GIGABYTE has announced its AERO and AORUS Z690 motherboards aimed at extreme overclocking and content creation. A list of over 25 models was leaked in September, but the new announcement confirms their specifications. Gamers looking for a great upgrade may want to look at the premium models. Featuring a 20+1+2 phases power delivery system and up to a 20 oz, 10-layer PCB, they are designed for extreme overclocking of the Intel Core i9-12900K. One motherboard took the flagship processor all the way to 8 GHz.
20+1+2 phases power design
20+1+2 phases power design improves the overclocking stability of processors The 12th Gen Intel Core processors mark a shift in the process design on both the architecture and the new LGA1700 socket, which means users cannot stay with previous processors by modify firmware or hardware details due to incompatible socket. The new architecture features Intel 7 stepping and the “hybrid” design of P-Core and E-Core, which not only raise up the theoretical performance, but also enable the processors to dynamically switch between high performance operation and low loading energy saving mode. This allows users to take full advantages from the processors flexibly by the demands of system operation. With up to 20+1+2 phases which each of Vcore and Vcc GT can hold up to 105 amps by its Smart Power Stage design, while Vcc AUX can hold 70 amps by two sets of DrMOS design, The flagship of GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS gaming motherboards unlock the full potential of the new processors and enhance the extreme overclocking performance on all-core multi cores. Meanwhile, the diverse top quality components with the solid pin sockets can provide more stable power and dissipate the heat more efficiently from heavy loading operation or overclocking to prevent CPU throttling by overheating, as well as to deliver up to 2300 Amps to provide the best power balance. Furthermore, the addition of Tantalum Polymer capacitors improves the transient response of the VRM between high and low loads, increasing the stability and purity of the power for processors so that users won’t have to worry about overlocking failures caused by unstable power. During extreme overclocking, Intel Core i9-12900k achieved the frequency of 8 GHz.
Select models will support either DDR5 or DDR4. No new details were shared on DDR4 support, but the DDR5 models can support from 4,800 MHz up to beyond 8,000 MHz (using LN2 cooling). There’s a DDR5 Unlocked Voltage feature for unlocking stock voltage restraints along with a one-click option for auto-overclocking. With XMP booster, users can pick from pre-loaded profiles or use XMP 3.0 to create their own.
Model Specific Memory Support
GIGABYTE introduces DDR5 memory starting from Intel Z690 consumer motherboards with downward support of DDR4, and prepares various Z690 motherboards for users according to the market demand and positioning differences. The DDR4 models perform impressively as last generation, while DDR5 models benefit from the new memory architecture which enables speed from 4800 MHz with high power efficiency, low latency, and low power consumption. Besides the well-reputed Shielded Memory Routing, GIGABYTE Z690 motherboards also adopt the latest SMD memory DIMMs and dual metal armor for users to enjoy premium memory overclocking performance with more durability and more stability. The real test also affirms the boost of LN2 overclocking performance up to 8000 MHz and above.
Onboard heatsink thermal fin surface area has been increased by nine times over the previous generations with Fins-Array III technology. Other improvements include an 8 mm direct touch heatpipe and a new generation LAIRD 9W/mK thermal pad in the VRM area. Select high-end AORUS motherboards will feature a nano-carbon coating.
To enhance the overall heat dissipation, GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS MASTER and above motherboards feature the new generation Fins-Array III technology to further enlarge the surface area of the thermal fin to 9 times than a traditional heatsink, which takes away more heat when cool air passes by for advanced heat dissipation. The Direct-Touch Heatpipe II design features 8mm direct touch heatpipe with shortened distance and increased contact area between the heatpipe and the heatsink to lower the temperatures more rapidly. Meanwhile, select GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS motherboards implement a new generation LAIRD 9W/mK thermal pad in VRM area which offers significantly improved heat dissipation compared to traditional thermal pads.
Furthermore, selected AORUS motherboards feature metal back plate with nano-carbon coating for stylish thermal design, while several Z690 AORUS models continue the full-covered one-piece metal plate on MOS area from previous design to provide more efficient heat dissipation. The multiple skived fins and grooved surface provides two times larger dissipation area than traditional design that improves dramatically the heat convection and conduction by allowing more airflow pass through the heatsink. GIGABYTE Z690 motherboards adopt 6-layer PCB and above, even up to 10 layers on high end models. The power layer and ground layer both use 2OZ copper for enhanced heat dissipation under the high speed operation of CPU to avoid throttling by overheating. Besides the hardware thermal design on VRM, GIGABYTE Z690 motherboards continue to implement Smart Fan 6 technology and EZ Tuning function for a more flexible fan allocation, easier setting on fine tuning, and advanced manually setting mode. Now users can further control the gaming system temperature setting for the optimal balance among silent, cool, and high performance.
Networking options for flagship AORUS models have been upgraded to 10 Gbps along with Intel WiFi 6E 802.11ax. USB options include USB 3.2 Gen2x2, 3.2 Gen2 slots, and Thunderbolt 4 / USB 4.
Networking and USB
GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS lineup is equipped with 2.5Gb Ethernet, to even 10Gbit on flagship models, and Intel WiFi 6E 802.11ax network for the most complete and flexible network options. Besides GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS motherboards fully pack the latest technologies to meet the needs, including USB 3.2 Gen2x2, 3.2 Gen2 slots, and Thunderbolt™ 4 / USB 4 expansions.
Onboard audio for the top-end boards has also been upgraded to include support for DTS-X with an ESS SABRE DAC. The AORUS Z690 Extreme goes a step further with its own USB option, the ESSential HEX USB DAC, which uses the ESS SABRE HiFi ES9280A audio codec with ESS ES9080A for independent channel processing.
The top of GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS lineup utilizes a high SNR audio engine and pairs it with the WIMA FKP2 studio-grade audio capacitors, and integrates ESS SABRE DAC with DTS：X Ultra to deliver high fidelity audio for the most abundant sound experience whether it’s for gaming or entertaining. The flagship Z690 AORUS XTREME motherboard introduces the ESSential HEX USB DAC, which is built-in ESS SABRE HiFi ES9280A audio codec with ESS ES9080A to process the left and right channel audio separately, it perfectly presents the Linear Apodizing filter effect, reduces the distortion of the pure Linear mode, and further increases the depth and openness of the reverberation of the soundstage. Users can enjoy more immersive audio experience without degrading the sound quality caused by the audio layout design within the chassis. ESSential HEX USB DAC also provides audio output up to 40 KHz, allowing players to sense the most realistic sound experience and enjoyable entertainment effects beyond physiological limitations.
GIGABYTE is also introducing three new AERO Z690 models, which include a DDR4 model. Using its VisionLINK technology, they are aimed at content creation. They include many features of the AORUS line along with support up to 60 watts for high-powered pen displays.
AERO Z690 Models
In addition to the AORUS models, Gigabyte also launches three of Z690 AERO-series motherboards for creators. The latest Z690 AERO series perfectly unleash the extreme performance of the new generation processors, and provide remarkable thermal performance to ensure a stable system operation. With the support of the latest PCIe 5.0, Z690 AERO lineup satisfies the high-speed bandwidth requirement of the next generation of graphics cards on one hand, and delivers optimized signal transferring quality on the other hand. The lineup equips four PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots with armor design to offer creators sufficient storage capacity with optimal cooling without worrying for thermal throttling under high-speed operation.
Z690 AERO G and Z690 AERO G DDR4 feature the noted VisionLINK technology, which allows for data and video transmission based on USB Type-C Interface and provides power delivery up to 60W for high-end pen displays. VisionLINK technology enables performance sharing from high-end graphics card to the pen displays through DP_IN interface, which promise creators a smoother working environment avoiding cable clutter and saving more time, space, and effort on content creation. The VisionLINK TB on Z690 AERO D is an advanced version of VisionLINK technology, which supports all Thunderbolt 4 features and 60W power supply as well. In addition, the features of 2.5Gbit Ethernet, Intel WiFi 6E 802.11ax network, USB 3.2 Gen2x2 and front Type-C interface also help creators significantly improve their work efficiency.