ASRock’s Z690 Extreme WiFi 6E might imply it’s a high-end motherboard, but the price (currently $196.99) is a far cry. A step above the PG Velocita and below the premium Taichi, the Extreme has almost everything most users want. This includes 3 M.2 sockets, 8 SATA ports, 2 2.5 GbE ports, integrated Wi-Fi 6E, excellent power delivery, and an all-black display with bright RGB that you can proudly show off in your chassis. Appearance included.
The Z690 Extreme’s performance during testing depended on the benchmark. In general, single-threaded or light-threaded benchmarks performed well, but highly multi-threaded benchmarks tended to yield below average results. For example, it was great with Procyon Office, but slow with 7Zip, Handbrake, and Cinebench. Other than that, other tests, including gaming and power consumption, were average. To get the most out of this board in multi-threaded tests, a simple BIOS tweak is required. Otherwise this is a performance board. There are only 5 type A ports on the rear IO (there are multiple headers for front panel ports), so you should make sure it’s enough for your needs.
Below, take a closer look at the features and specs to get a better idea of how this budget Z690 motherboard compares to the competition, and see if Extreme ranks on our best motherboards list. To do. Before we get into all the details, here’s the full list of specs from ASRock’s website.
Specifications: ASRock Z690 Extreme WiFi 6E
|voltage regulator||15 phases (13 60A DrMOS MOSFETs for Vcore)|
|video port||HDMI (v2.1)|
|DisplayPort (v1.4 – 8K@60Hz)|
|USB port||(1) USB 3.2 Gen 2, Type-C (10Gbps)|
|(1) USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps)|
|(4) USB 3.2 Gen1 (5Gbps)|
|network jack||(1) 2.5GbE|
|audio jack||(5) Analog + SPDIF|
|PCIe x16||(1) v5.0 (x16)|
|(1) v4.0 (x4)|
|(1) v3.0 (x4)|
|PCIe x 1||(1) v.3.0 (x1)|
|DIMM slots||(4) DDR4 5333+(OC), 128GB capacity|
|M.2 socket||(1) PCIe 4.0 x4 (64Gbps) / PCIe (up to 80mm)|
|(1) PCIe 3.0 x4 (32Gbps) / PCIe + SATA (up to 80mm)|
|(1) PCIe 4.0 x4 (64Gbps) / PCIe (up to 110mm)|
|SATA port||(8) SATA3 6Gbps (supports RAID 0/1/5/10)|
|USB header||(1) USB v3.2 Gen 2×2, Type-C (20Gbps)|
|(2) USB v3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps)|
|(2) USB v2.0 (480Mbps)|
|fan/pump header||(7) 4-pin (CPU, CPU/Water Pump, Chassis/Water Pump)|
|RGB header||(3) aRGB (3 pin)|
|(1) RGB (4 pin)|
|diagnostic panel||(4) POST LEDs|
|ethernet controller||(1) Intel I219-V (GbE)|
|(1) Realtek Dragon RTL8125BG (2.5GbE)|
|Wi-Fi/Bluetooth||Intel AX210 Wi-Fi 6E (2x2ax, MU-MIMO, 2.4/5/6GHz, 160MHz, BT 5.2)|
|USB controller||ASMedia ASM1074|
|HD audio codec||Realtek ALC1220|
|DDL/DTS||✗ / ✗|
|✗ / ✗||3 years|
Inside the Box of ASRock Z690 Extreme WiFi 6E
Along with the motherboard, ASRock has included a few accessories in the box that are designed to get your system up and running without having to go to the store. There is also a graphics card holder (attached to the board) to support heavy video cards and prevent sagging. Below is a complete list of included accessories.
- (4) SATA cable
- Wi-Fi antenna
- (3) M.2 screws
- (2) M.2 Standoff
- velcro strap
- extreme keycaps
- Support DVD
- User guide
ASRock Z690 Extreme WiFi 6E Design
ASRock’s Z690 Extreme WiFi 6E is a great looking board for the price. His 6-layer PCB in black with 2oz copper traces has a large notch cut out of his PCB by the SATA port and the flat corners on the edges set it apart from the competition. All heatsinks and shrouds are black with a brushed aluminum finish. The chipset heatsink and rear IO shroud have blue accent pieces that break the monotony of black. All slots (except the primary PCIe slot) and sockets are also black.
If you’re into RGB lighting, Extreme has you covered. There are multiple RGBs under the chipset heatsink and the rear IO cover to illuminate these areas. Along the right edge of the backside of the board is an additional RGB strip that shines through the translucent “Extreme” branding along the same edge. Integrated RGB is bright and colors are saturated. If RGB is your thing and you’re on a tight budget, Extreme offers one of the most impressive light shows out of the box.
Starting with the top half of the board, we’ll take a closer look at the rear IO shroud and heatsink below. The shroud’s RGB shines through ASRoc’s sk branding and reflects off the top of the left VRM heatsink. His VRM heatsink with a brushed aluminum finish has enough mass and surface area to keep the power bit working within specs. Just above the VRM heatsink are two 8-pin EPS connectors that power the CPU (one is required).
Looking to the right, past the socket and in front of the DRAM slots, is the first 4-pin fan header (CPU_FAN1). There are a total of six 4-pin headers scattered across the board, all ranging from 1A/12W (CPU header) to 2A/24W headers (CPU/water pump and chassis/water pump headers). CPU_FAN2/WP and CHA_FAN1-5/WP auto-detect the fan type in use. Fan control is handled by the BIOS or A-Tune application.
To the right are four non-hardened DRAM slots with single-sided locking mechanisms. ASRock says Extreme supports DDR4 5333+(OC) up to 128 GB, but reaching these speeds depends on individual hardware, so your mileage may vary. The 4000 kit runs fine and I would expect plenty of headroom left especially when using two sticks.
Pass two more fan headers along the right edge and encounter the first (four) RGB headers. There are two 3-pin ARGB headers in this location, a 4-pin RGB header and a third 3-pin ARGB header along the bottom edge of the board.
The right edge features a unique design element with the word ‘Extreme’ written on a translucent PCB layer, with bright RGB illuminating the ‘Extreme’ branding across the right edge of the board. Of course, if you’re not a fan or just want to turn it off, you can easily do so with ASRock Polychrome software.
About half an inch offset from the edge, we come across a 24-pin ATX connector that powers the board, a front panel USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20 Gbps) Type-C header, and a 19-pin front panel USB 3.2 Gen 1. (5 Gbps) header. Two additional USB 2.0 headers can be found along the bottom edge.
The Z690 Extreme’s power delivery consists of 13 phases of Vcore. Power is supplied from the EPS connector to a Renesas RAA229131 20-phase controller, which feeds thirteen 60A Intersil ISL99360 SPS MOSFETs. Vcore’s 780A isn’t much compared to many Z690 boards, but Extreme handled the Intel Core i9-12900K overclock with minimal fuss. It required a bit more voltage than most motherboards at the same clock speed (see overclocking section for details), but it didn’t interfere with overclocking settings.
On the left side of the bottom half of the board is a fully exposed audio section centered around the Realtek ALC1220 chip/codec. Also here are the 5 dedicated audio caps. This is last year’s flagship-class codec, but most users would find this solution perfectly acceptable, especially for boards that cost him less than $200.
At the center of the Extreme are three M.2 sockets (four with the Key-E Wi-Fi adapter included), two of which have heatsinks. The top socket M2_1 connects through the CPU and provides 64 Gbps bandwidth through the PCIe 4.0 x4 interface. M2_2 connects through the chipset and supports 80mm SATA and PCIe 3.0 x4 (32 Gbps) modules. The bottom socket supports PCIe 4.0 x4 devices up to 110mm and connects through the chipset. Note that there is minimal lane sharing here. If a SATA-based storage device occupies M2_2, SATA port 7 will be disabled. In addition, Z690 Extreme supports RAID0/1/5 on M.2 socket.
In the middle of the board are three full-length PCIe slots and one open-ended x1 slot for graphics and other PCIe-based devices. The top socket (PCIE1) connects through the CPU and is PCIe 5.0 x16, providing the only PCIe 5.0 connection on the board. Other full-length slots connect through the chipset. The middle slot (PCIE2) runs at PCIe 4.0 x4 and the bottom slot (PCIE4) runs at 3.0 x4 speed. Finally, the x1 sized slot also delivers bandwidth through the chipset and runs at PCIe 3.0 x1. If you’re into multi-GPU technology, the Z690 Extreme supports AMD Crossfire.
Move past the chipset heatsink to the far right and you’ll come across 6 of the 8 SATA ports. These run from the chipset, but SATA7/8 use the ASMedia chip to borrow bandwidth. I like the notch cut out of the motherboard here. Not only does it give it an unusual design element, but it also helps with cable management. These SATA ports support RAID0/1/5/10 modes. The other two SATA ports protrude from the bottom edge of the board and are not part of the RAID configuration.
Another feature worth mentioning in this area is the 4 LED POST status checker. Each LED represents a function during POST. If the system hangs during POST, the LED corresponding to the error (Boot, VGA, DRAM, or CPU) remains lit. For boards that don’t have a more detailed 2-character display, this is a good way to see where the problem lies.
Several headers are exposed at the bottom of the board. You’ll find the usual stuff like an extra USB port and his RGB header. Below is the complete list from left to right.
- front panel audio
- 3-pin ARGB header
- 4-pin RGB header
- 4 pin chassis fan header
- 5-pin Thunderbolt AIC header
- (2) USB 2.0 headers
- Power/LED Speaker Header
- (2) SATA ports
- SPI TPM header
- USB 3.2 Gen 1 header
- system panel header
The rear IO area comes with a pre-installed IO plate. It has a black and gray background with easy-to-read gray port labels reminiscent of the PG Velocita line. The IO on the back only has 6 USB ports, which isn’t enough for some users (me!). There are USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) Type-C ports, 1 USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) port, and 4 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) ports (green ports are used for BIOS flashback feature ). Additional ports are available via headers.
Video output consists of Displayport and HDMI ports. The Z690 Extreme offers his two Ethernet ports of GbE and 2.5 GbE. Additional ports include a Wi-Fi 6E antenna connector, a 5-plug analog plus SPDIF audio stack, a legacy PS/2 port, and a BIOS flashback button.
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