The Intel Z490 Overview: 44+ Motherboards Examinedby Gavin Bonshor on April 30, 2020 10:00 AM EST
GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Master
Sitting just below the flagship Z490 Aorus Xtreme, the GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Master still represents itself as one of its premium offerings. Featuring the same shielded memory routing and a 14-phase power delivery with 90 A power stages and tantalum polymer capacitors, this enthusiast offering includes an Intel 2.5 G Ethernet controller and Intel Wi-Fi 6 wireless interface. It also includes triple PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, six SATA ports, and support for up to DDR4-4800 memory.
It follows a clear Aorus inspired design with a funky rear panel cover, armor around the PCIe slots for a cleaner look, with three PCIe 3.0 x4 slots each with its own individual heatsink. GIGABYTE is using three full-length PCIe 3.0 slots which run at x16, x8/x8, and x8/x8+x4. Other storage options include six SATA ports with RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 array support. A total of four memory slots include support for up to DDR4-4800, with a maximum capacity of 128 GB, operating in dual channel. The 14-phase power delivery is cooled by a pair of aluminium fin array heat sinks, with two 8-pin 12 V ATX CPU power inputs designed to deliver power to the processor.
On the rear panel is a single USB 3.2 G2 20 Gbps Type-C, three USB 3.2 G2 10 Gbps Type-A, two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A, and four USB 2.0 ports. There is a single Ethernet port powered by an Intel i225 2.5 G controller, with antenna ports for the Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6 wireless interface which also includes support for BT 5.1 devices. The onboard audio consists of five 3.5 mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output and is powered by a Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec and ESS 9118 DAC. A clear CMOS button, HDMI video output, and a BIOS Flashback button which allows users to update the firmware without memory, CPU, and graphics card finish off an impressive rear panel offering.
The GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Master has an MSRP of $389 which is reasonable for the level of features and support on offer. Aimed at gamers and enthusiasts with features including triple PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2, 2.5 G Ethernet, and plenty of USB connectivity, the GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Master is another example of good value, even in the mid to high-end market segment. The Z490 Aorus Master also benefits from future PCIe 4.0 support with Intel's Rocket Lake processors when they eventually do land, which adds some extra longevity to Z490.