The Intel Z690 Motherboard Overview (DDR5): Over 50+ New Modelsby Gavin Bonshor on November 9, 2021 9:00 AM EST
EVGA Z690 DARK K|NGP|N Edition (DDR5)
Usually unveiled later on in Intel's chipset product cycles, EVGA has announced that it will be bringing two Z690 models to market sometime in the near future. The first of these is the EVGA Z690 Dark K|NGP|N edition, which is primarily geared towards extreme overclocking, just as previous versions have been. Unlike the Z590 Dark we reviewed, the Z690 model has been endorsed by legendary overclocker and in-house technician Vince Lucido.
Designed around the premium Intel Z690 chipset, the EVGA Z690 Dark K|NGP|N Edition isn't a conventional motherboard by any stretch of the imagination. It is based on the E-ATX form factor and has some interesting design characteristics including a transposed LGA1700 socket that allows extreme overclockers to mount LN2 pots with ease.
This also includes right-angled connectors including two 8-pin 12V ATX CPU power inputs, a 24-pin 12V ATX motherboard power input which intrudes into the PCB with a handy cutout designed to make cable management easier. To make the board more robust, EVGA includes a large black metal backplate on the rear of the board to reinforce the PCB, and it also includes an impressive accessories pack that features an EVGA flat test bench plate that we saw in our previous review of the EVGA Z590 Dark motherboard.
Looking at the feature set, the Z690 Dark K|NGP|N Edition includes two full-length PCIe 5.0 slots that can operate at x16 and x8/x8, with three PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots that sit in between the PCIe slots and underneath a large black finned 'Dark' branded heatsink. For conventional storage and optical drives, there are eight SATA ports, six of which are from the chipset with RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 support, as well as two that come via an ASMedia ASM1061 SATA controller.
Even though the Z690 Dark has a solid feature set for enthusiasts, the real focus by EVGA with this model is on extreme overclocking. This includes a large 21-phase power delivery cooled by an active heatsink with two fans. It also has a 10-layer PCB throughout and contains an overclocker's toolkit in the top right-hand corner that consists of dual two-digit LED debuggers, a power button, a reset button, dip-switches to disable PCIe slots, and a slow mode switch. There's also a probelt header where users can monitor voltages in real-time from various components on the board such as the CPU and power inputs.
In terms of connectivity, there's plenty on the rear panel including one USB 3.2 G2x2 Type-C, four USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, and two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports. For networking, EVGA is using two Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE controllers and includes Intel's latest AX211 Wi-Fi 6E CNVi. Despite a focus on performance, EVGA has also gone with a premium audio solution, including a Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec and an EVGA NU Audio SV3H615 headphone amplifier with five 3.5 mm audio jacks and a single S/PDIF optical output.