Gigabyte Z690 AORUS XTREME Motherboard Preview

Motherboard Overview

This is one seriously hard-core looking motherboard. Just look at the size of those heatsinks! There’s a heat pipe running between them that looks pretty industrial, and I love it. You’ll find proper fins on those heatsinks too, not just solid blocks of metal, as well as an aluminium cover up top, and 9 W/mk thermal pads below. Gigabyte calls this their NanoCarbon Fins-Array III, with Direct-Touch Heatpipe II, which sounds great!

The XTREME features a Direct Digital VRM Design, that’s 20 VCORE Phases, 1 VCCGT Phase, and 2 VCCAUX Phases with a 105A Power Stage. Not sure what that means? Don’t worry about it, but in short, this motherboard will be an absolute beast for overclocking the new CPUs.

Getting power to the CPU is easy too, thanks to a pair of 8-pin power headsets, each shielded and armoured for both reliability and durability. Also, check that gorgeous powder coating on those heatsinks!

The new LGA1700 socket from Intel, keep in mind, this socket isn’t backwards compatible.

There are found armoured DDR5 memory slots on the XTREME, offering XMP 3.0 Memory support, and there’s an RGB shroud armor kit in the box, but we’re waiting for our DDR5 to arrive before we can show you that. In the top right, you’ll find a BIOS LED light, as well as onboard power controls, perfect for a test bench.

The motherboard is extremely well armoured. Of course, this looks fantastic, but it adds to the overall shielding and durability too. You’ll find three full-size PCIe lanes, running in a 1 x PCIe 5 x16, 1 x PCIe x8 and 1 x PCIe 3.0 x4 configuration. There’s a lot of cooling going too, with large heatsinks forming much of the armour.

If you look closely, the top M.2 mount has a large heatsink with fins and dual heat pipes running into the armour. This all joins up to the NanoCarbon Backplate on the motherboard. The sheer volume of raw materials here is nuts, and this board is pretty damn heavy as a result.

All of the ports are right-angled too, which will make for ultra-clean cable routing, and it just looks cool too, as the front of the board looks cleaner as a result.

There’s a good mixture of USB, SATA, and all the usual stuff, really, no big surprises.

The rear I/O is excellent, and it has got a LOT going on. I like that the audio is trimmed down to Line Out and Mic, but remember you also get the USB C DAC in the box. There are ten USB ports, and they’re ALL USB 3.2; there’s absolutely no compromise here. If that’s not enough, two ultrafast Thunderbolt ports are included, which is fantastic. Of course, not everyone will be able to max out the AQUANTIA 10 GbE LAN, but for high-speed home networking, it’s perfect, and you still have the Intel 2.5 GbE LAN and WiFi 6 there too.

Around the back of the motherboard, you’ll find that NanoCarbon Backplate, it looks great, keeps everything rigid, and really just allows them to bold on those huge heatsinks without snapping its self in two.

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Peter Donnell

As a child still in my 30's, I spend my day combining my love of music and movies with a life-long passion for gaming, from arcade classics and retro consoles to the latest high-end PC and console games. So it's no wonder I write about tech and test the latest hardware while I enjoy my hobbies!

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