Ten months ago, AMD released the Ryzen 3000 series desktop processors in one of the most monumental hardware launches of the modern era. This final step completed the Red brand's ascent back into the forefront of the desktop processor market that began with the launch of the first generation of Ryzen CPUs. Now, Intel is finally firing back with the launch of the 10th Generation Intel Core processors, along with a new motherboard standard to drive them.
As should be no surprise, the focus will remain on the new motherboards. While the 10th Gen Intel Core processors will not support PCIe 4.0 connectivity due to signal integrity issues, many of the Z490 motherboards are designed to support the PCIe 4.0 specification. This is accomplished by adding clock generators to help clean up the signal. Generally speaking, when it comes to long-term platform support, AMD has been the trendsetter. Has AMD's long support of the AM4 socket on its newer generation processors inspired Intel to take similar steps?
So what is Z490 offering right now? For starters, there has been a large focus on VRM and VRM cooling design. With the top-level Intel Core i9-10900K featuring 10 cores along with HyperThreading, the ability to deliver clean, continuous power is going to be one of the primary factors that separates a good Z490 board from the competition. With the introduction of HyperThreading on Intel's mid-range line-up, power delivery is going to be vital in all segments.
The AORUS line from Gigabyte spans a broad range of products; Laptops, peripherals, and core components. Across the enthusiast spectrum, the AORUS name denotes Gigabyte's gaming-focused products. The AORUS motherboard range features a consistent naming scheme that includes the Pro, Elite, Ultra, Master, and Extreme motherboards. Within this line up, the Master serves as the high-end mainstream option offering prime features at a high, but attainable price point.
The Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Master features a robust VRM utilizing 90 A power stages and Gigabyte's signature finned cooling solution. Both Q-Flash and a dual BIOS have been included, providing a redundant safety net for ambitious overclocking. The Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Master also offers a full coverage aluminium backplate for added rigidity and additional VRM cooling. All of the features are in order, so let's see how the Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Master stacks up against the competition.
|CPU Support:||Intel 10th Gen or later processors|
|Power Design:|| CPU Power: 15 phase* |
Memory Power: 2 phase
|Integrated Graphics:||Dependent on installed CPU|
|Memory:||4x DIMM, supports dual-channel DDR4-5000 (OC) MHz|
|BIOS:||Dual AMI UEFI BIOS|
|Expansion Slots:|| 3x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4) |
3x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
|Storage:|| 6x SATA 6 Gb/s ports |
3x M.2 ports (SATA3/PCIe 3.0 x4)
|Networking:||1x Intel 2.5 Gb/s LAN|
1x Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
|Rear Ports:||2x Antenna ports|
1x Q-Flash Plus button
1x Clear CMOS button
1x HDMI port
1x Optical SPDIF out port
1x LAN (RJ45) port
1x USB 3.2 (Gen2) Type-C port
2x USB 3.2 (Gen1) ports
3x USB 3.2 (Gen2) Type-A ports
4x USB 2.0 ports
5x 3.5 mm audio jacks
|Audio:||1x Realtek ALC1220 Codec|
|Fan Headers:||8x 4-pin|
|Form Factor:||ATX Form Factor: 12.0 in x 9.6 in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm|