The review embargo for both the 12th Gen Intel Core processors and the Z690 chipset motherboards has been lifted as of today and this time, we’ll be revealing some of our early findings with the Z690 AORUS Xtreme, one of the enthusiast-grade Z690 motherboards you can get from the AORUS Z690 motherboard lineup.
In this article, we will be focusing on the design, features, and user experience of the Z690 AORUS Xtreme after using it for roughly almost a week time. Since there are still no signs of PCIe 5.0 devices available in the consumer market yet, DDR5 memory modules are probably the earliest new features we can take a look into for now. Without any further ado, let’s dive in.
|CPU support||Intel LGA1700 socket|
|Back I/O Ports||
|Internal I/O Ports||
|Form factor||ATX Form Factor (305mm x 270mm)|
Box & AccessoriesZ590 AORUS Xtreme and we can clearly see that they’re pushing hard on the PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 support on the Z690 chipset board. Information at the back of the box is still presented in a similar layout except that it’s now with the new features for the Z690 AORUS Xtreme.
The Z690 AORUS Xtreme
The only downside for this design is that it’s actually covering one of the holes for the stand-off screws and you have to remove it in order to secure the screws for that location.
Other than the M.2 slots, you’ll also find a total of four SATA ports at the side of the board in case if you still need SATA drives for your system.
One thing I really like about the AORUS Xtreme motherboards is the 90° angled headers at the side of the motherboard which you can take advantage of for really good cable management if you have a really big PC case for it to fit in. There are of course pros and cons for this kind of design because despite the clean look and easier cable management, losing any of the essential cables included will render some of these headers useless unless you know which pins go to which.
As for the memory, the Z690 AORUS Master comes with XMP 3.0 support and can support four DIMMs DDR5 which totals up to 128GB and is capable of reaching up to DDR5-6600. Even if you’re not into the memory overclocking part, that 128GB memory support will still come in handy, especially for the content creators.
Now for the rear I/O, users who use a lot of USB devices will definitely love this because you’ll get plenty of USB ports thanks to the relocated audio jacks. 10 x USB 3.2 ports, and 2 x USB Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, that’s more than enough for me personally, and I think it should be the same for some users as well. The network connectivity option is great as well, as you get not only two Ethernet ports ( one supports 2.5Gb, and the other one supports 10Gb) but also Wi-Fi 6E.
|CPU||Intel Core i9-12900K|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Xtreme|
|Memory||AORUS Memory DDR5 (DDR5-5200 32GB)|
|Graphics Card||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080|
|Power Supply||Enermax MaxTytan 1250W|
|Primary Storage||PNY XLR8 CS3040|
|Secondary Storage||WD Black 6TB|
|CPU Cooler||AORUS WaterForce 360|
|Chassis||Cooler Master Test Bench V1|
|Operating System||Windows 11 64bit|
CPU Overclocking Overview
For our CPU test, we paired the Z690 AORUS Xtreme with the Intel Core i9-12900K to see how well it can handle the 12th Gen Intel Core processor but we’re again facing limitations on the cooling solution even with the AORUS WaterForce 360. This is pretty much a similar situation as what we’ve experienced with the ROG Ryujin II 360.
Even though both the coolers can easily take the previous gen i9-10900K and i9-11900K, the i9-12900K is seemingly too much for it to handle. 5.1GHz is pretty much what we can achieve as of now because the temperature will quickly spike up to 96°C during benchmark and stress test if we have the main performance cores clocked at 5.2GHz.
If left on stock settings, the i9-12900K can easily boost up to 5.2GHz with maximum load temperature at 89°C while still able to deliver a reasonable performance on synthetic benchmarks like Cinebench R23 and Blender. So unless if you have a very powerful cooling solution for the i9-12900K, it’s best to leave the settings at default for the time being.
Thankfully, despite the not looking good load temperature on overclocked settings, the VRMs on the Z690 AORUS Xtreme remain cool throughout our tests as it barely goes above 48°C.
Memory Overclocking Overview
Memory overclocking-wise, we didn’t manage to get far due to the limited knowledge we have at the moment and DDR5-5333 CL40 is the highest stable setting we can get with the AORUS Memory DDR5 that can survive through the synthetic benchmark and game benchmark. Posting with DDR5-5466 is possible but the system will just end up crashing on the 7zip benchmark even though it can somewhat survive the majority of the benchmark without any issue.
First Impression on the Z690 AORUS Xtreme
Of all the designs from Gigabyte that we’ve seen throughout the years, the AORUS Xtreme motherboards have one of the best-looking designs around and I’d still say the same for the Z690 AORUS Xtreme this time. My only complaint about the Z690 AORUS Xtreme would be the RGB memory shield, which I still believe will not benefit me in any way, as well as some of the deeply hidden options in the BIOS settings.
As the top of the line model in the AORUS enthusiasts motherboard category, the Z690 AORUS Xtreme packs plenty of features that will not only benefit the enthusiasts who are always there to tweak the settings to improve the overall system performance but also other useful features such as the support for higher memory capacity, high-performance PCIe Gen4 SSDs which content creators will appreciate as well. The connectors and headers at the side of the motherboard are also one of the features I like about the Z690 AORUS Xtreme but you’ll have to make sure that your PC case is big enough to be able to support an E-ATX form factor board and has plenty of space behind the motherboard tray for cable routing.
For the new features which the Intel board partners are pushing hard on, notably the PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 support, DDR5 is the only one we’re able to experience for now as PCIe 5.0 devices are still nowhere to be seen. There’s always a risk to bear for the early adopters but if you’re ready to take the leap, the Z690 AORUS Xtreme is definitely one of the worthy options to look into.
- Good aesthetics and solid build quality
- VRM runs cool even after long hours of stress tests
- Customizable multi-function button
- Tons of USB ports
- Supports Thunderbolt 4
- Supports 10GbE, 2.5GbE LAN, and Wi-Fi 6E
- Supports the upcoming PCIe 5.0
- Ready for DDR5 memory modules
- The mirrored surface on the rear I/O cover and RGB memory shield is a true fingerprint magnet
- No M.2 SSD expansion card like the Z590 but instead, replaced with the RGB memory shield which can only be used for aesthetics purpose
- Some of the options are hidden deeply in the BIOS menu
- The repositioned Clear CMOS button can be confusing for existing AORUS motherboard users