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Trying out the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi 6E LGA 1700 Mini-ITX Motherboard (2024)

My thoughts on the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi 6E: build quality, performance, connectivity, and support.
David Miller



December 31, 2023


The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi 6E is a relatively new motherboard for a new mini-ITX build. I love compact and powerful setups - this motherboard designed is for that in a small footprint. Below are my impressions.


Property Value Property Value
Brand ASUS CPU Socket LGA 1700
Compatible Devices Personal Computer RAM Memory Technology DDR5
Compatible Processors intel celeron Chipset Type Intel Z690
Memory Clock Speed 2133 Platform Windows
Model Name ROG STRIX Z690-I GAMING WIFI CPU Model Intel Pentium M


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Initial Impressions and Build Quality

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As I unboxed the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi 6E, I was immediately struck by its compact form factor and impressive feature set. It’s designed for mini-ITX builds, which means it’s ideal for gaming enthusiasts who don’t have a lot of space but still crave high performance.

Here’s a quick rundown of my initial take on this motherboard:

  • Build Quality: The board feels sturdy, and meticulously crafted. You can tell ASUS didn’t cut corners here; even the aesthetics scream premium.

  • Feature-Rich: It’s apparent that ASUS has gone above and beyond to pack this board with features like AI Overclocking and WiFi 6E that cater to the needs of serious gamers and tech enthusiasts.

  • Power Delivery: The 10plus1 power stages inspire confidence in the board’s ability to handle demanding processors and tasks efficiently.

  • Connectivity: Front panel USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C is a standout for me, ensuring this board stays relevant with fast-evolving USB standards.

However, it’s not without its imperfections. The stacked NVMe design is innovative but may limit cooling options, and if you happen to receive a unit missing the NVMe pads, that would be quite the hassle. Moreover, the criticism online about the support from ASUS echoes worries about troubleshooting, so fingers crossed that I won’t need to engage with them for any issues.

Despite those concerns, the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi 6E asserts itself as an ambitious offering from ASUS. My optimism for the board’s robust power solution and thermal design is high, given ASUS’s track record, and I am eager to see how it will handle day-to-day tasks and intense gaming sessions alike.

In essence, this motherboard seems to have struck a good balance between form and function – a small, powerful foundation for a top-end gaming rig that manages to look good while packing a punch. However, I’ll keep in mind the potential challenges regarding cooler compatibility and customer support as I continue to put this motherboard through its paces.

Performance and Cooling Efficiency

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When it comes to high-performance gaming, especially in compact builds, cooling is a key consideration. The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi 6E strikes an impressive balance between performance and thermal management. Its optimized thermal design is a standout feature, especially given the small form factor of the motherboard.

Here’s the lowdown:

  • The VRM heatsink is robust, ensuring that voltage regulator modules stay cool under pressure. This is crucial when you are pushing your Intel 12th Gen CPU to its limits through prolonged gaming sessions.

  • The triple decker M.2 heatsink is a creative solution to keep your NVMe SSDs from throttling during intense workloads. However, its height can be an issue with larger air cooling solutions.

  • ASUS includes hybrid fan headers and the Fan Xpert 4 utility to fine-tune cooling, which I find to be quite intuitive and easy to use for creating an efficient thermal environment.

One concern I have is with the stacked NVMe heatsink. It’s innovative, but it poses compatibility challenges with larger air coolers. I had to be quite selective to find a cooler that fits; the Noctua u9s barely made it. Also, my board didn’t come with the support pads for the NVMe, which could lead to PCB bending. This oversight is something to be aware of before committing to this board.

That said, on the flip side, the ROG Strix Z690-I’s AI cooling is a feature I appreciate, especially for someone who isn’t keen on manually tweaking fan curves. It’s a nifty addition that helps maintain an optimal balance between noise levels and cooling efficiency.

The overall power solution of the board is well-thought-out, too. With 10+1 power stages and a ProCool II power connector, this board can handle multi-core processors without breaking a sweat. Combine that with high-quality alloy chokes and durable capacitors, and you’ve got a motherboard ready for intense workloads.

While it’s clear that ASUS has put a lot of thought into the design and features, it’s also evident that every design choice has its trade-offs. The cooling and power solutions are impressive, but the compatibility issues with certain cooling systems are something to keep in mind. This isn’t a deal-breaker by any means, as there are workarounds and compatible cooling solutions that can help you get the most out of this compact powerhouse.

Connectivity and Future-Proofing

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In the realm of connectivity and future-proofing, the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi 6E certainly doesn’t disappoint. It’s become increasingly important to me that my ITX builds don’t trade size for performance or expansion possibilities, and this board strikes a fine balance.

Here’s a rundown of what to expect:

  • WiFi 6E: For blazing-fast internet speeds without cables

  • Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet: Reliable and quick wired connections with LANGuard protection

  • PCIe 5.0 ready: Future-proof with support for next-gen graphics and storage devices

  • Thunderbolt 4: High-speed peripheral and display connectivity

  • USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C: For ultra-fast data transfers

  • HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4: Supporting modern display interfaces

  • Dual M.2 slots: Room for plenty of high-speed storage

What I appreciate most is the inclusion of both WiFi 6E and Intel 2.5 Gb Ethernet, offering flexibility regardless of wireless or wired preferences. The motherboard’s PCIe 5.0 support seals the deal for future upgrades, which means that I’m not worried about obsolescence anytime soon.

The inclusion of both front and rear USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C ports are a godsend, enabling quick data transfer and broad peripheral compatibility. The HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4 outputs are essential for modern displays and round out the robust connectivity features. Plus, the dual M.2 slots for storage reinforce the high-level specs of this tiny titan.

Thunderbolt 4 is a standout, not just for its speed but also for the convenience it brings to the table with daisy-chaining capabilities. How can one not be charmed by the possibility of connecting multiple devices in a sequence with a single port? And for those wrangling with multiple peripherals, it’s a significant asset.

Still, it’s not all rainbows; the board has a few quirks worth mentioning. The unusual stacked NVMe slot design is innovative but could limit cooler compatibility. It’s critical to double-check the clearance for your cooling solution. While the ITX expansion card packs extra SATA ports and front panel connectors, some might find its inclusion a tad awkward.

Also, the reliance on the comprehensive yet compact manual becomes apparent when dealing with the board’s dense layout—knowing where and how to connect everything can be a bit daunting. And while it wasn’t a deal-breaker for me, it’s worth noting for the uninitiated.

Despite these challenges, the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi 6E feels like a solid investment. It’s a tiny fortress of technology, offering high-powered features and a clear path to support future advancements. For enthusiasts looking to build without boundaries in a compact space, it strikes the right chords, for the most part.

Installation Challenges and Technical Support

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Nearing the end of my build journey with the ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi 6E, installation and technical support stand out as chapters worth addressing. Here’s a rundown of key highlights and hurdles I encountered:

  • Precision Required: Installing the motherboard demands a meticulous approach. You must plan your build to avoid the hassle of future upgrades due to the limited space and layout.

  • Cooling Compatibility: Be mindful of the CPU cooler compatibility. The stacked NVMe design poses a challenge for larger air cooling solutions. It’s a tight squeeze, but with careful selection, it can work.

  • Support Experience: While I didn’t run into major issues, some users have reported less than stellar interactions with support. A point of contention that echoes is the seemingly cut-and-paste responses from tech support, which could frustrate seasoned tech enthusiasts like me.

  • DIY Features: The board’s thoughtful features, like SafeDIMM and M.2 Q-Latch, simplify installation, but be prepared for a fiddly PCIe slot locking mechanism, especially if you’re planning to swap out cards frequently.

The installation process can be a double-edged sword with this board—a cluttered layout to work around, yet the PC DIY friendly features that save you time and headaches. When it comes to the post-installation experience, interacting with customer support can be a mixed bag. While I didn’t need to reach out for help, it’s apparent that for others, the interaction has proven frustrating.

However, once the board is up and running, the performance is undeniable. The BIOS is user-friendly, and for those who prioritize compact gaming rigs, it’s quite the feat of engineering. It’s essential to note, though, that the out-of-the-box experience may entail a BIOS update for optimal performance, so be prepared for that initial setup step.

For the technically inclined, the preparation necessary to build with this motherboard will feel like a ritual—one that, once completed, results in a sense of achievement. On the flip side, someone new to ITX builds might find themselves in a precarious learning curve, highlighting the importance of support availability and clear communication.

All in all, while the installation process may test your patience and the technical support experience could be improved, the payoff is a potent mini-ITX system. The ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi 6E, despite its quirks with installation and support, stands as a testament that small form factor doesn’t mean compromising on power. And for those who tread through these nuances, the rewards are satisfying—stable performance, excellent connectivity, and the thrill of having a compact gaming powerhouse at your fingertips.