Z690 vs Z790 Chipset: Which is better?[Updated June 2023]


In the world of high-performance gaming PCs, motherboard chipsets play a crucial role in determining your rig’s capabilities and overall experience. The recent release of Intel’s 12th and 13th Gen processors has sparked great interest among PC enthusiasts, bringing two new contenders into the arena: Z690 vs Z790 motherboards.

Key Takeaways

  • The Z690 and Z790 chipsets are both powerful options for building high – performance gaming PCs, but have key differences in terms of PCIe lanes, USB ports, and DDR5 transfer rates.
  • The Z790 chipset offers an additional USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 port compared to the Z690, making it a better option for those with demanding peripherals that require fast data transfer speeds.
  • The Z790 also supports higher maximum RAM speeds compared to the Z690, providing better system responsiveness and faster multitasking capabilities.
  • When choosing between the two chipsets, it’s important to consider your needs and budget as well as compatibility with other computer components such as processors and M.2 slots.

Overview Of Z690 Chipset

Alder Lake Chipsets (Z690 – 600 Series)

The Alder Lake chipsets, specifically the Z690 from Intel’s 600 series, were introduced alongside the 12th Gen Intel Core processors. These chipsets revolutionized desktop computing performance with their hybrid architecture that combines high-performance Golden Cove cores and energy-efficient Gracemont cores.

In addition to its compatibility with 12th Gen processors, the Z690 chipset offers enhanced features like DDR4 & DDR5 memory supportCPU and memory overclocking capabilities, as well as increased PCIe lanes for improved I/O throughput.

For example, this means you can utilize multiple high-speed SSDs or advanced graphics cards without compromising on performance.

Overview Of  Z790 Chipset

Raptor Lake Chipsets (Z790 – 700 Series)

The Raptor Lake chipsets, specifically the Z790, represent a significant step forward in terms of performance and capabilities for Intel-based systems.

For starters, the Z790 supports higher DDR5 memory speeds compared to its predecessor (Z690), reaching up to 6800 MT/s. This increased RAM speed translates to better system responsiveness and faster multitasking capabilities when handling resource-intensive applications like video editing or gaming.

Furthermore, the Z790 chipset boasts an impressive number of PCIe lanes – a total of 28 with additional I/O throughput – giving you more flexibility for connecting multiple devices such as GPUs and SSDs without compromising on performance.

Notably, it also features enhanced USB technology with more USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports than its counterpart (Z690). These improvements make the Raptor Lake chipsets (Z790 – 700 series) ideal candidates if you’re looking to build an ultra-high-performance rig while staying on par with recent advancements in technology.

Z690 vs Z790: Key Differences

Z690 and Z790 have some notable differences, including revised PCIe lanes and an extra USB port, higher DDR5 speeds, and PCH PCI Express configuration.

Improved PCIe Lanes And An Extra USB 3.2 Gen2x2 20 Gbit/s Port 

One of the primary distinctions between the Z690 and Z790 chipsets is their PCIe lane configuration. The newer, more advanced Z790 chipset boasts 20 CPU PCIe 4.0 lanes as opposed to only 12 on the Z690.

Moreover, the Z690 chipset boasts 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes as opposed to only 8 on the Z690. 

In addition to these revised PCIe lanes, the Z790 also offers an extra USB port with cutting-edge USB technology: USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (also known as SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps). While both chipsets provide a solid number of USB ports, this additional one brings the total count for Z790 up to five while maintaining backward compatibility with older devices.

With increasingly demanding peripherals like VR headsets and external storage devices requiring higher transfer speeds, having an extra high-speed USB port becomes crucial in meeting those demands without sacrificing functionality or convenience.

Faster DDR5 Speed

One of the key differences between the Z690 and Z790 chipsets is in their support for RAM speeds. While both chipsets can handle DDR5 memory, the maximum supported speed on Z690 is 6400 MT/s, while that on Z790 goes up to 6800 MT/s.

This may not sound like a big difference, but it could make a noticeable impact on system performance and overall responsiveness.

For example, if you’re building a PC for gaming or other high-performance tasks that require quick data access from memory, going with Z790 over Z690 could give you an edge by allowing your system to run at faster speeds.

Z690 vs Z790: Which Chipset Is Best For You?

Consider your needs and budget, research the specifications and performance, and look for compatibility with your other computer components before deciding which chipset is best for you.

Consider Your Needs And Budget

Before choosing between Z690 and Z790, consider your needs and budget. If you need Thunderbolt 4 support, then the Z790 might be the better option for you.

It’s important to research each chipset’s specifications and performance before making a decision. Check for processor compatibility, memory support, overclocking capabilities, TDP (thermal design power), display output options, PCIe lanes available, USB ports available, M slots supported and DDR memory clock speed.

All of these factors will impact how well your computer runs with either chipset.

Research The Specifications And Performance

It is important to research the specifications and performance of both Z690 and Z790 chipsets before deciding which one to choose for your build. Look for factors such as processor supportRAM capacity, PCIe lanes, USB ports, IO throughput, RAM speed, M slots, Thunderbolt USB support among others.

You should also consider your budget and needs when making a decision. For example, if you require Thunderbolt 4 support then the Z790 may be the better option for you due to its increased I/O throughput that supports Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 ports.

Look For Compatibility With Your Other Computer Components

As a blogger who is interested in the technical aspects of computer building, it’s important to consider compatibility with other components when choosing between the Z690 and Z790 chipsets. Here are some key factors to take into account:

  1. Processor Compatibility – Both chipsets support 12th and 13th generation Intel Core processors, but it’s important to confirm that your choice of processor will work with your preferred chipset.
  2. Maximum RAM Capacity – Both chipsets have a maximum RAM capacity of 128GB, but be sure to check the maximum speed for each chipset.
  3. PCIe Configurations – Confirm that your chosen motherboard supports the PCIe configuration you require for your other components.
  4. USB Ports – Consider how many USB ports you need and make sure to choose a chipset that has enough for your needs.
  5. Thunderbolt Support – If you require Thunderbolt support, choose the Z790 as it has built-in Thunderbolt 4 support.
  6. Overclocking Support – If overclocking is important to you, both chipsets support overclocking capabilities.
  7. Price Difference – Finally, keep in mind that there is a price difference between the two chipsets, so choose one that fits within your budget while still meeting all of your compatibility requirements.

By taking these factors into consideration, you can ensure that you choose the best chipset for your specific needs and prevent any compatibility issues down the line.

Related :  Z690 Vs B660 Motherboards

Conclusion: Z690 vs Z790 – which is better?

Both the Z690 and Z790 chipsets offer powerful performance for gaming PCs and other high-end computing needs. The key differences between them are in the number of PCIe lanes, USB ports, DDR5 transfer rates, and M.2 slots they support.

When deciding which chipset is best for you, consider your budget, specific needs, and compatibility with other components.

Whichever one you choose will provide great overclocking capabilities, graphics card support, power phases, IO ports to meet all your PC building requirements.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...