CPU & Motherboards

GIGABYTE Z490 AORUS XTREME LGA1200 Motherboard Review

Z490 AORUS XTREME LGA1200 Motherboard

Again, a foreword for readers that’s knee jerk reaction is to rip on Intel, that’s not your choice and if a person wants to go that route, it is their choice. Thus, this review assumes the user knows this and is fully committed into purchasing a 10th-gen CPU.

That said, let’s discuss performance. AORUS was set into taking those review scores and went with an unlocked power limit but then again, power limits were disabled on Z390. We choose to go with out of box settings and if any of these change, we will happily re-test for ASUS or GIGABYTE. Still, while performance are good, disabling MCE by default would’ve been the smarter choice to keep the CPU from facing slightly misunderstood results from incomplete testing. With sufficient cooling, the results would’ve been impressive and given the market for this board, we agree with AORUS opting to choose to do so, leaving that to the user.

With the board sucking up so much power, you will notice in our thermal images that the ATX/EPS cables are heating up as well. This board handles power delivery well but with its higher clock speed and power comes increased heat and that shows in the thermals with a load temps on the VRM heatsinks of around 50*C+, which is not an alarming number. Anything below 100*C on the VRM is safe. While it is heavy, it pales in comparison to the overbuilt nature of the MAXIMUS XII EXTREME but this is offset by the fact that this is a better looking motherboard the what ASUS has for the top-end ROG. The M12E is not ugly but it’s as pleasingly clean as the AORUS Z490 XTREME.


Functionally, this board is really loaded and there’s enough underneath that hood to make people happy including me. AORUS’ choice to go with built-in Thunderbolt3 is better than a daughter card addition to the board. While it does add to the cost, its something you absolutely have to have to make the decision, not a forced bundle you probably will never use.

The AORUS Z490 AORUS XTREME (yes, they’re brand name makes the model name redundant) is a $800 motherboard and is $Php46,000 in the Philippines and it does compete directly with the MAXIMUS XII EXTREME. The big difference is execution. While the AORUS XTREME manages to be an attractive, all-in-one solution for gamers/content creators,  ASUS goes for a more modular approach. In this case, you loose the a PCIe slot which is not a good idea for ASUS jut to retain USB Type-C. The Z490 AORUS XTREME is already a premium motherboard and built-in Thunderbolt3 makes more sense.

The Z490 AORUS XTREME is an excellent performance motherboard and is basically the GIGABYTE DESIGNARE board in AORUS skin. It offers high-speed storage connectivity in both M.2 and Thunderbolt3 and is openly advertising PCIe Gen4 supprt with a future CPU. That said, this board will last but if and should there be significant upgrade to make you jump to whatever is replacing Z490, it’s something worth taking note of but as of this moment, the AORUS Z490 XTREME is an extremely premium board that should please its rockstar owner who can fork out the cash.

Do we recommend the AORUS Z490 AORUS XTREME? If you’re a professional content creator that will use an i9-10900K and like the clean aesthetic of the board and can absolutely afford it, then by all means. No matter how much we dislike the price increase, if its an industry decision that most board makers will do, then gamers have spoken with their wallets and it showed in the sales report that’s why these boards exist.

The Z490 AORUS XTREME is a well-built motherboard packed to the brim with connectivity that can improve content creators’ workflows. It’s an easy alternative if GIGABYTE will release a more premium Designare board.

AORUS backs the Z490 AORUS XTREME with a 3-year warranty. We give it our B2G Silver Award!

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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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