The Intel Z690 Motherboard Overview (DDR5): Over 50+ New Modelsby Gavin Bonshor on November 9, 2021 9:00 AM EST
MSI MEG Z690 Ace (DDR5)
As it stands at the time of writing, the MSI MEG Z690 Ace is the brand's premier flagship model, until the Godlike hits the shelves, which is likely to be after Alder Lake's launch. Rolling back to the Ace, and it's jam-packed full of premium features as we've come to expect over the years including the previous MSI MEG Z590 Ace. Looking at the aesthetic, MSI has gone with a black and gold theme without the need for integrated RGB LED lighting. It's actually a really classy look despite the gold not being as widely native to other hardware components, so hardware matching could be an issue, nevertheless, it's a stunning board.
Looking like a gladiator covered in gold and black armor, the MSI MEG Z690 Ace has two full-length PCIe 5.0 slots that can operate at either x16 or x8/x8, with a full-length PCIe 4.0 slot for good measure. Storage options are also premium, with support for four PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 drives, with one PCIe 3.0 x4 slot bringing the total of M.2 slots to five. MSI also includes six SATA ports with support for Intel RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays. Located in the top-right hand corner are four memory slots, with support for up to DDR5-6666, with a combined capacity of up to 128 GB.
On the rear panel of the MSI MEG Z690 Ace is a premium selection of input and output, which is spearheaded by dual Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports, with two Mini-DisplayPort inputs. Also featured are a USB 3.2 G2 Type-C and seven USB 3.2 G2 Type-A ports. The Ace also includes dual Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE controllers, as well as Intel's latest AX211 Wi-Fi 6E CNVi, which adds wireless and BT 5.2 connectivity. There are five 3.5 mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output powered by a Realtek ALC4082 HD audio codec and ESS Sabre 9018Q2C amp, as well as a BIOS Flashback button and Clear CMOS button.