Last year, AMD released the Ryzen 5000 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. While Intel prepares its next move, Z490 and the 10th generation are here to hold the line.
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 Z490I AORUS Ultra features a robust VRM utilizing 90 A power stages, along with Q-Flash for a redundant safety net for ambitious overclocking. The Gigabyte Z490I AORUS Ultra also offers a full-coverage aluminium backplate for added rigidity and additional VRM cooling. This little board should pack a punch, so let's see how the Gigabyte Z490I AORUS Ultra stacks up against the competition.
|CPU Support:||Intel 10th Gen or later processors|
|Power Design:|| CPU Power: 9 phase* |
Memory Power: 2 phase
|Integrated Graphics:||Dependent on installed CPU|
|Memory:||2x DIMM, supports dual-channel DDR4-5000 (OC) MHz|
|BIOS:||AMI UEFI BIOS|
|Expansion Slots:||1x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot|
|Storage:|| 4x SATA 6 Gb/s ports |
2x 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 HDMI port
1x LAN (RJ45) port
1x USB 3.2 (Gen2) Type-C port
4x USB 3.2 (Gen1) ports
1x USB 3.2 (Gen2) Type-A ports
2x USB 2.0 ports
3x 3.5 mm audio jacks
|Audio:||1x Realtek ALC1220 Codec|
|Fan Headers:||4x 4-pin|
|Form Factor:||ITX Form Factor: 6.7 in x 6.7 in, 17.0 cm x 17.0 cm|