Intel has been one of the most leading tech companies of the 21st century. Over the past few years, Intel has delivered some of the most powerful gaming peripherals. Everyone understands the importance of a good work/gaming setup. In order to get that efficiency-boosting, everything has to be in order. But with the rapid advancements in the field of technology, it has become vital that we also updated in terms of our computer hardware and software.
While the Internet can hook you up with the latest software, the hardware will need some digging. One of the key aspects of every gaming setup is the motherboard. Among all the motherboard parts, chipset is the most important one that allows for the smooth and efficient functioning of the motherboard. Currently, some of the best chipsets available are the Z490, Z590, and the latest Z690 chipset.
Choosing can be tough when you have a pool of options at your disposal. However, it tends to be comparatively easier if you know the thorough difference between the three (Intel Z490 vs Z590 vs Z690). In this article, we will be discussing the difference between the Intel Z490, Z590 and Z690.
Intel Z490 Chipset Review
The Z490 Intel Chipset is the perfect fit for a 10th generation processor or looking for one. Unlike the Z390 Chipset, the Z490 uses LGA 1200 CPU socket for the new Comet Lake CPUs. Though the Z490 is often viewed as a cheap alternative to the Intel Z590, it does come with dozens of additional features. Despite being an older generation chipset, the Z490 was launched solely for a premium lineup of Intel 10th Gen motherboards that offer features such as effective VRMs and power delivery systems.
The Z490 is an efficient and budget-friendly choice if you aren’t looking for PCIe 4.0 support or memory overclocking features. Meanwhile, this Intel chipset bodes perfectly with Intel’s i3 and i5 Rocket Lake processors. In addition to saving you from the additional expenses, this chipset can get you better components such as an SSD or a GPU.
The Z490 currently stands as Intel’s most overclocking-friendly chipset and comes with a wide range of motherboard options. This high-end chipset is designed to support CPUs based on the B-series and the H-series. The, high processor level in the Z490 offers slightly high memory support and speed than the Intel Z390 chipset.
The Intel Z490 is a wise choice for those wanting to enjoy Intel’s premium chipset feature. However, if you are looking to build a high-end i7 or i9 setup, then you go for Z490 motherboard.
Intel Z590 Chipset Review
Launched back in 2020, Intel’s latest Z590 chipset is an incremental upgrade over Intel’s earlier Z490 chipset. However, both these motherboards use the same LGA 1200 sockets, making the Intel Z590 fully compatible with 10th and 11th generation Intel core processors. The new Z590 does have a significant amount of advantages over the previous Z490, precisely when it comes to connectivity.
Starting from the PCI Gen 4, this runs from the CPU but is a lot more optimized in this particular platform. It has 16 slots at the top that are directly routed towards the CPU. This means that if you wish to use either a PCI Gen 4 card or any graphic card, in particular, those should work just fine with the Intel Z590 chipset.
With the Intel Z590, you get additional features such as the Intel 2.5 Gbps LAN and 8 USB ports. Also, Intel has doubled the link speed with the Z590 with the PCIe 4.0 support, USB 3.2 support, and upgraded power delivery. Additionally, the chipset now has native support for USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20 Gbps), so we should see these ultra-fast USB Type-A and Type-C ports on most Z590 motherboards.
Intel Z690 Chipset Review
As we mentioned earlier, the Intel Z690 is the latest amongst Intel’s chipsets to be released. The Z690 pairs well with all the Intel’s 12th generation core processors (i5-12600K, i7-12700K & i9-12900K) since it marks the 1st consumer platform that offers full support to DDR5 memory. Compared to the Z590 and Z490, the Z690 sports sizeable benefits than the rest. Although Intel’s 12th gen CPUs support PCIe 5.0, the Intel Z690 Chipset sport an in-built PCIe 4.0.
If you remember, both the previous chipsets used to run on the Direct Media Interface (DMI) 3.0 version. Meanwhile, the Intel Z690 runs on the DMI 4.0 which is twice as fast as its predecessor. Apart from the major software changes, the chipset has undergone significant improvements in terms of hardware. To go along with the features, the Intel Z690 support more PCIe lanes, SATA ports, and USB 3.2 2×2 ports as compared to the earlier chipsets.
In terms of connectivity, the Intel Z690 comes with a Wifi 6E instead of the usual Wifi 6. One of the most important features of the Intel Z690 is that it sports Intel’s LGA 1700 socket that offers complete support to Intel’s 12th gen CPUs. In addition to the Wifi 6E, Intel has added a 5G adapter on board to fasten the network response. Unfortunately, the biggest drawback will be that the only compatible processors to the Intel Z690 chipset are Intel’s Alder-Lake S processors.
Intel Z490 vs. Intel Z590: Comparison
Here is a detailed comparison chart outlining all the specifications between Intel Z490, Z590 & Z690 chipset.
|Specifications||Intel Z490||Intel Z590||Intel Z690|
|Socket||LGA 1200 CPU Socket||LGA 1200 CPU Socket||LGA 1700 CPU Socket|
|PCIe Configuration||x16, x8/x8, x8/x4/x4||x16, x8/x8, x8/x4/x4||x16, x8/x8, x8/x4/x4|
|SATA 3.0 Ports||6||6||8|
|Compatibility||10th And 11th Generation Intel Core Processors||10th And 11th Generation Intel Core Processors||12th Generation Intel Core Processors|
|Integrated WiFi||WiFi 6||WiFi 6E||WiFi 6E|
|DMI||3.0 (x4)||3.0 (x8)||4.0 (x8)|
1. Memory Support
The Intel Z590 supports the latest DDR4-3200 chipset, unlike the Z490, configured to support the older DDR4-2933 frequency. However, both these Intel chipsets are designed explicitly to support a maximum frequency of up to DDR4- 5333.
Although, this is costly, and you will lose out on your warranty if you overclock. Suppose you are stuck between the Z490 and the Z590, the Z590 utilizes efficient and faster RAM to deliver a power-efficient output. Given the high processor level in the Z490, it offers slightly high memory support and speed than the Intel Z390 chipset.
The Intel Z690 marks the first of Intel’s peripherals that offers support to DDR5 and DDR4 RAM. The memory support is a considerable bump from the earlier DDR4-3200 to at least DDR5-4800. To give you a rough estimate, the memory support for the Intel Z690 is likely to fall between DDR5 5200-5600 range.
The Intel Z590 comes with dozens of newly added connectivity options, such as the Intel 2.5 Gbps LAN and 8 USB ports. The USB 3.2 Generation 2.2 ports allow for a maximum data transfer speed of up to 20 Gbps. The Z590 is equipped with the Thunderbolt 4 controller that supports additional features such as an 8k display, secured encryption, utilizes efficient RAM, and delivers power-integrated graphics with the 11th Generation Intel Core Processors.
Apart from the Thunderbolt 4 slots, the Z590 also supports the Wifi 6E, allowing peripherals to connect to 6GHz via wireless blocks. Networking is where the Intel Z690 shines. There are maximum lanes that enable you to enjoy a full 64 GB bandwidth. Meanwhile, the integrated Wifi 6E and the 2.5 G Ethernet port gives you a faster network response time.
3. PCIe 4.0 & PCIe 5.0 Support
Starting from the PCI Gen 4, the Intel Z590 runs from the CPU but is a lot more optimized in this particular platform. At the top, the Intel Z590 has 16 slots that are routed directly to the CPU. Similarly, the latest 11th Generation Rocket Lake Intel CPUs come with PCIe 4.0 support which allows you to utilize the faster speeds.
In addition, the Z590 has a total of 20 lanes followed by x8 DMI support. Also, the Intel Z490 has now been configured to support the PCIe 4.0 on all the 11th generation Intel core processors. However, the majority of the manufacturers aren’t too keen on equipping the Z490 chipset on their motherboards, making the Z590 your best option.
Similar to the Intel Z590, the Z690 too has 20 lanes followed by 4.0 (x8) DMI support. Meanwhile, the Intel Z690 supports the PCIe 4.0 on Intel’s latest 12th generation Alder-lake CPUs, one of the stand-out features of these next-generation Z690 motherboards is the PCIe 5.0 support.
Intel’s Z690 chipset has 1×16 and 2×8 PCIe 5.0 lanes supporting x16 PCIe 5.0 graphics as well as 4x high-speed PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs. This consists of a total of x16 PCIe 5.0 lanes from the CPU set aside for graphics in either an x16 or x8/x8 configuration, and 4x PCIe 4.0.
4. CPU Chipset Link
The Z490 comes equipped with 4 DMI connectivity lines, whereas the Z590 features a whopping eight-lane architecture. While the Z490 has only 6 USB 3.2 Generation ports, the Z590 has 10 of them. The eight-lane architecture of the Intel Z590 allows for maximum bandwidth to the 8 PCIe 3.0 lanes.
In case of the Intel Z690, there are a total of 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes along with 4 more PCIe 4.0 lanes. The native PCIe 5.0 support almost doubles the Z690’s earlier bandwidth an enables you to enjoy the full 64 GBs.
5. Wireless Networking
The Intel Z590 is equipped with the Intel® Wi-Fi 6 AX201 and has an integrated MAC. These Z590 motherboards offer better connectivity as compared to the Z490, which also features the Intel® Wi-Fi 6 AX201. Meanwhile, the USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports allow for faster wireless networking, supporting speeds up to 20 Gbps. Meanwhile, Intel Z690’s integrated Wifi 6E and the 2.5G Ethernet gives you a faster network response as compared to the earlier chipsets.
6. USB Support
One of the critical features of the Intel Z590 is the USB 3.2 that can support up to 20 Gbps speeds for improved connectivity and upgraded power delivery. The majority of the Z590 motherboards feature ultra-fast Type-A and Type-C USB ports on their design. Meanwhile, the Intel Z490 supports up to 6 USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports along with six SATA3 ports.
Triumphing the two, Intel’s Z690 chipset features around 8 SATA 3 ports, 14 USB Ports, 4 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports, 10 USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 ports, 10 USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 ports, and 20 PCIe lanes with two sets of PCIe lanes segregated explicitly to support graphics and system storage.
Both Z490 and Z590 chipsets have a 6W thermal display. However, the Z490 is designed explicitly for those whose workflow does not call for memory overclocking and PCIe 4.0 support. Meanwhile, the Intel Z590 is the perfect option for those who like to push their system to the limit.
Apart from all this, there have been no significant updates to the Intel Z590 in terms of overlocking. But if it is overlocking that you need, then Z690 is the one go for. In addition to taking care of your work needs, this Z690 chipset offers the best of performances when gaming as well.
Also Read: Overclocking with Ryzen Master vs BIOS
Why Should You Choose An Intel Z490 Chipset?
The Z490 currently stands as Intel’s most overclocking-friendly chipset and comes with a wide range of motherboard options. This high-end chipset is designed to support CPUs based on the B-series and the H-series. The Z490 is amongst the premium motherboard lineup, providing additional features at a comparatively lower cost.
It stands as the perfect option for regular buyers whose workflow doesn’t call for memory overclocking and PCIe 4.0 support. Also, the added features include effective VRM’s and an upgraded power delivery system.
Why Should You Buy A Intel Z590 Chipset?
Intel’s latest Z590 is an incremental upgrade over the Z490, which was released back in 2020 and is fully compatible with Intel’s 10th and 11th generation processors. Also, Intel has doubled the link speed with the Z590 with the PCIe 4.0 support, USB 3.2 support, and upgraded power delivery.
The Intel Z590 chipset comes with dual DMI link lanes between the chipset and the processor. Because of this, the manufacturers have found it easy to add additional slots for network and storage. Unlike the Z490, the Intel Z590 offers full support to the PCIe 4.0, which not only provides better performance but can also be utilized for adding extra slots, networks devices, and other hardware peripherals.
This chipset is an ideal choice for Intel’s latest 11th Generation core processors since the extra features allow for a high data transfer rate with higher frequency and RAM support. In simple words, the Intel Z590 works best if you are looking to push your PC to the limit. One of the key features is the USB 3.2 that can support up to 20 Gbps speeds for improved connectivity. The PCIe 4.0 lanes can be configured accordingly to deliver faster networking and internet connectivity. However, this feature is subjected to the motherboard’s manufacturing.
Why Should You Buy A Intel Z690 Chipset?
As we mentioned earlier, the Z690 offers significantly more features as compared to the Intel Z490 and Z590 chipsets. One of the primary reason you need to get yourself an Intel Z690 chipset is the socket change. Both Z490 and Z590 chipsets run on Intel’s LGA 1200 CPU socket. Meanwhile, the Intel Z690 features the latest Intel 1700 LGA CPU Socket that is fully compatible with Intel’s 12th generation Alder-Lake S CPUs.
Another key benefit is that the Z690 runs on DMI 4.0 which is twice as fast as the DMI 3.0 version. The Intel Z690 marks Intel’s first chipset that offers support to both DDR5 and DDR4 RAM. With the Intel Z690, you get up to 24 Gen 4 lanes, a 15 GB/s bandwidth, and comes with integrated Wifi 6E and 2.5G to take care of all your connectivity needs. There are a total of x16 PCIe 5.0 lanes dedicated solely for graphics followed by 4X PCIe 4.0 lanes reserved for system storage.
The Bottom Line
We hope our article successfully walked you through the key differences and specifications that separate the Intel Z490, Z590 and Z690 from each other. Note that all the three Intel chipsets have their unique set of perks and abilities, making them fully compatible with the specified Intel Core Processors.
The Z490 is a viable option for those using their setup for lighter tasks that do not ask for extra connectivity. Meanwhile, the Z590 is the best option for those wanting to push their system to the limit. All in all, each chipset has distinguishing features that make them a suitable choice for the processor.
If you are looking to push your system to the limit, the Intel Z690 is the one to go for. Built using Intel’s latest LGA 1700 socket, this Z690 chipset offers full support to Intel’s 12th Generation Alder Lake CPUs. The integrated Wifi 6E and the 2.5G Ethernet gives you a faster network response as compared to the earlier chipsets. Intel has steadily upgraded the chipsets that go along with their CPUs over the years, but Z690 represents a bigger than normal jump in features and technology.