Table of Contents
For review today, we have the ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi motherboard courtesy of ASUS. The Strix Z590-E sits in the middle of ASUS’s product stack and at the top of their Gaming series of boards. ASUS classes them all as AI 2.0 motherboards “designed to extract every ounce of performance from the latest 11th Gen Intel Core processors.”
The board features updated power designs, the latest connectivity options, and exclusive software and firmware utilities that leverage Artificial Intelligence. Coming from the upper tier of their gaming series, the Strix Z590-E is fully decked out with new hardware and looks to take on any contender in the virtual battlefield. Let’s take this board for a spin on the test bench and see how it stacks up to our other contenders!
Specifications and Features
The ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi comes from ASUS’s gaming line of motherboards and is listed at $379.99 from both Newegg and Amazon. At this time, the “Gaming” line consists of three boards, the Strix 590-A, the TUF Gaming Z590 Plus, and the Strix z590-E that we’re reviewing today. ASUS offers a couple of premium motherboards, the ROG Maximus XIII Hero for $424.99 currently at Newegg and the Maximus XIII Extreme that comes in black and a “Glacial” version that is white and comes with fully integrated water cooling for the CPU, VRM, and PCH.
The Strix Z590-E supports the tenth and eleventh generation Intel processors using the LGA 1200 socket. The board boasts a 16-phase (14+2) power section to better handle the power requirements of the flagship eight-core i9-11900K as well as the 10-core 10900K from the last generation. With the addition of two large metal heatsinks joined with a heat pipe and an optional included 40 mm “assistant” fan for the VRM, the Strix Z590-E is equipped to keep that power section cool even during overclocking. Also aiding in heat dissipation is a 6-layer PCB.
The Strix-E sports four DRAM slots that support up to 128 GB of dual-channel non-ECC memory. ASUS uses its Optimem III technology with optimized traces and isolated circuitry to enable speeds up to 5333 MHz. However, the highest-rated kit on the QVL is rated at 4800 MHz. Memory support varies between the tenth and eleventh gen processors, and some speeds are only supported in Gear 2, where the IMC is running at half the speed of the memory in the 11-series CPUs.
For PCIe expansion, we have three full-length PCIe x16 slots of which only the top one is x16 electrically. You can find the bandwidth breakdown in the table below. The upper two slots (from CPU) will run in PCIe 4.0 mode with an 11th Generation processor or PCIe 3.0 using a 10th Gen CPU. The lower full-length PCIe slot (from PCH) is always Gen 3.0, regardless of the CPU. The upper two full-length PCIe slots also feature ASUS’s Safe Slot technology for added strength and EMI shielding.
When it comes to storage, the ROG Strix Z590-E doesn’t come up short – We have six SATA 6 Gb/s ports which support RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10. On the M.2 side, ASUS has included four slots on the Strix-E, all of which support PCIe 3.0 x4, with the top two supporting PCIe 4.0 x4 with an 11th Gen processor. Only the M.2_4 slot will support SATA-based M.2 drives; this will disable one of the SATA 6 Gb/s ports. All of the M.2 drive slots come with integrated heat spreaders and something new this time around – the M.2 Q-Latch. The Q-Latch allows for installing M.2 drives without the need for those tiny little screws that are so easily dropped. For more details of the storage layout and drive compatibility, refer to the table below or the user manual from ASUS’s website.
USB connectivity is also plentiful on the Strix Z590-E, with a total of 17 connections between onboard headers and the rear I/O shield. Starting at the rear shield Type-A connections, we have two USB 2.0, four USB 3.2 Gen1 (5 Gbps), and two USB 3.2 Gen2 (10 Gbps). We also have two USB Type-C ports on the back panel, one USB 3.2 Gen2, and one USB 3.2 Gen2x2 (20 Gbps) for a total of 10. The remaining USB connections are found as headers on the motherboard consisting of two USB 2.0 (for 4 ports), one USB 3.2 Gen1 (for 2 ports), and one USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C. ASUS has also included a Thunderbolt header, but the add-in card and cables are sold separately.
On the networking front, this board features dual Intel I225-V 2.5 Gb LAN ports with ASUS LANGuard for high integrity, smooth signals with a higher surge tolerance, and static electricity protection. The Strix-E also includes Intel’s CNVi-based Wi-Fi 6E 802.11 ax taking advantage of the recently available 6 GHz spectrum capable of three times the bandwidth of 5 GHz. We also have the new Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless connectivity.
As usual, ASUS has paid close attention to the audio, starting with the Realtek 7.1 channel, High Definition ALC4080 processor, which is at the high-end of integrated audio solutions. We have the ROG SupremeFX cover and PCB optimizations such as Audio-Line Shielding that block EMI interference from the motherboard and add-ons. As well as other hardware optimizations like the Savitech SV3H712 Amplifier and premium Japanese-made Nichicon audio capacitors.
Rounding things off, ASUS has implemented a variety of RGB LED connectivity on the Strix Z590-E Gaming. First, we have one standard RGB LED header for 12 V, 5050 RGB strips up to 3 A. We also have three Gen2 Addressable RGB headers for 5 V WS2812B individually addressable LED strips with a rating of 3 A, which according to ASUS, can handle up to 500 LEDs combined. The Strix-E also has RGB LEDs incorporated into the I/O cladding, the upper M.2, and chipset heatsinks. These, along with all the headers, are in your control using ASUS AURA software.
Below is the specification list from the ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi webpage.
|ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi Specifications|
|CPU||Intel Socket LGA1200 for 11th Gen Intel Core Processors & 10th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold, and Celeron Processors.|
|Memory||Supports up to 128 GB Dual-Channel DDR4 up to 5333MHz+ non-ECC UDIMM|
|Expansion Slots||2 x PCIe 4.0/3.0 x16 (x16, x8/x8, x8/x4) + 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (max. x4)|
|Multi-GPU Support||2-Way Nvidia SLI|
|Storage||10/11 Gen Intel Processor|
2 x Intel I225-V 2.5Gb Ethernet
x2 Tri-Band Intel Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac/ax/az + BT5.2
– SupremeFX Shielding Technology
– ALC4080 + Savitech SV3H712 AMP
– Gold-plated audio jacks
– Rear optical S/PDIF out port
– Premium Japanese audio capacitors
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 port(s) (1 x USB Type-C)
3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 port (2 x Type-A, 1 x USB Type-C )
4 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 port (4 x Type-A)
2 x USB 2.0 port(s) (2 x Type-A)
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 connector(s) (suppport(s) USB Type-C)
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 header(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports
2 x USB 2.0 header(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 ports
1 x 4-pin CPU Fan header(s)
1 x 4-pin CPU OPT Fan header(s)
1 x 4-pin AIO Pump header(s)
3 x 4-pin Chassis Fan header(s)
1 x VRM heatsink Fan header
1 x W_PUMP+ header
|OS Support||Supports Windows 10 64 bit|
|Price||$379.99 (Newegg), $379.99 (Amazon)|
We have also included a list of features sourced from the ASUS website for the board:
|ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi Features|
14+2 teamed power stages with superior chokes and durable capacitors deliver the power and efficiency today’s Intel Processors demand.
With proprietary memory trace layout tweaks that improve signal integrity and mitigate noise, OptiMem III allows memory kits to run at lower latencies, reduced voltages, and operate at higher frequencies. Stack ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi with your favorite modules and maximize the throughput of the 11th Gen Intel Core Rocket Lake processor for applications that demand massive bandwidth.
|PCIe 4.0 Ready|
ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi features four onboard M.2 slots, two of which support the latest PCIe 4.0 standard to provide maximum storage flexibility and the fastest data speeds available with the latest Intel processors. An M.2 backplate helps deal with the heat generated by the PCIe 4.0 SSDs. In addition, three of the M.2 slots support up to a 22110 socket and NVM Express® RAID.
|Intel WiFi 6E|
Onboard WiFi 6E technology takes advantage of the newly available radio spectrum in the 6 GHz band. It provides up to three times the bandwidth of the 5 GHz band and up to seven 160 MHz bands to deliver ultrafast wireless networking speeds and improved capacity as well as better performance in dense wireless environments.
|ROG Supreme FX|
ROG SupremeFX is a unique blend of hardware and software that provides superior audio. In ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi, this combination features the ALC4080 codec with a Savitech amplifier to deliver pristine audio, increasing playback resolution from 192 kHz to 384 kHz and also decreasing distortion and reducing signal interference from surrounding components.
|Undeniably ROG Strix|
The eye-catching ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi embodies the ROG spirit while boldly looking to the future. Design touches such as a glitch-effect ROG logo, etched cybertext markings, and embedded Aura RGB LEDs give it a bold aesthetic while clearly paying respect to deep ROG roots.
|Clr CMOS and BIOS Flashback|
A quick press of the Clr CMOS button helps reset BIOS settings. It can also be used to reboot the PC if incorrect BIOS settings have been selected.
BIOS FlashBack™ is the simplest and safest way to update BIOS. Simply drop the (UEFI) BIOS file onto a FAT32-formatted USB stick, and plug it into the USB BIOS FlashBack port, and press the button. Updates can even be performed without having memory or a CPU installed.
The innovative Q-Latch makes it easy to install or remove an M.2 SSD without the need for specific tools. The design employs a simple locking mechanism to secure the drive and neatly eliminate traditional screws.
ROG Strix motherboards undergo an extensive certification program to ensure the very best compatibility with the widest range of components and devices. For a smooth build process, refer to our list of guaranteed-compatible components. To help with memory upgrades, the list also includes a dedicated Qualified Vendor List (QVL)
Retail Packaging and Accessories
We have a picture of the ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi and the name on the front of the retail packaging. ASUS is advertising some of their solutions here, along with Wi-Fi 6E and CPU compatibility. However, turning over the box exposes much more detail around the Strix’s features, general layout, and a list of the rear I/O connections giving a good overall description of what’s inside the box.
The packaging is quite typical, with the motherboard in an anti-static bag nestled into a form-fitting tray. The antenna is housed in a secondary box that slots into the tray covering the PCIe area of the board. The remainder of the accessories is in another cardboard tray under the motherboard tray.
Accessories included with the ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi:
- 4 x SATA 6Gb/s cables
- 1 x Assistant fan (40mm)
- 1 x Screw package for cooling kit
- 1 x ASUS 2×2 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Antenna
- 1 x M.2 Q-Latch package
- 2 x M.2 Rubber Packages
- 1 x ROG key chain
- 1 x Cable tie
- 1 x ROG Graphics card holder
- 1 x ROG STRIX stickers
- Support DVD
- User Manual
Below is a slideshow of the Retail packaging and accessories.
Meet the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi
The overall look of the ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi is stylish using a matte black PCB and black aluminum heatsinks. ASUS has added a bit of color to the I/O cladding with an iridescent purplish-pink ROG logo. We find a smaller one on the PCH heatsink as well as a black canvas tag reminiscent of something you’d find on blue jeans. This tag is riveted to the heatsink and also bears the ROG label. The upper M.2 heatsink has a cutout of the word STRIX which illuminates with the AURA lighting. Each M.2 cover has subtly engraved labeling as well, noting the upper two are PCIe Gen4 and the lower is Dual M.2.
Turning the Strix over, you can see that only the very top PCIe 4.0 slot is x16 electrically; aside from that not much to see back here.
A Closer Look
Starting at the left, we have a large shroud covering the I/O and most of the heatsink beneath it. This shroud houses the RGB LEDs beneath a large iridescent window bearing the ROG logo. There’s some additional branding diagonally across the shroud reading “ROG STRIX GAMING.” A heat pipe connects the large slotted heatsinks with a bracket for the included 40 mm fan in the corner. The fan wasn’t necessary as the heatsinks did a fine job cooling the power section even under heavy loads. They were getting quite warm to the touch, but this is expected when pushing the limits and demonstrates their efficiency at removing heat.
Moving on, we have one 4-pin and one 8-pin ProCool II EPS connector that will supply more than enough power for the CPU. Across the top, we’ll find the fan connectors, VRM, CPU, and Opt CPU, one of the GenII ARGB LED headers, and one standard RGB LED header. We also see a CPU overvolt jumper, which we didn’t need for normal operation, between the LED and fan headers. Beneath these headers, we have the four DIMM slots, and next to them is the Q-Code LED diagnostics indicator. Finishing off the top section of the Strix-E, we have the 24-pin ATX power connector, a USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C header, and a USB 3.2 Gen1 header.
The lower half of the Strix Z590-E contains all the storage, PCIe expansion, PCH, and Audio. Looking to the far left under the cladding with the word SupremeFX we have the Realtek ALC4080 that drives the 7.1 channel HD audio, Nichicon caps, and a Savitech SV3H712 AMP for premium sound quality and immersive gaming.
Moving into the PCIe area we find all four M.2 slots. When using an 11th gen CPU, the upper two slots accommodate up to PCIe Gen 4.0 x4-based drives, and the lower “Dual M.2” will run at PCIe Gen 3.0 x4. When using a 10th Gen CPU, the uppermost slot is disabled, with the remaining three slots able to run PCIe Gen 3.0 x4-based drives. All M.2 slots accept PCIe M Key drives up to 110 mm except for M.2_4, which is limited to 80 mm. The M.2_4 slot is the only one that will operate in SATA mode, and this disables the SATA6G_2 connector.
The Strix-E has three full-length PCIe slots. The two upper slots come from the CPU and run at PCIe Gen 4.0 with an 11th gen CPU (PCIe Gen 3.0 with 10th gen CPU) and feature ASUS’s Safe-Slot technology. Only the uppermost slot is x16, with the lower two wired at x8. According to the specs, it can support 2-way NVIDIA SLI with no mention of AMD CFX. The bandwidth breakdown is X16, x8/x8 for dual cards, and x8/x4/x4 when all three slots are populated. The lowest full-length slot gets its bandwidth from the chipset with a maximum of x4 speeds.
Moving to the right is the Z590 chipset covered by a good-sized heatsink which sports the ROG logo along with six SATA 6 Gb/s ports and two chassis fan headers. All the fan headers on the Strix-E have a 1 A capability except for the water pump header along the bottom edge at 3 A.
Across the bottom, we see a ton of headers. We’ll just put these in a bulleted list for ease of reading (from L to R).
- Front Panel Audio
- Gen II ARGB header x 2
- Thunderbolt 4 header
- USB 2.0 header x 2
- USB 3.1 Gen1 header
- Temperature sensor connector
- Water pump header
- System panel header
Moving around to the rear I/O area, we see ASUS has included a preinstalled I/O shield which seems to be pretty standard these days. Up first, we have two video-out options for CPUs with integrated graphics capabilities. Again it takes the newest 11th gen CPUs to take full advantage of the updated video capabilities for maximum resolutions. On the top is a DisplayPort 1.4 connector with a max resolution of 5120 x 2880 @60Hz, while directly below is the HDMI 2.0 port with [email protected] resolution.
Next up, on the far left, we see a couple of USB 2.0 ports and buttons: the Clear CMOS and BIOS Flashback buttons to be exact. The lower USB 2.0 slot (outlined in white) allows you to flash the BIOS without a CPU and is useful for going back to older BIOS versions. Next to the buttons, we have four USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A ports, followed by a pair of Intel 2.5 Gb LAN and two USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A ports. Below are two Type-C ports: USB 3.2 Gen2 and USB 3.2 Gen2x2 from left to right. On the far right, at the bottom of the I/O area, we have the audio jacks with S/PDIF and the Wi-Fi connectors for the included antenna.
Last, are the SATA 6 Gb/s ports. These are numbered 1-6 from right to left with the odd number referring to the upper port(s). When using the M.2_4 slot in SATA mode, the lower SATA6G_2 port is disabled.
The power section on the ROG Strix Z590-E consists of a 14+2-phase setup. ASUS now uses a “teamed” power circuit running one phase in tandem between two MOSFETs, negating the need for doublers. This is supposed to remove the signal lag and heat produced by the doubler and deliver a higher burst current, ideal for today’s processors. Power from the dual EPS connectors is routed through the Renesas ISL69269 8-phase PWM controller and sent on to the DrMOS SPS TI CSD59880 70A MOSFETs, then on to their premium alloy chokes, and black 5K capacitors for a high-quality power delivery system. This setup provided ample power for our i9 11900K at 5.1 GHz.
Below are images of some of the IC’s found on the board.
Below is a picture of the ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi on the test bench, where you can see the ASUS AURA RGB lighting in action!
UEFI BIOS and Overclocking Software
The ROG Strix Z590-E BIOS has an EZ mode and an Advanced mode accessible using F7 or clicking on the tab at the top of the page. EZ mode displays all pertinent system information and allows access to the most commonly used options with the click of the mouse. It also has the ability to set the XMP for the RAM and set a quick overclock using the AI Overclocking option.
After switching to advanced mode, the BIOS access is broken into eight sections: My Favorites, Main, AI Tweaker, Advanced, Monitor, Boot, Tool, and Exit. Most users will head right for the AI Tweaker section where most of the settings you will need for overclocking are located. This includes Core and Cache multipliers, all relative voltages, and DRAM settings. Within the AI Tweaker section, there are some subsections worth mentioning such as the DRAM configuration, which contains detailed options for the main, sub, and advanced timings as well as latency and termination configurations. We also have the DIGI+VRM section, which contains the various LLC and Phase controls as well as Current and Temperature protection.
Two other sections of interest would be the Advanced section and the Monitor section. The Advanced section contains your CPU, PCH, Storage, USB, and Onboard Devices configuration options, while the Monitoring section is where you’ll go to adjust fan settings and read system temperatures.
Overall the BIOS was easy to navigate, and nearly everything needed for overclocking was accessible through the overclocking section or subsections contained within it.
Below is a slideshow of the remainder of the BIOS.
Overclocking/Monitoring Software – ASUS AISuite III
ASUS has also included its Overclocking/hardware monitoring software AISuite III. The software is easy to navigate and worked well. All overclocking settings were divided into sections separating the multipliers and voltages and took effect without requiring a reboot. We also have the Fan Expert for adjusting cooling profiles, system information, and a disk clean-up utility for removing junk from your drive(s).
The AURA lighting control now comes bundled with the Armory Crate. Armory Crate has an option in BIOS to disable it, but it will pop up as soon as Windows is installed if left on. For those who prefer an easy one-stop-shop installation, the Armory Crate downloads and installs the LAN driver itself. From there, you can install all the motherboard drivers, AURA, and even update your BIOS. This convenience does come at a cost with numerous processes running in the background of your Windows installation. Personally, I am not a fan of this and would prefer to download what I need and install it myself, but ASUS appears to no longer supporting the AURA standalone installer.
Test Setup and Performance of the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E
Since we’re known for overclocking and benchmarking, we take a different approach to CPU testing using several Hwbot.org benchmarks. We also do some real-world testing with Cinebench, x265, POV-Ray, and 7Zip to give readers a good idea of the general performance.
|Test System Components|
|Motherboard||ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi|
|CPU||Intel Core i9-11900K|
|CPU Cooler||EK Predator 360 QDC|
|Memory||2×8 GB G.Skill Royal 3600 MHz CL16-16-16-36|
|SSD||Gigabyte Aorus 2 TB NVMe Gen4 (OS + Applications)|
|Power Supply||EVGA 750 W G3|
|Video Card||MSI RX 6900 XT Gaming X Trio|
We’ll perform our usual set of benchmarks which test rendering, memory performance, and single/multi-threaded CPU performance. For 2D benchmarks, we use SuperPi 1M and 32M and wPrime. For rendering, it’s Cinebench R15 and R20. Memory performance is checked against the AIDA64 Cache and Memory benchmark. For encoding, we use x265 (Hwbot Version) and PoV Ray. A more real-world test is included in 7zip. Testing is performed with the CPU at stock speeds (set BIOS optimized defaults, XMP only, no MCE). Memory speed is 3600 MHz using the XMP profile unless otherwise specified.
Memory Performance Tests
AIDA64 – Memory Bandwidth and Throughput
AIDA64 Cache and Memory Benchmark
|AIDA64 Cache and Memory Benchmark – Raw Data|
|ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E WiFi||54771||52431||53447||47.7|
|ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero||54895||53064||53196||47.3|
|BIOSTAR Z590 Valkyrie||54740||50918||51474||43.8|
AIDA64 – CPU Tests
|AIDA64 CPU Benchmark – Raw Data|
|ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E WiFi||104481||30833||943.4||164900||5232|
|ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero||104545||28395||947.2||164850||5231|
|BIOSTAR Z590 Valkyrie||104754||28734||937.4||171979||5583|
AIDA64 – FPU Tests
|AIDA64 FPU Benchmark – Raw Data|
|ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E WiFi||9275||68741||41524||11199|
|ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero||9268||67410||41498||11200|
|BIOSTAR Z590 Valkyrie||11117||80518||49760||11207|
|Cinebench R11.5/R15, POVRay, x265 (HWBot), 7Zip – Raw Data|
|ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E WiFi||5866||2413||4650.17||66.765||84492|
|ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero||5876||2417||4568||62.5||82835|
|BIOSTAR Z590 Valkyrie||6020||2402||4789.16||62.192||80248|
Pi and Prime Based Tests
|SuperPi and wPrime Benchmarks – Raw Data|
|Motherboard||Spi 1M||SPi 32M||WPrime 32M||WPrime 1024M|
|ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E WiFi||6.218||329.576||2.435||63.627|
|ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero||6.210||328.49||2.419||67.007|
|BIOSTAR Z590 Valkyrie||6.217||336.905||2.42||66.189|
The ROG Strix Z590-E performed well in our testing, with all benchmarks falling within the expected range. It trades blows competently, but as we know with motherboards, in most cases, there is little difference in performance between them and that theme remains consistent here. No outliers, good consistent performance.
Now that we have moved up to PCIe Gen 4.0 on our motherboard, we thought it would be time to include a storage benchmark. As you can see above, PCIe 4.0 storage is lightning fast, and the ROG Strix Z590-E falls right between the HERO and Valkyrie performance-wise.
We have updated our gaming tests and dropped them down to four games for CPU and Motherboard reviews. In many cases, at 1080p, the difference between Motherboards is typically minimal. All game tests were run at 1920×1080 with all CPUs at default settings unless otherwise noted. Please see our testing procedures for details on in-game settings.
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider – DX12, “Highest” preset
- Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation – DX12, Crazy preset, GPU focused
- F1 2018 – Very High defaults, TAA, and x16 AF, Australia track, show FPS counter
- Far Cry 5 – Ultra defaults
- UL 3DMark Fire Strike (Extreme) – Default settings
As with the 2D benchmark results we saw previously, the gaming benchmarks were very similar between all three boards we tested.
The 3DMark Firestrike results have the ROG Strix Z590-E finishing slightly ahead of the Maximus XIII Hero and Z590 Valkyrie.
The motherboards’ power consumption and temperature testing were done with MCE enabled (250 W), which shows the maximum power that the motherboards use when allowed to stretch their legs.
Power consumption on the Strix-E seemed a bit better when compared to some of the other boards we have reviewed. At 351 W during the Prime 95 small FFT test, it was 40 W lower than the Valkyrie and 26 W lower than the HERO. On the other hand, in the AIDA stability test, both ASUS boards tied at 345 W, 20 W higher than Valkyrie.
As you can see in the graph below, the temperatures are running at or below the CPUs throttling point of 100°C. With the inclusion of AVX512 in the new 11th Gen Core CPUs, they’re really pushed to the limit.
Overclocking with the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E
Overclocking on the ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi should be pretty straightforward as far as the BIOS was concerned: select the multiplier and adjust the voltage to compensate. With the new i9-11900K, Intel introduced Adaptive Boost Technology (ABT). When enabled ABT will run the CPU at its Turbo Boost 2.0 level (5.1 GHz) on all cores as long as it has thermal headroom. This scenario is optimal as it maintains all boost bins, including the 5.3 GHz max boost in light loads, and reduces the speed depending on the load. There’s no need to fiddle with AVX offsets in BIOS; this is all taken care of automatically with the CPU downclocking to stay within its power/thermal envelope when it encounters AVX2/AVX512 instruction sets. Sadly, this option is only available on the 11900K/F CPUs.
Testing with ABT enabled produced some significant gains, as you can see in the picture on the right below. In 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme, the Physics test went from 28,690 to 30,124 or nearly 1500 points. Cinebench R20 and POVRay 3.7 showed similar gains with over 400 points each.
An attempt was made at 5.2 GHz on all cores, which proved to be unsustainable. By the time the voltage was dialed in, the CPU was overheating, hitting 100°C running the Cinebench R20 benchmark. The voltage levels were also concerning getting up over 1.5 V, as you can see by the Hardware Monitor window in the second pic. Running at 5.2 GHz would be possible for some quick benchmarks but definitely out of the question for 24/7 operation.
The ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E gaming WiFi has a lot to offer any user, starting with a solid 14+2-phase power section, 6-layer PCB, and large effective heatsinks. The Strix-E also runs multi-card setups with NVIDIA SLI support on the gaming or the benching side. The Strix-E is also well prepared on the data storage front with four M.2 slots and six SATA ports, along with 17 possible USB connections and Thunderbolt 4 compatibility. RGB implementation is scattered across the motherboard with a large iridescent ROG logo on the IO cladding, and enough RGB/ARGB headers for expansion to keep any RGB LED aficionado happy.
Overclocking on the Strix went well. The BIOS was easy to navigate and the board handled itself very well overall. Using Intel’s Adaptive Boost functionality proved to be the best solution, but that’s no fault to the motherboard. The new Rocket Lake CPUs tend to run very hot and need a bit more voltage than their predecessors. That being said, the ROG Strix Z590-E had great voltage control when setting LLC manually. Left on auto, there was a fair amount of vdroop.
The ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi is currently priced at $379.99 at Newegg as well as Amazon. There’s a fair amount of competition at this price point, including the ASRock Z590 PG Velocita, the GIGABYTE Z590 AORUS Ultra, and the MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Edge, which all carry similar options. The Strix-E settles in the middle of the pricing range and provides good value for those looking to get everything the Z590 platform has to offer in the Gaming arena.
– Shawn Jennings (Johan45)