NZXT Brings Shroud-Slathered Design to Raptor Lake With N7 Z790 Motherboard

NZXT Z790 motherboard
(Image credit: NZXT)

NZXT has announced its N7 Z790 ATX motherboard, with an LGA 1700 socket ready for 12th and 13th generation (opens in new tab) Intel CPUs. Visually clean on the outside and available in both black and white, the N7 Z790 contains plenty of RGB connectors for you to set up the light show of your choice.

Based on the Z790 chipset ready for some of the best CPUs for gaming (opens in new tab), the N7 Z790 has plenty of advanced features, including four DDR5 (opens in new tab) slots for up to 128GB of RAM and the Intel XMP 3.0 settings, plus rated RAM speeds of up to 6,000 MHz. Alongside the memory slots sits one PCIe 5.0 x16 slot for a GPU or an SSD boot drive, plus two PCIe 4.0 x16 slots and two PCIe 3.0 x1 slots. 

M.2 slots come in the form of three PCIe 4.0 units supporting x4 mode (one of which can also talk to a SATA M.2 drive), plus an extra Key E socket for a Type 2230 Wi-Fi module and Intel CNVio devices, though the board itself supports dual-band Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. There are also six SATA 6Gb/s ports for all your hard drive needs.

Complementing the fast wireless is a 2.5G Ethernet port — it and a pair of wireless antennas sit on the backplate of the board. Alongside them are two USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, three USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, and one USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C port. There are also two USB 2.0 ports, for your mouse and keyboard, and one HDMI port for use with integrated graphics. Audio comes in the form of an eight-channel solution, with five analog audio jacks and a SPDIF output.

Internal connectivity builds on what you can see on the backplate, with extra USB 2.0 and 3.2 headers, AIO pump and Sys Fan connectors, four NZXT RGB LED connectors, and two 5V ARGB LED connectors. You also get a 16+1+2 DrMOS power phase design with a 2oz copper PCB — which should be helpful for overclocking your i9-13900K — plus presets, fan profiles and custom modes via the NZXT CAM software.

MSRP for the NZXT N7 Z790 board is $299.99, which certainly puts it above the NZXT N5 Z690 — which also had an extra M.2 socket. The N7 Z790 beats the N5 Z690 with DDR5 RAM slots and additional shielding over its PCIe interfaces, but otherwise the boards look very similar. An N5 Z790 board has yet to be announced.

Ian Evenden
Freelance News Writer

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.

  • RichardtST
    But why? Being able to see the components, the traces, the vias.... it's a testament to the mammoth complexity of the device. It's part of the amazing beauty that is technology....

    And when are power-supply makers going to start showing off their stuff? Why are they always hidden under the sheet metal at the bottom... Power needs some love too!
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    RichardtST said:
    Being able to see the components, the traces, the vias.... it's a testament to the mammoth complexity of the device. It's part of the amazing beauty that is technology....
    this.

    part of why ppl liked the 90/2000's consoles with transparent plastic.

    also the timeless classic of skeleton watches and other gear work.

    I hate rgb, but i hate these shrouds hiding everything more.
    Reply
  • Exploding PSU
    NZXT's motherboards and their clean design, I really like them. Always wanted to pick up their B550 but still can't swallow that price for a B-series.
    Reply
  • _dawn_chorus_
    RichardtST said:
    But why? Being able to see the components, the traces, the vias.... it's a testament to the mammoth complexity of the device. It's part of the amazing beauty that is technology....

    And when are power-supply makers going to start showing off their stuff? Why are they always hidden under the sheet metal at the bottom... Power needs some love too!

    You make an excellent point, although the design of almost every other component has gone for sleeker and more gilded styles making motherboards look sort of "naked" in contrast. For instance my build has a 3080 FE and a Black Noctua NH-D15 (with the covers) but my raw motherboard really detracts from the look. Both are beautifully designed components with none of the Gundam armor nonsense so many components are covered in. While the design fetishist in me loves these NZXT boards, sadly the specs and performance never seem to warrant a purchase.

    That said I'd love to see an all "nude" build. Where ALL components are as raw as possible flexing all their glorious complexity. Something like the old school controllers hotaru251 mentions. Build it in a clear case so it's like the desktop equivalent of one of those controllers. That would be something.
    Reply
  • RandomWan
    RichardtST said:
    But why? Being able to see the components, the traces, the vias.... it's a testament to the mammoth complexity of the device. It's part of the amazing beauty that is technology....

    And when are power-supply makers going to start showing off their stuff? Why are they always hidden under the sheet metal at the bottom... Power needs some love too!

    It's because that's a very dated 80/90s look, and despite your personal affinity for it, is an eyesore for the majority. Most motherboards can be stripped of the covers, armor, etc. and you can remove or modify for the same with your PSU, GPU to produce the look. I used to run clear plexi top covers with an anodized lower for my PSU back when almost everything was a raw metal-colored box. Instead of complaining about the manufacturer not making the part exactly how you want it, modify your build to suit your personal preferences.
    Reply