Review GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER: the work of the master is afraid

Intel has just recently introduced the desktop processors of the Coffee Lake Refresh family. You probably already know everything about new chips. For the first time, 8-core models appeared in the line of mass CPUs for the LGA1151 platform. The clock frequencies grew again, the volumes of cache memory increased, which means that performance gains are possible without changing the process technology, funnily designated by Intel as 14 ++ nm. Together with the new processors, the company also introduced a top-end chipset – Intel Z390. On its basis, motherboard manufacturers presented a whole scattering of models, which very quickly appeared in retail sales. For the first acquaintance with devices on the updated PCH, we used the GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER board.

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Intel Z390 chipset

Up to this point for all enthusiast motherboards with The LGA1151-v2 slot used Intel Z370 chipsets. These are the first chips in the Intel 300 series, which are manufactured using 22nm technology and appeared last fall, simultaneously with the launch of the Coffee Lake processors. The Intel H310 / B360 / H370 chipsets presented later were already manufactured using more advanced technology (14 nm), and also had a number of functional improvements that distinguish them from the Intel Z370. The latter of course did not turn into a pumpkin with the release of the new PCH, but the status of the flagship requires to be the best in all respects. Offering a new Intel Z390 chipset, the developers are removing the issue of the functionality of the older PCH.

Despite the lack of production capacity, these chips are manufactured according to the standards of 14 nm. In terms of equipment, the Intel Z390 repeats in many ways the capabilities of the Intel Z370. Key differences include an integrated USB 3.1 Gen2 controller and Intel Wireless 802.11ac computing logic to support wireless networks. The rest of the functionality is similar to that of its predecessor.

Intel Z390 Intel Z370 Intel H370 Intel B360 Intel H310
Manufacturing technology 14 nm 19199
19659015] 14 nm 14 nm 14 nm
Overclocking CPU / memory + +
Intel ME Firmware 12 11 12 12 12
CPU PCI-E 1 × 16; 2 × 8; 8 + 2 × 4 1 × 16; 2 × 8; 8 + 2 × 4 1 × 16 1 × 16 1 × 16
Lines HSIO 30 30 30 24 14 [19659019] PCI-E 3.0 Lines 24 24 20 12 6 (2.0)
SATA 6 Gb / s 6 6 6 [19659051] 6 4
Total number of USB 14 14 14 12 10
USB 3.1 Gen2 6 0 [19659015] 4 4 0
USB 3.1 Gen1 10 10 8 6 4
Max. RST for PCI-E 3 3 2 1 0
Support for Intel Optane + + + +
Intel Wireless-AC + + + +
Intel Smart Sound + + + +
TDP 6 W 6 W 6 W 6 W 6 W

The chipset offers a total of 30 HSIO, 24 PCI Express 3.0 lines, allows sharing PCI-E processor lines, overclock the platform, use high-speed RAM modules. In general, a full-fledged top-end chipset within the LGA1151-v2, without any omissions. Motherboard manufacturers are not without pleasure offering a wide range of devices on the new PCH. The company GIGABYTE presented ten diverse models at once. Today we will take a closer look at the best-equipped board of the new line – GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER.

Scope of supply

The board comes in a medium-sized box decorated in dark colors with a large logo on the top panel. Already by the weight of the package, you can expect an extended package and a reinforced body kit of the cooling system for the board elements.

The set includes a user manual, installation manual, driver disk, four SATA interface cables, three adapters extension cable for RGB tapes, a remote antenna for the Wi-Fi module, a set of mounting screws for M.2 drives, and a G-Connector panel for convenient connection of all controls and indicators.

In addition, SLI is offered with the motherboard bridge to connect I have a pair of NVIDIA graphics cards with Pascal architecture. Recall that adapters for a bunch of top adapters of the Turing generation (RTX 2080/2080 Ti) cost about $ 80-90, because such devices are unlikely to be offered bundled with motherboards.

As for the GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER, the box with the device, it was also pleasant to find two external thermal sensors with conductors about 90 cm long, as well as a couple of reusable cable ties for laying cables inside the case. A set of branded stickers and a corporate hard label on the case with the AORUS logo can also be useful.

Design and layout

As it is easy to identify by the name of GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER, the model is based on the Intel Z390 chipset. The model can work with all available assortment of processors Intel Core of the 8th and 9th generations. The board has classic dimensions for the ATX format 305 × 244 mm and is externally framed in dark colors.

The printed circuit board of the device of this level is expected to receive a matte finish. The silvery elements of the VRM cooling system and the chipset, as well as large radiator bars for M.2 drives, contrast well against the general background. The interface panel area and the audio subsystem area are covered with a decorative plastic casing.

The power subsystem of the board has a 14-phase (6 × 2 + 2) configuration. Elements of the International Rectifier are used for the stabilization unit. In particular, the power assemblies IR3553 (40A), doublers IR3599 and control controller IR35201. A very representative set, especially for the gaming model of the motherboard.

Very carefully, the developers reacted to the additional cooling of the MOSFET assemblies. For heat removal, rather large radiator blocks are used, consisting of a set of aluminum plates. In this case, the area of ​​heat dissipation significantly increases. Such a composite design as a whole is very rare for motherboards, especially if we consider modern models. However, in this case, in addition to composing radiators, a heat pipe is also used that combines both cooling units. And there is a direct contact of the tube with the power elements. Of course, through the heat-conducting sticker. In this case, these are 1.5-mm LIARD plates with a thermal conductivity of 5 W / (m · K). In general, with cooling VRM this time they were more confused.

The developers of GIGABYTE are so severe that they dressed even a pair of 8-pin additional power connectors in a metal casing. You will not have a single chance to damage these connectors.

Of the more practical features, the manufacturer notes that the ATX and EPS12V use solid, not composite, contact legs.

Four slots for DIMM modules allow you to use up to 64 GB of RAM memory standard DDR4. The manufacturer declared support for DDR4-4266 modes. The long list of validated kits includes kits up to DDR4-4133, which means higher frequencies are a matter of the board owner's experiments.

The connectors are sheathed with metal casings to increase strength and protect the PCB from deflection when attaching the cooling system. The slots assume two-sided fixation of modules, which is more convenient if there is enough space between the bottom mount and the video card installed in the PCI-E x16 slot.

Of course, the board supports XMP, and when the corresponding profile is activated, the corresponding region.

GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER offers six expansion slots. These are three full-length PCI Express x16 and the same amount of PCI Express x1. All full-size connectors are metal framed. Here, the gain is really appropriate, unlike the slots for DIMM, where there is still more marketing.

Despite the size of full-length connectors, their capabilities depend on the allocated number of PCI Express lines of the processor and the chipset. The first slot can work in x16 mode. If there are two video cards, the first and second will offer the x8 + x8 scheme, while the third one is served by the chipset and initially works in the x4 mode. GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER supports SLI and CrossFireX bundles, and in the latter case you can even hypothetically use a combination with three video cards on AMD chips.

In the case of the GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER, the manufacturer makes an obvious emphasis on using the board in as the basis for a powerful gaming platform. At the same time, the model has the makings of a device for active experiments with overclocking. We have already mentioned the enhanced processor power subsystem and its cooling. The board also features a typical set of options for enthusiastic models.

The illuminated buttons for turning on the system and clearing the CMOS memory are displayed on the interface panel.

The OC key is located in the upper right corner which starts the processor overclocking mechanism to a predetermined level by the manufacturer. When activated, the key is illuminated from the inside.

The upper edge of the board also has a group of contacts for measuring voltages on various nodes of the system.

In the lower corner there is a group of status indicators that reflect possible problems during the launch of the platform.

For a more detailed diagnosis, a segment indicator is provided at the bottom edge of the board. By the error code, you can first determine the source of potential problems at the start. Next to the LED indicator is a miniature system reset button (Reset).

GIGABYTE have been using DualBIOS technology for a long time without planning to abandon the redundancy mechanism of the basic firmware. The board under consideration, besides the fact that two BIOS chips are used, one of them is installed in a removable panel allowing to replace the chip without soldering. There are also two control switches on the PCB. One allows you to manually change the active BIOS chip, the second enables / disables the DualBIOS mechanism. The currently active chip is additionally highlighted by a separate LED.

The board offers eight 4-pin connectors to configure the cooling system. Some of them are reinforced to work with powerful pumps SVO.

GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER is literally littered with internal thermal sensors, allowing to monitor the temperature of various components. In addition, there are two connectors for connecting external thermocouples, which, we recall, are initially offered complete with the board.

The values ​​of all thermal sensors can be used to customize the algorithm of the cooling system.

Without which, now no motherboard can be considered gaming? Of course, without an RGB backlight. It must be said that the developers did not become zealous in this and did not use the once-familiar massive light attack for the GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER. In this case, the LEDs are located in the VRM area, under the decorative cover in the sound path area and in the upper right corner on the back side of the motherboard.

The plate-light guide with the large AORUS logo is illuminated effectively. In such a rather restrained design, the motherboard looks interesting. The unbridled riot of color and the “work on the squares” do not add to the attractiveness of devices, except that the owners have to fill the entire interior of the system unit with light.

However, just for such purposes, the board has two connectors for RGB ribbon with 5050 elements (12 V) and a pair of connectors for addressable LED strings. In the latter case, you can use versions of tapes with a voltage of 5 V or 12 V. Jumpers with switching power modes are near both connectors (D_LED).

RGB Fusion application is available to set the backlight settings. The new version of the utility has changed the interface, added some additional modes, as well as the ability to synchronize the backlight of several devices.

In addition to the secondary body kit, much attention is paid to the main nodes. The board has six SATA ports. Block with connectors placed on the right edge of the printed circuit board.

In addition GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER is equipped with three ports M.2. There are two universal landing pads for drives up to 110 mm long and one for devices in the 2280 format. As you can see, additional cooling is provided for all M.2 drives. In this case, it is quite weighty aluminum bars with heat-conducting tapes. Good protection against overheating of high-speed storage controllers.

Two of the three ports are universal. It is possible to install both productive PCI-E x4 NVMe SSDs and M.2 drives with data interface via SATA in them. The bottom slot only supports PCI-E devices and shares bandwidth with a PCI Express x4 chipset slot. Also note that the board is ready to work with Intel Optane Memory caching accelerators.

In general, the Intel Z390 has enough I / O ports and PCI Express lines to create complex combinations of drives, but some minimal restrictions are all there is also in this case. But this will not be a problem for typical home configurations.

Of the interesting options, we note that the M.2 connectors also have a metal frame.

Developing the periphery theme, we note that The GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER has an internal USB connector for outputting one USB Type-C port to the enclosure wall, in this case, this is a high-speed USB 3.1 Gen2 with a bandwidth of up to 10 Gb / s.

also offers one internal USB 3.0 for two ports. The connector is notable for the implementation of USB TurboCharger technology for accelerated charging of mobile devices that support Quick Charge.

For a wired connection to the network, use the controller Intel i219-V. In addition, the board uses the new resources of the Intel Z390 for a high-speed wireless connection. Recall that the chipset received support for the Intel Wireless-AC MAC, but to enable these features PCH requires an additional companion module CRF, which implements the radio part of the controller. In this case, the fastest dual-band (2.4 / 5 GHz) Intel Wireless-AC 9650 module is used, supporting Wi-Fi 802.11ac Wave 2 networks with a 160 MHz channel and a maximum data transfer rate of up to 1733 Mb / s. Bluetooth 5.0 support is also announced.

The module is installed in the interface connector area. Two connectors are displayed on the panel for connecting an external amplifying antenna (there is a card included). The manufacturer has thoroughly worked the network part of the platform, leaving no questions here.

For the audio subsystem GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER the 8-channel Realtek ALC1220-VB codec is used. According to the manufacturer, the modification with the “VB” index has improved characteristics of the microphone input. In addition, the circuit uses high-quality discrete DAC ESS Saber 9118, a separate frequency generator and WIMA audiophile capacitance.

The audio section is partially separated from the main PCB array and is covered with a plastic panel with an illuminated ESS Saber HiFi inscription. Subjectively, the sound quality is at a very decent level for solving this class. There is a good power reserve for the buildup of headphones with an increased input impedance.

Considering the composition of the interface connectors, we immediately note the fixed metal panel. In this version, you will not forget to install a stub during PC assembly.

There is a minimum of free space on the panel itself, although there is a small free area for an already recognizable eagle profile. As we have already noted, two keys are drawn on the stub – Power and Clear CMOS. There are threaded connectors nearby for mounting the antennas of the wireless module. Unexpectedly, the panel also lined up a line of four USB 2.0. Considering a pair of internal connectors for four more ports, some of them are implemented using an additional hub bridge.

Two USB 3.0 with yellow inserts – reinforced ports with the ability to increase the supply voltage (up to +0.3 V ) to compensate for subsidence when using long conductors.

You can adjust the supplied voltage directly from the BIOS.

Four USB 3.1 Gen2 are also on the panel. Three high-speed Type-A connectors are easy to distinguish by the red internal elements, and the only Type-C also complies with the latest USB standard. The presence of a large number of available USB 3.1 will not be superfluous, the benefits of accelerated ports are already easy to feel in practice, for example, when connecting portable SSDs.

One digital HDMI is provided for connecting screens. It would be possible to complain about a modest set of outputs, but surely a discrete video card will be used for a platform with such a motherboard. Universal HDMI in this case looks like insurance.

To connect the acoustics, there are five audio jacks and optical S / PDIF.

On the reverse side of the board covers the metal plate. Moreover, the massive plate is used not only to strengthen the structure and protect against damage, but also improves the temperature regime of the power conditioner. В области расположения  элементов VRM предусмотрены выпрессованые сегменты, которые через теплопроводящие прокладки соприкасаются с печатной платой, отбирая и рассеивая часть тепла из зоны повышенного нагрева.

В работе

Для платы предлагается обновленная версия оболочки UEFI. Визуально приложение теперь выглядит более строго, добавлены всплывающие подсказки для различных параметров, хотя принципиальных изменений в структуре не так много.

К группировке некоторых параметров нужно привыкать, особенно если ранее вы использовали платы других производителей.

Опций для настройки системы более, чем достаточно. Доступен целый набор для точной подстройки работы подсистемы стабилизации. Напряжение питания на процессоре можно регулировать в диапазоне 1,1–1,8 В с шагом 0,005 В. На модулях памяти напряжение изменяется в пределах 1,0–2,0 с дискретностью 0,01 В.

Для желающих поэкспериментировать с разгоном созданы все условия. Может это и не оборудованная для мировых рекордов модель, но плата имеет очень приличных силовой блок с хорошим охлаждением и предлагает пристойный набор для форсирования процессора/памяти.

Имеющиеся пресеты для автоматического разгона CPU Upgrade пока не предлагают профили для чипов Core 9-го поколения. Но если нужен быстрый результат, можно попробовать турбо-режим, нажав кнопку «ОС» в правом верхнем углу платы

Мы тестировали платформу с новым процессором Core i7-9700K. В этом случае режим ОС предполагает ускорение процессора до 5100 МГц при нагрузке на все вычислительные ядра. Во время прохождения теста стабильности AIDA64, напряжение на вычислительных блоках чипа увеличивалась до 1,44–1,452 В. Это достаточно высокие значение, учитывая стоковые для подобных 1,2–1,25 В.

Под нагрузкой температура отдельных ядер повышалась до 90–95С даже при использовании эффективного воздушного кулера Thermalright Archon Rev.A. То есть чип хотя и оставался стабильным с стресс-тесте, находился в шаге от перегрева и активации механизма троттлинга. Очевидно, что напряжение питания высоковато, но изменять параметры нужно уже самостоятельно.

Производитель наверняка еще будет оптимизировать настройки. Хотя, на старте платформы возможны, пока идет первичная обкатка, возможны и не очень приятные сюрпризы. Например, после замены начальной версии BIOS F4 на более новую F5 в преобразился визуальный стиль оболочки UEFI, а вот при активации авторазгона для процессора Core i7-9700K напряжение увеличивалось до запредельных 1,5+ В. Под нагрузкой чип мгновенно перегревался. Над этим элементом прошивки еще нужно поработать.

Если говорить о режиме материнской платы, то она отлично справилась с повышенной нагрузкой. Как видно на скриншоте, температура в области VRM повышалась всего до 47С. Нагревалась и опорная защитная пластина, а значит и она отводила часть тепла, участвуя в охлаждении области VRM.

В ручном режиме удалось получить 5200 МГц, используя 1,4 В и режим Turbo для CPU LoadLine Calibration для компенсации просадок под нагрузкой. Абсолютная стабильность требует тщательного тестирования, в данном же случае нас скорее в общем  интересовал потенциал новых процессоров. В указанных условиях на 5300 МГц процессор начинал сбоить, а при 5400 МГц нашему экземпляру процессора уже не удавалось загрузить операционную систему. Исследование частотных возможностей Coffee Lake Refresh заслуживает отдельного материала, пока же можем отметить, что 5+ ГГц вполне по силам новым чипам Intel.

В штатном режиме под нагрузкой на все ядра Core i7-9700K работал на 4600 МГц при 1,224 В. Обратим внимание на температурные показатели чипа. Отдельные ядра процессора нагревались до 60–65С. И это при использовании воздушного кулера. Давно мы не видели таких результатов, а здесь еще и речь идет о 8-ядерном процессоре, пусть и без поддержки Hyper-Threading. Припой под крышкой творит чудеса. Наконец-то у владельцев чипов Intel вновь появилась возможность без «скальпирования» влиять на температурный режим работы процессоров, используя охладитель подходящей эффективности.

Датчик материнской платы в области VRM сообщает о нагреве всего до 38С. Это даже как-то неприлично мало, даже с учетом +20–22С в помещении. Мы уже отвыкли от таких значений. Похвально.

Плюсы: Расширенная функциональность; аккуратный дизайн со сдержанной RGB-подсветкой; мощный блок VRM с отличным охлаждением; три отсека с отдельными радиаторами для M.2-накопителей; звуковая подсистема с Realtek ALC1220-VB и DAC ESS Sabre 9118; набор портов USB 3.1 Gen2; разъемы USB DAC-UP с регулировкой напряжения; поддержка быстрой зарядки для корпусных USB 3.0; поддержка SLI/CrossFireX; защитная плита с функцией отвода тепла; набор органов управления и диагностики; металлическая обшивка для многих разъемов; возможности настройки системы охлаждения; опции с подключением дополнительных RGB-лент; расширенный комплект поставки

Минусы: Цена на старте продаж; нюансы авторазгона; один видеовыход HDMI 1.4

Вывод: GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER – материнская плата на базе Intel Z390 для процессоров Intel Core 8/9-го поколений. Топовая модель позволяет использовать все функциональные особенности нового чипсета, предлагая целую россыпь портов USB 3.1 Gen2, скоростной беспроводной модуль Wi-Fi 802.11ac, три отсека для M.2-накопителей с элементами охлаждения и улучшенную звуковую подсистему с дискретным DAC. Приятно видеть, что производитель не брал за основу модель на Intel Z370, а предложил новую усовершенствованную платформу с учетом возможности флагманского PCH. Отдельного упоминания заслуживает мощный силовой модуль с эффективной системой охлаждения, что будет очень кстати для желающих покорять частотные рубежи 5+ ГГц. В целом по оснащению устройства чувствуется внимание к деталям, хотя механизм авторазгона еще требует программной доработки BIOS.

Технические характеристики

Обзор GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER: дело мастера боится" style="float:left; margin-right:15px;GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER
9 363 − 11 429 грн
Сравнить цены
Тип Материнская плата
Тип разъема CPU Socket 1151
Северный мост
Южный мост Intel Z390
Охлаждение южного моста Радиатор
Охлаждение VRM Радиатор
Встроенное видео интегрировано в процессор Intel
PCI Express x4
PCI Express x1 3
Графич. интерфейс 3x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16/x8/x4)
DIMM 4xDDR4 4133, до 64 ГБ
IDE (Parallel ATA) (чипсет/доп. контроллер)
Serial ATA (чипсет/доп. контроллер)
SATA Revision 3.0 (чипсет/доп. контроллер) 6/-
SATA Express (чипсет/доп. контроллер)
mSATA/M.2 -/4 (3хM-Key slot, 1хCNVi wireless module)
Основные разъёмы питания 24+8
Дополнительное питание 1×8-pin
Aудиокодек Realtek ALC1220-VB (7.1)
Ethernet Intel (GbE)
SATA Revision 3.0
SATA Express
IEEE 1394 (FireWire)
USB 3.0 -[19659186]USB 3.1
eSATA Rev. 2.0
eSATA Rev. 3.0
Audio 5
S/PDIF-Out (Coaxial/Optical) -/+
Выходы для монитора 1хHDMI
USB 3.1 Gen 2 1(Type-C)+3(Type-A)/1(Type-C)/-
USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB 3.0) 2/1(2 порта)/-
USB 1.1/2.0 4/2(4 порта)/-
SATA интерфейсный/питание устройств нет данных
Форм-фактор ATX, 244х305 мм
Поддержка двух и более видеокарт 2-Way NVIDIA SLI, 3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFire
Поддержка RAID 0/1/5/10
Адаптер Wi-Fi +(802.11ac dual band, Bluetooth 5.0)
Поддержка UEFI +
Разное 12 Phases IR Digital VRM Solution with PowIRstage, Intel Optane Memory Ready, R GB FUSION with Multi-Zone Addressable LED Light Show Design, Smart Fan 5

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