December 3, 2021

The Intel Z690 Motherboard Overview (DDR5): Over 50+ New Fashions

To help the launch of Intel’s newest twelfth era ‘Alder Lake’ processors, Intel has additionally pulled the set off on its newest Z690 motherboard chipset. Utilizing a brand new LGA1700 socket, some of essentially the most vital developments with Alder Lake and Z690 embody PCIe 5.0 help from the processor, in addition to a PCIe 4.0 x8 hyperlink from the processor to the chipset. On this article, we’re taking a better have a look at over 50+ totally different DDR5 enabled motherboards designed to not solely use the processing energy of Alder Lake however provide customers a myriad of high-class and premium options.

As we sometimes do with a brand new platform launch, we reached out to each motherboard vendor for all the knowledge on its Z690 fashions, together with photographs, specs, energy supply info, and options. With new chipset launches, distributors often have its ‘launch day’ fashions and fashions that come in a while – for instance ASRock’s Aqua collection, which we’re nonetheless ready to listen to when the Aqua goes to hit the market. 

On this overview, we have compiled all the knowledge we have now right into a single article with info we have acquired on the time of writing.

Intel Z690 Chipset: Like Z590, However Now With Native PCIe 4.0

With the introduction of Intel’s twelfth era Core processors, probably the most vital developments from the earlier era is that Alder Lake constructed on the ‘Intel 7’ manufacturing course of, features a hybrid PCIe lane structure. This consists of a complete of x16 PCIe 5.0 lanes from the CPU put aside for graphics in both an x16 or x8/x8 configuration, and 4x PCIe 4.0 lanes devoted to storage units. One other vital enchancment over the earlier era is a brand new PCIe 4.0 x8 DMI hyperlink between the CPU and the Z690 chipset. Beforehand with eleventh gen (Rocket Lake), Intel upheaved it from a PCIe 3.0 x4 uplink on Z490 to a PCIe 3.0 x4 uplink on Z590. With Z690, the uplink is now fully-fledged PCIe 4.0 x8 lanes to interconnect issues.

Some of the thrilling and maybe particular enhancements is Intel’s first DDR5 supported desktop platform. Intel’s Alder Lake and Z690 mixed truly provide help for each DDR5 and DDR4 reminiscence. Which means that these motherboard distributors both should construct their motherboards for one or the opposite, so it is Z690 with DDR5 or Z690 with DDR4, and no in-between. This text focuses purely on the DDR5 motherboards.

DDR5 versus DDR4 on Intel Alder Lake & Z690

Different options with Z690 embody native help for USB 3.2 Gen2x2 (20 Gbps) Sort-C connectivity, with the overwhelming majority of Z690 fashions now opting to incorporate this help at a base degree. Intel has additionally upgraded its networking help on the chipset degree, with an built-in Wi-Fi 6E PHY and RF for distributors. Nonetheless, the vast majority of the fee and implementation nonetheless depend on distributors utilizing Intel options by the proprietary CNVi connection. That is why some fashions embody various ranges of Wi-Fi 6/6E CNVi at its disposal as both a feature-boosting transfer or cost-cutting measure to scale back it.

Intel Z690, Z590, and Z490 Chipset Comparability
Function Z690 Z590 Z490
Socket LGA1700 LGA1200 LGA1200
PCIe Lanes (CPU) 16 x 5.0

4 x 4.0
20 x 4.0 16 x 3.0
PCIe Lanes (Chipset) 12 x 4.0

16 x 3.0
24 x 3.0 24 x 3.0
PCIe Specification (CPU) 5.0/4.0 4.0 3.0
Reminiscence Help DDR5-4800B

DDR4-3200 DDR4-2933
PCIe Config x16






DMI Lanes x8 4.0 x8 3.0 x4 3.0
Max USB 3.2 (Gen2/Gen1) 10/10 6/10 6/10
USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20 Gbps) Y Y ASMedia
Complete USB 14 14 14
Max SATA Ports 8 6 6
Reminiscence Channels (Twin) 2/2 2/2 2/2
Intel Optane Reminiscence Help Y Y Y
Intel Fast Storage Tech (RST) Y Y Y
Built-in Wi-Fi MAC Wi-Fi 6E Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 6
Intel Good Sound Y Y Y
Overclocking Help Y Y Y
Intel vPro N N N
ME Firmware 16 15 14
TDP (W) ? 6 6

In contrast with earlier generations of Intel’s chipsets, the Intel Z690 relies on its 14nm manufacturing course of, so it is just like earlier designs similar to Z590 and Z490. Intel retains the identical dual-channel reminiscence help as earlier and different model’s desktop platforms. In distinction, native SATA help has been upped to eight SATA slots as a substitute of six of the prior era.

Specializing in networking, Intel has upgraded to an built-in Wi-Fi 6E MAC over Wi-Fi 6 within the final two earlier generations. Whereas Intel states that it consists of an built-in 2.5 GbE MAC/PHY, this can be a little nonsensical, as wired ethernet nonetheless requires a MAC/PHY as an connected PCIe controller. This implies no matter whether or not a vendor is utilizing a Gigabit, 2.5 GbE, and even 10 GbE, it connects the very same method to the PCIe interface. 

Trying on the above Intel Z690 chipset block diagram, we are able to see the PCIe 4.0 x8 DMI interconnecting the processor with the chipset, with 16 x PCIe 5.0 lanes to both one full-length slot (x16) or two full-length slots (x8/x8), with 4 x PCIe 4.0 lanes designated to storage units similar to NVMe M.2 slots. (Ian has confirmed that storage on the principle x16 slot is feasible if desired.) 

From inside the Z690 chipset, it affords varied avenues of configurations accessible to motherboard distributors to make use of. New for Z690 consists of 12 x PCIe 4.0 lanes, with one other 16 x PCIe 3.0 lanes as a part of the high-speed IO (HSIO). The onus is on motherboard distributors to make use of these new native PCIe 4.0 lanes as they need, together with by the usage of both storage, further PCIe 4.0 slots, or a combination of each. Specializing in connectivity, Z690 permits distributors to make use of as much as and embody 4 USB 3.2 G2x2 Sort-C (20 Gbps) ports, with as much as 10 x USB 3.2 G2, 10 x USB 3.2 G1, and as much as 14 x USB 2.0 ports. 

Alder Lake & Z690 Overclocking: Base Frequency Versus Turbo Energy

Intel can be providing an enhanced overclocking mannequin accessible with Alder Lake, which takes Processor Base Energy (Base) and Most Turbo Energy (Turbo) under consideration. The Base is the assured peak energy at base frequency which for the Intel Core i9-12900K is about at 125 W, whereas the utmost accessible Turbo Energy is 241 W. Customers with a primary understanding of Intel’s former PL1 and PL2 methodology will be aware that it nonetheless exist beneath the hood – the bottom energy is PL1, whereas Turbo is PL2. Tau, the time for turbo, is virtually infinite for the unlocked Ok processors.

In the case of overclocking within the present day and age, the principle components in play are nonetheless the identical: cooling, functionality, and energy. As we noticed with overclocking on quite a few Z590 motherboards all year long, it was potential to drag practically 500 W from the wall from the system when testing them. Utilizing figures from our MSI MEG Z590 Ace motherboard overview for example, we have been pulling 321 W peak energy from the wall at default with CPU load solely. In distinction, at 5.2 GHz all-cores with 1.425 V on the CPU VCore, we pulled 485 W. Overclocking with any platform, Intel and even AMD, ample cooling must be thought-about for the designed core frequency and CPU VCore voltage mixture, in addition to equally ample energy headroom from the ability provide.

The Present Z690 For DDR5 Product Stack

Motherboards Confirmed So Far 

By means of our contact with distributors, greater than 50+ fashions can be found Z690 utilizing the brand new DDR5 reminiscence. Most of those have presently been introduced and detailed, with a small quantity ready to be revealed or with out specs so far. Merely put, there shall be no scarcity of fashions to pick out from. It is no secret that motherboard pricing has been on the up, with the most cost effective Z690 board having an official value of $190.

As with Z590, there are usually not that many micro-ATX choices for Z690, with availability trying once more to be restricted. We’re with just one micro-ATX sized mannequin at launch, the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming WIFI. It stays to be seen if we’ll see any extra micro-ATX Z690 with help for DDR5, however watch this house.

Let’s check out the present Z690 product stack with help for DDR5 (on the time of writing):


ASRock’s product stack for DDR5 on Z690 is the smallest of the entire ‘main’ distributors at launch, with simply seven fashions. On the high of the stack, albeit the small print of that are unannounced, is the distinctive ASRock Z690 Aqua. For now, the ASRock Z690 Taichi is the premier mannequin, and it is likely one of the costliest Taichi fashions to have ever existed. That is a bit odd for what was once an entry degree model. 

ASRock Z690 Motherboard Product Stack (DDR5)
Mannequin Dimension Overview


ASRock Z690 Aqua ? Hyperlink   TBC
ASRock Z690 OC Components ? Hyperlink   $580
ASRock Z690 Taichi ATX Hyperlink   $590
ASRock Z690 Taichi Razer Version ATX Hyperlink   TBC
ASRock Z690 PG Velocita ATX Hyperlink   $470
ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming 4/D5 ATX Hyperlink   TBC
ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB4 ITX Hyperlink   TBC

Whereas we count on there to be extra ASRock Z690 and DDR5 fashions shortly, different fashions within the stack are from its Phantom Gaming collection of fashions. This consists of the ASRock Z690 PG Velocita, which is extra premium than mid-range than in comparison with last-gen, and the Z690 Phantom Gaming 4/D5 appearing because the mid-range mannequin this time round. There’s additionally the mini-ITX Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB4, which, because the mannequin identify suggests, returns with Thunderbolt 4, and its mini-ITX collection has been a stable choice for small type issue customers over time.


Trying on the ASUS Z690 fashions with help for DDR5 reminiscence, it has a sometimes well-rounded stack from high to backside. It must be identified that ASUS has began to make its Republic of Players Maximus collection extra distinguishable and now opts to make use of the chipset identify as a substitute of Roman numerals for the upper finish Maximus components. Because it stands, its flagship fashions embody the ROG Maximus Z690 Excessive Glacial with a newly designed EKWB ‘Ultrablock’ for liquid cooling. On the identical time, it shares the identical premium and spectacular characteristic set because the common ROG Maximus Z690 Excessive. Different ROG Maximus fashions within the lineup embody Z690 Components with dual-cooled VRMs, and the primary time it has been carried out since Z490.

ASUS Z690 Motherboard Product Stack (DDR5)
Mannequin Dimension Overview


ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Excessive Glacial E-ATX Hyperlink   $2000
ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Excessive E-ATX Hyperlink   $1100
ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Components ATX Hyperlink   $800
ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Apex ATX Hyperlink   $720
ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero ATX Hyperlink   $600
ASUS ROG Strix Z690-E Gaming WIFI ATX Hyperlink   $470
ASUS ROG Strix Z690-F Gaming WIFI ATX Hyperlink   $400
ASUS ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming WIFI mATX Hyperlink   TBC
ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WIFI ITX Hyperlink   $440
ASUS ProArt Z690 Creator WIFI ATX Hyperlink   $480
ASUS Prime Z690-A ATX Hyperlink   $300
ASUS Prime Z690-P WIFI ATX Hyperlink   $250
ASUS Prime Z690-P ATX Hyperlink   $230

Different mainstays return for ASUS embody the Hero and the intense overclocking outfitted Apex. Trying down the stack is the ROG Strix collection, with all of the alphabet fashions returning, together with the premium E, the extra wallet-efficient F, and the mini-ITX I collection. The Prime collection sits extra in the direction of the mid-range than the entry-level with most of its fashions, and the entry level for its Z690 fashions is the $230 ASUS Prime Z690-P.


GIGABYTE has the biggest DDR5 Motherboard stack, with 14 new fashions unveiled at current. Trying from the highest is the GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Xtreme WaterForce with a customized water block, whereas the common Z690 Aorus Excessive caters to the hardened fanatic market. Each fashions share the identical high-end characteristic set. Transferring down the stack is the premium Z690 Aorus Grasp with a formidable characteristic set for the value, whereas the Extremely, Professional, Elite AX, and mini-ITX Extremely all make up the mid-range choices with typical Aorus model and have units besides.

GIGABYTE Z690 Motherboard Product Stack (DDR5)
Mannequin Dimension Overview


GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Xtreme WaterForce E-ATX Hyperlink   TBC
GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Xtreme E-ATX Hyperlink   $900
GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Grasp ATX Hyperlink   $470
GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Tachyon ATX Hyperlink   TBC
GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Professional ATX Hyperlink   $330
GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Extremely ATX Hyperlink   $370
GIGABYTE Z690I Aorus Extremely ITX Hyperlink   $290
GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Elite AX ATX Hyperlink   $270
GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Elite ATX Hyperlink   TBC
GIGABYTE Z690 Gaming X ATX Hyperlink   $230
GIGABYTE Z690 Aero D ATX Hyperlink   TBC
GIGABYTE Z690 Aero G ATX Hyperlink   TBC
GIGABYTE Z690 UD AX ATX Hyperlink   $220
GIGABYTE Z690 UD ATX Hyperlink   TBC

Transferring down the stack and the GIGABYTE Z690 Gaming X affords a stable bridge between the Aorus collection and the non-gaming branded Z690 UD AX and UD fashions. The GIGABYTE Z690 Aero D affords a formidable characteristic set with a concentrate on content material creation, which is spearheaded by an Intel Thunderbolt 4 controller and a clean-cut aesthetic. In distinction, the Z690 Aero G affords a way more wallet-friendly characteristic set with an identical design.


Specializing in the DDR5 supported fashions, the flagship would be the MEG Z690 Godlike, however we’re nonetheless ready for particulars on that on the time of writing. Down a step within the stack is the MSI MEG Z690 Ace, with a really premium characteristic set together with 5 M.2 slots and Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, whereas the Unify and Unify-X cater to these on the lookout for an aesthetically pleasing system, however nonetheless with premium options and stable connectivity choices.

MSI Z690 Motherboard Product Stack (DDR5)
Mannequin Dimension Overview


MSI MEG Z690 Godlike E-ATX Hyperlink   TBC
MSI MEG Z690 Ace ATX Hyperlink   $600
MSI MEG Z690 Unify ATX Hyperlink   TBC
MSI MEG Z690 Unify-X ATX Hyperlink   $500
MSI MEG Z690I Unify ITX Hyperlink   $400
MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI ATX Hyperlink   $400
MSI MPG Z690 Carbon EK X ATX Hyperlink   TBC
MSI MPG Z690 Power WIFI ATX Hyperlink   $390
MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk WIFI ATX Hyperlink   TBC
MSI MAG Z690 Torpedo EK X ATX Hyperlink   TBC
MSI MAG Z690 Torpedo ATX Hyperlink   TBC
MSI Professional Z690-A WIFI ATX Hyperlink   $250
MSI Professional Z690-A ATX Hyperlink   $230

Occupying the mid-range is its Efficiency Gaming (MPG) collection, with the MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI and MPG Z690 Power providing comparable options however with a distinct aesthetic alternative. MSI additionally intends to launch an MPG Z690 Carbon EK X mannequin with customized EKWB monoblock included to maintain the processor and VRM cool. For avid gamers on a funds, the MAG collection can be again with mainstay fashions such because the Z690 Tomahawk WIFI and MAG Z690 Torpedo; each have comparable characteristic units, a good array of connectivity. The Professional collection occupies the entry-level, with much less aggressive aesthetics and key and important part decisions primarily based on usability and consumer expertise.

Different Z690 Product Stack Choices

There are additionally a couple of Z690 fashions to think about exterior of the main gamers.

Biostar has introduced one DDR5 enabled Z690 motherboard for the launch of Alder Lake with the Z690 Valkyrie. It has loads of premium options and a distinct aesthetic from these exterior of the main distributors. EVGA has additionally introduced it should launch two Z690 fashions, the EVGA Z690 Darkish Ok|NGP|N version for excessive overclockers, in addition to a extra gaming-centric Z690 Categorized mannequin. Colourful so far has additionally introduced one Z690 mannequin for these trying to make use of DDR5 reminiscence, the Colourful iGame Z690 Extremely D5, which targets entry-level customers.

Different Z590 Motherboards
Mannequin Dimension Overview


Biostar Z690 Valkyrie ATX Hyperlink   $600
Colourful iGame Z690 Extremely D5 ATX Hyperlink   TBC
EVGA Z690 Darkish Ok|NGP|N ? Hyperlink   TBC
EVGA Z690 Categorized ATX Hyperlink   TBC

Every subsequent web page is a short evaluation and rundown of every mannequin introduced, culminating with a conclusion of board options versus different fashions.

We will even be publishing a DDR4 model of this text shortly.

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