MSI released a couple of teasers (opens in new tab) for the brand's upcoming Z690 motherboards for Intel' 12th Generation Alder Lake processors. While the renders of the rear I/O don't tell us a lot, hardware detective momomo_us (opens in new tab) has dug up retailer listings that give us a general idea of the specifications for each motherboard.
3Logic, one of Russia's largest hardware retailer, listed 17 different Z690 motherboards from MSI that span from the MEG, MPG, MAG and Pro series. Logically, these are mmotherboards based on Intel's Z690 flagship chipset and budget models with the B660 and H610 chipsets should arrive in January. There was no sign of the MEG Z690 Godlike, suggesting that the flagship Z690 motherboard will arrive at a later date.
The MEG Z690 Ace, which falls behind the Godlike, features four DDR5 memory lots and up to five M.2 slots. 3Logic didn't specify the number of SATA III ports, but we expect the motherboard to provide at least six of them. Expansion-wise, the MEG Z690 Ace will supply three PCIe x16 expansions slots. According to a recent Alder Lake leak, only the primary PCIe x16 slot reportedly adheres to PCIe 5.0 speeds. You'll also find up to two USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 ports and seven USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports on the MEG Z690 Ace.
Avid overclockers and consumers who detest RGB lighting will be happy to know that the Unify series is back with Z690. As usual, MSI will offer the X and non-X variant almost identical specifications. The Z690 Unify-X should overclock memory better because of the dual-DIMM design. The motherboards' other specifications include five M.2 slots, six SATA III ports, two PCIe x16 expansion slots and one PCIe x1 slot.
MSI Z690 Motherboard Specifications
|Motherboard||Memory Slots||M.2 Slots||SATA III Ports||PCIe x16 Slots||PCIe x1 Slots||USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Ports||USB 3.2 Gen 2 Ports||WiFi||Form Factor|
|MEG Z690 Ace||4 x DDR5||5||?||3||?||2||7||?||ATX|
|MEG Z690 Unify||4 x DDR5||5||6||2||1||2||7||?||ATX|
|MEG Z690 Unify-X||2 x DDR5||5||6||2||1||2||7||?||ATX|
|MEG Z690I Unify||2 x DDR5||3||4||1||0||1||2||?||Mini-ATX|
|MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi||4 x DDR5||5||?||3||0||2||6||Yes||ATX|
|MPG Z690 Edge WiFi||4 x DDR5||4||6||3||0||0||5||Yes||ATX|
|MPG Z690 Edge WiFi DDR4||4 x DDR4||4||6||3||0||0||5||Yes||ATX|
|MPG Z690 Force WiFi||4 x DDR5||5||?||3||1||1||6||Yes||ATX|
|MAG Z690 Tomahawk WiFi||4 x DDR5||4||6||3||1||1||?||Yes||ATX|
|MAG Z690 Tomahawk WiFi DDR4||4 x DDR4||4||6||3||1||1||?||Yes||ATX|
|MAG Z690 Torpedo||4 x DDR4||4||6||3||1||1||3||?||ATX|
|Pro Z690-A||4 x DDR5||4||?||3||1||1||6||No||ATX|
|Pro Z690-A DDR4||4 x DDR4||4||?||3||1||1||6||No||ATX|
|Pro Z690-A WiFi||4 x DDR5||4||?||3||1||1||6||Yes||ATX|
|Pro Z690-A WiFi DDR4||4 x DDR4||4||?||3||1||1||6||Yes||ATX|
|Pro Z690-P||4 x DDR5||3||4||2||3||0||0||No||ATX|
|Pro Z690-P DDR4||4 x DDR4||3||4||2||3||0||0||No||ATX|
It appears that the only Z690 mini-ITX motherboard in MSI's arsenal is the MEG Z690I Unify-X. It should possess the same, if not better, memory overclocking potential as the MEG Z690 Unify-X. Obviously, the reduced landscape means that the MEG Z690I Unify is less rich in features. Nevertheless, the mini-ITX motherboard supplies three M.2 slots and four SATA III ports for storage. As is customary, you only get one PCIe x16 expansion slot.
The Tomahawk model has been a fan-favorite for mainstream gamers for generations now. On this occasion, the company will sell the Z690 model in both DDR4 and DDR5 variants. With the difference of the memory slots aside, both motherboards share the specifications, including four M.2 slots, six SATA III ports, three PCIe x16 expansion slots and one PCIe x1 slot.
Consumers that want a micro-ATX motherboard may have to wait until Intel officially launches the B660 and H610 chipsets. The listings from 3Logic didn't expose any micro-ATX options, insinuating that MSI is keeping that form factor for the cheaper chipsets. There should be at least one more mini-ITX model as well.
The Intel Innovation event will take place between October 27 and 28 where many believe Intel will announce Alder Lake. MSI has announced its on "The Next Playground" for November 2, lending credenced to the rumored Alder Lake launch n November 4.
If you like DDR5 that is....
DDR4 ? Here's some basic boards with no premium features and crap VRM.
AMD's side: oh intel's 12th gen is an experimental CPU and it won't work well in Win10 and gaming!
Intel's side: no it has a 'big.LITTLE Solution', so it'll distribute its calculation perfectly! So that's why it is better than RYZEN CPU!
Also real world benches that show the performance differences between DDR5 and several different speed levels of DDR4 memory.
If the pricing on a complete Alder Lake platform greatly exceed that of its current AMD competitors then even with a decent performance increase the platform will see much lower sales.
Alder Lake is now being questioned as well whether it will work on older games as well without that game getting an update patch, another possible strike against the new CPU.
A lot of questions to be answered prior to many making the jump I expect.
I will not be buying any new motherboard, video card or monitor that does not have thunderbolt 4.0 USB-C ports.
I will only be purchasing motherboards that support PCIe 5.0 and DDR5.
I have no interest in purchasing old or obsolete technology. I already own old, obsolete technology and I don't require additional old, obsolete technology.
I mean, 4 sticks of DDR5 can be 512GB of RAM at something like 4800Mhz-8400Mhz so...