What we have here is the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming Wi-Fi. This is a flagship Mini-ITX motherboard that is built to spec for the the arrival of Intel’s 12th-generation Core series microprocessors.
If you’re not up to date, the 7nm Alder Lake is the much anticipated hybrid architecture from Intel, utilizing Golden Cove high-performance cores and the Gracemont power-efficient cores. On top of the native support for PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory, this is a pretty good combination of features at launch.
Now back to board, the ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming is anything but ordinary. It come with an all new design, a beefier VRM and a slew of 600 series exclusive features – that we will definitely check out on this preview.
Disclosure: ASUS sent this unit as a return sample for the purpose of this preview. The company did not ask me to say anything particular about it. All thoughts and opinion are of my own.
- Product Page: ASUS ROG STRIX Z690-I GAMING WIFI
- Price: ₱ 24,210 PHP (MSRP)
- Release Date: Q4 2021
|CPU Support||Intel 12th-generation Core, Pentium Gold, Celeron Processors|
|Socket||Intel Socket LGA1700|
|GPU||DisplayPort 1.4 via Intel Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1|
|PCI Express||PCIe 5.0 x16|
|M.2||SATA III, NVMe PCIe 4.0 x4|
|RAID||RAID 0/1/5/10 (SATA III), RAID 0/1/5 (NVMe)|
|LAN||Intel 2.5Gb Ethernet|
|WLAN||Intel Wi-Fi 6E|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth Version 5.2|
|USB||2x 3.2 Gen 2, 3x 3.2 Gen 1, 2x Legacy|
|Thunderbolt||2x Thunderbolt 4|
|Display||2x DisplayPort 1.4 via Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1|
|Front IO / Internal|
|USB||USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, USB 3.2 Gen 1, USB 2.0|
|LED||Addressable Gen 2, AURA RGB|
Packaging and Accessories
ASUS had the ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming Wi-Fi packed inside their usual double compartment motherboard packaging.
The product should come with the following items inside:
- ROG USB2.0 splitter cable
- Panel Cable
- SATA 6Gb/s cables
- ASUS Wi-Fi moving antennas
- Cable ties pack
- M.2 Q-Latch package(s)
- ROG key chain
- ROG logo plate stickers
- ROG Strix stickers
- ROG Strix thank you card
- Support DVD
- User guide
Pretty awesome bundles we got here. Appropriate for a high-end motherboard model.
Design, Build and Connectivity
ASUS went with the tried and tested design element with the Z690-I Gaming. That means the board is black and edgy, yet is more refined compared to the outgoing models. It’s even taller by 5mm due to the daughterboard’s complex design. That said, this is a heavy motherboard with a lot of metal to aid cooling and aesthetics combined.
The back shows more about the soldering job involved into making the motherboard. Compared to other motherboards of this caliber, the Z690-I Gaming doesn’t come with passive cooling or braces here. No worries there though as the bulk of components needed to cool are located on the facade.
Powering the CPU is a 10+1 config power stage via a reinforced (ASUS ProCool II) 8-pin CPU power connector. The CPU fan, AIO pump header and a +12v RGB LED header are also located here.
We got the usual suspects here when it comes to storage headers but we also got a new interconnect for the SATA interface. ASUS touts this as the ROG Front Panel SATA Card. This is basically a combination of four SATA ports, one ARGB lighting header and connectors for a front panel header and a PC speaker. It uses a dual USB Type-C male header.
Bottom row is pretty clean since most of the stuff that needs connecting are already on the daughter board. We got the chassis fan header here, another RGB LED header (ROG Gen 2), a USB header and a front panel audio header. This daughterboard is actually a smorgasbord with the PCH, dual M.2 slots (PCIe 4.0 NVMe) and the audio solution sharing one real estate in a property complex fashion.
Rear I/O ports are excellent and comes with perforations to aid the dinky 40mm fan when needed. Nothing to complain here aside from the missing headphone jack. We have a line out here though for speakers and amplifiers so if you got setup for that, then I guess you just could. Anyway, if you want your headset or headphones connected directly, you got to use the AAFP header.
The board is jam packed with features and there’s little to scrutinize. Perhaps an easier access to the battery bay and a removable Wi-Fi card would be an ideal setup. Regardless, I find this board’s amount of I/O port appealing to the point where it could put some ATX motherboards to shame.
The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming Wi-Fi is a rock solid approach to a high-end SFF build. It comes with all the bells and whistles of the Intel Z690 chipset with a touch of its own to maximize its worth – which is by the way, around ₱ 24,210 PHP.
With that sum, you could buy a good 11th generation CPU and motherboard combo already but for those who wants to jump the gun to the next generation platform right away, this is more than enough to pass as a decent offer considering its feature set and sheer build quality. A shame we don’t have PCIe 5.0 devices yet available to the average consumer though.