NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard Review

What we’re writing today is the NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard Review that will focus on the N5 Z690 board. It’s a product from NZXT that offers various notably efficient features.

With any CPU launch, motherboards inevitably follow. These new motherboards will be bound to different chipsets, and depending on which board you choose, you may or may not be able to leverage some or all of the fancy new tech.

The N5 N690 came with another product which is a more expensive variety than the one we’re reviewing today. What we currently have is perfect for anyone who wants to go for a high-end board with eye-catching aesthetics but with an affordable price tag. 

This motherboard we’re looking at for our NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard Review is identical to the N7 motherboard that offers similar performance and functions. 

Today, we’re discussing the N5 Z690 motherboard.  Here, we’ll focus on its performance, specifications, design, functions, and primary features. But before we get deeper into the topic, let’s look at its packaging and the contents inside the box. 

NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard Packaging

When we received our motherboard for this NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard Review, it arrived in a classy-looking white cardboard box. NZXT aimed for a simple design to avoid cluttering the packaging with unnecessary design and information. 

The front showcases the motherboard with its name and a few details about it. Flipping the box, you’ll find more information about the motherboard. The leftmost section displays its features, while the columns on the right side showcase its specifications. 

These are written in different languages to cater to every user who purchases the product. 

Inside the box, you’ll find the N5 Z6390, two SATA 90° cables, two SATA 180° cables, and two wireless antennas. You’ll also find three M.2 screws and a user manual. 

NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard Review – Design and Functionality

Let’s learn more about the motherboard in our NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard Review. We will look at its different design features and functions to know more about this product from NZXT.

The N5 Z690 utilises the Z690 chipset, hence its name. It’s a high-end chipset among Intel’s 12th Gen line of processors. 

This specific chipset can access all the latest features available. Plus, you’ll have access to CPU overclocking. It’s a deal-breaker for users who want to squeeze out the most performance from their system. 

The Z690 chipset is the ideal option for enthusiasts and gamers. It’s perfect for those who want a future-proof build and to make the most of their 12th Gen processor. And one of the most widespread features seen on Z690 boards is their support for DDR5 memory.

This motherboard is compatible with all the current chips on Intel’s 12th Gen collection. Although the board supports all the 12th Gen CPUs, we suggest you stick to the Core i7 and i5 range. 

Technically, overclocking is feasible on the N5 Z690. However, its low amount of power phases won’t be enough to drive your CPU to its maximum potential. 

Although the N5 Z690 is the cheaper model, the company ensured to design it as aesthetically-pleasing and awesome looking. This board has an adequate amount of exposed PCBs due to the absence of a metal shroud. But despite that, its black matte finish makes it look cool.

The N5 Z690’s PCB has six layers, but it’s not as thick as the N7 Z690. 

The motherboard’s right-hand side and top-left corner have extended heatsinks. They’re both white which contrasts nicely with the board’s all-black finish. Additionally, the heatsinks feature some perforations at the top, which isn’t that different from the H7 line of cases. 

Generally, there isn’t much to say about the N5 Z690’s design since NZXT aimed for a more minimalist approach. It’s what we observed while writing our NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard Review.

There are numerous choices for its rear IO with the newest high-speed USBs. You’ll get five 3.2 USB ports: one is a type-C variant. It’s a solid range for plugging peripherals, external drives, plus other USB extras. 

Based on your build, you might want to use built-in WiFi 6E since it’s best for high-speed routers. Alternatively, if you don’t care much for cable organisation, you also have the option for a 2.5 Gigabit LAN.

Lastly, you’ll have 3.5mm jacks with a small audio suite. Plus, you have the choice to upgrade BIOS via the flashback button. 

Your options for an internal IO are vast and aren’t similar to the rear IO. The N5 Z690 has three USB headers, while the two are for the USB 3.2 1st Gen. Then, the 2×2 Gen is for the USB Type-C port.

There’s a wide range of choices for cooling and RGBs. You have a choice of 4-pin system fan connectors plus four RGB connectors. Two are the NZXT RGB LED connectors that function with the company’s CAM Software. 

The motherboard also sports the latest Intel LGA 1700 socket that supports the 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs. There’s also enough room close to the CPU socket for larger air coolers without obstructions. 

Down the base of the motherboard is one USB 2.0 internal header. Remember that it could limit your choices for parts in the system. 

However, you can still get a splitter to expand the number of ports available. Plus, most cases in the market don’t feature this speed USB anyway.

The motherboard has three physical PCIe 16x slots and three M.2 slots, with two of these out in the open. The other is under a heatsink. 

Another thing we noticed is the pre-installed Wifi card placed in full view. However, it looks different from the overall aesthetics of the motherboard. We think it would look better if the PCB were black. 

The card’s routed wires lead towards the motherboard’s rear IO. It terminates into the antenna connectors that are present in the package. 

Next to the CPU socket are the memory slots that support dual-channel DDR4 memory. It’s likely to keep the motherboard as cost-efficient as possible. It also features one clip design that’s recently becoming more common. 

Above the CPU socket is the area of the EPS power connector. The N5 Z690 utilises an 8+4 pin design for its power delivery. 

Key Features of the NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard

Continuing NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard Review, let’s focus on the different features this motherboard offers. Are they up to your standards? Or are they adequate for your needs? 

Here is a list of the features you can check out. These will help determine if the N5 Z690 is ideal for your system.

A Gaming Motherboard with the Next-generation Chipset

Intel’s Z690 chipset and the latest components that support advanced accessories allow you to take on computing challenges.

Minimalist Design of the NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard

The N5 Z690 has a clean PCB design that goes well with any system. You can choose from black or white. It has a built-in heat spreader for the topmost NVMe drive.

8+1 DrMOS Power Phase Design

The 8+1 DrMOS power phase design provides the processor with more stable and reliable power. As a result, it delivers a performance boost, allowing you to enjoy a better overall user experience.

Since it has fewer power phases than the N7 Z690, it also has a difference in overclocking capabilities. But since it uses the same high-quality VRM, you can ensure that the N5 Z690 is still a high-performance motherboard.

Easier Building with the NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard 

This motherboard uses WiFi 6E connectivity, front panel USB-C, and streamlined installation. It has a built-in rear I/O shield and headers placed in the right places for a convenient PC building. 

Seamlessly Intelligent

The CAM software is where you can intuitively control the N5 Z690’s four lighting channels and six fan channels. Here, you can also manage other compatible gear.

BIOS Flashback Button

When you enhance your PC build, it can be frustrating when you need to upgrade your BIOS. Otherwise, your PC won’t function. 

Fortunately, NZXT made things more convenient by adding a BIOS Flashback (BIOS FLBK) button. They placed it on the rear I/O.

Just plug a USB stick into the BIOS-designated slot, then press the button. This convenient button allows you to switch to the BIOS on your USB flash drive for easier upgrading.

Specifications

The N5 Z690 is an ATX motherboard that uses the Intel Z690 chipset. It supports the Intel Socket LGA 1700 for the 12th Gen CPUs. The board also supports Intel’s Hybrid Technology and the Turbo Boost Max 3.0 technology.

We appreciate NZXT for including a 3-year warranty for the motherboard. The board’s LAN is a Realtek RTL 8125BG 2.5G.

Let’s continue this NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard Review and discuss the board’s wireless specifications. It uses a dual-band wireless WiFi 6E with 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax protocol.

It has frequency bands of 2.4/5/6GHz, uses Bluetooth V5.2, and supports MU-MIMO.

When it comes to audio, the motherboard uses a Realtek ALC897 codec. Plus, it has 8-channel high-definition audio.

The N5 Z690 has four DIMM slots with a maximum of 128GB for memory support. It has a dual-channel memory architecture and a 5000+ OC frequency.

Speaking of the base frequency, it is 3200 / 2933 / 2800 / 2666 / 2400 / 2133MHz. The motherboard also has a non-ECC and un-buffered memory while supporting the Intel XMP 2.0.

Its integrated graphics is the Intel Xe Graphics (11th Gen)/UHD (10th Gen): HDMI 2.0/HDMI 1.4b. And its HDMI maximum resolution is 4096 x 2160 @ 60Hz.

Hands-on with the NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard 

The most vital part of our NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard Review is where we share our experience with the board. 

The NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard’s BIOS

The BIOS is the firmware for configuring a range of the motherboard’s settings. Tweaking settings through the BIOS allows the computer to run the way you want.

Its interface is simple and has settings for overclocking, fan curves, boot options, and other options. We’ve made a list of the NZXT BIOS features with a brief explanation for all of these.

Easy Mode

The name already explains what Easy Mode is. It features simple BIOS configurations and is excellent for first-time users who may not be familiar with these settings.

It’s also a good feature if you’re rushing to tweak settings like boot priority and memory overclocking.

Advanced Mode 

Advanced Mode is the opposite of Easy Mode and has more complex features. It’s mainly for experienced users and people who want to adjust their PC settings through manual tweaking.

To access advanced mode, you have to press F8 then BIOS will immediately provide access.

Fan Settings

The PC monitoring tab provides a general view of your PC’s voltage and temperature. When using the BIOS, you can customise your build’s fan settings. You need to access this tab if you want the best thermals for your system. 

Boot Settings

The Boot settings tab is where you set priority for your hard drives and tweak other settings. If you’re using multiple ones with different operating systems, you’ll need to access this to adjust some settings.

CPU Overclocking

CPU Overclocking is one of the areas you will be accessing to boost your system’s performance. It offers numerous options to adjust your CPU voltage and speeds.

DRAM Overclocking

DRAM Overclocking in the BIOS is similarly vital to the CPU’s Overclocking feature. These will let you alter your XMP profile or conduct manual tweaking for enhanced performance. 

Power Consumption and Temperatures

The motherboard gave off a 180W to our computer resulting in a low system power draw. The motherboard was less power-hungry, and the VRMs averaged 28.7° on idle mode. It’s an acceptable temperature for VRMs and shows how well NZXT does passive cooling. 

At idle mode, the motherboard’s VRM temperatures averaged 28.7°. It is an acceptable temperature for the VRMs and shows how NZXT does passive cooling well.

When we put the VRMs under our stress tests, we received a good load of temperature results that averaged 55°. It’s a bit warm, but the cooler is passive. 

In a chassis,  expect to see improvements since you’ll receive airflow over its components. But even with the slightly warm results, they’re still within the range of acceptable temperatures. 

Performance of the NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard

Customers who purchase the N5 Z690 will likely leave everything on Auto and not tweak settings in the BIOS. That means they’ll receive auto performance offering an adequate gaming experience, while CPU tasks like video editing will likely suffer. 

In our perspective, that’s less than ideal. But in reality, it won’t likely become an issue for NZXT’s target audience, and that’s the primary focus. 

In general, the performance of the N5 Z690 was average. But for its price range, we can easily forgive how it worked. And with some overclocking, you can easily have a higher-performing motherboard for a lower cost. 

The numbers we recorded from our tests for core clock speeds, temperatures, benchmarks, and voltages were good. 

It’s positive news for the N5 since there was no performance downgrade to save money.  That’s as long as you don’t mind the features missing on the board. 

BIOS running on the motherboard was stable to use for testing. ASRock creates good software for their boards, and we’re glad NZXT teamed up with them for the N5 Z690.
NZXT CAM is also great when utilised together with the NZXT Kraken AIO liquid cooler or other accessories. 

Overall, the performance of the N5 Z690 was great, and it doesn’t differ from the pricier N7. Although it did have a few hiccups, it still did its job. 

So if you’re wondering if we’d recommend this motherboard, we sure will. 

NZXT N5 Z690 Motherboard Review Summary

The N5 Z690 is the more affordable variant of NZXT’s N7 Z690 motherboard. It has no metal shrouding and reduced features like fewer power phases, USB ports, and a slower M.2 slot. But despite that, it’s still one of the best choices for an affordable yet updated gaming PC.

This motherboard is a notable addition to the company’s lineup. It utilises unique features and support for Intel’s 12th Gen processors. Although it doesn’t use the latest DDR5 memory, it supports DDR4, which is still fast.

The N5 Z690 is ideal for i5 or i7 processors, making it one of the best mid-range Z690 motherboards.

With the N-series motherboards, NZXT encourages building your PC with the company’s ecosystem. Their motherboards and other components are compatible with the company’s CAM software to organise all connected gear. 

We were satisfied with this motherboard’s performance in each test we’ve done for our review. With its exceptional performance, it’s easy to recommend this product. It’s an affordable motherboard that can meet your gaming needs, despite not having some of the N7’s features.

If you don’t mind not having the metal shroud, the NZXT is one of the best options. It may not have a metal shroud, but it’s a solid foundation for the latest Intel chipsets.

To learn more about the N5 Z690 Motherboard, visit NZXT’s official product page for more details.