Overall and Final Verdict
It feels like it has been a while since I took a look at an EVGA motherboard so going in I was excited to see what they have going on with the Z490 FTW. One big thing hasn’t changed. EVGA loves their blacked-out styling, the entire board is black except for the metal shield over top of the rear I/O that has the EVGA branding and the Z490 FTW model name on it. This simple approach is something EVGA does well and as a reviewer with all of the boards that I see over time they all start to blend together because features, styling, and ideas all get picked up and shared. But EVGA, like the Fleetwood Mac song implies, goes their own way. This looks nothing like any of the other Z490 boards and EVGA has a completely different focus. Even with the onboard sound, they didn’t go with the standard Nichicon gold capacitors. Beyond that, every single connection on the board around the outside edge is right-angled for easier wiring with the exception of the 24 and 8 pin power connection. EVGA including RGB lighting was a little weird, at least for them. I personally would prefer it to be behind the rear I/O shield than around the chipset. But if you are going with an EVGA board there is a good chance you prefer no lighting anyhow.
Now with EVGA going their own way, there were a few things I didn’t like. The choice to go with a 1G wired NIC when all of the other Z490 boards are using the 2.5G as a minimum. I know switches are still expensive, but getting it out into the market more should help push 2.5G and 10G integration faster. Not integrating the rear I/O shield is a small detail that is also available on other Z490 boards in this price range that helps make the install easier. I also think the wireless antennas that attach right to the rear I/O are a little weird because they get in each other's way and the way of other connections.
For pricing, the Z490 FTW has an MSRP of $329.99 and that seems a little expensive when you aren’t even getting a 2.5G NIC. EVGA does at least include thick metal for the I/O cover and large VRM heatsinks. But this is the best direction to go if you don’t like the flashy features that other upper mid-range Z490 boards have.
Live Pricing: HERE