The MSI Z690 Edge WIFI DDR4 comes from the MPG line of motherboards, in the middle of the company’s product range. While it may not have all the bells and whistles that make some high-end MEG boards, the MPG line (and Edge WIFI) are well-equipped and ready to handle any Alder Lake processor, including our i9-12900K test chip.
The Z690 Edge WIFI DDR4 ($ 299.99) is at the bottom of the MPG series, with the Z690 Force WIFI and Z690 Carbon WIFI / Carbon EK X we reviewed above. The board includes a capable power supply, plenty of storage space (including four M.2 sockets and six SATA ports), premium audio and network solutions, fast USB connection and a busy but good look, all for $ 299.99. There aren’t many things here that you don’t like that aren’t subjective. If you want to use the latest and greatest RAM (and pay a lot more for it), there is a Z690 Edge WIFI DDR5 option for $ 329.99.
The tested performance of our Z690 Edge WIFI DDR4 was good everywhere, but especially in our Procyon / MS Office package, where it recorded some of the highest values. The difference between DDR4 and DDR5 is obvious in the 7Zip compression tests and the x264 benchmarks, but the board competes well with the other DDR4 models we tested.
Testing performance during games was also in place. In short, it will be difficult for you to tell the difference between this board and the others we tested.
Let’s take a look at the features and performance of the MSI MPG Z690 Edge WIFI DDR4 in more detail and see if this $ 300 motherboard has a chance to make our list of the best motherboards. But before we do that, here are the full specifications of the board, directly from MSI:
Specifications: MSI MPG Z690 Edge WIFI DDR4
|Voltage regulator||18 phases (16x 75A MOSFET for Vcore)|
|Video ports||(1) HDMI (v2.1)|
|(1) DisplayPort (v1.4)|
|USB ports||(1) USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C (20 Gbps)|
|(5) USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)|
|(2) USB 2.0 (480 Mbps)|
|Network jacks||(1) 2.5 GbE|
|Audio jacks||(5) Analog + SPDIF|
|Legacy ports / jacks||✗|
|Other ports / jack||✗|
|PCIe x16||(1) v5.0 (x16)|
|(2) v3.0 (x4)|
|PCIe x1||(1) v3.0 (x1)|
|CrossFire / SLI||✗|
|DIMM slots||(4) DDR4 5200+ (OC), 128GB capacity|
|M.2 slots||(1) PCIe 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps), PCIe (up to 110 mm)|
|(1) PCIe 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps), PCIe (up to 80 mm)|
|(1) PCIe 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps), PCIe / SATA (up to 80 mm)|
|(1) PCIe 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps), PCIe / SATA (up to 80 mm)|
|Supports RAID 0/1/5/10|
|SATA ports||(6) SATA3 6 Gbps (Supports RAID 0/1/10)|
|USB headers||(1) USB v3.2 Gen 2, Type-C (10 Gbps)|
|(1) USB v3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)|
|Fan / pump collectors||(8) 4-pin (CPU, system, water pump)|
|(8) 4-pin (CPU, system, water pump)||(3) aRGB Gen 2 (3-pin)|
|(1) AURA RGB (4-pin)|
|Diagnostic panel||EZ Debug LED|
|Internal button / switch||✗|
|SATA controllers||ASMedia ASM1061|
|Ethernet controller (s)||Intel I225-V (2.5 Gbps)|
|Wi-Fi / Bluetooth||Intel Wi-Fi 6 (2×2 ax, MU-MIMO, 2.4 / 5/6 GHz, 160 MHz, BT 5.2)|
|HD audio codec||Realtek ALC4080|
|DDL / DTS||✗ / ✗|
Inside the box of the MPG Z690 Edge WIFI DDR4, MSI includes a standard collection of accessories: SATA cables, USB flash drives (a nice touch at this price) and others to help your system work and work. Here is a complete list of what’s in the board box:
- 2 SATA cables
- Wi-Fi antenna
- Quick Installation Guide
- EZ M.2 clips
- USB device (drivers)
- 1 to 2 RGB LED extension cable
- RainboRGB LED extension cable
- Cable stickers
- MPG stickers
- Case badge
- Cleaning brush
Z690 Edge WIFI design
Looking closely at the board, we see a black PCB along with radiators and housings that cover a lot of the surface. They are all lighter black than the board. The matrix style makes the board look busy for me. There are large radiators with many cutouts and a surface that cover the VRM. Here we find the first RGB element: MSI Dragon is illuminated from below, illuminating the brand. The second RGB zone, located below the chipset heatsink, illuminates the bottom of the board. Overall, the MPG Z690 Edge WIFI DDR4 looks good, although the busy nature of the design may repel some builders.
Starting from the top half of the board, we will take a closer look at the large radiators connected to the heat pipe to cool the power supply. On top of that, MSI dragon RGBs are saturated and colorful, while not being too bright and captivating. The dashboard emits a glow that illuminates the inside of your case, but does not make it the center of attention. Just above the heatsinks we notice two 8-pin EPS power connectors (one is needed) to power the processor.
Passing by the socket, we come across four unreinforced DRAM slots that lock the RAM from both ends. MSI lists support for this DDR4 board up to 5200+ MHz (with one DIMM per channel and one rank) and capacity up to 128GB. In terms of memory speed, your mileage may vary, as it depends on the memory kit and CPU IMC to reach such speeds. We did not encounter any problems with our DDR4-3600 or DDR4-4000 kits during testing and there is still more free space.
Above the DRAM slots there is a 4-pin fan and RGB headers. There are CPU_FAN1 and PUMP_FAN1 headings here, plus six others on the board for a total of eight. All headers support both PWM and DC controlled fans. CPU_FAN1 has automatic control by default and outputs up to 2A / 24W. PUMP_FAN1 is in PWM mode by default and outputs up to 3A / 36W, while the SYS_FAN1-6 headers are in DC mode by default and output 1A / 12W. There are many headers and power supplies to support your cooling ecosystem through the board. You can control the fans via the BIOS as well as the MSI Center software.
There are two RGB headers next to the CPU and PUMP fan headers. There are two 3-pin ARGB headers here, while at the bottom of the board there is a 4-pin RGB and a third 3-pin ARGB. If the RGB lighting on the board is not enough, use them to illuminate your chassis and MSI’s Mystic Light software to control the light show.
Looking down at the right edge of the board, we come across another 4-pin fan, the EZ debug LEDs (the problem area remains lit if there is a problem during the POST process), the 24-pin ATX power connector on the board, 15 -pin USB 3.2 Gen1 (5 Gbps) port on the front panel and USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) Type-C port on the front panel.
MSI lists VRM as an 18-phase system, with 16 phases dedicated to Vcore. Power comes from the 8-pin EPS connector (s) and to the platform’s common 20-channel Renesas RAA229131 controller. The power is then moved to the 16 75A Renesas SPS MOSFET. Some math for napkins reveals that there is 1200A available for the CPU, which is enough to handle the high-end i9-12900K, which we use for stock testing and overclocking with ambient cooling. In short, the energy supply will not hold you back, your cooling will hold you back. This is true for most Z690 boards.
Starting from the lower left corner, we see a fully open audio section with the Realtek ALC4080 codec. Of the comparable (with similar prices DDR4) boards, this board Edge and Gigabyte Aero G are the only ones that use a solution of the current generation. While this isn’t a big deal, as the ALC1220 codec also sounds good, it’s great to see it embedded on a board focused more on the budget side of things. Along with the codec, we spy on an audio split line to keep the audio bits away from the rest of the board (EMI attenuation), and several special Chemicon audio caps.
There are three full-length PCIe slots in the middle of the board, an x1 slot and space for four M.2 modules under the heatsinks. Starting with slots, the top slot (PCI_E1) outputs its bands from the processor and runs at PCIe 5.0 x16 speeds. PCI_E3 / E4 get their bandwidth from the chipset and run up to PCIe speeds of 3.0 x4. This configuration supports AMD Crossfire technology for those who are still rocking in multi-card settings.
Four M.2 slots are trapped around the PCIe slots. The top socket, M2_1, supports up to 110 mm PCIe devices and runs at PCIe speeds of 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps). The second slot, M2_2, supports up to 80 mm PCIe devices with speeds up to PCIe 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps). The lower two slots, M2_3 and M2_4, support PCIe and SATA-based modules up to 80 mm. In other words, there is a lot of storage space available, including SATA M.2 based, which is missing on some boards. It is also worth noting here that MSI uses EZ Latch M.2 clips to attach the devices instead of the traditional small screws. Although we do not change them often, the clamps are still much easier to work with screws, which are easily lost in the board or carpet.
At the right end we come to the six SATA ports. Four are built into the board / chipset (SATA5-8), while the other two, SATA A / B, work through the ASMedia ASM1061 controller. The specifications and manual do not mention band sharing, so you should be able to run all SATA ports and M.2 jacks at once. If RAID is your thing, SATA ports support RAID0 / 1/10, while NVMe sockets run RAID0 / 1/5/10.
Several headers are placed at the bottom, including USB and SATA ports, RGB, etc. Below is a complete list of all headers at the bottom of the board:
- Front panel audio
- 3-pin ARGB header
- 4-pin RGB header
- Thunderbolt header
- (3) 4-pin fan connector
- (2) USB 2.0 headers
- 4-pin system fan
- LED key
- TPM header
- Front panel title
Moving to the rear I / O area, the pre-installed I / O board matches the theme of the board (black) with labels for each port in gray. The MPG symbol reminds you which brand the Edge family is from.
Working from left to right, we first come across the BIOS Flashback button, used to update the BIOS without a CPU. There are two USB 2.0 ports and HDMI and DisplayPort video output on the right. Then, in red, is four stacks (plus one on the right) of the USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) ports. Below the single Type-A is 20 Gbps Type-C, while the 2.5 GbE port is above it. On the right we find the antenna connections for Wi-Fi 6 and analog audio stack with 5 plugs, plus SPDIF.
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