The ASUS PRIME Z690-A is a standard ATX size motherboard and will feature designs inspired by space elements primarily by space shuttles and the International Space Station or ISS. Most of these elements are infused into PRIME Z690-A, the flagship entry into the PRIME family. The rest of the family isn’t so inspired. Quite honestly, they lack the space theme that the Z690-A has.
The overall board design retains much of the traditional board layout we’ve seen so far but the most common change is the increase to 4 M.2 slots on most boards. The PRIME Z690-A subscribes to this same design element, infusing a long M.2 slot combo cover along the second PCIe x16 slot on the bottom while leaving a single M.2 slot exposed.
The rest of the design features a black PCB adorned with sandblasted silver heatsinks white shrouds. The PCH and I/O shroud have smoked acrylic integrated into the design, a callback to cockpit designs and their solar-filtering viewports.
The ASUS PRIME Z690-A features an RGB light bar on the PRIME print just between where the plastic and metal meet at the I/O shroud. This lighting is AURA SYNC and is controlled through ASUS’ software and can be synced with the rest of the board or completely disabled. ASUS does not have BIOS RGB control.
ASUS makes good use of the CPU socket area here and despite looking quite busy, has ample space. There are quite some key things here to observe namely the dual-mount support for both LGA1200 and LGA1700 brackets. This means you can extend the life of your current cooler without asking your cooler manufacturer for a custom bracket. ASUS also added padded covers on the CPU slot release lever. This protects the VRM heatsink from getting scratched up by the level when releasing the CPU.
The VRM heatsinks are wide but shallow, enough to give the impression of heft. The PRIME Z690-A does bulk up more than previous -A motherboards. The power delivery design for this board features 16-power phases in teamed arrangement with 60 amp driver MOSFETs.
The PRIME Z690-A features the most traditional expansion slot array for most ASUS boards for Z690 for the best compatibility it seems. The PRIME Z690-A has two x16 slots, the upper slot is a PCIe Gen5 x16 slot while the lower x16 slot can do x4 when populated and runs off PCIe Gen3. The pair of 1x slots are PCIe Gen3 and the single x4 slot is a Gen3 as well. The PCIe Gen5 x16 slot is steel reinforced using ASUS SafeSlot design.
The PRIME Z690-A supports up to 4x M.2 slots. The first slot on top is wired directly to the CPU while the lower ones are from the chipset. The lower right one (M.2_4) supports SATA M.2 devices.
The board welcomes some of the most welcome improves for Z690 namely the rich array of USB3.2 gen2 ports allowing this board to support at least 4 10Gbps devices with the 4-pair on besides the video displays still supporting 5Gbps USB3.2 Gen1.
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 port(s) (1 x USB Type-C)
3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 port(s) (2 x Type-A, 1 x Type-C)