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GIGABYTE Z690 AERO D Combines Function with Absolute Form

GIGABYTE's AERO line of motherboards and notebooks target creators who like to game. The company is ready with a premium motherboard based on the Intel Z690 chipset, the Z690 AERO D. This has to be the prettiest looking motherboard we've come across in a long time, and it appears to have the chops to match this beauty. The Socket LGA1700 motherboard uses large ridged-aluminium heatsinks over the chipset, M.2 NVMe slots, and a portion of the rear I/O shroud. Aluminium fin-stack heatsinks fed by heat-pipes, cool the CPU VRM. You get two PCI-Express 5.0 x16 slots (x8/x8 with both populated). As an AERO series product, the board is expected to be loaded with connectivity relevant to content creators, although the box is missing a Thunderbolt logo. We expect at least 20 Gbps USB 3.2x2 ports, and 10 GbE networking, Wi-Fi 6E.

Gigabyte's Z690 Aorus Xtreme Leaks, Features Two PCIe 5.0 x16 Slots

With only about two weeks until Intel's official launch of its Alder Lake CPUs and the Z690 chipset, it would appear that the leaks are getting kicked up a notch and the latest leak is a rather intriguing one to say the least. Gigabytes Z690 Aorus Xtreme is a rather unusual looking motherboard, in as much as you can make a motherboard that look unusual, least not with regards to the slot placement, but also for the peculiar cover over the DRAM slots.

It's not quite clear what the function of the memory cover is beyond aesthetics, if any, but it seems unlikely that it has an integrated LCD screen, although not unthinkable. Pretty much the entire board is covered in either metal or plastic, which makes this look like a real chore to build, at least if you're planning on using M.2 SSDs. The standout feature here is that the board features a pair of PCIe 5.0 x16 slots, although as per current consumer boards, the bandwidth would be shared between the slots if the second one is used, so both slots end up as x8 slots. There's also a third PCIe x16 slot, but no indication of the bandwidth available to it.

ASUS' Prime Z690-P Motherboards Make an Early Appearance

The first mainstream Z690 boards have made an appearance online in the shape of ASUS' Prime Z690-P series. As with most of ASUS' Prime boards, these are fairly basic boards, but shouldn't leave the average user wanting for much, although ASUS has made a rather odd layout decision on these boards that we can't quite grasp.

The four models on display are the Prime Z690-P WiFi D4, Prime Z690-P D4, Prime Z690-P and Prime Z690M-Plus D4. The last model doesn't strictly belong to the Prime Z690-P family, but it follows a pretty similar overall design. The Prime Z690-P is obviously the only DDR5 SKU among the four boards, although from what we can tell, there are no other differences between it and the equivalent DDR4 model.

Intel 12th Gen Core Availability from November 4, Pre-orders Begin October 27: Report

Intel 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake" desktop processors will be available from November 4, 2021, according to a leaked Intel channel document by Wccftech. It confirms that Intel will only debut unlocked "K" and "KF" SKUs and companion Z690 chipset in November, with the first wave being limited to the Core i9-12900K, i9-12900KF, i7-12700K, i7-12700KF, i5-12600K, and i5-12600KF. Pre-orders of these parts, along with product announcements, are set to go live on October 27. Reviews of these processors will be published on the same day as retail availability, on November 4. There's no word on when the "locked" non-K SKUs and more affordable chipsets, such as the B660, H670, and H610, come out, but older reports suggest an early-2022 launch for those. Given that memory isn't tied with these dates, DDR5 memory modules should be available any day now.

Huge List of Close to 100 Upcoming Z690 Motherboards Leaks

If the amount of upcoming Z690 was anything to go by, one could presume that the motherboard makers are backing Intel's upcoming platform to the max, as a leaked list of what should be close to every Z690 that will hit the market, counts a total of 98 boards. The list covers ASRock, ASUS, Biostar, NZXT, Gigabyte and MSI, but not EVGA and some other smaller players.

ASUS is apparently planning no less than 30 different models/SKUs, since some are clearly DDR4/DDR5 SKUs of the same model or SKUs with or without Wi-Fi, but even so, that's a massive launch lineup. Gigabyte isn't far behind with 27, followed by MSI at 24 and ASRock at 14, if we didn't count wrong. There isn't much news in terms of details of each of the boards here though, but it's clear that the high-end SKUs are mostly DDR5, while the mid-range and standard models are mostly using DDR4. The only slight surprise here is that only ASRock has more DDR4 than DDR5 models, with ASUS having exactly half of each, but Gigabyte and MSI are going with a preference for DDR5. ASRock, ASUS and Gigabyte appear to have liquid cooled SKUs, but it's not clear if MSI will offer such a SKU of its Godlike board.

MSI Teases MEG Z690 ACE, a White-themed MPG Board, and Possible MAG Z690 Tomahawk

Ahead of the rumored late-October debut of Intel's 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake" processors, motherboard makers started teasing their compatible Socket LGA 1700 products. Older reports suggest that in 2021, Intel will only release unlocked "K" and "KF" SKUs, and motherboard partners will only launch boards based on the top Intel Z690 chipset. The lineup is expected to be joined by more affordable non-K SKUs in Q1-2022, along with lower chipset models such as the B660 and H670.

The MEG Z690 ACE appears to introduce a new design scheme with die-cast metal mesh rear I/O shrouds, and a gold+black trim. The I/O shroud design is interesting as it lets the VRM heatsink underneath breathe better. The silver-white MPG motherboard is possibly the MPG Z690 Force. MSI is probably trying to get this to rival the ROG Strix-A SKU by ASUS. The third teaser, of a brushed gunmetal shroud, is likely the MAG Z690 Tomahawk. Like most other brands, MSI appears to have an extensive lineup of Socket LGA 1700 motherboards with DDR4 memory slots, although boards with DDR4 are restricted to the MAG and entry-level PRO series. The mid-tier MPG and enthusiast-segment MEG series boards only come with DDR5.

Asus ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi Leak Shows Off Stacked Board Design

Over the past few generations of Mini-ITX boards we've seen Asus add more and more stacked layers and its upcoming ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi seems to be taking this to the next level with what appears to be no less than three stacked layers on top of the main PCB. What can be seen from the side-shot of the boards is that there's at least one PCB for audio as well as what appears to be an ARGB and fan header, as well as what should be two layers for M.2 NVMe SSDs with associated heatsinks.

The rest of the pictures of the board have been put through some kind of filter which makes it hard to ascertain any details, although we can spot a USB type-C and USB 3.0 front panel connector. Asus has carried over the VRM heatsink from the Strix Z590-I Gaming WiFi by the looks of things, although it seems like the extra NVMe slot has been implemented on the cost of two SATA ports. We'll have to wait until the official unveiling to find out the full details, which should be sometime next month.

ASUS Z690 Motherboards Listed by Canadian Retailer

Intel is set to launch their 12th Generation Alder Lake desktop processors on November 4th alongside the new Z690 chipset supporting DDR5 and PCIe 5.0. We have recently seen the first of these new Z690 motherboards from ASUS being listed for sale by PC Canada. The listings include TUF, ROG Maximus, ROG Strix, and Prime motherboards but we don't see any mention of Apex or Extreme boards so they may not be available at launch. The models all appear to retail for less than their Z590 counterparts except for some of the Prime series models which will come as a pleasant surprise to many. We are also aware that the VRM design for these boards will receive various upgrades according to a recent report from @Komachi. The Z690 Hero is set to feature a 20+1 phase design with 90 A Power Stages while the lower-end boards will get a 14+1 design.

BIOSTAR Teases Z690 Valkyrie and Racing Motherboards

BIOSTAR over the weekend teased two of its top Socket LGA1700 motherboards based on the Intel Z690 chipset, under the Valkyrie and Racing brands. The outline drawing does precious more than to highlight the combination of the VRM heatsink and rear I/O shroud for both models. Outlines in the background clearly highlight the lengthy LGA1700 socket, an elaborate CPU VRM setup that pulls power from two 8-pin EPS connectors, an unremarkable chipset heatsink that extends into a combi-heatsink covering the M.2 slots. BIOSTAR is expected to launch these two alongside the first wave of 12th Gen Core processors.

Maximum OC Memory Clock Speed of Several Upcoming ASUS Z690 Leaked

While we wait for Intel's official launch of its Alder Lake platform, more leaks are making their way onto the internet and this time we get a sneak peek at the maximum memory speed at four different motherboards from ASUS. The model names of the boards leaked a couple of weeks ago, which makes this leak slightly more interesting, as we can get the full model names of the board this way, since the leaker was a bit sloppy here.

Two of the boards, the TUF Gaming Z690-Plus D4 and what we presume is the ROG Strix Z690-A Gaming D4, but the Wi-Fi version, as there are no Prime gaming boards, top out at 5,333 MHz. However, this shouldn't come as a surprise, as both boards rely on DDR4 and the highest memory speed is on par with ASUS' current Z590 boards.

Gigabyte's Z690 Motherboard SKU Names Leak

Once again, the Eurasian Economic Commission has provided us with a look into a wide range of upcoming motherboard models and this time it's Gigabyte's Z690 lineup. The company appears to be reading no less than 17 DDR5 models and 10 DDR4 models, which is simply a massive amount of motherboards. There are two models that caught our eye, firstly the Aorus Tachyon, which continues HiCookies overclocking SKU from the current Z590 Aorus Tachyon and secondly the Aorus Elite Stealth, which may or may not be a passively cooled board, suggesting the Z690 chipset might be coming with active cooling.

We'd hazard a guess and say that not all SKUs will be available at launch, since it's unlikely that there will be a demand for this many different models. A few other noteworthy mentions here include the Z690M Aorus Elite DDR4 (with or without Wi-Fi), which seems to be a higher-end mATX model and it looks like we're getting three Mini-ITX models with the Z690I Aorus Ultra, the Z690 Aero D and the Z690I A Ultra DDR4. Also gone is the Vision name, as it has been replaced with Aero, a brand Gigabyte has used for some of its AMD boards. Time will tell what actually lands in the various markets at the end, as it might be that some of these SKUs are region specific as well.

Intel Core i9-12900K "Alder Lake" Beats Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX at Cinebench R23 nT

An alleged Intel Core i9-12900K "Alder Lake-S" sample is shown beating the 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX HEDT processor at AMD's favorite benchmark, Cinebench R23, in its multi-threaded (nT) test. At this point it's not known whether the i9-12900K is overclocked, but the CPU-Z instance in the screenshot reads 5.30 GHz, which could very well be the processor's stock Thermal Velocity Boost frequency. The sample scored upward of 30000 points, putting it above the Threadripper 2990WX reference score in Cinebench.

The 2990WX is based on the "Zen+" microarchitecture, and released in 2018, but is a 32-core/64-thread chip that should have ripped through this rendering workload. The i9-12900K, on the other hand, has eight "Golden Cove" performance cores that have HyperThreading, in addition to 8 "Gracemont" efficiency cores that lack HTT. This benchmark was run on Windows 10, which lacks awareness of the Intel Thread Director, a hardware component that optimizes utilization of the two kinds of CPU cores. Windows 11 is known to feature better awareness of hybrid core architectures. The i9-12900K sample is possibly installed on a Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Ultra motherboard, and has 32 GB of DDR5-5200 memory (two modules, logically four 40-bit channels).

Intel Sapphire Rapids HEDT Processors & W790 Chipset Rumored to Launch Q3 2022

The Chinese source who published the first images of the Intel LGA1700 socket and Z690 chipset has now revealed some new information regarding the upcoming Alder Lake, Sapphire Rapids-X, and Raptor Lake products. The rumor claims that Intel will launch the W790 Workstation HEDT chipset in Q3 2022 alongside the 13th Generation Sapphire Rapids-X desktop series. This would be the first new HEDT launch from Intel in over 3 years with the previous 10th Gen Cascade Lake processors launching back in April 2019.

The rumor also states that Intel will launch the 13th Generation Raptor Lake desktop processors at the same time as their Sapphire Rapids-X HEDT lineup. There is also a note about Intel releasing the entire 600-series motherboard lineup in 2021 which is contrary to previous rumors which stated that Intel would only make the Z690 chipset available this year. This would be followed by a complete launch of all 12 Generation Alder Lake desktop processors and not just the overclockable K-series. This is the first time we have heard these rumors so while they come from a semi-reliable leaker we would recommend taking them with a healthy dose of skepticism.

ASUS Z690 Motherboard Lineup Hits Regulators, Mix of DDR5 and DDR4 Variants

A list of upcoming ASUS motherboards based on the Intel Z690 chipset hit the radar on the Euasian Economic Commission (EEC) website, and it's telling. Intel's upcoming "Alder Lake-S" 12th Gen Core desktop processors support both DDR5 and DDR4 memory, as they form a point of transition between the two memory standards. The company's 6th Gen Core "Skylake" technically supported DDR3, helping people move between it and the then new DDR4, but motherboard vendors mostly avoided DDR3 slots. This time, the stakes are different, as component prices are on the boil, and the company would want to avoid placing the additional burden of new memory on people with DDR4 memory kits. This reflects on the ASUS motherboard lineup.

The lineup consists of the usual, predictable list of ROG Maximus, ROG Strix, TUF Gaming, Prime, and ProArt series SKUs, but what's noteworthy is that many of these come with the extension "D4," denoting DDR4 memory slots. For example, something like the Prime Z690-A comes in two variants, the standard one with DDR5 slots, and the "D4" variant with DDR4. It's interesting to note here, that the top-of-the-line ROG Maximus XIV series lacks any D4 variant, which means they'll remain DDR5-exclusive. We can't tell just from the names whether any of these models features both DDR5 and DDR4 slots; but one can definitely expect other brands such as ASRock to come up with such crazy contraptions.

Intel Z690 Alder Lake Chipset Pictured

Today, we got ahold of the first picture showing Intel's upcoming Z690 chipset, the highest-end chipset offering for the Alder Lake lineup of processors. From previous leaks, we have concluded that Intel has enabled the Z690 chipset to be a very powerful offering. Featuring support for running either DDR4 or DDR5 memory, the Z690 chipset will allow motherboard AIBs to offer motherboards with both the new and current DDR standards, easing the transition to the new DDR5 memory. As far as PCIe connectivity, this high-end chipset produces 12 PCIe Gen5 lanes, along with 16 PCIe Gen3 lanes. This is, of course, just an addition to the 16 PCIe Gen5 lanes that the Alder Lake processor provides, enabling a wide portfolio of PCIe lanes for connecting SSDs and graphics cards.

Below, you can see the Z690 chipset image (热心市民描边怪 image), compared to the Z590 (AnandTech image) chipset, where there is a clear difference in size. The new Z690 chipset seems quite a lot bigger, and that is really not a surprise given the new technology stack that it brings.

Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Master & Elite Motherboards Listed for Sale

The Gigabyte Z690 AORUS MASTER and Gigabyte Z690 AORUS ELITE AX motherboards have recently been listed for sale at an Australian retailer. The LGA1700 motherboards will support Intel's upcoming Alder Lake 12th Generation Core series processors which are expected to launch in November. The motherboards were listed for 768.90 AUD and 438.90 AUD which equates to 572 USD and 327 USD respectively. These prices are approximately 10% more than their equivalent Z590 versions which should provide a good indication of general pricing for all upcoming Z690 motherboards.

The listings state that the Gigabyte Z690 AORUS MASTER will feature DDR4 memory compatibility which may be a mistake as manufacturers have announced that some high-end boards will be offered with DDR5 support. The motherboards will likely be some of the first consumer boards to support PCIe 5.0 which will enable faster storage with supported drives. These motherboards should be available to purchase in the coming months when Intel officially launches their 12th Gen Core series processors and Z690 chipset.

ASRock & NZXT Intel Z690, H670, B660, and H610 Motherboards Listed

The lineup of 600-Series motherboards planned by ASRock and NZXT for the upcoming 12th Generation Intel Core Series of processors has recently been published by VideoCardz. While NZXT has only two high-end Z590 motherboards listed with them being the N5-Z69XT, and the N7-Z69XT, ASRock has 36 listed across all the Z690, H670, B660, and H610 chipsets. The Z690 chipset will serve as the flagship platform for high-performance and overclocking while the H670 and B660 will take the mid-range and the H610 for entry-level boards. The list does not contain any Taichi, Aqua, or OC Formula series boards from ASRock as those may not be ready for day-one release or are still under active development.

ASRock will offer several of their motherboards in two variants with one offering integrated WiFi 6E networking, they also have an ITX option for each chipset. Intel is expected to announce their 12th Generation Core Series processors and Z690 chipset in late 2021 with the remaining chipsets to be announced at CES 2022. The entire list of motherboards from the two companies can be found below.
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