Intel Z690 vs Z590 Motherboards

Intel Z690 vs Z590 Motherboards Chip Set Comparison: Which Should You Buy?

The 12th Gen Alder Lake is launching and offers compatibility with Z690 chipsets. Since the Z690 is upon us, should you be getting rid of the Z590? Let’s compare these two options in our Intel Z690 vs Z590 motherboards article below, and see how they measure up to one another, so you know exactly what they offer, and which one might be a better fit for you.

Z690 vs Z590 Motherboard Specs & Comparison

Chipset Z690 Z590
Socket LGA1700 LGA1200
Supports which CPUs?
  • 12th Gen Intel Core (Alder Lake)
  • 13th Gen Intel Core (Raptor Lake)
  • 10th Gen Intel Core (Comet Lake)
  • 11th Gen Intel Core (Rocket Lake)
Number of PCIe 5.0 lanes 0 0
Number of PCIe 4.0 lanes 12 0
Number of PCIe 3.0 lanes 16 24
How many USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 (5Gbps) ports? 10 10
How many USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 (10Gbps) ports? 10 10
How many USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20Gbps) ports? 4 3
How many SATA 6Gbps ports? 8 6
How many USB 2.0 Ports? 14 14
Chipset Link DMI 4.0 x8 DMI 3.0 x8


Major Differences Between Intel Z690 vs Z590

LGA 1700 Socket

The new Alder Lake CPUs are a big change compared to the previous iterations. They have a rectangular look in contrast to the previous square design. They also have 500 additional pins compared to the LG 1200 and greater power reserved for computing. 

PCIe 5.0 Support

Intel looks to be playing catchup with AMD and has revealed support for PCIe 4.0, thanks to the X570 and B550 motherboards. When Rocket Lake hit the market, Intel followed suit and showed that the 12 Gen Alder Lake will have PCIe 5.0 support. 

The casual PC user won’t need this kind of data bandwidth, especially since it was only two years ago that CPUs were supporting PCIe 4.0 natively and NVMe SSDs hit the scene. This should be considered additional traffic area for any lossless media that could be hiding out on your Sabrent Rockets and Samsung 970 Evos. 

DDR5 Memory Support

Intel has ensured that its new motherboards will have DDR5 RAM (more info on PCWorld). What is DDR5? It is essentially a higher threshold for frequency and capacity, says AndroidAuthority. Plus, it can deliver power straight to the module using a lower voltage (1.1V – source). It also comes with two more customizable user profiles in the XMP 3.0. 

DDR5 RAM looks enticing but is suffering with some major CAS latency problems and a high price tag, which is why you may want to stay with the Z690 mobos that have already been built for DDR4. 

General Connectivity

The connectivity is pretty much the same as the older version when you move from Z590 to Z690. You do get four USB 3.0 20Gbps ports, though, which is two more than before. You also get two extra SATA 6Gbps ports. That may be more than you need, though, and some of the extras are just there to make the package look appealing rather than add any real value to it. 


Chipset Uplink

If you install a Z590 with a 10th gen CPU, the configuration will change, going back to DMI 3.0 x4. The Z690 has an identical number of lanes compared to the Z590, though it is running version 4.0. That means Giga transfers happen twice as fast thanks to the 16 GT/s per lane. 


Supported CPUs for Z690 and Z590

The Z590 supports 10th Generation Comet Lake processors i3, i5, i7, and i9, as well as 11th Generation Rocket Lake processors i5, i7, and i9.

The Z690 supports 12th Generation Alder Lake processors i3, i5, i7, and i9. 


Intel Z590
Source – AnAntech

Who is the Z690 chipset for and why you should buy a Z690 motherboard?

Intel and AMD are duking it out with their processors, with Alder Lake upping the competition. If you want the latest and greatest that the tech world has to offer, then definitely check out the Z690 motherboard and all of its tech features. The 13th Generation Raptor is bringing all sorts of improvements, similar to what we saw a few years ago with the Zen 2 from AMD and how it operated so well with X570 and B550. The Z690 looks to be upping the game for everyone, making it a smart choice for the tech savvy out there. 


Fresh New Architecture

The Z690 opens up all the features of the LGA1700 in providing the best support for Alder Lake processors. That in turn supports the P-core and E-core architecture of the BIG.little design. It also allows you to take full advantage of a number of improvements and gives you the top-of-the-line experience with all of its multi-taking capabilities and multi-core implementation. You don’t get all of that if you are using the Z590 or Z490. 

DDR5 Early Adoption

For those with money to burn, there is a version of the Z690 that is designed for DDR5. It is the first of its kind, so we are not anticipating it will do anything spectacular right out of the gate. Most reviewers say there is not much point to this upgrade unless you have to have super high memory bandwidth. That upgrade is available if you want it, though. There may be less expensive ones in the future, but for now, the Z690 motherboard is what’s available, and you might be able to insert less expensive DDR5 modules into that motherboard later on. 


PCIe 5.0 Early Adoption?

The Z690 gives you the option to expand and not be concerned about how much bandwidth you are using. That’s a nice perk, and the PCIe 5.0 gives you a lot of bandwidth to play with. Using the CPU-chipset link that is already configured for the Z690 provides you with some options and plenty of freedom. 



Who is the Z590 chipset for and why should you still buy a Z590 motherboard?

While the Z590 was only released about eight months before the Z690, it is more widely available. The price has settled as well, and that makes it a cheaper and possibly more economical option. If you want all the chipset functionality and don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, the Z590 works well with both 10th and 11th Gen processors. 


11th Gen now the price-to-performance choice?!

While in the past, the Z490 motherboards were the cheaper options and the Z590 were the more powerful ones, the market has changed. Alder Lake CPUs and the Z690 are pushing out the Rocket Lake competition. The edge comes down mainly to which one costs less. 

You could also go with the 19th Gen Z590, and this one can be economical as well if you do some shopping around. There are going to be chipset bandwidth limitations, of course, but you are getting great VRMs and superb connectivity, and you’re helping keep your 10600K, 10700K or 10900K from overheating as much. 


Final Thoughts: Stick to 11th Gen for cost, Move to 12th Gen for performance

So, Intel Z690 vs Z590, which is better? The Z690 may be a good investment at some point, but it is prohibitively expensive for many. The Z690’s biggest problem is its price point, and that’s the only reason to stick with the Z590 over the Z690 right now. The one you should go with will depend on how much futureproofing you want your chipset to have and how much cash you have to spend on it. If you find a good deal on the Z690, then by all means grab it. 

If you don’t, though, then consider sticking with the Z590. If you get a newer CPU, however, the Z690 makes the most sense because of how forward thinking it is designed to be. Do you have views on Intel Z690 vs Z590? Let us know below!

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