GIGABYTE Z390 Aorus Master

Just like we noted in our AMD B450 launch motherboards overview, GIGABYTE has gone through a transitional period of late when it comes to branding. To make their naming scheme a little easier to decipher, the move isn't just for the benefit of users looking to distinguish between different types of motherboard, but it also allows GIGABYTE to tie in different components such as graphics cards and align them together from a marketing perspective. The new naming scheme essentially narrates the class of motherboard so for example, the AORUS Gaming 9 which was GIGABYTE's Z270 flagship is now known as the AORUS Xtreme. Other examples of GIGABYTE moving away from a numbering naming scheme include the AORUS Z390 Master which replaces the AORUS Z370 Gaming 7 and the Z390 Aorus Elite which is the successor of the Aorus Z370 Gaming 3. For the Z390 chipset launch GIGABYTE has announced a total of 11 new motherboards.

GIGABYTE Z390 Aorus Master

Starting off with one of the most unique offerings from GIGABYTE is the Z390 Aorus Master which is the only board from GIGABYTE's line up to feature a backplate. On top of this, the Z390 Aorus Master features triple PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots which are all complemented with a set of M.2 heatsinks. The board is also equipped with a total of six SATA ports which has support for RAID 0,1,5 and 10 arrays. The GIGABYTE Z390 Aorus Master has support for up to DDR4-4133 with a maximum capacity of up to 64 GB across the four available RAM slots.

The GIGABYTE Z390 Aorus Master is a full-sized ATX motherboard and is advertised to have one of the most comprehensive power deliveries of their Z390 line-up with a 14-phase setup; probably in a 12+2 configuration. PCIe wise the board has a trio of PCIe 3.0 full-length slots with the top slot operating at x16, the second slot x8 and the third slot at x4; all three full-length slots feature metal slot reinforcement. The board does have support for two and three-way CrossFire and SLI multi-graphics configurations. In addition to this is three PCIe 3.0 x1 slots which sit above each full-length slot. Along the bottom side of the motherboard is an LED debug and the Master benefits from dual BIOS with the selector switches located along the bottom full-length PCIe slot.

Design wise the Z390 Aorus Master looks rather familiar and resembles the Z370 Gaming 7 which this model seemingly replaces and slots in between the new Z390 Aorus Xtreme and the Z390 Aorus Ultra models which puts the Master as one of GIGABYTE's top models. The Master has a full rear IO cover which extends across the VCore power delivery heat sink and also benefits from a pre-installed rear IO shield. Style wise the board offers multi-zone integrated RGB LEDs into the rear panel cover, the chipset heatsink and across the cover which sits across over audio PCB section.

The rear panel consists of three USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A ports, a single USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port and four USB 2.0 ports; the board does have two USB 3.0 Type-A ports too which give support for GIGABYTE's DAC-UP audio technology. The five 3.5mm audio jacks and the S/PDIF optical output are controlled by a Realtek ALC1220-VB HD audio codec which includes an ESS Sabre 9118 DAC and the single LAN port takes its direction from an Intel I219V Gigabit controller. A single HDMI video output is present along with a Clear CMOS and rear panel power switch which sits next to two antennae tugs which support 2T2R Wave 2 compatible 802.11 Wi-Fi connections.

It's clear that the Z390 Aorus Master is targeted towards the enthusiast looking to make use of one of higher end 9th generation Intel processors such as the new eight-core processors which include the Core i9-9700K and Core i9-9900K which are due to launch a couple of weeks after the initial Z390 motherboard launch. The board has some overclocking credence to it with its advertised 14-phase power delivery and users looking to utilize the integrated Wave 2 capable 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5 connectivity, the Z390 Aorus Master is one for the shortlist. GIGABYTE has set an MSRP of $290 at launch which makes the Z390 Aorus Master the most expensive option in its current Z390 stack.

ASUS WS Z390 Pro GIGABYTE Z390 Aorus Elite
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  • gavbon - Thursday, October 11, 2018 - link

    I currently have the Supermicro C9Z390-PGW awaiting to go on the test bench next week, so from a consumers standpoint, I could potentially shed light on that board. As far as the Chinese/Supermicro/Spy scandal goes, I don't want to speculate without the finer details. Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - link

    Ian & Gavin, thanks for the overview.
    @ both - Question: I've read that Intel, to deal with its bad planning/capacity problems on 14 nm, has contracted the fabbing of some of its chipsets out to TSMC, specifically in TSMC's 22 nm tech. Is that correct, and did you have a chance to confirm that the new 390s used by these boards are indeed made by Intel on their 14 nm FinFET tech, or are they made by a contractor (TSMC)?
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - link

    AFAIK the chipsets being reverted to 22nm are using Intel's 22nm process in old unupgraded fabs. Doing so would be far less work than porting to a process from a different company; the latter would require massive rework to follow a completely different set of design rules. Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Thursday, October 11, 2018 - link

    Yes, you are correct, at least for H310c chipsets, maybe more (all?). I looked at the digitimes report on Intel outsourcing to TSMC, and that, if correct, would be about chipsets fabbed in 14nm. I wonder if Anadtech could check the 390s from the newest MoBos and sleuth out if they are also a case of "back to the future - 22 is the new 14 at Intel". Reply
  • peterfares - Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - link

    Still waiting for someone to make a mini-ITX board with 4x SODIMM slots. The X299 one is interesting combined with a 9800X but I'd rather have the newer architecture with better IPC and clocks. Reply
  • gavbon - Thursday, October 11, 2018 - link

    4 x SODIMMs has no performance benefit on Z370/Z390 other than a capacity increase because of the dual channel memory controller. The ASUS Z390 Maximus Gene and Strix Z390-I support the new 32GB double capacity SODIMMs to give more options for mini-ITX users needing more capacity.

    The X299 ASRock board put 4 x RAM slots on it so it could benefit from the quad channel memory controller
    Reply
  • gamingkingx - Friday, October 12, 2018 - link

    Gavon understands it..

    On ITX its all about how you use the space.. It would be sille to have 4 slots for dual channel.

    BUT! It would interesting to use only 2x SO-DIMM..
    Reply
  • cyrilp - Thursday, October 11, 2018 - link

    Some of the asrock boards have 8 SATA3, 3 Ultra M.2 but it's a bit misleading as they share lanes. so you can't use 8 sata3 drivers and 3 m2 ones at the same time Reply
  • gavbon - Thursday, October 11, 2018 - link

    Yeah, it's a bit of a pain, but one of the drawbacks of a chipset designed for the desktop. Unfortunately, in that situation, it's one or the other. If I was going to use 8 x SATA drives and 3 x M.2, I would probably be using a HEDT chipset such as X299 or TR4 anyway Reply
  • ballsystemlord - Thursday, October 11, 2018 - link

    Spelling and grammar corrections. I did not read this whole article. You 2 goofed this one up pretty badly.

    "In the below table a question mark (?) denotes that we currently don't currently have this information available."
    Too many currentlys.
    "In the below table a question mark (?) denotes that we don't currently have this information available."

    "My take on it is that it could be easier to mount a CPU pot for extreme overclockers for some reason, as I'm sure this board is all about the performance marbles and nothing else."
    Sound bytes as a sentence (SBAAS). I've very little idea what you were trying to say. Maybe:
    "My take on it is that it could be easier to mount a CPU pot for extreme overclockers. For some reason they insist on pots. Or maybe not, as I'm sure this board is all about the performance and nothing else."

    "The new gaming themed naming structure consists of three different ranges which make a lot of sense when they deciphered; the MEG is the enthusiast gaming, MPG is performance gaming and the MAG is the arsenal gaming."
    Missing "are".
    "The new gaming themed naming structure consists of three different ranges which make a lot of sense when they're deciphered; the MEG is the enthusiast gaming, MPG is performance gaming and the MAG is the arsenal gaming."

    "The MAG essentially renames the original arsenal range of boards with a name which seems fitting etc rifle mag, a happy coincidence perhaps."
    Stray "etc".
    "The MAG essentially renames the original arsenal range of boards with a name which seems fitting i.e. rifle mag, a happy coincidence perhaps."
    Reply

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