NZXT N7 and N5 Z690 Review


NZXT N7 and N5 Z690 Review


If you've been in the market for a new system throughout the past couple of years when the world was in lockdown, or more recently as a reward to yourself for making it safely out of the other side, you'll be aware that pricing is not the most consumer friendly thing at the moment. Additionally with a product like the NZXT motherboard range being good for everyone but particularly designed for those of you who own an NZXT case - such as the H7 group we reviewed here - they could be forgiven for leaning heavily upon their install base to squeeze a few extra Shekels out of them.

Thankfully this isn't the case with the NZXT N5 Z690 just peeping above the two hundred pound mark, whilst the N7 is only sixty quid more. With both of them utilising DDR4 they are perfect for those of you who haven't got unlimited funds but still want to take advantage of the latest Intel chipset and 12th Generation CPUs, whilst not spending through the nose on some memory with only questionable benefits this early in its lifespan. Of course having DDR4 does somewhat limit any futureproofing, but Intel nearly always throw their old sockets away with the next CPUs, so it isn't as much of an issue here as it might be on the AMD platform as there is little future to proof against with Intel (i.e it's not that upgradable by design).

However, whilst the NZXT efforts might be coming late in the life cycle of the Z690 chipset, that doesn't mean that you are losing out on any performance. As we saw throughout our testing both the N5 and N7 are equivalent to nearly all the more famous brands, with only the true flagship models providing any gap on the field. None of them cost anything like the money that the NZXT pairing do though. You're getting, particularly with the N7, a motherboard that would be twice the price if it came with a ROG logo. Additionally the design is perfect for the NZXT cases, and by allowing you to install your NZXT RGB lighting directly in to the motherboard and controlling it with their vastly improved CAM software you're getting an easy build and system to run for your money.

If it was down to us we'd go with the N7. The N5 is perfectly fine and looks exactly like many other motherboards in the price bracket that starts with a 2, but the N7 utilises the NZXT Armour to really be a much more pleasing motherboard to look at. The extra cooling headers, beefier power section and greater selection of USB ports also score big points for us. The price difference between the two isn't anything like you might expect for all those extra features, and if you're planning to go to the 12th Gen you understand there will be some cost involved. The NZXT N7 Z690 is still super-affordable, but with the feature set and looks of something costing at least a hundred more. Something you could put towards one of their Kraken AIOs, or the NZXT case range itself.

The newest NZXT N5 and N7 Z690 motherboards might not shake up the world with class-leading performance or any revolutionary features, but if you want to get on board the Alder Lake train without breaking the bank they are excellent value and win our OC3D Value For Money awards.

The NZXT N5 Z690 is £209.99, whilst the N7 Z690 has an MSRP of £269.99.

NZXT N7 and N5 Z690 Review  

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