Following the design of previous N5 and N7 boards, NZXT just refreshed its line-up to offer full support for Intel’s latest Z690 chipset.
Starting with the N5 Z690, we have an ATX motherboard compatible with Intel’s 12th Gen processors and, up to 128GB (4x32GB) of DDR4 memory at XMP speeds of up to 5,000MT/s. To power the CPU, NZXT opted for an 8+1 DrMOS power phase design. The absence of DDR5 is not that big of a deal on the mid-pack board as DDR4 is readily available and still offers good performance at reasonable prices.
Expansion-wise, this board includes one PCIe Gen 5 x16, one Gen 4 x4, one Gen 3 x1, and two Gen 3 x1. For NVMe storage there are four M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4, two of which support SATA mode.
For connectivity we get one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, four USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, two USB 2.0, an HDMI 2.0, three audio jacks, 2.5GbE, Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.
Moving to the N7 Z690, we find again an ATX board with a six-layer PCB, and NZXT once again opts to stick to tried-and-trusted DDR4 (up to 128GB), albeit with maximum speed reduced a tad at up to 4,800MT/s. Catering for the overclocking crowd, the N7 model touts a beefed-up 12+1 DrMOS power phase design, along with the added benefit of a dedicated Clear CMOS button.
For PCIe expansion, the N7 gets one Gen 5 x16, one Gen 4 x4, one Gen 3 x4, and two Gen 3 x1. However, we lost one M.2 slot, keeping only three.
Connectivity is a smidge faster using one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, three USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, two USB 2.0, an HDMI 2.0, five audio jacks, optical audio, 2.5GbE, Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. There’s also a better audio codec (Realtek ALC1220 vs. ALC897 on the N5) but the key selling point of course is the all-metal cover that encompasses most of the board for a super-clean finish. And those who favour a stealthy build need not worry, as both models are being made available in both white and matte black variants.
The N5 Z690 and N7 Z690 motherboards are covered by a three-year warranty and will set you back £209.99 and £269.99, respectively.