November 26, 2022
United Kingdom
Motherboards Reviews

ASUS TUF Gaming Z790-Plus WiFi D4 Review – The TUF Budget King?

ASUS TUF Gaming Z790 Feature Image

Introduction

Intel’s 13th Gen CPUs seem to have disposed of AMD’s Ryzen 7000 processors after just a few weeks of Team Red sitting on top. With this new CPU launch comes a range of new chipsets and motherboards, each bringing with them new features. Of course with the launch of any new we also get access to brand new motherboards. Although Intel haven’t changed their socket, the new 13th Gen platform has access to widespread PCI-E 5.0, better overclocking support and whole host of new features.

Today we’re taking a look at a brand new Z790 board from ASUS, the ASUS TUF Gaming Z790-Plus WiFi D4. I’m a big fan of the TUF motherboards and I’m hoping that the Z790 option today holds up well alongside previous iterations.

Buy the ASUS TUF Gaming Z790-Plus WiFi D4 on:

Suggested Article: Intel Core i5 13600K Review – A Mid-Range Performance Titan

Z790 Chipset Boards

The Z790 chipset is the flagship design that offers a wide range of different motherboards, geared towards a variety of budgets and consumers. This chipset has seen an increase in PCI-E 5.0 slots across both cheaper and more expensive boards, along with the inclusion of Thunderbolt 4 and WiFi 6E which both make much more common appearances.

ASUS TUF Gaming Z790 CPU Socket Cover On

Between Z690 and Z790 motherboards, we’re not seeing a massive amount of differences quantity of included features. Intel haven’t changed their socket this time around, so the architectural changes between the previous and current generation aren’t hugely different. They call this stage of the cycle the ‘tock’ stage, where on the ‘tick’ side, a new socket and whole new architecture lands.

That isn’t to say that either side of the cycle is better than the other. The ‘tick’ side gives you a more cutting edge product, but one that is inherently worse optimised and less efficient. The ‘tick’ side is older technology, but takes a year or more of learning about the architecture and implements this in the best ways. For these complex reasons, the overall feature-set of these new boards hasn’t changed drastically. Instead, the Z790 chipset builds on the success of Z690, with an iterative approach to new features. We’ve done a full-run down of the best Z790 boards to Buy in 2022, giving you an overview of the kind of features available!

ASUS TUF Gaming Z790 Rear IO
ASUS TUF Gaming Z790 TUF Chipset Heatsink
ASUS TUF Gaming Z790 M.2 Slot

Motherboard Chipset Differences

What better way to gauge the difference between chipsets by comparing the ASUS TUF Z790 board against the TUF Z690 motherboard from the previous generation. This allows us to evaluate just how much has actually changed from one chipset to another.

FeaturesASUS TUF Gaming Z790-Plus WiFi D4ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4
CPU Overclocking SupportYesYes
VRM Power Phases16+114+1
PCI-E 5.0 Slots1x x16 PCI-E 5.0 Slot1x x16 PCI-E 5.0 Slot
PCI-E 4.0 Slots4 x4 PCI-E 4.0 Slot
1x x16 PCI-E 4.0 Slot
4x x4 PCI-E 4.0 Slots
USB Connections (Rear)4x USB 3.2 Gen1
2x USB 3.2 Gen2
1x USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C
1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C
4x USB 3.2 Gen1
1x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C
2x USB 3.2 Gen2
1x USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C
USB Connections (Front)2x USB 3.2 Gen1
1x USB 3.2 Gen2
2x USB 3.2 Gen1
1x USB 3.2 Gen2
LAN Type2.5 Gigabit LAN2.5 Gigabit LAN
WiFi ModuleWiFi 6WiFi 6
Estimated MSRPCheck on AmazonCheck on Amazon

Comparison of Features

From first glance, you’ll immediately notice that these boards are effectively the same. The monumental changes seem to be in the amount of PCI-E 4.0 slots, along with VRM power phases. I’d argue these changes are relatively small, but the increase in power phases shows that these boards are better designed for overclocking and, although the increase is minor, this will definitely help with power delivery on the more beefy 13th Gen CPUs.

On the Z790 board, when compared to the Z690 option, the USB ports are identical, both in the type and amount, which is a little unfortunate. It would have been nice to see some Thunderbolt 4 ports, but I can understand how these are reserved for more expensive boards. Otherwise, the new Z790 board seems to be relatively similar to the previous generation. There haven’t been any major changes, but we were almost expecting this to some extent. ASUS TUF motherboards aren’t designed to support the high-end features, hence the changes not being so drastic between generations.

Aesthetics & Design

I’m pretty happy with the design of this ASUS TUF motherboard. Although the board is relatively simplistic overall, additions such as heatsinks or the occasional bit of RGB that make this cheaper board much more appealing.

The top and bottom right side have some customisable RGB which can add some extra flair to your PC build.

ASUS TUF Gaming Z790 Whole Motherboard

ASUS haven’t gone crazy on the logos here, but there is a heatsink towards the bottom right of the board that I feel could be customised with some sort of magnetic panel. It would be nice to give users the option to change out the heatsink design, but this isn’t a deal-breaker, instead more of a suggestive thought.

Overall I think this TUF board gets a recommendation on the design front. ASUS have really tuned into the industrial style with the blacked out PCB, and occasional bits of white and black strips or the odd logo. The board is arguably minimalist, but I think if you’re building a cheaper PC, this motherboard hits the spot in terms of design and will look great in any build!

Features

Despite being a slightly cheaper option in what seems to be a relatively expensive market, the ASUS TUF Z790 has plenty of features on offer opening up your upgrade paths, in combination with quality of life options that make building a PC less frustrating.

VRM Power Phases

The ASUS TUF Z790 has increased its power phases compared to the Z690 version of this board, making overclocking to higher speeds a more viable possibility. On this board there are 16+1 stages, with plenty of cooling in the form of an enlarged heatsink designed to move heat away as quick as possible from the VRMs to retain consistent power delivery.

ASUS TUF Gaming Z790 VRM Heatsinks

PCI-E 5.0 x16 Slot

Unfortunately the TUF Gaming Z790 doesn’t have any Gen5 M.2 slots, but you’ve still got an open upgrade path for any new graphics cards that utilise the PCI-E 5.0 standard. The main x16 slot utilises PCI-E 5.0 giving you the capability to draw power and maintain bandwidth for the new generation of graphics cards when they finally release. This motherboard also has plenty of Gen4 M.2 slots allowing you to install a number of blazing-fast SSDs.

ASUS TUF Gaming Z790 PCI-E Slot

DDR4 Memory Overclocking

This ASUS TUF board has retained support for DDR4 giving you the option to save some money on your memory kits. DDR5 hasn’t quite reached its maturity yet, but overclocking allows you to push your memory speeds on this board up to 5333MHz. If you can retain stability with these clock speeds, you’ll definitely see a performance boost in a variety of applications.

ASUS TUF Gaming Z790 DIMM Slots

Thunderbolt 4 Front Panel Support

Although we don’t have any USB4 ports on the rear IO of this motherboard, if you’ve got a case that supports Thunderbolt 4, the ASUS TUF has a supported header towards the bottom of the board. This port supports up to 40GB/s and up to 100W of power to fast-charge devices.

ASUS Prime Z790-A Thunderbolt 4 Header

What’s In The Box?

The ASUS TUF Gaming Z790 motherboard has a few extra accessories in the box saving you some money on extra parts, while making your building experience a less frustrating process.

ASUS WiFi Antenna

MSI MEG X670E ACE WiFi Antenna
To make use of the onboard WiFi you’ll need to install your drivers and screw in the antenna which can be found on the rear IO.

M.2 Screws and Standoffs

M.2 Standoffs ASUS X670E
This motherboard comes with M.2 screws and standoff allowing you to install any extra SSDs you might have.

SATA Cables

Gigabyte X670E AORUS Master SATA Cables
Older storage drives can easily be installed using the included SATA data cables which can be found in the box.

BIOS

ASUS TUF Z790 EZ Mode
The EZ mode settings allow you to make quick and small changes to your system without navigating to the more complicated advanced mode.
ASUS TUF Z790 Advanced Mode
The advanced mode BIOS can be found by hitting F7 on your keyboard. Here you can make major changes to your system, such as overclocking, or boot priorities.
ASUS TUF Z790 XMP Profiles
The AI tweaker tab is geared towards those that want to overclock. Here you can overclock your CPU and enable XMP for your RAM.
ASUS TUF Z790 Advanced Tab
The advanced tab has more complicated settings that allow you to optimise your system further and add security, such as network stack or NVMe configuration.
ASUS TUF Z790 Fan Curve
For those that want to achieve the best thermals you will need to navigate to the fan curve settings. Editing your fan curve allows you to achieve the best thermals when your CPU is under load.
ASUS TUF Z790 Boot Priorities
If you are installing Windows for the first time on your PC, navigate to the boot tab to ensure that your drive are booting in the correct order.

Compatible Processors

All of the Z790 motherboards support every SKU of the Intel 13th Gen CPUs and 12th Gen CPUs, but based on pricing and features we wouldn’t recommend installing every available CPU. We would suggest sticking to the Core i7 and Core i5 ranges with this ASUS TUF board to ensure you get the best price to performance ratio when choosing your components. But if you’re dead-set on getting the best parts money can buy, the Core i9 13900K is compatible, but we wouldn’t recommend installing this CPU into this more budget oriented board.

CPU NameCompatibilityDo We Recommend?
Intel Core i9 13900K
Intel Core i9 13900KF
Intel Core i7 13700K
Intel Core i7 13700KF
Intel Core i5 13600K
Intel Core i5 13600KF
Intel Core i9 12900KS
Intel Core i9 12900K
Intel Core i7 12700K
Intel Core i5 12600K
Intel Core i5 12400F
Intel Core i3 12100F

Conclusion

ASUS TUF Gaming Z790-Plus WiFi D4
Value Green JPG Compressed

Product Name: TUF Gaming Z790-Plus WiFi D4

Brand: ASUS

  • Features
  • Design
  • Performance
  • Value For Money
3.9

Summary

The new Intel 13th gen motherboards aren’t hugely different from their 12th gen predecessors, but I’m a big fan of consistency and ASUS have tuned into this philosophy with the TUF Gaming Z790 motherboard. Despite this board not changing much compared to the Z690 iteration, you’ve still got access to a wide range of features along with upgrade paths for the next generation of PCI-E 5.0 graphics cards. The design of this motherboard is relatively simplistic, but I’m a big fan of the industrial look and it will definitely suit a variety of build styles. Overall, if you’re looking for a cheaper motherboard the TUF Gaming Z790 board is a great option to get some overclocking underway with potential for a GPU upgrade later down the line.

Pros

✅ Design is excellent for a budget board.

✅ Front panel Thunderbolt 4 support.

✅ PCI-E 5.0 support for GPUs.

Cons

❌ No PCI-E 5.0 M.2 Slots.

❌ No WiFi 6E module.

❌ No rear IO Thunderbolt 4.

editor
Jay joined Geeka Media in April of 2022, bringing with him a wealth of technical knowledge and a background in Computer Science. Jay is an avid gamer, keyboard-builder and tech wizz with years of PC-building passion under his belt.