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  • EVGA Z790 Dark Kingpin Edition Motherboard Review
  • EVGA Z790 Dark Kingpin Edition Motherboard Review


    Board Layout and Features

    The EVGA Z790 Dark is an extended ATX motherboard featuring a matte black PCB with a few copper and gold accents scattered around the board.  The coloring was extremely bold on previous editions and I’m glad they dialed it back a bit.  

    The third and, most important is the position of the memory sockets and main power connections.  They are basically rotated 90 degrees from their normal location to not only gives this motherboard a very unique look but also solves some very unique challenges that we will cover later in this review.

    Turning the motherboard over we are welcomed by a brushed and black anodized aluminum backplate that is actually quite thick and extremely sturdy.  The area around the CPU socket features a large hole for installing heatsinks along with an indentation that is likely for additional support and decoration.  I honestly do not know what the pattern is supposed to resemble, and at this point I am afraid to ask.

    Towards the bottom of the motherboard, you’ll find the Z790 logo silkscreened directly to the backplate along with a large cutout to expose the large “DARK” graphic that has been screened on the PCB.  It is details like these that express the effort that EVGA has put into designing this motherboard and project quality in the marketplace.

    This feature was found on the Z690 Dark and I am glad they kept it around.

    The EVGA Z790 Dark features the same rotated socket design that was established with the Z390 which places the memory modules across the top of the motherboard while pushing the VRM towards the I/O section and exposing the Main 24-Pin and two CPU 8-pin power connectors along the same edge.   

    EVGA claims the Z790 Dark to have a 21 phase VRM however, I count 20 chokes around the CPU socket.  Despite the mismatched count this number is really impressive and likely more than anyone will ever need for this platform unless you start pushing the limits with extreme cooling.

    Rotating the CPU socket affords a number of benefits in a modern enthusiast build.  Incoming air can pass unobstructed over the CPU and VRM heatsinks.  It also places all of the CPU and motherboard power connectors to the same location.  Per the EVGA standard these are rotated 90 degrees with the intention of cleaning up cable management and airflow.

    Of the many motherboards I have tested this design is by far the best when it comes to how the cable look on the test bench and inside a chassis.  However, when it comes to running those cables you will be in for a surprise as most cases will not accommodate where the wires need got and what should be a simple 90 degree turn becomes a 270 degree radius.

    A nice addition to the Z790 Dark VRM cooler is two small cooling fans under the I/O cover to help ensure that the VRM cooler is getting some airflow, especially when this motherboard is operated on an open test bench.