Following the release of the 12th Gen Intel Core Unlocked CPUs, GIGABYTE is also catching up to the hype train by officially revealing its various offerings of Z690 motherboards.
Thanks to the shift of architectural design, the Intel Alder Lake CPUs requires a brand new socket and power delivery mechanism to fully harness the P-Core/E-Core found within the new processors so AORUS has fitted these boards with up to 20+1+2 phases of VRM design with each phase holding up to 105A and 70A for the Vcc AUX through 2 sets of DrMOS for stabilized and clean power input supported by the Tantalum Polymer capacitors improving the transient response of VRM between high and low loads. But high power draw means high heat generation so to dissipate them quickly, the new generation Fins-Array III carries thermal fins with 9 times larger surface area than a standard heatsink while the Direct-Touch Heatpipe II design increases contact area and shortens the distance between the heat pipe and heatsink with selected models carrying a new LAIRD 9W/mK thermal pads for the VRM/one-piece metal plate for the MOS/nano-carbon coated metal backplate to provide the best thermal removal experience.
While the 12th Gen Intel Core family officially supports PCIe 5.0, there are no consumer products utilizing the protocol yet so AORUS sticks to the increasingly popular PCIe 4.0 and sticks 4 M.2 slots to every Z690 board that provides up to 20GBps of transfer rate when used in RAID mode. For connectivity, Ethernet ports start from 2.5Gb up to 10Gb on flagship models while complimented by Intel WiFi 6E chipset for a complete package of wired and wireless connections and on the other hand, the Z690 offerings carry multiple USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, USB 3.2 Gen 2, Thunderbolt 4, and USB 4 inputs to support the latest external gadgets that are blazing fast and modern. You’ll also find a plethora of useful features such as QFLASH+, dedicated Clear CMOS button, digital LED lightings, graphical BIOS settings, and more. Audiophiles will be delighted to know that the top Z690 AORUS models will feature WIMA FKP2 audio capacitors and ESS SABRE DAC with DTS: X Ultra and the flagship Z690 AORUS EXTREME is equipped with the ESSential HEX USB DAC that uses the SABRE HiFi ES9280A audio codec with ESS ES9080A to provide impeccable sound quality, baked right into the motherboard.
Excited and want to know more? We did a quick unboxing and here’s our first impression of the top-of-the-line AORUS Z690 EXTREME.
Aside from the AORUS models, GIGABYTE also launched 3 Z690 AERO series boards targeted towards creators that are mostly geared towards similar performance baselines and feature sets but with fewer aesthetic flairs. For Example, the VisionLINK found in the Z690 AERO G and AERO G DDR4 allows USB-C-based connectors to deliver up to 60W to power pen displays to external GPUs and more while the Z690 AERO D’s VisionLINK TB includes additional Thunderbolt 4 support.
To go with the motherboard, GIGABYTE also releases the new AORUS DDR5 RAM kit rated at speeds of DDR5-5200 with latency timings of 40-40-40-80 when using the XMP 3.0 profile. To counter back the heat generated from the intense frequency, copper-aluminum composite material with carbon nano-coating is used to build the heat spreader. Aside from the standard specifications of having a dedicated Power Management Integrated Circuit (PMIC) to individualize the voltage of each RAM stick and basic ECC to prevent bit flipping and causing data error, the AORUS DDR5 RAM is a must-have for fellow eagle fans and customers. For the initial launch, only a 2x16GB kit is available for purchase.