The MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI (DDR5) Motherboard Evaluate: A First rate Mid-Ranged Z690

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As we close to the tip of Intel’s twelfth Gen (Alder Lake) life cycle, its thirteenth Gen Core sequence is predicted to be due by the tip of the yr; we’re a premium mannequin from the Z690 chipset. As we already know, Intel’s Z690 chipset (LGA 1700) will provide help for the upcoming thirteenth Gen Core sequence, so it does provide a viable improve path for customers seeking to construct a twelfth Gen Core sequence system right now and doubtlessly improve at a later date.

Immediately’s mannequin on the take a look at bench is the MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI with a strong function set that features 2.5 GbE and Wi-Fi 6E networking, two full-length PCIe 5.0 succesful slots, 4 PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots, in addition to a big 19-phase energy supply. The MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI is positioned within the mid-range phase of the market, however on the $350-400 value level, MSI does have some stiff competitors. It is time to see how the Z690 Carbon WIFI stacks up and if its gaming-focused mannequin under its enthusiast-level MEG sequence can ship the products.

MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI Overview

MSI has a couple of key ranges that concentrate on customers seeking to construct differing kinds and ranges of programs to distinguish its numerous ranges of motherboards. Its Professional sequence targets professionals and SMBs, and its MPG (Efficiency Gaming) vary is aimed toward avid gamers seeking to maximize body charges and efficiency. It has motherboards for all completely different situations, together with its MEG (Fanatic Gaming) vary reserved for its flagship and high-spec fashions and the MAG (Arsenal Gaming) sequence providing aggressive controller units and options at decrease entry value factors.

The flagship fashions, such because the MEG Z690 Godlike, provide virtually every part any consumer may need on a desktop platform. In fact, any of MSI’s Z690 fashions may very well be used for numerous and mixed workloads, together with rendering, picture manipulation, and gaming. Nonetheless, every sequence focuses on completely different value factors and ranging ranges of controller help.

Looking on the MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI, it’s primarily based round a carbon fiber aesthetic, with black heatsinks masking an all-black PCB. MSI features a customizable RGB Dragon emblem on the rear panel cowl, with an RGB Carbon emblem that can also be customizable on the chipset heatsink. Throughout the center part of the board is one other customizable RGB LED zone, with the M.2 heatsinks and chipset heatsink additionally encompassing a futuristic and neat gray and black patterning. MSI does provide customers additional customization avenues by way of one 4-pin and three 3-pin RGB LED connectors.

The board’s PCIe and storage slots are on the underside half of the MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI. Sandwiched between swathes of covers and heatsinks are a pair of full-length PCIe 5.0 slots that may function at x16/x0 or x8/x8, with a 3rd full-length slot electronically locked all the way down to PCIe 3.0 x4. Relating to storage, MSI features a whole of 5 M.2 slots, three of which permit help for PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 drives, one with PCIe 4.0 x4 and SATA help, and a fifth with help for PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA. For standard storage or gadgets comparable to optical drives, MSI consists of six SATA ports in whole, 4 of that are powered by the chipset and help RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays, and two by way of an ASMedia ASM1061 SATA controller.

Situated within the prime right-hand nook are 4 reminiscence slots with help for as much as DDR5-6666 (1DPC 1R), though customers opting to populate all 4 slots can set up as much as DDR5-5600. When it comes to capability, customers can set up as much as 128 GB throughout all 4 slots, though customers can profit from sooner reminiscence (as much as DDR5-6000) when utilizing 1DPC 2R reminiscence (two sticks in dual-channel).

Specializing in the ability supply, MSI is utilizing a direct 18+1+1 section design with eighteen Renesas 220075R0 75 An influence phases for the CPU VCore, and one Renesas 220075R0 75 energy stage for the iGPU. Controlling the ability supply is a Renesas RAA229131 20-phase PWM controller with the ability supply working at 18+1. It represents a simple one-phase-per-channel design with out teaming, pairing, or doublers. Powering the board’s CPU VCAUX voltage is a single Monolithic Energy Programs M2940A PWM controller that drives one MP87992 70 An influence stage, making the design an 18+1 (CPU VCore/iGPU) and 1+0 (VCCAUX), which by all accounts is a premium energy supply able to overclocking Intel’s unlocked twelfth Gen Core even additional.

The MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI has a good onboard audio answer that makes use of a Realtek ALC4080 HD audio codec. The HD audio codec itself would not have any EMI shielding, however it’s barely coated by an prolonged twin M.2 heatsink between the underside two full-length PCIe slots. Seven Japanese Gold Nichicon audio capacitors complement this, and MSI features a line of PCB separation from the remainder of the board’s controllers and componentry.

On the rear panel, MSI consists of a big number of enter and output consisting of 1 USB 3.2 G2x2 Sort-C, 5 USB 3.2 G2 Sort-A, and 4 USB 2.0 ports. Additionally current is a pair of video outputs, together with one HDMI 2.1 and one DisplayPort 1.4 output, in addition to a good networking array with a single Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE controller and an Intel AX211 Wi-Fi 6E CNVi. MSI additionally has a aggressive onboard audio answer with 5 3.5 mm audio jacks and single S/PDIF optical output powered by a Realtek ALC4080 HD audio codec.

Ending off the rear panel is a small BIOS Flashback button with the related USB port highlighted by a white rectangular ring. Customers on the lookout for the CMOS battery can discover it sitting behind the audio enter/output array, with the jumper pings situated on the underside row of the board’s header choice.

Included with the board inside the retail packaging is a modest but ample number of equipment to get customers going proper out of the field. This consists of two black SATA cables, three RGB LED extension cables, a nifty cleansing brush, a case badge, a pair of screwdrivers, EZ set up M.2 clips, a USB flash drive with the board’s software program and drivers, consumer manuals, and an Intel AX211 Wi-Fi 6E antenna.

The MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI has an MSRP of $400, however it may be bought (on the time of writing) at Amazon for $350 or at Newegg for the marginally larger value of $369. When it comes to competitors, a number of boards within the $350 to 400 value vary additionally provide sturdy competitors. These embody fashions such because the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-F Gaming WIFI at $368, in addition to GIGABYTE’s common Z690 Aorus Master, which we’ve previously reviewed and advantages from 10 GbE networking, and it’s at present on sale at Newegg for $320 (on the time of writing).


Given the degrees of strong competitors on the value level with all of the distributors seeking to provide customers the perfect worth for his or her cash, in case you can take into account a $350 to 400 worth, then MSI has a lot to do. The MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI does have a lot going for it, together with Wi-Fi 6E, 5 M.2 slots, and a strong 19-phase energy supply. Nonetheless, the proof is all the time within the pudding (efficiency), and it is time to see the way it stacks up in opposition to different Z690 fashions we have examined, together with GIGABYTE’s very attractive-looking Z690 Aorus Master.

Learn on for our prolonged evaluation.

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