More new motherboards are appearing that support the current Intel 13th aGen processors. Today in our GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS MASTER Review, we will get hands-on with one of the latest offerings from GIGABYTE.
The GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS MASTER is a motherboard that supports excellent features. These include PCIe 5.0 for graphics cards, DDR5 memory, SSDs, and overclocking.
In this GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS MASTER Review, we will check the product functions, design, features, specs, and how it performs. We put the motherboard through a couple of tests to see if it is worth upgrading. Plus, we will also discuss the BIOS configurations you can access.
GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS MASTER Packaging
Our motherboard arrived in a violet and black-themed box that was pleasing and appealing to the eyes. The front showcases the usual AORUS branding and the product name, while most details are on the back.
While writing this GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS MASTER Review, we also saw that the company included several accessories in the box. These items will help you get the system running without having to purchase extra accessories online/in-store.
Items inside the box include all the basics. Here is a complete list of the accessories GIGABYTE has for you:
Two SATA cables
One PC speaker
A 4-pin RGB extension cable
A WiFi antenna
Two temperature sensors
A user guide
GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS MASTER Review – Design and Functionality
Moving onto the design section of this GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS MASTER Review, this motherboard looks familiar. And design-wise, it does not appear that different from the Z690 AORUS MASTER. However, the previous generation sported an all-black appearance, while the Z790 AORUS MASTER has a black-grey theme.
The current motherboard also features black VRM heatsinks and an 8-layer PCB. We love the grey accents which come from the shrouds and heatsinks. These conceal the M.2 sockets, audio, and chipset along the bottom half of the motherboard.
Since the motherboard is also from the premium mid-range series, it had reinforced slots (PCIe and memory).
Another design aspect we loved about the motherboard is its brushed metal and extended heatsink. It gives off a sophisticated and premium look and is also the reason for its weight. Despite being heavy, everything will work as long as you mount the motherboard properly.
Its RGB panels on the rear IO plate and the heatsink base look excellent. You have many options for customisations with the RGB Fusion software. With it, you can add flair and extra lighting to the build.
GIGABYTE tried upgrading the thermal performance using this specific heatsink design, which covers a sizable portion of its PCB. It has a darker contrasting design, which blends nicely with the RGB lights.
Overall, the company did an excellent job in the design department. And it is pleasing to see aesthetic enhancements from the previous model.
Here, Gigabyte opted for the less is more approach by implementing one RGB above the IO cover. It illuminates the AORUS falcon silhouette, the company tagline, and a distinct design feature.
The upper-right edge has the first two of four RGB headers if the minimalistic RGB approach is inadequate for you. There is also a 3-pin ARGB and 4-pin RGB, while the bottom edge has the other headers.
We also looked into the power design of the motherboard while writing our GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS MASTER Review. Technically, the product has ideal power phases for good overclocking to get extra performance.
Shifting to the top half of the motherboard, we first focused on its VRM heatsinks. These are the heavy elements of the product. However, they have plenty of surface area for dissipating heat with the help of the Fins-Array III.
Simply put, the FIns-Array III is a configuration that comes with a NanoCarbon coating.
GIGABYTE put together two large heatsinks with an 8mm heat pipe to share the thermal load. The company also used an effective 12W/mK thermal pad between the MOSFETs and chokes to remove heat from components.
Above the socket, you will find two 8-pin EPS connectors to power the processor.
Also, on the top half of the motherboard, you will see the first two of 10 4-pin pump/fan headers. All these fans output up to 2A/24W, so you should not expect any issues with power.
If you want to run your water cooling system and the fans, you can do this easily on this motherboard. In most setups, you will not require piggybacking components due to the number of available headers. Plus, all these are capable of more than the standard 1A/12W outputs we often use.
Additionally, the headers also detect what you are using: whether it is PWM or DC. Or, you can manually choose from the BIOS.
The Z790 AORUS MASTER integrates the new DDR5 RAM standard to support 8000MHz overclocks at the top end. If you think about it, DDR5 is not there yet when we speak of maturity.
But as the DIMMs start becoming standard, the DDR5 kits will have a price drop. And while the latency will decrease, performance will also improve.
At the centre of the board are three reinforced PCIe slots to prevent instances of shearing. The top slot, primarily for graphics, receives all the sixteen lanes of PCIe 5.0 bandwidth. It happens when nothing is using the M2C_CPU socket.
Two full-length slots at the bottom are running at PCIe 3.0 speeds. The one on the bottom runs at x1 while the top runs a maximum of x4.
The rear portion of the motherboard displays plenty of high-speed USB ports, like two USB 3.2 Gen2x2 type-C ports. The rear IO offers high-speed USB ports like two USB 3.2 Gen2x2 type-C ports.
There are also numerous USB 3.2 Gen1 and Gen2 ports. Plus, you can choose between onboard WiFi 6E modules or 10 Gigabit for networking.
If you plan to build a workstation PC, you are in for a treat. Make use of the high-speed networking capabilities of the motherboard for seamless and convenient file transfers.
For the audiophiles, you can link a surround sound system since the motherboard has a S/PDIF out port. It also features an entire audio suite for plugging multiple speakers.
The rear IO also carries the BIOS Flashback and Clear CMOS button to make troubleshooting/diagnosing easier.
Key Features of the GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS MASTER
Delivering Unmatched Performance
You can enjoy unparalleled performance since GIGABYTE always keeps up with the current technology trends and updates. That means its motherboards, including the Z790 AORUS MASTER, integrate enhanced power solutions, new storage standards, and excellent connectivity. Having these will enable optimised performance ideal for gaming.
Outstanding Digital VRM Design
GIGABYTE guarantees extreme overclocking and Turbo Boost performance of the new generation CPU from Intel. It is possible because the motherboard sports the best VRM design integrated with top-notch and quality components.
PCIe 5.0 Design
The double-PCIe 4.0 bandwidth gets support from PCIe 5.0, which guarantees 100% compatibility with upcoming SSDs and GPUs.
The most recent M.2 25110 form factor has support from the first PCIe 5.0 x4 M.2 Slot. Plus, metal-shielded and reinforced PCIe 5.0 M.2 connectors offer enhanced strength.
DDR5 Memory Optimisations
We also took note of the GIGABYTE BIOS features while writing this GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS MASTER Review. It offers retrievable and predefined profiles that will allow you to receive higher performance.
Based on databases created via checking memory PMIC and IC vendors, the profiles optimise modules to display their full potential. This aspect is time-saving, especially for manually setting up overclocked DDR5 memory kits.
Hybrid Cores Enhancements
With the current Intel Hybrid Technology, GIGABYTE establishes two CPU upgrades in its BIOS profiles. These aid in meeting each need of users by controlling E and P-Core activation and voltage policies.
The motherboard has a base plate made from aluminium instead of the classic iron to guarantee 3x thermal conductivity.
Its base plate has a thin layer of NanoCarbon through electrostatic adhesion, which helps enhance thermal radiation capabilities. This specialised carbon molecule nanostructure has impressive thermal conductivity.
Transfer heat from the rear PCB to the base plate to allow the NanoCarbon base plate to dissipate heat passively. Plus, it efficiently decreases the rear PWM component temperature by 10%.
The new generation Fins-Array III provides outstanding thermal performance by using extended regular fins to occupy all available space. In addition, it helps increase surface area.
A piece of this surface area is massive when compared with two full-sized ATX board PCBs. So, it highly optimises thermal efficiency and the performance of heat exchange.
M.2 Thermal Guard III
This feature uses 9x optimised heat dissipation surfaces to stop instances of bottleneck and throttling under heavy workloads.
The unique design of the motherboard heatsink grooves that lean in the direction of the CPU better improves in-chassis airflow. It also simultaneously optimises the efficiency of heat convection.
Smart Fan 6
This feature has plenty of distinct cooling features to ensure the performance of your gaming PC while staying quiet. It also retains low temperatures while operating.
Noise Detection of the GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS MASTER
With the new function, you can readily monitor the noise levels of all your devices. These will help determine your fan speed needs.
The bundled Noise Detection cable from GIGABYTE does not have any sound recording functions. Instead, it detects sound pressure while securing your privacy.
802.11ax Wi-Fi 6E
The motherboard has this current wireless solution with a dedicated 6Hz band that offers seamless video streaming. It also enables gigabit wireless performance, optimised gaming experience, lesser connection drops, and up to 2.4Gbps of speed.
Moreover, the presence of Bluetooth 5 offers a range that is 4x more than BT 4.2, plus faster transmissions.
RGB Fusion Multi-Zone Light Show Style
This feature now offers more LED customisations, thus, allowing you to use the PC to represent your style. You will have complete control over the LED lights surrounding the motherboard.
Troubleshooting + Build-friendly Features
Many current motherboards saw a significant boost in usability features that aid in making diagnoses and building processes easier. At the top of the motherboard, you will find the power button. It lets you switch the product on without shorting the JFP1 power pins.
On the top-right, you will also see a Q-Code LED displaying POST codes while your computer is booting. It will let you diagnose any hangs in the system.
The primary GPU slot allows you to utilise the latch button, which lets you remove graphics conveniently. The M.2 SSD slots also have a latched style which fastens your drives without requiring additional tools.
Every information about a motherboard is essential when building your system. So our GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS MASTER Review is written in a detailed manner to provide the essentials like its specifications.
The motherboard integrates the LGA1700 socket to support the 12th and 13th Generation Intel Core, Celeron, and Pentium Gold processors. Also, the motherboard uses the Intel Z790 express chipset.
For its memory, the Z790 AORUS MASTER has 4x DDR5 DIMM sockets to support up to 128GB. It has a 23-phase voltage regulator (20x 105A, SPS MOSFETs for the Vcore).
Ports and Jacks
For the ports and jacks, the motherboard has a v1.2 DisplayPort and the following USB ports:
Two USB 3.2 Gen2x2 type-C ports (20Gbps)
Seven USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (10Gbps)
Four USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports (5Gbps)
One USB 3.2 Gen 1 type-C port (5Gbps)
It also has four SATA3 6Gbps ports that support RAID 0|1|5|10 and a 10GbE network jack.
Additionally, GIGABYTE included a 3-year warranty with the Z790 AORUS MASTER motherboard.
Hands-on with the GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS MASTER
Like our other reviews, we will share our hands-on experience with the motherboard in our GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS MASTER Review. We used the product for over a week to see if it would perform like other motherboards from GIGABYTE.
The company claimed it performed excellently, but did it? Before we share our experience, let us look into the BIOS.
The BIOS of the GIGABYTE Z790 motherboards does not have a lot of changes from the Z690 BIOS. The only significant difference is its update and added functionality designed for Raptor Lake processors.
When we accessed the BIOS, we immediately noticed the colour scheme that combines black, white, orange, and yellow. The colour contrast is good, which makes the interface easy to view and read.
As usual, the BIOS has two modes: Easy and Advanced. The Easy Mode displays high-level system information. You can also enable XMP memory profiles and switch the boot sequence.
What we always liked about the GIGABYTE BIOS is it lays things out clearly. All the necessary tools for tweaking and overclocking are easy to find, making its interface user-friendly. Plus, it has a one-click MCE mode that stresses the cores and a simple one-click function for a CPU upgrade.
Aside from that, the BIOS also indicates what the Load Line Calibration setting does.
Advanced Mode provides all the options for tweaking the processor and memory. Most of these are on the first page, which makes navigating this section easier.
The BIOS lays out everything in easily accessible areas, so we had no issues using it.
Overall, the Z790 AORUS MASTER performed excellently, which gave us an enjoyable user experience. By maintaining low temperatures of components, the motherboard delivered stable performance throughout our tests.
GIGABYTE Z790 AORUS MASTER Review Summary
The reinvented AORUS MASTER from GIGABYTE offers outstanding features. It has PCIe 5.0 for graphics cards, SSD slots, and over 20 VRM power phases for efficient overclocking performance. It also has many rear I/O ports, including 10 Gigabit networking, which enhances its flexibility and overall function.
Although its new design significantly increased its weight, it offers a fresh look from the previous Z690 board. Also, it allows for more customisation options, making it worth the upgrade. Although expensive, the Z790 AORUS MASTER delivers what you pay for, and we highly recommend this motherboard.
To learn more about the Z790 AORUS MASTER., visit the official product page of GIGABYTE for more details.