EVGA Z390 Dark

There has been somewhat of a cloud over what EVGA is currently doing, and whether or not they intended to release any new Z390 motherboards to the market. For the Z370 chipset EVGA announced and released a total of three models, which consisted of two ATX boards, the Z370 Classified K & Z370 FTW, and a smaller mATX offering, the Z370 Micro ATX.

Teased over social media from a couple of sources which include veteran extreme overclocker Vince Lucido (Kingp1n) and other EVGA personnel. The teasers depict a mystical looking motherboard with a right-angled set of 24pin and dual 8-pin ATX 12 power inputs: Well we have the scoop on what the new board is, what's on the surface and what we think of the outlandish, yet interesting design of the incoming EVGA Z390 Dark. The other board from EVGA looks to be a refresh of the Z370 FTW with a newer Z390 FTW version also seemingly in the pipeline.

EVGA Z390 Dark

The EVGA Z390 Dark looks to be one of the only Z390 motherboards that EVGA has been working on and if true, it would mean that most of their chips are rolled into this particular model; we haven't been able to confirm if EVGA plan on releasing any more Z390 boards, but we will certainly keep users up to date on what we know, when we know it. 

On the surface, the EVGA Z390 Dark has a total of three PCIe 3.0 full-length slots with metal slot protection and it's expected that these slots will operate at x16, x8 and x4 with dual graphics card setups operating at x8/x8. There's also a PCIe 3.0 x4 slot in between the two bottom full-length slots and above these are dual M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 slots which are uniquely placed together on the PCB. We can tell that the EVGA Z390 Dark has a single U.2 port and it also looks as if though there are a total of eight SATA ports which will support RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 arrays. 

One of the most interesting aspects to the EVGA Dark Z390 is the decision to rotate the socket to a 90-degree angle. This is generally a trait found on server boards in which the design purpose is to provide directional air cooling. My take on it is that it could be easier to mount a CPU pot for extreme overclockers, as it's clear that this motherboard is designed primarily for performance. Located at the top of the board are a pair of RAM slots which we now know to feature a newly designed memory trace layout for the best memory overclocking potential; more will be revealed when the official specifications eventually land. The power inputs on the board which consist of two 8-pin 12 V ATX CPU power inputs and a 24-pin ATX motherboard power input are all featured on the right-hand side of the board and very interestingly, the connectors are aligned together with right-angled connectors making the EVGA Z390 Dark stand out as this is the only Z390 motherboard to feature this type of connector.

As a result of the rotated CPU socket, the power delivery is now occupying the PCB space between the socket itself and the top full-length PCIe 3.0 x16 slot. This could mean an increase of temperatures around this specific area when a beastly graphics card such as the NVIDIA GTX 2080 Ti is installed, but this design trait has allowed EVGA to create an extended heatsink which emanates from the rear panel cover and stretches all the way to the Z390 chipset itself. The specifics on the power delivery are unknown but EVGA has informed us that the Z390 Dark will feature a 16-phase set up with the configuration and spec currently unknown at this time. The top right-hand corner of the board has a power, reset and what looks to be a reset CMOS switch with a pair of LED Debugs located to the left of these; this is another indicator that I believe this board will be targeted to performance users such as extreme overclockers, much in the same way that the ASUS ROG Maximus XI Apex is.

At this time, we have received no clear shots of the rear panels so we won't speculate what's going to be on there, but we can tell that the board will include 802.11ac Wi-Fi support, what looks possibly like dual LAN and a PS/2 combo port. There is currently no pricing information available, but from what we have been told the EVGA Z390 Dark will likely be landing towards the end of October or possibly in November sometime.

Updated 10/09:

Thanks to an email earlier this morning, we now know that the EVGA Z390 Dark will have a 17-phase design with support for both the current Intel 8th and new 9th generation processors. The rear panel as we currently now know includes dual Intel Gigabit LAN and looks to use a Creative based audio codec along with a mini-DisplayPort. The PCB includes an onboard Clear CMOS, a reset and power button and dip switches which allow users to disable individual PCIe 3.0 slots.

As we speculated, we know the EVGA Z390 Dark is confirmed to include extreme overclocking features including onboard temperature and voltage monitoring, dual EVGA Probe-It connectors, three BIOS chips for triple BIOS and a slow mode switch which locks the CPU multiplier down to the processors minimum core frequency to allow for real-time switching for enhanced stability during sub-zero benching runs.

Z390 Power Delivery Specification & Comparison EVGA Z390 FTW
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  • Smell This - Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - link

    Much.
    Of.
    The.
    Same.

    2 HSIO lanes per Gen 2 port and WiFi. Wow (rolling I-eyeballs) ...
    Reply
  • MadAd - Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - link

    58 motherboards, only 13 of which are smaller than ATX. When on earth are we going to move off this outdated oversized format? Its just more of the same every time, so depressing. Reply
  • gavbon - Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - link

    13 is better than 0, or 12 :D Reply
  • MadAd - Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - link

    Considering very small form formats (ITX) are harder to build for and only 7 are uATX, a size which is the most useful to transition away from ATX then no, it feels like an afterthought from a lazy industry. I mean who uses more than 1 main video card and 2-4 sticks of ram in a gaming PC these days? Even water builds into uATX isnt that hard to accomplish.

    After literally decades ATX should be a choice for edge cases not a mainstream build.
    Reply
  • shaolin95 - Monday, October 22, 2018 - link

    who cares about midge boards! Reply
  • Edkiefer - Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - link

    All these MB with 2x 8 pin power inputs, is both mandatory and if so I guess new PSU will need 2x 8pin now. Reply
  • entity279 - Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - link

    so it's ok to just buy SM motherboards now with them being involved in a security scandal? Reply
  • gavbon - Thursday, October 11, 2018 - link

    I currently have the Supermicro C9Z390-PGW awaiting to go on the test bench next week, so from a consumers standpoint, I could potentially shed light on that board. As far as the Chinese/Supermicro/Spy scandal goes, I don't want to speculate without the finer details. Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - link

    Ian & Gavin, thanks for the overview.
    @ both - Question: I've read that Intel, to deal with its bad planning/capacity problems on 14 nm, has contracted the fabbing of some of its chipsets out to TSMC, specifically in TSMC's 22 nm tech. Is that correct, and did you have a chance to confirm that the new 390s used by these boards are indeed made by Intel on their 14 nm FinFET tech, or are they made by a contractor (TSMC)?
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - link

    AFAIK the chipsets being reverted to 22nm are using Intel's 22nm process in old unupgraded fabs. Doing so would be far less work than porting to a process from a different company; the latter would require massive rework to follow a completely different set of design rules. Reply

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