The Intel Z690 Motherboard Overview (DDR5): Over 50+ New Modelsby Gavin Bonshor on November 9, 2021 9:00 AM EST
MSI MEG Z690 Unify (DDR5) & Z690 Unify X (DDR5)
Sitting below the Godlike and Ace models in MSI's product stack is a pair of Unify branded models. Both the MSI MEG Z690 Unify and Z690 Unify X are a part of the MEG (MSI Enthusiast Gaming) series, with the same core feature set, but with two distinct differences. Aesthetically, both models share the exact same all-black aesthetic we've come to love from the Unify series. This approach was initially marketed as an alternative to RGB clad models, but it has become a solid series for enthusiasts with premium features, good power delivery specifications, and of course, pricing.
The MEG Z690 Unify features four memory slots with support for up to 128 GB of DDR5-6666 and is more suitable for gaming, while the MEG Z690 Unify X is aimed at extreme overclockers and enthusiasts with just two memory slots capable of supporting up to 64 GB of DDR5-6800.
Aside from the obvious differences in memory compatibility and support, both the MEG Z690 Unify and Unify X includes two full-length PCIe 5.0 slots operating at x16 and x8/x8, with a half-length PCIe 3.0 x4 slot. MSI is advertising a large 21-phase power delivery for both models, with both models sharing the same all-black and non-RGB enabled aesthetic, which is sure to please users looking for a more subtle look. Storage options are impressive across both models with four PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots, one PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot, and six SATA ports with support for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays.
Both the MSI MEG Z690 Unify and Z690 Unify X are using the same controller set, and as a consequence, the rear panels are exactly the same. On the rear panel of both boards include one USB 3.2 G2x2 Type-C, seven USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, and two USB 2.0 ports. Networking support is strong, with two Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE controllers, and an Intel AX210 Wi-Fi 6E CNVi offering both wireless and BT 5.2 support. MSI hasn't specified the audio controllers, but there are five 3.5 mm audio jacks and a S/PDIF optical output powered by a Realtek ALC4080 HD audio codec. FInishing off the rear panel is a PS/2 combo port, a BIOS flashback button, and a clear CMOS button.