Board Features

The MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI is a mid-ranged ATX motherboard that represents MSI's Performance Gaming series. As expected from a motherboard aimed at gamers, it has a relatively premium feature set that conforms to what other companies offer in the mid-range with their Z690 offerings. The MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI has a good variety of storage options, including three PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2, one PCIe 4.0 x4/SATA M.2, and one PCIe 3.0 x4/SATA slot. For SATA, MSI includes a total of six SATA ports, four of which are driven by the chipset and support RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays, while the other two are powered by an ASMedia SATA controller.

In terms of PCIe support, the Z690 Carbon WIFI has three full-length PCIe slots in total, two of which support PCIe 5.0 x16/x0 and x8/x8, while the third slot is electronically locked to PCIe 3.0 x4. MSI also includes four memory slots with support for up to DDR5-6666 with 1DPC (1R), but broadly support is limited to DDR5-5600 with all the memory slots populated. The MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI can also accommodate up to 128 GB.

Focusing on cooling support, the MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI has eight 4-pin cooling headers in total. These consist of one dedicated to a CPU fan, one dedicated to a water pump, and six dedicated to chassis fans.

MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI Motherboard
Warranty Period 3 Years
Product Page Link
Price (MSRP/Amazon) $400/$350
Size ATX
CPU Interface LGA1700
Chipset Intel Z690
Memory Slots (DDR4) Four DDR5
Supporting 128 GB
Up to DDR5-6666
Video Outputs 1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x DisplayPort 1.4
Network Connectivity 1 x Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE
Intel AX211 Wi-Fi 6E
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC4080
PCIe Slots for Graphics (from CPU) 2 x PCIe 5.0 x16 (x16/x0, x8/x8)
PCIe Slots for Other (from PCH) 1 x PCIe 3.0 (x4)
Onboard SATA Four, RAID 0/1/5/10 (Z690)
Two, ASMedia ASM1061
Onboard M.2 3 x PCIe 4.0 x4
1 x PCIe 4.0 x4/SATA
1 x PCIe 3.0 x4/SATA
Onboard U.2 N/A
Thunderbolt 4 (40 Gbps) N/A
USB 3.2 (20 Gbps) 1 x USB Type-C (Rear panel)
USB 3.2 (10 Gbps) 5 x USB Type-A (Rear panel)
1 x USB Type-C (One header)
USB 3.1 (5 Gbps) 2 x USB Type-A (One header)
USB 2.0 4 x USB Type-A (Rear panel)
4 x USB Type-A (Two headers)
Power Connectors 1 x 24-pin Motherboard
2 x 8-pin CPU
Fan Headers 1 x 4-pin CPU
1 x 4-pin Water pump
6 x 4-pin Chassis
IO Panel 2 x Antenna Ports (Intel)
1 x USB 3.2 G2x2 Type-C
5 x USB 3.2 G2 Type-A
4 x USB 2.0 Type-A
1 x RJ45 (Intel)
1 x HDMI 2.1 Output
1 x DisplayPort 1.4 Output
5 x 3.5 mm Audio jacks (Realtek)
1 x S/PDIF Optical output (Realtek)
1 x BIOS Flashback button

The MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI is using many features of Intel's Z690 chipset including native support for USB 3.2 G2x2 Type-C which MSI includes one of these on the rear panel, along with a header for an additional USB 3.2 G2 Type-C port. Also on the rear panel are five USB 3.2 G2 Type-A and four USB 2.0 ports, as well as an HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4 video output pairing for users planning on leveraging Intel's UHD graphics.

In regards to networking, MSI has opted for a mid-ranged Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE controller with an Intel AX211 Wi-Fi 6E CNVi providing both access to the 6 GHz band and support for BT 5.2 devices.

Test Bed

With some of the nuances with Intel's Alder Lake processors including the new P and E-cores, our policy is to see if the system gives an automatic option to increase the power limits of the processor. If it does, we select the liquid cooling option. If it does not, we do not change the defaults.

Test Setup
Processor Intel Core i9-12900K, 125 W, $589
8P + 8E Cores, 24 Threads 3.2 GHz (5.2 GHz P-Core Turbo)
Motherboard MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI (BIOS 7D30v14)
Cooling ASUS ROG Ryujin II 360mm AIO
Power Supply Corsair HX850 80Plus Platinum 850 W
Memory Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-4800 CL 14-14-14-34 2T (2 x 16 GB)
Video Card MSI GTX 1080 (1178/1279 Boost)
Hard Drive Crucial MX300 1TB
Case Corsair Crystal 680X
Operating System Windows 10 Pro 64-bit: Build 21H2

We must also thank the following:

Hardware Providers for CPU and Motherboard Reviews
Sapphire RX 460 Nitro MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X OC Crucial MX200 +
MX500 SSDs
Corsair AX860i +
AX1200i PSUs
G.Skill RipjawsV,
SniperX, FlareX
Crucial Ballistix
BIOS And Software System Performance
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  • worldsenvy - Sunday, September 11, 2022 - link

    It would be more apt to compare it to if they made the price of eggs $24 for a dozen. 390 for a Mid range board is ridiculous.
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, September 8, 2022 - link

    Agreed that PC component prices are utterly absurd at the moment. Some of the cost is tied up in inflation but there is also cost passed onto consumers through the addition of non-functional additions like plastic coverings and lighting. The establishment of various chipset categories (remember when there was basically one chipset to support a CPU generation and it had all the features instead of a set of progressively more stripped down alternatives that now supposedly justify the higher component cost of less feature-limited motherboards?) has done a lot to build a market segment that snags the extra dollars once lost to tinkerers and overclockers that were actually getting extra performance for free instead of pay a price premium for unlocked parts that basically roll the price of overclocking performance gains into said parts.

    Probably the best thing you can do to shut this sort of garbage from OEMs down is to buy a good enough for work/communication laptop - something lower cost - and either work within its capabilities to play games it can run well. There are lots and lots of games that do not need anything beyond a bottom feeder budget laptop with a garbo iGPU that can keep you amused for the rest of your life. Alternatively, you can always use the cost of a motherboard like this plus a few extra dollars to buy a console. The money you save in additional components can go into the somewhat higher cost of the games on a closed console platform and still buy you a LOT of amusement for the same total price as a desktop gaming PC without any software.

    Basically, at this point, gaming PCs are not very cost-effective purchases on just hardware alone. Nevermind the power demands and, if you live in a warm climate, the secondary power costs incurred moving their waste heat out of your home. It's a no-brainer to just change how you entertain yourself a little bit to move the needle to more practical alternatives and you ultimately don't really have to compromise on the end goal of killing time in a fun way either.
  • meacupla - Thursday, September 8, 2022 - link

    List of things making mobos more expensive these days:
    PCIe 5.0 capable traces
    DDR5 capable traces
    VRM design that can handle overclocked 12900K
    Copper prices have gone up
    Supply chain issues

    That and this mobo is not mid-range. It is high end. It's not a halo product, but it is packed with above average features. IDK why anandtech insists on calling it "mid-ranged", when it's price point is 5th from the top in MSI's intel 12th gen lineup.
    MSI Z690 Tomahawk Wifi, and Z690-A Wifi are significantly cheaper.
  • timecop1818 - Saturday, September 10, 2022 - link

    > DDR5 capable traces

    The price difference between PRO-A Z690 and PRO-A Z690 DDR5 is like $15.
  • meacupla - Thursday, September 8, 2022 - link

    Those memory overclock speeds from the corsair kit are abysmal.
    Is the corsair kit using Micron dies? because I am getting a lot of info that those are trash and can barely hit 5400.

    You really need to get your hands on some SK Hynix or Samsung die DDR5, preferably SK Hynix, to see what the mobo is really capable of.
  • sonny73n - Saturday, September 10, 2022 - link

    18 true phase for CPU VRM is way overkilled. Back in Sandy Bridge day, 6-8 true phase considered premium and we could overclock the hell out of the chip. Nowadays processors get heat up too fast, I'd rather leave them on stock clock or underclock in case of GPU.
    They should instead implement a better audio design with a high end DAC (ESS or AKM comes to mind) and a good headphones amp to drive 600 Ohms headphones.
  • RestChem - Sunday, September 18, 2022 - link

    What kinda baffles me is how quickly all the manufacturers spat out not just a couple but five or more Z690 boards, then for good measure additional some SKUs with tacit DDR5 support (though in all cases I've bothered to check so far the claimed support for dual-rank configs is limited to about five kits total from reference up to 6000) but all their top-end stuff is loused up with WiFi and blinky dragons and various, often questionable airguide/heatsink/EMF-shielding combos as though that's what's going to sell a board to hardcore OCers. Who the hell buys a $500-1000 mobo and connects through WiFi, or would want that on-board? Why not lots of room, great cooling, great unadorned boards and, I don't know, some free GPU braces? How do you sell this thing against the Pro Z690-A at a bit over half the price?

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