Motherboards PC Hardware Reviews

MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK Overview/Showcase

Intel 10th Gen is here and so is a new wave of Intel compatible motherboards, I’m going to do my best to get my hands on every chipset to do one of these showcases on. Today I’ve got the MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK in.

Big thanks to MSI for sending this out!

Also, just to note. This isn’t a full review as I don’t have all the fancy and expensive testing equipment. If you want the nitty gritty info, there are some amazing written and video reviews out there for that.

What’s in the Box?

Included in the box with the MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK is the motherboard itself, two SATA cables, M.2 mounting hardware, a driver CD, case badge and some documentation.

The board comes well packed in the box and is shipping in an anti static bag to stop that devil called static electricity from killing the motherboard.

Design and Features

The MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK is a really nice looking motherboard, it features an all black PCB with grey detailing and all black connectors for a seamless look. Continuing with this seamless look is the extended heatsink cover which blends the heatsink in nicely with the overall black and grey colour scheme. The heatsinks are also quite an adequate size and should do a pretty good job at keeping the VRM at a stable temperature.

The ‘Military’ look is continued down the motherboard with an M.2 SSD Heat Spreader with the same colour scheme as the rest of the board. Just below this is the reinforced PCI-E slot for your GPU. This helps add a little bit of strength to the port so that the GPU doesn’t rip it out. Believe me, it happens!

The chipset heatsink shows the TOMAHAWK name and is also RGB allowing you to have a bit of bling inside your system as well as being able to sync it with other MSI and Mystic Light compatible devices to have your lighting synced across your setup.

I/O and Connectivity

Bottom I/O

Starting at the bottom of the motherboard (from left to right, only the main ones) you have the front panel audio connector, 12v RGB header, two fan connectors, a 5v RGB header, a USB 2.0 connector and some SATA ports for your 2.5 and 3.5” drives.


Going up the side you will find yet more connectivity including another two fan headers, 4 more SATA ports, A USB 3.2 Gen 1, Type a connector, a USB 3.2 Gen 1, Type C connector, 24 pin ATX power connector, another fan headers and a PWM pump header. 


The top of the motherboard doesn’t have a whole lot of I/O but you do get two more RGB headers, a 12v and 5v. There’s also the CPU fan header right next to the CPU socket and the 8+4 pin EPS connector for the CPU power.

Rear I/O

The rear I/O is very well done. It has plenty of USB ports and more. Including a 2.5g Network port.


As mentioned above, you get a lot of RGB connectivity. And why not? It’s 2020 and RGB is the craze that’s here to stay. All of the previously mentioned RGB connectors can be directly controlled by the MSI Mystic light software to control things like RGB strips, pumps, fans, CPU water blocks etc. Even if they aren’t MSI branded, as long as they are compatible with Mystic Light they’ll work!


As also mentioned above, you have 4 DDR4 slots capable of up to 128GB of memory up to 5000MHz. The slots are a little close to the CPU socket so you may have some cooler compatibility issues depending on the size of the cooler but a lot of big tower coolers these days have adjustable fans so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

PCI-E Slots

The MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK has 4 PCI-E slots, two x16 slots and two x4 slots for your GPUS and expansion cards. The top most slot is steel reinforced to protect the slot from being ripped off the motherboard. These new age GPUs are not light!


For storage, you have a few options, you could use the standard old SATA drives as there are quite a few SATA ports available. But if you can afford it, I would recommend going with an M.2 SSD as they are faster, smaller and require no cabling whatsoever. There are two M.2 slots on this motherboard and both of them support the faster, NVME standard.


Aluminum Cover

Fully aluminum IO cover provide the maximum surface of heat dissipation, ready for

breaking the world record!

2x M.2 Shield Frozr

Strengthened built-in M.2 thermal solution. Keeps M.2 SSDs safe while preventing

throttling, making them run faster.

2.5G LAN port

Onboard 2.5G LAN with gaming LAN manager, delivering the best online gaming



Lightning USB 20G provides faster USB speeds to save more time.

Mystic Light and Mystic Light Sync

Personalize your PC with 16.8 million colors controlled in one click with Mystic Light APP or a mobile device. Mystic Light Sync can control RGB LED solutions from other brands, such as CPU coolers, mice or RGB system fans.



Benchmarks could only be compared to the Z490 Aorus Master as that was all that was on hand at the time of reviewing.


The MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK is available from most major retailers for around $400 AUD. Not a bad asking price for a Z490 Motherboard!


The MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK is a really robust Z490 motherboard and pairs really well with the new high end CPUs from Intel. It looks fantastic and has plenty of modern connectivity and features!

Available from Mwave (Australia)

Read my Latest Review!

Disclosure: The MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK review sample was supplied for reviewing but all opinions are of my own and not paid and no one saw the review before publishing.

MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK Overview/Showcase


The MSI MAG Z490 TOMAHAWK is a really robust Z490 motherboard and pairs really well with the new high end CPUs from Intel. It looks fantastic and has plenty of modern connectivity and features!

Caleb Terawskyj
Cleb's Tech is completely owned and operated by me, Caleb Terawskyj. I have a huge passion for technology and love being able to play with the latest and coolest tech on an almost everyday basis. I started this website/blog to just share my opinion and it has turned into much more than that. I now work with some of the biggest tech brands in the market, I would have never in a million years thought that I would be when I started but with hard work and determination I was able to.

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