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Gigabyte Z490 AORUS XTREME Motherboard Review

There are a LOT of motherboards hitting the market for Z490, but few come with the hardware to rival the Gigabyte Z490 AORUS XTREME. This is one of their high-end motherboards to date, with only the XTREME Waterforce motherboard matching the features in the AORUS range. Bigger heatsinks, bigger VRM, bigger armour, bigger performance and overclocking potential, and as you might expect, a bigger price. So, it seems that in just about every respect, the XTREME really is EXTREME!

Of course, ASUS, MSI and others will have their own flagships to compete with this, and we’re publishing those reviews at the same time as this one. However, AORUS can be confident that they can compete with any of them thanks to their stunning feature-set.

Gigabyte Z490 AORUS XTREME Motherboard Review

Of course, this motherboard comes with 10th Gen Support, but also the upcoming Comet Lake whenever that happens and all that PCIe Gen 4 ready stuff is here too. You get a massive 16 Phase Digital VRM with 90A Smart Power Stage, and an “Tantalum Polymer Capacitors Array” and no, I don’t know what Tantalum is either, but it sounds bloody brilliant. Of course, that’s cooled with their massive Heatpipe II and Fins-Array II heatsink design.

You get class-leading networking too, thanks to 10GbE Aquantia and 2.5GbE Intel LAN with cFosSpeed. There’s triple M.2, dual Thunderbolt, USB Tybo, RGB, ESS Audio. The list is like a PC-hardware Greatest Hits collection, it’s all great stuff. What really excites me is the ESSential USB DAC though, that’s actually an external adaptor that comes bundled with the board, which is pretty neat.


  • Supports 10th Gen Intel® Core™ Series Processors
  • Dual Channel Non-ECC Unbuffered DDR4, 4 DIMMs
  • Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
  • 16 Phases Digital VRM Solution with 90A Smart Power Stage and Tantalum Polymer Capacitors Array
  • XTREME MEMORY with SMT DIMM and Shielded Memory Routing
  • Thermal Reactive Armor with Fins-Array II Heatsink, Direct Touch Heatpipe II and NanoCarbon Baseplate
  • Intel® Thunderbolt™ 3 Onboard
  • Exclusive ESSential USB DAC
  • Onboard Intel® WiFi 6 802.11ax 2T2R & BT 5 with 2X AORUS Antenna
  • 127dB SNR AMP-UP Audio with High-End ESS SABRE 9018K2M DAC, LME 49720 and OPA1622 OP-AMP, WIMA Audio Capacitors
  • AQUANTIA® 10GbE BASE-T LAN and Intel® 2.5GbE LAN with cFosSpeed
  • Triple Ultra-Fast NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 with Thermal Guards II
  • USB TurboCharger for Mobile Device Fast Charge Support
  • RGB FUSION 2.0 with Multi-Zone Addressable LED Light Show Design, Support Addressable LED & RGB LED Strips
  • Smart Fan 5 Features Multiple Temperature Sensors , Hybrid Fan Headers with FAN STOP and Noise Detection
  • Q-Flash Plus Update BIOS without Installing the CPU, Memory and Graphics Card

What AORUS Had to Say

“Z490 AORUS XTREME motherboard uses a pure digital CPU power design which includes a digital PWM Controller with Smart Power Stages and is capable of providing 90A of power from each phase for a total of 1440A. This 100% digital controller, new Tantalum Polymer Capacitors array, and additional 8+8 Solid-pin CPU Power Connectors offer incredible precision and stability in delivering power to the motherboard’s most power-hungry and energy-sensitive components, allowing enthusiasts to get the absolute maximum overclocking performance from the new 10-core 10th Gen. Intel® Core™ processors.” – AORUS


The box looks absolutely stunning, and while it’s still the same graphic design we see across the entire Gigabyte/AORUS range, the colour pallet has completely shifted. It’s just matte black with a shiny rainbow decal on the front, which I love.

Also, they get points for having a super organised interior, with all the components beautifully laid out and easily accessible.

Z490 Motherboard Reviews

Of course, today is the launch of the new Z490 motherboards as well as the new 10th Gen CPUs from Intel. Check out all of our Z490 reviews below.

ASUS Maximus XII Hero Wifi
Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Master
Gigabyte Z490 AORUS PRO AX
Gigabyte Z490 AORUS XTREME
Gigabyte Z490I AORUS Ultra
MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk
MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon Wifi
MSI Z490 Unify

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Peter Donnell

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