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Gigabyte announces new Z490 Aorus motherboards with a focus on overclocking

By Hoots the Owl - on 11 May 2020, 11:39pm

Gigabyte announces new Z490 Aorus motherboards with a focus on overclocking

Image Source: Gigabyte

Intel's latest 10th Gen processors bring a brand new LGA 1200 socket and more cores than ever. The Core i9-10900K is a 10-core/20-thread  processor with a 125W TDP, and the higher power consumption calls for motherboards with more robust power delivery designs. 

Gigabyte's Z490 motherboards were designed with a renewed focus on overclocking and heat dissipation, featuring even beefier heat sinks across the board and improved memory circuitry. The company is also taking advantage of the richer I/O options offered by the Z490 chipset, and many of the new Aorus motherboards boast speedy Intel 2.5Gbps Ethernet and USB 3.2 (Gen 2) ports. 

On the design front, Gigabyte says it took inspiration from prevailing trends in movies and other avenues of popular culture and worked to incorporate them in its Aorus motherboards. For instance, the lettering design on the heatsink of the Aorus Master is a nod to the big lettering normally used by many premium sporting brands.

The company has so far announced a total of 16 Z490 motherboards across four segments – Aorus, Gigabyte Gaming, Vision, and Ultra Durable:

  • Z490 Aorus Xtreme Waterforce
  • Z490 Aorus Xtreme
  • Z490 Aorus Master
  • Z490 Aorus Ultra G2
  • Z490 Aorus Ultra
  • Z490I Aorus Ultra
  • Z490 Aorus Pro AX
  • Z490 Aorus Elite AC
  • Z490 Aorus Elite
  • Z490 Vision G
  • Z490 Vision D
  • Z490 Gaming X
  • Z490M Gaming X
  • Z490 UD AC
  • Z490 UD
  • Z490M

 

 

Aorus

Z490 Aorus Xtreme

The Z490 Aorus Xtreme is the flagship of the line-up. This is one of the cleanest motherboards around, and much like many other high-end boards today, almost every inch of the PCB is covered. It utilises a 16-phase digital VRM and tantalum polymer capacitors, which Gigabyte claims improves the transient response of the VRM between high and low loads and delivers even greater power stability. 

The thermal design of the board is probably one of the highlights. For starters, there's a new louvered stacked-fin design that Gigabyte calls Fins-Array II, which supposedly increases the total surface area available for heat dissipation by 300 per cent. It's also designed for better airflow and heat exchange, while a large 8mm heat pipe helps wick heat away from the MOSFETs. The I/O cover itself is aluminum, and it's connected to the Fins-Array II heat sink and helps with overall heat dissipation.

Elsewhere, the board uses thick Laird thermal pads to further improve the thermal conductivity on crucial heat-generating components, while a nanocarbon coating on the baseplate helps channel heat away from the reverse side of the board.

Finally, all three M.2 sockets are equipped with double-sided heat sinks, which is good news for large capacity drives that use double-sided flash.

Other features include two solid-pin 8-pin power connectors, an Aquantia 10Gb Ethernet port, Wi-Fi 6, and two Thunderbolt 3 connectors.

Z490 Xtreme Waterforce

There's also an Xtreme Waterforce version of the board, built with liquid cooling in mind. The integrated all-in-one monoblock covers the CPU, VRM,  SSD, and PCH, featuring high-density copper fins and a leak detection circuit. It uses the common G1/4 threads and supports some fancy built-in lighting customisations.

Z490 Aorus Master

Then there's the Aorus Master, which features a more modest 14-phase power design but the same tantalum polymer capacitors. It shares a similar thermal design with the Aorus Xtreme, including the double-sided M.2 heatsink for high-capacity drives. It's missing the two Thunderbolt 3 connectors on the rear of the latter board, however.

Z490 Aorus Pro AX

Beyond that, you'll find a wide range of Aorus boards offering even more combinations of features, including attractive middle-of-the-road options like the Z490 Aorus Pro AX, which features a full 12-phase power delivery, robust-looking heat sinks, and support for 2.5G Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6. There's even the entry-level Z490 Aorus Elite AC, which ditches Wi-Fi support and Intel's networking solution in favour of a Realtek 2.5G controller. If you're looking for an affordable board that still has the Aorus branding, this is probably it.

 

Vision

Meanwhile, the Vision series replaces the older Gaming SLI series with a new look and more comprehensive feature set. If you're looking for more white and silver accents, you'll be pretty happy with what you see here. The Z490 Vision G uses a 12-phase power delivery design and comes with three M.2 sockets and six SATA ports. However, only two of the M.2 sockets are equipped with their own heat sink.

Z490 Vision G

On the rear panel, you get a single 2.5G Ethernet port and a range of high-speed USB ports, including one USB 3.2 (Gen 2) Type-C, three USB 3.2 (Gen 2) Type-A,  and four USB 3.2 (Gen 1) Type-A connectors. And given that these are supposedly creator-focused boards, there's support for NVIDIA quad-GPU SLI as well or 2-way SLI and CrossFire.

 

Gigabyte Gaming

Moving on to the Gaming series, there's the Z490 Gaming X, which ditches much of the PCB shielding found on the higher end boards. This board appears comparatively naked, opting for a muted black and grey colour scheme and a patterned PCB. It's an entry level board, so you get just two full-length PCIe 3.0 slots, where only one has been reinforced by metal. Elsewhere, there are still three M.2 sockets and six SATA connectors. 

Z490 Gaming X

There is no USB-C connectivity on the rear at all, and you get just two USB 3.2 (Gen 2) Type-A, four USB 3.2 (Gen 1) Type-A, and two USB 2.0 ports. In addition, there is no support for SLI, with Gigabyte opting for just 2-way AMD CrossFire. 

 

Ultra Durable

Z490 UD AC

Finally, there's the Ultra Durable series of boards, which serve as Gigabyte's most basic Z490 offerings. The Z490 UD AC comes with an 11+1-phase VRM design and what Gigabyte describes as an "enlarged" VRM heatsink with air flow grooves for presumably better heat dissipation.

Like the Gaming X boards, its PCB is relatively exposed, and there's also a patterned print on the PCB. The Z490 UD AC comes with two full-length PCIe 3.0 slots that support 2-way AMD CrossFire, two M.2 sockets (albeit also lacking dedicated heatsinks), and support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi.