Gigabyte has announced a product replacement and refund program for owners of its Z690I Aorus Ultra motherboard model. This mini ITX motherboard came in both DDR4 and DDR5 variants, but they both may exhibit issues with certain graphics cards connected in PCIe Gen4 mode, causing system instability.
Gigabyte's press release specifically mentions users being faced with "WHEA PCIe errors when paired with some PCIe Gen4 graphics cards." WHEA is short for Windows Hardware Error Architecture, but the important thing is that these are PCIe Gen4 problems. Gigabyte notes that there is a workaround to the problem; however, the workaround is "setting the PCIe speed to Gen3 through the BIOS." Losing PCIe Gen4 capabilities of their shiny new(ish) Z690 chipset motherboard will certainly be unacceptable to any enthusiasts affected.
Obviously, Gigabyte has looked into the issues with the Z690I Aorus Ultra motherboard and there is something inherently deficient about the design, affecting the PCIe Gen4 capabilities. If not, it could have released an update/patch/firmware/BIOS and fixed it without degrading PCIe performance. Instead, it has been compelled to offer up this replacement/refund program.
There are two clear options if you are affected by issues with your Gigabyte Z690I Aorus Ultra motherboard. First, you can ask Gigabyte for a new one, and it appears that you would be in line to get one of the newly launched Z690I Aorus Ultra Plus motherboards with Gigabyte's new Double Connect Technology. Secondly, you can opt for simply getting your money back, which allows you to shop around for a replacement from any manufacturer.
Qualifying for the replacement/refund program is largely reliant on having bought your Z690I Aorus Ultra DDR4 or Z690I Aorus Ultra DDR5 motherboard from a non-third-party retailer, having a readable serial number on your board/packaging, and a valid purchase receipt. With this information ready (a digital photo of your receipt, which you can upload should be prepared), you can punch in your name and contact details with your choice of replacement or refund.
Tom's Hardware never had the Gigabyte Z690I Aorus Ultra motherboard in the labs. However, we did review its full ATX-sized brother, the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Ultra, which was praised for its feature set and value within this premium category.
If you opt for the refund but aren't certain what new motherboard to choose, please take a look at our recently updated Best Motherboards 2022 for Gaming, by Socket and Chipset guide.
Clearly the sound of “something inherently deficient about the design” does not bode well for Gigabyte. Then ASUS had their earlier MB tumble with a reversed capacitor casting doubts on their continued quality control programs. At the latest computer show here I noticed that many of the Gigabyte MB’s lost a lot of steam in their pricing and were literally pushed by the table vendors. The AORUS Z690 Xtreme a halo-board (new in a box) was available for $750, then requiring no sales tax and another 5% off when paying with cash! My buddy Mikee was eyeing the much cheaper AORUS 690 Master, but they sold out in the first 60-minutes even though the Bangladesh boys reported DDR5 and XMP issues. My take-way: “What’s is happening with the quality and function of most MB’s in wake of the 2020-2021 price explosions and pressing those into the market virtually half-baked?