EVGA Unleashes Z690 Dark K|NGP|N Edition Motherboard: Alder Lake Goes Extremeby Gavin Bonshor on February 18, 2022 1:00 PM EST
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- Alder Lake
- Z690 Dark
Although these long, cold, and dark nights are starting to come to an end, EVGA has launched its darkest and most devilish desktop motherboard to date, the EVGA Z690 Dark K|NGP|N Edition. Designed in collaboration with legendary extreme overclocker Vince 'K|NGP|N' Lucido, the Z690 Dark K|NGP|N Edition boasts an impressive feature set including support for DDR5-6600 memory, three PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots, eight SATA ports, and a large 21-phase power delivery to push Intel's Alder Lake to the extreme.
Built around the Intel's high-end Z690 chipset, the EVGA Z690 Dark K|NGP|N Edition isn't a conventional motherboard by any stretch of the imagination. It is based on the E-ATX form factor and has interesting design characteristics, including a transposed LGA1700 socket that allows extreme overclockers to mount LN2 pots more easily.
To make the board more robust, EVGA includes a large black metal backplate on the rear of the board to reinforce the PCB. This also includes right-angled connectors, including two 8-pin 12V ATX CPU power inputs and a 24-pin 12V ATX motherboard power input that intrudes into the PCB with a handy cutout designed to make cable management more effortless. It also includes an impressive accessories pack that features an EVGA flat test bench plate that we saw in our previous review of the EVGA Z590 Dark motherboard.
Looking at the feature set, the Z690 Dark K|NGP|N Edition includes two full-length PCIe 5.0 slots that can operate at x16 and x8/x8, with three PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots that sit in between the PCIe slots and underneath a large black finned 'Dark' branded heatsink. There are eight SATA ports for conventional storage and optical drives, six of which are from the chipset with RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 support, and two that come via an ASMedia ASM1061 SATA controller.
Even though the Z690 Dark has a solid feature set for enthusiasts, the real focus by EVGA with this model is on extreme overclocking. This includes a large 21-phase power delivery cooled by an active heatsink with two fans. It also has a 10-layer PCB throughout and contains an overclocker's toolkit in the top right-hand corner that consists of dual two-digit LED debuggers, a power button, a reset button, dip-switches to disable PCIe slots, and a slow mode switch. There's also a probe-lt header where users can monitor voltages in real-time from various components on the board, such as the CPU and power inputs.
The large black metal backplate on the rear of the EVGA Z690 Dark K|NGP|N Edition
In terms of connectivity, there's plenty on the rear panel, including one USB 3.2 G2x2 Type-C, four USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, and two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports. For networking, EVGA uses two Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE controllers and includes Intel's latest AX211 Wi-Fi 6E CNVi. Despite focusing on performance, EVGA has also gone with a premium audio solution, including a Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec and an EVGA NU Audio SV3H615 headphone amplifier with five 3.5 mm audio jacks and a single S/PDIF optical output.
The EVGA Z690 Dark K|NGP|N Edition is currently available to purchase at the EVGA website for $830. However, at the time of writing, purchases are limited to one per household, and it seems as though it's only available to EVGA Elite Members at this time.
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meacupla - Friday, February 18, 2022 - linkFor DDR5, other motherboard manufacturers really ought to copy this EVGA board.
2x slots with short traces for maximum signal integrity.
If you want to run at any speed that lets DDR5 perform better than DDR4, you should only buy 16GB modules, and 32GB of ram should be plenty for most desktops.
If you are buying 8GB modules for DDR5, you are doing it wrong.
The price for this board is fine, considering all the LN2 overclocking features it has.
It's just really sad Asus, Asrock, Gigabyte, and MSI decided to go for 4x DDR5 slots for most of their DDR5 mobos, because that is literally hurting their memory OC performance.
stephenv2 - Friday, February 18, 2022 - linkWhile gamers may not need more than 32GB, that's not nearly enough for many other users. My laptop has 64GB and I need more actually. This is a gamer only board.
austinsguitar - Friday, February 18, 2022 - link99.995% of every person with a computer would be just fine with 64gigs of ram. just because you need it doesn't really solve the issue of ddr5 running like balls on 4 dimm motherboards.
Wereweeb - Friday, February 18, 2022 - linkAnd here we see another g*mer who has no idea that desktop computers are the standard hardware format for people who do actual work on a computer.
Loads of professional software will eat 32GB of RAM in one bite, and then proceed to ask when the main course is going to be ready.
And most of these professional workloads are not nearly as latency-sensitive as gaming. That's the reason DDR5 prioritizes bandwidth in the first place: the goal is enabling performance improvements for servers and professionals, and not driving your stupid 300hz monitor.
austinsguitar - Saturday, February 19, 2022 - linkyawn. I forget so many people think making youtube videos is work these days, and even then that wont use 32gigs unless your dog videos really need that many after effects. I have a pc at my "work" where I work in autodesk all day long. That computer only has 32 gigs. yea i can get to around 28 gigs doing work, but you will notice I never said 32gigs of ram. ddr5 supports 32gig and 64gig sticks of ram. ultimately in the near future you will be able to get 128 gigs in a 2 stick format. jeez.
littlebitstrouds - Tuesday, March 1, 2022 - link"Another gamer"... as if the gaming market isn't the single most disruptive space in computers/tech. I work in STEM and a lot of my tools exist because gamers want lower latency, or accessibility to features that were previously locked behind a paywall. This isn't a hot take, it's just you looking like an elitist.
deil - Monday, February 21, 2022 - linkaustinsguitar that's not a general rule as software and hardware evolves, 64 GB right now is limit for price to performance reasons. Reason is that since DDR3 entered, 64 GB was hard limit, and even ddr4 anything more was either server board or a miracle.
software will adapt, and it will be utilized as soon as at least 5% of users will have 64GB.
Think with ram is that it never hurts to have more, but once you run out, it's very crippling.
My laptop have 32GB and I fully load ~25, stuff start to slow down a touch. I will run out as soon as anything scales, so for me 64GB or 128GB laptop option is a great thing.
it might not be necessary right now, but soon people will find a way to use it, and benefit from it.
meacupla - Friday, February 18, 2022 - linkThere are 32GB DDR5 modules, if you wanted 64GB, but they run like ass, just like 4 modules.
Like, really, if you need more than 64GB, maybe just get a workstation board?
Averant - Saturday, February 19, 2022 - linkThis is strictly for XOC. This is not, -not- a gaming board.
Calin - Tuesday, February 22, 2022 - linkThis is no gamer board.
A gamer will take $500 from the price of the board, $300 from the price of RAM and $200 from the price of the processor and jump from an RTX 3060 Ti to an RTX 3080.
This is like a 50 caliber sniper rifle, or a Bugatti Veyron - an immense number of drawbacks were made for it to excel at one single task.
No gamer will touch this with a 20 feet pole. 2 DIMMs disqualify it for anything "enterprise-y" (workstation, ...). Higher board power consumption (those 21 phases do not power themselves) will put another nail in the coffin.
All these being said, the price is most probably right for the ones who actually want it - considering that there are no economies of scale (no scale) in its production.