Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Master Review 29

Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Master Review

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As the dust continues to settle from Intel's release of the 12th Gen Core processors, we now have a chance to look at yet another motherboard, one that is based around the Z690 chipset and makes use of this new LGA 1700 socket. With the newest generation of Intel CPUs codenamed Alder Lake, it has the privilege of being among the first to support PCIe Gen 5.0 and DDR5 in the consumer market.

Intel's and AMD's ongoing battle for king of the hill is great for the consumer as innovation is required for chipmakers to keep ahead of the competition. While nothing from Intel's camp comes close to AMD's Threadripper performance, the company has given gamers and some prosumers a reason to consider another Intel system when it comes time to upgrade. Being Intel, we can only suspect that the HEDT followup is in the works. For now, the 12th Gen Core processors are holding firm as top-tier gaming CPUs. Accompanying these new CPUs is the Z690 chipset that not only has set the stage for what is to come, but allows motherboard manufactures to showcase what makes a complete experience.

Besides offering native PCIe 5.0 support, the Z690 chipset has also been given a connection speed boost with a change to the DMI 4.0 interference at 16 GT/s, a doubling over DMI 3.0 found on the previous LGA 1200 socket. The next-biggest addition is dual support for either DDR4 or DDR5 memory modules by the CPU, which has motherboard manufacturers offering a variety of configurations. Bring all of these changes together and Intel has a platform packed with all the newest technologies and internal bandwidth to support it.

Gigabyte uses the Aorus naming convention to serve as the company's gaming-orientated line of Intel and AMD motherboards. These Aorus Z690 branded motherboards come in multiple models comprising of the Pro, Ultra, Elite, Tachyon, Master, and Xtreme, some of which overlap in features and suggested price points.

The Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master features a dedicated VRM design with an insane nineteen 105 A power stages for some serious overclocking headroom. To round out the experience, the Aorus Master also offers great connectivity with the newest WiFi 6E technology and 10G LAN for those who need to transfer data quickly. There is a lot to cover in this review, so let's take a closer look!


CPU Support:Intel Socket LGA1700 12th Gen Core,
Pentium Gold, and Celeron processors
Power Design:CPU Power: 19-phase
iGPU Power: 1-phase
Chipset:Intel Z690
Integrated Graphics:Dependent on installed CPU
Memory:4x DIMM, 128GB, and dual-channel DDR5-6400+ (OC)
Expansion Slots: 1x PCIe Gen5 x16 slot
2x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (wired for x4)
Storage: 6x SATA 6 Gb/s ports
4x M.2 Sockets (SATA3/PCIe Gen4 x4)
1x M.2 Socket (SATA3/PCIe Gen3 x4)
Networking:1x Intel 10 GbE LAN
1x Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX210
Rear Ports: 5x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports
4x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C
1x DisplayPort 2x Wi-Fi antenna connectors
1x 10 GbE LAN
5x audio jacks
1x Optical S/PDIF out port
1x Clear CMOS button
1x Q-Flash Plus button
Audio:1x Realtek ALC1220-VB Codec
Fan Headers:10x 4-pin
Form Factor:E-ATX Form Factor: 12.0 x 10.2 in.; 30.5 x 25.9 cm
Unique Features:
  • Support for APP Center
  • Support for Q-Flash Plus
  • Support for Q-Flash
  • Support for Xpress Install
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