The Intel Z690 Motherboard Overview (DDR5): Over 50+ New Modelsby Gavin Bonshor on November 9, 2021 9:00 AM EST
ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Formula (DDR5)
Another mainstay of ASUS's ROG Maximus series returns for Z690, the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Formula. Fabled for its use of water-cooled VRMs, the latest Formula which ASUS actually skipped for Z590, is back for Z690 with a new aesthetic, including a new silver theme which is reminiscent of its Extreme Glacial models. The silver armor and heatsinks cover the majority of the PCB, with a custom milled EKWB heatsink cooling the power delivery, and allowing users to either passively cool them or hook them up to a custom water cooling kit for better VRM thermal performance. ASUS includes a fancy RGB-enabled ROG logo on the rear panel cover, with a similar design implemented into the chipset heatsink. ASUS is also advertising a large 20+1 teamed power delivery with premium 105 A smart power stages.
Dominating the lower portion of the board is plenty of PCIe and M.2 slots, including two full-length PCIe 5.0 slots operating at either x16 or x8/x8, with a third full-length PCIe 3.0 slot electronically locked down to x4. Touching more on M.2 support, the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Formula can accommodate up to five M.2 drives, including four with PCIe 5.0/4.0 x4 support, one with support for PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 drives, and a total of six SATA ports with support for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays. In the top right-hand corner are four memory slots with support for up to DDR5-6400, with a total capacity of 128 GB.
On the rear panel, ASUS includes two Thunderbolt 4 Type-C, one USB 3.2 G2 Type-C, six USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, and three USB 2.0 ports. There's a single HDMI video output for users looking to utilize the latest Intel integrated graphics, while five 3.5 mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output are controlled by a SupremeFX ALC4082 HD audio codec and ESS Sabre 9018Q2C amplifier pairing. Networking is very premium as expected, with one Marvel AQtion 10 GbE controller and an Intel-based Wi-Fi 6E CNVi offering both wireless and BT 5.2 device support. Lastly on the rear panel is a BIOS Flashback button and a clear CMOS button.