The latest 12th Gen Intel Core processors are finally here but since we have yet to get our hands on the CPU at the moment, we’ll first take a look at the MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI, one of the latest Intel Z690 chipset motherboards that will soon be available in the market which we have received earlier this week.

While it’s already known to many that these Intel Z690 chipset motherboards are ready for the 12th Gen Intel Core processors, DDR5 memory modules, and the upcoming PCIe 5.0 devices, each board partner will have their own power design and features of their own. So without any further ado, let’s take a quick look at what MSI has to offer on their upcoming MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI motherboard.

Package & Accessories

At the front of the box, we can the usual information such as the supported CPU series, the chipset of the motherboard, supported operating system. Equipped with the latest Intel Z690 chipset, the MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI will support the latest 12th Gen Intel Core processors, and it is TPM 2.0 ready for the new Windows 11 operating system. You’ll find more information at the back of the box, such as the list of I/O available, the power design of the motherboard, support for DDR5 memory modules, and more.

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Aside from the user’s guide, installation guide, label stickers, Wi-Fi antenna with a magnetized base, SATA cables, and RGB lightings that most of us are already familiar with, MSI also included a mini screwdriver keychain, a USB thumb drive with the necessary software, and a mini brush for cleaning. We also notice that there’s a small bag with two pieces screws that has a very similar design as the Q-latch M.2 SSD securing mechanism on one of our ASUS motherboards.

The MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI

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The MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI shares a similar design as the MPG Z590 GAMING CARBON WIFI and it actually took me a while to notice the differences between the two. The most notable differences you’ll find on the MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI are the revamped design on the heatsink and the lack of PCIe x1 slots this time. Though you will get a bigger heatsink that is attached to the motherboard chipset and a surprisingly long heatsink in between the 2nd and 3rd PCIe slots with some surprises underneath.

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You’ll find a total of three PCIe slots on this motherboard. The top two slots support the latest PCIe 5.0 standards and can be used in 1 x PCIe x16 or 2 x PCIe x8 configuration, while the third slot will support PCIe 3.0 in PCIe x4 configuration.

You’ll find a total of five M.2 slots underneath the heatsinks, which is plenty enough for those who want to build an M.2 storage only system for the best storage performance. As we have yet to receive any further details on the connection here while preparing this article, we will leave this out for now and come back with the final details later on. Some of the M.2 SSD slots will have these new locking mechanisms pre-installed but in case if you need more, there are still two of these in the accessories pack.MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI 17

If you don’t plan to use all the M.2 slots or perhaps, still prefer to have a hard drive on the system, the MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI can still support up to six SATA storage drives.

For the power design, although it also comes with 2 x 8-pin EPS 12V for the CPU power just like its predecessor, the MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI is equipped with a seemingly beefier VRM design with what MSI calls the direct 18+1+1 power design.

Although the power stages used on the MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI is technically the same RAA220075 power stages with 75A rated power as what’s used on the MPG Z590 GAMING CARBON WIFI, there are some components which are new to us and we don’t have much information about it at the moment – the MPS2127 and RAA229131 controller. We’ll come back to this again when we’re able to get more details on the two mentioned components at a later date.

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While it lacks the QOL features like the onboard power button, reset buttons, etc like what you’ll find on the MEG series motherboard lineup, MSI still include the Q-Code debug LED on the MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI for easier troubleshoot if you plan to play around with the BIOS settings for overclocking purposes.

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For the DIMM slots, the MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI will only support DDR5 memory modules but it offers much more than what the previous generation can offer – of a higher capacity of 128GB with four DIMM slots populated and a memory frequency of up to DDR5-6400 via overclocking.

The onboard audio solution features the Realtek ALC4080 and the Nichicon Audio Capacitors that many are familiar with. It’s technically very similar to what you’ll find on the MPG Z590 GAMING CARBON WIFI as well and it is part of the Audio Boost 5 feature of this motherboard that features DSD support and is capable of PCM streams playback with an SNR ratio of up to 120dB.

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And for the rear I/O, we can see a BIOS flashback button, HDMI and DisplayPort, Intel i225-v 2.5GbE LAN and Wi-Fi 6E AX210, and a handful of USB ports with rather lengthly name labels on them.

First Impression

Other than the support for the latest 12th Gen Intel Core processors and DDR5 memory modules, the MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI is also equipped with plenty of interesting features that some enthusiasts on the budget will appreciate. It might be a different story for the Z590 GAMING CARBON WIFI owners though, due to the many similarities it shares with its predecessor but there’s not much we can comment about the board at the moment until we can finally put it to the test.

That’s all we have to say about the MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI for now and we’ll be back with more data soon after we got our hands on the 12th Gen Intel Core processor(s).

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