ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi Motherboard Review
It’s a delight to talk about this motherboard in our ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi motherboard review. Here, we’ll look into what it has to offer and what makes it a great option for your build.
The motherboard has a small form factor and sports a number of notable features like an enhanced daughterboard. It also comes with a 10+1 power design, an interconnect, a beefy cooling solution, and lots more.
If you’re looking for more information about the product, we’ve got your back. Our ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi motherboard review will focus on its design, build, features, functions, performance, and more.
We’ll see if it’s as good as other products under the ROG line, and if it’s worth grabbing.
ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi Motherboard Packaging
The product for our ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi motherboard review came in a sturdy-looking cardboard box. The front of the package looked great since it showcased a huge image of the motherboard itself. Also in the area, you’ll find the product’s name, the ROG branding, plus its key specifications.
Around the back, you’ll see a list of the motherboard’s primary features. Plus, you’ll even see other detailed images for its PCIe setup, power stages, and rear I/O.
Looking inside the package, you’ll find the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi motherboard along with other items. These are the usual documentation, a couple of stickers, and a CD.
For all the necessary fittings and usual cables, these are included in the package too. We actually like that ASUS included a little daughterboard to add more SATA ports here.
To make it easier for you, here’s a complete list of all the items you’ll find inside the box.
These are the ROG USB 2.0 splitter cable, panel cable, SATA 6Gb/s cables, and ASUS WiFi moving antennas. Then, there’s a pack of cable ties, M.2 Q-Latch packages, an ROG keychain, plus ROG logo plate stickers. Of course, ASUS included ROG Strix stickers, a thank you card, the support DVD and user guide we mentioned earlier.
ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi Motherboard Review – Design and Functionality
We checked and inspected the motherboard for our ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi motherboard review. There, we saw ASUS opting for the tried-and-tested design style which is why it’s black and ruggedly cool-looking. However, the board is more refined and premium compared to other outgoing models around.
Additionally, it’s also taller by 5mm unlike the outgoing model because of the revised daughterboard’s style and design. To note, the Strix Z690-I is a weighty board with tons of metal elements to help both cooling and aesthetics.
Another reason why it looks cool is the presence of big heatsinks and armour that gussies up the entire PCB. Of course, there’s a big opening at the centre since additional room is needed to install the CPU cooler. But otherwise, everything’s built with numerous layers of heatsinks and hardware which makes everything look awesome.
However, ASUS should’ve trimmed down on a couple of features like its VRM to retain the board’s mini-ITX form factor. But anyway, it’s still cool that ASUS managed to include a 10+1 power stage setup plus surprisingly huge heatsinks.
The heatsink on the left is big, and it joins the one on top with the help of a thick heat pipe. Thinking about the Z590, it only featured an 8+2 setup plus little heatsinks. So, we really can’t help but be impressed by this current one.
We also checked the board’s layout for this ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi motherboard review. At first, we wondered why two male USB-C ports were present. It turns out that the company has more PCB space you can add to the motherboard. And now, it’s in the form of a vertical riser card.
It adds four SATA ports to the mix, and a speaker header and full front panel 3-pin digital RGB connector. All these are absent from the primary PCB to save on space.
You’ll find the front panel speaker cable on the M.2 heatsink stack. Then, there’s one 2-pin power button header on the primary PCB to use the board without a riser card. This is if you don’t really need the additional paraphernalia.
Moreover, two of the SATA ports are positioned at 90-degrees so these can face the front part of your case. To note, this is with a normal layout, but since the others are facing upwards, utilising them can look unappealing.
As for the connectors, they’re also positioned the wrong way if you’re planning to use angled SATA cables. That’s because the cables would end up trailing over the board.
You’ll also find triple-decker PCBs for the M.2 SSDs. And now, both the lower and upper parts of the M.2 SSDs are cooled via heatsinks and thermal pads.
Plus, you’ll get ASUS’ M.2 Q-Latch feature which does away with the annoying little M.2 screws. Instead, you’ll be using a tool-free locking system to set the SSDs in place.
Just above the PCIe 5 slot on the PCB stack is a USB-2 header. There’s a splitter cable included in the box to let you connect two USB-2 devices like AIO liquid coolers.
Key Features of the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi Motherboard
What are the features of this motherboard that makes it a great option to go for? This is where we’ll look into the different elements that showcase the best of what the Strix Z690-I has to offer.
DDR5 Overclocking Strength
Extensive memory tuning choices are vital elements of ROG motherboards. For DDR5, the Strix Z690 collection breaks performance limits by offering a stacked series of overclocking parameters for high-speed kits. Not only that, but it also works for entry-level memory modules with locked PMIC’s or power management IC’s.
The two VRM heatsinks and aluminium I/O cover are connected by an L-shaped heatpipe. These provide sufficient surface area and mass to handle thermals from the newest Intel processors. Plus, there are specially engineered thermal pads that effectively transfer heat from the phase array and inductor to the heatsink.
The triple decker heatsink stacks two M.2 slots with Q-Latch and double-sided full-size heatsinks with thermal pads. Also, the powerful chipset heatsink at the bottom delivers great cooling performance.
Cutting-edge Connectivity Options
The Strix Z690-I has an innovative design that offers a comprehensive range of connectivity options. As a result, it delivers ultra-smooth online experiences and lightning-fast data transfers. In addition, ASUS added an advanced audio solution to level up your gaming experience.
The 10+1 power stages combine low-side and high-side MOSFETs and drivers in one package. This allows the delivery of power and efficiency that the latest Intel processors can take advantage of.
Premium Chokes and Durable Capacitors
The durable capacitors and alloy chokes are designed to resist high temperatures while allowing performance that exceeds industry standards.
ASUS’ ProCool II power connectors are made to ensure full contact with the power supply cables. The metal sheath boosts heat dissipation, while low electrical impedance improves reliability by preventing hotspots.
ROG Front Panel SATA Card
The motherboard comes with an expansion card that offers additional functionality. These include four SATA ports, one ARGB lighting header,and connectors for a front-panel header and PC speaker.
Its efficient use of space allows building the most compact PCs. For a more compact setup, you can connect the power button onboard via the 2-pin Power_BTN.
Dual Thunderbolt 4 Ports
The Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi motherboard has dual Thunderbolt 4 USB C ports. The bidirectional 40Gbps connectors of these ports can handle two external 4K displays simultaneously along with other compatible accessories.
The onboard WiFi 6E technology provides improved bandwidth that is three times better than the 5 GHz band. Also, it offers up to seven 160 MHz bands for faster wireless network speeds, higher capacity, and better performance.
Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet
The onboard 2.5 GbE provides a boost to your wired connection. With its improvement, you can enjoy faster file transfer speeds, smoother gaming experience, reduced lag, and high-resolution video streaming.
ROG’s SupremeFX is a unique combination of software and hardware that delivers superior audio. The ALC4080 codec increases playback resolution from 192 to 384 kHz across all channels.
Additionally, the front panel output is streamed through a Savitech amplifier. This can drive a wide range of gaming headsets and high-fidelity headphones.
Two-way AI Noise Cancellation
This feature is exclusive to ASUS motherboards. It takes advantage of a deep-learning database to reduce background noise from microphones while preserving voices.
The feature eliminates distracting sounds like mouse clicks, keyboard clatter, and various ambient noise. So, your captured voice will be clear during voice calls.
The ROG Strix Design
The Strix Z690-I design is defined by futuristic meshes and grids that appear lowkey at first. When gazing at it, you’ll notice the lower-left corner glowing with an iridescent grid pattern.
ROG Strix Ecosystem Compatibility
When using this motherboard, you can level up your game with the ROG Strix ecosystem. It allows you to enjoy complimentary aesthetics, compatibility, and control across cases, coolers, peripherals, and more. ROG lets you enjoy more choices than other brands.
Aside from compatibility across its ecosystem, this motherboard can also be used with most products. That’s because all ROG Strix motherboards undergo a certification program to ensure it’s compatible with the widest range of components.
AIO coolers from ASUS are also compatible with a lot of CPUs, including the latest ones. This gives you extreme flexibility to cool the CPU that suits your needs.
This is the part of our ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi motherboard review where we’ll focus on its specifications.
First off, it makes use of Intel’s Z690 chipset, hence the Z690 in its name. Then, it uses Intel’s LGA-1700 socket which supports Intel’s Turbo Boost 2.0 and Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0.
When it comes to its memory, the Strix Z690-I has two slots for a 64GB DDR 5. This is with a clock frequency of up to 6400 MHz. Also, it supports the Extreme Memory Profile or XMP from Intel.
Graphics-wise, it sports one HDMI 2.1 and two Intel Thunderbolt 4 ports. Then it has one PCIe 5.0 x16 expansion slot. The motherboard also comes with one Intel 2.5GB Ethernet, WiFi 6E, and Bluetooth v5.2.
There are a total of nine USB ports along the rear and these are two Thunderbolt 4 ports USB-C. There’s also two USB 3.2 Gen2 (type-A), three USB 3.2 Gen1 (type-A), and two USB 2.0 ports. To note, the latter is a type-A port.
For the front USB, you’ll find a USB 3.2 Gen2x2 connector that supports USB-C. Then, there’s one USB 3.2 Gen1 header that supports two extra USB 3.2 Gen1 ports. Lastly, you’ll find a USB 2.0 header support with extra two USB 2.0 ports.
The Strix Z690-I has LED-illuminated audio jacks. These are the optical S/PDIF out port, BIOS FlashBack button, and Clear CMOS button.
Its internal I/O connectors are fan & cooling-related. So, you’ll find one 4-pin CPU fan header, a 4-pin AIO pump header, and a 4-pin chassis fan header. For its power, there’s a 24-pin main power connector, and an 8-pin +12V power connector as well.
Storage-wise, there are two M.2 slots (key M), four SATA 6GB/s ports.
Hands-on with the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi Motherboard
This is where our ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi motherboard review will look into the motherboard’s performance. But before looking further into how well (or not) it worked, let’s check out its UEFI.
It comes with a contemporary UEFI just like other motherboards around. Its layout is nice even if it can only display a 4:3 aspect ratio, so don’t be surprised to see stretched images.
The UEFI has an EZ Mode which lets you adjust the Intel XMP and IRST. Plus, it can even access the overclocking mode with just a push of one button. If you’re adventurous, its AI Tweaker is a good place to play with the settings.
Like tons of flagship boards, the Strix Z690-I can adjust minute parameters for the CPU and memory. It includes timings, frequencies, and voltages to name a few.
Also, the ASUS MCE can be found in this spot. It’s a feature that overrides Intel’s power limits before syncing all cores to achieve maximum frequencies.
Advanced Mode is where the most chipset/PCH elements are found. There’s nothing fancy here, but it’s where you can also switch off the P/E-Cores.
There’s also the renowned ROG UEFI BIOS that offers everything you need to set up, tune, and tweak your rig. It provides you with smart yet simplified options especially for newbies who want to do some PC DIYs. Of course, it comes with more inclusive features for the more seasoned veterans around.
To make things more convenient, the MEMTEST86 is already pre-installed into the ROG BIOS. With it, you can run tests to find memory issues, and you can do this easily with just a click.
It’s actually convenient since you don’t need any USB sticks, and you don’t need to bother accessing the OS. For the memory report, it’ll also be kept in the BIOS’ archives for reference.
Software Special Features
If you tend to stuff your OS with different software, you’re all set. That’s because ASUS included the Armoury Crate where you can check the status of compatible Strix/ROG products. Additionally, it allows AI overclocking and AI cooling on your desktop which is something we think is really convenient.
When it comes to lighting, you can choose between Gen1 or 2 for both headers. And since the Armoury Crate has tons of tools and cool features, you can download device drivers in it. That also goes for tools and/or utilities that the company considers ideal for the end users.
We tried using the Strix Z690-I for almost a week. And after doing so, we can say that it’s a solid and stable motherboard that looks great. Not only that, it’s packed with tons of excellent features that simultaneously work to keep the M.2 SSD cool.
For its VRM temperature, we recorded around 34-degrees Celsius during idle mode. And under heavy loads, it reached 43-degrees Celsius.
We didn’t encounter any issues with it even if we put it under heavy and strenuous activities. It performed smoothly and it’s basically as good as what ASUS claimed it would be. So throughout the tests for our ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi motherboard review, we were highly satisfied with it.
ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi Motherboard Review Summary
The Strix Z690-I is a solid option for a high-end mini-ITX build. It has all the great features of a Z690 motherboard with its unique touch. Thus, making it an excellent choice for you. It offers notable aesthetics, compatibility, flexibility, and of course, superior performance.
This motherboard is an expensive introduction to Intel’s Z690 platform. But even if it’s small, it offers everything you’d need for an improved and upgraded system. We highly recommend this motherboard for seasoned builders looking for full-size features and excellent performance for compact builds.
Do you want this motherboard for your PC? Check out ASUS’store locator to find authorised sellers near you.