Superguide: All of the Intel Z690 Motherboards You Can Purchase for twelfth Gen Core ‘Alder Lake’


On Nov. 4, Intel’s twelfth Era Core “Alder Lake” CPUs go on sale. (See our early primer on the brand new Alder Lake CPU lineup.) With it comes an entire new platform and CPU socket, so anybody who needs to leap on this Lake’s boat might want to get a ticket within the type of a brand new motherboard.

For the primary wave of recent boards, Intel has outlined the Z690 chipset. (See our overview of the Z690 chipset and the way it differs from earlier ones.) In Intel motherboard parlance, the “Z” household of chipsets is all the time the premium line, discovered on boards designed for fanatics, overclockers, and folk who need the utmost potential connectivity. The Z boards are often adopted by “B,” “H,” and “Q” traces that take a extra reasonable method to options and tweakability.

Boards in these lesser traces are coming (Intel reps didn’t but share a timeline when quizzed), however issuing the Z fashions first is smart. That is as a result of the primary Alder Lake chips are all overclockable, premium-priced “Okay” variations (Core i5-12600K and Core i9-12900K, for instance) that will likely be of curiosity primarily to gaming-performance hounds, tweaking fanatics, and critical content material creators. The Z’s are additionally, usually, the costliest boards, so Z690 boards, despite the fact that their costs vary extensively, will likely be early-adopter fodder.

Under, we’ll go over all the Z690 motherboards which might be at the moment out there for order or pre-order, to assist these of you desperate to check out Alder Lake first-hand discover the fitting board for you. At this writing, a couple of days earlier than the Alder Lake launch, greater than 30 boards had been already out there for pre-order. That stated, if you happen to’re keen to attend, it might be a good suggestion to carry off a couple of weeks, as some notable boards (together with Asrock’s and MSI’s flagships) have not made it to the US market simply but. We’ll be masking a collection of these boards in higher element within the coming weeks as we evaluation them, however for now, let’s check out the Z690 fashions at the moment on supply.


Frequent Options and Platform Traits

Earlier than diving into the person boards, we suggest studying (if you happen to haven’t) our associated content material on the brand new Alder Lake CPUs and the Z690 chipset linked above. Alder Lake and its platform include a few of Intel’s most noteworthy desktop advances since 2nd Era Core (“Sandy Bridge”) roughly a decade in the past. The platform witnesses the introduction of assist for PCI Specific 5.0 bus lanes and DDR5 reminiscence (with DDR4 nonetheless supported on some boards). The chipset correct now has assist for PCI Specific 4.0, along with having connections for a variety of different gadgets.

These adjustments imply we’ll see a number of boards in variants that assist both DDR5 or DDR4 RAM. (To be clear: Boards will assist one or the opposite reminiscence kind, by no means each on one PCB.) Whereas DDR5 is about to take over the market in due time, for a lot of patrons it is perhaps extra economical to goal as a substitute for a DDR4-supporting board at launch. DDR5 will likely be pricier per gigabyte, and plenty of PC upgraders will already personal a financial institution of DDR4 modules.

We’ve additionally seen a slight improve within the total variety of M.2 NVMe SSD slots and SATA 3.0 ports, each of that are seemingly attributable to adjustments within the chipset. As all the time with Intel platforms, most Alder Lake CPUs have an built-in graphics processor (IGP) constructed into the chip, and plenty of (however not all) of the brand new motherboards have video connections to assist this. Look explicitly for that in any Z690 motherboard you purchase, if you happen to’ll have to depend on the IGP as a substitute of on a graphics card for video output. It’s also possible to assume that the boards listed here are ATX type issue, except acknowledged in any other case. (We noticed solely a handful of Mini-ITX, MicroATX, and huge EATX boards on this preliminary Z690 haul.)


ASRock Z690 Extreme WiFi 6E

Asrock Z690 Excessive WiFi 6E (and variant)

Asrock’s flagship board, the Z690 Taichi detailed under, actually appears sharp, as the corporate’s elite Taichi boards all the time do. However it’s so very upscale, this time: It is a $500-plus spend that calls for DDR5 RAM. In the event you’re not prepared for that type of splash-out, the perfect Asrock board on order earlier than the Alder Lake launch is the Z690 Excessive Wi-Fi 6E, extra of a “midrange fanatic” product. The board has a 13-phase energy system that’s cooled by a pair of heatsinks. It additionally has a Realtek Dragon 2.5Gbps wired NIC, a secondary Intel gigabit community controller, and a Wi-Fi 6E wi-fi chip. Audio on this board runs by means of a Realtek ALC1220 codec. Aesthetically, the board could be very darkish—primarily all black—however RGB LEDs are set in varied locations so as to add shade when the system is powered on.

The Z690 Excessive Wi-Fi 6E is offered at launch priced at $289.99. An almost similar model, the Z690 Excessive, can be out there for $269.99, with the important thing distinction being the dearth of Wi-Fi on the lower-priced board. Each fashions use DDR4 RAM.

ASRock Z690 Excessive WiFi 6E



Asrock Z690 Taichi

Asrock Z690 Taichi

Asrock’s flagship Z690 motherboard can be the latest member of the corporate’s long-running, mech-themed Taichi collection. As anticipated, this implies a darkish aesthetic design with bronze-colored gear highlights (this time, over the rear I/O shroud and the chipset heatsink). With 20 energy phases cooled by two heatsinks and a heatpipe, this board has potential to be a superb board for overclocking.

The rear I/O panel is a unusual, packed combine. It has two Thunderbolt Sort-C ports, however Asrock additionally opted to position the audio jacks in the course of its rear I/O panel prefer it did with its Z590 Taichi(Opens in a brand new window). This defies logic, to our eyes, with the potential to introduce extra noise into the analog audio connections than if Asrock put the three.5mm audio jacks on the tip of the panel. The board solely ships with a Realtek ALC1220 audio codec, as nicely, which is a below-market codec versus a lot of its rivals, so Asrock appears to be eschewing a high-end audio expertise with this effort.

Networking assist is healthier than common, although, with a Killer E3100 2.5Gbps NIC and a secondary Intel gigabit controller. Additionally aboard: a Killer AX1675 Wi-Fi 6E controller for connecting to a Wi-Fi router. DDR5 RAM is supported on the Z690 Taichi with speeds as much as a lofty 6,400MHz. At this writing, this board was out there from Newegg for $589.99.

Asrock Z690 Taichi


ASRock Z690 Steel Legend WiFi 6E

Asrock Z690 Metal Legend WiFi 6E (and variant)

Asrock’s Z690 Metal Legend motherboards are much like the corporate’s Z690 Excessive merchandise, however Asrock made a couple of concessions with the Metal Legend boards to chop down value. The second wired NIC has been dropped, and the audio codec has been downgraded to a Realtek ALC897 chip that merely doesn’t carry out in addition to the Realtek ALC1220.

Whether or not or not these downgrades will likely be a deal breaker for you very a lot will depend on how a lot you, as a person, would use them. In the event you depend on Wi-Fi or a single Ethernet connection to get on-line, and on HDMI or USB audio as a substitute of the mini-jacks, there’s little draw back to going with the Z690 Metal Legend over the Z690 Excessive.

Asrock has launched two variations of this board which might be out there for order thus far. The Z690 Metal Legend WiFi 6E outlined right here is priced at $269.99, and (as its identify suggests), this board contains Wi-Fi 6E built-in. The mannequin with out Wi-Fi sells for $249.99. Each fashions use DDR4 RAM.

ASRock Z690 Metal Legend WiFi 6E



ASRock Z690 Pro RS

Asrock Z690 Professional RS

Asrock’s Z690 Professional RS motherboard is among the extra budget-friendly Z690 choices thus far. Priced at $189.99, it’s significantly decrease than the Z690 Metal Legend, nevertheless it retains a number of similarities. Asrock opted to make use of a 13-phase energy design for this board as nicely, and it additionally has DDR4 reminiscence channels as a substitute of DDR5. Realtek’s ALC897 audio codec is as soon as once more used for sound output, however the Z690 Professional RS has solely three 3.5mm audio jacks, which is able to prohibit it to, at finest, a 3.1-channel sound system. In the event you rely solely on headphones or a pair of stereo audio system, no huge deal, nevertheless it’s a limiter when you have a complicated audio setup.

The rear I/O panel is probably going the weakest facet of this board, because it has simply six USB ports and a variety of vacant house on the rear I/O defend. Right now, Asrock gives just one model of this board, and it lacks built-in Wi-Fi. It does, nonetheless, have a 2.5Gbps Realtek Dragon RTL8125BG NIC, so it’s stable if you happen to depend on hardwired networking.


ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming 4

Asrock Z690 Phantom Gaming 4

Along with being the lowest-priced Asrock Z690 motherboard at the moment out there, the Z690 Phantom Gaming 4 can be the least-expensive Z690 board from any producer, for now. No shock, then, that it’s probably the most stripped-down, too. The board has a nine-phase energy design with among the smallest VRM heatsinks you’ll discover on any Z690 motherboard. It additionally has a slightly small chipset heatsink, no over-module M.2 cooling, and no cowl or shroud over the rear I/O port blocks.

What is stunning concerning the Phantom Gaming 4, although, is that its rear I/O panel is healthier than the Asrock Z690 Professional RS’s. It has eight USB ports to the Professional RS’s six, and certainly one of these is a USB Sort-C port. Audio assist is similar to the Professional RS (Realtek ALC897 audio codec), however the networking {hardware} was scaled again even additional, with an Intel i219-V Gigabit NIC as the one onboard networking gadget. It’s priced at $179.99, and this board, too, was constructed to assist DDR4 RAM.

ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming 4


Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero (WiFi 6E)

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero (WiFi 6E)

At launch, the Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero (Wi-Fi 6E) would be the firm’s new flagship Intel mainstream-platform motherboard. At $599.99, it prices a bundle, however this would be the board with the characteristic set to die for and the bling to make your fellow PC fanatics envious. LEDs are set over the rear I/O panel and the chipset heatsink, by default displaying “ROG” and the ROG emblem in pixelated fashion. The board is nearly totally lined with black heatsinks to assist with cooling, and it’s geared up with a sturdy 20+1 stage energy system with every stage in a position to deal with 90 amps of present.

Different scorching objects on the Z690 Hero embrace a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports on the rear I/O. Any Thunderbolt ports in any respect are a premium choose, even in a high-end board, however two is nearly unprecedented.

Provided that this Hero board is the brand new Asus flagship, this one helps DDR5 RAM and might assist RAM clocked as excessive as 6,400MHz. It additionally has a top-tier audio answer, within the type of a Realtek ALC4082 audio codec, and there’s built-in Wi-Fi supporting the Wi-Fi 6E commonplace.

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero (WiFi 6E)


Asus ROG Strix Z690-E Gaming WiFi 6E

Asus ROG Strix Z690-E Gaming WiFi 6E

A big dollars-and-cents step down from the ROG Maximus Z690 Hero is the not-too-dissimilar ROG Strix Z690-E Gaming WiFi 6E. This board is priced a hefty $130 lower than Asus’ flagship, however by way of total options it doesn’t change a lot. It drops all the way down to an 18+1 energy design with 90-amp energy levels. (That can concern excessive overclockers solely.) The audio {hardware} can be barely completely different, with a Realtek ALC4080 audio controller and a Savitech SV3H712 amp. 

Arguably the most important loss is on the rear I/O panel. The place the ROG Maximus Z690 Hero has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, the Strix Z690-E Gaming has two USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports. Thunderbolt connectivity remains to be out there, however solely through an inside header. The most important variations apart from these are purely beauty. (DDR5 is supported on this board, as nicely, at 6,400MHz.)

Given the $469.99 value, this board seems a extra engaging providing for the included options than the Hero mannequin. Along with the objects talked about above, the Strix Z690-E additionally has a couple of quality-of-life options that the Z690 Hero lacks, together with Q-Launch, a nifty button to simply unlock graphics playing cards from the PCI Specific slot, to not point out: screwless M.2 slot connections! Each fashionable motherboard wants each—like, years in the past.

Asus ROG Strix Z690-E Gaming WiFi 6E


Asus ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi 6E

Asus ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi 6E

This is among the few Mini-ITX Z690 motherboards that will likely be out there at launch (see our picks for the perfect Mini-ITX instances), and it’s probably the most uncommon within the collection. Final 12 months, Asus launched the Asus ROG Strix Z590-I Gaming Wi-Fi, which featured a secondary PCB for storing sure parts. This design helps to beat the house limitations on Mini-ITX motherboards and permits extra options and {hardware} to be added. It felt a tad underutilized on the Z590-I, although, and was a bit troublesome to work with. However on the brand new Z690-I Gaming WiFi, Asus is taking this design to the subsequent stage by together with not one however two extra PCBs for parts.

We’ll wait to evaluation this board earlier than getting deeper into that facet of the design (actually, it must be tried and constructed earlier than it may be correctly assessed), however suffice to say for now that by way of specs, it’s not too removed from the corporate’s flagship, with among the cutbacks you’ll anticipate attributable to Mini-ITX house constraints. It has a ten+1 part energy design with circuits that may deal with as much as 105 amps of present. The audio parts are similar to these used on the ROG Strix Z690-E, however with a couple of adjustments in format. This board additionally makes use of DDR5 RAM. Count on to pay round $439.99, a wholesome sum for any small board.

Asus ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi 6E


Asus ROG Strix Z690-F Gaming WiFi 6E

Asus ROG Strix Z690-F Gaming WiFi 6E

Asus slowly steps again options on its boards as we work our method from the flagship all the way down to the underside of its Z690 launch stack. The ROG Strix Z690-F Gaming WiFi 6E is an ideal instance of this, because it’s fairly much like the ROG Strix Z690-E Gaming. 

We see a couple of extra energy phases chopped off, leaving a 16+1 configuration. It nonetheless makes use of the identical audio codec, Realtek’s ALC4080, and it has the identical Savitech SV3H712 amp, too. Like all of the Asus boards thus far, this one was designed to make use of DDR5. It’s priced at $399.99.

Asus ROG Strix Z690-F Gaming Wi-Fi LGA 1700 ATX Motherboard


Asus ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming WiFi 6E

Asus ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming WiFi 6E

The Strix Z690-G Gaming WiFi 6E is actually what you’d get if you happen to sliced down the Z690-F Gaming to the MicroATX board type issue. Certainly, that’s what Asus did right here. A number of extra bits fall off that drop the board all the way down to a 14+1 energy stage design, however the audio and networking assist stay unchanged. This board is priced at $349.99.

Asus ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming WiFi 6E


Asus ROG Strix Z690-A Gaming WiFi D4

Asus ROG Strix Z690-A Gaming WiFi D4

Beginning with the ROG Strix Z690-A Gaming WiFi D4, we begin to see DDR5 getting dropped in favor of DDR4. In any other case, this board could be very very similar to the Z690-F Gaming, with a 16+1 energy design. Going with DDR4 does prevent a substantial quantity, nonetheless, as this board prices simply $349.99 and DDR4 RAM can be extra inexpensive than DDR5. (Plus, possibly you already personal some DDR4 modules that you may re-use.)

Asus ROG Strix Z690-A Gaming WiFi D4


Asus Prime Z690-A

Asus Prime Z690-A

Asus’ Prime Z690-A incorporates a 16+1 energy design with DDR5 and Thunderbolt 4 assist. The variety of warmth spreaders for M.2 slots has been diminished on this board, and Wi-Fi is lacking right here, however in any other case you will notice few compromises to going with the Asus Prime Z690-A over one of many lower-priced ROG Strix boards. This mannequin is priced at $299.99.

Asus Prime Z690-A


Asus TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4

Asus TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4

Asus targets its TUF Gaming motherboards at players on a finances, and as one of many lowest-priced of Z690 motherboards Asus has at launch, this exhibits. The board makes use of a 14+2 energy design and depends on extra inexpensive DDR4 RAM. The board additionally switches to the outdated Realtek S1200A codec as a substitute of the Realtek 4080 as one other cost-cutting measure. In trade, this board is priced a bit decrease ($289.99) than the early ROG Strix Z690 fashions, and it picks again up Wi-Fi 6 assist.

Asus TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4


Asus Prime Z690-P

Asus Prime Z690-P (and variant)

Asus’ Prime Z690-P has a extra barren look to it than the Prime Z690-A, with smaller heatsinks and fewer warmth spreaders, together with a 14+1 energy design. You get simply three M.2 slots on this board, and Wi-Fi is gone as soon as once more. On the plus aspect, DDR5 assist is again, so if you happen to’re searching for a budget-friendly board that does DDR5 as a substitute of DDR4, it is a good choice. It’s priced at $229.99. An similar model of this board (the Asus Prime Z690-P D4) with DDR4 reminiscence assist as a substitute of DDR5 can be out there for $219.99.


Asus Prime Z690M-Plus D4

Asus Prime Z690M-Plus D4

Asus’ most budget-friendly motherboard is the Prime Z690M-Plus D4, which shares a lot in widespread with the corporate’s different Prime Z690 boards. It appears aesthetically fairly comparable, however the energy system is reduce all the way down to a ten+1 part design. Wired Web assist can be diminished to a single gigabit NIC on this board, nevertheless it sells for simply $189.99, making it one of many least-expensive entry factors throughout the preliminary Z690 lot from any OEM.


Biostar Z690 Valkyrie

Biostar Z690 Valkyrie

Biostar introduced the Z690 Valkyrie as its flagship motherboard, nevertheless it hadn’t proven up on the market at this writing, and we don’t but have a set value for it. Evaluating it based mostly strictly off of its options, it ought to stack up nicely towards the midrange-to-lower-end Z690 motherboards within the $200-to-$300 vary. It incorporates a 20-phase energy design, a better-than-average power-delivery association. It additionally has a Realtek 2.5Gbps NIC and built-in Wi-Fi assist, however the audio codec in use is the older Realtek ALC1220, making it a little bit of a core-component blended bag. The board seems to be nicely lined by warmth spreaders to maintain these ever-important M.2 SSDs cool.


Colorful iGame Z690 Ultra D5

Colourful iGame Z690 Extremely D5

Colourful, like Biostar, has introduced its new flagship, however the board isn’t at the moment out there on the market. The iGame Z690 Extremely D5 makes use of an 18+1 energy part design with 90-amp parts. This board additionally ships with an Intel i225V Gigabit NIC with Wi-Fi 6 assist.

The board design is actually probably the most fascinating that we’ve seen up to now. It’s arduous to explain, however the wavy, swirling aesthetic utilized to the PCB and all the heatsinks actually stands out from the preliminary Z690 crowd.


Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Xtreme

Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Xtreme

The costliest Z690 motherboard up for pre-order ($899.99!) is Gigabyte’s new flagship, the Z690 Aorus Xtreme. That is the one oversize Prolonged ATX (E-ATX) board thus far, and reflecting that, it has probably the most sturdy energy design: a 20+1+2 part configuration. Every of the ability levels can deal with 105 amps of present, which provides this board the flexibility to deal with extra total energy than another competing board at launch. This board appears tailored as a match for overclockers who will rock a Core i9-12900K on day one.

The Z690 Aorus Xtreme additionally has a big quantity of thermal {hardware} to maintain this {hardware} cool. Nearly the whole board is encased in metallic, together with the DDR5 RAM slots, that are additionally lined over by a metallic shroud. (Take a look at our evaluation of the last-generation Gigabyte Z590 Aorus Xtreme, with an analogous back-and-front shroud design.)

Along with the first-rate energy and thermal {hardware}, the Z690 Aorus Xtreme ships with best-in-class wired and wi-fi connectivity: a 10Gbps Aquantia NIC, a secondary 2.5Gbps Intel NIC, and Wi-Fi 6E assist. Gigabyte opted to go in a unique path than all the different OEMs on the audio-hardware entrance and shipped this board with an ESS ES9280AC DAC and two extra ESS ES9080 audio controllers. That 900 bucks needed to go someplace.

Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Xtreme


Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master

Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Grasp

Gigabyte’s Z690 Aorus Grasp is positioned instantly under the Z690 Aorus Xtreme in Gigabyte’s product line, nevertheless it prices just a bit greater than half as a lot at $469.99. This can actually make it a extra engaging possibility for a lot of critical Alder Lake early adopters. Despite the large value drop, you don’t lose lots by way of options by going with the Z690 Aorus Grasp. This board additionally has the 10Gbps Aquantia NIC, and its energy {hardware} is nearly equally as sturdy, with a 19+1+2 configuration of 105-amp energy levels.

Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Grasp


Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Ultra

Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Extremely

The Z690 Aorus Extremely takes one other steep step down in value—it’s $369.99—for comparatively minor reductions in options. The ability system was scaled again to a 16+1+2 part design, however the 105-amp circuits are nonetheless in use right here. The 10Gbps Aquantia NIC does get dropped right here in favor of a 2.5Gbps Intel NIC, and the audio subsystem ditches the flowery trappings of the Z690 Aorus Xtreme board and makes use of the extra widespread Realtek ALC4080 audio codec. Relying in your ISP and web plan, in addition to the way you draw your audio out of your system, these adjustments might matter lots—or by no means.

Really useful by Our Editors

Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Extremely


Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Pro

Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Professional (and variant)

Subsequent in line from Gigabyte is the Z690 Aorus Professional, which was designed to be similar to the Z690 Aorus Extremely. The most important distinction right here is the swap from 105-amp energy circuits to 90-amp ones, however most different features of the board stay unchanged. The DDR5-based Z690 Aorus Professional is listed on the market at $329.99.

Gigabyte additionally created the Z690 Aorus Elite AX DDR4 motherboard, which appears similar to the Z690 Aorus Professional however switches the RAM assist from DDR5 reminiscence to DDR4. This board additionally has kicked-down, less-capable power-regulation {hardware}, constructed on 70-amp energy levels. This board will be picked up for $269.99.


Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Elite AX


Gigabyte Z690I Aorus Ultra

Gigabyte Z690I Aorus Extremely

The Gigabyte Z690I Aorus Extremely DDR4 is certainly one of solely two Mini-ITX motherboards up for order with the Z690 chipset. (Asus had the opposite, detailed above.) Not like Asus’ Z690 Mini-ITX providing, this one is focused as a midrange answer and accordingly priced a lot decrease. The ability-regulation {hardware} on this board is top-notch, aggressive with Asus’ Mini-ITX board, with a ten+2+1 power-phase design utilizing 105-amp energy levels. 

The audio {hardware} is missing, although. The board makes use of a Realtek ALC4080 audio codec, however you get solely a single 3.5mm audio jack for audio system, so it is a mannequin finest reserved for folk counting on easy stereo setups, USB headphones, or HDMI audio. Gigabyte has priced this board at $289.99, nonetheless, nicely under the $400-plus value of the Asus.

Gigabyte Z690I Aorus Extremely


Gigabyte Z690 Aero G DDR4

Gigabyte Z690 Aero G DDR4

The Z690 Aero G DDR4 comes off as a solidly midrange product providing, no unhealthy factor on this lot of dear PCBs. Trying over the specs, nothing elementary appears missing on this DDR4-based board, except you’re dead-set on going to DDR5. It simply doesn’t actually stand out with something notably spectacular, other than some actually spiffy-looking silver heatsinks and shrouds. 

The audio codec in use right here is, once more, Realtek’s ALC4080, which far outpaces the Realtek ALC897 used on some competing boards. It additionally has stable wired networking assist with a 2.5Gbps Intel NIC, and Wi-Fi 6 AX201 assist is included as nicely. This board is priced at $289.99.

Gigabyte Z690 Aero G DDR4


Gigabyte Z690 Gaming X DDR4

Gigabyte Z690 Gaming X DDR4

At $229.99, with the Z690 Gaming X DDR4 you might be nearing the entry level for the preliminary Z690 motherboards, if not fairly there but. It is a board with a unique method, nonetheless, to becoming its value level.

As a substitute of drastically reducing again on the variety of energy phases on the board, Gigabyte has opted for an equal variety of lower-performance energy circuits. The Z690 Gaming X DDR4 continues to make the most of a 16+1+2 power-phase design, however as a substitute of utilizing {hardware} rated to deal with 105, 90, or 70 amps of present, this board as a substitute has 60-amp elements. Realistically, for non-overclockers, this must be effective, and for informal tweakers, this board simply received’t overclock in addition to its higher-end kin.

This board additionally lacks Wi-Fi, and it has a barely older Realtek ALC1220 audio codec than what’s used on most of Gigabyte’s different Z690 boards. No points on the LAN entrance, although: The two.5Gbps Intel NIC didn’t get the axe. This appears like (relative) budget-gaming possibility when you have hardwired web close by.


Gigabyte Z690 UD AX

Gigabyte Z690 UD AX (and variant)

Gigabyte’s final two Z690 motherboards current as slight variants of the Z690 Gaming X DDR4 outlined above, with altered aesthetics however primarily the identical characteristic units. The primary one is the Z690 UD AX DDR4 ($219.99, pictured right here), and the second is the Gigabyte Z690 UD DDR4 ($199.99). It’s not totally clear why the Z690 UD AX DDR4 is priced decrease than the Z690 Gaming X DDR4, because it has the identical energy design but in addition contains Wi-Fi 6E assist. As for the Z690 UD DDR4, it’s similar to the UD AX DDR4, however minus the Wi-Fi assist altogether.


MSI MEG Z690 Unify-X

MSI MEG Z690 Unify-X

The MSI MEG Z690 Unify-X will likely be MSI’s flagship Z690 motherboard at launch (at the very least till the inevitable MSI Godlike board). Like most elite motherboards, this one is nearly totally lined by heatsinks and warmth spreaders to assist in cooling the very important chipset and power-regulation circuitry. The board has a 19+2 energy design with 105-amp parts that ought to carry out nicely whereas overclocking.

Why are we wanting ahead to this one? As a result of the MEG Unify-X helps the quickest DDR5 RAM timings of any motherboard introduced thus far, with assist for speeds as excessive as 6,800MHz. The board’s audio and networking {hardware} are much like what’s on many midrange boards on this checklist (2.5Gbps Intel i225-V NIC, Realtek ALC4080 audio codec). The board additionally has a built-in Intel Wi-Fi 6E wi-fi adapter. Count on it to promote for round $499.99.


MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi

MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi DDR5

At launch, if you cannot discover the Unify-X, MSI’s finest motherboard out there to order would be the MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi DDR5. This board has a darkish aesthetic with RGB LEDs set over the rear I/O shroud and the chipset heatsink.

A plethora of USB ports will likely be out there on the rear I/O panel, together with one ultra-fast USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Sort-C port for the newest exterior SSDs, and MSI opted for an Intel i225-V 2.5Gbps LAN controller for high-speed Web entry. You additionally get a built-in Wi-Fi 6E controller, and Realtek’s comparatively new ALC4080 audio codec is used for sound output.

One of many notable features of this board is that it helps DDR5 clocked at as much as 6,666MHz, which is greater than any of the competing boards we’ve seen thus far other than the Unify-X flagship. It’s priced at $399.99; a just about similar mannequin, the MSI MPG Z690 Pressure WiFi DDR5, which is available in white (plus a couple of different minor beauty adjustments), can be out there for $389.99.

MSI MPG Z690 Carbon Wi-Fi



MSI Pro Z690-A WiFi DDR5

MSI Professional Z690-A WiFi DDR5 (and variants)

MSI has 4 extra motherboards which have proven up for pre-order, however they’re primarily the identical, so we’ll cowl them right here all as one entry. These boards are as follows:

  • MSI Professional Z690-A WiFi DDR5 ($249.99, pictured right here)

  • MSI Professional Z690-A WiFi DDR4 ($239.99)

  • MSI Professional Z690-A DDR5 ($229.99)

  • MSI Professional Z690-A WiFi DDR4 ($219.99)

Other than value, the important thing variations among the many 4 boards are readily obvious from their names. The highest-end SKU within the checklist has Wi-Fi and DDR5 assist, the subsequent board drops to DDR4, the subsequent board drops the Wi-Fi however switches again to DDR5, and the final board lacks Wi-Fi and makes use of DDR4.

Cosmetically, these boards are all similar, with a principally black shade scheme with scattered silver bits thrown in for distinction. All 4 boards make the most of Realtek’s ALC897 audio codec for sound output, they usually all have an Intel i225-V NIC for quick 2.5Gbps wired Web.

Get Our Greatest Tales!

Join What’s New Now to get our high tales delivered to your inbox each morning.

This article might include promoting, offers, or affiliate hyperlinks. Subscribing to a publication signifies your consent to our Phrases of Use and Privateness Coverage. It’s possible you’ll unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time.



Supply hyperlink