Today, Intel is launching its 12th Gen Core desktop processors, alongside the new Z690 chipset. MSI is already well prepared for this next-gen Intel platform, with 18 Z690 motherboards ready to go, spread out across the Pro, MAG, MPG and MEG series and thus covering creators, gamers and enthusiasts looking to upgrade.
The upcoming MSI Pro series motherboards focus on providing office users, professionals and creators a good platform for their work, offering USB 20G ports and 2.5G LAN ports across the whole stack. In addition, the Pro Z690-A WiFi and respective DDR4 variant come with support for wireless connectivity. Those interested in using M.2 storage solutions won't have any problem, as each board has 4x slots, including heatsinks for them. Supporting memory clocked up to 6666MHz (DDR5 OC) and using a 14 phase VRM design, even demanding users should be well served with these solutions. All boards except the Z690-P DDR4 feature a Flash BIOS button that allows you to flash the BIOS without a CPU mounted.
Gamers will also get some sweet options. In the MAG entry-level segment, there will be the Z690 Tomahawk with WiFi6 connectivity (with DDR4 and DDR5 support) and the Z690 Torpedo. All three feature a 16+1+1 VRM design, extended heatsink for the M.2 slots, 2.5G connectivity and USB 20G ports. The DDR4 model is limited to memory clocked at 5200MHz (OC), but the DDR5-supporting models can handle 6666MHz-clocked memory. All three boards come with a Flash BIOS button, 3x M.2 PCIe 4.0 interfaces and a 3.0 M.2 PCIe interface.
The MPG is the mid-range segment, which includes the MPG Z690 Edge WiFi (DDR4 and DDR5 variants), the Z690 Force WiFi, the Z690 Carbon EK X (built-in EK monoblock with leak tester included), and the Z690 Carbon WiFi. All boards support memory clocked up to 6666MHz, 2.5G LAN and WiFi6E connectivity, and have at least 4x M.2 PCIe 4.0 interfaces. Both Edge boards use a 16+1+1 VRM design, but the other three have an 18+1+1 VRM phase design. The whole MPG series features RGB LEDs that you can synchronise using MSI Mystic Light.
Lastly, the MEG series is where you'll find the enthusiast-oriented Unify and Ace boards. Moreover, it's also where SFF lovers can go if they want an ITX board, the MEG Z690I Unify. Featuring a 10+1+1 VRM design, 2x Thunderbolt ports and 3x M.2 PCIe interfaces (2x PCIe 4.0 and a PCIe 3.0), which should not be followed by the Z690 Unify size, as it also supports memory clocked at 6800MHz (OC), WiFi6E and 2.5G LAN connectivity.
Both Unify and Unify-X boards feature a 19 phases VRM design, 2x 2.5G LAN ports, WiFi6E, and 20G USB connectivity. The Z690 Unify-X only features 2x memory slots, but it supports DDR5 memory clocked as high as 6800MHz (OC). On the other hand, the Z690 Unify has 4x memory slots, but the maximum supported clock speed is 6666MHz (OC).
As the flagship motherboard, there's the Z690 Ace E-ATX. With its 19+1+2 VRM design and support for DDR5 memory clocked at 6666MHz (OC), the Z690 Ace should perform very well performance. However, it also excels at connectivity, as it supports Wi-Fi6E and has 2x 2.5G LAN ports, 2x USB-C 20G ports and 2x thunderbolt ports, supporting file transfers at 40Gbps.
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KitGuru says: Are you looking to upgrade to Z690 and Intel Alder Lake? Will you be going with one of MSI's new motherboards?