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Intel Alder Lake-S: These are the Z690 motherboards from ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte and ASRock

New motherboards are mandatory for Intel’s Alder Lake S processors. These receive the LGA1700 socket as a base and also DDR5 support. Accordingly, there are again numerous new boards from the well-known mainboard manufacturers, which we have compiled in this news. Starting with ASUS and MSI, to Gigabyte and ASRock.

ASUS Z690 motherboards

A Z690 motherboard collection of a total of 19 models will be available for purchase from ASUS. The Prime Z690-A, which represents the general entry into the new platform and already has a lot to offer, starts with the Prime series. Up to 128 GB of DDR5 RAM can be accommodated in the four slots and, of course, there is also a PCIe 5.0 x16 slot in addition to additional expansion slots. ASUS offers the Z690 Creator WiFi from the ProArt series especially for content creators, which also has two Thunderbolt 4.0 Type-C ports. In addition to a 2.5 Gbit / s LAN port, there is also a 10 Gbit / s RJ45 connection.

The entry into gaming at ASUS continues with the TUF series, although ASUS will only offer the TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4. The “D4” indicates that this mainboard can only be operated with DDR4 UDIMMs instead of DDR5. This also applies to the ROG Strix Z690-A Gaming WiFi D4. The ROG Strix Z690-E Gaming WiFi, on the other hand, inevitably requires operation with the new DDR5 modules. The ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi is of course much more compact, in the slim Mini-ITX format, which only has two DDR5 slots due to space restrictions, which in turn are placed closer to the CPU socket, which has a positive effect on the RAM -Overclocking can affect.

The upper and high-end boards are made for Intel’s 12th core generation in the form of the Maximus Z690 series. As an innovation, ASUS has now done without the numbering with Roman numerals and instead relies on the chipset designation. So there is no Maximus XIV range. It starts with the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero as an entry into the upper class, which has been equipped with further features by ASUS. In addition to a debug LED, the ATX mainboard also has a power and flex key. On the other hand, there is a CMOS Clear and Flash BIOS button on the I / O panel. At first glance, the two combined VRM coolers also look quite bulky. ASUS has not designed the new ROG Maximus Z690 Formula in plain black, but with a white ROG armor. The VRM cooler can also be integrated into a custom water cooling circuit in this case.

For extreme overclockers, ASUS offers the ROG Maximus Z690 Apex, which understandably only has two DDR5 slots and provides numerous buttons and switches as well as voltage measurement points. The icing on the cake from ASUS, however, is the ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme and the ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme Glacial. As we were able to determine in the test for the ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial (HardwareLuxx test), the successors will also be identical in terms of the basis. The only difference in the Glacial model will be the included water cooler monoblock, which was again developed by EKWB.

The ASUS Z690 motherboards including RRP prices at a glance:

  • Prime Z690M-Plus D4 (218 Euro)
  • Prime Z690-P D4 (233 Euro)
  • Prime Z690-P WIFI D4 (249 Euro)
  • Prime Z690-P (259 Euro)
  • Prime Z690-P WIFI (271 Euro)
  • Prime Z690-A (296 Euro)
  • ProArt Z690-Creator WiFi (498 Euro)
  • TUF Gaming Z690-Plus D4 (310 Euro)
  • TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4 (322 Euro)
  • ROG Strix Z690-A Gaming WiFi D4 (371 Euro)
  • ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming WiFi (352 Euro)
  • ROG Strix Z690-F Gaming WiFi (486 Euro)
  • ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi (438)
  • ROG Strix Z690-E Gaming WiFi (584 Euro)
  • ROG Maximus Z690 Hero (608 Euro)
  • ROG Maximus Z690 Apex (669 Euro)
  • ROG Maximus Z690 Formula (730 Euro)
  • ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme (1,095 Euro)
  • ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme Glacial (1.947 Euro)

Z690 motherboards from MSI

MSI’s Z690 lineup will consist of a total of 18 models, as the manufacturer has informed us. DDR5 boards take up the majority, but some DDR4 boards have also been included in the planning. As usual, MSI starts with the PRO series, consisting of five variants. While the PRO Z690-P DDR4 passes as an independent DDR4 mainboard, the PRO Z690-A and PRO Z690-A WIFI will each be DDR4 and DDR5 models. MSI generally regards these models for office and content-creating use and less for gaming customers.

For the MSI Arsenal gaming squad (MAG for short), the MAG Z690 TORPEDO is the beginning, of which there will also be a version including a water cooler monoblock, which will then be sold under the name MAG Z690 TORPEDO EK X. With the MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WIFI, MSI is going two ways. One version is designed for DDR5 and the other for DDR4 use. The DDR4 variant was marked accordingly. With MSI’s performance gaming series, the manufacturer gives the user a few more features. Partly two PCIe 5.0 PEG slots and also a debug LED on the MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI, of which an EK-X version is also planned. The MPG Z690 FORCE WIFI and the MPG Z690 EDGE WIFI are located below both models. The MPG Z690 EDGE WIFI DDR4 is the only DDR4 model in this category.

For those who cannot be satisfied with the previous models, MSI finally still has the MEG mainboards, which are located in the upper class. The new DDR5 standard is mandatory for all four boards. In addition to the MEG Z690 UNIFY and MEG Z690 UNIFY-X, the MEG Z690I UNIFY in mini-ITX format is also suitable. The peculiarity of the tiny is the 12-layer PCB, while otherwise it is more like eight or six layers and, together with the MEG Z690 UNIFY-X, are predestined for ambitious RAM overclocking. However, the flagship of the Z690 mainboards from MSI will not be the MEG Z690 GODLIKE, but the MEG Z690 ACE, which, like the Mini-ITX-UNIFY, has Thunderbolt 4 and, together with the MEG Z690 UNIFY (-X) with 19 105A- Smart power stages for the VCore was equipped.

The M.2-M-Key interfaces of the MEG series and some MPG models have been equipped with two-sided cooling pads to enable good heat dissipation. The heatpipes included are intended to increase the cooling performance even more. Also interesting is the possible DDR5 memory clock, which MSI specifies with up to 6,666 MHz or even up to 6,800 MHz for the MEG Z690I UNIFY. The DDR4 boards should go up to 5,200 MHz. If you ignore the PRO Z690-P DDR4, all other Z690 boards get Intel’s I225-V network controller. All DDR4 mainboards including WIFI add-on receive Intel’s Wi-Fi-6-AX201 and all DDR5 models the Wi-Fi-6E-AX210 module.

The MSI-Z690 mainboards at a glance:

  • PRO Z690-P DDR4
  • PRO Z690-A
  • PRO Z690-A WIFI
  • PRO Z690-A DDR4
  • PRO Z690-A WIFI DDR4
  • MEG Z690 UNIFY
  • MEG Z690 UNIFY-X
  • MEG Z690 ACE

Z690 motherboards from Gigabyte

Gigabyte will also be offering some LGA1700 motherboards with Intel’s Z690 chipset when Alder Lake-S is released. At Gigabyte everything starts with the ultra-durable models, of which Gigabyte has planned three and are intended for office use. The Z690 UD DDR4 will be available for the older RAM standard, while the Z690 UD and Z690 UD AX use the new DDR5 standard. The latter also includes a WLAN and Bluetooth module.

For content creators, however, Gigabyte has provided the Z690 Aero G, which the manufacturer designed in black and white with high contrast. But just like the Gigabyte X570S Aero G (Hardwareluxx test), the Z690 counterpart model will not have any Thunderbolt 4 ports, which we think is a shame. For this, the board requires the new DDR5 memory modules.

The gaming segment at Gigabyte does not start directly with the AORUS models, but with the Z690 Gaming X and Z690 Gaming X DDR4. Both offer exactly the same properties, except for memory compatibility. With the Z690 Elite AX and Elite DDR4, there will also be two variants for each of the two memory generations, so that interested parties will be spoiled for choice. The remaining AORUS models, however, all rely on the DDR5 standard. This also includes the Z690 AORUS Pro and Ultra. The Z690 AORUS Master, which we already have in our editorial team, is clearly positioned in the upper class.

If you want to go all out with Gigabyte, you will find what you are looking for with the Z690 AORUS Xtreme. The LGA1700 CPU is fired by a whopping 20 VCore coils, which in turn are driven by 105 A power stages. When it comes to DDR5 clock rates, Gigabyte speaks of up to 8,000 MHz (effective), which would then be pretty close to the JEDEC limits. The voltage converters should be cooled very effectively by means of direct-touch heat pipes and the cooling fins.

The Gigabyte Z690 mainboards at a glance:

  • Z690 UD DDR4
  • Z690 UD AX
  • Z690 UD
  • Z690 Aero G
  • Z690 Gaming X DDR4
  • Z690 Gaming X
  • Z690 AORUS Elite DDR4
  • Z690 AORUS Elite AX
  • Z690 AORUS Pro
  • Z690 AORUS Ultra
  • Z690 AORUS Master
  • Z690 AORUS Xtreme

Z690 motherboards from ASRock

We have received from ASRock that eleven motherboards with Intel’s Z690 chipset will be added to the portfolio. The entry-level PRO series only includes the Z690 PRO RS, which is not lavishly equipped, but should be enough for most users. This is followed by the Z690 Steel Legend with a light and silver look and the Z690 Extreme with a dark touch. With the Z690M-ITX / ax and the Z690M Phantom Gaming-ITX / TB4, the manufacturer also advertises two mini-ITX offshoots with two DDR5 memory banks. The latter model also has Thunderbolt 4 on board, as the name suggests.

There are two versions of the Z590 Phantom Gaming 4, one with DDR4 and one with DDR5 support (recognizable by the additional “D5”). For the upper middle class, however, the Z690 PG Reptide and the Z690 PG Velocita are ready for their first use. With the Velocita in particular, ASRock has taken additional onboard comfort and additional M.2 coolers into account. The flagship is called the Z690 Taichi and will certainly be shortlisted by ambitious overclockers.

ASRock did not tell us how high the amperage of the voltage converters was, they only talked about 20 smart power stages. Two PEG slots operate via the LGA1700 processor in PCIe 5.0 mode with x16 / x0 or x8 / x8. In terms of effective DDR5 clock rates, the ASRock Z690 Taichi should go up to 6,400 MHz. In general, it should be noted that only the Z690 Taichi, the Z690 PG Velocita, the Z690 Phantom Gaming 4 / D5 and the Z690 Phantom Gaming-ITX / TB4 require the new DDR5 modules. The DDR4 UDIMMs can be used for the rest of the portfolio.

The ASRock Z690 mainboards including RRP prices at a glance:

  • Z690 Pro RS (230 Euro)
  • Z690M-ITX/ax (255 Euro)
  • Z690 Steel Legend (286 Euro)
  • Z690 Extreme (311 Euro)
  • Z690M Phanton Gaming 4 (176 Euro)
  • Z690 Phantom Gaming 4/D5 (211 Euro)
  • Z690 Phantom Gaming 4 (217 Euro)
  • Z690 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB4 (360 Euro)
  • Z690 PG Reptide (245 Euro)
  • Z690 PG Velocita (465 Euro)
  • Z690 Taichi (640 Euro)
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