Review: EVGA Z690 DARK KingPiN



New DARK and PCIe 5.0 support:

The EVGA Z690 DARK K|ngP|N is built around Intel’s new Z690 chipset, and this motherboard changes its socket from LGA-1200 (Z490/Z590) to LGA-1700 . The reason is simple, the size of the CPU is larger. The LGA-1700 socket has 1700 pins, compared to 1200 for the previous one. You may need to invest in a new cooling system. Some brands, like Noctua, offer an adapter for your current cooler. Think to ask for it because it is often free. Note also that EVGA has another model in its range based on the Z690 chipset, the Classified version offered at $629.99.

The Z690 chipset officially supports PCIe 5.0 offering higher storage performance than the previous generation. However, currently, no chipset is yet compatible with this standard. The other big change is the support for DDR5.

The bundle:

A little tour through the bundle of this EVGA Z690 DARK K|NGP|N to see if it benefits from “special items”. Overall, we find a rather standard bundle with the traditional SATA cables, the Wi-Fi antenna, the motherboard manual, etc. On the other hand, the design of the box is really well done. It remains in the same spirit as the X570 DARK. First of all, you will have access to the USB key containing the drivers.

The bottom floor contains the motherboard and under it, we find the box with the accessories but also the full size plastic PCB of our EVGA XZ690 DARK. It is really an object that we appreciate a lot because it has a lot of information and serves as a manual, especially for the location of the different voltage points.

This is an accessory that EVGA has been offering for several years on this series and it can also be used as a bench table since large spacers are provided in the bundle. The complete list of the bundle can be found directly on the EVGA website.

The various heat sinks:

The first thing that strikes you, if you are not used to this series, is the PCB layout in its upper part. This one has been completely redesigned by EVGA and benefits from 10 layers. The socket as well as the two memory slots have been rotated 90° counter-clockwise. This choice allows to gather all the power connectors in a horizontal position in order to facilitate the storage of the cables. Personally, it’s quite confusing visually at first but really well thought out! We find side by side, the 24-pin ATX power connector and the two 8-pin CPU connectors.

The dimensions of the board are getting larger as we are now on an E-ATX format, i.e. dimensions of 305 mm x 277 mm. The dominant colors on the PCB are black and gray. A design that keeps the spirit of the DARK series.

Let’s start the tour of the owner with this top part. We find two overlapping radiators. They will be in charge of keeping the power supply stages cool. Their position is unusual but also due to the rotation of the socket. The power supply stages have also been rotated by 90°.

Although one might think that this is passive cooling, it is not. Two 30mm fans are hidden and will only activate when needed. This is rarely the case.

Finally, the third is the one that covers the chipset and has a fairly large surface area, but a low height to allow easy placement of graphics cards. It is an integral part of the cooling system since it is connected to the other two radiators through a heat pipe.

Three M.2 SSD slots:

An aluminum plate with the name DARK, which acts as a radiator, perfectly matches the one placed on the chipset. It covers the three M.2 SSD slots.

These three SSD slots are therefore positioned between the two PCI-e ports. They are compatible with the Gen 4.0 standard. As for the PCIe ports, there are two PCIe 5.0 16x which will work in x8/x8 if you opt for SLI or CrossfireX.

The socket and memory slots :

The space around the socket is very clear and will be easy enough to isolate with rubber for testing under LN2. Our EVGA Z690 DARK K|NGP|N has only two DDR5 memory slots for a maximum of two memory sticks.

Why by four? This is a card clearly intended for overclockers and RAM is one of the components that you want to overclock as much as possible in order to boost your scores in benchmarks. Having only two slots means that the distance to the socket is smaller, which makes it easier to stabilize the RAM but also limits disturbances. It officially supports memory kits up to 6600 MHz+ (OC) for a maximum amount of 64 GB. The fact that the two memory slots have been moved to the upper part of the case also allows for better air circulation between the front of the case and the fan on the CPU, as the memory kit is no longer a barrier.

RGB or not RGB :

While EVGA had gone for some backlit areas with the X570 DARK, this is not the case with the Z690 at all. Personally, on this type of cards, it is quite justified!

On the other hand, we couldn’t do without showing you the back of the motherboard and the superb cut-out of the back plate which reveals the back of the socket but also the name of the series printed directly on the PCB. It’s a shame to know that this area will no longer be visible once the motherboard is inserted into your case.