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NZXT Releases N5 and N7 Series Z690 Motherboards

NZXT N5 Z690 and N7 Z690
(Image credit: NZXT)

NZXT has readied its new N5 and N7 series motherboards (opens in new tab) featuring Intel's Z690 chipset. The company admits the N5 and N7 series Z690 motherboards represent a "long awaited update," for Intel's 12th gen Core Alder Lake processors. This handsome duo is very welcome: Alder Lake chips are still very strongly ranked among the best CPUs for gaming in 2022, and Intel's 13th gen Core Raptor Lake processors should also fit Z690 motherboards.

(Image credit: NZXT)

The NZXT N5 Z690 and N7 Z690 are very similar, but the latter is a rung above the former with features such as a stronger power phase design, better audio, and a super clean look with the PCB largely covered by matte white or matte black finished metal armor. For a clearer comparison between the NZXT N5 Z690 and N7 Z690, check out the specs:

Specs

NZXT N5 Z690

NZXT N7 Z690

Form factor

ATX

ATX

Chipset

Intel Z690

Intel Z690

CPU support

Intel Alder Lake

Intel Alder Lake

Power design

8+1 DrMOS Power Phase Design with 2oz copper PCB12+1 DrMOS Power Phase Design

Memory support

Up to 128GB, up to DDR4-5000, in 4 slots

Up to 128GB, up to DDR4-5000, in 4 slots

Expansion slots

Three PCIe x16 slots inc Gen 5 x16 mode, two PCIe 3.0 x1 slots

Three PCIe x16 slots inc Gen 5 x16 mode, two PCIe 3.0 x1 slots

Storage expansion

Four M.2 slots supporting up to PCIe 4.0 x4 mode, four SATA 6GB/s connectors

Three M.2 slots supporting up to PCIe 4.0 x4 mode, four SATA 6GB/s connectors

Networking

RTL8125BG 2.5G LAN, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2

RTL8125BG 2.5G LAN, Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2

Audio

Realtek ALC897 Codec with 8-channel HD audio

Realtek ALC1220 Codec with 8-channel HD audio support and Nichicon capacitors

Rear I/O

USB 3.2 Gen 2 (Type-C):1

USB 3.2 Gen 2 (Type-A):1

USB 3.2 Gen 1 (Type-A):4

USB 2.0:2

HDMI 2.0:1 for iGPU

Wireless Antenna:2 (2T2R)

LAN (RJ45) Port:1

HD Audio Jacks: Line-in / Front Speaker / Mic:1

Optical S/PDIF:1

BIOS Flashback Button:1

USB 3.2 Gen 2 (Type-C):1

USB 3.2 Gen 2 (Type-A):2

USB 3.2 Gen 1 (Type-A):3

USB 2.0:2

HDMI 2.0:1 for iGPU

Wireless Antenna:2 (2T2R)

LAN (RJ45) Port:1

5.1-Channel Audio Jacks:1

Optical S/PDIF:1

BIOS Flashback Button:1

Clear CMOS Button:1

Warranty

Three years

Three years

NZXT is sticking with DDR4 for its Z690 motherboards. This is a pragmatic choice, and you can read an in-depth analysis of DDR4 vs DDR5 in our Intel Alder Lake RAM guide.

The first difference highlighted in the specs table concerns the power design. With more power phases and premium 2oz copper PCB, the N7 should be better for CPU overclocking, providing greater stability at higher clock speeds.

Next up, the configuration of storage expansion options varies between the two motherboards. The cheaper NZXT N5 Z690 benefits from an extra M.2 storage slot that supports both PCIe 4.0 x4 and SATA drives. The N7 Z690 strikes back with more powerful Wi-Fi, more/faster USB ports, and an upgraded on-board audio solution. The audio differences will be important to those who aren't going to fit a PCIe sound card or use an external sound card.

NZXT also wants to highlight the built-in RGB headers and control options offered on both these motherboards. They both support four RGB lighting channels and seven fan channels configurable through NZXT CAM.

(Image credit: NZXT)

The new NZXT N5 and N7 Z690 series motherboards are available now, direct from the maker, in black or white finishes. The N5 costs $239.99 and the N7 costs $299.99.

If you're looking for a motherboard and NZXT's new boards don't appeal to you, take a look at our Best Motherboards 2022 for Gaming, by Socket and Chipset.

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.