If you are planning to upgrade your PC with Intel’s 13th generation Raptor Lake processors, you might be wondering which chipset is better for your needs. Currently, Z690 and Z790 are the two best chipsets. Both chipsets have their own pros and cons. Hence, to make a better decision, this Z690 vs Z790 guide has compared a few features of these two chipsets to know which one is a better option for you.
Z690 vs Z790: Which Chipset is Better for your Motherboard (2023)
Both chipsets support the new LGA1700 socket and offer features such as PCIe 5.0, DDR5, and overclocking. However, there are some differences between them that could affect your decision. Hence, here’s the comparison between the Z690 and Z790 chipsets based on criteria like CPU compatibility, PCIe Connectivity, and Overclocking to help you choose the best one for your PC:
1. CPU Compatibility
Both Z690 and Z790 chipsets can support 12th and 13th-generation Intel Core processors. But the Z690 chipset requires a BIOS update to work with Raptor Lake CPUs, while the Z790 chipset supports them out of the box. This means if you buy a Z690 motherboard now and want to upgrade to a Raptor Lake CPU later, you will need to update your BIOS first. On the other hand, if you buy a Z790 motherboard, you can install any Raptor Lake CPU without any hassle.
2. PCIe Connectivity
Both chipsets offer PCIe 5.0 lanes from the CPU, which can be used for graphics cards or storage devices. However, the Z790 chipset has more PCIe 4.0 lanes from the chipset than the Z690 chipset. The Z790 chipset has 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes, while the Z690 chipset has only 12. This means that the Z790 chipset can support more M.2 slots for PCIe 4.0 SSDs or other expansion cards than the Z690 chipset. Also, the Z790 chipset can support an extra USB 20Gbps port than the Z690 chipset.
Both chipsets allow overclocking of the CPU and memory, but the Z790 chipset has some advantages over the Z690 chipset in this regard. The Z790 chipset has more robust power delivery components and better cooling solutions than the Z690 chipset. For example, some MSI Z790 motherboards have up to 26+2 VRM phases and feature a wavy fin stacked heatsink with a cross heatpipe to dissipate heat more efficiently. These features enable more stable and aggressive overclocking of Raptor Lake CPUs on Z790 motherboards than on Z690 motherboards.
In short, the Z790 chipset has some advantages over the Z690 chipset in terms of CPU compatibility, PCIe connectivity, and overclocking potential. Therefore, if you want to get the most out of your Raptor Lake CPU and have no budget constraints, the Z790 chipset is a better choice than the Z690 chipset. But, if you are on a tight budget or already have a Z690 motherboard with an Alder Lake CPU, you can still enjoy Raptor Lake performance with a BIOS update.
With that, this Z690 vs Z790 motherboard chipsets comparison guide ends. Also, check out our other guides, such as the 5 Best Motherboards for Intel i9 13th Gen 13900k or the Types of Motherboard Size – Pros & Cons.