ASUS Z490-I Mod; looking for input/opinions

Sazexa

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Jan 22, 2020
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Hello everyone. For my next build I plan on using the ASUS ROG Strix Z490-I Gaming motherboard. It's an ITX board, with a couple of nice big heatsinks. I'm planning on either re-anodizing, or powder-coating, the heatsinks to a silver color as it will match the exterior of my case better.

One of the heatsinks has this (I'm assuming plastic, as I haven't received the board yet) piece over top of a heatsink, with another reflective "one-way" piece of plastic under it as well (similar to NVidia 20x0 line of GPU's with the lettering) and this is what one of the D-RGB lighting pieces on the board uses. Obviously, to re-anodize or powder-coat this portion of the heatsink structure on the board, I need to remove it and it's LED control board from the metal. Thing is, I'm not entirely sure what the best approach to this is. I'd like to maybe make my own custom plate to put over the reflective portion as well, but that's a whole 'nother topic. I'm mostly looking for ideas on how to safely separate this part from the heatsink. I'm going to assume a heat-gun and maybe some floss/fishing line so I don't bend anything to where it's basically no good. Any ideas?

I'd like to make the motherboard a bit more minimal in regards to the branding, as there really won't but much visible branding inside the build once it's all assembled. Here's the board for reference, you can see the portion I'm speaking of just below the CPU socket.

 

tinyitx

Shrink Way Wielder
Jan 25, 2018
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Take a look at the 2 pics below.
The top black piece looks like it can be 'peeled off' in one piece to me?
But, if you look at the bottom of this heatsink, there is this pin-connector for the control of the RGB leds underneath.
It is hard to tell what kind of led hardware is underneath.
Not much help from me but this is the best I can do.
Good luck. (do click into imgur to see higher resolution pics)
 
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Sazexa

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Jan 22, 2020
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Take a look at the 2 pics below.
The top black piece looks like it can be 'peeled off' in one piece to me?
But, if you look at the bottom of this heatsink, there is this pin-connector for the control of the RGB leds underneath.
It is hard to tell what kind of led hardware is underneath.
Not much help from me but this is the best I can do.
Good luck. (do click into imgur to see higher resolution pics)
Yeah, I've seen the way the LED's connect to the daughter board. I'm guessing the black cover is stuck on with adhesive. But the back side of the heat sink looks like it may actually be screwed in. I might order the board this week and take it from there.
 

maped

Cable Smoosher
Jan 26, 2017
12
11
This is what the Strix X470i heatsink and led board looks like under the sticker and I'm guessing the Z490 would be pretty similar. From what I remember from taking it apart it that the sticker is just a layered piece of smth like acrylic and aluminium and comes of pretty easily with a spudger or similar plastic implement. The piece of mirrored acrylic in the middle is the only thing to be careful with, and the led board can just be unscrewed and removed.
 
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Sazexa

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Jan 22, 2020
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This is what the Strix X470i heatsink and led board looks like under the sticker and I'm guessing the Z490 would be pretty similar. From what I remember from taking it apart it that the sticker is just a layered piece of smth like acrylic and aluminium and comes of pretty easily with a spudger or similar plastic implement. The piece of mirrored acrylic in the middle is the only thing to be careful with, and the led board can just be unscrewed and removed.
Perfect. That's exactly as I thought. Actually, kind of better news to hear the thicker black part is metal. I may try and make my own piece that covers the reflective aluminum piece then, as well, and reapply that over the acrylic. We'll see what happens. Thanks!
 

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King of Cable Management
Sep 26, 2015
774
758
I would suggest against powdercoating a heatsink. The powdercoat is thick and will inhibit heat conduction to the surface and convection of the heat to the surround air. Reanodizing would work and could look pretty slick.
 
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Sazexa

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Jan 22, 2020
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136
I would suggest against powdercoating a heatsink. The powdercoat is thick and will inhibit heat conduction to the surface and convection of the heat to the surround air. Reanodizing would work and could look pretty slick.
When I say powdercoat, I meant ceramic coating. Ceramic coating won't hurt performance to any real measurable degree, is durable, and super-super slim. It's tolerances are tight enough to be used internally on firearms. It's called Cerakote, but most people don't seem to know about it so saying "powder coat" is easier in conversation I've found lol
 

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King of Cable Management
Sep 26, 2015
774
758
When I say powdercoat, I meant ceramic coating. Ceramic coating won't hurt performance to any real measurable degree, is durable, and super-super slim. It's tolerances are tight enough to be used internally on firearms. It's called Cerakote, but most people don't seem to know about it so saying "powder coat" is easier in conversation I've found lol

I'm familiar with Cerakote...magnesium aluminum oxide. Initially it was used for coating magnesium helicopter gearboxes to prevent corrosion. It is a thermal barrier, still, and they demonstrate the reduction in radiation, but if you have a thin enough coating, perhaps it doesn't matter as far as convection (I have my doubts, still).
 

Sazexa

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Jan 22, 2020
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136
The
I'm familiar with Cerakote...magnesium aluminum oxide. Initially it was used for coating magnesium helicopter gearboxes to prevent corrosion. It is a thermal barrier, still, and they demonstrate the reduction in radiation, but if you have a thin enough coating, perhaps it doesn't matter as far as convection (I have my doubts, still).
The ceramic coating is only an option if it's not feasible to reanodize which it should be, anyways. Once I figure out how to properly disassemble the heatsink's lighting. Once that is done, reanodizing should be relatively painless. The shop can apply incredibly thin layers that shouldn't affect cooling performance much, if it did.
 

Sazexa

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Jan 22, 2020
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136
So, small update.

I've found some heatsinks I had left over from my old ASUS ROG Rampage V Edition 10 motherboard. I believe these heatsinks and LED boards are assembled very similarly to how the Z490-I is. Pardon the crude cell phone pictures, but I think this is more or less what I'll be looking at when I get the Z490-I in.

[Pre-disassembly]


The initial cover over the heatsink that hides the LED board came off with little to no persuation.


The LED board was stuck on much more aggressively. I didn't care much for not damaging this piece, and was able to pull it off without flexing the PCB hard enough to break it in my opinion, but I can't test it. Therefore, when the time comes to do it on the new motherboard, I'll likely warm it up quite a bit and try to get the glue a little more gooey, so that it comes off with no issues. If I did ruin the LED that wouldn't be the end of the world for me, but of course I'd rather not.


This is the result of just pressing it all back together without any addition glue. It sits perfectly fine. I have a small mark in the LED cover plate, but, I believe this is a relatively simple thing anyone with a heat gun/hair dryer and a bit of patience can do. It took me literally five minutes doing it this way. So, we'll see how it goes once I get the Z490-I in by comparison. I'll document that of course.