Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Xtreme Waterforce mobo simply does everything


Many of us often build our PCs with a "less is more" concept, seeing how little hardware we need to make our work or gaming happen. There are times, however, when only more is more. For those occasions, Gigabyte's brought out its Z390 Aorus Xtreme Waterforce motherboard.

We could probably best describe this circuit slab by what it doesn't have, but here's the skinny. As I'm sure you've noticed from the pictures, the big centerpiece is the gigantic waterblock that looks like it covers most everything that's not a slot. Most importantly, the block covers the 12-phase Inernational Rectifier digital VRM that should suffice to overclock up any Coffee Lake chip to ungodly extremes.

Juicing up a CPU that way could require a ton of power, and there are extra dual eight-pin PCIe power plugs on the board for that purpose, plus another six-pin port. Speedy storage fanatics can put the three heastink-covered M.2 PCIe x4 slots to good use.

Wired networking comes courtesy of a 10-GbE Aquantia chip alongside a plain-jane Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller. If radio waves are more your thing, there's also 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi courtesy of Intel CNVi. High-end peripherals can connect to the two Thunderbolt 3-enabled USB Type-C ports, and there's also fast-charging support for quickly topping up mobile devices.

No self-respecting high-end mobo these days would be caught dead without a fancy audio setup, and the Xtreme Waterforce delivers on that front with an ESS Sabre DAC coupled with WIMA capacitors and TI op-amps. Needless to say, there are metal jackets around the PCIe and memory slots, and the multi-zone RGB LEDs also take care of lighting up the integrated I/O shield.

We couldn't spot a price tag for the Gigabyte Aorus Z390 Xtreme Waterforce just. Considering that the "regular" Z390 Aorus Xtreme goes for a double-take-inducing $550, we'd expect the Waterforce variant to ring in north of that.

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