The premieres of new Intel processors are always accompanied by the introduction of new chipsets for motherboards, although the changes compared to their predecessors are mostly purely cosmetic (especially in high-end devices). The situation is similar in the case of the Rocket Lake family, which is compatible with older models based on 400 Series systems, although manufacturers are now recommending designs with the 500 chipset. The first motherboard from the New Deal we took is the MSI MPG Carbon Z590 EK X, the successor to MSI. MPG Carbon Z490 EK X that we tested a few months ago is actually MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi with water block.

Authors: Sebastian Oktaba, Rafał Romański

Motherboards with a factory-installed water block to cool the processor and power department, and again Northbridge, have a history of more than twelve years dating back to the first Core 2 Duo era. However, they have always remained niche products, and have a very narrow target group. Statistically, few users decide to invest money in real liquid cooling, and fewer are opting for off-the-shelf solutions. As a result, four designs with the Z490 / Z590 chipset will likely have a single water block covering the CPU / VRM, while MSI MPG Z590 Carbon EK X It turned out to be the cheapest solution of this type. The collaboration between MSI and EKWB appears to have since taken off MSI MPG Z490 Carbon EK X It has a successor created on almost identical principles, that is, use it as a basis MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi (Previously known as MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi). Of course, we still need additional infrastructure to assemble a complete set, available on the manufacturer’s website (Link).

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MSI MPG Z590 Carbon EK X is motherboard with factory installed water block for CPU cooling and power partition, based on MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi model.

Motherboard testing MSI MPG Z590 Carbon EK X, i.e. MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi with monoblock EKWB [nc1]

Intel Z590 chipset Unusual changes in terms of Intel Z490 It does not offer, being another brand with some small bonuses mainly in regards to support for faster USB 3.x standards. The biggest novelty is expanding the PCI-Express configuration to 1×16 + 1×4 (previously 1×16), although we owe the above logic only to the processor (Rocket Lake is mandatory), because it always has 24 lines of its own. 4 additional PCI-Express lanes will be dedicated to the massive memory, so forget about creating multiple GPU platforms … as if it still makes sense. The number of SATA ports, supported displays, and RAID modes remained the same. Even the TDP labs are left the old-fashioned way, and everything is connected by a DMI 3.0 based PCI-Express 3.0 x4 bus. Of course, only Rocket Lake processors are responsible for supporting PCI-Express 4.0, which has the appropriate controller on board (similar to the Ryzen 3000/5000). Manufacturers can optionally install 2.5Gb / s Ethernet modules, Wi-Fi 802.11 AX, and Bluetooth 5.2 supported by the Intel AX201 chip on their motherboards.

Tested MSI MPG Z590 Carbon EK X motherboard, i.e. MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi with monoblock EKWB [nc1]

As I mentioned before, MSI MPG Z590 Carbon EK X It depends on the model MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFiWith monoblock EKWB. No further adjustments have been made to the laminate – the design of the elements is identical in both cases. Although in theory it is only average among the designs that use the Intel Z590 chipset, it turns out to be really well equipped, among other things, on board. Realtek ALC4080, 2.5G Intel I225-V network card, plus WiFI 6E 802.11a / b / g / n / ac / ax module and Bluetooth 5.2 (2×2, Intel AX201). The manufacturer spared the RGB backlight to properly display the powerful monoblock covering the processor socket and power section. Stylistically, it is an overall muted structure, mainly bathed in shades of black, graphite, and gray. The predecessors performed well at such action, albeit in terms of MSI MPG Z590 Carbon EK X It costs about 200 euros more than the regular model.

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careful: Different motherboard manufacturers use different BIOS factory settings related to PL1 and PL2 power limits, affecting CPU performance under prolonged load. ASUS used Intel’s restrictive values, resulting in some cases (for example during playback) to a drop in clock speed after just a few tens of seconds, while MSI allows processors to spread their wings and run all the time at their maximum Turbo Boost frequency. As a result, two sets of performance results have been prepared for ASUS models – the factory car with all limits in mind and the MultiCore optimization: removing all limits to remove the power muzzle.