All through nearly all of 2020, we noticed an escalating conflict between AMD and Intel battling for supremacy within the desktop CPU market, which is an apparent win for the customers. One of many aspect battles thus appeared within the motherboard market, with the Z490 chipset paving the way in which for Intel’s 14 nm Comet Lake processors. One such mannequin is the GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Grasp, which is poisitioned within the mid-range phase’s higher finish with a premium function set. A few of the most notable options embrace 2.5 GbE and Wi-Fi 6 networking, triple PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, and loads of rear panel connectivity.
To Reply The Query: Z490 in 2021? Should not I watch for Z590?
We have been listening to quite a lot of rumors about Z590, however nothing concrete from Intel right now, so naturally some customers will query why we now have a Z490 evaluation this late within the cycle. Intel has talked about that its next-generation Rocket Lake processors can be popping out Q1 2021, probably the tip of Q1 2021, however we now have no actual learn right now on Z590 progress, or future help. For these which are Intel techniques immediately or company budgets that should be spent immediately, the 400-series is the one choice. Assuming that 500-series motherboards are set to launch quickly, customers will clearly have a alternative between the previous and the brand new; and by all accounts GIGABYTE remains to be set to promote the Z490 Aorus Grasp for a very good 12-18 months, and so this evaluation might help anybody who’s trying in that point. The 400-series can be anticipated to roll out BIOS updates for the following technology processors, together with these Z490 boards which are pre-built with PCIe 4.0 help in thoughts (such because the Z490 Aorus Grasp), and we would see worth decreases as 500-series fashions come onto the market.
GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Grasp Overview
For many years, GIGABYTE has been one of many mainstays within the motherboard market, with many notable and fascinating fashions all through the years. With the business altering to go well with traits, the prominence of esports has performed a large half in system design, and what customers have been accustomed to a decade in the past sometimes was extra about perform than model. In 2017, GIGABYTE unveiled its Aorus division, which is formally a GIGABYTE subsidiary aimed toward avid gamers. Since then, Aorus has advanced in an analogous solution to aggressive manufacturers has through the years, with many aggressive fashions starting from the entry-level to the ridiculously high-end flagships.
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The GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Grasp sits in the direction of the higher echelon of its premium vary for Intel Comet Lake processors, with the one fashions above it within the sequence are the flagship GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Xtreme and Xtreme WaterForce. The $300-400 worth phase is a extremely aggressive space for Z490 fashions, with all the main distributors working on this area. It makes use of an Aorus impressed design all through with black and silver armor stretching from the board’s left-hand aspect throughout to the chipset, with built-in RGB LEDs situated inside the rear panel cowl and chipset heatsink extra capabilities supplied by way of built-in RGB headers.
GIGABYTE features a premium function set together with considered one of Intel’s newest 2.5 GbE controllers and makes use of Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 CNVi to supply customers with each wi-fi connectivity and help to attach BT 5.1 units too. It additionally supplies the potential to make use of as much as three PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 drives and help for Intel’s Optane know-how, with six SATA ports with help for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays. It additionally consists of a formidable array of USB connectivity with as many as ten ports on the rear panel, with 4 of them coming by way of USB 3.2 G2 (three Kind-A, one Kind-C), with a lot extra out there by way of inner headers. GIGABYTE gives help for as much as DDR4-5000 speeds, which is in the direction of the highest finish of what any Z490 formally helps, with as much as 128 GB supported throughout 4 out there reminiscence slots.
Placing the Z490 Aorus Grasp underneath our take a look at suite yielded optimistic and aggressive efficiency when in comparison with different Z490 fashions. Probably the most advantageous of the testing got here in our system benchmarks with respectable efficiency in our energy consumption testing, given the massive variety of onboard controllers the board consists of. It was aggressive in efficiency in our DPC latency and non-UEFI POST time testing and throughout our CPU and gaming assessments.
The GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Grasp present process thermal VRM testing
The GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Grasp is a really succesful board for overclocking with its stable 14-phase energy supply for the CPU. It makes use of premium 90 An influence phases, with sufficient VRM cooling, which we noticed in our thermal testing. The GIGABYTE performs higher on this regard than most Z490 fashions we have examined, and when it got here to testing the overclocks, we noticed very tight VDroop management. There are many potentials to unlock with the Z490 Aorus Grasp, not only for the CPU but additionally in reminiscence, with official help for DDR4-5000 reminiscence.
The GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Grasp has an MSRP of $390 and has sometimes remained at this worth. It has been seen as little as $325 for per week again in September 2020 at Amazon, which might signify severe worth for cash contemplating all of the Grasp has to supply. Even at its MSRP pricing, the Z490 Aorus Grasp has a really aggressive function set which competes with the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Wi-Fi ($400), the ASRock Z490 Taichi ($370), and the MSI MEG Z490 Ace ($400), every with its personal distinctive aesthetics and vendor related bundles and traits. The GIGABYTE represents a horny sub $400 providing for customers seeking to construct a brand new system or improve an current one for Intel’s tenth technology Comet Lake platform, with anticipated help being supplied for Intel’s 14 nm Rocket Lake chips, that are anticipated on the finish of Q1 of this 12 months.
Learn on for our prolonged evaluation.