The newest addition to MSI’s well-known TOMAHAWK sequence is the MSI MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WIFI. The Tomahawk line of motherboards has traditionally offered an incredible steadiness between options and value, falling between MSI’s premium and finances line of motherboards. With Intel’s twelfth Gen Alder Lake processors, the boards turned rather more costly with the addition of PCIe Gen 5.0 and the inclusion of DDR5 reminiscence assist. Tomahawk boards have been seen as little as 9K and the highest we have seen to date has been 22-24K, however with the twelfth gen boards now we have the MSI MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WIFI retailing for nearly 30K. You possibly can nonetheless get a 25K DDR4 variant, however these boards are rather more costly than they was. Nevertheless, given the options they embody, is it actually an excessive amount of?
Construct high quality
The MSI MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WIFI has a reasonably customary format. We’ll begin at the high with the VRM heatsinks, that are enormous chunks of aluminum cut up in two halves.
A warmth pipe doesn’t move via the radiators. The VRM circuit on the board makes use of an MP2960 from Monolithic Energy Programs. Not a lot is thought about this PWM controller as no official datasheet is accessible.
From the energy levels round the CPU connector it seems to be in a 16+1+1 configuration with 16 phases going to the CPU, 1 section to the iGPU and 1 section to the AUX. Till now, MSI has used a Duet Rail configuration with their Z690 boards, and this one is not any totally different. Every of the energy levels is a monolithic MP87992 energy system that helps as much as 70A of present.
As well as, there’s the CPU socket space, which has expanded with Intel’s twelfth era processors. It now measures 78x78mm fairly than the 75x75mm configuration we noticed in the earlier era. Which means the holes for fixing the processor cooler diverged additional outward from the processor socket. It isn’t an issue, however we are able to see that the holes are too near the radiators.
Talking of heatsinks, the board is plagued by them, as the further PCIe lanes permit for much more NVMe SSDs on twelfth Gen Intel motherboards.
MSI has additionally added a brand new locking mechanism to mount the NVMe SSD. You simply must insert the SSD after which flip the lock to carry the outer fringe of the SSD as a substitute of twisting it. Now it’s rather more handy.
Subsequent to the NVMe SSD is the PCH heatsink, which is sort of huge and fabricated from aluminum, however the proper fringe of the board has been lower round the PCH heatsink by slightly below a centimeter. Moreover, a few of the SATA exhausting drive knowledge connectors have been moved beneath the PCH heatsink. Connecting and disconnecting SATA cables to those connectors is just not an issue, so we are going to bypass this.
Lastly, the board makes use of the Realtek ALC4080 audio codec, has loads of USB 3.2 ports, and helps 2.5G Ethernet together with Wi-Fi 6E.
MSI’s BIOS hasn’t modified with the new twelfth era platform, aside from the inclusion of entries for the new DDR5 reminiscence configuration and added NVMe SSDs. You will have all the choices it is advisable to work with reminiscence configuration, together with switching Gears, altering particular person timings, or just letting the BIOS determine the ins and outs of reminiscence setup. Evaluating the reminiscence bandwidth with the DDR5 equipment set to 4800 MT/s and 5200 MT/s, we discovered little distinction in efficiency with a few of the different flagship boards we examined. So, total, the board performs on par with different twelfth gen platforms we have examined.
The MSI MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WIFI is unquestionably the most costly TOMAHAWK board from MSI that we have examined, however given the enormous variety of connectivity choices out there due to the new twelfth Gen Intel platform, it is positively price the cash. Contemplating that the majority Z690 DDR5 boards begin round the identical value, the MSI MAG Z690 TOMAHAWK WIFI is a good board to construct a twelfth gen system. If the value appears a bit excessive, you’ll be able to at all times take a look at the B660 boards, which have nearly the identical characteristic set as the Z690.