MSI MEG Z690 Unify Review 7

MSI MEG Z690 Unify Review

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Introduction

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Being the first to offer something new isn't always easy, especially in terms of garnering popularity, yet Intel believes the consumer market is ready for the next big thing. With the release of Intel's 12th Gen Core processors in late 2021 came a new socket. LGA 1700 is supported by the Z690 chipset, which also holds the privilege of being the first to bring PCIe Gen 5.0 and DDR5 to the consumer market. While we wait for AMD to release the next generation of Ryzen CPUs and a new CPU socket of its own, AMD processors continue to offer welcome competition even as the AM4 platform starts to reach end of life.

For now though, Intel's 12th Gen Core processors are the only ones currently offering native PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 support, giving the company a head start. The Intel Z690 chipset has also been given a connection speed boost with the change to the DMI 4.0 interference at 16 GT/s, a doubling over DMI 3.0 found on the previous LGA 1200 socket. The next-biggest change is dual support for either DDR4 or DDR5 memory modules by the CPU, which has motherboard manufacturers offering a variety of configurations. Add this all together and Intel currently is the only platform satisfying various users and their specific needs.


MSI has come prepared with multiple product lines from the entry-level MAG Pro B660 to the flagship MEG Z690 Godlike. The MEG naming convention serves as MSI's upper-mid to high-end line for Intel motherboards. Generally offering expanded performance compared to the MPG series as well as some additional premium features, the MEG Z690 lineup typically comprises three models: the Unify, Ace, and Godlike. The MSI MEG Z690 Unify is the lowest entry of the MEG family, but still caters to consumers interested in more than the basics one may find at a lower price point.

The MSI MEG Z690 Unify features a dedicated VRM design with 19 power stages, five M.2 sockets, and an additional BIOS flashback function to get you out of unwanted situations. To round out the experience, the MSI MEG Z690 Unify also offers great connectivity with the newest WiFi 6E technology and Dual 2.5G LAN for those who need to transfer data quickly. It also includes SLI and CrossFire support and PS/2 connectivity for legacy peripherals. There is a lot to cover in this review, so let's take a closer look at the MSI MEG Z690 Unify.

Specifications

Specifications
CPU Support:Intel Socket LGA1700 12th Gen Core,
Pentium Gold, and Celeron processors
Power Design:CPU Power: 19-phase
iGPU Power: not supported
Chipset:Intel Z690
Integrated Graphics:Not supported
Memory:4x DIMM, Support up to 128GB
2x Single Rank DDR5-6666+ (OC)
2x Dual Rank DDR5-5600+
4x Single Rank DDR5-4000+
4x Dual Rank DDR5-4000+
BIOS:AMI UEFI BIOS
Expansion Slots: 2x PCIe Gen5 x16 slots (x16/x0) or (x8/x8)
1x PCIe 4.0 x4 slots
Storage: 6x SATA 6 Gb/s ports
4x M.2 Sockets (SATA3/PCIe Gen4 x4)
1x M.2 Socket (SATA3/PCIe Gen3 x4)
Networking:2x Intel I225-V 2.5 Gb Ethernet
1x Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX210
Rear Ports:Clear CMOS button
BIOS Flash button
PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
2x 2.5 Gb Ethernet
2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (5 Gbps)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 20 Gbps (Type-C)
2x USB 3.2 Gen2 10 Gbps (Type-A)
2x USB 2.0 ports
2x Wi-Fi antenna connectors
5x Audio jacks
1x Optical S/PDIF Out port
Audio:1x Realtek ALC4080 Codec
Multi-GPU:Supports AMD CrossFire
Supports NVIDIA SLI
Fan Headers:8x 4-pin
Form Factor:ATX Form Factor: 12.0 x 9.6 in.; 30.5 x 24.4 cm
Exclusive Features:
  • Audio Boost 5
  • 2.5G LAN
  • LAN Manger
  • Intel Wi-Fi
  • M.2 Shield Frozr
  • K7 thermal pad
  • Choke pad
  • Smart Fan Control
  • Heat-pipe Design
  • Mystic Light
  • Mystic Light Extension
  • Mystic Light SYNC
  • Ambient Device
  • EZ LED Control
  • EZ DEBUG LED
  • Lighting Gen 5 PCI-e Slot
  • Lighting Gen 4 M.2
  • Dual CPU Power: 8+8 EPS
  • 2 oz copper thickened PCB
  • PCIe Steel Armor
  • Pre-installed I/O Shielding
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May 29th, 2022 05:25 EDT change timezone

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