We talked about the power design of the Z490 AORUS Master in our previous unboxing and special thanks to Gigabyte Malaysia for the Intel Core i7-10700K, we can finally put the motherboard to test. As PCIe 4.0 will only be available on the next Rocket Lake-S, the features which can be tested on the Z490 AORUS Master are pretty similar to what we’ve tested on the Z390 chipset boards.

Despite the absence of PCIe 4.0 support, the Daisy Chain memory layout on the Z490 AORUS Master is still something that is worth taking note of, especially if you like to tweak with your memory settings. Such design gives users a better advantage in memory overclocking, notably on 2x8GB memory kits as compared to the T-topology layout on the  Z390 AORUS Master.

Specifications

CPU support Intel LGA1200 (10th Gen Intel Core i9, Core i7, Core i5, Core i3, Pentium, Celeron)
Chipset Intel Z490
Memory
  • Intel Core i9 / i7 processors: Up to DDR4-5000 (O.C)
  • Intel Core i5/ i3/ Pentium/ Celeron processors: DDR4-2666 memory modules
  • Dual-Channel memory architecture
  • Support for ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8 /2Rx8 memory modules (operate in non-ECC mode)
  • Support non-ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/ 2Rx8/ 1Rx16 memory modules
  • Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) modules
Expansion slots
  • 1 x PCIe 4.0 X16 slot (operate in PCIe 3.0 X16 with Intel 10th Gen processors)
  • 1 x PCIe 3.0 X16 slot (Running at PCIe X8)
  • 1 x PCIe 3.0 X4 slot (Running at PCIe X4)
Storage
  • 1 x M.2 Connector (PCIe X4/ x2 SSD support) (M2P_SB)
  • 1 X M.2 Connector (PCIe X4/x2 SSD support) (M2A_CPU)
  • 1 X M.2 Connector (PCIe X4/x2 SSD support) (M2M_SB)
  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports
Network
  • Realtek 2.5GbE
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
Back I/O Ports
  • 1 x Q-Flash Plus button
  • 1 x Clear CMOS button
  • 2 x SMA antenna connectors (2T2R)
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • 1 x USB Type-C port, with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support
  • 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports (red)
  • 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports
  • 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 1 x RJ-45 port
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 5 x audio jacks
Audio
  • Realtek ALC1220-VB codec
  • High Definition Audio
  • 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  • Support for S/PDIF Out
Internal I/O Ports
  • 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  • 2 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connectors
  • 1 x CPU fan header
  • 1 x water cooling CPU fan header
  • 4 x system fan headers
  • 2 x system fan/water cooling pump headers
  • 2 x addressable LED strip headers
  • 2 x RGB LED strip headers
  • 3 x M.2 Socket 3 connectors
  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • 1 x front panel header
  • 1 x front panel audio header
  • 1 x USB Type-C™ header, with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support
  • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 header
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  • 1 x noise detection header
  • 2 x Thunderbolt™ add-in card connectors
  • 1 x Trusted Platform Module header (For the GC-TPM2.0 SPI/GC-TPM2.0 SPI 2.0 module only)
  • 1 x power button
  • 1 x reset button
  • 2 x temperature sensor headers
  • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
  • 2 x BIOS switches
H/W Monitoring
  • Voltage detection
  • Temperature detection
  • Fan speed detection
  • Water cooling flow rate detection
  • Overheating warning
  • Fan fail warningFan speed control
    * Whether the fan (pump) speed control function is supported will depend on the fan (pump) you install.
  • Noise detection
Form factor ATX Form Factor (305mm x 244mm)

GIGABYTE Z490 AORUS MASTER 2

Test System

CPU Intel Core i7-10700K
Motherboard Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Master
Memory G.SKILL Trident Z RGB DDR4-4266 CL19
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super Founders Edition
Power Supply Cooler Master V1200 Platinum
Primary Storage Phidisk WrathKeeper 960GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Secondary Storage WD Black 6TB
CPU Cooler Thermaltake Floe Riing 360
Chassis Cooler Master Test Bench V1
Operating System Windows 10 64bit

BIOS – Version F3

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The BIOS for the Z490 AORUS Master was on version F3 when we first received the board, but we’re having a serious memory compatibility issues with this version, which is almost impossible for the system to POST with timings which we normally use for our benchmark i.e DDR4-3200 CL14-14-14-34 1T, DDR4-3600 CL14-15-15-34 1T, etc – not even XMP works for us. If your Z490 AORUS Master is still on version F3, it’s recommended to update to the latest version.

BIOS – Version F6a

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With the BIOS version updated to F6a (the latest version we can find of the Z490 AORUS Master official support page), the memory compatibility issue is immediately solved and we’re able to proceed with our usual memory timings, and XMP now works flawlessly. The user interface is still the same of course, but the improved stability and memory compatibility is what we’re looking for when it comes to overclocking.

CPU Benchmark

V-RAY Benchmark 4.10.07

Z490 AORUS Master Intel Core i7 10700K Benchmark 1

Blender 2.82 BMW 2.7 CPU Benchmark

Z490 AORUS Master Intel Core i7 10700K Benchmark 2

CPU Benchmark – Corona 1.3 Benchmark

Z490 AORUS Master Intel Core i7 10700K Benchmark 3

7zip Benchmark Decompression

Z490 AORUS Master Intel Core i7 10700K Benchmark 4

7zip Benchmark Compression

Z490 AORUS Master Intel Core i7 10700K Benchmark 5

Cinebench R20 – Single-Core

Z490 AORUS Master Intel Core i7 10700K Benchmark 6

Cinebench R20 – Multicore

Z490 AORUS Master Intel Core i7 10700K Benchmark 7

 

Cinebench R15 – Single-Core

Z490 AORUS Master Intel Core i7 10700K Benchmark 8

Cinebench R15 – Multicore

Z490 AORUS Master Intel Core i7 10700K Benchmark 9

HWBot X265 Benchmark 4K

Z490 AORUS Master Intel Core i7 10700K Benchmark 10

HWBot X265 Benchmark 1080p

Z490 AORUS Master Intel Core i7 10700K Benchmark 11

SuperPi 32M

Z490 AORUS Master Intel Core i7 10700K Benchmark 12

Wprime 1024M

Z490 AORUS Master Intel Core i7 10700K Benchmark 13

Overclocking

CPU overclocking is pretty decent on the Z490 AORUS Master but the Intel Core i7-10700K we have here requires a rather high Vcore to maintain all cores at 5.1GHz, so we ended up with 5.0GHz and 1.32V on the Vcore. We’re able to clear a 1-hour stress test on Realbench using the mentioned configuration, with a peak load temperature of 86°C throughout the stress test.

Despite the somewhat limited overclocking on the Intel Core i7-10700K this time, the memory overcl0cking better than what we’ve initially expected. Although we didn’t manage to hit DDR4-5000 on this one, we’re still able to achieve DDR4-4933 CL19-26-26-46 2T using the G.SKILL Trident Z RGB.

Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Master DDR4 4933 CL19

Final Thoughts

The Z490 AORUS Master does pack plenty of features that are nice to have, especially the 14-phase power design, PCIe 4.0 support for future LGA1200 Rocket Lake-S CPU, high-speed network solution Intel 2.5GbE LAN and Wi-Fi 6 AX201, as well as plenty of USB ports. Even if you’re not into overclocking and decided to go with a non-K i9-10900 or i7-10700, you can still make good use of these features available on the Z490 AORUS Master for gaming or creative works – except for PCIe 4.0, which will only be available on the upcoming Rocket Lake-S.

For those of you who enjoy overclocking for fun or wanted to get more performance out of your system, the Z490 AORUS Master has plenty to offer. To get the most out of the Z490 AORUS Master, we do recommend to go with an Intel Core i7-10700K or i9-10900K if your budget permits, and of course, a good cooling solution if you plan to go above 5.0GHz on the CPU clock to avoid thermal throttling. The Z490 AORUS Master also received a huge boost in memory overclocking over its predecessor, as going beyond DDR4-4000 is significantly easier on a 2x8GB memory kit.

At the price of RM1819, the Z490 AORUS Master is rather pricey and again, doesn’t stand out as much as compared to its predecessor, the Z390 AORUS Master which was launched at RM1299. As the features are pretty similar in overall and the lack of PCIe 4.0 support with the current Intel 10th Gen processors, unless you’re totally committed to getting yourself at least an Intel 10th Gen i9 or i7 processor, we find it hard to recommend the Z490 AORUS Master at the moment.

Pros
  • Solid build quality
  • High-speed Ethernet Port (Realtek 2.5GbE) and Wi-Fi 6 (Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201)
  • Solid VRM heatsink design with Aluminum fins for better cooling
  • Good overclocking capabilities
  • Pre-installed rear I/O shield
  • Plenty of USB ports on the rear I/O
Cons
  • Price is rather high for the features it offers
  • Bottom M.2 slots require the removal of the entire heatsink plate

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