Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Master Review: A Pricey Performer

How We Test

Since this is the first Z390 board we’re testing, we updated the firmware on the Z370 board it replaces to support the same Core i9-9900K test processor. Old data fills the bottom half of the chart, including the average performance of our previous Core i7-8700K and AMD Ryzen 7 2700X tests.

SoundIntegrated HD audio
NetworkIntegrated gigabit networking
Graphics DriverGeForce 399.24

The same platform that cooled the ten cores of our Core i9-7900X works equally well with the eight cores of the Core i9-9900K, as we’ll show in the overclocking evaluation on the next page.

Comparison Products

Loading...

Benchmark Settings

Synthetic Benchmarks & Settings
PCMark 8Version 2.7.613
Home, Creative, Work, Storage, Applications (Adobe & Microsoft)
3DMark 13Version 4.47.597.0
Skydiver, Firestrike, Firestrike Extreme Default Presets
SiSoftware SandraVersion 2016.03.22.21
CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth
DiskSPD4K Random Read, 4K Random Write
128K Sequential Read, 128K Sequential Write
Cinebench R15Build RC83328DEMO
OpenGL Benchmark
CompuBenchVersion 1.5.8
Face Detection, Optical Flow, Ocean Surface, Ray Tracing
Application Tests & Settings
LAME MP3Version 3.98.3
Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.9.9
Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19GB 4K mkv to x265 mp4
BlenderVersion 2.68a
BMW 27 CPU Render Benchmark, BMW 27 GPU Render Benchmark
7-ZipVersion 16.02
THG-Workload (7.6GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=9"
Adobe After Effects CCRelease 2015.3.0, Version 13.8.0.144
PCMark-driven routine
Adobe Photoshop CCRelease 2015.5.0, 20160603.r.88 x64
PCMark-driven routine (light and heavy)
Adobe InDesign CCRelease 2015.4, Build 11.4.0.90 x64
PCMark-driven routine
Adobe IllustratorRelease 2015.3.0, Version 20.0.0 (64-bit)
PCMark-driven routine
Game Tests & Settings
Ashes of the SingularityVersion 1.31.21360
High Preset - 1920 x 1080, Mid Shadow Quality, 1x MSAA
Crazy Preset - 1920 x 1080, High Shadow Quality, 2x MSAA
F1 20152015 Season, Abu Dhabi track, Rain
Medium Preset, no AF
Ultra High Preset, 16x AF
Metro: Last Light ReduxVersion 3.00 x64
High Quality, 1920 x 1080, High Tesselation, 16x AF
Very High Quality, 1920 x 1080, Very High Tesselation, 16x AF
The Talos PrincipleVersion 267252
Medium Preset, High Quality, High Tesselation, 4x AF
Ultra Preset, Very High Quality, Very High Tesselation, 16x AF

MORE: Best Motherboards

MORE: How To Choose A Motherboard

MORE: All Motherboard Content

30 comments
    Your comment
  • rantoc
    They say its SLI capable but yet have the same "stupid" 3 slots spacing resulting in the typical air starvation of the main card since it will be obstructed by the second card. Todays big custom air cooled cards are 2.5 to 3 pcie slots wide, not the old typical 2 pcie - When will the MB makers "evolve" to the new width of the cards for multigpu and who will be the first?
  • Crashman
    317373 said:
    They say its SLI capable but yet have the same "stupid" 3 slots spacing resulting in the typical air starvation of the main card since it will be obstructed by the second card. Todays big custom air cooled cards are 2.5 to 3 pcie slots wide, not the old typical 2 pcie - When will the MB makers "evolve" to the new width of the cards for multigpu and who will be the first?
    Even the founder's edition cards are only two slots, and most of the oversized cards are 2.5 slots. A 3-slot cooling design is a defective design, and such cards should be called out for that. We're already putting the top x16 slot in the case's 2nd slot hole to make space for oversized CPU coolers, voltage regulators and DIMM cooling, and there's a scarcity of 8-slot cases, so two three-slot cards at 4-slot spacing doesn't even make sense. For those reseaons, if I review a board with the 2nd x16 slot aligned to the case's 6th card hole, I'll probably just write it off as a bad idea.
  • steverode1
    Will this board work with Windows 7?
  • Crashman
    2837610 said:
    Will this board work with Windows 7?
    It's hard to say since you'd have to look up individual drivers for each device rather than using those supplied by the motherboard manufacturer:
    https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/Z390-AORUS-MASTER-rev-10#support-dl-driver
    But I'd just assume...no.
  • furkanagamak06
    Would this motherboard work if I had 2 NVMe SSDs and a SATA HDD?
  • Crashman
    2770881 said:
    Would this motherboard work if I had 2 NVMe SSDs and a SATA HDD?


    Yes, with two NVMe drives you'd have four remaining SATA ports.
  • gregg889
    Does anyone know if this Mobo ships with a bios that supports the latest CPU's? I was planning on getting a Intel - Core i7-9700K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor and wasn't sure if this mobo has the bios to support it...
  • Crashman
    2848082 said:
    Does anyone know if this Mobo ships with a bios that supports the latest CPU's? I was planning on getting a Intel - Core i7-9700K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor and wasn't sure if this mobo has the bios to support it...
    Anything that says "Z390" does.
  • gregg889
    8708 said:
    2848082 said:
    Does anyone know if this Mobo ships with a bios that supports the latest CPU's? I was planning on getting a Intel - Core i7-9700K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor and wasn't sure if this mobo has the bios to support it...
    Anything that says "Z390" does.


    Thank you so much for the fast reply and the answer to my question; this is my first time piecing together a PC and building it myself. I'm really excited to see how well this thing runs, http:// compared to my current PC.
  • Crashman
    2848082 said:
    8708 said:
    2848082 said:
    Does anyone know if this Mobo ships with a bios that supports the latest CPU's? I was planning on getting a Intel - Core i7-9700K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor and wasn't sure if this mobo has the bios to support it...
    Anything that says "Z390" does.
    Thank you so much for the fast reply and the answer to my question; this is my first time piecing together a PC and building it myself. I'm really excited to see how well this thing runs, http:// compared to my current PC.
    That's quite a build. It makes me appreciate my free test kit a bit more :)
  • gregg889
    8708 said:
    2848082 said:
    8708 said:
    2848082 said:
    Does anyone know if this Mobo ships with a bios that supports the latest CPU's? I was planning on getting a Intel - Core i7-9700K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor and wasn't sure if this mobo has the bios to support it...
    Anything that says "Z390" does.
    Thank you so much for the fast reply and the answer to my question; this is my first time piecing together a PC and building it myself. I'm really excited to see how well this thing runs, http:// compared to my current PC.
    That's quite a build. It makes me appreciate my free test kit a bit more :)


    Luckily my wife just finished building her PC and knows exactly what she's doing so she will be undoubtedly "helping", haha. Anything on there you feel like needs to be different?
  • Crashman
    2848082 said:
    8708 said:
    2848082 said:
    8708 said:
    2848082 said:
    Does anyone know if this Mobo ships with a bios that supports the latest CPU's? I was planning on getting a Intel - Core i7-9700K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor and wasn't sure if this mobo has the bios to support it...
    Anything that says "Z390" does.
    Thank you so much for the fast reply and the answer to my question; this is my first time piecing together a PC and building it myself. I'm really excited to see how well this thing runs, http:// compared to my current PC.
    That's quite a build. It makes me appreciate my free test kit a bit more :)
    Luckily my wife just finished building her PC and knows exactly what she's doing so she will be undoubtedly "helping", haha. Anything on there you feel like needs to be different?

    dude, after paying my bills it would take me close to four months to buy that card, but it looks like a perfectly workable machine to me.
  • V@no
    Wait, if 3 m.2 installed, you get only 3 SATA3 ports available and they also choke some of the PCIx16 as well??? what kind of bs is this?
  • Crashman
    465477 said:
    Wait, if 3 m.2 installed, you get only 3 SATA3 ports available and they also choke some of the PCIx16 as well??? what kind of bs is this?
    Nah. First of all, to choke off three SATA ports you have to run a PCIe M.2 in the top slot and an SATA M.2 in the middle slot. But you won't be running an SATA M.2 drive will you? So you'll get four SATA.

    As for the bottom M.2 and bottom PCIe slot, you realize that the bottom slot was only x4 max right? Many people put an x4 storage card in these slots. But you're going to put a M.2 card in the bottom M.2 slot instead. It's more of an either/or option, either you get four lanes for that storage on the bottom PCIe slot, or you get four lanes for storage from the bottom M.2 slot. By chipset limitation, the other option would be to not have one of those two interfaces.
  • V@no
    All 3 m.2 slots are shown as PCIe x4 with 2 of them compatible with SATA, the speed should be the same in all them as long as compatible drives are used.

    In the table it says "M.2-1 takes pts 4-5, SATA M.2-2 pt 1" from this I understand that if m.2-1 slot used, it will disable SATA4 and SATA5 and if used m.2-2 it will disable SATA1?
    And M.2-3 will use 2 lanes from the bottom PCIe x16 slot, effectively making it x8 x8 x2 configuration if all 3 PCIe slots are used

    Also, what the hell does sign ^ means?:
    (2) PCIe 3.0 x4^ / SATA*, (1) PCIe 3.0 x4
    (*Excludes ports 1, ^4-5)

    Asterisk "*" = see note below
    "^" = ?
  • Crashman
    465477 said:
    All 3 m.2 slots are shown as PCIe x4 with 2 of them compatible with SATA, the speed should be the same in all them as long as compatible drives are used. In the table it says "M.2-1 takes pts 4-5, SATA M.2-2 pt 1" from this I understand that if m.2-1 slot used, it will disable SATA4 and SATA5 and if used m.2-2 it will disable SATA1? And M.2-3 will use 2 lanes from the bottom PCIe x16 slot, effectively making it x8 x8 x2 configuration if all 3 PCIe slots are used Also, what the hell does sign ^ means?: (2) PCIe 3.0 x4^ / SATA*, (1) PCIe 3.0 x4 (*Excludes ports 1, ^4-5) Asterisk "*" = see note below "^" = ?

    There are a limitted number of superscript characters on a keyboard, and I'm not using custom superscript that could get erased in editing, so I use those instead. When its says SATA*, you look below it and it says *Excludes port 1, that means an SATA M.2 drive will exclude SATA port one.

    So slide up to my previous response. That third "missing SATA port" is only missing if you use an SATA M.2 drive in the second M.2 slot.

    Now you're going to ask me what an SATA M.2 drive is, and I'll just say the magic word "legacy", and all will become clear ;)
  • V@no
    Did you see what I said in my first message? I said "if 3 m.2 installed"

    My point here is, Gigabyte is known to make motherboards flashy and full of features, the features that you can't use all at once. It's like a car with steering wheel on driver's side and pedals on passenger's side.
  • Crashman
    465477 said:
    Did you see what I said in my first message? I said "if 3 m.2 installed" My point here is, Gigabyte is known to make motherboards flashy and full of features, the features that you can't use all at once. It's like a car with steering wheel on driver's side and pedals on passenger's side.
    I'm fairly certain I addressed all of your concerns. The first one steals two SATA ports. The second one ONLY steals an SATA port if the M.2 drive has an SATA interface. The third one steals two lanes from the four lane slot. But if you're comparing it, you can compare it to a board that either has no four lane PCIe slot, or no third M.2 slot. While it's easy to oversell a board by sharing resources, at least the board with shared resources has more flexibility than one that eliminates several interfaces.
  • V@no
    So, what you are saying if we install 3 pcie m.2 drives (like Samsung 970, which probably will not fit in the third slot), then we still have 4 SATA ports available, because they are not "legacy" m.2 drives???
  • Crashman
    465477 said:
    So, what you are saying if we install 3 pcie m.2 drives (like Samsung 970, which probably will not fit in the third slot), then we still have 4 SATA ports available, because they are not "legacy" m.2 drives???
    Right, the only resource exclusion I see for the middle M.2 slot is a shared pathway that is exclusively SATA, according to the documentation I read. That doesn't require a physical switch, the firmware just needs to figure out which SATA device to read.

    Conversely, the top M.2 slot is using a two-pathway physical switch, along with the chipset's SATA/PCIe conversion via the chipset's flexible HSIO, so it's always going to exclude two SATA ports regardless of whether the M.2 device is PCIe or SATA.
  • mike9irish
    Hi all. I am thinking of changing back to Intel's CPU the i9-990K. I have the AMD 1950X in the ASUS Zenith Extreme motherboard. Iv'e had nothing but ruble with the the Asus motherboard,this is my second one that went faulty. What a piece of crap. So I am looking at Gigabyte Aorus Master now. Coming from from the high end motherboards with eight sticks of ram and almost unlimited Sata/Pcie lanes it's hard to swallow the limitations of the Z390 platform. What I need is two M.2's and one for my C drive and one cor my scratch drive. I also want to use my Samsung 850 Pro a 1Tb solid state drive for temp file storage. I would also like to use the new Intel Optane drive drive in the top M.2 slot to boost performance, but I think that will be a problem?? I also need to have my two have my two 4Tb Wd hard drives as storage.
    Is this possible? Looking forward to your opinions.
    Cheers.
    Mike
  • Crashman
    2850650 said:
    Hi all. I am thinking of changing back to Intel's CPU the i9-990K. I have the AMD 1950X in the ASUS Zenith Extreme motherboard. Iv'e had nothing but ruble with the the Asus motherboard,this is my second one that went faulty. What a piece of crap. So I am looking at Gigabyte Aorus Master now. Coming from from the high end motherboards with eight sticks of ram and almost unlimited Sata/Pcie lanes it's hard to swallow the limitations of the Z390 platform. What I need is two M.2's and one for my C drive and one cor my scratch drive. I also want to use my Samsung 850 Pro a 1Tb solid state drive for temp file storage. I would also like to use the new Intel Optane drive drive in the top M.2 slot to boost performance, but I think that will be a problem?? I also need to have my two have my two 4Tb Wd hard drives as storage. Is this possible? Looking forward to your opinions. Cheers. Mike

    Well, you could step up to X299 if Z390 doesn't have enough connections.
    Gigabyte lists the Z390 Aorus Master as Optane-ready.According to its spec sheet, if you don't mind the bottom PCIe slot getting kicked down to x2 mode, you should be OK.
  • mike9irish
    Thank you CRASHMAN for your reply. I am only using one GPU so I think I just might getaway with the list of components I need to connect? I am looking at 5GHz across all cores as a big bonus for my work in PS & LR CC. I dint know of any other CPU that can deliver that sort of speed at a similar price point?
    I would love to hear your and others viewpoint on this.
    Cheers.
    Mike
  • Crashman
    2850650 said:
    Thank you CRASHMAN for your reply. I am only using one GPU so I think I just might getaway with the list of components I need to connect? I am looking at 5GHz across all cores as a big bonus for my work in PS & LR CC. I dint know of any other CPU that can deliver that sort of speed at a similar price point? I would love to hear your and others viewpoint on this. Cheers. Mike

    I don't have a horse in the race between AMD and Intel. I know that AMD gives you more computing power per dollar but Intel usually wins game benchmarks...and that's about it. I just test the boards ;)

    As for X299, yeh, the smaller processors for Z390 kill what's available for X299 in value.