Next up we have the Z490 AORUS Master, a bit higher up the pecking order compared to the Pro AX and much more firmly footed in the enthusiast market. Again, a very similar box design, just a nice branding design with the Z490 chipset and 10th Gen CPU support stickers. The design is still in touch with what AORUS has done in the past, but it just looks a bit sharper and meaner than before thanks to its heavily armoured PCB.
That goes for both sides, it looks like Batman hung his armour on this thing. However, it’s also an integrated heat pipe of sorts to protect various motherboard components.
The VRM cooling is massive, with a much larger surface area and a lot of fins. That’s no surprise though, as it’s cooling a 14 phase digital VRM with a 90A Smart Power Stage, and a Titanium Polymer Capacitor Array. Or to put it another way, it has good overclocking potential.
Power comes from dual 8-pin headers too, so even the most extreme in the upcoming Intel 10th Gen CPU range shouldn’t be left wanting for more juice here.
At the bottom, you’ll find this amazing two-tone armoured design. There are three M.2 mounts hidden around the PCIe lanes, but all covered with those lovely heatsink/shrouds.
As you can see, there are three full-size PCIe lanes, which to the best of my knowledge are Gen4 ready, but I suspect that may only be one slot? The information we’ve been given is a little confusing, but we’ll get back to that on the last page.
Again, your M.2 slots are complimented by a bank of 6 SATA ports.
For ease of use, you’ll find on-board power controls, as well as a handy debug LED. Honestly, those LEDs are great for overclocking, so I’m happy to see that included. Hey look there are some RGB headers there too, but they’re so common these days, they hardly feel like something I should focus on.
Finally, at the rear of the board, you’ll see a pretty component setup of USB ports. Again, 3.2 and Type C are included, as well as an HDMI output should you really need it. Networking comes from the 2.5 GbE and 802.11ax again, which is no bad thing. There’s also a CMOS and Q-Flash button the back too, which are always handy to have.
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