The most recent Intel Z690 chipset, which has been optimized for it as well, is also available and supports DDR5. Although my general view of the platform is favorable after using it, I think that DDR5 may have been introduced a little too soon. We have a fantastic review of the MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard today. Yes, you read that right: the Z690 platform is being offered with the most recent memory interface. This one not only satisfies the need for a new platform but also keeps DDR4 capability at its heart.
This motherboard is powered by Intel’s enthusiast chipset, the Z690. Alder Lake processors from Intel are a completely new and speedier architecture, therefore it also heralds the beginning of a new age. We’ve written extensively about it. To balance power consumption under demand and while the processor is idle, the next processors will contain energy and performance cores. New features are introduced with the Alder Lake platform. DDR5 and PCIe Express 5.0 are two of Intel’s first-ever innovations.
Alder Lake, lead by its squad of sixteen-core goliaths constructed on Intel’s transistor-dense 10-nanometer manufacturing process, puts the corporation squarely back in the multi-core ring as opposed to prior launches, which concentrated only on single-core and gaming performance. However, Intel offers its own explanation of the word BIG.little this time. On the pages that follow, we’ll go into greater detail about it.
MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard Overall look & Specs
MSI still categorizes its motherboards into series, with the MEG series being at the top of the list, followed by MPG, MAG, and finally the PRO series. The MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard is a member of MSI’s MPG line, as we already mentioned. The DDR4 and DDR5 versions of five Z690 motherboards are now available. The MPG Z690 CARBON EK X, which has a completely integrated EK monoblock, is at the top of the list, followed by the $400 MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI. Moving down the stack, MSI has two MPG Z690 EDGE WIFI boards in either DDR5 or DDR4 for $330 and $320, respectively, and a white-colored offering in the MPG Z690 FORCE WIFI for $390.
The MPG Z690 EDGE’s DDR4 variant is compatible with LGA 1700-socketed 12th generation Intel processors. The board contains an 18-phase (16+1+1) VRMS that can support the power needs of the 24-thread, top-of-the-line Intel Core i9-12900K. MSI employs two sizable machined metal heat sinks coupled by a heat pipe to cool the VRM. To ensure proper contact and heat dissipation, the MOSFETs and the chokes include 7 W/mK thermal pads. A 6-layer PCB composed of IT-170 server-grade PCB material and 2 oz thicker copper also aids in heat dissipation.
Four DIMM slots on the MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard support a total of 128 GB of dual-channel, non-ECC, unbuffered memory at speeds of up to 5200 MHz. However, the kit with the highest rating on the QVL is one DIMM per channel, single rank memory operating at 5133 MHz. The eleventh-generation Intel CPU, which regulates the speed of the internal memory controller (IMC), is where we first noticed Gear settings. We were able to run our i9 12900K sample at DDR4 4000 MHz in Gear1 or at a 1:1 ratio with a modified BIOS. Results may differ because of the CPU dependency.
We have three full-length PCIe x16 slots for PCIe, however only the top slot is x16 electrically. The table below provides a bandwidth split. With reinforced, hefty solder points, EMI shielding, and PCI Express Steel Armor technology from MSI, the top full-length PCIe slot has enhanced strength. The two lower full-length PCIe slots (from PCH) are Gen 3.04 while the upper slot (from CPU) will operate in PCIe Gen 5.0 mode. Additionally, we have a single PCIex3 slot that can accommodate add-on cards.
The MPG Z690 EDGE has six SATA 6 Gb/s ports for storage, including two from an ASMedia ASM1061 controller and four from the PCH, which enable RAID 0, 1, and 10. MSI has added four EDGE sockets on the M.2 side. PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe drives are supported in all four sockets. The two lowest M.2 (Key-M) models will enable PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe and SATA-based M.2 drives; no SATA 6 Gb/s ports are disabled. The M.2 drive slots all have built-in heat spreaders. For further information on the storage configuration and drive compatibility, see the table below or the user manual on the MSI website.
The Z690 EDGE has 15 connections between onboard headers and the rear I/O shield for USB connectivity, which is also very common. Seven Type-A connectors, five of which are USB 3.2 Gen2 (10 Gbps), two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.2 Gen2x2 (20 Gbps) Type-C port, and two USB 2.0 ports make up the rear IO shield’s total of eight ports. The motherboard’s headers for the other USB ports include one USB 3.2 Gen2 internal header, two USB 2.0 (for a total of four ports), and two USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C external connectors.
This motherboard deviates from the standard Z690 motherboard in terms of networking by providing just one Intel I225-V 2.5 Gbs connector. Additionally, we have out-of-the-box Intel Wi-Fi6 / Bluetooth 5.2 wireless connectivity with a Wi-Fi antenna that attaches to the back I/O shield.
MSI used the Realtek 7.1 channel High Definition ALC4080 CPU for audio, which is a fairly recent processor that was released in 2020. We also have PCB enhancements with MSI’s Audio Boost 5, like an isolated audio area to cut down on EMI, distinct layers on the board for the left and right audio channels, and high-quality Nippon Chemicon audio capacitors from Japan.
MSI has included a range of RGB LED connectors on the EDGE to round things up. First, we have one conventional 4-pin RGB LED header for 12 V, 5050 RGB strips up to 3 A, and three addressable 3-pin Rainbow LED RGB headers for 5 V, WS2812B individually addressable LED strips up to 3 A. The I/O cladding and chipset heatsinks of the EDGE additionally feature RGB LEDs. You have control over these using the Mystic Light software, along with all the headers.
The list of features for the MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard is provided below.
|CPU (MAX SUPPORT)
|Intel Z690 Chipset
|5333 (OC) , 5200(OC) , 5066(OC) , 5000(OC) , 4800(OC) , 4600(OC) , 4400(OC) , 4266(OC) , 4200(OC) , 4000(OC) , 3800(OC) , 3733(OC) , 3600(OC) , 3466(OC) , 3400(OC) , 3333(OC) , 3200(JEDEC) , 2933(JEDEC) , 2666(JEDEC) , 2400(JEDEC) , 2133(JEDEC) MHz
|MAX MEMORY (GB)
|1x Intel I225-V 2.5G LAN
|Intel® Wi-Fi 6 module
|USB 3.2 PORTS (FRONT)
|1(Gen 2, Type C), 2(Gen 1, Type A)
|USB 3.2 PORTS (REAR)
|1(Gen 2×2, Type C), 5(Gen 2, Type A)
|USB 2.0 PORTS (FRONT)
|AUDIO PORTS (REAR)
|5+ Optical S/PDIF (Realtek ALC4080 Codec)
|Support for Windows 11 64-bit, Windows® 10 64-bit
Final thoughts on MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard
Our tests demonstrate its performance, demonstrating that it is more than capable of competing with the big boys and, in some cases, even outperforming them (Procyon Office). Even with the power-hungry i9-12900K, gaming performance was comparable to the other evaluated boards, indicating that the I performs well across a number of applications. Although it thermally throttled during the stress test (like most others), it handled the benchmarks we threw at it nicely otherwise.
There aren’t many disadvantages to using this board. Although the pricing is fair for the Z690 market, it is a little higher than its competitors. The ASRock Z690 Extreme WiFi 6E is now available at Newegg for $249.99, the Asus TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4 is $284.99, and the Gigabyte Z690 Aero G DDR4 is $281.99. The Z690 Extreme is the finest option out of the bunch, with the most SATA ports (8), the fastest Wi-Fi (6E), and the current-generation audio codec, which is where ASRock and Asus fall short. It comes down to cost and aesthetics since many of the functions are comparable and not deal breakers.
The MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard is a respectable choice in the sub-$300 DDR4 sector if you’re looking for a less excessively costly way to enter into Z690 while still receiving most of the features. A B660-based board is suitable and probably less expensive if overclocking isn’t your thing. But when selecting a motherboard for your Alder Lake processor, the Edge WIFI DDR4 delivers a decent blend of features and performance and should be on your shortlist.
Is MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard good?
The MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard is a well-equipped motherboard with a lot to offer any user. The EDGE boasts a reliable 16+1+1-phase power section, a 6-layer server-grade PCB, and enough heatsinks. On the data storage front, there are four M.2 connectors and six SATA ports, as well as 15 USB connections and Thunderbolt 4 support. The RGB lighting is distributed around the motherboard with an On/Off control button, a giant MSI Gaming Dragon emblem on the I/O casing, and enough RGB/ARGB connections for extension to keep any RGB LED aficionado pleased.
MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard is a sleek and fascinating ATX motherboard that transitions away from DDR5 and toward the more mature DDR4 interface. As a result, we have a well-designed motherboard that has all of the characteristics of the Z690 platform save the DDR5 interface. The storage, network, and audio solutions all operate admirably. To summarize, if you want the performance of Intel’s 12th generation microprocessors while keeping DDR4 as your memory platform of choice, this motherboard will not disappoint. We believe that the board is an appealing offer. It may not be in the ultra-high luxury class, but it has a reasonable pricing, and you’ll save money by not utilizing DDR5. Very recommended.
MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard is a good alternative in the sub-$300 DDR4 sector if you’re looking for a less-expensive entry into Z690 while still obtaining most of the features. If overclocking isn’t your thing, a B660-based board would suffice and will most likely be less expensive. Yet, in this category, the Edge WIFI DDR4 provides a good blend of features and performance and should be on your shortlist when selecting a motherboard for your Alder Lake processor.
Is MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard good for gaming?
We revised our gaming testing and reduced them to four games for MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard reviews. In many situations, the difference between boards isn’t significant, and the titles we examine include both CPU-heavy and GPU-bound titles. Unless otherwise specified, all game testing were performed at 19201080 and 14402560 resolutions with all CPUs set to their default settings. Details about in-game settings may be found in our testing processes.
- DX12, “Highest” configuration for Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- F1 2021 – DX12, Very High settings, TAA, and x16 AF, Bahrain track, display FPS counter.
- Metro: Exodus – DX12, Ultra Preferences
- Fire Strike (Extreme) UL 3DMark – Default settings
The gaming benchmark results were comparable to the prior 2D benchmark results, regardless of the settings. However, it appears that the same improvements did assist in several of our game titles, especially Far Cry6, where the 12900K gained 20 FPS since we began testing in November.
The 1440p results are quite normal, as this resolution is more dependent on the GPU than the CPU.
Which slots does MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard have?
As we look attentively at the board, we notice a jet black PCB with heatsinks and shrouds covering a large portion of the surface. When contrasted to the board, all of these are a lighter black. The dot-matrix design makes the board appear cluttered to me. The VRMs are protected by massive heatsinks with many cutouts and surface area. The first RGB element can also be seen here: the MSI Dragon is lighted up from underneath, illuminating the logo. The second RGB region, positioned beneath the chipset heatsink, illuminates the bottom of the board. Overall, the MPG Z690 Edge WIFI DDR4 looks decent, while the cluttered appearance may turn off some builders.
Beginning with the top part of the MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard, we can see the massive heatpipe-connected heatsinks that are used to cool the power delivery. On top of that, the MSI dragon RGBs are vibrant and vivid without being overly bright or overbearing. The board emits a glow that illuminates the interior of your case without drawing attention to itself. Two 8-pin EPS power connections (one necessary) are visible just above the heatsinks.
Continuing on, we come across four unreinforced DRAM slots, which lock the Memory down from both ends. MSI claims that this DDR4 board supports speeds of up to 5200+ MHz (with one DIMM per channel and one rank) and capacities of up to 128GB. Your mileage may vary in terms of memory speed because it is dependent on the memory kit and the processor’s IMC to achieve such speeds. During testing, we encountered no problems with our DDR4-3600 or DDR4-4000 kits, and there is still plenty of headroom available.
There are 4-pin fan headers and RGB headers above the Memory slots. There are CPU FAN1 and PUMP FAN1 headers at this position, as well as six others on the board for a total of eight. PWM and DC-controlled fans are supported by all headers. CPU FAN1 has an auto-control mode and can produce up to 2A/24W. PUMP FAN1 operates in PWM mode and can produce up to 3A/36W, whereas the SYS FAN1-6 headers operate in DC mode and can output 1A/12W. There are enough of headers and power on the board to support your cooling environment. The fans may be controlled via the BIOS or MSI’s Center software.
Can you overclock with MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard?
In terms of the BIOS, overclocking the MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard was simple: set the multiplier and change the voltage to compensate. The end result was a 5.1 GHz all-P-core overclock with the E Cores at 4.0 GHz. The overclock performance figures may be seen in the graphs above. As the temperature graph above shows, these overclock settings stretched our cooling limitations. Heavy benchmarks, such as Blender’s Fishy Cat, raised CPU temperatures to 100°C, not enough to cause throttling or damage overall performance, but it did exhaust our cooling solution.
How much power does MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard use?
As observed in our AIDA64 stability test, there is a significant variation in temperature and power utilization between stock and undervolted settings, up to 90 W. When left at stock, our temperature in our Blender stability test would very immediately reach 100° C, prompting the CPU to reduce its performance to compensate.
MSI MPG Z690 Edge Gaming Motherboard