MSI MAG Z790 Tomahawk (DDR4) review

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The platform

Z790 Chipset

If you went with 12th-gen Alder Lake this year, you could upgrade to Raptor Lake. Intel is utilising the same LGA1700 socket as before, most Z690 motherboards will handle 13th-generation CPUs. Along with the release date, Intel is introducing Z790 motherboards. You may utilise DDR4 or DDR5 memory regardless of the chipset as long as your motherboard supports the memory standard you want to use. Although several Z690 motherboards have already included 13th-generation CPU capability, most B- and H-series boards have not. You should check with your motherboard vendor to ensure that the next generation is supported.

Chipset PCIe Express 3.0 Lanes Up to 8
Chipset PCIe Express4.0 Lanes Up to 20
Processor PCIe Lane Configuration Support 1x16+1x4 or 2x8+1x4
DMI x8 Gen4
SATA 3.0 (6 Gb/s) Ports Up to 8
USB 3.2 Gen 1x1 (5G) Ports 10
USB 3.2 Gen 2x1 (10G) Ports 10
USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (20G) Ports6 5

The Z790 chipset offers additional PCIe Gen 4 downstream lanes. In addition to improved downstream connectivity, you gain an extra 20 Gbps USB 3.2x2 port. Z690 provided up to 12 downstream PCIe Gen 4 lanes, and up to 16 downstream PCIe Gen 3 lanes, the Z790 provides up to 20 downstream PCIe Gen 4 lanes and up to 8 downstream PCIe Gen 3 lanes. Both chipsets employ DMI 4.0 x8 as the chipset bus (the connection between the processor and the chipset), with bandwidth comparable to PCI-Express 4.0 x8 (128 Gbps per direction). Z790 permits motherboard manufacturers to wire up to five M.2 NVMe Gen 4 slots to the chipset or deploy a greater number of high-bandwidth onboard devices than with Z690; devices such as discrete USB4 host controllers, Thunderbolt 4 80 Gbps controllers, etc., in addition to a few PCIe Gen 4 slots.  On October 20, Intel will unveil the first six Raptor Lake processors. For instance, the Core i9-13900K is priced at $589, while the Core i7-13700K is marketed at $409. These are the same costs Intel charged for its Alder Lake equivalents. Only the Core i5-13600K has increased in price. The suggested retail price for this CPU is $319, compared to $289 for the Core i5-12600K at launch.

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