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Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Master Review: Refreshing the Upper Mid-Range

Gigabyte's Aorus Z490 Master touts 14-phase 90A VRMs, Intel 2.5 GbE and three heatsinked M.2 slots.

Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Master
(Image: © Gigabyte)

Our test system uses an updated W10 64-bit OS (1909 as of 4/20/2020) with all threat mitigations applied. The motherboard BIOS used is the latest non-beta available to the public unless otherwise noted. The hardware used is as follows:

Test System Components

CPUIntel i9-10900K
MemoryG.Skill Trident Z Neo 2x8GB DDR4 3600 (F4-3600C16D-16GTZNC) (opens in new tab)
Memory 2G.Skill Trident Z Royale 4x8GB DDR4 4000 (F4-4000C18Q-32GTRS) (opens in new tab)
GPUAsus ROG Strix RTX 2070 (opens in new tab)
CPU CoolerCorsair H150i (opens in new tab)
PSUCorsair AX1200i (opens in new tab)
SoftwareWindows 10 64-bit (opens in new tab) 1909
Graphics DriverNvidia Driver 445.75
SoundIntegrated HD audio
NetworkIntegrated Networking (GbE or 2.5 GbE)
Graphics DriverGeForce 445.74

For this review, we’ll be comparing the Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Master ($389.99) (opens in new tab) to the ASRock Z490 Taichi ($369.99) (opens in new tab), Asus ROG Maximus XII Hero ($399.99) (opens in new tab), and the MSI MEG Z490 Ace ($399.99) (opens in new tab) as these are all quite close in price in the upper mid-range segment.

GSkill provided both RAM kits for this review platform.

(Image credit: G.Skill)

Benchmark Settings 

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
PCMark 10Version 2.1.2177 64
Essentials, Productivity, Digital Content Creation, MS Office
3DMarkVersion 2.11.6866 64
Firestrike Extreme and Time Spy Default Presets
Cinebench R20Version RBBENCHMARK271150
Open GL Benchmark - Single and Multi-threaded
Application Tests and Settings
LAME MP3Version SSE2_2019
Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 1.2.2
Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19GB 4K mkv to x264 (light AVX) and x265 (heavy AVX) 
Corona 1.4Version 1.4
Custom benchmark
7-ZipVersion 19.00
Integrated benchmark
Game Tests and Settings
The Division 2Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080
Forza Horizon 4Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080

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Joe Shields
Motherboard Reviewer

Joe Shields is a Freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He reviews motherboards.