Subsystem Testing

GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Master Motherboard Test System Specifications

Sound Hardware

The audio implementation of the GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Master features an ALC1220-VB HD audio CODEC. It utilizes an ESS SABRE reference DAC. WIMA and Nichicon Fine Gold dedicated audio capacitors are used in the audio subsystem as well. The Z490 Aorus Master even features a TXC oscillator. This is said by the manufacturer to provide precise time triggers to the DAC.

The following specifications were taken from the manufacturer’s website:

  • Realtek® ALC1220-VB codec
  • The front panel line out jack supports DSD audio.
  • ESS ES9118EQ DAC chip
  • Support for DTS:X® Ultra
  • High Definition Audio
  • 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  • Support for S/PDIF Out

Gold plated audio jacks are also found on the back panel. PCB isolation and other standard design elements are also present here.

Audio – Subjective Listening

The audio playback of the Z490 Aorus Master was excellent. The sounds had good range and levels to them regardless of whether or not they are connected via headphones or external speakers.

Audio – Subjective Recording / Playback

With the microphone boost enabled, the audio playback was clear and free of distortion. Audio levels were decent, but not quite as high as I’d have thought. With the microphone boost option disabled, the sample was very quiet, but clear.

DPC Latency

For those who may not know what DPC is, I’ll explain. Deferred procedure calls are a function within Windows that allows higher priority tasks such as device drivers to defer lower priority tasks for execution at later times. It’s an interrupt and reassignment of sorts performed by the operating system.

DPC latency varies from board model to model and brand to brand. DPC issues show up in the form of audio dropouts and streaming video issues. Naturally, this is something that the enthusiast would want to avoid. I used LatencyMon and let it run for 10 minutes to graph the results. I have compiled a list of several systems I’ve tested over the last year and placed the results in a graph for easy reference.

GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Master Motherboard LatencyMon Graph

For quite some time, the DPC latency for the motherboards I had been testing was steadily climbing. I had used very old data to fill out the charts early on in our reviews. However, these are all tested on either build 1909 or 2004 of Windows 10 using recent drivers from each manufacturer. Thus far, the GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Master has the lowest DPC latency I’ve seen on any motherboard using the newest build of Windows 10.

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  1. Interesting read. If I were going to go with Intel at this stage in the game, this is one of the boards I’d consider for sure.
  2. It was a good board. My brother in law used that test setup over the weekend to play Destiny 2 with me. It worked well. The other board I put in a friend’s machine is working well. He’s had no trouble with it and is very happy with the upgrade. He went from a 3770K and an ASUS Maximus V Extreme (if I recall correctly) and dual GTX 980 Ti’s to a single RTX 2080 Ti and a 10700K.

    We rarely get to sample additional copies of boards during the review process, so it was nice to see both worked well.

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