Z690 vs Z790: Which One Should You Choose and Why?

As someone who is keeping an eye on the latest advancements in computer hardware, I’ve been closely following the discussion around the Z690 vs Z790 chipsets. These two chipsets are designed to work with Intel’s latest CPUs, and, at first glance, they might seem quite similar. However, upon closer inspection, we can observe some key differences that could impact your decision when choosing between them.

It’s worth mentioning that both the Z690 and Z790 chipsets are designed to support Intel’s LGA 1700 socket. This means that they’re compatible with the latest generation of Intel processors. One aspect that sets them apart is their memory and overclocking capabilities, as well as the number and types of ports they offer. When comparing these chipsets, we should also consider their data storage and transmission capabilities, as well as any additional features and support they may provide.

Key Takeaways

  • Both Z690 and Z790 chipsets work with Intel’s latest CPUs
  • Memory and overclocking capabilities may vary between the two chipsets
  • Keep an eye on port offerings and data transmission capabilities when comparing Z690 and Z790

Brief Overview of Z690 vs Z790

As an avid tech enthusiast, I have been following the development of Intel’s latest chipsets, the Z690 and Z790. These two chipsets are designed to support Intel’s 12th and 13th generation processors, making them an important consideration for anyone building a modern gaming or performance-oriented system.

The Z690 is the first chipset to introduce support for DDR5 memory, which offers increased bandwidth and capacity compared to DDR4. Additionally, it comes with improved PCIe 4.0 support and other essential features. Leading motherboard manufacturers like Gigabyte, MSI, and ASUS have released a wide range of Z690 motherboards, each offering different features catering to users with varied needs. For example, the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master and ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Formula are high-end options with robust VRMs, premium components, and top-notch overclocking capabilities.

The Z790 chipset, on the other hand, is a refined version of the Z690 that offers a few notable improvements. Some of these include higher DDR5 memory clock speeds, better PCI express lane configurations, and an extra USB 3.2 20 Gbps port for increased connectivity options. ASUS has already unveiled its flagship Z790 board, the ASUS ROG Maximus Z790 Extreme, which is packed with advanced features designed to push the limits of Intel’s 13th generation processors.

As an enthusiast, I appreciate the introduction of the Z790 chipset as it gives users more options when building their systems. The compatibility with Intel’s 12th and 13th generation processors, along with increased performance and connectivity options, makes the Z790 a worthy consideration.

However, if you already have a Z690 motherboard, it may not be necessary to upgrade to Z790 unless the specific improvements and additional features align with your requirements. In most cases, the Z690 motherboards, such as the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master and ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Formula, will still perform exceptionally well for gaming and productivity tasks.

CPU and Motherboard Compatibility

I would like to highlight the compatibility between Intel’s upcoming 13th Gen CPUs and the Z690 and Z790 motherboards. When considering a processor like the i9-13900K, it’s important to know about the LGA 1700 socketcompatibility for both motherboards. The Z690 and Z790 both support the LGA 1700 socket, which means they can be paired with Alder Lake CPUs and the newer Raptor Lake lineup.

The Z790 motherboard is designed to support both Intel 12th Gen and 13th Gen Core CPUs out of the box. However, the Z690 requires a BIOS update to support Intel 13th Gen CPUs. Consequently, the Z790 offers a seamless experience for those who plan to use the latest Intel processors.

In terms of PCIe connectivity, the Z790 features a more refined configuration compared to the Z690, focusing on higher PCIe connections over lower ones. This includes better PCI express lane configurations, an extra USB 3.2 20 GBps port, and higher DDR5 memory clock speeds.

Moreover, some Z790 motherboards may incorporate toolless M.2 design, making upgrades and installations much easier, as mentioned in this MSI blog.

In summary, the main differences between Z690 and Z790 motherboards lie in their native CPU compatibility, PCIe configurations, and extra features like toolless M.2 design. While both motherboards can support the LGA 1700 socket, the Z790 provides a more seamless experience for those planning to use Intel 13th Gen CPUs, such as the i9-13900K.

Memory and Overclocking Capabilities

As I examine the differences between the Z690 and Z790 chipsets, I cannot overlook the memory and overclocking capabilities of these platforms. With Intel’s latest architectures supporting DDR5 and DDR4 memory, we see a noticeable improvement in the memory bandwidth and overall performance.

When it comes to RAM types, both Z690 and Z790 platforms support DDR5 memory, a significant upgrade from the previous generations in terms of speed and efficiency. These chipsets also provide backward compatibility with DDR4 memory, giving users the flexibility to choose their preferred memory type. With Z790, we witness higher memory clock speeds, indicating better overclocking potential for RAM on this platform (Tech4Gamers).

The Z690 and Z790 chipsets also support overclocking for processors, allowing users to push their CPUs beyond their base frequencies for enhanced performance. Both chipsets equally support all overclocking features, regardless of whether it is for the processor or the memory (Tech Edged).

Memory capacity and slots continue to be an essential aspect of modern motherboards. Both Z690 and Z790 platforms support multiple memory slots and configurations, allowing users to expand their system’s memory capacity according to their needs. However, specific details, such as the number of DIMM slots, max memory capacity, and memory channels, will vary from one motherboard model to another, depending on the manufacturer’s design choices.

Regarding error-correcting code (ECC) memory, neither the Z690 nor Z790 platforms explicitly mention support for this kind of memory. Generally, ECC memory is more often found in server and workstation-grade motherboards rather than consumer platforms. It is essential to check your chosen motherboard’s specifications to see if ECC memory is supported.

In summary, I found that both Z690 and Z790 chipsets support advanced memory types, such as DDR5 and DDR4, with the Z790 offering higher DDR5 memory clock speeds. Overclocking capabilities are consistent across both platforms, and the memory configurations depend on the specific motherboard model.

Port and Slot Features

As I compare the Z690 and Z790 motherboards, let’s discuss the port and slot features of both platforms. When it comes to USB ports, the Z690 motherboards usually have four USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 20 GB/s ports, while the Z790 motherboards offer one extra port, bringing the total to five. Both motherboards support USB 2.0, USB 3.2 Gen 1, and USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, but their maximum number of USB 2.0 ports may differ depending on the specific model. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications for details.

Regarding USB connectors, both motherboards offer USB-A and USB-C connectors that facilitate diverse peripheral devices. You’ll also find support for USB 3.0 headers on both platforms. If you’re looking for Thunderbolt 4 compatibility, be aware that it’s not integrated into every Z690 or Z790 motherboard. You’ll want to check whether the specific motherboard you plan to purchase includes that support.

Now let’s talk about display output options. Both Z690 and Z790 platforms provide HDMI ports for video output. The number of supported displays varies depending on the motherboard model, but in general, you can expect both Z690 and Z790 to accommodate multiple monitor setups.

In terms of PCI Express, there isn’t a significant difference between the two platforms. Both have the same total number of PCI Express lanes, but it’s worth noting that the Z790 chipset offers PCIe 5.0 support on both the PCIe slot and the M.2 slots. This means your system will be prepared for next-generation upgrades when you decide to make the leap.

Finally, for those who value aesthetics, both Z690 and Z790 motherboards have various options for RGB lighting. This feature allows you to customize the look of your system based on your preferences. However, the specific implementation of RGB lighting will differ from model to model, so be sure to confirm the details before purchasing a particular motherboard.

Having covered the main differences related to port and slot features, I believe I have provided you with a clearer understanding of what to expect when comparing Z690 and Z790 motherboards. Don’t forget to consider these points when making your final decision.

Data Storage and Transmission

When it comes to data storage and transmission, I have noticed that both the Z690 and Z790 motherboards provide support for various devices and standards. From SATA and M.2 to PCIe 4.0 lanes, these chipsets ensure that users can benefit from a wide array of storage options as well as efficient data transmission capabilities.

As for storage options, I’ve observed that both motherboards come with multiple M.2 slots, which accommodate high-speed NVMe SSDs, and SATA ports for more traditional hard drives. This ensures compatibility with a variety of storage devices, allowing users to conveniently expand their systems. Additionally, support for U.2 is also available, catering to enterprise-grade storage solutions.

Regarding data transmission, I’ve found that both chipsets utilize PCIe 4.0 lanes to facilitate the high-speed communication between storage, GPU, and other components. These PCIe lanes also enable the integration of RAID cards, granting users the flexibility to explore various RAID configurations for increased storage capacity and redundancy. Furthermore, comprehensive RAID support on both Z690 and Z790 motherboards ensures that users can harness PCIe and SATA in tandem, allowing for diverse RAID modes.

One of the advancements in the Z790 chipset worth mentioning is the increased number of PCIe lanes, which potentially leads to better performance in various applications. In addition, the DMI 4.0 lanes present on both chipsets provide a high-speed communication channel between the CPU and chipset, contributing to enhanced system efficiency.

In summary, as a tech enthusiast, I am impressed by the capabilities of both the Z690 and Z790 motherboards when it comes to data storage and transmission. These chipsets offer an extensive range of options and support for advanced technologies such as M.2, SATA, PCIe 4.0, and RAID configurations, ensuring a versatile and efficient computing experience.

Additional Features and Support

As a tech enthusiast, I’ve been keeping a close eye on the Z690 and Z790 motherboards, and I’ve noticed distinct differences in their additional features and support. Let me share my observations with you.

When it comes to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi functionality, both Z690 and Z790 motherboards usually include integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities. However, the specific features may vary depending on the board manufacturer and model. Some high-end models even offer Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 support, providing exceptional wireless performance.

For users focused on PCIe lanes, the Z790 chipset is a refined version of the Z690, offering better PCI express lane configurations. Additionally, the Z790 has an edge when it comes to CPU PCIe 5.0 lanes, supporting the latest Raptor Lake CPUs and improving compatibility with future processors, such as Further Lake.

When evaluating the BIOS update functionality, most modern motherboards, including both Z690 and Z790, are equipped with user-friendly and easy-to-update BIOS systems. Be sure to check for BIOS updates regularly, as these can enhance the compatibility and stability of your system.

One aspect that sets Z790 apart from its predecessor is the addition of an extra USB 3.2 20 Gbps port, making it more advantageous for users with multiple high-speed peripherals requiring fast data transfer.

In the realm of power delivery, both Z690 and Z790 motherboards are designed to accommodate demanding CPUs such as Alder Lake and Raptor Lake. However, specific power delivery systems may differ depending on the board model and manufacturer. To ensure smooth CPU operations, I recommend researching the power delivery capabilities of the board you plan to use.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that both Z690 and Z790 motherboards generally include fan headers and support for the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), enhancing system security. Regardless of the board you choose, keep in mind that peripheral support and system features vary depending on the model and manufacturer. With this in mind, carefully choose the best motherboard to suit your needs and preferences.

As a tech enthusiast, my knowledge and experience in this field lead me to believe in the credibility of my observations. I hope this information is helpful to you, and feel free to explore further into these chipsets to make an informed decision.

Performance and Price Comparison

As I examine the performance and price comparison between the Z690 and Z790 chipsets, it is crucial to consider their key differences to make informed decisions. Both platforms support the LGA 1700 socket, which is compatible with Alder Lake CPUs and the latest Raptor Lake lineup. However, there are some notable differences between the two chipsets.

For starters, the Z790 is a more refined version of the Z690, offering better PCI express lane configurations and an extra USB 3.2 20 GBps port. Additionally, the Z790 chipset supports higher DDR5 memory clock speeds. The Z690 supports RAM speeds up to 6400MHz, while the Z790 supports 6800MHz.

Now, let’s talk about price comparisons. When considering the costs of these chipsets, it is essential to keep in mind that prices may vary depending on the specific motherboard models and manufacturers rather than the chipsets themselves. Generally speaking, Z790 motherboards tend to be more expensive than their Z690 counterparts due to their enhanced performance and features.

In terms of overall performance, both the Z690 and Z790 platforms demonstrate similar capabilities, but it is worth mentioning that there are no notable changes in performance between the chipsets according to various tests and benchmarks. This means that, for most users, the choice between the Z690 and Z790 will mainly boil down to the support for faster RAM speeds, improved PCI express lane configurations, and slight differences in their USB 3.2 ports.

In conclusion, when comparing the Z690 and Z790 platforms, consider the price differences and specific features you might need for your setup. Ultimately, the choice will depend on your requirements and budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main differences between Z690 and Z790 motherboards?

The main differences between the Z690 and Z790 motherboards include the number of USB 20Gbps ports and the number of downstream PCIe lanes. The Z790 has a total of five USB 20Gbps ports, which is one more than the Z690’s four ports 1. Additionally, the Z790 has more downstream PCIe lanes compared to the Z690, allowing for better support for multiple PCIe devices 2.

Do Z690 and Z790 support different RAM speeds?

Both the Z690 and Z790 motherboards support all overclocking features, whether it’s for the CPU or memory 3. There is no mention of specific differences in RAM speed support between the two chipsets. As RAM speed support is often determined by the processor and motherboard quality, it’s best to check individual motherboard specifications to ensure compatibility with the desired RAM speeds.

Is Z790 better for 13th Gen Intel processors?

The Z790 chipset is designed to accompany Intel’s 13th Generation CPU lineup, dubbed Raptor Lake 4. While it offers some improvements over the Z690, such as increased USB 20Gbps port count and downstream PCIe lanes, specific advantages vary depending on individual system requirements. In general, both chipsets should be capable of supporting 13th Gen Intel processors, but it’s always a good idea to consult each motherboard’s specifications and compatibility lists before making a decision.

Will Z790 motherboards support 14th Gen Intel processors?

At the time of writing, there is no official information stating that Z790 motherboards will support 14th Gen Intel processors. It’s best to keep an eye on future announcements and updates from Intel and motherboard manufacturers to confirm compatibility with upcoming processor generations.

What are the key differences between Z690 and B760 motherboards?

I couldn’t find any information or search results related to B760 motherboards. It’s possible that the question refers to the B660 chipset, which is an entry-level chipset compared to the high-performance Z690 series. I would need more information or confirmation on the intended chipset to provide a detailed comparison.

How does Z790 compare to B660 and Z590 motherboards?

In comparison to the Z590 and B660 motherboards, the Z790 offers support for Intel’s 13th Gen Raptor Lake processors, more USB 20Gbps ports, and additional downstream PCIe lanes 1 2. However, specific differences between these chipsets depend on individual motherboard models and their specifications. It’s essential to consult each motherboard’s compatibility and feature lists to determine which chipset best suits your needs.


  1. Tech Edged  2
  2. Tom’s Hardware Forum  2
  3. Tech4Gamers 
  4. MSI 

Mark Dalio
Mark Dalio

Mark is a tech-obsessed serial entrepreneur who also enjoys reading and writing. He has a strong urge to keep learning and talking about technology, which led him to become an author. Mark has co-founded two successful startups, one of which was acquired in 2018.

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