Intel Z790 MEGA motherboard review ft. MSI MEG ACE, ASRock Taichi Carrara, ASRock Steel Legend, Gigabyte AERO G

Today, we’re taking a look at a set of Z790 motherboards that are optimized for Intel’s new 13th Gen Raptor Lake processors that come with a 10nm ESF (officially Intel 7 process, comparable to TSMC’s 7nm) processing node for higher performance and speeds over the course of the hour.

Just like the 12th Gen Alder Lake, the 13th Gen Raptor Lake CPUs also feature a slew of updates including an all-new hybrid architecture with big and small The design features Raptor Cove as core p and Gracemont.

The company has been largely stagnant in the consumer desktop space. The main reason for this slump was Intel’s reliance on the 14nm process node and Skylake architecture that served the desktop space from 2015 through 2020 (10th Generation Comet Lake) while Intel’s 10nm dilemmas and returns could not keep up with Skylake in the mainstream desktop space. To build 10nm stock for a mass consumer launch, Intel released a middleware platform, the Z590, and an 11th-generation Rocket Lake cluster related to a new architecture but limited to only 8 cores due to power expansion and inefficiencies in the 14nm process node.

However, since the launch of the 12th generation Alder Lake, Intel has managed to change direction somewhat and now offers the best value proposition in the CPU segment. Currently, the Intel Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 range is in a very dominant position when it comes to price-performance against AMD Ryzen 5000 and even Ryzen 7000 CPUs but with its 13th Gen Raptor Lake lineup, Intel is once again changing the game, offering More performance and better value than ever before.

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There are still some places where AMD shows its strengths and that’s largely in the efficiency department, but Intel’s more popular hybrid options manage to bridge the efficiency gap effectively, especially when it comes to gaming and standard workloads. It’s not so much a CPU performance battle anymore as it is a pricing battle and the only major advantage Intel buyers have is the option to choose between DDR5 and DDR4 memory while AMD Ryzen 7000 users are stuck with only DDR5 options.

While DDR5 is the future, the new standard currently doesn’t make much sense for the budget and mainstream gaming segment, which is why many AMD Ryzen 5000 users are reluctant to upgrade and will probably go two ways, either sticking with their current platform or moving to Intel because it’s the budget king for now.

So this year Intel decided to release a second hybrid architecture in the form of the 13th generation Raptor Lake CPU lineup. It’s somewhat an update to the current 12th Gen CPUs but offers a lot more in the form of better cores, threads, cache, clocks, and I/O capabilities. Here are the main features of the lineup:

Features of Intel 13th Gen Raptor Lake desktop CPUs:

  • Up to 24 cores and 32 threads
  • Brand New Raptor Cove CPU Cores (Top P-Core IPC)
  • Based on 10nm ESF ‘Intel 7’ process node
  • Clock speeds up to 6.0 GHz (expected)
  • Double electronic cores on some variants
  • Increased cache for both P-Cores and E-Cores
  • Supported on existing LGA 1700 motherboards
  • New Z790, H770 and B760 motherboards
  • Up to 28 PCIe slots (PCH Gen 4 + Gen 3)
  • Up to 28 PCIe slots (Gen 5 x16 + Gen 4 x12 CPU)
  • Dual channel DDR5-5600 memory support
  • 20 PCIe Gen 5 Lanes slots
  • Enhanced overclocking features
  • 125W PL1 TDP (Master SKUs)
  • AI PCIe M.2 technology
  • Launch Q4 2022
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For this review, I will be testing the Core i9-13900K on four Z790 motherboards, MSI MEG Z790 ACE, ASRock Z790 Taichi Carrara, ASRock Z790 Steel Legend WIFI and Gigabyte Z790 AERO G.

Products mentioned in this post

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