Board Features

The GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Master is a premium E-ATX motherboard that sits just below the flagship Aorus Xtreme and Xtreme WaterForce models. The Aorus series stretches across its mid-range, premium, and flagship models, and in the case of the GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Master, it is designed to offer a solid feature set by using most of what Alder Lake and the Z690 chipset has to offer. This includes one full-length PCIe 5.0 x16 slot, as well as two full-length PCIe 4.0 slots operating both at x4. 

For storage, GIGABYTE includes five M.2 slots in total, three supporting PCIe 4.0 x4 drives, one with support for PCIe 4.0 x4 and SATA drives, and one with support for PCIe 3.0 x4 drives. In terms of SATA, there are six SATA ports with support for Intel RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays. Focusing on memory support, the Z690 Aorus Master has four slots capable of supporting DDR5-6400 memory with a maximum capacity of 128 GB.

Cooling options are impressive, with room for a combined total of ten 4-pin cooling devices. This includes two dedicated to CPU fans, four doubling up as chassis or water pump headers, and four for chassis fans.

GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Master Motherboard
Warranty Period 3 Years
Product Page Link
Price $470
Size E-ATX
CPU Interface LGA1700
Chipset Intel Z690
Memory Slots (DDR4) Four DDR5
Supporting 128 GB
Up to DDR5-6400
Video Outputs 1 x DisplayPort 1.4
Network Connectivity 1 x Marvell AQtion AQC113 10 GbE
Intel AX211 Wi-Fi 6E
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC1220-VB
ESS Sabre ES9118
PCIe Slots for Graphics (from CPU) 1 x PCIe 5.0 x16
PCIe Slots for Other (from PCH) 2 x PCIe 3.0 (x4/x4)
Onboard SATA Six, RAID 0/1/5/10 (Z590)
Onboard M.2 3 x PCIe 4.0 x4
1 x PCIe 4.0 x4/SATA
1 x PCIe 3.0 x4
Onboard U.2 N/A
Thunderbolt 4 (40 Gbps) N/A
USB 3.2 (20 Gbps) 1 x USB Type-C (Rear panel)
1 x USB Type-C (One header)
USB 3.2 (10 Gbps) 5 x USB Type-A (Rear panel)
1 x USB Type-C (Rear panel)
USB 3.1 (5 Gbps) 4 x USB Type-A (Rear panel)
4 x USB Type-A (Two headers)
USB 2.0 4 x USB Type-A (Two headers)
Power Connectors 1 x 24-pin Motherboard
2 x 8-pin CPU
Fan Headers 2 x 4-pin CPU
4 x 4-pin Chassis
4 x 4-pin Chassis/Water pump
IO Panel 2 x Antenna Ports (Intel)
1 x USB 3.2 G2x2 Type-C
1 x USB 3.2 G2 Type-C
5 x USB 3.2 G2 Type-A
4 x USB 3.2 G1 Type-A
1 x RJ45 (Marvell)
1 x DisplayPort 1.4 Output
5 x 3.5 mm Audio jacks (Realtek)
1 x S/PDIF Optical output (Realtek)
1 x Clear CMOS button
1 x Q-Flash BIOS Flashback button

There is plenty of connectivity on the GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Master, including one USB 3.2 G2x2 Type-C, one USB 3.2 G2 Type-C, five USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, and four USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports on the rear panel. In terms of front panel USB support, there's one USB 3.2 G2x2 Type-C header (one port), two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A headers (four ports), and two USB 2.0 headers (four ports).

GIGABYTE is using a premium networking array including one Marvell AQtion AQC113 10 GbE controller and an Intel AX211 Wi-Fi 6E CNVi. Onboard audio is also premium with a single Realtek ALC1220-VB HD audio codec that powers five 3.5 mm audio jacks and S/PDIF optical output. This is also assisted by an ESS Sabre ES9118 DAC.

Test Bed

With some of the nuances with Intel's Alder Lake processors including the new P and E-cores, our policy is to see if the system gives an automatic option to increase the power limits of the processor. If it does, we select the liquid cooling option. If it does not, we do not change the defaults.

Test Setup
Processor Intel Core i9-12900K, 125 W, $589
8P + 8E Cores, 24 Threads 3.2 GHz (5.2 GHz P-Core Turbo)
Motherboard GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Master (BIOS F1)
Cooling ASUS ROG Ryujin II 360mm AIO
Power Supply Corsair HX850 80Plus Platinum 850 W
Memory Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-4800 CL 14-14-14-34 2T (2 x 16 GB)
Video Card MSI GTX 1080 (1178/1279 Boost)
Hard Drive Crucial MX300 1TB
Case Corsair Crystal 680X
Operating System Windows 10 Pro 64-bit: Build 21H2

We must also thank the following:

Hardware Providers for CPU and Motherboard Reviews
Sapphire RX 460 Nitro MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X OC Crucial MX200 +
MX500 SSDs
Corsair AX860i +
AX1200i PSUs
G.Skill RipjawsV,
SniperX, FlareX
Crucial Ballistix
BIOS And Software System Performance
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  • megapleb - Friday, February 25, 2022 - link

    "Still, one that aims to offer users something of a sweet spot for enthusiasts and gamers with a mixture of premium features and gaming-inspired aesthetics is the GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Master."

    $490 is a sweet spot? I understand there are more expensive boards, but that's already a hell of a lot of money for a consumer motherboard. I think we have normalized way too high a price for "premium" motherboards.
  • timecop1818 - Friday, February 25, 2022 - link

    There's no reason to spend more than 250-ish on a z690 board, like the MSI pro-a. this dumb thing covers up half the board with shitty heatsinks and makes working on a board already in case or swapping SSDs etc a real chore. and 10gb? lol, you can buy 10g sfp+ cards for like $40 on eBay.
  • Samus - Sunday, February 27, 2022 - link

    The audio implementation on this board is $100 alone. While $499 is a stretch, this is clearly a premium product with substantially more attention to detail than a $250 board that will likely have weaker VRM's, an ALC887, and definitely no 10Gbe.
  • damianrobertjones - Monday, February 28, 2022 - link

    Its' not £100 when the price is artificially created from thin air.
  • Samus - Thursday, March 3, 2022 - link

    Not sure what you are on about. The only thing artificially created from thin air is your statement. A quality audio solution on par with that integrated with this board is $100. That was my point.
  • Tom Sunday - Tuesday, April 5, 2022 - link

    Greetings from Stehekin, WA. Still enjoying high speed internet access at 25mbps Besides I would never appreciate the difference of 10Gbe under any circumstances. Almost $500 for any Z690 MB is insane I can simply not afford it like probably 95% of the viewers here. Realty and the 'man on the street' like me seems to be a totally forgotten segment seen at most tech-channels. As to thin air...the high mountain air here in Stehekin is indeed thin and super clean.
  • firewrath9 - Monday, February 28, 2022 - link

    Most people dont have fiber in their home. A 10 gbase-t card costs $75-100+
  • lilkwarrior - Tuesday, March 1, 2022 - link

    It's primarily for NAS and other high-end use cases.
  • lilkwarrior - Tuesday, March 1, 2022 - link

    *productive use cases.
  • ddhelmet - Friday, February 25, 2022 - link

    Just get a Z690-A PRO and a 10gig pci-e if you really want one. I just don't see the point of this board.

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