Motherboard Practice Reviews System

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – All Z590 XOC mainboards in one big roundup

Right off the bat, a little warning to readers, because the following article is likely to have relevance only to a relatively limited readership. It’s all about the past 11th generation Intel Core CPUs and the Extreme Overclocking motherboards around the Z590 platform. Now Alder Lake is already on the market, but on the one hand older hardware generations still enjoy great popularity among overclockers and on the other hand the boards represent the peak of DDR4 technology. In my opinion, reason enough to summarize again in a roundup, what actually makes the different boards tick in detail.

The 5 participants of today’s comparison are the Asus Maximus XIII Apex, ASRock Z590 OC Formula, EVGA Z590 Dark, Gigabyte Z590 Aorus Tachyon and MSI MEG Z590 Unify-X. All boards are specifically designed for overclocking with only 2 RAM slots for the highest possible performance. With the Rocket Lake CPU generation, all of these manufacturers have thrown their hats into the XOC ring again for a long time to pit their engineering skills against each other. So it would be almost criminal not to make such a comparison.

First of all, I would like to clarify that today’s article, as well as the previous tests of the individual boards that I just linked again in the text, is based on overclocking at ambient temperature. Exotic cooling methods such as phase change, dry ice or liquid nitrogen are not used. But I would say that even at room temperature 99% of the features, usability and peculiarities of the boards can be explored, especially as the subtleties of tuning become even more important with the ambient temperature as a limit.

I would like to illuminate now simply from my subjective point of view once, how the individual boards distinguish themselves, differ from each other in the use and how simply or not the performance maximum can be tickled from the attached hardware. It’s about exactly the information that isn’t on the product website or in any random review. Among other things, competition experience with the boards will have an influence, where for example the CPU and cache clock speed are artificially limited, so that only other optimizations like RAM tuning can increase the performance. Especially here the wheat is separated from the chaff or the actual performance and efficiency from marketing promises and colorful RGB lighting.

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I will now summarize the strengths and weaknesses of each board and explain for which use case a product is particularly well suited, or not. And there will be some changes in the awards as well, because I learned some new things since the first reviews and it’s only fair to correct the rating accordingly. It really goes deep down the overclocker rabbit hole now, where the nerdy details come to light that a majority of users will probably never get to see. But for those who are interested, I hope to deliver a sustainable added value for overclocking the Intel Z590 CPU generation with the following pages. By the way, the order of the following pages is random.

As always, the test hardware used is still available as a tabular reference:

Test systems
  • CPUs:
    • Intel core i9-11900K
    • Intel core i7-11700K
  • RAM kits:
    • G.Skill DDR4-4000 CL15 2x 8 GB Kit F4-4000C15D-16GVK
    • G.Skill DDR4-4000 CL16 2x 16 GB Kit F4-4000C16D-32GTRS
    • G.Skill DDR4-5066 CL20 2x 8 GB Kit F4-5066C20D-16GVK
    • Kingston DDR4-5333 CL20 2x 8 GB Kit KF453C20RBK2/16
    • Crucial DDR4-4400 CL19 2x 16 GB Kit BLM2K16G44C19U4BL
  • Power supply: Superflower Leadex Gold 1600W
  • SSD: HP SSD S700 120GB (SATA 3, OS)
  • Graphics card: Asus GeForce GTX 750 DCSL 2GB
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (21H1, up-to-date)
  • CPU-Block: Alphacool Iceblock XPX Aurora RGB LGA1200
  • CPU TIM: Arctic MX-5
  • Radiators: Alphacool NexXxoS ST30 480mm + HardwareLabs Black Ice GTX 240mm
  • Fans: 4x Phobya NB-eLoop 120mm 1600rpm + 2x Noiseblocker NB eLoop B12-4 120mm
  • Pump: XSPC D5 PWM
  • Open Benchtable
  • Monitor: Benq XL2720
  • Keyboard: KBC Poker 2 (Cherry MX Brown)
  • Mouse Zowie FK1
Measuring devices
  • Thermometer: Elmorlabs KTH (calibrated)
  • USB-to-Serial Adapter: Elmorlabs EVC 2
  • Flow meter / thermometer: Alphacool high flow NEXT



Lade neue Kommentare



38 Kommentare 11 Likes

Hallo Xaver,
auch wenn OC nicht mein Thema ist und die Wahrscheinlichkeit, das ich nochmal mit einer Intel 500er Plattform in Berührung komme sehr gering ist habe ich Deinen Artikel gerne gelesen. Selten bekommt man heutzutage Hintergrundwissen ohne Effekthascherei verständlich aufbereitet - Vielen Dank dafür.

Antwort 5 Likes



4 Kommentare 0 Likes

Vielen Dank für den Test. Auch wenn ich nie so ein Board kaufen werde, fand ich deinen Artikel sehr spannend. Dein sehr gutes Detailwissen ist hierbei viel mehr Wert als eine journalistische Ausbildung. Artikel wie dieser sorgen dafür, dass Igorslab sich deutlich von den 0815 Hardwareseiten positiv abhebt.

Antwort Gefällt mir



2 Kommentare 0 Likes

Danke für den anschaulichen Test der 11th Intel Generation und der dazugehörigen Top Z590 Mainboards. Leider ist bei dem allumfänglichen "Alder Lake Hype" nichts ähnliches im deutschsprachigen Raum zu finden ... Und das bei der Chipkrise, der Verfügbarkeit z.B. DDR5 und dem bei Euch auch schon beleuchteten Kühlproblem des Sockel 1700. Von den bis jetzt noch unbekannten Kinderkrankheiten der neuen Z690 Boards ganz zu schweigen.
Der wichtigste Punkt dieses Tests ist bereits in der Einführung erwähnt: "... stellen die Boards den Gipfel an DDR4 Technologie dar ..."
Wer also ein stabiles Top OC System zusammen bauen möchte, sollte aus meiner Sicht hier zuschlagen und Alder Lake sowie DDR5 noch reifen lassen ;-)

Antwort Gefällt mir

Igor Wallossek


10,174 Kommentare 18,759 Likes

Danke für die Spende

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About the author

Xaver Amberger (skullbringer)