The Intel Z690 Motherboard Overview (DDR5): Over 50+ New Modelsby Gavin Bonshor on November 9, 2021 9:00 AM EST
GIGABYTE Z690 Aero D (DDR5)
Moving away from the gaming-focused Aorus branded motherboards, and GIGABYTE has announced its content-creator-friendly Aero series will be making a return for Z690. The GIGABYTE Z690 Aero D is a solid representation of this with plenty of premium controllers, high-end features, and good compatibility with external devices. Focusing on the design, the Z690 Aero D is decked out in a contrasting black and silver aesthetic, with a classy large rear panel cover, with silver heatsinks throughout which covers the majority of the PCB. GIGABYTE has also omitted any integrated RGB LED lighting, which is typical of it for its Aero series of motherboards.
Dominating the lower half of the board on the GIGABYTE Z690 Aero D is a pair of full-length PCIe 5.0 slots that can operate at x16 and x8/x8, with a third full-length slot electronically locked down to PCIe 3.0 x4. For M.2 storage, there are four PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots, while only one of these supports SATA-based drives. The Z690 Aero D also includes six SATA ports with support for Intel RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays. Located in the top right-hand corner is the board's memory slots, with GIGABYTE including four with support for DDR5-6400, and a combined capacity of up to 128 GB.
Looking at the rear panel of the GIGABYTE Z690 Aero D, and this is where all of that content-creator-friendly goodness is. It includes dual Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports, with six USB 3.2 G2 Type-A ports, and a pair of video ports including one HDMI 2.1 video output and one DisplayPort 1.4 video input. The board's networking configuration is high-end, with an Aquantia AQC107 10 GbE and Intel I225-V 2.5 GbE controller pairing, with an Intel AX210 Wi-Fi 6E CNVi providing both wireless and BT 5.2 connectivity. Integrated audio options are basic, with just two 3.5 mm audio jacks that finish off a premium, yet interesting rear panel layout.