Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Master Motherboard Review
Peter Donnell / 5 days ago
A Closer Look
First impressions of their new motherboard are certainly good. It’s aesthetically stunning, which appeals to the kick-ass gaming PC builder in me, but I can also see some very promising VRM and cooling hardware that appeals to the performance and stability loving part of my brain.
Rather than just sticking a vaguely stylish chunk of metal on there and calling it a heatsink. Gigabyte/AORUS has caught some heat for their VRM in the past, all the brands have actually, but it seems they’re on top of the issue here. There are two proper heatsinks with fins, a thick heat pipe, copper contact plate and more. That cools the 14 Phase 90A Digital Power Design.
All that is powered by an 8-pin CPU power header, plus an optional/additional 8-pin to help drive the most powerful CPUs and provide voltage stability while overclocking.
A cool multi-layer graphic on the rear I/O shield, which is packed with RGB lighting too, obviously.
You’ll find more RGB lighting on the AORUS logo here too, it just looks etched into the metal, but it will light up when powered on.
In the corner, you’ll find this handy BIOS debug LED, as well as on-board power controls.
This motherboard is extremely well protected too. With enormous heatsinks on the chipset, as well as covering all three of the M.2 mounts. Aesthetically it’s awesome, but that’s a lot of raw materials providing massive amounts of heat dissipation. It looks damn near bullet proof. Plus, all the DIMM slots and all three full-size PCIe lanes are armoured too.
As you can see, the motherboard has their award-winning ESS Sabre HiFi hardware too. That includes the 9118 DAC, ALC1220-VB chipset, WIMA Capacitors, Gold Plated Jacks, etc. So, audio should be pretty banging no matter what you need to power with it.
One of my favourite aspects of this motherboard has to be the extreme levels of armour and heatsinks. However, you get the same around the back, with an extended heatsinks and armour design. That’s good about this is it actually braces the board. All the weight on one side isn’t good, so it screws threw the board to the rear plate to keep things super stable.
The rear I/O shield also comes pre-installed, so if you always forget it like I do, this is a real time saver. The back is very well equipped too, with 2.5 GbE LAN and WiFi 6 on offer, as well as a huge array of USB ports, including Type-C. There’s an HDMI port, should you need it, but I can’t imagine many will. Finally, you’ll find gold-plated jacks, as well as a handy SPDIF Out.