While many motherboard makers have pushed factory supported overclocking out of the limelight you can still find hardware that supports it. Generally speaking specialized hardware costs more due to several factors including the additional accessories, time spent testing and tuning and manufacturing costs associated with a limited run but, it really is worth it in the end. Sometimes these features can be found in mainstream hardware and others will send you out searching.
To find hardware that is truly unique you must play the waiting game. This is how it was back in the days of the DFI LanParty where you could often wait up to six months for the new overclocking board to be released followed by additional revisions that would exploit even more features. Those were the awesome times for the hardware enthusiast and yet many were upset.
In this review I’ll be looking at what might be considered the only game in town for Extreme Overclocking, the EVGA Z490 Dark. Much like what DFI did with their LanParty boards the EVGA Dark is what I would call a revision and enhancement to the EVGA Z490 FTW that improves and tunes the motherboard to handle all sorts of overclocking and extreme system builds while still offering out of box performance for fans of high-end hardware.
Before we dive into what makes this motherboard special we should go over the specs.
- Chipset – Intel Z490
- SLI – 2-Way SLI
- SATA – 6 Native SATA 6.0Gbps Ports / 2 ASMedia SATA 6.0Gbps Ports
- RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
- USB – 6x USB 2.0 (4 Ports from 2 Internal Headers)
- Memory Support – 2 DIMM Dual-Channel (up to 64GB) DDR4 4800MHz+
- Capacitors – 100% Solid State
- Ethernet – 1x Intel® 2.5 Gigabit NIC / 1x Intel® Gigabit NIC
- Audio – Realtek ALC1220 7.1 Channel HD Audio + SV3H615
- Display Outputs – 1x mDP
- Fan Headers – 8 (2 CPU PWM, 6 PWM/DC)
- PCB – 10 Layers
- PCI-E Slot Arrangement – 3x16, 1x4
- NVMe Support – Yes (PCIe)
- E-ATX Form Factor
- Length: 12in - 304.8mm
- Width: 10.89in - 276.6mm
- 150% Increased Socket Gold Content
- Dual EVGA Probe-It Connectors
- EVGA ELEET X1 Software Support
- EVGA's Latest GUI BIOS Featuring OC Robot and In-BIOS Stress Testing
- Highly-Efficient 18 Phase Digital VRM
- Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
- New Integrated EVGA Wireless Module with Intel Dual-band WiFi 6 / BT5.0 with external antenna
- Onboard ARGB and RGB Headers controlled through EVGA ELEET X1
- Onboard Clear CMOS, Power and Reset Buttons
- Onboard Temperature and Voltage Monitoring
- PCIe Disable Switches
- Realtek 7.1 Channel HD Audio + EVGA NU Audio
- Reinforced PCIe slots
- SafeBoot button to reset the motherboard and go into the BIOS with last known good settings without clearing CMOS
- Slow Mode switch locks CPU multiplier to lowest possible setting to allow users to switch between max OC and low speeds in real-time.
- SPI flashing via USB allows you to flash your BIOS without a CPU
- Triple BIOS Support
That is a huge list of features and while some motherboard makers like to list every single feature I applaud EVGA for sticking with what really matters.