MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi Review 8

MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi Review

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Introduction

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With the release of Intel's 12th Gen Core processors comes a new socket. This LGA 1700 socket 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. With AMD Zen processors continuing to offer welcome competition among chipmakers, Intel has been struggling to keep ahead of the race in recent times, which last year's lukewarm reception of Intel's 11th Generation Core processors made evident.

Intel is at it again trying to win back consumers, and they are right on target. The company has slowly been losing ground in the multi-threaded production sector with workloads that prosumer and professionals are looking for in a work environment. Nothing currently comes close to AMD's Threadripper lineup, but the entry price point is equally high. Being Intel, we can only suspect that a HEDT followup is in the works. For now, the 12th Gen Core processors are holding firm as top-tier gaming CPUs. Accompanying these new CPUs is the Z690 chipset that not only has set the stage for what is to come, but allows motherboard manufactures to showcase what makes a complete experience.

The first big addition is that Intel's 12th Gen Core processors offer native PCIe 5.0 support, which means future support of products that have just now reached the enterprise market. The Z690 chipset has also been given a connection speed boost with a 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. In addition to PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 support, the Z690 chipset offers native USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 connectivity. USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 bandwidth offers speeds of up to 20 Gb/s. All of this combined has Intel ready to take back market share in a big way.


The MPG naming convention serves as MSI's mid-range line for Intel motherboards. Generally offering similar performance to the MEG series, but without some of the premium features, the MPG Z690 lineup typically comprises three models, the Carbon, Force, and Edge. The MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi serves as the highest entry for the MPG family, providing a modest number of features while maintaining an attainable price tag.

The MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi features a dedicated VRM design with 18 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 MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi also offers great connectivity with the newest WiFi 6E technology and 2.5G LAN for those who need to transfer data quickly. There is a lot to cover in this review, so let's take a closer look at what the MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi has to offer.

Specifications

Specifications
CPU Support:Intel Socket LGA1700 12th Gen Core,
Pentium Gold, and Celeron processors
Power Design:CPU Power: 18-phase
iGPU Power: 1-phase
Chipset:Intel Z690
Integrated Graphics:Dependent on installed CPU
Memory:4x DIMM, 128GB, dual-channel DDR5-6400+ (OC)
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:1x Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet
1x Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX210
Rear Ports: 5x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports
4x USB 2.0 ports
1x HDMI™ port
1x DisplayPort 2x Wi-Fi antenna connectors
1x 2.5 Gb Ethernet
5x audio jacks
1x Optical S/PDIF out port
1x BIOS Flash button
Audio:1x Realtek ALC4080 Codec
Fan Headers:6x 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
  • Pump Fan
  • 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 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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