ASRock has a new addition to their collection of awesome motherboards, and we’re checking that out today. Here in our ASRock Z690 PG Riptide motherboard review, we’re discussing everything you’ll need to know about the motherboard. To give you an idea of what we’re focusing on, you’ll learn about its features, design, functions, specifications, and performance.
It’s one of the most premium boards under the Phantom Gaming series that makes use of the DDR4 memory. Looking at its design, the Z690 PG Riptide features a cool RGB-enabled logo that’s integrated into the chipset’s heatsink.
It has power delivery heatsinks in black, and one of these doubles as the motherboard’s rear panel cover. If you find the product interesting, then you’ve come to the right place. But before we look further into the motherboard, let’s check out its packaging and contents first.
When we got the board for our ASRock Z690 PG Riptide motherboard review, we loved its packaging and presentation. The Z690 PG Riptide arrived in a premium-looking cardboard box sporting an attractive blue theme.
The upper-left corner displays PG Riptide’s branding, while on the lower part, you’ll see ASRock and the board’s name written. Details on the side are pretty much the same, though on the box’s rear, there is additional information present.
Inside the box, you’ll find the Z690 PG Riptide itself, along with other necessary items. These include a quick installation guide, a support CD, and an I/O shield.
You’ll also find two SATA data cables and a graphics card holder. Then, there are four screws and a standoff for the M.2 sockets as well.
ASRock Z690 PG Riptide Motherboard Review – Design and Functionality
We’re also looking at the motherboard’s design and functions in our ASRock Z690 PG Riptide motherboard review. And as we mentioned earlier, it sports an RGN-enabled logo that’s set into the chipset heatsink.
We also love the presence of the black-coloured power delivery heatsinks on it. And, the one that doubles as a rear panel cover for the motherboard looks just as good too.
Just like with other Z690 models from ASRock, the Z690 PG Riptide has a patent-pending GPU holder. It’s designed to decrease sag when utilised with long and heavy graphics cards.
For the PCIe devices, ASRock included a full-length PCIe 5.0 x16 slot and another full-length PCIe 4.0 x4. Then, there are three smaller PCIe 3.0 x1 slots as available too.
For the motherboard’s storage options, there are three M.2 slots and two supporting PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 drives. Then, there’s one with support for PCIe 3.0 x4, as well as SATA varieties. Additionally, there are eight SATA ports that support Intel RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays.
At the top-right corner, you’ll see four memory slots that support DDR4-4800 plus a combined capacity of 128GB. Along the motherboard’s rear panel, there’s a USB 3.2 G2x2 type-C and two USB 3.2 G1 type-A’s. There’s even two USB 3.2 G2 type-A’s, as well as two USB 2.0 ports present.
Networking with the ASRock Z690 PG Riptide Motherboard
In terms of networking, ASRock included their Killer E-3100G 2.5 GbE controller to the motherboard. Then, five 3.5mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical for audio are powered by the Realtek ALC-897 HD audio codec.
Finishing off on its rear panel is one HDMI 2.1 video output and a P/S2 combo port. Then, there’s a little BIOS Flashback button as well.
The Verdict On Its Design
For its overall design, we can say that the Z690 PG Riptide is a fair and reasonable-looking motherboard. It’s clean, organised, and everything appears well-placed.
But if we compare it to other Z690 boards like the Gaming X from Gigabyte, we find that one more attractive.
Next, our ASRock Z690 PG Riptide motherboard review will discuss the key elements that make this motherboard stand out.
Key Features of the ASRock Z690 PG Riptide Motherboard
The Z690 PG Riptide integrates the Dr. MOS, a power stage solution designed for synchronised buck-set down voltage applications. Unlike conventional MOSFETs, it smartly provides higher current for every phase. With that, it offers better thermal results and exceptional performance.
13 Power Phase Design
The sturdy components and smooth power delivery to the CPU allow the Z690 PG Riptide to be capable of overclocking. It also offers enhanced performance while operating in low temperatures which is ideal for advanced gamers.
6-layer 2oz Copper PCB
For stable signal traces and power shapes, the Z690 PG Riptide features a 6-layer PCB. With that, it delivers higher energy efficiency which makes it better for memory overclocking. The motherboard also supports the newest memory modules with the highest memory performance.
PCIe 5.0 and Surface-mount Tech
The Z690 PG Riptide features the SMT type PCIe slot. Unlike the conventional DIP style versions, the SMT PCIe slots improve signal for and maximise stability under high speed. It’s an advanced feature that fully supports the lightning fast speed of the latest PCIe 5.0 standard.
This newest version of PCIe can perform an unparalleled bandwidth of 128GB/s. It’s designed to unleash the full potential of high-end graphics cards that will come out in the future.
Killer Ethernet E-3100G
The motherboard uses the Killer E-3100G 2.5 Gbps Ethernet controller which is made for competitive gaming and demanding tasks. It features an enhanced prioritisation and detection engine that provides superior networking experience for gaming and multimedia purposes.
ASRock’s Z690 PG Riptide offers more than high speed and performance. It also delivers superior audio quality that will allow you to fully enjoy gaming and multimedia.
Nahimic Audio provides you with the most engaging listening experience by delivering rich, detailed, and vibrant audio. This technology enhances sound quality whether you’re using headphones, headset, or speakers. It also doesn’t matter if it’s via USB, Wi-Fi, HDMI, or analogue output.
ASRock Graphics Card Holder
The Z690 PG Riptide comes with ASRock’s unique graphics card holder. You can flexibly slide it up or down to perfectly adjust the height needed for your graphics card. It can also hold your heavy graphics card.
Lightning Gaming Ports
While writing this ASRock Z690 PG Riptide motherboard review, we learned that the board’s aimed for gamers and enthusiasts alike. The Z690 PG Riptide features Lightning Gaming ports which are sourced from two different controller interfaces. These allow gamers to connect high-speed peripherals with low jitter and latency.
Aside from the integrated RGB illumination, the motherboard has onboard RGB headers and an addressable RGB header. The RGB headers allow you to connect other compatible LED devices like CPU fans, coolers, chassis, and light strips. Also, you can synchronise RGB LED devices across Polychrome RGB Sync-certified accessories for unique lighting effects.
High-speed M.2 Solution
The Z690 PG Riptide can accommodate multiple M.2 storage devices. One of these can support PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD and can perform twice faster than the 3rd generation. This can provide lightning fast data transferring speeds.
Auto Driver Installer
There’s no need to worry about lacking a disk drive when using the Z690 PG Riptide. That’s because ASRock preinstalled a LAN driver to ensure you can install all necessary drivers easily without using SCD.
All you have to do is run the Auto Driver Installer. Once that’s done, you can already update the required drivers.
The Z690 PG Riptide allows for convenient BIOS flashing with just one click. You can achieve the latest BIOS support with a USB and power supply. It doesn’t require RAM, CPU, or other components.
This is another important part of our ASRock Z690 PG Riptide motherboard review since we’re looking at the product’s specs. It’s where you can determine if it’s really something that will work for your system and build.
Looking at its form factor, this ATX motherboard measures 12.0” x 9.6” and sports a solid capacitor design. It’s accompanied by a 2oz copper PCB, an Intel Z690 chipset, plus an Intel PGA-1700 CPU socket.
There are four slots for memory support that goes up to a maximum of 128GB DDR4 (up to 4,800MHz). Then, it supports Intel’s Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) 2.0 too.
Additionally, it supports RAID 0, 1, and 5 for M.2 NVMe storage devices. When it comes to SATA storage devices, it supports RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10.
Z690 PG Riptide Motherboard Expansion Slots
There’s an M.2 Key E occupied by the WiFi module then an M.2 Key E supporting WiFi modules. One M.2 22-42|60|80 – PCIe Gen4x4 and an M.2 22-60|80 PCIe Gen4x4 are also present. Then, you’ll find an M.2 22-60|80|110 – PCIe/SATA here.
There are three PCIe 3.0 x 1, two PCIe 5.0 x 16, and eight SATA 6GB/s too.
This includes a 23-pin (power), 4-pin (power), one 4-pin CPU fan connector, 8-pin (power), and three addressable digital RGB headers. There are four chassis water pump/fan connectors, a CPU water pump/fan connector, and a front panel audio header.
You’ll also find a power LED /speaker header, RGB header, and Thunderbolt AIC connector. Then, there’s a SPI_TPM header, USB 2.0 header, and USB 3.2 Gen1 header. Then lastly, you’ll find a USB 3.2 Gen1 type-C front panel header as well.
Rear I/O Connectors
Here, you’ll see a BIOS flashback button, front speaker out, HDMI 2.1, one line-in and mic-in. There’s a PS/2 keyboard, RJ-45, and S/PDIF-out (optical) connectors.
Then, there are two USB 2.0, two USB 3.2 Gen1 type-A, and two USB 3.2 Gen2 type-A ports. Also, you’ll find a USB 3.2 Gen2x2 type-C port.
Additional Specification Details on the ASRock Z690 PG Riptide Motherboard
The Z690 PG Riptide comes with an 8-channel sound that’s powered by the Realtek ALC-897. Then for cooling, there are six 4-pin fan headers, M.2 heatsinks, and VRM heatsinks.
The type of network interface the motherboard has is a wired 2.5 Gigabit LAN. As for its network chip/modules, ASRock utilised the Killer E-3100G 2.5 GbE LAN for their motherboard.
Hands-on with the ASRock Z690 PG Riptide Motherboard
The most vital part of our ASRock Z690 PG Riptide motherboard review is our hands-on experience with the board. We used it for quite some time to see if it performs adequately, and if it’s something worth purchasing.
Its overall performance was technically promising, and when it came to gaming, it was fairly decent as well. And despite us not utilising the newest DDR4 memory, we still acquired notable performance from it.
The Z690 PG Riptide was able to provide us with a consistent 60 fps in games like Valorant and Overwatch. These were set under medium settings. However, it eventually dropped to around 45 to 50 fps when we started playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
The game was set under the same settings as the earlier games we’ve tried.
Let’s also talk about the UEFI which features a variety of two different GUIs. EZ mode is considered its default mode.
From there, we were able to use a lot of functions such as setting the clock, and shifting the boot order. Also, we enabled XMP, changed boot order, and flashed firmware updates from USB drives. Then, this section allowed us to download firmware updates to our USB drives and set fan maps via graphical interface.
On EZ mode, we were able to check and observe the status of our CPU and a couple of fans. Then, we could even make a couple of minor alterations to the core system elements. These include changing memory profiles or the booting order, and more.
If you aren’t planning to do any overclocking, then you won’t really need to tinker with anything on this section.
The Advanced Mode Interface
For more seasoned users or for people like us who want to tweak and customise more stuff, everything’s all good. An Advanced mode interface is present, and all we had to do was press F6 to bring up this section.
This is where we tinkered with the OC Tweaker menu that offers a wide selection of overclocking options.
We consider the OC Tweaker tab the most important section in the UEFI. That’s because it gave us a ton of options for tweaking the clock speed of our RAM and CPU.
The Tool Menu
On this specific tab, the Tool menu provided us with the same flash programs that we found on EZ mode. However, it includes an additional RGB sub-menu and a tool for sending emails to the tech support of ASRock.
Aside from these, this section also gave us a tool for copying RAID drivers to our USB drive. Plus, it comes with a tool to easily yet securely remove data from SSDs. That’s something we found highly convenient since we didn’t have to worry about other items getting deleted in the process.
When we checked the bottom part of this menu, we found options for copying the primary firmware for backing-up IC. Plus, there was also an option that functioned as a network configuration utility. This specific option will help those on intranets, access the internet with ease.
To note, the Fan Tuning algorithm of ASRock finds and determines both the maximum and minimum fan speeds. It’s to consequently calibrate the built-in fan maps that are present.
We were able to reach the graphical fan tuning interface via the FAN-tasting tuning. Also, we got to manually program each of the fans mathematically, and we found that pretty good.
When it came to the headers, we were able to alter these between the PWM and voltage-based RPM controls. However, keep in mind that the primary CPU fan header is PWM-only.
Overall, the Z690 PG Riptide motherboard from ASRock performed well. Even if we experienced a bit of heating during our tests, it still worked fairly and adequately. Plus, when it comes to overclocking, it’s a pretty good board to use just as well.
ASRock Z690 PG Riptide Motherboard Review Summary
Z690 motherboards cost a lot and it can put a lot of people off especially when upgrading to Alder Lake. If you’re looking for an affordable option, the Z690 PG Riptide is the solution to your problem.
Of course, ASRock had to eliminate some features to cut its price. But despite that, it delivered excellent performance when we tested it for our ASRock Z690 PG Riptide motherboard review. It was capable of handling our overclocked processor and M.2 SSD, and it worked excellently for gaming.
Overall, we highly recommend ASRock’s Z690 PG Riptide. Given its lack of features, the price of this motherboard may still be hefty for some. But it’s a great option if you’re looking to spend less for an Alder Lake upgrade.
To purchase this product, you can check out ASRock’s store locator for authorised stores in your area.