When it comes to picking out a new motherboard for your shiny new system, there are a couple of aspects to consider. Among these are price, features, performance, aesthetics, and for some brand loyalty. Brand loyalty is a tough one for some to get past when looking at system components, there is always that friend of a friend who had a bad experience with any of the companies out there. Personally, I have pretty much given up on brand loyalty and go where the performance and features that I need are. The EVGA Z68 FTW (160-SB-E689-K2) would easily have my needs covered in those areas. The looks of the components inside of a system are a matter of preference to the end user, though for my purposes they always take a back seat to performance and functionality. To be fair, the EVGA Z68 FTW does get high marks when it comes to looks. The Black PCB has become a common practice in recent times, not to many accent with red and black expansion slots and DIMM slots.
As mentioned above, the EVGA Z68 FTW would easily serve my purposes when it comes to performance and features. Our graphics testing today was a little bit different than we usually do, but with so many different chipsets on the market right now we figured we would show a variety of systems. The EVGA Z68 FTW may have been edged out of the top spot today, it was really only bested by the Intel X79 platform with the Intel Core i7 3960X which is a significantly more expensive system to build. One area that we had a pleasure playing with was our overclocking experience with the EVGA Z68 FTW. With only a few minor tweaks in the UEFI BIOS of the EVGA Z68 FTW we were able to bring the Intel Core i7 2600K to a solid 4.8GHz overclock. That’s a solid 1.4 GHz over the stock clock speed of 3.4GHz that the Intel Core i7 2600K comes out of the box with. We were able to boot into Windows 7 64bit at 4.9GHz on the EVGA Z68 FTW but we started pushing the thermal limits on air cooling under full load. With a little bit more tweaking and a little stronger cooling I’m confident that we would have been able to push our Intel Core i7 2600K a bit further than we were able to with our Corsair A70 CPU cooler.
The EVGA Z68 FTW (160-SB-E689-K2) has some pretty unique features that we haven’t come across before. Probably the most unique feature of the EVGA Z68 FTW is the compact flash socket just in front of the DIMM slots.
The compact flash slot has a wide variety of uses. It can be used as storage, for a swap file, or just about anything else you can think of. The compact flash technology is a bit on the dated side. Instead of using a compact flash a mini PCIe slot may have been a better option, then we could have used it for SSD Caching as well. Another feature that may be minor, but I really like the fact that EVGA placed the 24 pin motherboard parallel to the PCB rather than perpendicular to it like 99% of the motherboards out there today.
EVGA has the Z68 FTW Intel Core i series motherboard backed by a 3 year warranty out of the box. They do recommend registering the product with EVGA within 30 days of purchase. EVGA also offers an extended warranty on their products. The cost of the extended warranty varies depending on the MSRP of the product in question. In the case of the EVGA Z68 FTW (160-SB-E689-K2) which can be bought directly from EVGA for $264.99, a two year extended warranty would cost only $15.00. EVGA doesn’t stop with a five year warranty though, they offer a total of ten years (seven extra years) for only $30.00. Peace of mind for ten years would be well worth the price if you plan on keeping the system around for that long! The EVGA Z68 FTW is available from EVGA for $264.99, if you do a quick search you can find the EVGA Z68 FTW for $263.75 with free shipping.
Legit Bottom Line: The EVGA Z68 FTW (160-SB-E689) is an overall great performing motherboard. The added features like the compact flash slot simply add to the package! If you are looking for an Intel Z68 Express chipset motherboard the EVGA Z68 FTW should definitely be on your short list at or near the top of it.