Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Ultra Overview
Gigabyte is keeping the same design that we’ve seen on previous AORUS motherboards, we have a black PCB with black and silver accents. Overall I think the board looks quite good. The Z490 AORUS Ultra is a standard ATX motherboard.
Starting at the CPU socket we have Intel’s new LGA1200 socket, this socket supports 10th generation Intel Core “Comet Lake-S” desktop processors and should support the upcoming “Rocket Lake-S” processors as well. While the socket is not backwards-compatible with older Intel CPUs, it is cooler-compatible, so your older Intel cooler should work on this socket no problem.
This board makes use of a 12 phase digital VRM solution that features 55A DrMOS Power Stages without doublers, so the power phases connect directly to the CPU. So with 12 55A power stages the CPU VRM is able to handle 660 Amps current in total. Covering the power delivery components there are two heatsinks connected by a heatpipe. One thing that is interesting about these heatsinks is that they are more designed like CPU heatsinks with visible fins. Gigabyte calls this their Fins-Array II and says it increases surface area by 300% compared to traditional heatsinks and also improves thermal efficiency with better airflow and heat exchange.
Towards the top corner of the board you have a 8-pin EPS connector as well as an extra 4-pin. These are both metal-reinforced. There is also a 4-pin fan header.
Moving across the top of the board at the other corner you have an option CPU fan header (black) and your main CPU fan header (grey), as well as a 4-pin standard RGB header, and a 3-pin addressable RGB header.
When it comes to the memory slots you have four DDR4 DIMM slots, which are metal reinforced. These support dual-channel DDR4 memory up to DDR4-5000 (O.C.). Gigabyte actually says the board will support XMP profiles up to 5000 MHz, which is pretty impressive. Along the edge of the board you have a post code display, 24-pin ATX power connection (metal reinforced), a 4-pin fan header, USB 3.2 gen 1 header, and a USB 3.2 gen 2 header.
Moving down the board you have two Thunderbolt headers and six SATA 6GB/s ports. All six of these ports are at a 90-degree angle and are powered by the Z490 chipset.
Along the bottom of the board you’ll find the rest of your headers and connections. From left to right you have your front panel audio headers, a 3-pin addressable RGB header, 4-pin standard RGB header, TPM header, two USB 2.0 headers, the QFlash Plus button, three 4-pin fan headers, and your front panel connections.
The bottom half of the board is covered with heatsinks, which seems pretty standard these days. Gigabyte’s implementation of this looks quite good with a half silver / half black design. The chipset heatsink has a large AORUS logo on it which will light up with RGB lighting. Then you have three M.2 heatsinks which connect to it. There are three M.2 2210 slots on this board and one interesting thing to see is that you have thermal tape not only on the bottom of the heatsinks but below the slots as well.
As far as expansion slots go you have three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16, x8, x4) which are metal reinforced. Remember if you have two cards installed they both will run at x8 speeds.
Like most motherboards these days the Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Ultra has an integrated I/O shield. When it comes to connections from left to right you have four USB 2.0 ports, antenna connections, HDMI, two USB 3.2 gen 1 ports, four USB 3.2 gen 2 ports (3x Type-A, 1x Type-C), 2.5G Ethernet, and your audio connections.
For those wondering about RGB lighting there are RGB’s on the I/O cover and on the chipset heatsink. The AORUS logo on the chipset heatsink is likely to get covered (at least partly) by your graphics card.