Asrock Announces $1,100 Water-Cooled Z490 Motherboard

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The motherboard company Asrock has introduced a exclusive Z490 motherboard that looks pretty much specified to get the coveted 2020 award for Most Pricey Yet Pointless Feature. At initially glance, the simple fact that the Z490 capabilities a designed-in water cooler for the CPU might appear to be like an attention-grabbing perk for enthusiasts. But the extremely-substantial cost of the board ($1,100) and the restricted availability (Asrock is only making 999 of them) effectively neuter any enthusiast appeal.

Picture by Asrock

The problem, as it frequently is with these sorts of issues, boils down to cost and positioning. A major-close EKWB all-in-a single cooling package for an Intel or AMD CPU with an involved radiator, reservoir, piping, tubing, and CPU mount block will operate you $420. Though it’s true that you’d have to place the package jointly on your own, you won’t be tied to a solitary motherboard when you end. The Asrock board however necessitates you to order all the other components to create an overclocking rig apart from the CPU block.

It is not unattractive. It *is* hellaciously high-priced. Picture by Asrock.

Asrock wishes $1,100 for a motherboard. EKWB will promote you an entire water-cooled Laptop with a Ryzen 5 3600X and an RX 5700 with a custom made CPU/GPU loop for $1,900. I’m not expressing that’s a excellent offer, possibly, but it places the situation in some perspective.

Who is This Product For?

The a single rationale you’d create a merchandise like this is for overclocking, and everyone is aware that substantial-close overclocking components is insanely high-priced. Definitely the motherboard would make perception in that context, right?

Well… no.

If you are a major overclocker who wishes to crack entire world information, you are going to be applying LN2, not water. If you are an enthusiast who wishes to drive the envelope in a much more sustainable way and you can afford to pay for to fall $1,100 on a solitary element, you’ve possibly previously invested in a custom made water loop with a chiller — assuming you are not applying solitary-phase freon or immersion cooling. The problem with shifting so considerably price to the motherboard and tying it to a solitary element (the CPU water block, in this scenario), is that it assumes your shopper base wants that element to begin with. An economical motherboard with an built-in cooler positioned as a relatively entry-amount platform for the notion of water cooling would essentially be truly useful to the group. An $1,100 board is not going to do that.

All of this assumes that Intel’s 10th Gen CPUs have any overclocking capabilities at all. That’s not a excellent assumption. Intel’s 14nm silicon system has been pushed to the limit to create these CPUs in the initially location. It is not going to be leaving a lot of headroom in the cores for overclockers with out LN2 to exploit.

I’ve obtained very little undesirable to say about the board style and design — it’s incredibly nice — but stunts like this are much more about grabbing headlines than pushing motherboard style and design forward. It would be fantastically attention-grabbing to see motherboard providers offer much more assist for external reservoir water blocks, but only if they can control to do so with out charging much more than 2 times the cost of a major-close external water-cooling package.

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