MSI Z690 EDGE WIFI (DDR5) review

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MSI MPG Z690 Edge Wifi DDR5

In this review, we'll take a look at the excellent MSI MPG Z690 Edge Wi-Fi DDR5 motherboard. Yes, you read this correctly as we did recently also review the DDR4 model: a Z690 platform with the most up-to-date memory interface is being introduced. To address the need for a new platform, this model preserves DDR5 memory capability. The rest really, is all the same.

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 MPG Z690 Edge Wifi DDR5

The looks are fantastic, the features pretty grand. There is a pre-installed I/O shield on the MSI MPG Z690 Edge Wifi DDR5 motherboard, as well as a black chassis with heatsinks to display its internals in black. VRM on this one includes 16 actual phases (15+1), a PWM-Controller RAA229131, and MOSFETs CPU are 15x 75A RAA220075 and for the SoC 1x 75A RAA220075. There are four M.2 slots on the board, and each one has a heatsink attached to it. Furthermore, they are all capable of running at PCIe 4.0 speeds. Sixteen PCIe 5.0 lanes can be supported by the first x16 slot, whereas only four PCIe 3.0 lanes can be supported by the other x16 slots. The number of USB ports remains at eight, but the speed has increased dramatically; five of them run at 10Gbit/s, and one even at 20Gbit/s. At 10Gbit/s, the internal USB-C header continues to operate. For the sake of keeping six SATA ports available, MSI has added an ASMedia ASM1061 controller. Optical audio output and two antenna connectors to an Intel AX201 card supporting Wi-Fi 6 have been added as well, as have other refinements. The ALC4080 codec used by MSI is noted for its excellent sound quality. Other than a few minor hiccups, it's hard to find anything wrong with this board for the $325 it costs. 


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