Gigabyte are well known for making high-quality PC products including of course, motherboards. So it’s no surprise that they were one of the first manufacturers, to produce and release motherboards for Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake processors. We’ve reviewed quite a few Z690 motherboards over the past few months, and it would be interesting to see what Gigabyte has to offer.
So today, we’ll be taking a look at the Gigabyte Z690 AORUS ULTRA Motherboard. It utilizes the Z690 chipset and it’s suitable for all of Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake processors on the LGA1700 socket. It features a PCIE 5.0 x16 slot with SMD technology (surface mount diode), and supports DDR5 ram with speed of up to DDR5-6200 (OC). Please take note: The DDR5 memory slot is NOT compatible with DDR4 ram.
It features a 16+1+2 Digital VRM Design and comes with an excellent Thermal Design featuring a Full Cover heat shield with Fins-Array II, for both the mosfets and M.2 connectors. For connectivity, it comes with the Intel 2.5GbE LAN, WIFI 6 support, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 TYPE-C, 4 x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 6 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 and total of 8 x USB 2.0. Other features include a 120dB ALC4080 Hi-Res Audio with WIMA caps, Gigabyte’s RGB FUSION 2.0, Q-Flash Plus, Smart fan 6, as well as a 6-layer PCB.
There’s also plenty of storage options including 6 x SATA3 ports and 4 x M.2 PCIE Gen4 slots for your SSDs, which is covered by their impressive-looking, full cover heat shield. An interesting feature is the M.2 Raid function. If you install all 3 x PCIE Gen4 SSDs together, each with 7000 MB/s, it will give you unparalleled sequential Read/Write performance of up to 21053 and 15499 MB/s respectively. Nice!
Intel Z690 Chipset
The Z690 chipset has full CPU overclocking capabilities, including P & E Core and BCLK overclocking. It also comes with 8 x DMI 4.0 lanes, up to 12 x PCIe 4.0 lanes and 16 x PCIe 3.0 lanes.
It can support DDR5 ram up to 4,800 MT/s (or DDR4 ram up to 3,200 MT/s), as well as 1 x 16 PCIE 5.0 or 2 x 8 PCIE 5.0. You also get the Intel gigabit ethernet and WiFi 6e, which comes as standard, and support for Octane memory.
Continuing with the review …
The motherboard is feature-rich and comes in a matte black finish. The weight of the board is heavier than most I’ve come across, and this is because of the Full Cover heat shield with Fins-Array II covering the I/O hood, the Mosfets and VRMs, as well as the M.2 connectors for the SSDs. Near the top of the board, you’ll find the power button, dianostic LEDs, and a bunch of fan and RGB headers. Towards the bottom, you’ll notice there’s a clear CMOS button, QFlash button and a ton of headers for extra fans, RGB, USB and audio.
ASRock Inc. is established in 2002, specialized in the field of motherboards. ASRock strives to build up its own brand. With the 3C design concept, “Creativity, Consideration, Cost-effectiveness”, the company explores the limit of motherboards manufacturing while paying attention on the eco issue at the same time, developing products with the consideration of eco-friendly concept.
ASRock has been growing fast and become world third largest motherboard brand with headquarter in Taipei, Taiwan and branches in Europe and the USA. The young and vibrant company targets from mainstream to enthusiast MB segments for different kinds of users, owning reputation around the world market with its reliability and proficiency.
We’ll be testing the Gigabyte Z690 AORUS ULTRA with an Intel Core i9-12900KF (12th Gen Alder Lake) processor, along with 32GB of Thermaltake RC DDR5-4800 (overclocked to DDR5-5600), Adata Legend 840 PCIE Gen4 SSD, and a Radeon RX 6500 XT graphics card. I’m expecting more than decent performance from the above setup, and it should easily match my current setup (ASRock Z690 Tiachi + same components as above).
Unfortunately, I was not able to test the motherboard using a GeForce RXT 30-series due to chip shortage/scalpers/overpricing, so the bottleneck would come from the graphics card itself. Yes, I’m stuck with a Radeon RX 6500 XT … *sigh*
OK, let’s get busy and start by taking a look at the specifications and features in our next page. You can buy the Gigabyte Z690 AORUS ULTRA motherboard for around USD $349.99 from Amazon – https://amzn.to/3uMpMMH
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