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Gigabyte Aorus 15G Review- A Highly Capable 240Hz Gaming Laptop

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Gigabyte Aorus 15G Review

High refresh rate displays are usually often found in dedicated desktop monitors, but you can actually find gaming laptops that have refresh rates that are beyond 120Hz now. This seems to be the new trend, at least, in the foreseeable future.

The Gigabyte Aorus 15G is one of the gaming laptops that have adopted the new 10th generation Intel core processors, as well as a 240Hz display for absolutely smooth and flawless gaming.

But, does this new laptop from Gigabyte have the right things to offer?

Design

Gaming laptops typically have that ‘loud’ aesthetic in that you can clearly tell if a portable machine is a laptop intended for gaming or not, but the Gigabyte Aorus 15G is different.

Instead of the usual bells and whistles, the Aorus 15G has a much tamer look. I would even go on to say that this thing looks well-built and can be used in professional settings for its subtle aesthetic.

You get an all-aluminum chassis with the Aorus logo situated at the center of the lid and just at the bottom part, you will find some air vents for exhaust. The vents actually add some aesthetic appeal to the laptop which I think is a nice plus.

Scattered throughout the sides are some USB ports, a mini-Displayport, an Ethernet jack, a headphone and microphone combo jack, HDMI port, and you also get an SD card reader which is usually not added by companies on a gaming laptop.

You also get a few vents on the side as well and both them and the back air vents act as an exhaust.

Now, where does this thing take in some air, you ask? Well, the air vents at the bottom of the chassis take air in.

You see, when you fully open the lid, the laptop props up a little bit, allowing some clearance to take some air in. This is a really nice implementation and I have seen newer laptops follow the same design language. I hope that this trend is copied by upcoming laptops in the future.

You can also find a fingerprint sensor on the main body of the laptop and it is fast and accurate. You can use this for more secure login.

Lastly, there is a 720p webcam as well. Although its picture quality is okay, I just do not like its placement at the top-middle portion of the keyboard. It looks quite odd when it is positioned at that angle, though you do have a privacy slider so that you can close the lid when the camera is not in use.

Display

Gigabyte Aorus 15G Review 2020

You actually have a lot of different display panel options here. If you go for the more modest setup, you will get a machine that has a 144Hz screen refresh rate which should be adequate for most gamers.

The review unit I have comes with the 240Hz IPS display panel and I have to say that it does provide me with a much smoother gaming experience. There is just one problem- the configuration that I was sent with is just one with medium-high specs, so I cannot really take full advantage of the display (more on the specs later).

Still, I like how amazing and crisp the details are. While I do have an interest in the fast refresh rate panel, I do have to say that this issue is a bit concerning for people that intend to buy this thing.

You see, when you open the lid to reveal the display, the actual mechanism is kind of flimsy. This is evident if you try to use the machine on your lap as the panel kind of wobbles every time you type, for example.

This is probably an oversight and it is definitely not a good look for the company. I just hope that they rectify this in their future laptops.

Keyboard and Touchpad

Gigabyte Aorus 15G Keyboard

While I was a bit disappointed at the build quality of the display, I actually love the Gigabyte Aorus 15G’s keyboard and touchpad.

Here, you have an RGB illuminated mechanical keyboard and the switches are made by the popular Japanese company, Omron. 

I really love the keys as they are nice to the touch and this is especially true when typing documents or communicating with your buddies via in-game chat.

You can customize the lighting by using the Gigabyte Control Center (which comes pre-installed in the machine). The options in there are amazing, so you’d have to spend some time learning more about the features.

As for the trackpad, you get a smooth matte surface that is quite accurate. It doesn’t have buttons at the bottom, though I think that this is where most laptop manufacturers are headed. This makes a lot more surface area for you to work with, though some people would probably prefer physical buttons to use.

Specs and Performance

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-10875H
  • GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 2070 Super MAX-Q
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch IPS Display, 240Hz Refresh Rate, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Connectivity: WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
  • Battery: 94 Wh
  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Weight: 4.9 lbs

As mentioned earlier, my configuration has some pretty respectable specs, though there is a much higher-end configuration that includes a 300Hz refresh rate display and an Intel Core i9 processor with Nvidia’s Geforce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q.

Anyway, in terms of gaming performance, the Gigabyte Aorus 15G can still handle even the most graphically demanding titles out there.

Playing CoD: Warzone, I was able to get 115 fps in most areas, though it dips in the 90s in other zones.

When you are playing Steam games like Dota 2, you should be able to get more than 120 fps as games from the said company aren’t that taxing on the GPU.

If we are talking about productivity workloads, I’d have to say that this is a middling performer, which isn’t really a surprise given that I only have an 8-core/8-thread chip. The performance probably improves by a mile if my configuration was equipped with the i9 chip and the much powerful 2080 Super GPU variant.

This is not to say that this $2,300 configuration isn’t worth it, in fact, it really is. But, I wouldn’t really say that you can maximize its 240Hz display to its fullest potential.

Battery

Gigabyte Aorus 15G

Most gaming laptops typically do not last that long, especially if they are packed with high-end components. But I am actually surprised with the Gigabyte Aorus 15G as it is able to last 8 hours and 22 minutes with moderate use.

I was able to get 4 hours and 16 minutes of intense gaming on Call of Duty: Warzone and you can get similar (or even improved) battery life when playing other games.

It seems that the 94 Wh battery is doing its thing really well.

Verdict

High refresh rate gaming laptops are becoming increasingly popular these days and the Gigabyte Aorus 15G is one of the best in this regard.

Though I wasn’t able to take full advantage of the 240Hz panel, my modest configuration was able to handle most of the games that I play really well. I never dipped below 90 frames per second which is saying something.

The hefty battery also allows me to play games without having to worry too much about giving it more juice. Four hours of gaming is typically what I would consider substantial enough for most gamers at a time.

I really love the mechanical keyboard that is on this thing as it feels really smooth and has a crisp tactile feedback every time I type. The touchpad is also relatively good as well.

My only gripe with this otherwise stellar laptop is its display is a bit wobbly when used on an uneven surface, though it holds up really well when you place it on a desk.

For $2,300, I can recommend the Gigabyte Aorus 15G to anyone who wants to dabble into 240Hz gaming.

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Logitech G305 Lightspeed Review- The $75 ‘G Pro’ Lite

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Logitech G305 Lightspeed Review

The Logitech G Pro is highly praised by the gaming community, especially those that are playing first-person shooters. It is lightweight and it is wireless which is something that was unprecedented before its release.

There is only one issue: That mouse was expensive. Fortunately, you can get the Logitech G305 Lightspeed for a much cheaper price.

Read further to find out why I think the G305 is what I would consider as the ‘G Pro’ lite.

Design

The Logitech G305 Lightspeed looks quite similar to the Logitech G Pro mentioned above. At first glance, you might think that this peripheral is an ambidextrous mouse, but that is actually not the case.

You see, while it has an ambidextrous design, the side buttons are actually located only on the left side of the peripheral. This is an odd choice considering that this can be construed as a mouse that can also be used left-handed, but this is something that you need to know if you are a left-handed gamer.

Its dimensions are 4.59 x 2.45 x 1.50 inches and it weighs 98 grams with the AA battery on. That’s right, you will need a single AA battery for this thing to operate, but the good thing is that a single AA battery can last up to three months with consistent use.

Much of the power-saving features come from the company’s own HERO sensor which doesn’t require a lot of battery to operate while still providing you with a competitive performance in games. More on this later.

This mouse is a bit on the smaller side and is perfectly suited for people who use the fingertip or claw grip styles. This could also work for a hybrid claw/finger grip style as well. 

Because of its smaller dimensions, it should go without saying that people with larger hands might have a hard time grasping this mouse, so I wouldn’t recommend this for people that have bigger hands than others.

Despite its much cheaper price, I am glad that the Logitech G305 Lightspeed still feels premium. It is predominantly made with plastic and it has a matte finish so that it won’t easily get out of your grasps when you are playing even with sweaty hands.

On the underside, you will find four mouse feet for easier glide and you can also find the on/off switch as well. I love the fact that you can tell if it is turned on or off based on the color that you see depending on the switch’s orientation.

If you see the switch’s color turn blue, that means that the mouse is turned on. If it is on orange, then the peripheral is turned off.

I should also mention that there is no RGB lighting on this mouse at all and that is okay considering that you are running this thing with non-rechargeable batteries.

The Logitech G305 Lightspeed doesn’t have rechargeable batteries, but you might wonder why there is an included cable in the box. Well, that actually acts as an extender for the wireless USB dongle. This is used for better wireless coverage to ensure that the peripheral’s performance remains consistent across the board.

Performance

Logitech G305 Lightspeed Review 2020

As mentioned earlier, the Logitech G305 Lightspeed comes equipped with the company’s HERO sensor which is derived from the popular Pixart 3366 sensor. For the people who are familiar with the latter, you know that this thing can perform admirably even in competitive situations.

The good thing about Logitech’s implementation is that the HERO sensor eats so little energy that a single AA battery can last up to 3-4 months with consistent use. That is truly impressive since you do not have to worry about losing battery life while you are using it.

The HERO sensor here is a cut-down version of what you can see in Logitech’s other gaming mice as it can only reach a maximum of 12,000 DPI (compared to the 16,000 DPI in others). This is still okay because, in more practical uses, I don’t think that people would go as high as that number anyway.

I am blown away by how smooth the mouse glides on my mouse mat. The sensor provides consistent performance and I am glad that this thing won’t spin out in games.

I’ve tried this in FPS games like Valorant and I’ve had no problems with aiming at all. This experience is coming from a person who uses a gaming mouse using a palm grip by the way. My aim would have been better if I used the fingertip or claw grip styles.

I’ve also tested this on some MOBA games as well and I never experienced any dropouts or performance issues at all.

Software

Logitech G305 Lightspeed

This mouse has 6 programmable buttons and if you want to configure them, you will need to download the company’s G Hub software.

You can download and use it for free and is available for both Windows and Mac. I love the aesthetic of the software as it is intuitive to use and the menus are easy to understand.

I am just surprised by one thing, however. You see, the button that is directly below the scroll wheel is supposed to be the DPI switch button which means that pressing it would cycle through the different DPI profiles that you’ve set in the G Hub software. Or at least, that is how it should work in theory.

However, even though you can change the DPI to whatever value you want so long as it is within its range (up to 12,000), you cannot set more than one DPI setting which virtually renders the DPI cycle button useless, at least, in this regard.

You could set the button to do an entirely different thing like you can set it to a particular key on the keyboard so every time you press on the button, it does that. But, it is just interesting to me that its original purpose is not actually implemented in reality.

Verdict

Normally, a wireless gaming mouse would typically cost more than $100 because of the use of wireless technology, along with the usual goodies that you can find in such a device. But, I am pleased that the Logitech G305 Lightspeed costs $75.

For its price, you are getting a very competitive gaming mouse that can last a couple of months using just a single AA battery. Of course, this changes depending on the battery that is used (brand and capacity), but for the most part, it should remain fairly consistent in terms of battery life.

The HERO sensor has also given me an amazing experience. I never would have thought that a wireless mouse can provide a similar experience to that of its wired counterparts.

All in all, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Logitech G305 Lightspeed unless of course if you are a palm-grip user.

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The Best MOBA Games on PC in 2020- Team Up with Your Friends and Beat the Competition

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League of Legends

When you ask people what the best MOBA game is, they will usually only give you two answers: Dota 2 or League of Legends.

While both of those titles have amassed huge followings, this is not to say that there aren’t any new and enticing contenders.

Today, I am going to be talking about the best MOBA games in 2020.

What is MOBA?

Before I begin, I assume that most people who are reading this article might already have an idea what a MOBA game is, but for those people that still do not have an inkling what this means, then read ahead.

MOBA is just an acronym that stands for ‘Multiplayer Online Battle Arena’. As the name implies, you are teamed up with 4 or 5 other players and you need to battle it out against the opposing team.

The premise of this genre is simple: Get your characters strong enough to go to the enemy’s base and destroy a certain structure.

In Dota 2, for example, you start out as a level 1 character and once you start leveling up, some skills will be made available to you.

Each time you kill an enemy- may it be some ‘creeps’ (regular enemies) or heroes (player character), you will gain both experience and money- the latter of which you can use to buy items that can help boost stats and improve your character’s potential.

Depending on the game, there is usually a boss character that is situated somewhere in the middle of the battlefield. This boss character will drop some loot that you can use to your team’s advantage. This also means that you have to make sure that the enemy team doesn’t get to it first, otherwise they will have the upper hand.

While Dota 2 is quite enjoyable, it is not for everyone since a typical match would last at least 45 minutes (some can go for 2 hours or more).

Now that you now have a basic idea of what a MOBA game is, I will now talk about the best ones that you can find on the PC.

Best MOBA Games on PC

1.Dota 2

Dota 2

I think it should go without saying that Dota 2 is still the best MOBA game on PC in 2020. This game’s origins are actually pretty incredible.

Dota is just an acronym that stands for ‘Defense of the Ancients’ and by ‘Ancients’, the term is used to refer to the specific structures that are placed inside your base and the enemy’s base and the team that destroys the opposing group’s ancient structure first wins the entire game.

This whole thing started back when Warcraft III began. You see, the said game has a custom map editor that you can use to create a map of your own. That means that you not only have control over the terrain but you also have control over the things that are going to be utilized on your own map.

IceFrog, the original creator of the Dota custom map in the Warcraft 3 era, started with a couple of heroes and a rather basic map. The premise is simple: Get your team’s characters strong enough to invade the enemy base and destroy its ancient structure.

The idea at that time was novel but it has certainly won the hearts of many people. Since then, Valve (Steam) bought the rights to the said custom map from IceFrog, and then Dota 2 was born.

At the time of writing this article, Dota 2 now has 111 heroes to choose from, so you basically have the option to choose which one you really like to learn the most.

There are microtransactions available in the game, but you do not have to worry about it since real money can be used only to buy cosmetic items (or things that can help change the look of your chosen avatar).

One of its main advantages is, sadly, one of this game’s disadvantages as well. You see, you have plenty of characters to choose from, which means that if you are going to master a lot of them, you will need to be ready to spend hours and hours learning each avatar’s nuances so that you could be of great help to your team.

You also have to get acquainted with different roles. Of course, you should set that before you try to learn a new hero so that you will understand how you should operate within a team setup.

Some roles that you need to think about are the carry, support, mid, and so much more. Because there are certain spells that need to be available at a moment’s notice, you should get a competitive gaming mouse for that purpose.

2.League of Legends

League of Legends

While Dota 2 has set the stage for other game developers to follow, it was the League of Legends who took the formula and improved upon it.

Also known simply as ‘LoL’, this game has amassed a loyal following that, to this day, are still diehard fans.

You get a whopping 141 character roster which means that the learning curve is indeed quite steep. However, because of the unique battle style and strategies that you can employ, learning the characters that you want to use is much easier, at least, when compared to its main rival.

Although there are some game modes to choose from, the 5v5 Summoner’s Rift game mode is the most popular. Like Dota 2, expect to spend at least 30-50 minutes on a single league match.

There is a lot of learning to do when it comes to choosing a character and setting up an item list for which you should follow, but you will have a really fun time doing so.

While the community has some toxic players here and there, for the most part, the League of Legends player base is one of the best out there.

3.Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm

Also known as ‘HotS’, Heroes of the Storm was made by Blizzard, which is also the company that was responsible for the creation of Dota (albeit indirectly).

Although Blizzard was late to the party, this doesn’t mean that Heroes of the Storm doesn’t deserve a shoutout in this article.

If you do not want to spend an hour on a single game, then HotS is for you. Unlike the previous games that I’ve just mentioned, you do not have to worry about what items to purchase here simply because you only get to worry about the skills that you are going to get.

You see, at certain levels, your character will unlock new abilities and you will be the one to choose the right fit for the game and what your team needs the most.

The company used to host a lot of events that showcase the simplicity and prowess of this game, but Blizzard has its eyes focused more on mobile games in the near future.

It is sad that this game is now on ‘maintenance’ mode in that new features and game improvements will not be released as readily as it did before.

However, the game still has a solid player base and if you want a more polished MOBA game that doesn’t take too long to complete, then Heroes of the Storm is for you.

4.Smite

Smite

While the previous games allow you to control your characters by giving you an overhead view of the entire map, this next game takes things to a whole new level.

Smite is a rather new MOBA game but it is certainly gaining steady traction amongst fans of the genre because of its unique feature.

Instead of an overhead view of the entire map, you are going to control your avatar from a 3rd-person perspective. This not only makes things more immersive but it is an entirely new experience that is definitely more fun than the previously-mentioned titles.

Because of how the game is played, more and more people have gained an interest in playing Smite. This game allows you to control different gods but the premise remains largely the same, albeit played from a different perspective.

I am quite surprised by how the game has built a solid fan base. The community is quite large now that there are multiple online tournaments being played on a monthly basis with cash prizes amounting to millions of dollars.

Though it might not have the clout or the popularity of Dota 2 and League of Legends, Smite is slowly shaping up to be one of the best out there.

Tips

Unlike single-player games where all you have to worry about is yourself, MOBA games require you to be one with your team- both in strategy and coordination.

With that being said, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your playing experience:

1.Always Communicate

It goes without saying that you should always communicate with your teammates as a more cohesive group has a higher chance of winning than one that is discombobulated.

Most games have in-game chats, so you can use your gaming headset to communicate with your mates in the game.

An alternative solution would be to download a chat software like Discord and talk to your team there. Discord is lightweight and doesn’t take a lot of resources to run, making it ideal in this situation.

2.Invest in Good Gaming Gear

Aside from getting a gaming headset, you also need to invest in good gaming gear as well. Not only will you need a gaming mouse but getting a competitive gaming keyboard can also improve your chances of winning as well.

3.Learn One Character at a Time

The thing about MOBA games is that you have plenty of characters to choose from. If you are still starting out, I suggest that you stick to one character until you learn everything there is to know about them before you go ahead and choose another avatar.

The problem with most beginners is that they try to master a lot of things all at once and this is not a good approach if you want to be good at this genre.

You can be well-rounded after sinking so many hours into the game that you want to play- not by magically choosing any character that you please without enough time to practice them.

4.Search for Strategies

The good thing about this day and age is that you can look at different community forums and guides online to help you improve your overall game.

Search for specific character guides or even just general game strategies to help you become an asset to your team.

5.Have Fun!

The entire objective of playing a team game is to play it and enjoy it with your friends. Have fun!

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The Best Intel Z490 Motherboards to Help Unleash Your Comet Lake Processor’s Full Potential

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Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme

Everyone knows that whenever Intel releases a new processor that you will need a new motherboard for that. And, that is true for the new comet lake or 10th generation Intel processors.

If you are looking for the right one, read this article to find out the best Intel Z490 motherboards that will help unleash your comet lake processor’s full potential.

Keep in mind that not all Intel processors are overclockable. Only the Intel i5-10600K, Intel i7-10700K, and the Intel i9-10900K can be overclocked so you will need a fitting board that can handle the said CPUs.

What’s New?

You might be wondering what new features the Z490 motherboards have in store for you. Well, to be honest, not a lot, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy them.

The LGA-1200 chipset adds support for WiFi 6 and 2.5Gbps Ethernet connections, so mostly all of the notable features are in the networking front.

You could say that without the said additions that the Z490 boards are quite similar to the Z390 motherboards that were released a few years ago.

Still, getting a comet lake processor is quite enticing because it is now packed with more cores and threads, which means even more ample gaming performance than previous generations.

Best Intel Z490 Motherboards

1.MSI MEG Z490 Godlike

Price: $700

MSI MEG Z490 Godlike

If money is not an issue at all and you want to get what I would consider to be the best Z490 motherboard on the market, then the MSI MEG Z490 Godlike is for you.

It has an EATX form factor which means that you need a relatively large PC case in order to fit this behemoth.

What makes this quite appealing for regular consumers and hardcore overclockers alike is that it not only supports memory speeds of up to DDR4-5000, but it can also unlock the comet lake processors’ full potential as well.

Its BIOS is one of the simplest to navigate and there are also advanced options for people that truly want to tinker with all of the settings.

There are plenty of M.2 slots for your fast SSDs and it has WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 support via a detachable antenna.

If you are a fan of RGB lighting, this board comes with all of the necessary ports to plug in as many of those things as possible.

Really, the only issue here is that it is priced way higher than others, but again, if money is not an issue, then this warrants a purchase.

2.Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Ultra

Price: $290

Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Ultra

Not a lot of people can afford a motherboard with a hefty price tag. Fortunately, there are competitive mid-range models that you can choose from- one of which is the Gigabyte Aorus Ultra.

This unit is a tier below the higher-priced ‘Master’ model, but people will find its feature set to be more than sufficient enough for most use-cases.

It’s got plenty of USB ports on its I/O panel and you get WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 support as well.

You also get plenty of M.2 slots with included heatsinks so that you do not have to buy them separately. The heatsinks can help cool down those fast drives without any issues.l

Its aesthetic is pretty simple but I think that most people will really love the design. It does have some RGB implementations, though it is quite subtle when you compare it to others.

Overclockers will love the fact that this thing comes with POST codes that will help you know exactly what the issue is whenever you want to overclock the RAM or the CPU.

I am pretty impressed with the things that Gigabyte has crammed into a mid-range board. My only gripe with this otherwise stellar product is that its BIOS needs more simplicity as there are some redundant or even questionable options that are in there.

But other than that, the Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Ultra is a pretty competitive motherboard that is priced just right.

3.Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme

Price: $750

Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme

An article that talks about the ‘best’ products out there will not be complete without a mention of Asus. The company prides itself on creating some stellar products, including smartphones, routers, etc.

That being said, the Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme is quite an expensive motherboard, but that is actually warranted given its specs.

It’s got two PCI-E x16 sockets, reinforced DIMM slots, a whopping 8 SATA ports, four M.2 slots, eight USB 3.2 ports, and two USB Type-C ports- one of which is a USB 3.2 Gen2x2 port which provides unparalleled transfer speeds.

Aside from that, you get plenty of fan headers and connectors so you can equip this thing with the best CPU coolers to help tame Intel’s 10th generation chips.

It’s got 16-phase power delivery and pretty good VRMs that ensures your system will get good and clean power during its operation. Plus, the heatsinks themselves have full RGB lighting support to make your rig look even cooler.

It is also worth noting that you also get the ESS ES9023P DAC along with the SupremeFX S1220 chipset to provide you with amazing audio quality, especially if you are going to insert your favorite gaming headsets.

You might wonder why this doesn’t sit at the top spot of this list and that is because I’ve run into some issues where its benchmark results are slightly lower than what MSI has to offer.

But, the Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme is a full-featured motherboard with all of the bells and whistles that you could ask for from a company.

4.MSI Z490-A Pro

Price: $160

MSI Z490-A Pro

If all you want is an inexpensive motherboard that can still overclock a comet lake chip, then the MSI Z490-A Pro is an enticing choice.

Although this thing can be considered a ‘budget’ board, it is definitely not a cheap one as it comes loaded with features that people will surely love.

Aside from the fact that you can overclock your Intel CPU with this thing, it also comes with Realtek’s 2.5Gb LAN implementation which is quite unheard of in the realm of budget products.

It is also worth mentioning that this board also has a steady 12-phase power delivery which, to the uninitiated, means that it can provide a steady amount of power during its operation- whether you overclock your chip or not.

I also love the fact that it has a pretty considerable audio solution in the form of the Realtek ALC1200 audio codec. Although it is not as good as the more premium boards out there, it is definitely respectable enough for most users.

Aside from the things that were mentioned, you also get two PCIe 3.0 x 4 M.2 slots, a USB 3.2 Gen-2 Type-C port, five USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A ports, and an additional two USB 2.0 ports for your chosen peripherals.

The downside here is that its design is what you would expect in an inexpensive product- tame and subtle.

But, if looks are not an issue and you just want a competitive motherboard that is priced just right, the MSI Z490-A Pro is a worthy purchase.

5.Gigabyte Z490I Aorus Ultra

Price: $224

Gigabyte Z490I Aorus Ultra

People that want to create a relatively compact system would have to buy an ITX motherboard. That being said, one of the best out there is the Gigabyte Z490I Aorus Ultra.

Before I begin, when you are buying the Aorus Ultra, make sure that you look for the ‘I’ the product name. Otherwise, you would be getting the standard ATX variant that was mentioned earlier in the article.

Anyway, this thing has an 8-phase VRM design with 90-amp Smart power stages. This is a bit technical to explain, but in simpler terms, you can do a slight overclock on your chosen chip without running into any issues. You might not be getting astronomical numbers here, but at least the option is available if you want to eke out more performance from your Intel CPU.

The design is rather simple with mostly a black aesthetic with some metallic gray accents scattered throughout the motherboard.

Despite this board having an ITX form factor, it does come with two M.2 slots- one of which has a thermal guard to help it keep cool during normal operation.

It should also go without mentioning that this IXTX motherboard also comes with Intel’s 2.5GbE LAN solution as well, so for people that are not okay with a Realtek LAN implementation, this is the board to get.

6.ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX

Price: $270

ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX

You normally wouldn’t get so much performance of your CPU when you are going to get an ITX motherboard, but the last entry on this list will prove to you otherwise.

The ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX, as the name suggests, is an ITX motherboard that is unlike any other.

I normally wouldn’t expect specific features for overclocking on a relatively small board, but this thing actually comes with some nifty additions.

Aside from the fact that it has an 8+2 power delivery system, you also get a clear CMOS button on the back I/O. This is great if you are running into any problems overclocking your CPU and you want the board to go back to its default settings.

In terms of networking, you’ve got two options here. First are the Realtek 2.5GbE LAN and the Intel AX201 WiFi 6 module. Both are great additions to any system.

At the back I/O panel, you get a plethora of USB ports plus a USB-C port that also acts as a Thunderbolt 3.0 port as well. The said port can be used to plug in a display of your choosing, which is really nice.

This motherboard looks a bit nicer than the Gigabyte board mentioned above, so if you want a flashier setup, this might be more appealing.

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Gigabyte Aorus 15G Review- A Highly Capable 240Hz Gaming Laptop

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Gigabyte Aorus 15G Review

High refresh rate displays are usually often found in dedicated desktop monitors, but you can actually find gaming laptops that have refresh rates that are beyond 120Hz now. This seems to be the new trend, at least, in the foreseeable future.

The Gigabyte Aorus 15G is one of the gaming laptops that have adopted the new 10th generation Intel core processors, as well as a 240Hz display for absolutely smooth and flawless gaming.

But, does this new laptop from Gigabyte have the right things to offer?

Design

Gaming laptops typically have that ‘loud’ aesthetic in that you can clearly tell if a portable machine is a laptop intended for gaming or not, but the Gigabyte Aorus 15G is different.

Instead of the usual bells and whistles, the Aorus 15G has a much tamer look. I would even go on to say that this thing looks well-built and can be used in professional settings for its subtle aesthetic.

You get an all-aluminum chassis with the Aorus logo situated at the center of the lid and just at the bottom part, you will find some air vents for exhaust. The vents actually add some aesthetic appeal to the laptop which I think is a nice plus.

Scattered throughout the sides are some USB ports, a mini-Displayport, an Ethernet jack, a headphone and microphone combo jack, HDMI port, and you also get an SD card reader which is usually not added by companies on a gaming laptop.

You also get a few vents on the side as well and both them and the back air vents act as an exhaust.

Now, where does this thing take in some air, you ask? Well, the air vents at the bottom of the chassis take air in.

You see, when you fully open the lid, the laptop props up a little bit, allowing some clearance to take some air in. This is a really nice implementation and I have seen newer laptops follow the same design language. I hope that this trend is copied by upcoming laptops in the future.

You can also find a fingerprint sensor on the main body of the laptop and it is fast and accurate. You can use this for more secure login.

Lastly, there is a 720p webcam as well. Although its picture quality is okay, I just do not like its placement at the top-middle portion of the keyboard. It looks quite odd when it is positioned at that angle, though you do have a privacy slider so that you can close the lid when the camera is not in use.

Display

Gigabyte Aorus 15G Review 2020

You actually have a lot of different display panel options here. If you go for the more modest setup, you will get a machine that has a 144Hz screen refresh rate which should be adequate for most gamers.

The review unit I have comes with the 240Hz IPS display panel and I have to say that it does provide me with a much smoother gaming experience. There is just one problem- the configuration that I was sent with is just one with medium-high specs, so I cannot really take full advantage of the display (more on the specs later).

Still, I like how amazing and crisp the details are. While I do have an interest in the fast refresh rate panel, I do have to say that this issue is a bit concerning for people that intend to buy this thing.

You see, when you open the lid to reveal the display, the actual mechanism is kind of flimsy. This is evident if you try to use the machine on your lap as the panel kind of wobbles every time you type, for example.

This is probably an oversight and it is definitely not a good look for the company. I just hope that they rectify this in their future laptops.

Keyboard and Touchpad

Gigabyte Aorus 15G Keyboard

While I was a bit disappointed at the build quality of the display, I actually love the Gigabyte Aorus 15G’s keyboard and touchpad.

Here, you have an RGB illuminated mechanical keyboard and the switches are made by the popular Japanese company, Omron. 

I really love the keys as they are nice to the touch and this is especially true when typing documents or communicating with your buddies via in-game chat.

You can customize the lighting by using the Gigabyte Control Center (which comes pre-installed in the machine). The options in there are amazing, so you’d have to spend some time learning more about the features.

As for the trackpad, you get a smooth matte surface that is quite accurate. It doesn’t have buttons at the bottom, though I think that this is where most laptop manufacturers are headed. This makes a lot more surface area for you to work with, though some people would probably prefer physical buttons to use.

Specs and Performance

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-10875H
  • GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 2070 Super MAX-Q
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch IPS Display, 240Hz Refresh Rate, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Connectivity: WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
  • Battery: 94 Wh
  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Weight: 4.9 lbs

As mentioned earlier, my configuration has some pretty respectable specs, though there is a much higher-end configuration that includes a 300Hz refresh rate display and an Intel Core i9 processor with Nvidia’s Geforce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q.

Anyway, in terms of gaming performance, the Gigabyte Aorus 15G can still handle even the most graphically demanding titles out there.

Playing CoD: Warzone, I was able to get 115 fps in most areas, though it dips in the 90s in other zones.

When you are playing Steam games like Dota 2, you should be able to get more than 120 fps as games from the said company aren’t that taxing on the GPU.

If we are talking about productivity workloads, I’d have to say that this is a middling performer, which isn’t really a surprise given that I only have an 8-core/8-thread chip. The performance probably improves by a mile if my configuration was equipped with the i9 chip and the much powerful 2080 Super GPU variant.

This is not to say that this $2,300 configuration isn’t worth it, in fact, it really is. But, I wouldn’t really say that you can maximize its 240Hz display to its fullest potential.

Battery

Gigabyte Aorus 15G

Most gaming laptops typically do not last that long, especially if they are packed with high-end components. But I am actually surprised with the Gigabyte Aorus 15G as it is able to last 8 hours and 22 minutes with moderate use.

I was able to get 4 hours and 16 minutes of intense gaming on Call of Duty: Warzone and you can get similar (or even improved) battery life when playing other games.

It seems that the 94 Wh battery is doing its thing really well.

Verdict

High refresh rate gaming laptops are becoming increasingly popular these days and the Gigabyte Aorus 15G is one of the best in this regard.

Though I wasn’t able to take full advantage of the 240Hz panel, my modest configuration was able to handle most of the games that I play really well. I never dipped below 90 frames per second which is saying something.

The hefty battery also allows me to play games without having to worry too much about giving it more juice. Four hours of gaming is typically what I would consider substantial enough for most gamers at a time.

I really love the mechanical keyboard that is on this thing as it feels really smooth and has a crisp tactile feedback every time I type. The touchpad is also relatively good as well.

My only gripe with this otherwise stellar laptop is its display is a bit wobbly when used on an uneven surface, though it holds up really well when you place it on a desk.

For $2,300, I can recommend the Gigabyte Aorus 15G to anyone who wants to dabble into 240Hz gaming.

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Logitech G305 Lightspeed Review- The $75 ‘G Pro’ Lite

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Logitech G305 Lightspeed Review

The Logitech G Pro is highly praised by the gaming community, especially those that are playing first-person shooters. It is lightweight and it is wireless which is something that was unprecedented before its release.

There is only one issue: That mouse was expensive. Fortunately, you can get the Logitech G305 Lightspeed for a much cheaper price.

Read further to find out why I think the G305 is what I would consider as the ‘G Pro’ lite.

Design

The Logitech G305 Lightspeed looks quite similar to the Logitech G Pro mentioned above. At first glance, you might think that this peripheral is an ambidextrous mouse, but that is actually not the case.

You see, while it has an ambidextrous design, the side buttons are actually located only on the left side of the peripheral. This is an odd choice considering that this can be construed as a mouse that can also be used left-handed, but this is something that you need to know if you are a left-handed gamer.

Its dimensions are 4.59 x 2.45 x 1.50 inches and it weighs 98 grams with the AA battery on. That’s right, you will need a single AA battery for this thing to operate, but the good thing is that a single AA battery can last up to three months with consistent use.

Much of the power-saving features come from the company’s own HERO sensor which doesn’t require a lot of battery to operate while still providing you with a competitive performance in games. More on this later.

This mouse is a bit on the smaller side and is perfectly suited for people who use the fingertip or claw grip styles. This could also work for a hybrid claw/finger grip style as well. 

Because of its smaller dimensions, it should go without saying that people with larger hands might have a hard time grasping this mouse, so I wouldn’t recommend this for people that have bigger hands than others.

Despite its much cheaper price, I am glad that the Logitech G305 Lightspeed still feels premium. It is predominantly made with plastic and it has a matte finish so that it won’t easily get out of your grasps when you are playing even with sweaty hands.

On the underside, you will find four mouse feet for easier glide and you can also find the on/off switch as well. I love the fact that you can tell if it is turned on or off based on the color that you see depending on the switch’s orientation.

If you see the switch’s color turn blue, that means that the mouse is turned on. If it is on orange, then the peripheral is turned off.

I should also mention that there is no RGB lighting on this mouse at all and that is okay considering that you are running this thing with non-rechargeable batteries.

The Logitech G305 Lightspeed doesn’t have rechargeable batteries, but you might wonder why there is an included cable in the box. Well, that actually acts as an extender for the wireless USB dongle. This is used for better wireless coverage to ensure that the peripheral’s performance remains consistent across the board.

Performance

Logitech G305 Lightspeed Review 2020

As mentioned earlier, the Logitech G305 Lightspeed comes equipped with the company’s HERO sensor which is derived from the popular Pixart 3366 sensor. For the people who are familiar with the latter, you know that this thing can perform admirably even in competitive situations.

The good thing about Logitech’s implementation is that the HERO sensor eats so little energy that a single AA battery can last up to 3-4 months with consistent use. That is truly impressive since you do not have to worry about losing battery life while you are using it.

The HERO sensor here is a cut-down version of what you can see in Logitech’s other gaming mice as it can only reach a maximum of 12,000 DPI (compared to the 16,000 DPI in others). This is still okay because, in more practical uses, I don’t think that people would go as high as that number anyway.

I am blown away by how smooth the mouse glides on my mouse mat. The sensor provides consistent performance and I am glad that this thing won’t spin out in games.

I’ve tried this in FPS games like Valorant and I’ve had no problems with aiming at all. This experience is coming from a person who uses a gaming mouse using a palm grip by the way. My aim would have been better if I used the fingertip or claw grip styles.

I’ve also tested this on some MOBA games as well and I never experienced any dropouts or performance issues at all.

Software

Logitech G305 Lightspeed

This mouse has 6 programmable buttons and if you want to configure them, you will need to download the company’s G Hub software.

You can download and use it for free and is available for both Windows and Mac. I love the aesthetic of the software as it is intuitive to use and the menus are easy to understand.

I am just surprised by one thing, however. You see, the button that is directly below the scroll wheel is supposed to be the DPI switch button which means that pressing it would cycle through the different DPI profiles that you’ve set in the G Hub software. Or at least, that is how it should work in theory.

However, even though you can change the DPI to whatever value you want so long as it is within its range (up to 12,000), you cannot set more than one DPI setting which virtually renders the DPI cycle button useless, at least, in this regard.

You could set the button to do an entirely different thing like you can set it to a particular key on the keyboard so every time you press on the button, it does that. But, it is just interesting to me that its original purpose is not actually implemented in reality.

Verdict

Normally, a wireless gaming mouse would typically cost more than $100 because of the use of wireless technology, along with the usual goodies that you can find in such a device. But, I am pleased that the Logitech G305 Lightspeed costs $75.

For its price, you are getting a very competitive gaming mouse that can last a couple of months using just a single AA battery. Of course, this changes depending on the battery that is used (brand and capacity), but for the most part, it should remain fairly consistent in terms of battery life.

The HERO sensor has also given me an amazing experience. I never would have thought that a wireless mouse can provide a similar experience to that of its wired counterparts.

All in all, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Logitech G305 Lightspeed unless of course if you are a palm-grip user.

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The Best MOBA Games on PC in 2020- Team Up with Your Friends and Beat the Competition

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League of Legends

When you ask people what the best MOBA game is, they will usually only give you two answers: Dota 2 or League of Legends.

While both of those titles have amassed huge followings, this is not to say that there aren’t any new and enticing contenders.

Today, I am going to be talking about the best MOBA games in 2020.

What is MOBA?

Before I begin, I assume that most people who are reading this article might already have an idea what a MOBA game is, but for those people that still do not have an inkling what this means, then read ahead.

MOBA is just an acronym that stands for ‘Multiplayer Online Battle Arena’. As the name implies, you are teamed up with 4 or 5 other players and you need to battle it out against the opposing team.

The premise of this genre is simple: Get your characters strong enough to go to the enemy’s base and destroy a certain structure.

In Dota 2, for example, you start out as a level 1 character and once you start leveling up, some skills will be made available to you.

Each time you kill an enemy- may it be some ‘creeps’ (regular enemies) or heroes (player character), you will gain both experience and money- the latter of which you can use to buy items that can help boost stats and improve your character’s potential.

Depending on the game, there is usually a boss character that is situated somewhere in the middle of the battlefield. This boss character will drop some loot that you can use to your team’s advantage. This also means that you have to make sure that the enemy team doesn’t get to it first, otherwise they will have the upper hand.

While Dota 2 is quite enjoyable, it is not for everyone since a typical match would last at least 45 minutes (some can go for 2 hours or more).

Now that you now have a basic idea of what a MOBA game is, I will now talk about the best ones that you can find on the PC.

Best MOBA Games on PC

1.Dota 2

Dota 2

I think it should go without saying that Dota 2 is still the best MOBA game on PC in 2020. This game’s origins are actually pretty incredible.

Dota is just an acronym that stands for ‘Defense of the Ancients’ and by ‘Ancients’, the term is used to refer to the specific structures that are placed inside your base and the enemy’s base and the team that destroys the opposing group’s ancient structure first wins the entire game.

This whole thing started back when Warcraft III began. You see, the said game has a custom map editor that you can use to create a map of your own. That means that you not only have control over the terrain but you also have control over the things that are going to be utilized on your own map.

IceFrog, the original creator of the Dota custom map in the Warcraft 3 era, started with a couple of heroes and a rather basic map. The premise is simple: Get your team’s characters strong enough to invade the enemy base and destroy its ancient structure.

The idea at that time was novel but it has certainly won the hearts of many people. Since then, Valve (Steam) bought the rights to the said custom map from IceFrog, and then Dota 2 was born.

At the time of writing this article, Dota 2 now has 111 heroes to choose from, so you basically have the option to choose which one you really like to learn the most.

There are microtransactions available in the game, but you do not have to worry about it since real money can be used only to buy cosmetic items (or things that can help change the look of your chosen avatar).

One of its main advantages is, sadly, one of this game’s disadvantages as well. You see, you have plenty of characters to choose from, which means that if you are going to master a lot of them, you will need to be ready to spend hours and hours learning each avatar’s nuances so that you could be of great help to your team.

You also have to get acquainted with different roles. Of course, you should set that before you try to learn a new hero so that you will understand how you should operate within a team setup.

Some roles that you need to think about are the carry, support, mid, and so much more. Because there are certain spells that need to be available at a moment’s notice, you should get a competitive gaming mouse for that purpose.

2.League of Legends

League of Legends

While Dota 2 has set the stage for other game developers to follow, it was the League of Legends who took the formula and improved upon it.

Also known simply as ‘LoL’, this game has amassed a loyal following that, to this day, are still diehard fans.

You get a whopping 141 character roster which means that the learning curve is indeed quite steep. However, because of the unique battle style and strategies that you can employ, learning the characters that you want to use is much easier, at least, when compared to its main rival.

Although there are some game modes to choose from, the 5v5 Summoner’s Rift game mode is the most popular. Like Dota 2, expect to spend at least 30-50 minutes on a single league match.

There is a lot of learning to do when it comes to choosing a character and setting up an item list for which you should follow, but you will have a really fun time doing so.

While the community has some toxic players here and there, for the most part, the League of Legends player base is one of the best out there.

3.Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm

Also known as ‘HotS’, Heroes of the Storm was made by Blizzard, which is also the company that was responsible for the creation of Dota (albeit indirectly).

Although Blizzard was late to the party, this doesn’t mean that Heroes of the Storm doesn’t deserve a shoutout in this article.

If you do not want to spend an hour on a single game, then HotS is for you. Unlike the previous games that I’ve just mentioned, you do not have to worry about what items to purchase here simply because you only get to worry about the skills that you are going to get.

You see, at certain levels, your character will unlock new abilities and you will be the one to choose the right fit for the game and what your team needs the most.

The company used to host a lot of events that showcase the simplicity and prowess of this game, but Blizzard has its eyes focused more on mobile games in the near future.

It is sad that this game is now on ‘maintenance’ mode in that new features and game improvements will not be released as readily as it did before.

However, the game still has a solid player base and if you want a more polished MOBA game that doesn’t take too long to complete, then Heroes of the Storm is for you.

4.Smite

Smite

While the previous games allow you to control your characters by giving you an overhead view of the entire map, this next game takes things to a whole new level.

Smite is a rather new MOBA game but it is certainly gaining steady traction amongst fans of the genre because of its unique feature.

Instead of an overhead view of the entire map, you are going to control your avatar from a 3rd-person perspective. This not only makes things more immersive but it is an entirely new experience that is definitely more fun than the previously-mentioned titles.

Because of how the game is played, more and more people have gained an interest in playing Smite. This game allows you to control different gods but the premise remains largely the same, albeit played from a different perspective.

I am quite surprised by how the game has built a solid fan base. The community is quite large now that there are multiple online tournaments being played on a monthly basis with cash prizes amounting to millions of dollars.

Though it might not have the clout or the popularity of Dota 2 and League of Legends, Smite is slowly shaping up to be one of the best out there.

Tips

Unlike single-player games where all you have to worry about is yourself, MOBA games require you to be one with your team- both in strategy and coordination.

With that being said, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your playing experience:

1.Always Communicate

It goes without saying that you should always communicate with your teammates as a more cohesive group has a higher chance of winning than one that is discombobulated.

Most games have in-game chats, so you can use your gaming headset to communicate with your mates in the game.

An alternative solution would be to download a chat software like Discord and talk to your team there. Discord is lightweight and doesn’t take a lot of resources to run, making it ideal in this situation.

2.Invest in Good Gaming Gear

Aside from getting a gaming headset, you also need to invest in good gaming gear as well. Not only will you need a gaming mouse but getting a competitive gaming keyboard can also improve your chances of winning as well.

3.Learn One Character at a Time

The thing about MOBA games is that you have plenty of characters to choose from. If you are still starting out, I suggest that you stick to one character until you learn everything there is to know about them before you go ahead and choose another avatar.

The problem with most beginners is that they try to master a lot of things all at once and this is not a good approach if you want to be good at this genre.

You can be well-rounded after sinking so many hours into the game that you want to play- not by magically choosing any character that you please without enough time to practice them.

4.Search for Strategies

The good thing about this day and age is that you can look at different community forums and guides online to help you improve your overall game.

Search for specific character guides or even just general game strategies to help you become an asset to your team.

5.Have Fun!

The entire objective of playing a team game is to play it and enjoy it with your friends. Have fun!

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The Best Intel Z490 Motherboards to Help Unleash Your Comet Lake Processor’s Full Potential

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Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme

Everyone knows that whenever Intel releases a new processor that you will need a new motherboard for that. And, that is true for the new comet lake or 10th generation Intel processors.

If you are looking for the right one, read this article to find out the best Intel Z490 motherboards that will help unleash your comet lake processor’s full potential.

Keep in mind that not all Intel processors are overclockable. Only the Intel i5-10600K, Intel i7-10700K, and the Intel i9-10900K can be overclocked so you will need a fitting board that can handle the said CPUs.

What’s New?

You might be wondering what new features the Z490 motherboards have in store for you. Well, to be honest, not a lot, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy them.

The LGA-1200 chipset adds support for WiFi 6 and 2.5Gbps Ethernet connections, so mostly all of the notable features are in the networking front.

You could say that without the said additions that the Z490 boards are quite similar to the Z390 motherboards that were released a few years ago.

Still, getting a comet lake processor is quite enticing because it is now packed with more cores and threads, which means even more ample gaming performance than previous generations.

Best Intel Z490 Motherboards

1.MSI MEG Z490 Godlike

Price: $700

MSI MEG Z490 Godlike

If money is not an issue at all and you want to get what I would consider to be the best Z490 motherboard on the market, then the MSI MEG Z490 Godlike is for you.

It has an EATX form factor which means that you need a relatively large PC case in order to fit this behemoth.

What makes this quite appealing for regular consumers and hardcore overclockers alike is that it not only supports memory speeds of up to DDR4-5000, but it can also unlock the comet lake processors’ full potential as well.

Its BIOS is one of the simplest to navigate and there are also advanced options for people that truly want to tinker with all of the settings.

There are plenty of M.2 slots for your fast SSDs and it has WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 support via a detachable antenna.

If you are a fan of RGB lighting, this board comes with all of the necessary ports to plug in as many of those things as possible.

Really, the only issue here is that it is priced way higher than others, but again, if money is not an issue, then this warrants a purchase.

2.Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Ultra

Price: $290

Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Ultra

Not a lot of people can afford a motherboard with a hefty price tag. Fortunately, there are competitive mid-range models that you can choose from- one of which is the Gigabyte Aorus Ultra.

This unit is a tier below the higher-priced ‘Master’ model, but people will find its feature set to be more than sufficient enough for most use-cases.

It’s got plenty of USB ports on its I/O panel and you get WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 support as well.

You also get plenty of M.2 slots with included heatsinks so that you do not have to buy them separately. The heatsinks can help cool down those fast drives without any issues.l

Its aesthetic is pretty simple but I think that most people will really love the design. It does have some RGB implementations, though it is quite subtle when you compare it to others.

Overclockers will love the fact that this thing comes with POST codes that will help you know exactly what the issue is whenever you want to overclock the RAM or the CPU.

I am pretty impressed with the things that Gigabyte has crammed into a mid-range board. My only gripe with this otherwise stellar product is that its BIOS needs more simplicity as there are some redundant or even questionable options that are in there.

But other than that, the Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Ultra is a pretty competitive motherboard that is priced just right.

3.Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme

Price: $750

Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme

An article that talks about the ‘best’ products out there will not be complete without a mention of Asus. The company prides itself on creating some stellar products, including smartphones, routers, etc.

That being said, the Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme is quite an expensive motherboard, but that is actually warranted given its specs.

It’s got two PCI-E x16 sockets, reinforced DIMM slots, a whopping 8 SATA ports, four M.2 slots, eight USB 3.2 ports, and two USB Type-C ports- one of which is a USB 3.2 Gen2x2 port which provides unparalleled transfer speeds.

Aside from that, you get plenty of fan headers and connectors so you can equip this thing with the best CPU coolers to help tame Intel’s 10th generation chips.

It’s got 16-phase power delivery and pretty good VRMs that ensures your system will get good and clean power during its operation. Plus, the heatsinks themselves have full RGB lighting support to make your rig look even cooler.

It is also worth noting that you also get the ESS ES9023P DAC along with the SupremeFX S1220 chipset to provide you with amazing audio quality, especially if you are going to insert your favorite gaming headsets.

You might wonder why this doesn’t sit at the top spot of this list and that is because I’ve run into some issues where its benchmark results are slightly lower than what MSI has to offer.

But, the Asus ROG Maximus XII Extreme is a full-featured motherboard with all of the bells and whistles that you could ask for from a company.

4.MSI Z490-A Pro

Price: $160

MSI Z490-A Pro

If all you want is an inexpensive motherboard that can still overclock a comet lake chip, then the MSI Z490-A Pro is an enticing choice.

Although this thing can be considered a ‘budget’ board, it is definitely not a cheap one as it comes loaded with features that people will surely love.

Aside from the fact that you can overclock your Intel CPU with this thing, it also comes with Realtek’s 2.5Gb LAN implementation which is quite unheard of in the realm of budget products.

It is also worth mentioning that this board also has a steady 12-phase power delivery which, to the uninitiated, means that it can provide a steady amount of power during its operation- whether you overclock your chip or not.

I also love the fact that it has a pretty considerable audio solution in the form of the Realtek ALC1200 audio codec. Although it is not as good as the more premium boards out there, it is definitely respectable enough for most users.

Aside from the things that were mentioned, you also get two PCIe 3.0 x 4 M.2 slots, a USB 3.2 Gen-2 Type-C port, five USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A ports, and an additional two USB 2.0 ports for your chosen peripherals.

The downside here is that its design is what you would expect in an inexpensive product- tame and subtle.

But, if looks are not an issue and you just want a competitive motherboard that is priced just right, the MSI Z490-A Pro is a worthy purchase.

5.Gigabyte Z490I Aorus Ultra

Price: $224

Gigabyte Z490I Aorus Ultra

People that want to create a relatively compact system would have to buy an ITX motherboard. That being said, one of the best out there is the Gigabyte Z490I Aorus Ultra.

Before I begin, when you are buying the Aorus Ultra, make sure that you look for the ‘I’ the product name. Otherwise, you would be getting the standard ATX variant that was mentioned earlier in the article.

Anyway, this thing has an 8-phase VRM design with 90-amp Smart power stages. This is a bit technical to explain, but in simpler terms, you can do a slight overclock on your chosen chip without running into any issues. You might not be getting astronomical numbers here, but at least the option is available if you want to eke out more performance from your Intel CPU.

The design is rather simple with mostly a black aesthetic with some metallic gray accents scattered throughout the motherboard.

Despite this board having an ITX form factor, it does come with two M.2 slots- one of which has a thermal guard to help it keep cool during normal operation.

It should also go without mentioning that this IXTX motherboard also comes with Intel’s 2.5GbE LAN solution as well, so for people that are not okay with a Realtek LAN implementation, this is the board to get.

6.ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX

Price: $270

ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX

You normally wouldn’t get so much performance of your CPU when you are going to get an ITX motherboard, but the last entry on this list will prove to you otherwise.

The ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming-ITX, as the name suggests, is an ITX motherboard that is unlike any other.

I normally wouldn’t expect specific features for overclocking on a relatively small board, but this thing actually comes with some nifty additions.

Aside from the fact that it has an 8+2 power delivery system, you also get a clear CMOS button on the back I/O. This is great if you are running into any problems overclocking your CPU and you want the board to go back to its default settings.

In terms of networking, you’ve got two options here. First are the Realtek 2.5GbE LAN and the Intel AX201 WiFi 6 module. Both are great additions to any system.

At the back I/O panel, you get a plethora of USB ports plus a USB-C port that also acts as a Thunderbolt 3.0 port as well. The said port can be used to plug in a display of your choosing, which is really nice.

This motherboard looks a bit nicer than the Gigabyte board mentioned above, so if you want a flashier setup, this might be more appealing.

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