EVGA Unleashes Z690 Dark K|NGP|N Edition Motherboard: Alder Lake Goes Extreme
Although these long, cold, and dark nights are starting to come to an end, EVGA has launched its darkest and most devilish desktop motherboard to date, the EVGA Z690 Dark K|NGP|N Edition. Designed in collaboration with legendary extreme overclocker Vince ‘K|NGP|N’ Lucido, the Z690 Dark K|NGP|N Edition boasts an impressive feature set including support for DDR5-6600 memory, three PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots, eight SATA ports, and a large 21-phase power delivery to push Intel’s Alder Lake to the extreme.
Built around the Intel’s high-end Z690 chipset, the EVGA Z690 Dark K|NGP|N Edition isn’t a conventional motherboard by any stretch of the imagination. It is based on the E-ATX form factor and has interesting design characteristics, including a transposed LGA1700 socket that allows extreme overclockers to mount LN2 pots more easily.
To make the board more robust, EVGA includes a large black metal backplate on the rear of the board to reinforce the PCB. This also includes right-angled connectors, including two 8-pin 12V ATX CPU power inputs and a 24-pin 12V ATX motherboard power input that intrudes into the PCB with a handy cutout designed to make cable management more effortless. It also includes an impressive accessories pack that features an EVGA flat test bench plate that we saw in our previous review of the EVGA Z590 Dark motherboard.
Looking at the feature set, the Z690 Dark K|NGP|N Edition includes two full-length PCIe 5.0 slots that can operate at x16 and x8/x8, with three PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots that sit in between the PCIe slots and underneath a large black finned ‘Dark’ branded heatsink. There are eight SATA ports for conventional storage and optical drives, six of which are from the chipset with RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 support, and two that come via an ASMedia ASM1061 SATA controller.
Even though the Z690 Dark has a solid feature set for enthusiasts, the real focus by EVGA with this model is on extreme overclocking. This includes a large 21-phase power delivery cooled by an active heatsink with two fans. It also has a 10-layer PCB throughout and contains an overclocker’s toolkit in the top right-hand corner that consists of dual two-digit LED debuggers, a power button, a reset button, dip-switches to disable PCIe slots, and a slow mode switch. There’s also a probe-lt header where users can monitor voltages in real-time from various components on the board, such as the CPU and power inputs.
The large black metal backplate on the rear of the EVGA Z690 Dark K|NGP|N Edition
In terms of connectivity, there’s plenty on the rear panel, including one USB 3.2 G2x2 Type-C, four USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, and two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports. For networking, EVGA uses two Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE controllers and includes Intel’s latest AX211 Wi-Fi 6E CNVi. Despite focusing on performance, EVGA has also gone with a premium audio solution, including a Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec and an EVGA NU Audio SV3H615 headphone amplifier with five 3.5 mm audio jacks and a single S/PDIF optical output.
The EVGA Z690 Dark K|NGP|N Edition is currently available to purchase at the EVGA website for $830. However, at the time of writing, purchases are limited to one per household, and it seems as though it’s only available to EVGA Elite Members at this time.