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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  • ddcc - Saturday, October 13, 2018 - link

    Certain Gigabyte boards, e.g. Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi, seem to be using Intel's Z390 CNVi, but aren't listed in the article. Reply
  • gavbon - Monday, October 15, 2018 - link

    I'm going to be updating tomorrow with more information; been working on getting one of the board reviews ready for the end of the week :) Reply
  • gavbon - Sunday, October 21, 2018 - link

    Will be adding these in tomorrow (not at a PC currently) - We didn't have the information available prior to writing Reply
  • pawinda8 - Monday, October 15, 2018 - link

    Still no mention of any Z390 boards with native Thunderbolt 3 (not AIC)! Has Intel given up on Thunderbolt for the PC world? Reply
  • gavbon - Monday, October 15, 2018 - link

    If it's not integrated into the chipset, it's not really native as such. The ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac has a Thunderbolt 3 port on the rear panel, but that's the only one I'm afraid Reply
  • HikariWS - Monday, October 15, 2018 - link

    Oculus Rift requires 3 USB3 ports and doesn't accept any of them being connected to a hub, they all need to be connected directly into a raw port. I had to buy a dedicated 3GIO USB 3 board that added 6 useful extra ports. In my (yes, old) Gigabyte z87 mobo I also had issues using keyboard and mouse on USB 3 ports inside UEFI and some recovery softwares, so I had to buy a USB 2 mirror to connect them.

    Because of that, having USB 2 ports on front panel and nice quantity of USB 3 is what most differs mobos for me, given that all other features are nearly the same.

    ASUS Z390-A seems to be the best option. It has the important double USB2 ports, 5 USB3 ports and still has HDMI and DP for emergencies.
    Reply
  • just4U - Monday, October 15, 2018 - link

    I wish MSI had released a "godlike" board for the Ryzen series. Reply
  • ThugEsquire - Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - link

    You list the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac above as an ATX board, but it's actually mITX. FYI Reply
  • gavbon - Friday, October 19, 2018 - link

    I have gone through every page where the Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac is listed, but I can't see where it says it's an ATX board? Could you please be more specific? Are you viewing on mobile or desktop? Reply
  • Galcobar - Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - link

    It would be really helpful to break out one more criteria into a table: Type-C header for case-front ports.

    Helping a friend put together an i5 system and, knowing he'll keep it for a long time, am trying to get even with peripheral connectors (already has a monitor, so no using that as a hub). It's relatively easy to identify cases with a Type-C port, but that's pointless without a motherboard header. Having to go into each board's page to check is time-consuming.
    Reply

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