One of the biggest names on the extreme overclocking scene is Vince ‘K|NGP|N’ Lucido, who is highly regarded as one of the best sub-zero overclockers. He is a longtime employee of EVGA, and collaborates exclusively with its hardware team to develop unique overclocking-centric hardware. The latest collaboration is the EVGA Z490 Dark K|NGP|N – a limited edition motherboard with an 18-phase power delivery designed for overclocking. There is also more conventional features such as two PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, eight SATA ports, U.2 port, with a 2.5 G Ethernet controller and Wi-Fi 6.
One of the most interesting elements on the EVGA Z490 Dark is its unconventional desktop design, with just two memory slots mounted horizontally across the top, just above the transposed LGA1200 socket. The 90-degree angle is usually done for airflow reasons with specific chassis in mind, and only two memory slots assists in memory-latency driven workloads.
The memory slots are qualified up to 64 GB of DDR4-5000, although for this board it wouldn’t be a surprise to see overclockers push speeds further. The socket is also better angled for easier mounting of the large copper pots that sub-zero overclockers use with liquid nitrogen. Overclocking features for this sort of board usually extend to driving extra power, sometimes even external voltage control, as well as monitoring tools for accurate thermal and voltage measurements.
For storage there is a pair of PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, with a single U.2 port and eight SATA ports with six of these supporting RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays, while an ASMedia SATA controller powers the other two ports. Three full-length PCIe 3.0 slots operate at x16, x8/x8, and x8/x8/+4, with a secondary half-length PCIe 3.0 x4 slot.
The top right-hand corner features two 2-digit LED panels that monitor CPU voltage and temperature, with a power and reset button also added. Focusing on networking, the Z490 Dark is using a pair of Intel-based Ethernet controllers, one I225-V 2.5 GbE and one I219-V Gigabit, with an Intel AX201 providing both Wi-Fi 6 and BT 5.1 device support. The audio codec looks ‘amped’ as well.
The limited-edition EVGA Z490 Dark K|NGP|N model is currently available for $600 direct from EVGA, with a limit of two per household. This is $100 more expensive than the standard EVGA Z490 Dark model ($500), although the K|NGP|N variant is likely to use perhaps better binned components to ensure extreme overclocking consistency. Both models come with a 3-year manufacturer warranty.