- Good feature set for both gamers and content creators
- Multiple I/O, 5 M.2 slots and 10 USB ports with 20Gb/s USB interface
- Beautiful silver design and aesthetics, plus built-in I/O shield
- MSRP of $369 isn’t that scary, but DDR4 should be cheaper
- There is no upgrade path after Intel 13th gen as Z790 is the last one before the chipset change.
Despite only supporting DDR4, the MSI Z790 Edge WiFi DDR4 still provides most of what gamers or content creators are looking for, like a decent amount of M.2 slots, plenty of 20Gb/s USB ports, and PCIe Gen 5. Silver design elements attractive and will work well in most builds. All in all, for those who don’t want to spend big money on DDR5, this is a good, albeit a bit pricey, motherboard.
Best Prices Today: MSI Z790 Edge Wifi DDR4
The latest 13th generation Intel processors such as the i9 13900K come with the updated Z790 motherboard set. Intel is looking to capitalize on one big advantage over AMD’s competitors: DDR4 and lower platform costs overall.
And here is the MSI Z790 Edge WiFi DDR4, which promises to fulfill this very promise. With a unique silver design that sets it apart from the usual “motherboard” aesthetic, it also looks pretty good. There are additional features such as fast USB ports and plenty of M.2 slots.
We’ll take a look at specs, features, performance, and design aesthetics. Should it be on your list of motherboards to pair with your newly purchased processor? Let’s find out!
MSI Z790 Edge WiFi DDR4 Specs
MSI Z790 Edge WiFi DDR4 comes with a pre-installed I/O screen.
MSI Z790 Edge WiFi DDR4 has several features listed right in the name: WiFi is standard and DDR4 is a type of RAM. The latter is important because DDR5 has a higher upfront cost and reduces performance returns in many cases, so those who want to save money can reuse the DDR4 kit or buy it cheaper.
You’ll also be able to use 12th Gen Intel Alder Lake processors like the 12600K with equal support for the new 13th Gen Intel.
The unboxing is no frills, but that’s to be expected given the MSRP of $369. Much of the fancy packaging comes with a much higher price tag – think MSI’s godlike models. Accessories such as a WiFi antenna, cable stickers and SATA cables are included as standard. The I/O screen is pre-installed just the way we like it!
- ATX Form Factor
- Support for 12th and 13th generation Intel processors.
- 16+1+1 phase VRM with 90A Smart Power Stage
- DDR4 RAM, dual channel, up to 4 DIMMs up to 128 GB
- 5 built-in M.2 slots (PCIe Gen 4)
- 2x PCIe 16x slots (1x – PCIe Gen 5)
- HDMI and DisplayPort output
- 10 rear USB ports including 20Gbps
- LAN Intel 2.5GbE
- Intel WiFi 6E
- RGB Headers for Mystic Light
- 7 SATA 6Gb/s ports
- 8 PWM fan headers
- BIOS Flashback and Clear CMOS
- Preset I/O Screen
- Sound Realtek 7.1 ALC 4080
- Suggested retail price $369.
MSI Z790 Edge WiFi DDR4 Specs
The MSRP of $369 used to get you ahead of the curve, but in today’s ever-increasing price landscape, costs are on the rise. That’s why the MSI Z790 Edge is an interesting choice: it delivers the performance of the next generation of Intel’s 13th generation processors, while also offering some flexibility with DDR4. You can reuse an existing kit or opt for cheaper than average DDR5 with minimal performance loss.
Here you also don’t skimp on any features. For content creators and gamers alike, you’re loaded with fast USB ports: 20 Gb/s USB is here, and while we’d love to see 40 Gb/s USB4 or Thunderbolt 4 commonly found on high-end devices, I/O is still very fast.
Support for M.2 PCIe Gen 4 is extensive, with up to five slots available. Of course, you don’t get the theoretical PCIe Gen 5 speeds, but in any case, there are currently no drives that can actually take advantage of this. Users of SATA hard drives can have up to seven SATA slots: storage options abound here.
It’s great to see MSI include some “quality of life” upgrades with screwless M.2 slots and an integrated I/O shield. Joy!
In terms of networking, the Z790 offers Intel 2.5GbE LAN and Wi-Fi 6E, nothing to complain about here. If you need 10GbE networking, you’ll have to upgrade to a much more expensive motherboard, but that’s to be expected.
The MSI Z790 Edge WiFi DDR4 has a decent amount of PCIe slots, including PCIe Gen 5.
You have two PCIe 16x slots for your GPU and other add-on cards, with the top slot being PCIe Gen 5. Be mindful of the slots as they can share PCIe lanes with M.2 slots, some of them from the CPU like the top 16x , and some from the chipset.
You’ll also have a good audio connection on the back with the Realtek ALC 4080 codec. There are also clear CMOS and BIOS Flashback buttons, as well as a “Debug” LED for diagnosing problems. All in all, great features for the price!
MSI Z790 Edge WiFi DDR4: Design
The silver accent on the MSI Z790 Edge WiFi DDR4 is a bit muted, but looks really sleek when fully assembled.
The design of the MSI Z790 Edge WiFi DDR4 immediately catches the eye: silver, almost white in some light, and this makes the motherboard very attractive. It’s a refreshing change from the more monochromatic look of most designs, and MSI adds some nice touches and graphics to complete the look. This is a good option for those who want to avoid the typical assembly aesthetic.
Some of his cool looks also serve a functional purpose. M.2 “Frozr” slot covers have thermal pads for cooling. We also appreciate that the battery is exposed rather than under dozens of screws and a cover, making it easy to replace!
You get RGB headers to take advantage of MSI’s “Mystic Light” system, and the I/O shroud features beautiful MSI Dragon RGB lighting. The rest of the aesthetic is clean and straight forward.
MSI Z790 Edge WiFi DDR4 rear.
The backside of the board is unremarkable, but worth the price – reinforced backplates are usually found on more expensive models. However, the 16x slots on the front have what MSI calls “Steel Armor”, beefing them up to support heavy modern graphics cards.
The integrated I/O shield is also a nice touch and provides a very clean I/O area with USB ports and other connectors clearly marked. Overall, a functional and attractive design that differs from the usual options with a more silvery color scheme.
MSI Z790 Edge WiFi DDR4 Performance, Software and BIOS
Don’t worry, DDR4 is fine! Sure, DDR5 will have an “edge” with much faster kits available, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever notice a difference other than benchmark results. DDR4 is usually more than enough, even with 13900K, and you’ll save a buck too.
Speaking of 13900K, this processor pairs beautifully with this motherboard and its 16+1+1 VRM. You’ll probably be more limited to cooling the CPU itself before anything else, as these new hot rods run especially hot by design. The motherboard itself will be able to handle this along with any other 12th or 13th gen CPU you throw at it.
PCIe Gen 4 performance in M.2 slots will also work adequately even with high-end M.2 drives, as PCIe Gen 4, let alone Gen 5, is still far from saturated. The M.2 “Frozr” slot covers will keep them cool as well. However, you’ll still get a PCIe Gen 5 GPU 16x slot, which is redundant since even the RTX 4090 is still Gen 4 only.
If you want to tweak things a little, the MSI BIOS is well organized and gives you access to just about any fine tuning you want to do. Install XMP profiles for DDR4, rearrange boot disks, update BIOS and various CPU settings. You can also just let the motherboard do automatic CPU management and just install XMP – we recommend at least that to get the most out of your DDR4.
MSI Center BIOS software.
Besides the BIOS, we also have the new MSI Center software. This is a comprehensive approach to managing the various elements of your PC. You will get Mystic Light RGB control over the motherboard itself and various peripherals, as well as driver software updates. You can also set fan curves and profiles with a “custom script” and there is some hardware monitoring as well.
MSI uses the same all-in-one approach as Asus Armory Crate software. While motherboard software has always been a bit of a hit in the past, it seems to be getting better lately. For some important features, we still recommend that you either trust the BIOS or use dedicated third-party software, such as hardware monitoring.
Should I buy MSI Z790 Edge WiFi DDR4?
Priced at $369, the MSI Z790 Edge WiFi DDR4 has enough feature set and performance to satisfy gamers and content creators alike, and there’s very little to expect at this price point. While we wish the DDR4 version were cheaper, it still offers next-gen technology with support for 13th Gen CPUs and PCIe Gen 5.
You will also appreciate the pleasant aesthetics. The silver design looks great and will appeal to those looking to get away from the usual gray monochrome look. It can fit perfectly in both white and silver themed builds!
With plenty of USB ports and other I/O devices, not to mention plenty of storage options with M.2 and SATA, this is a well thought out package. Supporting everything up to the powerful Intel i9 13900K, you’ll be performance tuned here.