Price announcement for X570 motherboards is everywhere just right after the official price for the new 3rd gen AMD Ryzen CPUs are made public. Among all the newly announced X570 motherboards, the enthusiast-grade X570 lineup from Gigabyte is probably the one that really caught our attention. That beefy 12+2 and 14+2 phase VRM is really something.

ASUS STRIX SCAR III

The X570 AORUS Master which we will be reviewing today is a stepped-down model from the flagship X570 AORUS Xtreme. It has a slightly lesser phase count at 12+2 but still packs a lot of new features for the 3rd gen Ryzen CPUs. With that said, let’s see what kind of performance can we expect from this board – especially on the overclocking part.

Specifications

CPU
  • 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen
  • 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen
  • 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen with Radeon Vega
  • AMD Ryzen with Radeon Vega
CPU Socket AMD Socket AM4
Chipset AMD X570
Graphics Interface
  • PCIe 4.0/3.0 x16
  • PCIe 4.0/3.0 x 8
Display Interface HDMI
Memory Type Dual-Channel DDR4
Memory DIMMs
  • 4 x DIMMs, up to 128GB
  • 3rd gen AMD Ryzen: up to DDR4-4400
  • 2nd gen AMD Ryzen: up to DDR4-3600
  • AMD Ryzen: up to DDR4-3600
Expansion Slots
  • 1 x PCIe 4.0/3.0 x4
  • 3x PCIe 4.0/3.0 x1
SATA / M.2
  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s
  • 3x M.2 for SSD (SATA, PCIe 4.0/3.0)
SATA RAID RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
LAN
  • Intel GbE LAN (10/100/1000 Mbit)
  • Realtek 2.5GbE LAN (10/100/1000/2500 Mbit)
Wireless Intel CNVi 2×2 802.11ac wireless
USB
  • 2x USB 3.2 Gen2 with USB type-C support
  • 3 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A support
  • 4 x USB 3.2 Gen1
  • 8 x USB 2.0/1.1
Audio
  • ALC 1220-VB
  • ESS SABRE 9118 DAC
Form Factor (mm) ATX (305 x 244 mm)

* Full specifications can be found at the main product page.

Packaging

Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master Motherboard Performance Review 1

For this release, Gigabyte somewhat oversimplified the information presented at the front of the box. The only message we can get from here is that the motherboard features a ‘direct 14 digital power’ and the support for the latest 3rd gen AMD Ryzen CPUs, PCIe 4.0, Wi-Fi 6.

Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master (2)

More information on the specifications and features of the motherboard can be found at the back of the box. Here you can get some idea of what kind of features you’ll get from this motherboard – the 12+2 phase VRM, the cooling design, PCIe 4.0 support, ESS Sabre 9118 DAC, 2.5GbE LAN, Wi-Fi 6, etc.

The true 12 phase VRM design is probably the main highlight that will get the enthusiasts excited because that’s something which we don’t usually get from Gigabyte. Together with the top of the line X570 AORUS Xtreme with true 14 phase VRM, Gigabyte is currently the only brand to offer such a formidable setup for its enthusiast-grade motherboard.

Included Accessories

Inside the accessories compartment, you’ll find the usual AORUS case badge, user’s guide, label stickers, and velcro straps. More accessories can be found under the second compartment, that includes the Wi-Fi antenna, SATA cables, motherboard speakers, thermal probe sensors.

You can find our quick unboxing video here as well:

The Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master

Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master (5)

The X570 AORUS Master does resemble the Z390 AORUS Master a little in terms of the design, but we can see more effort is put into the proper design instead of going with more RGB nonsense.

Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master (10)

Instead of the commonly seen Aluminum block heatsink, Gigabyte equipped the X570 AORUS Master with a better heatsink consist of Copper pipe and Aluminum fins for enhanced heat dissipation.

Under the heatsink, you’ll find the 12+2 phase VRM of the motherboard, 12 phase VRM for the CPU Vcore and another 2 phase for the SoC. Unlike the Z390 AORUS Master, the X570 AORUS Master doesn’t come with any doubler in its VRM design. Instead, an Infineon XDPE132G5C 16-phase digital PWM multiphase controller and an array of 50A IR3556 PowIRstage is used in this design to achieve the advertised true 12+2 phase VRM on this motherboard.

Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master (9)

Like most of the enthusiast-grade motherboards you find on the market, the X570 AORUS Master also comes with a 2 x 8-pin sockets for supplemental power if you’ve decided to overclock the CPU to get more performance out of it. The sockets appear to be shielded as well, mainly for enhanced durability.

Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master (13)

For the memory, the X570 AORUS Master can support 4 DIMMs (128GB Max) and up to DDR4-4400 via XMP or manual overclocking. The DIMM slots also come with the same stainless steel shielding design which helps to prevent against PCB distortion and plate bending.

Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master (14)

If you take a closer look at the board, you will notice that the fan headers and RGB headers are mostly located at the edge of the motherboard. While it’s not something that is exclusive only on Gigabyte’s motherboards, such placement for these headers can help to make cable management easier for the end users.

Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master (15)

In case if you’re not familiar with Gigabyte’s Dual BIOS, the label of each corresponding dip switches at the edge of the motherboard. The dual BIOS function can be disabled using the first switch if you don’t really need the function, but it will always come in handy in case of BIOS corrupt.

Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master (21)

Since the new 3rd gen AMD Ryzen CPUs now supports PCIe 4.0, you’ll be getting a lot more flexibility on the PCIe interface, especially on the higher-end motherboards. PCIe 4.0 is the highlight of the current gen release, but you don’t have to worry about to compatibility issue as it’s backward compatible with the existing PCIe 3.0 devices.

Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master (27)

On the X570 AORUS Master, you’ll get three M.2 slots that come with a heatsink for each, and three PCIe slots with stainless steel ‘armor’ and extra anchor points as extra reinforcement to support heavy graphics cards.

Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master (23)

If you still need SATA drives for storage, the X570 AORUS Master does have a total of six SATA 6GB/s ports for that.

Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master (22)

The X570 chipset is known run hot and most of the boards we’ve seen to date are given an additional fan to cool it better. Some manufacturers opted for a large heatsink for passive cooling on its high-end tier motherboards (X570 AORUS Xtreme for one), but the X570 AORUS Master here is equipped with a standard heatsink and fan as the cooling solution for its chipset.

As for the onboard audio, you’ll find the Realtek ALC 1220-VB and ESS SABRE 9118 DAC that adopts the concept of a high-end audiophile sound system design into a micro-system within the motherboard that is capable enough to deliver decent audio quality for most basic needs. You can’t really compare it against an expensive dedicated sound card, but it’s definitely going to be way much better than most of the onboard audio solution you’ll find on the market.

Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master (6)

A metal backplate is included at the back of the X570 AORUS Master, which is meant to provide some extra rigidity to the motherboard to strengthen the overall structure. This is the exact same backplate you’ll find on the Z390 AORUS Master, and you might find some compatibility issue with custom CPU coolers or CPU water block that has an unusually large backplate. So do keep an eye on that cutout size, just in case if you’re planning to go for some extra cooling solutions.

Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master (28)

Moving on to the rear I/O, you’ll find some pretty interesting options here on the X570 AORUS Master:

  • Q-Flash Plus is definitely something the enthusiasts will appreciate, as it will make BIOS flash a lot easier with just a single press on the designated button and USB port for a USB drive with the latest BIOS.
  • Two Ethernet ports: one Intel GbE LAN and one Realtek 2.5GbE LAN.
  • Up to 10 x USB ports, including 4 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (1 x Type-C and 3 x type-A).

New BIOS User Interface

If you’ve been following our reviews on Gigabyte motherboards for quite some time, you will always see us complaining about the bad BIOS user interface. This time, Gigabyte decided to ditch its old design and redo it from scratch.

The new interface is much more convenient now, where most of the options related to overclocking are now gathered on the same menu page. As we mentioned the word ‘most’ just now, there are actually 2 more options (AMD CBS and AMD Overclocking) in the Settings page which we think should be moved to the Tweaker page as well.

Test System Configuration

CPU AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
Motherboard X570 AORUS MASTER
Memory G.Skill Trident Z Royal 16GB
Graphics Card GeForce RTX 2070
Power Supply Cooler Master V1200 Platinum
Primary Storage CORSAIR Force MP600 Gen4 PCIe x4 NVMe M.2 SSD
Secondary Storage Gigabyte AORUS RGB AIC NVMe SSD 1TB
CPU Cooler AMD Wraith Prism RGB
Chassis Streacom BC1 Open Benchtable
Operating System Windows 10 64bit

PCIe 3.0 vs. PCIe 4.0 – Storage Speed Test

One of the biggest highlights of the 3rd gen Ryzen CPU is the support for PCIe 4.0 interface. Although it opens the path to higher storage speed with greater bandwidth, our test result shows that it doesn’t really benefit much the existing PCIe 3.0 devices as of now. This is mainly because the controller of the existing devices isn’t designed to handle anything beyond what it’s designed for – which is PCIe 3.0.

 

We’ve done a quick test with Crystal Disk Mark using the AORUS RGB AIC NVMe SSD and the same limitations for files beyond 30GB which greatly reduces the write speed of the SSD.

Whereas for the Corsair Force MP600 PCIe 4.0 SSD, we don’t really have this issue. We have yet to see how will this actually benefit users nowadays as most of us aren’t even using the full potential of the current PCIe 3.0 SSDs.

PCIe 3.0 vs. PCIe 4.0 – Gaming Performance

Moving on to the game performance, we did a quick test with two of the current graphically demanding AAA titles using an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 to see if there’s any difference between PCIe 3.0 and PCIe 4.0 in terms of performance. Truth to be told, the current

X570 AORUS Master RTX 2070 Game Benchmark Metro Exodus (1) X570 AORUS Master RTX 2070 Game Benchmark Shadow of the Tomb Raider (1)

Based on the result we’ve gathered, we can see that the existing graphics card with PCIe 3.0 interface isn’t taking any advantage on the PCIe 4.0 interface at all. And if you take a closer look at the overall performance, the RTX 2070 actually performs slightly better on the Intel platform.

Overclocking

CPU Overclocking

Although the performance is already looking pretty good on its own, overclocking it will sure to give you more performance you can imagine – only if you have an adequate cooling system to tame this 12-core powerhouse. It’s basically the same issue we face when we’re overclocking the Ryzen 7 2700X back then, which limits us at 4.3GHz.

Ryzen 9 3900X CPUZ (1)

 

With the Wraith Prism RGB Cooler that comes together with the CPU, the best settings we can achieve is 4.2GHz with 1.28V. 4.3GHz is still possible, but it will quickly throttle down back to 4.2GHz the moment you hit it with a really heavy task. Just so you know, the performance throttle will kick in at the moment the CPU temperature hits 92°C.

The VRM is doing just fine on its own and the highest recorded temperature during all the stress test is only at around 56-60°C. Unless you’re going with extreme overclocking on this board, it is very unlikely for the VRM to have any thermal issues under normal usage or minor overclocking.

Memory Overclocking

We’ve seen that AMD has finally stepped up its game in memory overclocking and the highest record we’ve seen so far is the DDR4-5100 CL18-21-21-56 done on an MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE motherboard. Despite this achievement, AMD recommends DDR4-3733 as the performance sweet spot for the best performance with its 3rd gen Ryzen CPUs.

AMD Ryzen R9 3900X Infinity Fabric

Unlike the 1:1 ratio mode, going beyond 3733MHz would actually cause the Infinity Fabric to enter a 2:1 ratio mode which splits the IF clock in half. Though, one thing for sure is that DDR4-4000 is a piece of cake now with the new Ryzen CPU and X570 motherboards.

Ryzen 9 3900X DDR4-4133 CL20 POST (1)

We’re able to reach a DDR4-4133 CL20-20-20-42 on the X570 AORUS MASTER with a G.Skill Trident Z Royal DDR4-3600 kit, but the latency is a bit too much for the system to perform efficiently for a benchmark.

Ryzen 9 3900X DDR4-4000 CL16 pass 1000 (1)

DDR4-4000 CL16-18-18-36 is probably the best we can do for now under such a tight schedule.

Conclusion

Aesthetically the Gigabyte X570 AORUS Master might not be that appealing to those who sought for all the blinding RGB lightings, but the build quality and features it offers is what matters more to enthusiasts who really need it. It’s good to see that Gigabyte is putting more effort to make their motherboard better in terms of features instead of more RGB nonsense, and the 12+2 phase VRM design is something that we really appreciate. PCIe 4.0 and Wi-Fi 6 is fairly new and has yet to go mainstream, but it’s a good addition to have if your daily routine or work is revolving around high-speed storage and connectivity.

Performance wise, it’s definitely a huge improvement for AMD, especially on the memory compatibility, but it’s not quite there yet to overpower the current Intel lineup entirely. Going beyond DDR4-4000 is much easier as compared to the previous generation design, but going beyond that is pretty much unnecessary now as AMD recommends DDR4-3733 for the best performance.

The Precision Boost Overdrive and AutoOC is a pretty decent feature to have, but it still needs a lot of refinement as it’s basically feeding the CPU with excessive power and generating more heat. Well, that’s what we’ve observed during our test with the Ryzen 9 3900X of course. Manual overclocking is necessary for our case, but you can definitely push for more performance on this board if you have an adequate cooling solution to tame the beast.

As the second-best X570 motherboard in Gigabyte AORUS enthusiast lineup, the X570 AORUS Master didn’t disappoint us with both design and performance. The MSRP of RM 1589 might not be that appealing to budget builders, but the features and build quality reasonable enough to justify for the high price. If you’re looking forward to building yourself a new system with the new 3rd gen AMD Ryzen CPU, we would really recommend considering the X570 AORUS Master.

Pros

  • Less RGB nonsense
  • Solid build quality
  • Good performance
  • Good VRM heatsink design
  • True 12+2 Phase VRM
  • Built-in rear I/O shield
  • Support the latest PCIe 4.0 and Wi-Fi 6
  • High-speed Ethernet port ( 1 x Intel GbE LAN, 1 x Realtek 2.5 GbE LAN)

Cons

  • Costly
  • Existing PCIe 3.0 devices don’t benefit from PCIe 4.0
  • Metal backplate might have a compatibility issue with some 3rd party CPU cooler

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