EVGA extreme Z790 motherboards turn the dial to 11 and the socket 90 degrees

Dark and Classified boards arrive for Raptor Lake overclocking shenanigans.


Having backed out of the next-gen graphics market, enthusiast component manufacturer EVGA is refocussing its efforts with a couple of ultra-high-end motherboards for Intel’s latest 13th Gen ‘Raptor Lake’ CPUs.

Championing well-established brands, EVGA has both Dark Kingpin and Classified motherboards prepared for launch, neither of which is for the faint of heart.

Designed primarily for extreme overclocking, the flagship Dark Kingpin boasts a ludicrous 14-layer low-loss PCB and outlandish 21-phase digital VRM. The board’s tinkering provenance is immediately apparent by the LGA1700 socket, which is rotated 90 degrees to enable maximum cooling performance without hinderance.


Liquid cooling is the name of the game – two pump headers are present for AIO coolers – yet even if air cooling, a full complement of rotated connectors along the right-hand side will help ensure uninterrupted chassis airflow. Even 24-pin ATX and EPS12V power is taken care of neatly.

Second-rung Classified is less extreme, albeit only slightly. Here we have a mere 12-layer PCB and 19-phase VRM. The rotated socket has been carried across for the first time – EVGA reckons doing so also helps reduce memory latency – and both boards’ PCIe Gen 5 M.2 slots are hidden beneath chunky-looking heatsinks.

Classified supports up to 128GB of DDR5 at speeds of up to 6,800MT/s or beyond, and includes two PCIe Gen 5 x16 slots, both 10GbE and 2.5GbE LAN, dual USB 4 Type-C and Wi-Fi 6E. Dark Kingpin, on the other hand, sets its sights squarely on overclockers with just two DIMM slots supporting up to 64GB of DDR5 at speeds of up to 7,000MB/s, as well as auto-switching on the expansion slots to ensure either x16 interface can be used at full speed.

About as extreme as they come, EVGA’s Z790 pair target a very specific niche, and it’s good to see the manufacturer doing what it does best. There’s sadly no mention of pricing just yet, but EVGA is promising more details soon.