BIOS

The EVGA Z590 Dark firmware is consistent with other boards in its line-up, such as the X570 Dark, which we previously reviewed. The GUI. features a black and teal blue color theme throughout, with teal highlighting on the selected option and white text throughout.

The initial splash screen has four main options for users to select from. This includes entering the setup options for more advanced configuration of the settings and a default mode which will set all of the board's options to default settings. EVGA also includes a Gamer Mode that lets the firmware overclock the processor to a conservative level, which we will explore in the O.C. section of the review. The EVGA OC Robot pushes it to what the board thinks are the stable limits of the processor.

Entering the Enter Setup option from the splash screen takes users into the board's configurable settings. This includes an O.C. section where users can overclock the processor and integrated graphics on supported chips. For users looking to overclock the memory, EVGA consists of a dedicated area that includes memory overclocking presets provided by world-class overclockers KINGPIN and Luumi. 

Other options include the advanced section with access to the board's chipset-related options and allowing users to enable or disable integrated controllers for networking and audio. Within the Boot section, users can boot to a specific installed drive and set the boot priority. In contrast, the Save and Exit section allows users to save the desired settings and boot into the operating system.

There's also a section within the advanced menu to access the H/W monitor settings, allowing users to customize fan profiles on each board's eight 4-pin fan headers. Overall the EVGA Z590 Dark firmware is consistent throughout; it's responsive. It has everything needed for extreme overclockers and enthusiasts to push Intel's Rocket Lake processors to its capabilities; this depends entirely on the level of cooling installed.

Software

Most of the following software analysis comes from our EVGA X570 Dark review due to the identical software packages supplied.

Much to EVGA's credit, it includes its software and driver installation files on a small USB stick instead of providing an optical disc. As we said in our EVGA X570 Dark review, we applaud this and wish other vendors would follow suit as optical media such as C.D.s and DVDs are often not supported on newer systems.

After plugging in the USB drive and opening the executable file, users can install all of the motherboard's core drivers, including the chipset, Intel Management Engine, and the integrated controllers. Users can also install the EVGA Eleet X1 and N.U. audio software, as well as Intel's UHD integrated graphics drivers, and use one of the inclusive EVGA wallpapers provided. 

Looking at the EVGA ELEET X1 software, the utility amalgamates various elements, including overclocking, system monitoring, and control of both the integrated RGB LEDs and external ones users choose to install. There's plenty of overclocking options for users to customize for overclocking the CPU and memory on the fly within Windows. Options include CPU frequency (all-core only), CPU VCore, DRAM voltage, SoC, VDDP, P.L.L., and these can be adjusted without rebooting the system. This includes memory latencies that are handy for extreme overclockers looking to fine-tune settings without POSTing into Windows at unstable settings.

Overall, EVGA provides a functional and helpful set of software without delivering too much fluff. Users can change audio settings via the EVGA NU audio function or use Realtek's Audio Console for basic tuning. The EVGA Z590 Dark is geared for overclocking, the software does the job required, and we couldn't ask for any more than that. 

Visual Inspection Board Features, Test Bed and Setup
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  • gavbon - Saturday, October 16, 2021 - link

    Value is all relative to what a user is willing to spend. For extreme overclocking, that's dependant on the quality Reply
  • Alistair - Friday, October 15, 2021 - link

    Quick! Buy it 2 weeks before it is obsolete! Hurry! ;) Reply
  • Silver5urfer - Friday, October 15, 2021 - link

    Obsolete ? LGA1700 ADL is going to be a generation first product on DDR5 with Gear 4 and Gear 2, on top of new trash cores shoved in because of high power consumption. Plus a basic PCIe5.0 for GPU X16 only. Yeah more DMI and more lanes but questionable Intel Hardware Scheduler on top of the big little BS first adoption on top. Plus the added cost for all the new tech.

    If we follow the leaks ADL barely matches Zen 3 in SMT and perhaps in ST boost how it translates to real world ? Gotta see, RKL was also like that but came at huge power spike and not much in SMT. This new ADL has inferior cores going to magically beat in real workloads ? Nah.

    Nope this platform is not Obsolete only issue is PCIe NVMe SSD slots aren't there and must use PCIe slot and RAID them. If used with 10th gen then PCIe3.0 will be a negative on the GPU lane when used with NVMe SSDs.
    Reply
  • Alistair - Friday, October 15, 2021 - link

    You can buy it using DDR4 and it is in no way inferior, if you don't want DDR5. The new big cores are just better than Rocket Lake big cores, so who cares about the small cores, those are just extra. With Intel you can even disable any cores you don't want. Why are you comparing to AMD when we are talking about Z590 being obsolete vs the latest Intel, AMD has nothing to do with my comment. A lot of funny responses in your comment. Reply
  • Silver5urfer - Friday, October 15, 2021 - link

    It's not obsolete is the fact gauging by the performance it offers. The fact that AMD was mentioned is because on how RKL was compared to it and had ST advantage but nothing in SMT and huge power draw.

    Small cores no one cares ? Are you drunk lol. Intel is screaming from their chest that these 8x Atom trash are better than SMT cores AND the fact on how the Cinebench leaks showed it barely reaches to AMD's top SKU in the same tests. And you think disabling those small cores is going to net you the performance boost that Intel is claiming, what a pathetic joke. Those cores are needed if you disable you lose SMT Multicore advantage. Period. AND finally DDR4 is Gear 2 by default there was a latest leak saying Gear 1 is maxed out at 3600MHz probably similar or could be worse than RKL IMC.

    You took the AMD and other aspects and discarded everything related to being a new platform on top of the extra costs, done with your kind of garbo useless replies.
    Reply
  • amnesia0287 - Friday, October 15, 2021 - link

    Assuming anyone will be able to actually find them in stock. I wasn’t under the impression intel had solved the silicon shortages. Reply
  • Wrs - Sunday, October 17, 2021 - link

    Oh come on, Z590 is at higher risk of obsolescence than a typical chipset. Every CPU supported is 14nm. You could be stuck between the power hungry RKL and the soon to be two generation lag of Comet Lake. Both already have problems comparing to Ryzen.

    LGA1700 should offer you the ability to reuse ddr4. The number of technologies being added is what obsolescence is about, no? The only thing to save Z590 from obsolescence is if ADL is trash, and you simply don't know that, not from the public leaks.
    Reply
  • Flying Aardvark - Sunday, October 17, 2021 - link

    That makes no sense. RKL is the fastest gaming CPU where it counts, minimum frames per second / 99th percentile. https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-cpus,398... Take a look for yourself. Who cares if it's 14nm? Larger process nodes have their advantages as well. Performance is what matters. If you're looking to save on energy, buy yourself a tablet. The only thing obsolete is whatever you're running in your rig today instead. Ryzen has plenty of problems, you're just not informed. Stay salty, poor boy. Reply
  • Wrs - Sunday, October 17, 2021 - link

    Obsolescence is about what's around the corner, not what you have today. I just think buying any Z590 today is asking for buyer's remorse. Around the corner, we're expecting expanded cache Ryzens for AM4 - which may not be much except for gaming - and ADL on Z690. ADL consists of two new cores on a finer process (I consider it coequal with Zen 3's 7nm), translating to a higher overall core/thread count and cache, and ITD with all its potential game optimizations. Unless ADL has a poor showing or developers don't support ITD, won't ADL make Z590 suddenly feel lackluster? It could be a mild Pentium 4 moment.

    It's true that RKL holds pole position for most games right now. It's just that the edge over a 5800x is really small, the cost of that power budget is substantial, and many of us weigh other workloads too, including multitasking while gaming.
    Reply
  • Silver5urfer - Monday, October 18, 2021 - link

    As a platform probably yes because of only I/O - PCIe3.0 for CML and RKL gettin Gen 4 but at 8C max and insane ABT power spiking and heat. In terms of performance not yet. ADL is a brand new platform and with questionable core design it's already having a lot of news around DRM, Application optimizations and etc. Why should I pay for beta testing a product ? Esp when the DDR5 is so new and PCIe5.0 barely has any effect and the whole socket longevity along with Intel Thread Director drama and Win11 shenanigans ??

    Intel clearly lost their way. RKL was the first sign of that, IMC massively downgraded on that. With ADL DDR4 is not going to run at 4000MHz C15. It's not going to happen. The leaks show max of 3600MHz just like AMD, AM4 platform has a TON of issues, I was on the verge on pulling a trigger on Crosshair 8 Dark Hero but the USB drop out, WHEA issues, random PCIe issues, million AGESA updates. FCLK instability all these are there some of them only if you push the CPU but what's the point in buying a 16C or 12C processor and shoving it in an OC capable high VRM mobos likes of Aorus Master or Xtreme etc or even the X570 DARK and run it on all stock ?

    All of these compound to one thing per my analysis, CML / RKL LGA1200 is a better mature platform to put money in for the next 5 years of it's life.
    Reply

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