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MSI MAG Z690 Torpedo EK X 
EK launching a Torpedo in water

MSI and EK teamed up in an effort to bring something really nice to the audience. Meet the EK-Mana MSI MAG Z690 TORPEDO EK X D-RGB a Z690 motherboard at around 399 USD this motherboard with a monoblock and a motherboard loaded with premium features. The board houses four M.2 slots and there is a plethora of speedy USB ports on the board and the most luxurious Realtek ALC4080 audio codec. MSI also offers a great VRM design. As stated this motherboard has been prepped for liquid cooling and included is a Copper (nickel-plated) monoblock which is a block design to cool down the MOSFETs and CPU. Thuis processor and VRM area.  You can easily add it into your own liquid cooling loop with G1/4" fittings.

Alder Lake and Z690

Z690 is the enthusiast chipset from Intel, and this motherboard is powered by it. It also marks the dawn of a new era; Intel's Alder lake processors are a wholly new and faster architecture. We have written a lot about it. The new processors will have energy and performance cores to balance power consumption in idle and load conditions. With the Alder lake platform, new features are brought to the table. DDR5 and PCIe Express 5.0 are among the first-ever for intel products.

BIG versus little 

As an alternative to Intel's previous releases, which focused solely on single-core and gaming performance, Alder Lake puts the company fully back in the multi-core ring, led by its squad of sixteen-core goliaths built on Intel's transistor-dense 10-nanometer manufacturing process. But this time, Intel delivers its own interpretation of the term BIG.little. We'll talk a little more about it on the following pages.    




MSI MAG Z690 Torpedo EK X 

The basis motherboard for the EK-Mana MSI MAG Z690 TORPEDO EK X D-RGB is a scaled-down version of the MAG Z690 Tomahawk WIFI, but with a more cheap feature set and a futuristic bluey-grey design. The VRM heatsinks have been replaced with a flattened version where the mono block can rest. Chilling down theta VRM zone intensely. The board itself features a metallic grey and blue set of heatsinks, alternating black and blue memory slots, and an all-black PCB. MSI is marketing an 18-phase power delivery system that operates at a 16+1+1 ratio. MSI specifies one full-length PCIe 5.0 x16 slot, two full-length PCIe 3.0 slots operating at x4/x1, and one smaller PCIe 3.0 x1 slot in the MAG Z690 Torpedo's specifications. In terms of storage, there are four M.2 slots, three of which are PCIe 4.0 x4 and one of which is PCIe 3.0 x4. Additionally, six SATA connections with support for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays are available. The upper right-hand corner houses four DDR5-6400 memory slots with a total capacity of 128 GB. One USB 3.2 G2x2 Type-C port, three USB 3.2 G2 Type-A ports, two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports, and two USB 2.0 ports are located on the rear panel. One of the USB 2.0 connections enables BIOS Flashback via a tiny button. 



MSI uses the ALC4080 codec, which is known for its proper sound, the audio codec powers the five 3.5 mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output. LAN is hosted by an Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE controller. The rear panel is completed with a pair of video outputs, one DisplayPort 1.4 and one HDMI 2.1. The MSI MAG Z690 Torpedo EK X aka MSI MAG Z690 TORPEDO EK X D-RGB addition is virtually identical to the Torpedo, but it includes a bespoke EKWB monoblock. In this review, we'll perform a full motherboard test and of course, have a look at what that water block brings to the table in terms of aesthetics and cooling.

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