Gigabyte's Z390 Aorus Extreme has everything and two sinks


It seems like Gigabyte may have been saving some of its best gear for last. The company announced its Z390 wares a little while ago, but it's only now pulled the wraps off the Z390 Aorus Extreme. This E-ATX platter appears to be the fanciest Z390 motherboard we've seen from the company. It comes with virtually all the gear that any builder could desire in a gaming motherboard, and perhaps even a few things they didn't know they wanted.

We'll start right off with the overclocker-friendly features. Gigabyte says this board uses a 16-phase digital VRM with a "fins-array" heatsink. It's a bit ironic that having an actual heatsink with fins on your VRM is a feature, but a lot of modern mobos unadvisedly do without one. Like quite a few high-end boards these days, the Z390 Aorus Extreme feeds its CPU through a pair of eight-pin EPS connectors. Additionally, there's a six-pin PCIe power socket directly on the motherboard to drive heavily-overclocked graphics cards. Onboard power and reset buttons as well as diagnostic LEDs round out the overclocking hardware.

Even if you're not much of an overclocker, there's plenty else to like about the Z390 Aorus Extreme. It includes 10-Gigabit Ethernet courtesy of an Aquantia chip, along with a regular old Gigabit connection powered by an Intel controller. Intel silicon also drives the CNVi 2x2 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi adapter. The board has three full-sized M-key M.2 sockets for NVMe SSDs, and two of them support 110-mm drives. If that doesn't satisfy you, how about dual Thunderbolt 3 connections and four USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports on the back panel? You can still hook up two additional USB 3.1 ports to the front panel, too, one Gen 2 Type-C and another a regular USB 3.1 Gen 1 port.

Gigabyte makes much of its audio setup on this board. Sound output is delivered by way of a Realtek ALC1220-VB codec and run through TI OPA1622 op-amps and ESS ES9018K2M DACs. As usual, there's support for 7.1 audio, and thankfully the TOSlink optical S/PDIF connector has hung around. You can still send audio over HDMI or regular old analog connectors too, of course. Finally, this board supports all of Gigabyte's signature features like DualBIOS and Q-Flash Plus.

The latest-and-greatest Aorus motherboard hasn't hit e-tail yet, but if you can't get enough of that glorious falcon logo, keep an eye on your favorite shops. We suspect it'll be around soon.

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