As the name implies, the Asus TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WIFI D4 uses DDR4 RAM instead of DDR5, saving you quite a bit of money while getting close to the performance of DDR5 based systems. The Z690-Plus, priced at $289.99 on Newegg, is the cheapest board we’ve tested so far. But don’t let the price fool you, as it’s a capable board with plenty of features, and it can handle the flagship Intel Core i9-12900K processor without any problem.
The Z690-Plus also updates its appearance over the previous generation board, with tweaks to the heatsinks and other minor changes. Asus removed the notch from the Z590-Plus WIFI board on the right side of the chipset, with the area now housing a pair of SATA ports. Outside of PCIe 5.0, the board comes with four M.2 sockets and four SATA ports, 2.5 GbE and integrated Wi-Fi 6, solid power delivery, a good (if not advanced) audio solution, and support for DDR4. There’s a lot to love here, especially for the price.
Which brings us to DDR4 performance and usage. Some tests showed it as fast as DDR5, but others a lot slower. It just depends on the test used and if it is bandwidth and latency heavy. For example, 7-Zip compression is slower with DDR4, but decompression was perfect compared to DDR5. On average, the TUF Gaming Z690-Plus was a few percent slower than its DDR5 counterparts, although we saw some faster times in several tests (eg Blender). Our board had the DDR4 3600 sticks in stock and our DDR4 4000 kit with no issues.
Read on to learn more about features, overclocking, and our general take on testing and usage. But first, here’s a full list of the Asus TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WIFI D4 specs, straight from the Asus website.
Specifications – Asus TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WIFI D4
|Voltage regulator||15 Phase (14+1 80A MOSFETs for Vcore)|
|Video ports||(1) HDMI (v2.1)|
|(2) DisplayPort (v1.4)|
|USB ports||(1) USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C ports (20 Gbps)|
|(2) USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)|
|(5) USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)|
|Network connections||(1) 2.5 GbE|
|Audio connections||(5) Analog + SPDIF|
|PCIe x16||(1) v 5.0 (x16)|
|(1) v. 3.0 (x4)|
|PCIe x4||(1) v. 3.0 (x1)|
|PCIe x1||(2) v. 3.0 (x1)|
|DIMM slots||(4) DDR4 5333+(OC), 128GB capacity|
|M.2 slots||(2) PCIe 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps) / PCIe (up to 110mm)|
|(1) PCIe 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps) / PCIe (up to 110mm)|
|(1) PCIe 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps) / PCIe + SATA (up to 80mm)|
|Supports RAID 0/1/5|
|SATA ports||(4) SATA3 6 Gbps (supports RAID 0/1/5/10)|
|USB headers||(1) USB v3.2 Gen 2×2, Type-C (20 Gbps)|
|(1) USB v3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps)|
|(2) USB v2.0 (480Mbps)|
|Fan/Pump Heads||(7) 4-pin (CPU, AIO pump, chassis fans)|
|RGB headers||(3) aRGB Gen2 (3 pin)|
|(1) RGB (4 pin)|
|Ethernet controller(s)||(1) Intel I225-V (2.5Gbps)|
|Wi-Fi / Bluetooth||Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 (2×2 axes, MU-MIMO, 2.4/5/6 GHz, 160 MHz, BT 5.2)|
|USB controllers||ASMedia ASM1074|
|HD audio codec||Realtek ALC1220|
In the box, along with the board, are several accessories. All the basics, such as SATA cables, a Wi-Fi antenna and a support/driver DVD are included. Below you will find a complete overview of the included extras.
- (2) SATA 6Gb/s cables
- ASUS Wi-Fi Moving Antenna
- (2) M.2 Rubber Packages
- M.2 SSD screw pack
- TUF GAMING Sticker
- Support DVD:
- TUF Certification Card
The TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WIFI D4 resembles its predecessor, with a black six-layer PCB and large heatsinks, along with TUF Gaming branding above the left VRM heatsink and chipset heatsink. Asus went light on the stenciled patterns, giving the board a more premium look. Three of the four M.2 connections have heat sinks, while the middle connection is bare. RGB lighting comes from two locations on the right edge of the board, with a translucent line pattern that allows light to shine through the board. The colors are saturated and bright for as little as there are.
Taking a closer look at the top half of the board, we’ll start with the new design on the VRM heatsinks. The grooves are deeper and more numerous, increasing the surface area and, in theory, increasing the cooling capacity. Above the VRM heatsinks are the two EPS connectors to power the CPU, a required 8-pin and optional 4-pin.
The socket area is crowded, with capacitors surrounding the CPU, but here we see the first of seven 4-pin fan headers. All fan headers support up to 1A/12W, which is enough for many setups. However, I would like to see at least one header that supports at least 2A/24W. All headers except the AIO_PUMP fan are powered by Q-Fan, with the two CPU headers automatically detecting which type of fan (DC or PWM) you are using.
Moving to the right, we come across the four unamplified, single-sided DRAM slots. The slots alternate between gray and black, which helps identify the pair you should be using together. Asus listings support up to 128 GB DDR4 with speeds up to DDR4 5333+(OC) with Asus Optimem II technology.
Just above the DRAM slots are the first two (of four) RGB headers. In this location we have a 4-pin RGB and 3-pin ARGB (the other two are on the bottom of the board). Below that is the 24-pin ATX power supply for the motherboard, a USB 3.2 Gen2 (10 Gbps) port on the front panel, and a USB 3.2 Gen1 (5 Gbps) header. The Q-code LEDs run along the right side – a set of four colored LEDs that light up during the POST process. If there is a problem in any of the four areas (CPU, VGA, DRAM, Boot), that light will stay on to locate the problem. This is a useful tool, especially on a board like the Z690-Plus that doesn’t have a 2-character debug code LED.
The Z690-Plus WIFI D4 has a 15-phase DrMOS design, with 14 phases for Vcore. Power comes from the EPS connector(s) to an ASP2100 PWM controller. Asus uses a team setup that splits the energy between two phases without a phase doubler. Power then goes to the 80A Vishay Sic850 DrMOS MOSFETs. This configuration provides 1120 Amps for the CPU. This setup worked great for our power-hungry i9-12900K in stock and during overclocking. The oversized heatsinks also kept everything well within spec.
We’ll start on the left with the audio on the bottom half of the board. We don’t find a veil covering the entire audio part on this board, but a small Faraday cage protects the Realtek ALC1220 chip hidden below. There are a few Nichicon audio caps, but otherwise it’s a pretty straightforward setup. That said, most users will be happy with this integrated audio solution.
To the right, center of the board, are the M.2 sockets and PCIe slots. Starting with the PCIe slots, there are two full length slots and two x1 slots and one x4. The primary graphics card slot, on the top, runs at PCIe 5.0 x16 speeds and pulls its lanes from the CPU. The bottom full-length slot is connected via the chipset and runs at PCIe 3.0 x4 speeds. The x4 and x1 slots also take their lanes from the chipset and run PCIe 4.0 x4 and x1 respectively.
In total, the Z690-Plus has four M.2 connections. The top socket (M2_1) with its dedicated heat sink supports PCIe 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps) and devices up to 110mm. M2_2 is the bare socket in the center of the board and runs PCIe 4.0 x4 (64 Gbps) or SATA based modules up to 80mm. M2_3 and M2_4 share the large heat sink and also work on PCIe 4.0 x4 devices. If you need to accelerate quickly (or for redundancy), NVMe drives support RAID0/1/5 modes.
Next we go past the chipset heatsink on the right, where we find two SATA ports and one of the RGB lighting zones. You’ll find the other two SATA ports on the bottom of the board, for a total of four that some may find insufficient. That said, this configuration allows you to use all four M.2 sockets and all four SATA ports simultaneously. So unless you have a lot of SATA hard drives or SSDs, the storage options here should be enough for most builds.
On the bottom are several headers, including USB, SATA ports, and RGB. Here’s the full list, from left to right:
- Front panel audio
- COM port
- 4-pin chassis fan
- Thunderbolt Header
- 3-pin ARGB header
- 4-pin RGB header
- Clear CMOS jumper
- (2) USB 2.0 headers
- 4-pin chassis fan
- (2) SATA ports
- 4-pin chassis fan
- Front Panel Header
Returning to the back IO area, we have a pre-installed IO board to match the black and gold theme of the TUF. The black background gives way to the TUF gaming symbol and chrome labels identifying each port. There are a total of eight USB ports on the back: two USB 3.2 Type-C ports (20 Gbps and 10 Gbps), four USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports (10 Gbps), and two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports. A ports. A (5 Gbps) ports. Six Type-A ports can be a bit light for some users, so if you use a lot of USB Type-A devices, make sure there’s enough for your needs between these and the front ports. If you plan on using the integrated graphics on most Intel CPUs, Asus offers HDMI and DisplayPort ports to get the signal to your monitor. In addition, you will find the 2.5 GbE port, WiFi antenna connections and finally a 5-plug plus SPDIF audio stack.
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