MSI Pro Z690-A WIFI & Z690-A (DDR4)

The MSI Pro series of motherboards represent a more modest pathway to the Z690 chipset, with a lower entry-level price, more modest features when compared to the MPG series, but on a similar level to its MAG gaming-focused series. Both the MSI Pro Z690-A WIFI DDR4 and the Pro Z690-A DDR4 share the same aesthetic and core feature set, which includes a primarily black color theme with a professional-looking silver strip going along the rear panel cover. As the Pro series is aimed at professional users and functionality over style, MSI hasn't included integrated RGB LED lighting. The only difference between both models is the WIFI model includes a networking CNVi, while the standard Z690-A does not. 

Looking at PCIe support, both models include one full-length PCIe 5.0 x16 slot, two full-length PCIe 3.0 slots but MSI hasn't shared the configuration, and a smaller PCIe 3.0 x1 slot. Storage options include three PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots, with one PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot and six SATA ports, which support RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays. In the top right-hand corner of the board are four memory slots that are capable of supporting up to DDR5-6400, with a maximum combined capacity of 128 GB.

Most of the input and output on the Pro Z690-A WIFI DDR4 and Pro Z690-A DDR4 is the same including one Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE controller, and the WIFI model does include an Intel AX210 Wi-Fi 6E CNVi. The rest includes one USB 3.2 G2x2 Type-C, one USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A, and four USB 2.0 ports. For integrated graphics, there's one HDMI 2.1 and one DisplayPort 1.4 video output pairing, while an unspecified HD audio codec controls six 3.5 mm audio jacks. Finishing off the rear panel is a PS/2 combo port for legacy peripherals and a small BIOS Flashback button.

MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk WIFI (DDR4) MSI Pro Z690-P (DDR4)
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  • meacupla - Wednesday, November 24, 2021 - link

    Those boards are probably still stuck in the Pacific.
  • Mat-mat - Thursday, November 25, 2021 - link

    Why not include the Z690 TORPEDO, Z690 ACE, Z690 FORCE, Z690 Taichi, Z690 AORUS XTREME and Z690M DS3H DDR4 (not yet released).

    By the way, love the fact that the Phantom Gaming 4 boards look no-nonsense in style, while it has DrMOS MOSFETs for VRM power delivery.
  • PlasticMouse - Thursday, November 25, 2021 - link

    Small typo: Previously with 11th gen (Rocket Lake), Intel upheaved it from a PCIe 3.0 x4 uplink on Z490 to a PCIe 3.0 x4 (x8?) uplink on Z590. With Z690, the uplink is now fully-fledged PCIe 4.0 x8 lanes to interconnect things.
  • GarBaGe - Thursday, November 25, 2021 - link

    "Intel upheaved it from a PCIe 3.0 x4 uplink on Z490 to a PCIe 3.0 x4 uplink on Z590. With Z690, the uplink is now fully-fledged PCIe 4.0 x8 lanes to interconnect things."

    This is wrong. Probably just a typo, since the author uses a phrasing which suggests it is a typo.
    Z490 has 4 links PCIe 3 from CPU to chipset.
    Z590 has 8 links (not 4) PCIe 3 from CPU to chipset
    Z690 has 8 links PCIe 4 from CPU to chipset.

    My question to Intel: If Z690 is supposed to be your first PCIe 5 platform, why not use PCIe 5 from CPU to chipset instead of PCIe 4?
  • DazFG - Thursday, November 25, 2021 - link

    what listing motherboards with diagnostic panels for overclockers, or how many power phases.
  • - Thursday, November 25, 2021 - link

    This has been irritating me a bit for a while: "Over 30+ new models"

    That's redundant. It's like saying "More than more than 30 new models". Pick one or the other. Please?
  • T2daroy - Thursday, November 25, 2021 - link

    I'm considering the MSI MPG Z690 Edge WIFI DDR4. What are your thoughts on this?
  • quantumshadow44 - Thursday, November 25, 2021 - link

    }}}While Intel states that it includes an integrated 2.5 GbE MAC/PHY, this is a little nonsensical, as wired ethernet still requires a MAC/PHY as an attached PCIe controller. This means regardless of whether a vendor is using a Gigabit, 2.5 GbE, or even 10 GbE, it connects the exact same way to the PCIe interface.

    Can someone explain to me why is it "nonsensical"? Thanks.
  • GreenReaper - Saturday, November 27, 2021 - link

    I think the assertion is that the chipset doesn't contain anything to enable this. It's like "you could buy [a motherboard with] a PCIe-based 2.5Gbps Ethernet solution, and it could be from Intel, so we'll list it as a feature".

    Conversely, for 1Gbps, the Z690 spec sheet lists: "Intel® Integrated 10/100/1000 MAC: Support for the Intel® Ethernet Connection I219-V" -

    If you read the datasheet for that it suggests that the I219-V basically turns one of the PCIe links to the PCH ("chipset") into a half-speed Gen1 2.5Gbps connection - but it's not actually the PCIe protocol, it sends Ethernet packets from the I219-V PHY to be handled by the PCH. It also works in SMBus mode at 10Mbps to provide functionality when the machine is a lower-power state.

    There is a lot of wake-up functionality which means it has to be able to detect bit patterns, direct-addressed IPv4/6 wakeups, etc, but it relies on chipset features to otherwise process packets.
  • ScottSoapbox - Saturday, November 27, 2021 - link

    "Intel upheaved it from a PCIe 3.0 x4 uplink on Z490 to a PCIe 3.0 x4 uplink on Z590."

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