EVGA Z690 Dark KingPin Review: Overclocking-Focused Flagship

A well-rounded overclocking-focused flagship board for under $700

EVGA Z690 Dark KingPin
(Image: © EVGA)

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EVGA’s BIOS, like other board makers', hasn’t changed much compared to the Z590 generation. Once the system POSTs, you’re still presented with four options (Setup, Default, Gamer Mode, and EVGA OC Robot) to access different functionality. After entering the Setup portion of the BIOS where you can tweak settings, there’s an informative system summary up top. There are headings for different sections below that, with the rest of the screen taken up by options for each header. For the most part, there isn’t much digging around in the sub-menus to find the most frequently accessed items, but CPU and memory overclocking are in different sections. Gamer Mode provides a slight boost to the CPU, while the EVGA OC Robot finds a faster clock speed by raising clocks and playing with voltage while stress testing. Overall, I like EVGA’s BIOS implementation for Z690.


On the software side, EVGA’s Eleet X1 is a multi-functional monitoring and tweaking tool. For example, Eleet 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 each strip attached to the motherboard headers. The latest version of Eleet X1 ( is easy to read and helpful. The only thing I feel that’s missing from the software is fan control.

Test System / Comparison Products

We’ve updated our test system to Windows 11 64-bit OS with all updates applied. We kept the same Asus TUF RTX 3070 video card from our previous testing platforms but updated the driver to version 496.13. Additionally, our game selection has been updated, as noted in the table below. We use the latest non-beta motherboard BIOS available to the public unless otherwise noted. The hardware we used is as follows:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CPUIntel Core i9-12900K
MemoryKingston Fury DDR5 5200 CL40 (9KF552C40BBK2-32)
Row 2 - Cell 0 GSkill Trident Z DDR5 5600 CL36 (F5-5600U3636C16GX2-TZ5RK)
Row 3 - Cell 0 ADATA XPG DDR5 6000 CL40 (AX5U6000C4016G-FCLARBK)
GPUAsus TUF RTX 3070
CoolingMSI MEG Coreliquid S360
PSUEVGA Supernova 850W P6
SoftwareWindows 11 64-bit (21H2, Build 22000.282)
Graphics DriverNVIDIA Driver 496.13
SoundIntegrated HD audio
NetworkIntegrated Networking (GbE or 2.5 GbE)

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

EVGA supplied our Supernova 850W P6 power supply (appropriately sized and more efficient than the outgoing 1.2KW monster we used) for our test systems, and G.Skill sent us a DDR5-5600 (F5-5600U3636C16GX2-TZ5RK) memory kit for testing.

Benchmark Settings

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Synthetic Benchmarks and SettingsRow 0 - Cell 1
ProcyonVersion 2.0.249 64
Row 2 - Cell 0 Office Suite, Video Editing (Premiere Pro), Photo Editing (Photoshop, Lightroom Classic)
3DMarkVersion 2.20.7290 64
Row 4 - Cell 0 Firestrike Extreme and Time Spy Default Presets
Cinebench R23Version RBBENCHMARK330542
Row 6 - Cell 0 Open GL Benchmark - Single and Multi-threaded
BlenderVersion 3.0.1
Row 8 - Cell 0 Full benchmark (three sub-tests)
Application Tests and SettingsRow 9 - Cell 1
LAME MP3Version SSE2_2019
Row 11 - Cell 0 Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 1.2.2
Row 13 - Cell 0 Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19GB 4K mkv to x264 (light AVX) and x265 (heavy AVX)
Corona 1.4Version 1.4
Row 15 - Cell 0 Custom benchmark
7-ZipVersion 21.03-beta
Row 17 - Cell 0 Integrated benchmark (Command Line)
Game Tests and SettingsRow 18 - Cell 1
Far Cry 6Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080, HD Textures ON
F1 2021Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080, HBAO+, RT Med, TAA + 16xAF, Bahrain, FPS Counter ON

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Joe Shields
Motherboard Reviewer

Joe Shields is a Freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He reviews motherboards.

  • Friesiansam
    At the time of writing this, Amazon UK list this board at £741.57. There are no circumstances under which I would remotely consider, paying so much for a motherboard.
  • hotaru.hino
    RAM slots that go from front to back? Who is this? DFI? 🤪
  • DookieDraws
    :pEVGA makes some of the most ugliest, yet, most expensive motherboards. They need to improve those looks!
  • InvalidError
    "cons: only three NVMe slots"

    Seems to be a silly thing to complain about when that is just about the most NVMe slots one can possibly cram on an ATX board before either running out of PCIe lanes or space short of putting them on the back of the motherboard or standing them straight.

    If you are really that desperate for more NVMes, simply toss an NVMe card in the second x8 slot. If you are really REALLY desperate for tons of NVMes, I'm sure someone will eventually toss a PM50052A chip on a PCIe card with 8-10x 5.0x4 NVMes somewhere and must have done so with its PCIe 4.0 predecessor.
  • escksu
    Don't like them using bennic caps.... At this price their should at least use something better like mundorf.