NZXT N5 Z690 Review: Late to the Party, but Worth it?

NZXT N5 Z690 offers four M.2 sockets, Wi-Fi 6E and more for under $240.

NZXT N5 Z690
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

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As we know, NZXT worked with ASRock to help develop this board, and it shows with the overall setup of the BIOS. Not much has changed from the Z590 version. Things looke the same with a black-and-purple color scheme, NZXT’s colors. Across the top are several headers, including Main, Overclocking, Advanced, Tool, PC Monitoring, and more. Editable fields are on the left, while descriptions of each selection are on the right. The colors used in the BIOS (black, white and purple) is easy to read and match the brand colors. Most options are found under the sub-heading(s), and you do not have to dig down to find commonly used features. That said, CPU, DRAM, and Voltage have their sections. We didn’t have any issues inside this BIOS.


On the software side, NZXT uses an all-in-one utility named CAM. The CAM utility controls RGB lighting, overclocking, power, audio, fan speed and more. On the left side of are menus/sections, while the right side displays information and is where adjustments happen. Overall, the software worked well in our limited use during testing. To get the most out of it, you can sign up/in to the software. It does work offline/without an account as well–and we hope NZXT maintains the offline capability.

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.

  • Darkbreeze
    This is literally a board with no reason to exist. Another fine blunder by the folks at NZXT.
  • Co BIY
    Darkbreeze said:
    This is literally a board with no reason to exist. Another fine blunder by the folks at NZXT.


    If this had come out earlier when Adler Lake was fresh I think this would be a popular option. 4 M.2 and no money wasted on RGB.
  • Co BIY
    Also - strong link to AnandTech for a board Tom's hasn't reviewed yet! Thanks.
  • Darkbreeze
    Co BIY said:

    Why? Because you can get a variety of motherboards that don't have these shortcomings,

    No USB 3.2 Gen2x2 (20 Gbps)
    Dated mid-range audio
    Hot running, paltry 50A MOSFETs

    for less than that board costs, and they not only look better but have additional options not found on that NZXT board.