Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Pro Motherboard Review

With the launch of Intel’s new twelfth generation processors, many companies have unveiled the new generations of motherboards. Because this generation of processors is different in terms of supporting the new generation DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 technologies, this has resulted in two types or two classes of new motherboards, some of which work on the older DDR4 memory standard, while the bulk of the boards move to the new generation of DDR5 memory. We have already reviewed a number of new motherboards, all of which were in the top category of the new generation. Of course, we wouldn’t say they were the best the new generation had to offer, simply because they didn’t come from the higher chains of companies, but they were good enough to be premium solutions too. And today we are on a date with a new guest from this category as well.

As everyone knows, Gigabyte already has an impressive lineup of motherboards launched with the new generation, but the most exciting are the ones that come under its enthusiast-focused AORUS brand. Although the new Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Pro motherboard that we have today is not the brightest or the highest in this class, as that position will most likely go to the Z690 XTREME, however, the Pro class represents the entry class within the same upper class of motherboards Motherboards, that is, they are considered the cheapest in the category of high-cost motherboards intended for overclocking or overclocking. This, of course, means one thing, which is that you will get most of the distinguishing features of its more expensive models, without exaggerating the price you will pay.

Introduction and overview of the motherboard and the new generation

Intel is finally back on the scene, my friends. This in itself is commendable, not only for the company, for example, in the end we do not have shares in the company and we will earn more money if it returns or not. But as consumers, we will definitely benefit from the intense competition between the red and blue camps in terms of features and prices. And in order not to confuse you, dear reader, here we do not mean that it was completely regressive in terms of competition for the best performance or in terms of sales and market share. But the truth is that Intel has been falling a lot, both in terms of market share and sales that are starting to dwindle, or more importantly for many, innovation versus what AMD is doing. But it seems that this will finally change with the new generation that we have now.

Intel has finally broken its own routine, which the company has been accustomed to for just over a decade. The reason for this is the fact that we are facing a new, different generation. This time, the company has not only launched a new generation of processors that increases the number of cores one or two with increasing frequencies 100 or 200 MHz as it has been happening for a period of time, but what is distinctive this time is the number of changes that accompanied this new architecture and made us already see a clear and clear renewal. This time, the new changes finally made us feel for the first time that Intel is really introducing something new with the new generation, instead of just increasing the frequencies or the number of cores.

And when we talk about motherboards from the new 12th generation from Intel, we have to talk about what Gigabyte offers with the flagship Z690 Aorus Pro motherboard, which is a slightly lower version of the Aorus Master and provides many of the standards of quality, performance, and design that fans are looking for computers around the world. This is not unusual for Gigabyte, as the company has been one of the beacons of technology and the poles of competition over time. And this time, GIGABYTE is back again with the new generation of Intel to put its own charming touch with the new Z690 motherboards. It is worth noting that GIGABYTE will launch this generation a wide range of motherboards. With 14 new motherboards, Gigabyte aims to provide all kinds of solutions for different user groups from professional gamers, to content creators, to overclockers and workstations.

What’s new in the Z690 chip?

In conjunction with the announcement of Intel’s new Alder Lake series CPUs, motherboard manufacturers have unveiled dozens of new Z690-based motherboards to line up with the new 12th generation processors. As usual (mostly) these new motherboards offer the latest and greatest technology supported by the new processors, including support for DDR5 memory, while some motherboards support DDR4 memory. This is of course in addition to support for the new PCIe 5.0 standard, and an upgrade for power connections.

Perhaps one of the most important features of the new processors from Intel this time is the focus on the power design of the processors, which is clearly demonstrated by the architecture itself. As this time Intel has moved towards a design different from what it was in the past in terms of kernel distribution, the new big LITTLE architecture that the company is adopting is working to provide this point well. The largest cores or performance cores, which are referred to by the symbol P or Performance, are the most powerful and draw power cores, and their function is certainly to work in case the system needs high computational power, while the E or Efficiency power cores provide a quiet working atmosphere by saving energy and work Quietly.

New socket, assorted chips

One of the main things that distinguishes the new Z690-generation chipset from the previous generation is the new LGA1700 socket. As with any new generation, this one comes with additional lower-end chipsets such as the H670, B660 and H610. As for those waiting for the HEDT update, they won’t be forgotten, as the X699 chipset seems to be on the horizon. While workstation users will get the W680 and W685 chipset for Xeon processors.

Support for the latest PCIe 5.0 standard

One of the main differences in the new Z690 chipset is PCIe 5.0 support as standard, which doubles the available bandwidth to 64 Gbps. This higher bandwidth will enable you to run more devices (M.2 slots, for example) that use PCIe lanes connected to the CPU and not lose the performance of your graphics card.

Alder Lake processors will support a total of 20 CPU lanes coming from the same processor, for a total of 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes and four additional PCIe 4.0 lanes. The platform divides the lanes of 5G 5.0 such as x16 or x8 for graphics and x4/x4 for storage, allowing a full 64Gbps bandwidth for these segments. The four PCIe 4.0 lanes provide additional connectivity for redundant storage should you need to install any of them.

DMI link optimization

Another new feature is the increased speed of the DMI link between the chipset and the CPU. With the previous generation, the Z590 chip doubled the link speed, going from PCIe 3.0 x4 to PCIe 3.0 x8. And now with the Z690, Intel has doubled that again, this time jumping DMI link speed to PCIe 4.0 x8.

Support for the latest DDR5 memory standard

This time around, too, Intel takes precedence over DDR5 support for consumer desktop platforms, providing users with more bandwidth and power while consuming less power. Convenient this time around for those who don’t want to migrate yet to DDR5, they can buy Z690 motherboards that support older DDR4 memory. And since rumors suggest that currently the performance differences between DDR4 and DDR5 are not significant in many use cases, staying with the older memory is still a good option for many. However, we don’t expect a huge difference until DDR5 memory matures (ie faster speeds and lower response times).

XMP 3.0 profiles, Dynamic Memory Boost technology

The new generation is simply an upgraded version of XMP files but for the new DDR5 memory standard that was introduced with Alder Lake processors. With the new version comes a plethora of improvements, including more profiles, the ability to name profiles that you can customize yourself, and more standard voltage control with integrated DDR5 voltage control. As for DMB, it is a technology that allows the CPU’s built-in memory controller to convert from standard JEDEC file speeds to existing XMP frequencies depending on the task the memory is dealing with (it works in a similar sense to processors’ boost frequencies).

A look at the Z690 AUROS PRO motherboard

Of course, Gigabyte is a well-respected name in the industry. And from there comes the AORUS category, which is the gaming department specialized in overclocking. So only their best devices fall under this brand. And if you are a good follower of the world of motherboards, you must already know that the AUROS MASTER series is one of the leading categories from GIGABYTE. So today we are definitely, and above all, facing one of the Z690 chipset motherboards that hit the market, so it’s packed with great features and components to drive the best possible performance of the new generation.

In fact, when looking at the technical specifications of this board, it is hard to believe that this is one of the most inexpensive boards in this category, as it will provide you with many of the technical features that you will find in the superior boards. For a start, a 16+1+2 Direct VRM power stage design with 90A Power Stage and premium Tantalum Polymer capacitors throughout, delivers massive Max Boost frequencies with the latest new Intel processors. You’ll also get the latest support for DDR5 memory, and great heatsinks on all vital parts.

There is also support for the latest Intel WiFi 6, as well as support for 2.5Gb LAN to meet all your networking needs. Along with several more modern PCIe Gen 4 ports for M.2 storage, and more modern PCIe 5.0 ports for the graphics card. All with technologies like Q-Flash, which is also great, which allows you to update your BIOS without installing a CPU, memory, and graphics card; Which may save you in many situations!

Packaging and accessories

The design of the board is great in terms of looks, but it doesn’t give a lot of information up front. However, looking at the back of the board, you can see a nice breakdown of just about everything! . As there are details about the Direct Digital VRM design, heatsink design, DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 memory and networking, pretty much everything you need to know, but the QR Code will take you to their website for more details as well. As for the components of the case itself, on the front you will find a distinctive badge or “sticker” for the case itself, in addition to all the usual documents such as the user’s manual and installation guide. All kinds of screws and cables you’ll need, as well as thermal sensors and network WiFi antennas, are also included.

Closer look

Again, this is an entry-level motherboard—the PRO is the lowest in the top tier—almost by AORUS standards than its own, but aesthetically it’s still a top-tier motherboard. This motherboard looks really nice and has a lot of heat sinks and shields but it doesn’t cover the whole board unreasonably. You can still see the PCB here and there, but of course all these unarmored places will be exposed for some purpose. The design can be a bit vibrant in terms of colours, with plenty of tones here and there, with plenty of gray print on the PCB that pairs well with the black, and matches the shield design back as well.

Now let’s move on to the most important thing for all of us, which is the technical specifications of this motherboard, and as usual we will start designing the power stages or the VRM that looks great for a motherboard at this price. The board features 16 VCORE 90A power stages, 1 VCCGT with 60A Power Stage for the iGPU, and 2 VCCAUX Phases with 70A DrMOS for PCIe and memory controllers. The CPU draws its power from the 8-pin header, however, there is an additional 4-pin socket that can be used to improve stability while overclocking and/or boosting frequencies.

Looking at the right side, you’ll find a built-in power controller, as well as a BIOS debugging LED. You’ll also find the four DDR5 DIMMS ports on the AORUS Pro, which of course supports XMP 3.0 overclocked files to deliver speeds of up to 6200MHz. And of course, you’ll be able to bypass that by overclocking as well. The board also comes with DDT5 unlocked voltage modes. AORUS motherboard features a single PCIe 5.0 socket, which features a new armored design using a stainless-steel bracket that’s more secure on the board than ever before, while providing more protection and a better connection overall. However, you can also get a pair of PCIe 3.0 slots too, should you need them.

You’ll also find an M.2 heatsink above the top PCIe lane, but there are also three more M.2 ports below the larger heatsink underneath. It is worth noting here that the four ports supported by the AORUS Pro motherboard come from the M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 generation but are also compatible with previous versions of PCIe 3.0 storage as well. And in case you’re looking for more storage, you can connect additional volumes via the six SATA3 ports, although their speeds certainly won’t come close to the new Gen 4.0 volumes.

AORUS put some good audio hardware on this board as well. The board uses the latest ALC4080 chipset plus the ALC1220 codec, all mounted on separate, shielded connections to improve performance, and there’s even a bank of premium audio WIAM capacitors. The board supports high-resolution audio of 110 dB in the front jack and 120 dB in the rear. The microphone is also improved from 92dB to 110dB versus the previous Z590 model. Finally, looking at the back of the board towards the rear I/O ports, it’s also very convenient.

While the board doesn’t have as many 3.2 Gen 2 ports as more expensive models, it makes up for this by offering a good variety, including the SuperSpeed ​​USB 3.2 Gen2x2 TYPE-C that can deliver transfer speeds of up to 20Gbps. second. On top of all this, the networks got a good upgrade to 2.5 Gigabit LAN, along with support for Intel WiFi 6, which allows the use of true Gigabit wireless network.

Technical Features Summary

  • Support for the 12th generation Intel Series processors
  • Support for dual channel non-ECC DDR5, DDR5 4 DIMMs
  • Direct-cycle design with 16 + 1 + 2 power phase with 90 ampere phases, along with tantalum polymer capacitors.
  • DDR5 XTREME MEMORY architecture with SMD DIMM and protected memory routing.
  • Fully enclosed thermal design with high coverage MOSFET heatsinks
  • Intel WIFI 6E 802.11ax 2T2R network solutions and BT5 network support with AORUS Antenna.
  • Hi-Fi audio solution with ALC4080 and WIMA audio capacitors.
  • 2.5Gb LAN with Bandwidth Management System.
  • Ultra-fast NVMe PCIe 4.0 / 3.0 x4 M.2 ports with proprietary heat sinks.
  • Support RGB FUSION 2.0 technology with controllable multi-zone LED lighting display design, support customizable LED and RGB LED strips
  • Smart Fan 6 Support with Multiple Temperature Sensors, Hybrid Fan Headers with FAN STOP and Noise Detection
  • Support for Q-Flash Plus technology that enables you to update the BIOS without the need to install a CPU, memory or graphics card.
  • SuperSpeed ​​USB 3.2 Gen2x2 TYPE-C port with transfer speeds of up to 20 Gbit/s.

If you want more details, you can visit the official page of the Gigabyte Z690 AUROS PRO motherboard from here.

Gigabyte Z690 AUROS PRO motherboard performance

We’re in front of a new generation of processors, so we’ll be testing the motherboard’s performance with the Intel Core I9 12900K processor paired with the RTX 2080 Ti when we do our tests. Running games and heavy programs was not a frightening thing for this panel, as it is concerned with build quality and temperatures, as well as with aesthetics and features. This time though, we won’t go into the performance aspect of apps and software because there’s nothing new in this regard. But we will talk about the temperatures, the performance of the storage units, and other features that the company provides as a kind of update.

Of course, the panels don’t change anything in your gaming experience. Games work as they should work on the processor and card without paying attention to the specifications of the motherboard itself. What we are interested in in choosing is the features this board offers and its ability to overclock the processor to reach good numbers that can extract the power of the current graphics cards. Since we’re with the new Z690 chip, let’s see what we can get with the PCIe 4.0 modules here (as of course we don’t currently have any PCIe 5.0 modules)!

PCIe interface performance and motherboard and chipset temperatures

With PCIe 5.0 storage ports through the expansion card that came with the motherboard, and no modules supporting this standard, we tested with our PCIe 4.0 modules, specifically the XPG Gammix S50. This is in order to see what temperatures the unit can reach, as the speeds of the storage units are the same as those provided by the rest of the panels supporting the same standard and there is no difference here in speed, so we did not attach the pictures of the results.

As for temperatures, the board achieved a system temperature of 44 degrees in non-stress mode, as for the voltage-regulatory units, it stabilized at 39, while the processor was standing at a temperature of 31 degrees. And they are very good degrees with this kind of frequencies and the number of cores in standard mode.

As for the frequencies reached by the processor, it was able to reach a frequency of 5.0GHz for the performance cores, while the efficiency cores reached frequencies of 3.9GHz. In contrast, the Corsair Dominator Platinum 32GB 2x16GB 5200MHz RAM has reached 5200MHz in XMP mode.

Evaluation and final judgment

In any case, and as we always say, motherboards, although they are considered the main factor in everything you see in front of you in your computer in terms of performance or modern technologies, they are sometimes overestimated. And here we are by no means referring to users, but to the manufacturers themselves. However, this does not necessarily mean that they are useless features, especially since we are talking about a high-end motherboard here.

In fact, when looking at the technical specifications of this board, it’s hard to believe that this is one of the most affordable boards in this category, as it never compromises in terms of its technical features. That’s where you get a 16 + 1 + 2 Direct VRM design for the power stages with 90A Power Stage and premium Tantalum Polymer capacitors throughout. This of course will make it easy to reach Max Boost frequencies with the latest Intel processors. You’ll also get the latest support for DDR5 memory, and great heatsinks on all vital parts, but especially on VRMs. There is also support for the latest Intel WiFi 6, as well as support for 2.5Gb LAN to meet all your networking needs.

This board’s storage solutions are upgraded to the latest PCIe Gen 4 generation, so you can take advantage of the fastest solid-state storage on the market. Your graphics cards will get a huge performance boost thanks to the latest PCIe 5.0 standard, providing huge increases in bandwidth and greater scalability for future hardware upgrades. All with technologies like Q-Flash, which is also great, which allows you to update your BIOS without installing a CPU, memory, and graphics card; Which may save you in many situations!

So, as mentioned in the previous review of the motherboard, the Gigabyte Z690 AORUS MASTER motherboard review, the Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Pro is the most affordable version of its older sister. This panel will give you almost everything you might need for your next platform, without ruining your bank account. You get ultra-fast networking and connectivity options, it also comes protected against the fluctuations of the future with support for DDR5 and PCI-E 5.0, has enough shielding to work at the best temperatures and protection along the line, along with an excellent audio experience for a motherboard in the (300-) 350) dollars!

The All Tech Guru rating

  • Performance: 8.5
  • Design: 8.5
  • Cooling: 9
  • Price: 9.5
  • Accessories: 8


  • Sturdy design and distinctive aesthetics.
  • Very good and stable performance, excellent temperatures.
  • High overclocking capacity and DDR5 memory thanks to multiple power phases
  • Configure power phases you’ll find in the most expensive panels.
  • Multiple expansion and storage ports and a variety of USB support.
  • Support 2.5 speed LAN and 1Gbit WiFi.
  • Hi-Fi audio solution with ALC4080 and WIMA audio capacitors and excellent audio experience.
  • A very good price compared to the technical features of the board, achieving the price-performance equation.


  • The board’s lack of an HDMI port and simple RGB lighting may bothersome.
  • The board comes with one PCIe 5.0 port and two PCIe 3.0 ports, and there is no PCIe 4.0 solution
  • Although WiFi 6 is supported, the motherboard lacks the latest WiFi 6E solution.
  • The combination of silver and black colors may not be to the liking of many.

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