The EVGA Z590 Dark Motherboard Review: For Extreme Enthusiastsby Gavin Bonshor on October 15, 2021 9:00 AM EST
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.
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.