EVGA Z390 Dark
Published: 1st July 2019 | Source: EVGA | Price: |
It can't have escaped your attention that the majority of motherboards released in the last year or so have gone all in on bring flash and flair to the party. From motherboards which could double as a disco through to ones which have more subtle effects, it is nonetheless a given that if you're buying a new platform you will have to put up with a lot of bling.
EVGA have taken a very different approach with their release of the Z390 Dark. Instead of going all in on making it look as spangly as possible they have instead decided to concentrate all their efforts and finances on making the Z390 Dark be as easy to use as possible whilst also having biblical amounts of overclocking potential.
Wherever you look you find design choices which are so glorious it makes you wonder why everyone else hasn't done this. Nearly all of the headers and connectors are horizontally mounted for easy cable routing and generally a more tidy look to the board once everything is installed. This also has the additional benefit that there is a much smoother profile to the motherboard and thus will improve in-case airflow. Okay only by a small amount, but any improvement is a good improvement in this area. Additionally there are lots of cut-outs which further help you route the cables behind the motherboard and tuck them away at the back of your case. Not only do you get a stealthy aesthetic with the elimination of the onboard RGB, but it's so easy to hide the cables that it gets stealthy when everything is connected too. The one place that really made us smile in admiration and gratitude is the movement of the CPU power input from the top left corner of the PCB - where it is a long way from your power supply and usually tucked behind a knuckle-scraping heatsink - to right next to the ATX 24 pin power input. This makes so much sense that we're stunned it's never been done before and hope that everyone else will pick up the gauntlet EVGA have thrown down and utilise this design in the future.
Having phenomenal usability is one thing but the commitment to high quality components has paid off in spades too. The Dark was an absolute joy to overclock on, easily hitting the limits of our Core i9-9900K and without the power phases getting very warm, much less toasty. The placement of the M.2 drives side by side reduces the trace length a tiny bit which gives you a more consistent level of storage bandwidth too. All in all the placement of all the exceptionally well chosen components means that the EVGA Z390 Dark is a supremely powerful motherboard which reminds us of the old DFI Lanparty models with its absolute single focus upon giving the end user the best experience possible and allowing them to maximise their hardware.
Despite the lack of RGB lighting the EVGA Z390 Dark still shines brightly thanks to incredible performance, all around ability and some of the smartest design decisions we've seen, which is enough to win it our OC3D Enthusiast Award.
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