ASUS ROG Strix Z690-E Gaming WIFI (DDR5)

Moving onto ASUS's mid-range Z690 options, and we have its gaming-focused Strix series with solid features, which over the last couple of years have been at competitive price points. The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-E Gaming WIFI is no different with an all-around solid feature set, with a similar aesthetic to last year's Z590 version. Looking at the design, ASUS has gone with a very smart brushed aluminum rear panel cover, with a ROG Strix graffiti-styled chipset heatsink. ASUS does include RGB LEDs integrated into the rear panel cover, but this looks like the only place that features it on the board, outside of the inclusive RGB and Addressable headers which can be found on the edge of the PCB.

Looking at PCIe options, ASUS includes one full-length PCIe 5.0 x16, one full-length PCIe 4.0 x4, one full-length PCIe 3.0 x4, and one PCIe 3.0 x1 slot. There are enough storage options for its pedigree including one PCIe 5.0 x4 M.2 slot, two PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots, and six SATA ports with support for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays. The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-E Gaming WIFI also includes four memory slots, which are capable of supporting DDR5-6400, with a maximum capacity of up to 128 GB.

Touching on the rear panel connectivity options, ASUS hasn't provided a full list at the time of writing, but we know it includes. There's one USB 3.2 G2x2 Type-C, with one USB 3.2 G2 Type-C, two USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, four USB 3.2 G1 Type-A, and four USB 2.0 ports, with an HDMI and DisplayPort video output pairing. A total of five 3.5 mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output are powered by a SupremeFX ALC4080 HD audio codec and Savitech SV3H712 amplifier pairing, while networking is handled by an Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE controller and Intel Wi-Fi 6E CNVi.

ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Hero (DDR5) ASUS ROG Strix Z690-F Gaming WIFI (DDR5)
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  • Flying Aardvark - Wednesday, November 10, 2021 - link

    "essentially any board with "Thunderbolt 3" along with USB 3.2 2x2 basically get "USB4" status for free."

    TB3 can run USB 4.0 devices, while USB 3.2 2x2 should be able to, it would be capped at its 20Gbit/sec and run over the backwards compatibility protocol for USB. USB4 ports can be either 20 or 40Gb.

    I wouldn't want just USB 4.0 ports as Apple has, capped at 20Gbps. We'll probably see some of that on the AMD side. The best thing is just to have TB3 or TB4 to be sure you have fullspeed 40Gbps ports.
    Reply
  • KarlKastor - Wednesday, November 10, 2021 - link

    Just optional. If you have Thunderbolt and 10 Gbit USB, you can call it USB 4. See Apple. Reply
  • OFelix - Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - link

    I agree. How come there are so few boards with USB4 or TB4 ?
    And how come the article doesn't mention them at all before it starts listing specific features of individual boards?
    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - link

    The only way to get USB4 on a PC was by using Intel's Thunderbolt 4 chipset (or having it built into Tiger Lake). Since Thunderbolt is kind of a niche thing on desktop PCs, motherboard makers aren't interested int spending the money on Intel's TB4 chip except in high end or specialty boards. I would assume there will be some third-party USB4 chips coming soon. Reply
  • OFelix - Wednesday, November 10, 2021 - link

    Thanks for your reply.

    So USB4 was built in to Tiger Lake but its not built in to Alder Lake / Z690????

    That would explain somethings but not explain why on earth Intel would do that or AnandTech would not think this major regression worth mentioning!!!

    The main reason I want to upgrade from my Sky Lake system (which i purchased to get built in USB3) is to get USB4/TB4.
    Reply
  • KarlKastor - Wednesday, November 10, 2021 - link

    TB is only integrated in the mobile Dies. The Desktop Die has no TB. Reply
  • Alistair - Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - link

    DDR5 is not faster in almost every case, and there are no PCIe 5 devices (unlike when PCIe4 was launched at least you got video cards and storage immediately). Not really an advantage. Prices are too high also. Frankly I like PCIe 3.0 boards when they are under $100 USD. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - link

    It's the same thing that happened during the DDR3 to DDR4 transition. The first DDR4 products weren't really any faster than the best DDR3. Eventually DDR4 speeds got faster and left DDR3 behind. Same thing will happen with DDR4 to DDR5. Reply
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - link

    PCIe 4.0 support was significantly delayed on the desktop but it arrived in servers in 2017 (IBM Power9). AMD was planning on adopting PCIe 4.0 after Intel on the desktop but Intel's train wreck of their 10 nm manufacturing node derailed the chips what were going to add it (Ice Lake on desktop).

    I would expect both PCIe 5.0 graphics and storage by the end of 2022 on the desktop, though their benefits will be marginal outside of a few niches. (Single lane PCIe 5.0 chips for USB4/Thunderbolt 4 and 10 Gbit Ethernet vs. using four PCI 3.0 lanes are cost driven examples.)
    Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, November 10, 2021 - link

    Kevin G - I agree, I think in a year there will be PCIe 5.0 devices, but the performance advantages, much like initial PCIe 4.0 devices (RTX 30xx, NVMe SSD's, etc) won't be there until 2023-2024, by which time this platform will already be replaced or significantly less expensive.

    I don't think Intel is looking to drive a lot of sales with this platform. Not many people are buying $3000 desktop PC's at the moment (and when you consider the platform alone is $500, with a $500 CPU on top of it, $3000 is pretty conservative considering most people buying something like this will want a $1000+ GPU, so that's $2000 for three components.)

    Put in perspective, the last launch like this that had a lot of tech that you couldn't take advantage of right away was probably X58. PCIe 2.0 at a time no PCIe 2.0 products existed, and 36 lanes no less, left a ton of room to expand a platform that was already stacked to the gills with embedded tech. In fact it would be years before applications were fully optimized for the bandwidth offered by triple channel memory, let alone quad channel memory that Intel introduced on later HEDT platforms.

    The difference though is X690 isn't even HEDT.
    Reply

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