MSI teases its next-gen Z790 motherboards

MSI Z690 Carbon WIFI socket
(Image credit: MSI)

It's an exciting time to be a PC hardware enthusiast. After a quiet 2022 so far, we're about to be inundated with product launches and upgrade options, including AMD's Ryzen 7000 series, Nvidia's RTX 40 GPUs and of course, Intel's 13th Gen series of CPUs and motherboards. 

13th Gen CPUs will launch alongside Z790 motherboards. MSI has begun teasing its Z790 boards ahead of a virtual reveal event scheduled to take place on September 27. The event is expected to coincide with the launch of Intel's 13th Gen 'K' series of CPUs.

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MSI's tweet teases several boards. It's expected MSI will stick with its product current branding, dividing its range into three broad segments. These are the high-end MEG series, the mid-range MPG series and the lower-tier MAG series. The MEG range includes models such as the Godlike, Unify, and Ace. The MPG series includes models such as the Carbon and Edge, while the MAG series includes the popular and highly regarded Tomahawk boards.

Z790 motherboards are expected to bring evolutionary upgrades over current Z690 boards. The chipset is expected to offer a higher I/O lane count, but the CPU PCIe 5.0 lane count will remain the same, meaning AMD will gain an advantage by offering dedicated PCIe 5.0 lanes for an SSD. Board makers have the option to split 13th Gen's 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes between the primary GPU slot and M.2 slots though.

Z790 boards and 13th Gen CPUs will offer native DDR5-5600 support. That's a nice increase over 12th Gen's base 4800MHz support, though it's no surprise given that 12th Gen CPUs and 600 series boards happily chug along at speeds of 6000MHz or more. 

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Users with a set of DDR4 will be pleased to know that vendors will offer select Z790 boards with DDR4 support. This gives Intel and advantage in total platform cost, whereas Ryzen 7000 series buyers are required to use more expensive DDR5.

If you don't want to buy a new motherboard, but do want to upgrade to a new CPU, you can. Vendors have already released BIOS updates for 600 series motherboards that add support for 13th Gen CPUs.

If you want to watch MSI's virtual event you'll need to register, but even if you're not set on buying an MSI board, tuning in could help you make a more informed choice, no matter which brand you end up going with.

PC Gamer will have a series of Z690 (and X670 and B650) reviews over the coming weeks and months, so keep an eye out for those.

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.