GIGABYTE Z790 Aorus Xtreme Motherboard Review: Flagship Z790 With Impressive VRM Thermalsby Gavin Bonshor on September 5, 2023 9:00 AM EST
Having seen GIGABYTE's UEFI BIOS many times, the firmware on GIGABYTE Z790 Aorus Xtreme hasn't changed much from previous generations, especially not in terms of the overall theme. The GUI on GIGABYTE's UEFI firmware has Aorus-styled grey and orange highlighting along the top and white text, easily visible on the predominantly black background. Like other vendors, GIGABYTE has two primary BIOS modes for users to select. The first time a user initially boots into the firmware, it brings up the 'easy Mode,' while more advanced users looking to overclock and make other adjustments can press F2 to switch to the 'advanced mode.'
Starting with The 'easy mode' is very similar in functionality to other vendor's implementations, such as ASRock. Cramming quite a lot into one primary splash screen, users can enable XMP or AMD's EXPO profiles on supported memory and change the boot sequence by clicking, dragging, and reordering at will. Users can also access GIGABYTE-specific optimizations, including an Instant 6 GHz profile, disabling E-cores, as well as accessing Smart Fan (F6), Q-Flash (F8), and the advanced mode (F2) by pressing the relevant hotkeys.
Entering the advanced section of the firmware, users looking to overclock their processors will find all the relevant settings within the Tweaker area. The GIGABYTE Z790 Aorus Xtreme is an enthusiast-level flagship so users can customize many CPU voltages, memory latency, power, and integrated graphics settings. GIGABYTE also offers a few profiles for users to overclock the CPU, including a gaming profile and an Instant 6 GHz profile. However, we wouldn't recommend using this unless a user has at least custom water cooling, as Intel's Core i9-13900K does hit thermal limits even on a premium AIO cooler.
Users looking to enable XMP profiles can do so quickly enough, and all of the Intel Z790 boards we've tested so far also support memory with AMD's EXPO profiles. There are extensive memory tweaking options with lots of latency settings, including primary, secondary, and tertiary values, all able to be customized.
Overall, the GIGABYTE UEFI firmware is easy to use and responsive to our USB keyboard and mouse. It has many customizable settings for users to change, and there are plenty of avenues available to increase overall system performance, including extensive memory tweaking options, as well as plenty of options for overclocking both the P and E-cores on Intel's Raptor Lake (13th Gen) and Alder Lake (12th Gen) processors.
Supplied with the Z790 Aorus Xtreme motherboard is a unified software bundle that revolves around the GIGABYTE Control Center application. Acting as a plexus hub for all of GIGABYTE's software utilities, the Control Center includes FAN Control, GIGABYTE's RGB Fusion, and EasyTune, which has now been rebranded as 'Performance' within the utility.
Perhaps the performance section is the most helpful part for enthusiasts within the GIGABYTE Control Center software. This area allows users to overclock their processors within Windows. It has many options available, including CPU core clock ratio modification and many voltage options for users to customize. Users can also modify and set more aggressive power limits and load-line calibration settings.
Overall, GIGABYTE's Control Center is a convenient application, and we like that GIGABYTE has gone for a more uniform solution to streamline all key applications into one place. Users aren't limited to just overclocking, but users can customize the board's RGB LED lighting, as well as sync them across peripherals and compatible chassis fans. Users can create customized fan profiles or go with GIGABYTE's predefined settings.