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

ASUS Z690-E Gaming
ASUS Z690-E Gaming (Image credit: ASUS)

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-EZ690-F
SocketLGA1700LGA1700
ChipsetZ690Z690
RAM4x DIMM
128GB DDR5 6400MHz max
4x DIMM
128GB DDR5 6400MHz max
Graphics1x DisplayPort
1x HDMI
1x DisplayPort
1x HDMI
Expansion1x 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
Storage3x M.2 (key M)
2x ROG Hyper M.2
6x SATA 6GB/s
4x M.2 (key M)
6x SATA 6GB/s
Ethernet1x 2.5Gb1x 2.5Gb
Wireless2x2 Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax)
Bluetooth 5.2
2x2 Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax)
Bluetooth 5.2
USBRear x12
Front header x7
Rear x10
Front header x7
AudioROG SupremeFX 7.1ROG SupremeFX 7.1
Fan IO1x 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 IO1x 24-pin main power
2x 8-pin +12V
1x 24-pin main power
2x 8-pin +12V
Power stages18+116+1
Misc IO3x 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 (Image credit: 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 should you 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 increased 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.

Ben Wilson
Freelance Writer

Ben Wilson is a freelance writer working for Windows Central with technical expertise and a background in electronics retail. Fueling a technology and video game obsession with coffee, you can usually find him behind one screen or another.