The Intel Z690 Motherboard Overview (DDR4): Over 30+ New Modelsby Gavin Bonshor on November 24, 2021 2:00 PM EST
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.
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ikjadoon - Wednesday, November 24, 2021 - linkGigabyte has done a better job this time around with mini-ITX DDR4. $290 for a very well-rounded board—shame HiCookie lied so blatantly in all their 8 GHz marketing.
ASRock mini-ITX: people still use type-A ports. 5x ports only?!
Windows 11, DDR5 availability & perf-price, and hybrid quirks make ADL a much better 2022 purchase for me. DDR4 price-perf + availability are nice, but not enough to overcome Panos’ major missteps on his first (and hopefully last) Windows launch.
DigitalFreak - Wednesday, November 24, 2021 - linkWhy does anyone pay attention to these "extreme overclockers"? He hit (or didn't in this case) 8Ghz. Big deal. You can't actually do anything with the CPU at that speed aside from run an e-peen benchmark.
ikjadoon - Wednesday, November 24, 2021 - linkNobody paid attention until.... Gigabyte plastered his faked validations all over their Z690 marketing material. Nobody cares what any "overclocker" does these days and that's why they got jobs with motherboard vendors: the only people that can still sell a motherboard for $$$ with exaggerated hardware.
0ldman79 - Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - link5 ports is a bad idea but type-A?
Yeah, like 99% of USB accessories use type-A. That is still the *primary* interface for USB devices.
StormyParis - Wednesday, November 24, 2021 - linkThat last page is very useful, thank you. Wish I had a table to sum up the info ;-p
FordGT550 - Wednesday, November 24, 2021 - linkI can't find the Z690 Aorus Pro DDR4 in stock anywhere.
bug77 - Friday, November 26, 2021 - linkI don't think it's available yet. Notice there's no price listed for it either (yeah, I've got my eyes on the same board).
HLuna52180 - Friday, November 26, 2021 - linkAgreed! This is the model mobo that I want. It best fits my needs yet it's currently only available in Australia. Hope they make it into the states. I have all the other parts on order or with me already to make my Alder Lake build. Frustrating!
MatarM0 - Saturday, November 27, 2021 - linki see it in stock but it seems like it cant run any memory with 1.42v or higher depending on what newegg reviewer said and some others in the internet so hopefully they can fix it and it will be a good deal
meacupla - Wednesday, November 24, 2021 - linkI can understand mobo makers not wanting to allocate too many resources into the dead end DDR4 platform, but these lineups seem excessively weak to me.
Like, really? there's not a single Z690 DDR4 mobo with thunderbolt?
And then with Z690 DDR5 mobos, there's way too much overlap in features and functionalities.