It has been an interesting summer. Rocket Lake, or the 11th Generation Intel Core processor launched in March 2021 and due to the chip shortage and general lockdown conditions its release was, well, underwhelming. Not only was it difficult to get boards but, the general media coverage was virtually non-existent. In talking with my marketing partners, I discovered that most everything being released was identical to Z490 and when you consider that both the Z590 and Z490 support both processor platforms it makes sense as to why they didn’t re-invent the wheel.
While the general market conditions allowed mobo makers take it easy with this generation there were a few notable exceptions. In this review we will be looking at the EVGA Z590 Dark. This motherboard is the latest in the long line of Dark series motherboards designed for the hardware enthusiast, Gamer and competitive overclocker. Of course, you can say that about a number of motherboards on the market and yet the Dark Series is different by allowing enthusiastic a chance to own one of the few mass-produced unicorns in the PC world.
Unfortunately, one of the downsides to owning a unicorn is that only a select few know how to get the most from it. Anyone can build a computer using this motherboard, the process is straight forward and for an experienced computer builder it only takes a couple hours however, that is where the ease of use starts to taper off. You see many of the unique overclocking features are poorly documented (on purpose) and with a dwindling overclocking community there are few left that can offer any advice.
Despite this, I am impressed that EVGA has been keeping the tradition alive and even though the majority of those who actually buy a Z590 Dark may never pour an ounce of LN2 in their lifetime the fact that the EVGA Z590 Dark is radically different from anything else on the market means it will sell, and will sell quickly.
Let’s check out the specs.
- Chipset – Intel Z590
- SLI – 2-Way SLI
- SATA – 6 Native SATA 6 Gb/s Ports / 2 ASMedia SATA 6 Gb/s Ports
- RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
- USB – USB 2.0 (3 Internal Headers + SPI to USB Type-A)
- Memory Support – 2 DIMM Dual-Channel (up to 64GB) DDR4 5333MHz+
- Capacitors – 100% Solid State
- Ethernet – 2x Intel® 2.5 Gigabit NIC
- Audio – Realtek ALC1220 7.1 Channel HD Audio + SV3H615
- Display Outputs – DP 1.4, HDMI 2.0
- Fan Headers – 8 (2x 3A Pump 2x CPU PWM, 4x PWM/DC)
- PCB – 10 Layers
- PCI-E Slot Arrangement – 2x16, 1x4
- NVMe Support – Yes (PCIe Gen4, PCIe Gen3, and PCIe + SATA)
- E-ATX Form Factor
- Length: 12in - 304.8mm
- Width: 10.89in - 276.6mm
- 150% Increased Socket Gold Content
- 2-Way SLI Support + PhysX
- Built for EVGA ELEET X1
- Dual EVGA Probe-It Connectors
- EVGA ELEET X1 Software Support
- EVGA's Latest GUI BIOS Featuring OC Robot and In-BIOS Stress Testing
- HDMI 2.0b, and DisplayPort 1.4
- Highly-Efficient 21 Phase Digital VRM
- Intel Optane Memory Ready
- New Integrated EVGA Wireless Module with Intel Dual-band WiFi 6 / BT5.2 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
- PCI Express Gen 4
- PCIe Disable Switches
- Realtek 7.1 Channel HD Audio + EVGA NU Audio
- Reinforced PCIe slots
- SafeBoot button resets the motherboard and goes 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
- Supports Intel Socket 1200 Processors
- 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 only what really matters.