DDR5 is here and so is the latest Intel Z690 chipset made specially for it. We’ve tested the platform already and while my experience is awesome for the most part, I felt like DDR5 could’ve been launched with ample supply for the growing demand.
Now what we actually have here for review is the MSI MPG Z690 Edge Wi-Fi DDR4. Yes, you’ve heard that right – a Z690 platform with the last generation memory interface. This bridges the need for the new platform while also maintaining DDR4 support at its core.
Disclosure: MSI sent the MPG Z690 Edge Wi-Fi DDR4 for the purpose of this review. The company did not ask me to say anything particular about it but they insisted to have it tested with their ecosystem of components.
- Product Page: MPG Z690 EDGE WIFI DDR4
- Price: ₱ 17,780 PHP (RP, PCHub)
- Release Date: Q4 2021
|CPU Support||Intel 12th-generation Core, Pentium Gold, Celeron Processors|
|Socket||Intel Socket LGA1700|
|Multi-GPU||AMD CrossFire Technology|
|PCI Express||PCIe 5.0 x16, 2x PCIe 3.0 x4, PCIe 3.0 x1|
|SATA||8x SATA III|
|M.2||4x NVMe PCIe 4.0 x4|
|RAID||RAID 0/1/10 (SATA III), RAID 0/1/5/10 (NVMe)|
|LAN||Intel 2.5Gb Ethernet|
|WLAN||Intel Wi-Fi 6|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth Version 5.2|
|USB||2x 3.2 Gen 2, 3x 3.2 Gen 1, 2x Legacy|
|Thunderbolt||2x Thunderbolt 4|
|Audio||5x 3.5mm, S/PDIF|
|Display||DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.1|
|Front IO / Internal|
|USB||USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, 5x USB 3.2 Gen2, 2x USB 3.2 Gen1 2x USB 2.0|
|LED||4-Pin RGB, 3x 3-Pin RGB|
Packaging and Accessories
MSI had the MSI MPG Z690 Edge Wi-Fi DDR4 packed inside the usual double compartment motherboard packaging.
The packaging should come with the following items inside:
- MSI MPG Z690 Edge Wi-Fi DDR4
- 2x Wi-Fi Antenna
- User Manual
- Quick Installation Guide
- 2x EZ M.2 Clips
- 2x Screw Drivers
- USB Drive
- Cleaning Brush
- 2x SATA Cables
- 4-pin Y Split RGB Cable
- 3-Pin RGB Cable
- Cable Stickers
- MSI MPG Stickers
- Case Badge
- Reward Flyer
- Registration Card
Pretty awesome bundle of accessories we got here – there’s just a lot to unpack.
Design, Build and Connectivity
MSI appears to have an ample supply of metal at their factory with what the MPG Edge Wi-Fi has to offer. This is one of the heaviest ATX motherboards I’ve tested and is also one of the most aggressive looking if that’s not apparent enough. What I like about this board though is not how it looks, but the sheer amount of M.2 storage options it come with – about four to be precise.
The back shows more about the soldering job involved into making the motherboard along with some extra detailing – mostly where you should and shouldn’t leave any stand offs.
Powering the CPU is a direct 16+1+1 power stage design via dual 8-pin CPU power connectors. Cooling this monstrosity is a courtesy of CNC machined slabs of aluminum connected by a heat-pipe. This cooling solution actually extends way to the back panel I/O panel. As for other niceties, we have the usual arrangement of 4-pin fan headers here (total of 7) and the two 3-pin RGB LED headers.
Internal storage ports and headers are plenty enough this side of the board. We have 6x SATA III ports here, an internal USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C header and a USB 3.2 Gen1 header.
More storage down below but these are legacy USB 2.0 headers. We have assortment of other headers here though in the form of 4-pin RGB, the FPH, HD Audio header and more fan headers. A physical switch for the motherboard LED is also located here. I would very much prefer a power button here.
Rear I/O port configuration is just shy of excellence. I’d love to see dual USB 3.2 Gen2x2 ports here or more Gen2 ports. We have 2.5GbE LAN and a Wi-Fi 6 NIC though for networking.
The board is jam packed with interfaces and there’s barely any to scrutinize. Perhaps the placement of the CMOS battery and the lack of power-user physical interfaces are what’s missing here. One of the EZ M.2 clips is also out of tolerance. All I could think off really.
The MSI MPG Z690 Edge Wi-Fi DDR4 comes with the Click BIOS 5 which is not really far off compared to the last generation offering. It is a more refined UEFI though not gonna lie. It has better effects, doesn’t lag and the mouse is actually usable here. You have to note that it doesn’t save screenshots on an NTFS formatted drive and it’s very much a 4:3 ratio UI – hence the stretched image. Screenshot below is the EZ Mode. You could turn XMP and Game Boost here. I could make XMP work, but the former is kinda finicky.
Of course, there’s an Advanced mode still. The OC menu located here is where the magic’s at. Apart from the usual stuff I see from standard overclocking options, this comes with CPU cooler based tuning profile – which is a big deal for 12th generation processors. The P-Core and E-Core ratio are also located here instead of getting buried on the CPU configuration menu.
This one is self explanatory but I’d love to see a separate menu for Boot, Security and Save & Exit just to open up the Advanced sub menu. Just so you guys know, this is where the PCH and other sub system options are configured from.
MSI’s Hardware Monitor is also part fan control – and a decent one at that.
Even though Click BIOS 5 doesn’t look much different compared to the older version, MSI actually took their time to improve it. It still has some nuances (new ones), like when enabling Game Boost, the motherboard always defaults to the POST message when you inserted a new CPU or built a new system. This ultimately stopped me from testing the feature. Also, while the Flash BIOS is awesome to use, it wouldn’t let me revert back to the older firmware. Pretty odd stuff really.
Test Setup and Methodology
Our test setup relies on the measurements taken from industry standard benchmark tools and real-world applications. It is important to note that we are testing the review sample after burn-in, with at least 24-hours of uptime. This is done so to negate the FOTB (fresh out the box) state of the DUT (device under test), yielding better benchmarking consistency.
|Test System Specifications|
|CPU||Intel Core-i5 12600KF|
|Motherboard||MSI MPG Z690 Edge Wi-Fi DDR4|
|Cooler||MSI MAG CoreLiquid 240R|
|Memory||2x TeamGroup T-Force Xcalibur DDR4-3600 8GB|
|GPU||MSI GTX 1660 Super Gaming X|
|Storage||Kingston FURY Renegade 2TB|
|Case||Mechanical Library JXK-K3|
|PSU||MSI MPG A750GF|
|OS||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit|
The DUT is tested with the following configuration from our test system:
- UEFI configuration: Default
- Windows Power Plan: Balanced
Note: This motherboard has been tested with MSI’s supplied components. Can’t really compare results with other boards I’ve got here with the exception of the storage, network and audio interface performance.
Pi calculation speed is measured in Seconds (s). This is done via SuperPI. The test aims to check how fast a system calculates Pi.
Roots calculation speed is measured in Seconds (s). This is done via WPrime. The test aims to check how fast a system calculates square roots.
These are incomparable benchmarks. Just putting the ASUS and DDR5-5200 results here for future reference.
Cinema 4D score is measured in Points (pts). This is done via Cinebench R20. The test aims to check the Cinema 4D performance of the system.
V-Ray 5 score is measured in V-Ray samples (vsamples). This is done via V-Ray 5 Benchmark. The test aims to check the V-Ray 5 performance of the system.
Our MSI test system with the Core i5-12600KF is not really up to par with the 24-core monster.
Digital Content Creation
Image editing speed is measured in Seconds (s). This is done via RealBench and its built-in GIMP benchmark.
Video encoding speed is measured in Seconds (s).This is done via RealBench and its built-in HandBrake benchmark.
Same story could be said at the content creation benchmarks.
Web browsing speed is measured in Seconds (s). This is done via PCMark 10 and its built-in Chromium benchmark.
Web browsing speed is measured in Seconds (s). This is done via PCMark 10 and its built-in Firefox benchmark.
The web browsing benchmark results are neck to neck.
Productivity speed is measured in Seconds (s). This is done via PCMark 10 and its built-in LibreOffice Writer benchmark. The test aims to check the speed of loading documents.
Productivity speed is measured in Seconds (s). This is done via PCMark 10 and its built-in LibreOffice Calc benchmark. The test aims to check the speed of copying data and compute.
Simple benchmarks like this one shouldn’t create a huge gap between our test systems.
Compression speed is measured in Kilobytes per Second (KB/s). This is done via WinRAR and its built-in benchmark.
Instruction speed is measured in Giga-Instructions per Second (GIPS). This is done via 7-Zip and its built-in benchmark.
Again, the more expensive system with way better throughput wins.
Frame rate is measured in Frames per Second (FPS). This is done via Final Fantasy XVI: Endwalker and its official benchmark. The test aims to check the 1% low FPS performance.
Frame rate is measured in Frames per Second (FPS). This is done via Sid Meier’s Civilization VI and its built-in benchmark. The test aims to check the 1% low FPS performance.
Gaming performance is good. Remember that these are 1% Percentile FPS – not the average through the run.
Time to finish POST is measured in Seconds (s) at warm and cold boot. This is done via Windows Task Manager and its Last BIOS Time feature. The test aims to measure the amount of time time taken by the UEFI to initialize the hardware prior booting to Windows.
Last BIOS Time performance is acceptable.
Kernel timer latency is measured in Microseconds (μs) at current and highest. This is done via LatencyMon. The test aims to check if a system is suitable to process real-time audio and other tasks.
DPC latency is nothing to worry about. Actually better than the ASUS test system in this regard.
Memory latency is measured in Nanoseconds (ns). This is done via AIDA64 Extreme and its Cache and Memory Benchmark. The test aims to check the motherboard trace routing design for the memory.
Memory latency is good as it is with most DDR4 platforms.
Storage throughput is measured in Megabytes per second (MB/s) at read and write. This is done via CrystalDiskMark and its sequential benchmark. The test aims to check the performance of the common storage interfaces found within the motherboard.
Pretty good storage write performance we got here for the MSI MPG Edge Wi-Fi DDR4.
Sound level is measured in decibels, A-weighting (dB, A). This is done via the RightMark Audio Analyzer and its Test Report. The test aims to check the quality of the audio solution with the help of the MOTU M4 audio interface.
The MSI MPG Edge Wi-Fi DDR4 edges the ASUS at the DAC portion of this test, while the ASUS Z690-I Gaming Wi-Fi won at the ADC. Both performed well with my Sennheiser HD600 but I noticed there’s a noticeable -2.5dB frequency response roll-off at around 100Hz and below. You wouldn’t notice this with most dynamic headphones but if you’re rocking a planar magnetic with good sub bass extension this will most likely be an issue. Granted, you may need an amplifier for those but hooking such to the line-out is also not ideal due to the roll-off. For your reference, I test the outputs with the “Full Range” option tapped.
Network throughput is measured in Megabits per second (Mbps) at download and upload. This is done via LAN Tester. The test aims to measure the Ethernet and Wi-Fi performance of the motherboard with the help of a USB 3.0 flash drive hooked to a router.
Seems like the MSI motherboard comes with a more optimized 2.5GbE LAN interface. I don’t fine any problems with wireless either.
VRM temperature is measured in degree Celcius (ºC) at system idle and load. This is done via AIDA64 Extreme and its System Stability Test. Readings are then taken from the VRM using a thermocouple.
VRM thermal performance checks out just on the warmer side. No red flags here – although your mileage may vary with manual overclocking.
System power consumption is measured in Watts (ºC) at system idle and load. This is done via AIDA64 Extreme and its System Stability Test. Readings are then taken using a wattmeter.
280.5W is the total power consumed by our system with this board.
Software, Lighting and Special Features
MSI bundled the MPG Edge Wi-Fi DDR4 with the MSI Center. This is a non-obtrusive application that works similarly to the Microsoft Store. It’s also a pretty neat looking interface.
The MSI Center could also download drivers and other utilities. Compared to the Armoury Crate, this one downloads and installs application packages faster.
Other features could be found at the product page linked at the top of the review.
So, what we have here is a well thought out motherboard featuring all the niceties of the Z690 platform minus the DDR5 interface. There’s really little to scrutinize here and I expected that much for a board that costs at about ₱ 17,780 PHP retail.
Storage, network and audio solution performance are awesome – for the most part. I also like that MSI also improved their software – not just the new application center but the UEFI as well. Certainly, the company made strides to improve upon these interfaces. I just wish I didn’t hit a snag there when trying to test profiles. Oh well nothing is perfect I must say. At least we’ve got tons of M.2 slots and a boatload of headers to keep ourselves busy.
In closing, if the performance of the 12th generation Intel microprocessors interest you while keeping DDR4 as your preferred memory platform, this motherboard will not disappoint. An interesting full size platform with tons of features on top of its legacy support.
MSI MPG Z690 Edge Wi-Fi DDR4
The MSI MPG Z690 Edge Wi-Fi DDR4 is a refined and interesting ATX platform swapping over DDR5 to the more mature DDR4 interface.