Gigabyte Z390 Designare offers pros a bevy of connectivity options

Some builders want high-end motherboards without a layer of gamer bling on top, and for those folks, Gigabyte has its Designare series. While these boards are ostensibly for creative pros, their understated looks and high-quality parts make them a good fit for any high-performance build. The company has just applied this treatment to the Z390 chipset with its Z390 Designare.

To power eighth- and ninth-gen Core CPUs in the LGA 1151 socket, Gigabyte taps 12 Vishay SiC634 integrated power stages driven by an Intersil ISL69138 PWM controller. Gigabyte turns six phases from that PWM chip into 12 using Intersil's ISL6617A doublers. To keep this VRM cool in operation, Gigabyte uses a chunky metal heatsink with a direct-contact heat pipe running over all 12 of those power stages. Power input comes courtesy of an eight-pin-plus-four-pin EPS duo. A 2-oz copper PCB helps draw heat away from the exposed pads on the bottom of those power stages, too.

High-quality VRM aside, the real action on the Z390 Designare plays out on its rear I/O panel. This board has two Thunderbolt 3 ports with all the trimmings, including support for DisplayPort input to drive single-cable displays. Gigabyte also provides two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports (two of which feature its DAC-Up adjustable voltage tech), two USB 2.0 ports, and a hybrid PS/2 keyboard-and-mouse port. Twin Gigabit Ethernet jacks and an integrated Intel Wireless-AC 9560 wireless radio round out those impressive connectivity options.

To support demanding storage configurations or multiple graphics cards, the Designare can split its CPU-driven PCIe lanes into a x8/x4/x4 config, allowing a high-performance graphics card and two PCIe 3.0 x4 SSDs to communicate directly with the CPU from three physical PCIe x16 slots. That connectivity comes on top of two M.2 slots with heatsinks, two PCIe 3.0 x1 slots, and six SATA ports. Demanding NVMe storage users will be pleased to find that at least one M.2 slot and its heatsink stand well clear of the primary PCIe slot to prevent throttling due to waste heat from a system's graphics card on this board.

We see little to take issue with from the Z390 Designare's loadout and layout on visual inspection, and that's a good thing given this board's $270 suggested price tag. Keep an eye out for the Z390 Designare on your favorite e-tailer's pages soon.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 9 months ago

    Designare.

    Sorry Carrier, a Taiwanese motherboard company tried too hard and thought of it first.

    • ermo
    • 9 months ago

    If this is the new “understated”, I have a hard time imagining what “utilitarian” translates to these days.

    And just for the record: I’m all for aesthetics being allowed into hardware design.

    What I can’t fathom is why simple, lightweight, high-surface-area heatsinks or fin stacks aren’t held in higher regard when balancing the actual “functionality” part of the engineering/marketing equation?

    At this rate, I’d welcome a black, boring, deceptively simple “Pro/WS” line with purely functional LEDs (RAM/CPU/BIOS status: red (error) -> amber (checking) -> green (OK)) and no-nonsense ribbed and/or cut aluminium heatsinks (with a heatpipe finstack where necessary) with open arms. This would be a board designed to live in a case with a window, purely because it makes checking the status LEDs of the board easier.

    It’d come in Pro/WS and Pro/WS WiFi editions, which would have quality VRM/audio/usb/networking components without resorting to OTT marketing silliness. Heck, it could even serve as the functional basis of whatever LED-studded “Gamer” boards the board maker would care to market.

    Please?

      • backwoods357
      • 9 months ago

      I miss the ASUS “WS” builds right up to the core 2 lineup.
      Good solid boards without a lot of bling. Now you are lucky to find a decent mobo that isn’t stuffed full of realtek/marvell shit.

    • UberGerbil
    • 10 months ago

    How do they pronounce that? Design-R? Design-aire? Design-ary? Design-R-EE?

      • DancinJack
      • 10 months ago

      I always thought it was design-air.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 10 months ago

        for some reason I thought it was Deh-zig-NARE

      • DeadOfKnight
      • 10 months ago

      DEH-SEE-NAH-RAY. Make sure to roll your R there at the end.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 10 months ago

        We have a winner!

      • ronch
      • 9 months ago

      Like designate, except there’s an R.

        • Voldenuit
        • 9 months ago

        More like DesignGate, with heatsinks that have no surface area.

    • synthtel2
    • 10 months ago

    “without a layer of gamer bling” “understated”

    Yet it’s still got enough bling to be problematic for performance (cooling), increase the BOM by what looks like a noticeable amount, and still look uglier to my eye than if they hadn’t bothered.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 months ago

      Thank you.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 months ago

    Cool plastic chunks limiting thermal performance on (presumably, since this is Gigabyte) relatively nice VRM cooling. GG, Gigabyte.

    edit: or did Gigabyte go back to flashy hunks of metal and leave the fins at home?

    edit 2: the ads for hoodies that look like raw steaks are making me hungry.

      • DPete27
      • 10 months ago

      Ugh, at least you get the steak hoodie. I’m getting the super hairy man hoodie.

        • drfish
        • 10 months ago

        Likewise. I can’t even…

        • derFunkenstein
        • 10 months ago

        I’ve done my time with that one, and I’ve been rewarded with MEAT

    • Forge
    • 10 months ago

    24 pin up top, 8+4 pin by the back, and a 6 pin leech for the accessories too? Better hope that 2oz copper is real, or the board might catch fire.

      • DPete27
      • 10 months ago

      Something about >8 pin CPU power on consumer/enthusiast motherboards just doesn’t sit right with me.
      How much do I need to spend on cooling for a CPU that needs more than 8 pins (235W).

        • DancinJack
        • 10 months ago

        $120 – [url<]https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835181141[/url<] - [url<]https://techreport.com/review/34192/intel-core-i9-9900k-cpu-reviewed[/url<] I know you're not saying it's gonna use every inch of that power, but equating power connectors to CPU power used isn't a great place to go. The ever so frequent "up to" might make it a little more palatable.

          • DPete27
          • 10 months ago

          It’s more complex than what I initially said. Certainly more than I want to type. But I’ve found these >8pin CPU power to be a hurdle I just can’t jump over. My “line in the sand” if you will.

    • DancinJack
    • 10 months ago

    Nice to see TB3 there. Need more, though I wish it was mATX or mITX.

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