I have been rather fortunate in my time operating Hardware Asylum (and Ninjalane) to have handled some really great motherboards. I will admit that some boards were pretty basic while others stood alone as a pinnacle of design. As many of you know, motherboards are the basis for any computer build and often dictate what you can (or cannot) do with your system. For instance, a board with lots of expansion slots has the potential for supporting more expansion cards and give the user more options to do stuff. Boards with a powerful and efficient VRM designs can offer more control over CPU operation and overclocking while the physical size of the motherboard can often determine how large, or small, your final build can be.
In this review we will be looking at the EVGA Z690 Dark. This motherboard supports LGA1700 Alder Lake processors, DDR5 system memory and has been built to support modern overclocking and performance system configurations from Multi GPU gaming and computational builds to overclocking rigs which can provide you with the tools to push your hardware to the limit using extreme cooling methods such as Liquid Nitrogen.
Of course, we cannot expect that everyone will be using this motherboard for its intended purpose and much like owning an exotic supercar there is some joy in knowing that you have purchased the best with the option to turn things up or, simply enjoy what you have and, expect a little more from your purchase.
- Chipset – Intel Z690
- SLI – 2-Way SLI
- SATA – 6 Native SATA 6 Gb/s Ports, 2 from ASMedia ASM1061
- RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
- USB – USB 2.0 (2 Internal Headers + SPI to USB Type-A)
- Memory Support – 2 DIMM Dual-Channel (up to 64GB) DDR5 6600MHz+
- Capacitors – 100% Solid State
- Ethernet – 2x Intel® 2.5 Gigabit NIC
- Audio – Realtek ALC1220 7.1 Channel HD Audio + SV3H615
- 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)
- 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
- EVGA ELEET X1 Software Support
- EVGA Probe-It Connector
- EVGA's Latest GUI BIOS Featuring OC Robot and In-BIOS Stress Testing
- Highly-Efficient 21 Phase Digital VRM
- Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
- New Integrated EVGA Wireless Module with Intel Dual-band WiFi 6E / 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 5
- 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 1700 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.