Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra Motherboard Overview
Taking a first look at the Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra Motherboard we can see that they have gone with an all black PCB with black and silver accents. Typically with AORUS boards Gigabyte keeps the colors neutral and they let the RGB lighting do the rest, this board is no different.
Starting at the CPU socket we have Intel’s LGA1151 socket, Intel Z390 boards support both 8th and 9th generation Intel Core processors. This board has a 12+1 power phase design which includes both a digital PWM controller and DrMOS. The power delivery components are covered by two heatsinks that are connected by a heatpipe, this heatpipe makes direct contact with the MOSFETs for the best cooling performance.
Gigabyte has covered these heatsinks with a cover that connects to the rear I/O making the top corner look like a single piece. We see more and more companies using a design like that and I hope that it because standard as it really brings some style to the board. Hidden in the top corner of the board is your 8+4 pin EPS connector. There is also a 4-pin fan header there as well.
Moving over towards the memory slots you’ll find two more 4-pin fan headers, which are for your CPU fan and optional CPU fan. Coming to the memory slots we have 4 and they do have Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable Memory Armor. This is a one piece stainless steel shielding design, which prevents against PCB distortion/twisting and plate bending in addition to preventing any possible ESD interference. Along the edge of the board there are two RGB headers (1 4-pin standard, 1 3-pin ARGB), a 24-pin ATX power connection, 4-pin pump header, USB 3.1 gen 1 header, and a USB Type-C internal header (USB 3.1 Gen 2).
Moving down the board there is a Thunderbolt header and six SATA 6GB/s ports, these are of course controlled by the Z390 chipset.
Along the bottom of the board is where you are going to find the rest of your headers and connections. From left to right you have your audio headers, 2 RGB headers (1 4-pin standard, 1 3-pin ARGB), TPM header, COM port header, two USB 2.0 headers, a POST code display, three 4-pin headers (2x fan, 1x pump), and your front panel headers.
Gigabyte is using their AMP UP audio solution with this board. It makes use of the Realtek ALC1220 audio codec with a Smart Headphone Amp which automatically detects impedance of your head-worn audio device, preventing issues such as low volume and distortion. Both H-Fi grade WIMA FKP2 audio capacitors and Nichicon audio capacitors are used in the audio solution.
As far as expansion slots go there are three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots and three x1 slots. The three x16 slots have Gigabyte’s PCIe shield, which is also a single piece of metal. Like most other Z390 boards if you have a single card installed it is going to run at full x16 speeds, if you have two cards installed they are going to run at x8 speeds.
There are three PCI-Express 3.0 x4 M.2 slots on this board and all three have integrated M.2 heatsinks. The first is towards the top of the board and supports M.2 solid state drives up to 110 mm. The second one is down a bit and again supports M.2 solid state drives up to 110 mm. The third one is more towards the bottom of the board and it supports M.2 solid state drives up to 80 mm.
Finally we come to the rear I/O, which has an integrated I/O shield. I love seeing this, there have been so many times I’ve lost an I/O shield over the years. As far as connections go from left to right there are two USB 2.0 ports, WiFi antenna connectors, two more USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.1 gen 1 ports (USB DAC-UP ports), HDMI, four USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (3x type-A, 1x type-C), Gigabit Ethernet, and audio connections. The WiFi on this board is provided by the Intel CNVi interface.