The long awaited Intel Z390 chipset motherboards is finally here and like other Intel board partners, Gigabyte announced a total of 10 of its new Intel Z390 chipset motherboards today. We managed to get our hands on one of the new Z390 chipset motherboard from Gigabyte for this unboxing and first look – the Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Master.
New Product Segregation?
Before we move any further, let’s have a quick overview on the latest product naming for Gigabyte:
While the hierarchy does looks rather familiar to some of us, this is how the new segregation is with Gigabyte’s latest product naming. For the basic lineup, we’re looking at the Gigabyte Gaming (possibly targeted for entry level gaming setup) and Ultra Durable series that we’re familiar with.
Going up the hierarchy, we have the middle-end lineup for both gaming focused AORUS Gaming (Ultra, Pro and Elite) and content creators / professionals oriented Designare series. We can pretty mush see and assume that AORUS Gaming will be the mainstream lineup for now, until Gigabyte update its product segregation again in the future.
At the top, we have what known as the AORUS Enthusiasts which consists of the AORUS Master and Xtreme that tailored for enthusiasts who wants more performance out of their system. For this range, you can already expect for better features such as the power phase design, better components being used, more overclocking capabilities over the AORUS Gaming lineup.
|CPU||8th and 9th Gen Intel Core Processors|
|CPU Socket||LGA 1151|
|Chipset||Intel Z390 Chipset|
|Graphics Interface||1*PCIe 3.0 x16|
1*PCIe 3.0 x8
|Memory Type||Dual-Channel DDR4|
|Expansion Slots||1*PCIe 3.0 x4|
3*PCIe 3.0 x1
|SATA / M.2||6*SATA3 / 3*M.2 for SSD|
|SATA RAID||RAID 0, 1, 5, 10|
|LAN||Intel GbE LAN|
|Wireless||Intel CNVi 2×2 802.11ac wireless|
|USB||2*USB 3.1 Gen2 with USB type-C support|
3*USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A support
4*USB 3.1 Gen1
ESS SABRE 9118 DAC
|Form Factor (mm)||ATX (305×244)|
We won’t be focusing too much on the packaging now, since most of us has already gotten used to the AORUS eagle design. Still, the noteworthy feature we can see here is the 12+2 Phases IR Digital VRM, with PowIRstage to provide the sufficient power for pretty much all of your tweaking needs.
At the back of the box, you’ll find a little bit more of what the Z390 AORUS Master looks like, alongside the features and specifications.
Accessories wise, you’ll find yourself a drivers CD, user’s manual, some SATA 3 cables, HB bridge for SLI, wireless antenna, thermal probe, velcro straps, ARGB extension cables, stickers, AORUS case badge, etc.
The Z390 AORUS Master
Appearance wise, the Z390 AORUS Master inherited the black-silver color scheme just like the one on the Z370 AORUS Gaming 7. The noticeable difference here is the less exaggerated design, and you no longer have the customizable acrylic piece located right next to the DIMM slots.
As for the rest, you’ll still find the M.2 Thermal Guard for a cooler running M.2 SSD, as well as the added strength to the PCIe and memory slots with a dedicated armor (metal shield) of its own.
A metal backplate is included at the back of the Z390 AORUS Master, which is meant to provide some extra rigidity to the motherboard to strengthen the overall structure. While the cutout does seems to be larger, but you’ll still have to keep an eye on CPU coolers or waterblock that comes with an unusually large retention bracket.
Like most higher-end motherboards, you have two 8-pin 12V connector to feed the CPU with the sufficient power required for your overclocking needs – especially when you have a 12+2 power phase design.
For this design, Gigabyte is using IR35201 PWM controller for its 6+2 power phase, which the 6 phases for V core is then doubled using IR3599 phase doubler to make up for what they’ve claimed to be true 12 phase. With an IR3553 PowIRstage with 40A rating, it should theoretically, be able to handle an Intel i9-9900K at 5.0GHz or more.
The VRM heatsink does looks rather promising, as it’s not just a chunk of metal without any extra fins to efficiently dissipate heat – it’s a combination of a proper heatsink that is attached to an array of Aluminum fins with copper heatpipe on each of the block.
For the memory, the Z390 AORUS Master is capable of supporting DDR4 memory with XMP profile that goes up to 4133MHz or more, which was only mentioned back then on a very high-end Z370 chipset motherboard.
Since it’ll be able to support memory with XMP of 4133MHz or above, we can also assume that the Z390 AORUS Master can do much better in memory overclocking the previous Z370 AROUS motherboards.
At the bottom section of the Z390 AORUS Master, you’ll find useful features such as the debug LED for troubleshooting purposes, dip switches to access to the backup BIOS in case things gone wrong, reset switch, RGB header for digital RGB LED and addressable RGB LED. The power button and clear CMOS button however, has been relocated to the read I/O area which we find it rather inconvenient.
Those aside, you’ll also find the 3 x M.2 slots which can be configured for RAID setup to reach a whopping 3551 MB/s sequential read speed, as well as 3 X PCIe 3.0 slots (top to bottom: x16, x8 and x4) for NVDIA SLI or AMD Crossfire multiple GPU setup.
As for the onboard audio, you’ll find the Realtek ALC1220-B and ESS SABRE 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 a decent audio quality – pretty much suffice for most of your basic needs.
Well, that’s pretty much it for the unboxing and first preview of the Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Master here. As the test is still in progress, we’ll be back with the full review with the benchmarks and overclocking results once it’s ready – Stay tuned for more.