Gigabyte is cooking up a whole batch of Z390 motherboards in its Aorus, Gaming, UD, and Designare ranges. Right now, we're going to take a good look at the Aorus lineup, from the most-featured models down to the barest. The absolute highest-end models in the Z390 Aorus range are the Xtreme and Xtreme Waterforce, but there's very little information about them just yet. We do have the skinny on the core of the Aorus lineup—namely, the Master, Ultra, Pro, and Elite variants. Let's get started.
The company says its goal for the boards in its falcon-themed series was to let ninth-gen CPUs with unlocked multipliers achieve 5-GHz clock speeds "without any VRM concerns." Gigabyte goes on to say that the VRM setups in the lineup run 5-10° C cooler than those of its competitors, both with and without heatsinks. The higher-end Aorus boards have fin-stack heatsinks with heatpipes underneath and 1.5-mm-thick, high-conductivity thermal pads atop their VRMs. They also sport integrated I/O shields, and Intel I219V Ethernet controllers. Thanks to Intel's latest silicon, these boards get chipset-provided USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports around the back. Front-panel connectivity is comprehensive, as well, with a connector for a Type-C port and fast-charging support on the Type-A port headers.
We'll kick off with the Z390 Aorus Master. This board has a 12-phase International Rectifier PowIRstage VRM, three M.2 PCIe x4 sockets with heatsinks, RGB LED accents pretty much everywhere, and metal reinforcement around the DIMM and PCIe slots. An Intel CNVI 820.11ac 2x2 Wave 2 Wi-Fi adapter makes it way onto the circuit slab, too.
That's not all, though. The audio setup in this model is a particularly souped-up affair with an ALC1220 codec, an ESS Sabre DAC, and WIMA capacitors. Gigabyte says the combination is good for delivering a SNR of 125 dB. A near-full-coverage metal backplate rounds out the specs list. This model should set buyers back $290.
Drilling down the Aorus series, we find the Z390 Aorus Ultra. This model is mostly similar to the Master. The main differences are the 12+1 VRM with "DrMOS" components, an ALC1220-VB codec with WIMA caps, and fewer RGB LED accents. Thanks in part to those changes, the Ultra comes in at $250.
Next up, we have the Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi and Pro models. These models come with two M.2 PCIe x4 slots with heatsinks, and only two of their three PCIe x16 slots are clad in metal. There are no USB DAC-UP 2 ports, either. The VRM cooler has screw-mounted heatsinks and heatpipes. The Pro WiFi model should go for $200 and comes with the aforementioned Intel CNVI 802.11ac adapter. The regular Pro does away with wireless connectivity and has a $190 price tag.
The Z390-I Aorus Pro WiFi is a close relative to the models above, except it comes in Mini-ITX size. The itty-bitty board includes the Intel CNVI Wi-Fi adapter, but uses a 6-phase IR VRM with PowIRstage components. There are still dual M.2 PCIe x4 slots, and one of them has a heatsink on top. The two DIMM slots and single PCIe slot are metal-reinforced, too. Builders of lean, mean gaming machines can get this board for $165.
Last but by no means least, the Z390 Aorus Elite comes with a single M.2 PCIe x4 slot and a handful of LED accents. There's metal around the main PCIe x16 slot and DIMM slots, too. The amount of $180 will let you take this mobo home.
Although we don't yet have detailed specs for the rest of Gigabyte's Z390 family, we do know that the Z390 Gaming SLI will go for $160, while the Gaming X has a $150 price tag. The microATX Z390 M Gaming costs $145, and the most-affordable Z390 UD goes for just $130. Keep an eye on your favorite e-tailer for these boards' arrival soon.