MSI and EKWB team up to launch the MSI MPG Z490 Carbon EK X

Written by Jennifer Allen

June 9, 2020 | 11:00

Tags: #z490-carbon-ek-x

Companies: #ekwb #msi

MSI has announced that it's partnered up with EK Water Blocks to launch a new Intel Z490 motherboard for Intel 10th generation Core processors. 

Named the MSI MPG Z490 Carbon EK X, the motherboard includes an EKWB CPU mono block (with RGB LEDs, of course). This isn't the first Z490-based motherboard to include a water block but it has two key things going for it - a better price at $400 and the fact that EK is a well respected name in water-cooling.

The EKWB custom mono block cools both the CPU and the 12+1 phase power delivery so it should help substantially when cooling high-end 10th generation CPUs and also serves perfectly as a bit of an entry level position for those just getting into custom water cooling Alongside that, the integrated RGB LEDs can be controlled with MSI's Mystic Light software because you need to show off, right?

The rest of the motherboard is also rather respectable as expected. There are three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, two PCIe 3.0 x1 slots, along with two M.2 slots, six SATA ports, Realtek 2.5 G Ethernet and Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6. Four memory slots are available which can support up to DDR4-4800 with a maximum capacity of 128GB. You won't be short of practical options here. 

Connectors are a similar deal with one USB 3.2 G2 20Gbps Type-C, four USB 3.2 Type-A, and two USB 2.0 ports on the rear panel. There's a Display Port 1.4 and HDMI video outputs if you want to use the integrated graphics which seems unlikely, and there's even PS/2 support too. Internally, there's also a single USB 3.2 G2 Type-C header, one USB 3.2 Type-A header with support for two ports, and two USB 2.0 headers that support up to four ports. 

MSI and EKWB also throw in a leak tester which is sure to help you out along the way, especially if you're new to water cooling. 

As the name suggests, there's a carbon inspired theme with black carbon patterning across the rear panel and sections of the mono block, so it all looks rather stylish, no matter what you do LED wise. Ultimately, it looks as expensive and as classy as you'd expect. 

Impressively then, it's only $400 with pre-orders available at the EK webshop for €453. That's substantially less than other Z490 motherboards that also include water blocks like ASRock's offering - the Z490 Aqua - that costs an eye watering $1,100. Essentially, MSI and EKWB's collaboration is an entry point for those keen to get involved in custom water cooling and that want a helping hand. 

The motherboard should start shipping from 22nd June. 

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