four comparable boards on Amazon, this is the second most expensive motherboard.
Users also report that the BIOS that works with this specific board is not the easiest to work with. This is a significant con for purchasing this board.
Some users are also complaining about whining capacitor noise.
- Amazing performance
- Lots of added features
- Many USB ports, including 3.0, 3.1 gen 2, and USB C.
- RGB display is fantastic
- Can’t use the rear headphone jacks without noise
- Capacitors make noise
- When using a RAID configuration, the m2 PCI-E SSD is not recognized
2. Gigabyte Z390 Gaming X
Second, on our list is yet another Gigabyte board. Rated as the best value motherboard to use with the i5-9600k, it comes packed with features and options not found in most value motherboards.
- 2-Way Crossfire Multi-Graphics Support with PCIe Armor and Ultra Durable Design
- Intel Native USB 31. Gen2 type A
- Supports 8th & 9th generations, processors
- Supports full support RGB lighting
What We Like About Gigabyte Z390 Gaming X
This unit comes with a thermal guard, which prevents overheating, throttling, and bottlenecks from the m.2 SSDs, this board also has better overall heat control.
The additional Smart Fan 5 allows users to have an up-to-the-second update on fan flow rates and case temperatures. It also allows users to interchange their fan headers for better heat control.
One nice feature is the DualBIOS. Utilizing both the main BIOS and a backup BIOS, the motherboard is protected from BIOS failure resulting from hardware malfunction, viruses, or a power outage during BIOS updates.
What We Don’t Like About Gigabyte Z390 Gaming X
Amazon users report that the BIOS settings are a bit wonky. For one, it sometimes doesn’t save the settings that a user last left the computer with. They are also hard to manipulate and some features are difficult to find.
Fan control using Smart Fan also seems not to work if it’s plugged into any port other than CPU 1.
- Great for video editing
- Decent overclock
- Comes with adequate USB ports for use with many devices
- No addressable RGB functionality
- Poor BIOS
3. ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming – ITX/AC
ASRock brings us this mini-ITX motherboard. It’s found its niche among other ITX boards and works superbly with the i5-9500k. While it’s a nice board, it does have its flaws.
- Supports 8th and 9th generation Intel Core processors
- Support 802.1 a/b/g/n/ac
- Comes with a built-in Wifi Antenna
What We Like About ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming – ITX/AC
This motherboard comes with a built-in Wifi antenna, which many people report works nicely.
Compared to other boards in this category, it’s small and compact, which works well with smaller computer cases. While most gamers prefer to use a full-size tower, there are some gamers who go for the smaller case.
What We Don’t Like About ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming – ITX/AC
Some users report that they received a motherboard which is dead-on-arrival. While we can understand some manufacturing defects do happen when building boards, a noticeable amount of users report that their units malfunction out of the box.
Other users report that the build quality doesn’t seem great, slots feel flimsy, I/O ports are flimsy and covered with foil. It does not give the feel of a well-designed motherboard.
Some users report that their experience with technical support was far from great. The score for customer support only gained ASRock a 2-star rating.
- It’s small and compact, good for small cases
- Lots of connectivity options
- Works on both OSX and Windows devices
- Some users say it is defective out of the box, some components on the card don’t work as designed
- There is a driver/device issue with the built-in xHCI Compliant Host Controller, which causes some components to fail or not be recognized.
4. ASUS Prime Z390-A
This motherboard is rated as the top Mid-Range motherboard for the 9600k. It’s on par both price-wise and feature-wise as the Aorus Pro reviewed above.
- Intel Z390 chipset
- Includes 8 USB ports
- Supports 4266 MHZ DDR4 memory
- Intel Gigabit LAN
What We Like About ASUS Prime Z390-A
The design of this motherboard is stunning. It is built with a white and grey design, with bits of colored metal. Design is important as many gamers have open see-through cases, to display their RGB LEDs.
This ASUS board supports a higher megahertz rating DDR4 memory than its Aorus counterpart, but only slightly.
This motherboard also offers not only an HDMI port but a DisplayPort for even better graphics.
What We Don’t Like About ASUS Prime Z390-A
Despite some people still using Windows 7, this motherboard will not work with any operating system that is older than Windows 10. Asus does a poor job advertising this fact and many people have had to upgrade their operating systems or return the card.
Users will have to reset the bios to ensure that the DDR4 memory is stable. Users also say that it will not work with the 9th generation processors until the BIOS is updated. However, we have found that this is normal with the Z390 series motherboards.
- Easy overclock control
- Built-in fan control
- Maglev bearings are more efficient than regular ball bearings
- Very quiet for Maglev
- RGB only supports 12v connections
- Intel Optane will not work if transferring a hard drive with Windows 10 installed on it
5. ASUS ROG Z390 Maximus XI Pro
Made specifically for gaming computers and supporting 8th and 9th generation chips, the Republic of Gamers Maximus XO Hero Wi-Fi is a fantastic and affordable motherboard for gaming, and offers many advantages over its competitors.
- Integrated I/O shield
- VRM cooling in this motherboard exceeds other brands
- Improved audio support
What We Like About ASUS ROG Z390 Maximus XI Pro
This board offers many features, such as excellent cooling, VRMs, and CMOS and BIOS flashback buttons.
This motherboard has six SATAIII ports, which means you can add all sorts of equipment and paraphernalia into the case with no adverse effects. Most boards only come with 4 slots.
This motherboard also comes bundled with Bluetooth, and a built-in wireless card, which is a significant selling point.
You May Also Like: Z390 Motherboards: ATX, Micro ATX, and Mini ITX
What We Don’t Like About ASUS ROG Z390 Maximus XI Pro
There’s not much to not like in this board. It is truly an amazing motherboard and offers everything any gamer or heavy computer user would need for high-scale system setup.
If we did need to find one thing to harp on, it’s that there are only two M.2 ports instead of 3.
- UEFI BIOS
- Overclock to 5 MHz
- Superior audio experience
- Pricey unless you plan on overclocking, then it is a winner
- VRM and VRM controller on the cheaper side
6. MSI MEG Z390 Godlike LGA1151
While loaded with many features and exciting options, this motherboard is significantly more expensive than its competitors
- Integrated I/O shield
- OLED display used to monitor the status of the motherboard
- Switches for changing BIOS profiles
- Overclocking dial with power/reset buttons
What We Like About MSI MEG Z390 Godlike LGA1151
MSI has gone out of its way to help users keep track of what is happening with their motherboard. From an OLED display to monitor temperatures, read debug codes to the individual LED status lights for CPU, RAM slots, and GPU.
This board includes an M.2 shield “Frozer”, which works together with the motherboard’s heatsink. This feature prevents thermal throttling and sustains maximum drive performance.
The audio options on this motherboard are unequivocal. With a 384kHZ/32 bit output with built-in amplifiers, the Xtreme Audio DAC with Nahimic 3 audio booster will provide you with real-life audio output and unmatched audio performance.
What We Don’t Like About MSI MEG Z390 Godlike LGA1151
It’s expensive. Like really, really expensive. In comparison to other high-end motherboards, this board is the loser when it comes to affordable motherboards. It could easily support its weight with a $200 reduction in price.
- This board is a true overclock workhorse and makes managing the overclock settings easy
- 18 phase VRM
- 6 PIN PCIe power connection for overclocking video cards, in addition to the processor
- Extremely expensive
- Poor documentation and customer services
7. ASUS ROG Strix Z370-E
Another product from ASUS, it’s a trojan horse. Although this has some bad reviews, this motherboard is much more robust than some want you to believe. The board does come with a significant number of features and for a basic gaming motherboard, it’s a real winner.
- 5-way Optimization with Auto-Tuning and FanXpert 4 for easily creating a fan and cooling profiles
- Includes Aura Sync RGB lighting for an eye-catching fan lighting experience
- 8 channel HD audio with dual headphone amplifiers
- Designed for 8th generation Intel Core processors
What We Like About ASUS ROG Strix Z370-E
It works! For a reasonable price, you get a decent board with some advanced and significant features. For instance, the board offers one-click overclocking and cooling profiles. It’s much better than some of the reviews want you to believe.
The M.2 heatsink is also a nice addition. The heatsink has a huge cooling surface and provides adequate chilling to the m.2 SSD drive.
It also comes with a built-in 2×2 dual-band Wifi card, offering huge transfer speeds and MU-MIMO technology, which provides you blazing network speeds by simultaneously receiving multiple data streams.
What We Don’t Like About ASUS ROG Strix Z370-E
The ASUS Aura Sync software that comes bundled with the board tends to freeze up your computer and provides subpar performance.
- Onboard Bluetooth capabilities
- Removable heatsink to cover unsightly fans
- A built-in Wifi card is a nice and ever-growing necessary addition
- BIOS needs upgrading as the board has an issue reading some SATA drives
- Bios settings are hard to navigate
8. MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk
The Tomahawk is a solidly built mid-range 9th generation motherboard. It’s not just solidly built, but it also has an attractive and modern look to it.
- Supports 9th generation and 8th generation processors
- Supports dual-channel DDR4 memory
- Pre-installed I/O shield
- Four front USB ports
What We Like About MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk
This board comes ready for Intel Optane’s memory, a huge benefit of the board. It also includes many features like an m.2 shield frozer.
What makes this board unique is that it has pre-installed I/O shielding. It is grounded to and protects the I/O ports from static discharge damage caused by external causes.
What We Don’t Like About MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawke
While we realize that Windows 10 is the most popular and available operating system, people do like a choice. When using this board, it only works with Windows 10. Even if you can finagle the board to work with an earlier operating system, you will quickly see it does not work with other components like the network adapters and will only work with PS2 mouse.
This board also has a design flaw that prevents it from working with many brands of memory chips.
- XMP allows for easy overclock management
- Two ethernet ports for network redundancy
- USB C port & numerous fan connections, which are demanded by a good gaming system
- Flaw prevents the use of all popular RAM sims
- DIMM LEDs are constantly lit with a red LED, with no way to adjust it
9. MSI Enthusiast Gaming
An overclocking monster, this budget motherboard is in the higher tier ranks of the budget motherboard selections. While this board truly stands out due to its overclocking abilities, the ability to support 64gb RAM is a nice addition and is rarely found in the budget motherboard models.
- Supports 8th generation processors
- Supports RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 for SATA devices, and Raid 0 and 1 for M.2 PCIe devices
- Has 4 DDR4 memory slots that allow support for up to 64gb
- Supports 2-way NVIDIA Scalable Link Interface
What We Like About MSI Enthusiast Gaming
It supports a huge amount of processing and memory power. 64gb of RAM is nothing to laugh at. Very few boards support this amount of memory.
The 2-way NVIDIA SLI option is a nice touch. It allows two-way synching of GPUs which provides an unbeatable graphics experience.
What We Don’t Like About MSI Enthusiast Gaming
Like all other boards in the Z370 range, you must flash the bios before installing Windows 10, or your install will quickly go bad!
There are multiple reports of the audio ports not working in the back. According to one user, even after intensive testing by 2 techs, including one from MSI, as well as his individual testing, he was unable to resolve the issue.
Like the earlier MSI we reviewed, we found that support for Windows 7 & Windows 8 was limited. Although Windows 7 is no longer supported by Microsoft, there is still some significant preference to use the Windows 7 operating system over the more memory consuming Windows 10.
- Supports up to 64GB of high-speed RAM
- The temperature stays on a consistent 30c while on idle, but there is amazing cooling all-around
- Allows for 5.0ghz overclock, while providing adequate cooling
- Has 2 USB 2.0 ports. Limits use of RGB
- DIMM LEDs are constantly lit with a red LED, with no way to adjust it
The i5-9600k is truly a workhorse. It offers so much in the way of overclocking, power, and computing speeds. But all of the power of the i5-9600k is lost if you don’t have a motherboard that helps you pull all the power from it.
While the MSI board is a top range board and worth its weight in the cost, the MEG Z390 Godlike LGA1151’s lack of significant documentation and poor customer service is surely a turnoff for us. The board itself does not compensate for the poor customer service and lack of clear documentation.
That’s not to say you need to avoid MSI boards. The other MSI board we reviewed, the Enthusiast Gaming, excels in some areas that the Tomahawk fails. The Gaming Enthusiast is a better bet when looking for a moderately priced budget motherboard.
In our opinion, the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro is the top of the line. It’s relatively affordable, the cons of this particular board are not that terrible, and it has a nice set of features which make this board the best choice for use with the I5-9600 chip.
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