ASUS Z690-E Gaming WiFi vs Z690-F: Which motherboard is better?

Storage savvy

ASUS Z690-E Gaming WiFi

Capable counterpart

ASUS Z690-F Gaming WiFi

ASUS Z690-F

The Z690-E is the best choice of the two without a huge jump in price but remains particularly expensive. If you’re looking for plenty of high-speed storage options, the five total M.2 sockets can pair up with six SATA drives for monstrous amounts of space.

$450 at Amazon

Pro

  • PCIe 5.0 slot
  • Up to five M.2 SSD sockets

Cons

  • Expensive
  • PCIe 5.0 M.2 drives halve 5.0 lane speed

As you might have expected, more expensive means better, but the Z690-F is an awesome alternative and saves some money. Offering admirable VRM and most of the features from its bigger sibling, you’d be happy with this board if you don’t plan on pushing clock speeds too high.

$396 at Amazon

Pro

  • PCIe 5.0 slot
  • Four M.2 SSD sockets

Cons

  • Lower VRM
  • No PCIe 4.0 slot

There are plenty of choices for Z690 chipset motherboards, and ASUS joins this range with two very similar ATX boards using the LGA 1700 socket. Comparing the ASUS Z690-E vs. Z690-F Gaming Wi-Fi shows them with closely matched features, so what’s the real difference? We’ve broken down the specs to help you decide which motherboard is better for your next PC build.

ASUS Z690-E Gaming WiFi vs Z690-F: Specs

Z690-E Z690-F
Socket LGA1700 LGA1700
Chipset Z690 Z690
RAM 4x DIMM
128GB DDR5 6400MHz max
4x DIMM
128GB DDR5 6400MHz max
Graphics 1x DisplayPort
1x HDMI
1x DisplayPort
1x HDMI
Expansion 1x PCIe 5.0 x16
1x PCIe 4.0 x16
1x PCIe 3.0 x16
1x PCIe 3.0 x1
1x PCIe 5.0 x16
1x PCIe 3.0 x16
1x PCIe 3.0 x1
Storage 3x M.2 (key M)
2x ROG Hyper M.2
6x SATA 6GB/s
4x M.2 (key M)
6x SATA 6GB/s
Ethernet 1x 2.5Gb 1x 2.5Gb
Wireless 2×2 Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax)
Bluetooth 5.2
2×2 Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax)
Bluetooth 5.2
USB Rear x12
Front header x7
Rear x10
Front header x7
Audio ROG SupremeFX 7.1 ROG SupremeFX 7.1
Fan IO 1x 4-pin CPU fan
1x 4-pin CPU OPT fan
1x 4-pin AIO pump
5x 4-pin chassis fan
1x 4-pin CPU fan
1x 4-pin CPU OPT fan
1x 4-pin AIO pump
5x 4-pin chassis fan
Power IO 1x 24-pin main power
2x 8-pin +12V
1x 24-pin main power
2x 8-pin +12V
Power stages 18+1 16+1
Misc IO 3x addressable Gen 2 headers
1x AURA RGB header
1x CPU over voltage jumper
1x front panel audio
1x SPI TPM header (14-1 pin)
1x 20-3 pin system panel header
1x thermal sensor header
1x Thunderbolt header
3x addressable Gen 2 headers
1x AURA RGB header
1x BMC header
1x CPU over voltage jumper
1x front panel audio
1x SPI TPM header (14-1 pin)
1x 20-3 pin system panel header
1x thermal sensor header
1x Thunderbolt header

ASUS Z690-E Gaming WiFi vs Z690-F: Storage options

Samsung 980 Pro

Source: Windows Central
At a glance, these boards seem almost identical. There’s very little separating the two, and the differences will cater specifically to your needs during a build. With Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 covered by both boards, what matters more is your choice of storage and PCI components. The comparison above shows the extra M.2 slots on the Z690-E, using the bundled ROG Hyper M.2 PCIe card, versus the four standard M.2 sockets on the Z690-F. It connects to PCIe x16 and provides two additional M.2 slots backed up with an extra heatsink, so anyone looking for extra storage will be over the moon.

(The Z690-E PCIe 5.0) will slow down from x16 to x8 when an SSD is in the adjacent M.2_1 socket.

The PCIe 5.0 x16 slot on the Z690-E is attractive, but ASUS points out that it will slow down from x16 to x8 when an SSD is in the adjacent M.2_1 socket if you want to use a PCIe 5.0 M.2 drive. It’s not a huge problem given the abundance of choices for M.2 storage on the Z690-E, but something to bear in mind if you often jump straight into building a PC without reading the motherboard manual like me. The potential for a high-end GPU running with four M.2 SSDs at full strength is fantastic, especially with six 2.5GB/s SATA ports still available for even more solid-state drives.

The Z690-F can match the above scenario, with a GPU and four M.2 SSD connected in tandem. The downside is the removal of one PCIe, lacking the 4.0 slot seen on the Z690-E. USB options drop slightly on the Z690-F, with 10 ports on the rear instead of 12, but you only really lose two USB-A 2.0 ports, which is no big deal considering the aging tech. The Z690-E pinches the top spot for storage options and VRM, even if both boards can provide almost the same setup. The beauty is in the choice. Using the included ROG Hyper card gives you those double M.2 slots you should need them and can be neatly packed away if not.

ASUS Z690-E Gaming WiFi vs Z690-F: What about overclocking?

The Z690-E is one of the best motherboards available for good reason, given the 18+1 power phase delivery provides better VRM than its Z690-F counterpart. For a board that can handle the top-end 12th Gen Intel processors like the Core i9-12900K combined with super-fast DDR5 RAM, it’s comforting to know you can push its limits without worrying about a meltdown.

Both motherboards include identical headers for liquid cooling and chassis fans, so your options for cooling are plentiful. The Z690-F offers 16+1 power stages, which is nothing to sniff at, but considering the relatively small difference in price, I would aim towards the Z690-E just for peace of mind during overclocking. The extra storage options and additional USB ports provide enough incentive for the Z690-E, but the Z690-F offers a slightly cheaper alternative for anyone who would rather avoid overclocking altogether.

The best

ASUS Z690-E Gaming

ASUS Z690-E Gaming WiFi

Mother superior

It’s a pricey choice, but the Z690-E beats out its lighter sibling on storage options and VRM. Push for the extra spending if you plan to overclock or need extra space for M.2 solid-state drives.

Budget-friendly

ASUS Z690-F

ASUS Z690-F Gaming WiFi

Worthy alternative

If you’re not planning to overclock components to their limits, the Z690-F offers admirable VRM and almost the same feature set. A great way to cut out some costs.

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