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NZXT N5 Z690 Review - better than expected!

NZXT N5 Z690 Review

NZXT N5 Z690 Review
- Has launched a pair of z690 motherboards that support intel 12th gen alternate processors, we're going to handle these into separate reviews. So, let's start with the n5 z690 priced at 210 pounds here in the uk 240 dollars in the usa and globally, it's relatively basic. You can see that the nzxt styling covers the chipset and the vrms. The rest of the board is left to its own devices. 

Having said that, it's not without its points of interest, the accessories for the n5 z690 very basic sata cables, various m. screws and a couple of wi-fi antennae. The layout also very straightforward. We'Ve got support for ddr4 memory, which is a significant cost saving with this motherboard and also with the n7 z690. That'S also ddr4. 

We have a single m.heatsink at the top held in place with screws, nothing, fancy or clever, revealing the top primary m.2, and we have one two: three m.2 is there and a fourth m 2 on the back of the ball, which is what you expect on itx design, very strange that do not begin to understand. Why there's nothing else on the back of the board, just that m.2 pci express expansion.

We have three time 16 mechanical slots, but they do not operate that way. The main slot for graphics is gen 5 by 16. This secondary slot is gen 4x4. That is a gen. 3X1. You'Ve also got a couple of other times ones. Let us take off the heatsinks on the vrms four screws dead. S

traightforward comes off in one piece: it's two heatsinks that held together that screw there reasonable amount of uh mass to it reasonable amount of area, and we have some very basic, dr moss vrm's, eight plus one configuration for the eight for the v core one for the Igp richtek controller and they are 50 amp, dr mosses, by the look of it. 

This is an asrock phantom gaming, 4 board, so you're paying something like 25 30 pounds premium for the nzxt heatsink and their chipset cooler, and also for the cam software support, which you will see when the board is up and running and on the rear. I o. We have a relatively basic panel. 

We have two antenna points for the wi-fi 6e, an hdmi output, which obviously is relevant if you're using the intel, integrated, graphics, a pair of usb 2.0, a button for bias, flashback, one usb 3.2 gen, 2 type c, one usb 3.2, gen, 2 type, a two and A half gigabit real tech, ethernet and four usb 3 2 gen 1 type a and triple audio jacks, and i have to say seeing three audio jacks on a modern motherboard is quite a throwback for me.

Everything these days surely has five jacks in spdif, but there we go. The layout of the m5 is perfectly tidy, but of course, there isn't a great deal of hardware for as rockstroke nzxt to accommodate at the top of the board. 

We'Ve got an eight plus four eps running across here we have three fan: headers two rgb connectors for nzxt hardware, usb 3 type, a usb 3 type c. Obviously, two ports on one port respectively; another laid down usb 3 type. A so we've now got up to four uh usb 3.3.2 gen one usb 3.0. We'Ve got four laid down sata at the foot of the board. We have two more fan: headers.

We have a single usb 2.0 header supporting two ports or uh devices such as nzxt's own cam type devices, two rgb connections, one twelve volt, one five volt, so that might be a touch awkward uh. There are many times you wan na connect your rgb at the top of the board. 

Clearly, nzxt wants you to use their own connector and finally, we have the audio header, let's install a little hardware, so we've got a separate rocket m. 2 ssd, which goes in the primary slot. That'S straightforward: there isn't a securing screw for that, because it's held in place by the heatsink. 

You will note covers that screw hole there. So it follows: you need to install your motherboard in the case then install the m.2. Then put the heatsink on then screw it down. It makes you think that perhaps the smarter move is to install your ssd in one of these two slots to get the back slot. 

But of course, then you need a heatsink, so a bare m.2 without its own heatsink, it's going under there fiddly processor for our 912 900k, a bit of overkill on this motherboard, quite frankly, and some corsair vengeance, lpx ddr4, 3600. 

That test system sits on a streetcom open test bench powered by a seasonic prime titanium, 850 watt power supply. Cpu cooler is this corsair h150i elite lcd and we have a pallet rtx 3080 gaming, pro graphics card. Two points to note: the corsair cooler requires two internal usb 2 headers one for the screen, one to connect up and control. 

This rgb fan hub. Happily, they supply a y cable in the box, which means you can connect both of these headers to the single internal. Usb 2 header on the motherboard. The other thing is i've connected the fans directly to the motherboard, as is my want, which means i can see exactly what speed the fans are running at at all times.

Here we are in the bios on the easy mode screen, which means there's not a lot going on. Apart from information about the memory processor ssd and such like, i, you don't really change a lot in here. One thing worth noting is xmp is currently set to profile 1, which is the equivalent of on the alternative, is to put it to auto, which actually means off. So let's leave it on down in tools. We have the ability if we want to update the bias.

Let us go over to advanced mode, which is slightly more interesting, so basic information, overclocking cpu configuration everything is currently on auto, but we do have the ability to tinker with settings. If we choose, i suspect most customers for this motherboard won't even see this screen. 

They'Ll remain in easy mode, going into voltage configuration everything on auto again as you'd expect. What options do we have if we choose to change load line calibration? Ah, the good old asrock chart, so it shows we've actually got level one up high five droop significantly and level.

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Four is the default, which is fine on auto fiber configuration. This is the voltage regulator within the cpu that controls the power to the different parts of the cpu, everything on auto, just as you'd expect adaptive or we can change to override, which means that we're taking control we'll leave all that well alone. What do we have in the word tools? Ssd arrays, also ssd. We can update the bios and that is it pc monitoring everything on auto.

However, here we are in windows and we have three control utilities running. We have synapse for our razer mouse and keyboard corsair iq for the cpu cooler and then we have nzxt cam, basically doing the system. So you can see there's a good degree of overlap. The cam interface huh, that's ironic, uh, so the communication has been lost. Let'S go back, let's shut that down.

Do it again right to see what we're doing in cooling we have to actually scroll up and down, because we can't expand the window. However, we do oh good grief: okay, let's restart the pc and get some testing on the way the fan curves are set to a custom mode, so they start learning as soon as the temperature starts to rise and the cpu ramps up to 100 percent. 

Let us see what happens when we run cinebench r23 we've got pl1 set to 180 watts and pl2 to 241 watts fans ramp up exactly as we expect. Cpu speed is a nominal 4.9 gigahertz or cores 4 88, so, even though the power limit allowed the cpu to draw more power, it did not.

So let's call this the nominal 4.9 on the p cores nominal 3.7 on the e-cores. Okay, we're now into the pl1 figure, and we do indeed see 180 watts for the cpu package, so the turbo period has ended right, settling down now 4.6, all core on the p cores 3.on the equals, and that is 180 watts. A couple of points about the various test runs: i've made, there's no particular need to run nzxt's cam software as it doesn't control new functions on the motherboard and clearly the cooling in this instance is handled by corsair iq. So it's yet another monitoring utility and, as we know, they tend to clash. 

So the fact that cam crashed repeatedly on this motherboard - it's not quite indicative that cam is a piece of junk, but software doesn't tend to play an ico software. That'S just a fact: in this instance, you don't need to use cam with this motherboard with this configuration and i would have been better off, not using it.

The other thing is the vrm. Temperatures are not monitored by either hw info or indeed cam itself. I stuck some thermocouples on the vrms, but this is obviously an open test bench. So it's not exactly the same as a regular pc build. The vrms are nice and cool low 50s 52 degrees.

It happens during repeated runs of cinebench, so vrm temperatures not an issue, but, as you saw, the cpu wasn't exactly working very hard, but it did a reasonable job onward to our test results in cinebench r23 multi-core. The n5 did a perfectly reasonable job supporting the cpu at 4. 9 gigahertz in single core, the nzxt and its n7 brother shot to the top of the charts, albeit by a small margin. However, look at that 5.2 gigahertz on single core well done.

Nzxt blender classroom is much like r23 multi-core, so the n5 is down in the middle of the chart. Bapco crossmark the intel friendly test, the n5 and the n7. Pretty much tie they're doing nicely 3d mark times by just the cpu test. 

The two ends and xt motherboards are right down the bottom of the core: i9 12 900k figures, the cpus below that are lesser processors, ada64 memory, bandwidth nzxt at the bottom of the chart. But of course we're comparing ddr4 against dddr5 and that just is not a fair fight onward to gaming.

Far cry 6 The n7 is at the top of the chart, a frame or two ahead of the m5. Now, obviously, we don't test all these games and all these motherboards simultaneously and we know, games get updated over time as do graphics drivers, but taking all that together, nzxt has done a good job, far cry new dawn, same story, nzxt doing well n5 doing best of All watch dogs legion, the spread of frame rates here is very, very small. Nzxt, however, wins cpu temperature in blender classroom. 

The n5 is lovely and cool. Admittedly, the cpu is not working very hard and we have strapped on a 360 mil aio, so we're playing to its strengths. But you can't take away the fact. This cpu is icy cool power consumption in cinebench r23, so the graphics are basically idling system. Power 285 watts. The n5 is barely sipping on the wall socket. In conclusion, what do i think of the nzxt n5 z690 pros the good points?

Smart styling, particularly if you have an nzxt case, it has good support for m.2 storage, i'm ignoring the m.2 on the back of the board, because that just seems a bit weird to me, but the three slots on a budget motherboard yup that works for me. Ddr4 support helps you save money. Clearly, there's a performance offset, but ddr4 has been around for years.

You can buy the memory quite cheap, ddr5, not so much and performance is decent. Performance is actually better than i expected on auto. Clearly, we're not getting the potential of the ini in here and, in fact, i'd recommend. You don't use this board with a core i9. If you're going to spend that money on that processor, you should probably step up on the motherboard.

This is more suited to an i7 or even i5 cons the negative points. Cam software can be flaky, as you saw. Having said that in this instance, i'm not sure i'd even bother installing it. The vrms will not appeal to overclockers. In actual fact, i'd say for an overclocker: don't touch this motherboard or similar motherboards.

You should go elsewhere, but then, if you go back to my reviews of the core i9 core i7 core f5, you will note that the i9 i'd say: don't bother overclocking it at all. Quara 5 different story. If you're going to overclock your core 5, i do not think this is the motherboard for you. This is a niche point, but the argb headers. We have two nzxt headers up there and we have two conventional headers down the foot of the board.

I think it'd be good to have another five volt aigb header up at the top of the board just for convenience and finally, it would be useful to have another usb 2 internal header. Then again, perhaps that's more of a reviewers thing. Perhaps the general market doesn't much care about internal usb 2 headers in this day and age, so minor points overall. I think this is a board. You should consider, and that might surprise you.