While we still don’t have an Intel Rocket Lake-S Core i9-11900K CPU to use for testing, we’re starting to get Intel Z590 boards in. So while we await benchmark results to see if the Gigabyte Z590 Vision G will land on our best motherboards list, we’ll be walking in detail through the features of these brand-new boards. First up on our bench was the ASRock Z590 Steel Legend 6E Wi-Fi, followed by the Gigabyte Z590 Aorus Master and now we’re taking a deep dive into Gigabyte’s Z590 Vision G.
The latest version of this creator-focused motherboard features capable power delivery, 2.5 GbE, a whopping four M.2 sockets and a premium audio codec. But the Vision G’s claim to fame is its styling, sporting a black and white/silver theme, setting it apart from most other products. Although we do not have an exact price for the Vision G, the Z490 version came out at $199, so we expect the Z590 version to cost the same or slightly more.
Gigabyte’s current Z590 product stack consists of 13 models. There are familiar SKUs and a couple of new ones. Starting with the Aorus line, we have the Aorus Xtreme (and potentially a Waterforce version), Aorus Master, Aorus Ultra, and the Aorus Elite. Gigabyte brings back the Vision boards (for creators) and their familiar white shrouds. The Z590 Gaming X and a couple of boards from the budget Ultra Durable (UD) series are also listed. New for Z590 is the Pro AX board, which looks to slot somewhere in the mid-range. Gigabyte will also release the Z590 Aorus Tachyon, an overbuilt motherboard designed for extreme overclocking.
We can’t talk about performance metrics for Rocket Lake-S -- not that we have a CPU at this time to test boards with anyway. All we’ve seen at this point are rumors and a claim from Intel of a significant increase to IPC, but the core count was lowered from 10 cores/20 threads in Comet Lake (i9-10900K) to 8 cores/16 threads in the yet-to-be-released i9-11900K. To that end, we'll stick with specifications and features, adding a full review that includes benchmarking, overclocking and power consumption shortly.
Gigabyte’s Z590 Vision G has all the parts you expect from a mid-range motherboard. This board offers plenty of features for its expected price, from its unique appearance and distinctive VRM heatsink design to the high-end audio solution. We find an Intel-based 2.5 GbE LAN on the networking side, while on the storage front, there’s an astounding four M.2 sockets (three PCIe 4.0 x4), along with the standard six SATA ports. On the audio side, the Vision G uses the latest premium Realtek ALC4080 codec, supporting DTS:X Ultra. We’ll cover these features and much more in detail below. But first, here are the full specs from Gigabyte.
Specifications - Gigabyte Z590 Vision G
|Voltage Regulator||13 Phase (12+1, 70A MOSFETs)|
|Video Ports||(1) USB Type-C (USB Type-C and DisplayPort)|
|(1) HDMI (v1.4)|
|(1) DisplayPort (input)|
|USB Ports||(1) USB 3.2 Gen 2x2, Type-C (20 Gbps)|
|(1) USB 3.2 Gen 2, Type-C (10 Gbps)|
|(2) USB 3.2 Gen 2, Type-A (10 Gbps)|
|(4) USB 3.2 Gen 1, Type-A (5 Gbps)|
|Network Jacks||(1) 2.5 GbE|
|Audio Jacks||(6) Analog|
|PCIe x16||(1) v4.0 x16, (x16/x0 or x8/x8)|
|(2) v3.0 (x8/x4)|
|CrossFire/SLI||AMD Quad GPU Crossfire and 2-Way Crossfire|
|DIMM slots||(4) DDR4 3200+, 128GB Capacity|
|M.2 slots||(3) PCIe 4.0 x4 / PCIe (up to 110mm)|
|(1) PCIe 3.0 x4 / PCIe + SATA (up to 110mm)|
|SATA Ports||(6) SATA3 6 Gbps (RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10)|
|USB Headers||(1) USB v3.2 Gen 2x2 (Front Panel Type-C)|
|(1) USB v3.2 Gen 1|
|(2) USB v2.0|
|Fan/Pump Headers||(6) 4-Pin|
|RGB Headers||(2) aRGB (3-pin)|
|(2) RGB (4-pin)|
|Other Interfaces||FP-Audio, TPM|
|Diagnostics Panel||Yes, 4-LED 'Status LED' display|
|Ethernet Controller(s)||(1) Intel I225-V (2.5 GbE)|
|Wi-Fi / Bluetooth||✗|
|USB Controllers||Realtek RTS5450|
|HD Audio Codec||Realtek ALC4080|
|DDL/DTS Connect||✗ / DTS:X Ultra|
The included accessories inside the box with the board aren’t exactly plentiful. But what is included will help get you started. Below is a full list.
- User’s Manual
- Driver Disk
- (4) SATA cables
- (4) Screws for M.2 sockets
As we look at the board for the first time, we see the Vision G with its white and silver heatsinks and accents taking center stage. All slots/sockets are black, along with the other heatsink for the M.2 socket. The VRM heatsinks are different, with the one across the top made of a solid chunk of aluminum, while the second is a finned heatsink hidden under the IO shroud. The board uses a direct-touch heatpipe between the MOSFETs and heatsink to improve thermals. If you want RGB LEDs, you’ll have to add them yourself to the four available headers. There is a single strip that contains a white LED on the IO shroud, but that’s it. The board shouldn’t have an issue fitting in most build themes, but the white/aluminum can clash with an aesthetically dark build.
Zooming in on the top half, we get a closer look at the shroud and finned VRM heatsink around the socket. Up top, above the VRM heatsink, are the EPS power connectors. The Vision G includes a required 8-pin and also has an optional 4-pin.
To the right of the busy socket area are the four DRAM slots, none of which use reinforcement. The slots support up to 128GB of RAM with speeds currently listed to DDR4 3200. As the QVL list gets published, we expect to see much higher support listed.
Above the DRAM slots is the first three (of six) 4-pin fan headers. Each header supports both PWM and DC-controlled devices, automatically selecting the right mode for the attached device. All fan/pump headers support 2A/24W each, which should be plenty for any connected fans and pumps. The first two sets of RGB headers, 3-pin aRGB and 4-pin RGB, are located to the right of these fan headers.
Focusing on the board’s right edge we spot the noise sensor header, 24-pin ATX connector, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 header, and a front-panel USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C header.
The Vision G sports a 12-phase VRM that should be plenty capable of handling the latest Rocket Lake processor and the i9-10900K without issue. Managing power is a Renesas ISL69269 controller that is good for up to 12 channels. Power is sent to 12 60A SIC649A DrMOS MOSFETs for a total of 720A for the CPU. The graphics and System Agent are controlled by the RAA229001 controller (8-channel). We do not foresee any concerns with stock or overclocked operation with this VRM.
Moving down to the bottom half of the board, we see many individual shrouds covering the M.2 sockets (compared to more expensive boards with continuous heatsinks and shrouds, which can be much more difficult to deal with). Starting with the far left side, hidden under the shroud is the latest premium audio codec from Realtek, the ALC4080. For any users using an external DAC, this won’t make much of a difference, but it does offer an improvement over the Realtek ALC1220 codec from the last generation. We also see dedicated audio capacitors as well. Overall, most users will be pleased with the audio, though some may be put off by the lack of a SPDIF jack on the rear IO (note, though, that there is a header on the board).
In the middle of the board are the three full-length PCIe slots and four M.2 sockets, all under heatsinks. On the PCIe front, the primary GPU slot (top) runs at PCIe 4.0 x16 speeds and is reinforced to prevent shearing and EMI. The top slot breaks down to x8 if there is a module in M2B_CPU or M2C_CPU (the middle M.2 sockets). The bottom two slots are fed from the chipset, each running at PCIe 3.0 x4. This configuration allows for quad-GPU or 2-Way AMD Crossfire setups.
On the M.2 front, the Z590 Vision G includes a total of four sockets rivaling that of the HEDT based systems with more PCIe lanes to go around. In this case, the top three sockets, M2A_CPU, M2B_CPU and M2C_CPU, are all fed from the CPU. Each socket supports PCIe modules only up to 110 mm. The bottom socket, M2P_SB, gets its lanes from the chipset and runs at a maximum of PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA-based modules up to 110mm. If you’re looking for a lot of M.2-based storage and don’t want to sacrifice SATA ports, the Vision G is a great option. Just be aware that your primary graphics slot will drop to x8 speeds in some setups and so may slow down your GPU slightly.
To the right is the chipset heatsink, alongside the six SATA ports. These ports are all native to the chipset and remain active no matter what is going on with the M.2 sockets. If single drives aren’t enough, the Vision G supports RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 for extra speed, redundancy, or both. Finally, just below the SATA ports are two Thunderbolt headers (5-pin and 3-pin).
Across the board’s bottom edge are several headers, including more USB ports, fan headers, and more. Below is the full list, from left to right:
- Front-panel audio
- SPDIF header
- ARGB header
- RGB header
- COM header
- TPM header
- (2) USB 2.0 headers
- Q-Flash LED
- Q-Flash button
- (3) Fan headers
- Front Panel header
Moving around to the rear IO, we’re greeted by anintegrated IO plate that’s white, matching the Vision theme of the board. There is a total of 10 USB ports here, including two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports, one of which uses Gigabyte’s VisionLINK. VisionLINK transmits data, video output, and power through the Type-C port, simplifying use. Users can attach additional displays, pen tablets, and more while sending up to 60W of power for the attached device. There is an HDMI output and a DisplayPort input as well, aside from the USB ports. The audio stack consists of six analog ports to cover the new side channel(s) instead of an integrated SPDIF output. If you need an optical output, you can leverage the onboard header. Last but not least is a legacy PS/2 port for a keyboard or mouse.
The Z590 Vision G BIOS doesn’t look any different from the Z490 versions. It retains the black, white and gold theme we’re familiar with on other Vision boards. We’ve captured a majority of the BIOS screens to share with you. Like other board partners, Gigabyte includes an Easy Mode for high-level monitoring and adjustments, along with an Advanced section. The BIOS is well organized, with many of the more commonly used functions easily accessible without drilling down multiple levels to find them. Overall, the BIOS works well and is easy to navigate and read.
Gigabyte includes a few applications designed for various functions, including RGB lighting control, audio, system monitoring, and overclocking. Below, we’ve captured several screenshots of the App Center, @BIOS, SIV, RGB Fusion and Easy Tune.
Future Tests and Final Thoughts
With Z590 boards arriving but now Rocket Lake-S CPUs yet, we’re in an odd place. We know most of these boards should perform similarly to our previous Z490 motherboard reviews. And while there are exceptions, they are likely mostly at the bottom of the product stack. To that end, we’re posting these as detailed previews until we get data using a Rocket Lake processor.
Once we receive a Rocket Lake CPU and as soon as any embargos have expired, we’ll fill in the data points, including the benchmarking/performance results, as well as overclocking/power and VRM temperatures.
We’ll also be updating our test system hardware to include a PCIe 4.0 video card and storage. This way, we can utilize the platform to its fullest using the fastest protocols supported. We will also update to the latest Windows 10 64-bit OS (20H2) with all threat mitigations applied, as well as updating the video card driver and use the newest release when we start this testing. We use the latest non-beta motherboard BIOS available to the public unless otherwise noted.
While we do not have performance results from the yet-to-be-released Rocket Lake CPU, we’re confident the 70A VRMs will handle the i9-11900K processor without issue. A quick test of the i9-10900K found the board quite capable with that CPU, easily allowing the 5.2 GHz overclock we set. For now, we’ll focus on features, price, and appearance until we gather performance data from the new CPU.
Gigabyte’s Z590 Vision G is a capable solution that offers a lot of flexibility in M.2 storage and additional devices that benefit from the additional bandwidth. For the creator who tends to have pen displays and other peripherals (including professional monitors), the VisionLINK connectivity can simplify your desktop.
The Vision G’s VRM is capable at 70A and 12 phases and easily handled our i9-10900K. Once we get the Rocket Lake-based i9-11900K in, we’ll retest, but it won’t likely pose any issues for this board. Outside of VisionLINK (which is based on Thunderbolt 4), the board’s three PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 sockets (the fourth is PCIe 3.0 x4) are another selling point for those looking to run ultra-fast storage. You also get all those M.2 options without sacrificing SATA ports. However, it does affect the primary GPU slot’s available bandwidth, dropping to x8 speeds. Testing has shown a minimal performance decrease in running 4.0 x8 speeds in gaming, so this shouldn’t be a big deal for most users.
The only thing holding this board back is the lack of Wi-Fi (which the more expensive Vision D includes), and possibly appearance, which can be polarizing. Some users may not want white/aluminum accents in a dark-themed chassis. But that said, the Vision G certainly isn’t an eyesore and, on its own, is reasonably good looking.
With so many more people working from home these days, we see a larger contingent of power users building rigs for work and gaming. To that end, each of the major board partners have ‘professional’ boards to choose from. ASRock offers the Z590 Pro 4, Asus has the Z590 Prime P, and MSI’s Z590 A Pro WiFi is also comparable. We don’t have much pricing information, but it’s a safe bet you can take Z490 pricing and add a bit more. The Vision G has more storage options than all of these boards and the VisionLINK/Thunderbolt/USB Type-C ports add flexibility.
Overall, we like what the Gigabyte Z590 Vision G brings to the table. Between its four M.2 sockets, six SATA ports, and the Thunderbolt/VisionLINK capabilities, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a board like it around this price point. If your budget for Z590 is a bit over $200 and you can utilize the features, the Vision G should be on your shortlist. Stay tuned for benchmarking, overclocking, and power results using the new Rocket Lake CPU.
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