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GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS motherboards come with impressive overclocking features!

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS motherboards come with impressive overclocking features!

by Vyncent ChanNovember 1, 2021
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GIGABYTE announced their Z690 AORUS motherboards, all of which are designed to help you unleash your 12th Gen Intel Core processor! With up to 20+1+2-phase power delivery, advanced thermal designs and shielded memory, you should be able to achieve new heights of performance with the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS motherboards!



As the flagship of the series, the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME packs the ultimate features available in GIGABYTE’s arsenal. The GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME bears the signature dark aesthetics of the AORUS XTREME series, but with a touch of gold to highlight the fact that this is one premium board. On the functional end, you get two large finned heatsinks connected with a heatpipes cool the impressive 20+1+2 phase direct digital VRM configuration. There’s also a huge heatsink for the first M.2 PCIe 4.0 slot, to help cool your blazing fast SSDs. And there’s even a memory fan!

For the RAM, GIGABYTE went with SMD-mounted DIMM slots and shielded memory routing to enable higher memory frequencies than conventional designs. GIGABYTE claims that the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME is capable of pushing frequencies above DDR5-6600. Aside from the performance-oriented features, the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME features 10GbE, ESS Sabre audio, Thunderbolt 4, among a slew of other features that cement its position at the top of the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS lineup.


If you plan on a custom liquid cooling loop for your build, this might also be an option for you. With an All-in-One Monoblock design, the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME WATERFORCE allows for a neater way to cool not only your CPU with your watercooling loop, but also your VRMs. However it seems that GIGABYTE has yet to finalize the design, with there being no images of the product available yet.



The GIGABYTE AORUS Z690 MASTER makes its first step into the E-ATX realm, a form factor usually reserved for the AORUS XTREME boards. The aesthetic of the board is once again pretty reminiscent of AORUS MASTER boards of yore, with an emphasis on monochrome hues but with a splash of RGB just to spice things up a little. The power delivery system is scaled down a little, with a 19+1+2 phase direct digital VRM design, but you still get niceties like SMD DIMM slots and shielded memory routing to bring speeds of up to DDR5-6400. One major difference is the fact that you don’t have two PCIe 5.0 slots unlike the Z690 AORUS XTREME, and you also miss out on Thunderbolt 4 and the ESS Sabre audio hardware. Instead, you get a Realtek ALC1220-VB for audio, and Thunderbolt 4 headers.



Similar to the likes of the ROG Maximus Z690 Apex and MSI MEG Z690 UNIFY-X, the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS TACHYON is designed for the hardcore overclocking enthusiasts. However it does seem pretty interesting that GIGABYTE decided to drop a number of phases from the power delivery, with the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS TACHYON only offering a 15+1+2 phase digital VRM design. With its dual-DIMM slot design, the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS TACHYON might not be for everyone, but it enables speeds of DDR5-7000, and beyond.

As this is an overclocking-focused board, features like connectivity and audio has been pared back, with the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS TACHYON packing 2.5Gb Ethernet and the Realtek ALC1220.



As we move towards the more gaming-oriented boards, we have the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS ULTRA, a board that definitely doesn’t stray too far from the aesthetics of earlier AORUS motherboards. This is also AORUS’ most premium Z690 motherboard too, which is probably of interest to some. With a 16+1+2 phase power delivery system featuring the same 105A smart powerstages like the boards above, the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS ULTRA straddles the middle ground between the mid-range and premium boards in GIGABYTE’s lineup.

Something that the hawkeyed might notice is that the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS ULTRA drops the dual fin stack design of the Z590 AORUS ULTRA, and instead only gives you one above the socket. Quite an interesting decision. GIGABYTE is promising speeds of up to DDR5-6200 with this board. Features like WiFi 6, Intel 2.5GbE LAN and USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 are available, although you will also be missing out on stuff like Thunderbolt.



With the GIGABYTE Z690I AORUS ULTRA, you can get it in both DDR5 and DDR4 versions, depending on your appetite for cost versus performance. With the DDR5 version, GIGABYTE seems to be pretty conservative with their claims, promising up to DDR5-6200 speeds, while the DDR4 variant is rated for up to DDR4-5333. Due to the form factor limitations, the VRM is further scaled down to a 10+1+2 direct digital design, with 105A smart powerstages. You still get support for two M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSDs with a stacked heatsink design over its PCH, so I guess enthusiasts of small form factor systems have quite a bit to look forward to with this board.



Coming in with two options, you can get the GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS PRO with support for either DDR4 or DDR5. Both boards will feature a rather beefy 16+1+2 direct digital VRM design with 90A powerstages. GIGABYTE has also entirely dropped the fin array VRM cooling by this point, instead only offering chonky aluminum heatsinks. I wonder how well will this perform, considering that the GIGABYTE Z590 AORUS PRO AX had a finned heatsink, but yet suffered from terrible VRM thermals.



GIGABYTE claims that this is the “Best Value of AORUS Z690”, and I think you would be hard-pressed to disagree.  There are four options to choose from, with the choice of DDR5 and DDR4 options, as well as the option to get included WiFi 6 on them. Interestingly enough, the DDR4 version gets a beefier VRM, at least on paper, with 70A DrMOS ones, versus the DDR5’s 60A DrMOS. Both of them have a 16+1+2 arrangement though, so I guess regardless of which one you get, the Z690 AORUS ELITE boards should have no issues handling your 12th Gen Intel Core processors. The GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS ELITE is rated for speeds of up to DDR5-6000, while the Z690 AORUS ELITE DDR4 is rated for up to DDR4-5333. You get support for up to four M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSDs with the Z690 AORUS ELITE boards.



When it comes to the mATX version, GIGABYTE is offering two options, giving you the choice to get the Z690M AORUS ELITE AX DDR4, or Z690M AORUS ELITE DDR4. The difference is pretty obvious. Here, we get a 12+1+2 phase power delivery system, featuring 60A powerstages. The feature set is pared back quite significantly, with only support for three M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSDs, and there isn’t a heatsink over two of them. Still, it is nice to see GIGABYTE offering an option to the underserved mATX market.

Pokdepinion: Quite a number of options for gamers who do not want to pay the premium for DDR5 yet… Nice.

About The Author
Vyncent Chan
Technology enthusiast, casual gamer, pharmacy graduate. Strongly opposes proprietary standards and always on the look out for incredible bang-for-buck.