CPU & Motherboards

GIGABYTE Z490 AORUS XTREME LGA1200 Motherboard Review

A lot is riding on this launch, none more so than Intel’s pride, and motherboard partners are keen to at least cash in on the attempt despite the fact that Intel has left them in the cold with the Z490 not including a lot of interesting developments in terms of its offering. That said, this leaves a lot of room for motherboard makers to be creative which may or may not backfire on Intel as the platform cost for the Z490 platform, despite its mainstream position, will see boards go upwards of 800$ or more.  Then again, it started last year with X570 and motherboard makers have tested the waters on just how much the current enthusiast market is willing to spend on motherboards. With X570 you get Gen4 though, with Comet Lake errr you get Gen3, still.

Well screw that said GIGABYTE. They are marketing their Z490 motherboards, particularly the AORUS lineup, to supprt PCIe Gen4. This is despite the fact that Comet Lake is purely PCIe Gen3. This only means that the upcoming successor for Comet Lake will support Gen4, otherwise, a Comet Lake with Gen4 just doesn’t make sense as well. Rumors aside, GIGABYTE is building that hype train already and is including it in their marketing but let’s be honest, that’s friendly-fire when you reveal to customers that they could get a better chip by waiting another generation.

In today’s review, we’ll check out the Z490 AORUS XTREME. The top-end motherboard from GIGABYTE under their AORUS gaming lineup and it is one heavy kit. Featuring much of the design that made the X570 AORUS XTREME, GIGABYTE will be looking to feed off of that success withe Z490 but with nearly a $1000 price tag, this motherboard is extortionately premium.


Z490 AORUS XTREME LGA1200 Motherboard

Intel 400 series Chipset – Z490

Let’s be honest Intel, I’d usually do a full breakdown of the chipset for this generation but truth be told, it’s pretty much the Z390 with WIFI6 and LGA1200 socket. Intel cites that the new motherboards required a new power configuration hence the new socket but then again, that’s for the socket, the chipset itself is left with just WIFI6. Intel could’ve released second-gen Z390 but it wouldn’t make motherboard makers happy, would it? For motherboard makers though, they have full freedom to explore newer power implementations. With experience from AMD’s high core-count chips, the Z490 should inherit a lot from the X570 of last-generation in the power delivery side and have some space to play around with the features.

Intel Z390, B460, Z370 and Z270 Chipset Comparison
Feature Z490 B460 Z390 Z370
Max PCH PCIe 3.0 Lanes 24 24 24 24
Max USB 3.1 (Gen2/Gen1) 6/10 ? 6/10 0/10
Total USB ? ? 14 14
Max SATA Ports 6 6 6 6
PCIe Config x16
Memory Channels (Dual) 2/2 2/2 2/2 2/2
Intel Optane Memory Support Y ? Y Y
Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) Y ? Y Y
Max Rapid Storage Technology Ports 3 ? 3 3
Integrated WiFi MAC Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 5 N
Intel Smart Sound Y ? Y Y
Integrated SDXC (SDA 3.0) Support ? ? Y N
DMI 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0
Overclocking Support Y N Y Y
Intel vPro ? ? N N
Max HSIO Lanes 30 ? 30 30
Intel Smart Sound ? ? Y Y
ME Firmware 14 14 12 11

Table courtesy of Anandtech

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BossMac Suba

Owner and lead reviewer for Back2Gaming. More than 10-year of corporate IT experience as well as consumer IT journalism. His extensive skill set and experience in communicating complicated technical details into easily understandable bits. He's been with you since dial-up and the ISA slot. His favorite animal is the scapegoat.

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