GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Xtreme Overview
Here we have it, and as you can see, most of the PCB is covered by the aesthetic and cooling components and covers. There are eight total hybrid fan headers, all of which circled in blue. The two to the top right of the socket are your CPU OPT in Gray while the black header is the CPU Fan header. There is one to the left of the dual 8-pin EPS connectors and five on the upper right-hand corner.
Here we can see the three slots along with the exposed screws on the covers, which can be removed to pull the coolers for the M.2 slots from the board. The bottom right has a cover over the two BIOS switches along with the front panel audio header.
Here we see the rear of the Z490 Aorus Xtreme, and I can say that this is one of the most extensive backplates I have seen on any board. This thing encapsulates the board when combined with the front covering we just checked out. Not only is the board and the backplate massive, but we also see that it is thick metal, which increases not only rigidity but also thermal dissipation form the rear of the VRM area.
The I/O on the Xtreme is well-appointed as follows:
- Q-Flash Plus Button
- Clear CMOS Button
- Wi-Fi Antennae Connectors
- 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports (supports USB 3.2 Gen 2)
- HDMI port
- 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports
- 4x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports
- 2x USB 2.0 ports
- Analog 7.1ch audio with gold connectors
- Optical SPDIF port
- 2.5Gb RJ45 Intel LAN port
- 10Gb RJ45 Aquantia LAN port
The Xtreme not only has a 10Gb port but a 2.5Gb backer. This I/O is well-equipped as they even have a port for the iGPU, in case someone for some reason buys this $800 board and uses integrated graphics.
The slot arrangement is easy to discern. The first slot is a full x16 PCIe from the CPU, and the second is electrically x8 from the CPU. When populated, the second slot pulls its lanes from the primary slot, and therefore you end up with an x8/x8 configuration. The bottom slot is x4 and from the PCH. It shares lanes with the PCH M.2 slot and drops to x2 if an M.2 is installed in that slot.
Here we see the M.2 slots, and one fascinating move GIGABYTE made was dual-sided cooling where there are plates with thermal pads both on the top cooler but on the plate below the M.2 drive. The surface area on these cooling plates os way more than enough for not just current PCIe drives but should easily handle the hotter Phison powered Gen 4 drives as well.
The lower edge of the board carries almost no connectivity as it has all been moved to the righthand edge. Here we see the only connection, which is the front panel audio. Also, here are two switches for the onboard BIOS chips. One of the switches changes the BIOS chip mode form them being mirrored for the crash-free mode to being traditional independent units. The other allows you to toggle between the two BIOS chips you would like to boot from.
This is an excellent feature as many overclockers will likely give this board a shot, and this allows an enthusiast user to have different BIOS versions on each chip so that testing can be done more fluidly, or make testing another BIOS easy.
The 24-pin side of the board hosts various connectivity as follows:
- 5x Fan/pump hybrid fan headers
- 6x SATA 6Gb ports (6x PCH/2x ASMedia ASM1061)
- USB 3.2 Gen 2 header
- 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 headers
- 24-pin main ATX connector
- Dual USB 2.0 small pin header
- Front panel
- 2x 12V RGB header
- 2x 5V ARGB header
- internal microphone header
As you can see, most of the stuff you would typically find on the board's lower edge has instead moved to the outer right side, which should help tidy up cable management.
The power buttons are on the PCB and are microswitches, but they pass through to plastic buttons on the boards covering. Here we see you have the power and reset in place. Adjacent to this, we also see the OC ignition button, the thermal probe headers, and the debug code display.
The CPU is fed by two EPS 8-pin connectors. The only one will be necessary for most users, but should you want to go the XOC route, the extra 8-pin will likely be quite essential.
Here we get a look at the socket and the massive inductor line for the VRM. The amount of power built onto this board is insane, and to be completely honest, extremely overkill.
Pulling the backplate and front covers away, and we see that the cooling of the Aorus Xtreme is substantial. The backplate you can also see what I mentioned before, it is downright beefy. The board is very heavy with all of this attached, but the board is also as solid as a brick.
Now, I think it's about time we move on to the PCB and circuit analysis of the Z490 Aorus Xtreme.
Last updated: Jun 3, 2020 at 04:05 pm CDT
- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Motherboard Features and Marketing]
- Page 3 [Packaging and Accessories]
- Page 4 [GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Xtreme Overview]
- Page 5 [PCB and Circuit Analysis]
- Page 6 [BIOS/UEFI and Software]
- Page 7 [Test System and Configuration]
- Page 8 [WPrime, SuperPi, Cinebench, and AIDA64]
- Page 9 [Handbrake, Blender, POV-Ray, CoronaRender, 7-Zip, and WebXPRT]
- Page 10 [Unigine and UL Benchmarks]
- Page 11 [System I/O Benchmarks]
- Page 12 [Clocks, Overclocking, Thermals, and Power Consumption]
- Page 13 [Final Thoughts]