As a computer hardware enthusiast, I get really excited when new hardware launches as it is fun to dive into what makes the new components different from the previous generation and, the past two years have been a flurry of change. In April of 2020 we welcomed the launch of Comet Lake and the Z490 chipset. This was a pretty big launch as it marked the end of the HEDT processor along with an increase of processor cores for the smaller mainstream package. Then, about a year later we get the launch of Rocket Lake. While most enthusiasts discredited this processor it brought PCI Express 4.0 to the Intel platform and dropped a few cores from the Core i9. Overall it was pretty much a clone of Comet Lake.
Not more than 6 months after the launch of Rocket Lake we are presented with what might be one of the most impressive processors I have ever seen. Of course, with a new processor we naturally are presented with a new chipset along with a complete refresh of motherboards to compliment every segment of the market.
In this review we will be looking at the ASUS STRIX Z690-E Gaming WiFi from Republic of Gamers. As the name suggests this motherboard is built on the new Z690 chipset supporting a new generation of 12th edition processors from Intel, code named Alder Lake. The new processor features a larger socket design, new heatsink mounting position, new memory support and comes with PCI Express 5.0.
All of those things translate into massive jumps in theoretical performance. Some of these cannot be properly tested until supporting hardware is released whle others are dressed to impresss and will smack down the rest.
- Intel Z690 LGA 1700 ATX motherboard with PCIe 5.0, 18+1 power stages, DDR5, Two-Way AI Noise Cancelation, WiFi 6E, Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet, five M.2 slots with heatsinks (including two on the bundled ROG Hyper M.2 card), PCIe 5.0 NVMe SSD support, M.2 Combo-Sink, M.2 backplate, PCIe Slot Q-Release, USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C, SATA and Aura Sync RGB lighting
- Ready for 12th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold and Celeron processors
- Optimal Power Solution: 18+1 power stages with 8+8 ProCool II power connectors, high-quality alloy chokes and durable capacitors to support multi-core processors
- Optimized Thermal Design: Integrated I/O cover and VRM heatsinks with high conductivity thermal pad, L-shaped heatpipe, an M.2 Combo-sink for PCIe 5.0 M.2 slot and M.2 heatsinks for two M.2 slots
- High-performance Networking: On-board Intel WiFi 6E (802.11ax) and Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet with ASUS LANGuard
- Best Gaming Connectivity: Supports HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4 output, five M.2 slots (including two on the bundled ROG Hyper M.2 card) plus USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C
- Intelligent Control: ASUS-exclusive AI Overclocking, AI Cooling, AI Networking and Two-Way AI Noise Cancelation to simplify setup and improve performance
- DIY Friendly Design: PCIe Slot Q-Release, M.2 Q-Latch, pre-mounted I/O shield, BIOS FlashBack button, and Clr CMOS button
- Unmatched Personalization: ASUS-exclusive Aura Sync RGB lighting, including a RGB header and three addressable Gen 2 headers
- Industry-leading Gaming Audio: ALC4080 with Savitech SV3H712 amplifier, along with DTS Sound Unbound and Sonic Studio III
- Renowned Software: Bundled AIDA64 Extreme 60 days free trial version and intuitive UEFI BIOS dashboard with integrated MemTest86