Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Ultra Motherboard Overview
Taking a first look at the Z690 AORUS Ultra we can see that Gigabyte has changed the design a bit from the previous generation, although the colors are similar. Gigabyte is going with an all black PCB with black and silver accents. Overall I think the board looks good, but for me the previous generation looked better.
Starting with the CPU socket we have Intel’s new LGA 1700 socket, which you will find on all Z690 motherboards. Most major CPU cooler brands have offered free LGA 1700 upgrade kits so if you were upgrading from LGA 1151 or even LGA 1200 you may not need to buy a new CPU cooler.
Surrounding the CPU socket we of course have our power delivery components. Gigabyte is going with a 19-phase (16+1+2) power design with 105A power stages for the Vcore phases. So this board can support a total output of 1880A with 1680A dedicated to the Vcore. Covering the power delivery components we have two large heatsinks, which really bring the top half of the board together. These heatsinks make use of the Fins-Array II louvered-stacked design which increases surface area by 300% compared to traditional heatsinks, and also improves thermal efficiency with better airflow and heat exchange.
Hiding above the heatsinks you’ll find an 8-pin EPS connector as well as an optional 4-pin. Moving across the top of the board there is are two fan headers (CPU and optional CPU), a 3-pin addressable RGB header, and a 4-pin standard RGB header.
Moving over to the memory slots we have four DDR5 DIMM slots, which are metal reinforced. These slots support up to 128GB of DDR5-6200 memory. Along the edge of the board you’ll find a large power button, POST code display, 24-pin ATX power connection, two 4-pin fan headers, a USB 3.2 gen 1 header, a USB 3.2 gen 2×2 header, and two Thunderbolt headers.
Coming down the board you’ll find six SATA 6GB’s ports and at the bottom of the board you’ll of course find the rest of your headers and connections. From left to right you have a front panel audio header, 3-pin addressable RGB header, 4-pin standard RGB header, TPM header, two USB 2.0 headers, QFlash Plus button, four 4-pin fan headers, front panel headers, and a small reset button. Notice the location of the reset button as well as the battery, which should be easy to access once you have the motherboard installed in a case.
The bottom half of the board is characterized by heatsinks, although they do not extend as far down as the previous generation boards. I’m not the biggest fan of this, cover as much of the board as possible. Both heatsinks are silver and the top one actually has a pretty thick fin array on it, which might make removing your graphics card quite the task.
Under the top M.2 heatsink is a M.2 slot that is directly connected to the CPU and supports PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 solid state drives. Under the large bottom heatsink you’ll find three M.2 slots. Two of these slots support PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 solid state drives and a single one supports both PCIe 4.0 x4 and SATA M.2 solid state drives. All of the slots feature thermal tape on not only on the heatsinks, but on the bottom as well. I did find it a little weird that the top heatsink uses different size of screws than the bottom one. I actually did not even have a small enough screwdriver to remove the bottom heatsink at first and unlike some other brands Gigabyte does not include a screwdriver.
As far as expansion slots go there is a single PCI-Express 5.0 x16 slot and two PCI-Express 4.0 x16 slots (x4 electrical). The top slot is metal reinforced, while the bottom two slots are not.
Coming to the rear I/O we have an integrated I/O shield that is all black. When it comes to connection / ports from left to right there are four USB 3.2 gen 1 ports (5 Gbps), WiFi antenna connections, four USB 2.0 ports, DisplayPort, a single USB 3.2 gen 2×2 Type-C port, four USB 3.2 gen 2 ports (10 Gbps), 2.5G Ethernet, and audio connections which are limited to optical S/PDIF, mic, and line out.