Is Z790 better than Z690 motherboards?

After a long wait, Intel finally released its all-new Raptor Lake CPUs. One of their most exciting features is their support for LGA 1700 socket, which their predecessors primarily used (12th-Gen CPUs). For the latest 13th gen Processors, You should get Z790 chipset motherboards.

So, should you buy the latest Z790 motherboards? Not necessarily, as of now, because you can still use the older z690 motherboards with your latest 13th-generation chipset.

But the question is, will you miss any performance or feature improvements if you don’t get the Z790 motherboards? Well, to answer this question, I will compare the motherboards with the Z790 and Z690 chipsets. It will be an in-depth comparison to determine the correct answer.

So, let’s get going!

Z790 Vs. Z690: Key Differences

Let’s discuss the critical differences between the two motherboards.

1. Increment in DDR5 speeds.

While DDR5 memory is supported by both the Z790 and Z690, Intel has been quite persistent about maintaining DDR4 support through 2024. In contrast, AMD’s AM5 socket solely supports DDR5 memory.

The Z690 supported DDR5 memory with only transfer rates up to 4800 MT/s. But the latest Z790 motherboard supports DDR5 memory with speeds of up to 5600 MT/s. 

2. Updated PCIe lanes and an additional USB port.

So, if you compare their specifications, you won’t find many differences. Furthermore, both motherboards use the same LGA 1700 socket; hence their features are highly comparable. 

The Z790 motherboards have two minor upgrades. First, you receive an additional USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 20 GB/s port, which brings the total to 5 20GB/s ports. The Z690 motherboards came with four 20 GB/s ports.

Second, although both motherboards have 28 PCI express lanes, the configuration has been significantly altered to support better communication.

Compared to Z690, which had 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes overall, Z790 has just 8 lanes. Thanks to the Z790’s 20 total PCIe 4.0 lanes, better connectivity options are now available, up from 12 in the Z690.

The number of M.2 slots has increased with the reallocation of PCI express lanes. The Z690 motherboard from the previous generation could only handle four M.2 slots; however, the Z790 motherboard can support up to five.

Final Verdict

As we have already witnessed, there aren’t many distinctions between the two motherboards. Almost everything is the same in Z690 & Z790; only the reallocated PCIe lanes and a slightly higher DDR5 memory clock speed are some notable changes. 

Therefore, using the Z690 won’t cause problems if you don’t want the little upgrades that the Z790 offers. Additionally, a last-generation motherboard will be easier on your wallet.


Does upgrading from Z690 to Z790 make sense?

Generally speaking, there is only a need to replace the Z690 motherboard with the newest Z790 if you genuinely desire the few advancements that the Z790 offers.

Can I utilize a Z690 motherboard with my i9-13900K processor?

Yes, any 13th-gen chipset can be used with Z690 motherboards since Raptor Lake CPUs use the older LGA 1700 socket. So you should be ready with just a BIOS update from your motherboard maker.

What distinguishes Z790 from Z690?

Nothing humongous has changed with the latest Z790 chipset from Intel. A second USB 3.2 20 GBps connector has been added, and the motherboard now supports up to 5600 MT/s DDR5 memory in addition to more PCI express lanes being reallocated for more PCIe 4.0 lanes.

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