Intel’s Alder Lake processors are only compatible with the new LGA 1700 socket. That said, Intel has prepared a new Z690 chipset taking over the Z590 from LGA 1200. Most of the new chipsets bring additional or improved features over the previous one but generally, they aren’t too different.
So, what differences are there between Z590 and Z690? Thankfully, we have enough info and most importantly the block diagram of both the chipsets. From the diagram itself, we can figure out the noticeable differences between these chipsets that will affect the component compatibility and functions of each area.
Z590 vs Z690 block diagram
PCI Express Lanes
PCI Express Lanes come from two places- The processor and chipset. By default, the primary PCI-E x16 slot and M.2 connector use PCI lanes from the processor. On a Z590 chipset board, the PCI Express is Gen 4 while on Z690, it is Gen 5.0. This increases the bandwidth up to twice.
That means, the PCI-E x16 Gen 4.0 on Z590 can access up to 16 GT/s while Gen 5.0 can access up to 32 GT/s. However, the M.2 connector receives no upgrade with regards to bandwidth and will use 4 PCI Express lanes 4.0.
From the Chipset, on Z590 a motherboard, there are a total of 24x PCI-E 3.0 lanes while on Z690, there are 12x PCI-E 4.0 lanes and 16x PCI-E 3.0 lanes making compatibility better and providing faster data transfer speeds when the devices use Gen 4.0 lanes.
The Z690 chipset will allow users to use both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM modules. Z690 motherboards will also feature the same DIMM configuration as the Z590 i.e., 2x DIMMs per Channel but the frequency support will be different when DDR5 RAM modules are used.
Both the Z590 and Z690 will support up to 3200MHz frequency on DDR4 RAM modules by default but Z690 is capable of supporting up to 4800MHz on DDR5 RAM modules.
Z690 chipset brings a total of 4x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports that is one more than what Z590 features. Also, there are two fewer USB 2.0 ports than Z590. The rest is the same.
Wifi and Ethernet
Z590 chipset comes with the Intel Wifi 6 that has maximum speed support of 9.6Gbps whereas the Z690 chipset comes with Wifi 6E/7 where Wifi 7 supports up to 30Gbps of speed.
Comparing the Ethernet, Intel has doubled the LAN speed on Z690. On Z590 you will get up to 2.5Gb/s of Internet speed but on Z690, it is 5Gb/s.
Currently, these are the only noticeable differences between the two chipsets and some features will vary based on the quality and price of the Z690 motherboards. It is rumoured that the Z690 chipset will launch on 17th November 2021.