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EVGA Z590 Dark Motherboard Review: Improved Aesthetics, Premium Hardware

A full-featured overclocking flagship, with an improved appearance and some unique features

EVGA Z590 Dark
(Image: © EVGA)

Firmware

EVGA’s BIOS for Z590 looks the same as the previous versions. You’re greeted by a black and faint teal menu selection screen that allows you to set default settings, a gamer mode, the EVGA OC Robot to automatically overclock your PC, or finally, jump into the advanced configuration. Once inside the advanced section, you’ll find a list of menu items across the top, with sub-heading and details listed below. Everything necessary in this BIOS is easy to find and not hidden behind several sub-headings, especially anything regarding overclocking. Overall, this is an easy BIOS to navigate, and the contrasting colors make it easy to read. Frankly, this is one of the more mature and stable interfaces I’ve used recently.

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

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EVGA Z590 Dark - BIOS

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Software

On the software side, EVGA’s Eleet X1 is a multi-functional monitoring and tweaking tool. For example, X1 can overclock the CPU and Memory and monitor the system voltages, temperatures and fan speeds. Additionally, it offers RGB lighting control and several preset lighting modes, plus the ability to adjust by each strip attached to the motherboard headers. The latest version of Eleet X1 (1.0.6) is easy to read and is quite helpful. About the only thing missing here is fan controls.

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EVGA Z590 Dark - Software

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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EVGA Z590 Dark - Software

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EVGA Z590 Dark - Software

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EVGA Z590 Dark - Software

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EVGA Z590 Dark - Software

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Test System

As of March 2021, we’ve updated our test system to Windows 10 64-bit OS (20H2) with all threat mitigations applied. On the hardware front, we’ve switched to all PCIe 4.0 components. We upgraded our video card to an Asus RTX 3070 TUF Gaming and the storage device to a 2TB Phison PS5-18-E18 M.2. We’ve also updated the games to F1 2020 and Far Cry: New Dawn, along with the hardware changes. We use the latest non-beta motherboard BIOS available to the public unless otherwise noted (typically during new platform launches). The hardware used is as follows:

Test System Components

CPUIntel i9-11900K
MemoryGSkill Trident Z Neo 2x8GB DDR4 3600 (F4-3600C16Q-32GTZN)
GSkill Trident Z Royale 2x8GB DDR4 4000 (F4-4000C18Q-32GTRS)
GPUAsus TUF Gaming RTX 3070
CoolingCorsair H150i
PSUCorsair AX1200i
SoftwareWindows 10 64-bit 20H2
Graphics DriverNVIDIA Driver 461.40
SoundIntegrated HD audio
NetworkIntegrated Networking (GbE or 2.5 GbE)

Benchmark Settings

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
PCMark 10Version 2.1.2508 64
Essentials, Productivity, Digital Content Creation, MS Office
3DMarkVersion 2.17.7137 64
Firestrike Extreme and Time Spy Default Presets
Cinebench R20Version RBBENCHMARK271150
Open GL Benchmark - Single and Multi-threaded
Application Tests and Settings
LAME MP3Version SSE2_2019
Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 1.2.2
Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19GB 4K mkv to x264 (light AVX) and x265 (heavy AVX)
Corona 1.4Version 1.4
Custom benchmark
7-ZipVersion 19.00
Integrated benchmark
Game Tests and Settings
F1 2020Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080, TAA, 16xAF (Australia, Clear, Dry)
Far Cry: New DawnUltra Preset - 1920 x 1080

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  • BTM18
    Already sold out ?

    https://www.evga.com/products/productlist.aspx?type=1&family=Motherboard+Family&chipset=Intel+Z590
    Reply
  • deesider
    Is this not a weird MB?

    It's a massive E-ATX board, but only has 2 usable PCIe slots and 2 DIMM slots, for $600, with OK performance.
    Reply
  • btmedic04
    deesider said:
    Is this not a weird MB?

    It's a massive E-ATX board, but only has 2 usable PCIe slots and 2 DIMM slots, for $600, with OK performance.

    This board isnt intended to be a daily driver, thats the FTW's job. The Dark is intended to be used with sub zero cooling for world record attempts, which the review failed to touch on.

    That socket area is very busy with all of those SPS and I dont envy the people who need to insulate that area for LN2 pot usage
    Reply
  • Tom Sunday
    I don't know why they even bring out new MB's this late in the game. All new generation boards will enter the market in less than 2-months from now. For me I would want to look at all the new stuff before buying old.
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    Are there really that many Extreme overclockers in the world?

    And how many of those don't already have their Z590 board?

    Inclusion of U.2 is interesting to me - Can I get faster acccess with U.2 or are all the overclockers IT pros with awesome U.2 (or new Optane) drives just laying around ?

    Bare copper heat sink is a good look though. A little steam punk, a little "electrical hotrod".
    Reply