Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme Review

Up Close - Continuing our tour

Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme Preview

Up Close - More Detail

What you can't see in these pictures is how good the Gigabyte Aorus Xtreme feels. Those soft rounded edges are a tactile delight. It's exactly how we imagine Peter Paul Rubens would design a motherboard. Curvaceous. Note to other motherboard designers, more horizontal cable mountings please.

Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme Preview
Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme Side Mounted  

At the bottom edge, below a cover, are the front panel audio connectors and the BIOS switches that are a classic feature of all Gigabyte motherboards. If anyone can explain exactly why front panel audio headers are always as far from the audio jacks on your case as possible, we'd be glad to hear it.


Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme BIOS  

A good rule of thumb on any motherboard is to look at the rear IO shield and the more connections there are, the higher quality it is. It's nearly always true. On the Aorus Xtreme from top to bottom we have the Flash and CMOS Clear buttons, 2T2R antenna connectors, two Thunderbolt 3 Type-C connectors that also support USB 3.2 Gen2 - it seems Thunderbolt 3 is a big tech on the Z490 chipset - as well as 8 USB ports in 3.2Gen1, Gen2 and plain 2.0 forms (2, 4 and 2 respectively). Above those we have the two RJ-45 connectors for the 10G Aquantia high-end home networking and 2.5G Intel for your regular networking and the jacks for the RealTek ALC1220-VB codec. Hey they named their codec after me. Cool.


Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme Rear Panel  

Providing the Intel 10th Generation LGA1200 CPUs with enough power is not going to be an issue as the Aorus Xtreme is equipped with 16 Phases Digital VRM with 90A Smart Power Array. For those of you who are big fans of the cylindrical part of the power stage they are Tantalum Polymer Capacitors. 


Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme Mosfets  

It's unquestionably a pretty thing. We're hugely impressed and we haven't even plugged it in yet. It just feels so freaking solid and robust. As the old design adage goes, if it looks right it usually is. Naturally that means it's time to get down to business and find out.

Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme Heatsinks

Just be careful if you've got a massive heatsink on your main M.2 NVMe drive.

Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme Review



Also with a board at this price point we cant help but despise the use of 'condiment' cables for the USB2 extension cable. Its just ruins the feel of an otherwise slick looking motherboard to see coloured cables at the bottom. If you want internal USB2 you have to use this cable too, there is no other way around it.

 

Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme Review  

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Most Recent Comments

25-05-2020, 05:30:47

MiNo
Nice review!

Missing a 'nude' pic with the covers off though. Love the closeups, but please give us a full frontal also :-)Quote

25-05-2020, 06:05:39

Warchild
Nicest board I have seen in a long time.

Makes me want to upgrade from the 7700k and get a 10900k just to use it.Quote

26-05-2020, 06:21:03

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiNo View Post
Nice review!

Missing a 'nude' pic with the covers off though. Love the closeups, but please give us a full frontal also :-)

Just didnt get time for that before NDA - as it was I had to do 18 hour days because of some bios issues with the initial CPU review systemQuote

26-05-2020, 06:53:34

MiNo
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post
Just didnt get time for that before NDA - as it was I had to do 18 hour days because of some bios issues with the initial CPU review system

I can only imagine the insane scramble before deadlines. I know that is part of the game. I hope you know we are many that appreciate you direct style, the honesty and thoroughness you bring to your work. Especially the 'so what does it all mean / add up to' after all the numbers. Thanks man.Quote

26-05-2020, 08:23:46

MiNo
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warchild View Post
Nicest board I have seen in a long time.

Makes me want to upgrade from the 7700k and get a 10900k just to use it.

Much can be saved, by having a case with no glass :-) I look at all these things, because i like the combination of aesthetics and electronics, but at the end of the day I get a bare-bone system that ticks off my functional requirements. And actually, that has a certain appeal as well; knowing you have 'needed stuff' and not tons of fluff.


TBH I can't imagine many people that actually need (not "want") these super expensive products. I mean - what is the use case here?Quote
Reply
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