Gigabyte Launches Z390 AORUS Xtreme Waterforce Motherboard
Subject: Motherboards | December 14, 2018 - 07:04 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Z390, water cooling, gigabyte, aorus
Gigabyte’s Aorus brand is planning to make its flagship Z390 Aorus Xtreme motherboard even more extreme by pairing it with a RGB LED-lit perspex monoblock that covers the processor and PCH areas. The aptly named Z390 Aorus Xtreme Waterforce is an E-ATX form factor motherboard for 8th and 9th Generation Intel Core processors (LGA 1151) that comes packed with overclocking features and a plethora of I/O and expansion options.
The Z390 Aorus Xtreme Waterforce is powered by two 8-pin CPU power connectors, a right angle 24-pin ATX, and a six pin PCI-E input for extra PCI-E slot power delivery. The LGA 1151 socket sits front and center up top with four DDR4 memory slots off to the right of it. Power delivery is handled by a 16 phase PowIRStage digital VRM. Below the CPU sit three PCI-E x16 slots (which run at x16/x8/x4), two PCI-E x1 slots, and three M.2 slots with heatspreaders. There is also a mini PCI-E slot but it comes with an Intel wireless card pre-installed. Additional expansion options include six SATA 3 ports. The Gigabyte motherboard includes 10 sensor points and eight hybrid fan headers. It also supports Smart Fan 5 and RGB Fan Commander software tools as well as support for external RGB LED strips and addressable LEDs via headers (RGB Fusion). The Aorus board also supports OC Touch which offers physical buttons and switches for adjusting overclocks without needing to go into the UEFI BIOS.
Audio duties are handled by the Realtek ALC1220-VB codec along with ESS Sabre ES9018K2M DAC, LME 49720 dedicated analog power delivery, Ti OPA1622 Op amp, and several WIMA and Nichicon audio capacitors. The reported 127 dB SNR audio also supports “Amp Up” which can automatically adjust to various headphones. Networking on the Z390 Xtreme Waterforce is handled by Intel (CNV1) for 802.11ac Wave 2 2x2 wireless and Gigabit Ethernet and by Aquantia for the 10 GbE.
Rear I/O on the flagship motherboard shouldn’t disappoint with:
- 2 x SMA antenna connectors (Wi-Fi)
- 2 x Thunderbolt 3 40 Gbps
- 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
- 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x 10 Gigabit Ethernet
- 1 x 1 Gigabit Ethernet
- 1 x HDMI
- 5 x Analog audio
- 1 x S/PDIF audio
The Aorus All In One Monoblock is the star of the show though as it is what differentiates it from the normal Z390 Aorus Xtreme board. The monoblock uses standard G1/4” threads and uses dense copper fins to help heat transfer to the water loop. Water flows over the CPU, VRM, and PCH areas to keep everything nice and cool even when overclocking. According to Gigabyte there is a leak detection circuit that will shut down the PC if a leak in the waterblock/loop is detected to protect your components. The downside to the monoblock is, of course, the added complexity to the build process, it certainly looks nice though so some enthusiasts may well find it worth it.
Gigabyte has not yet released pricing or availability information, but it’s going to come at a premium price. The Z390 Aorus Xtreme (sans waterblock) has a MSRP of $549.99, for example, and the addition of the Aorus RGB monoblock could add another $50 to $100 to that price.
The reviews on this board and the monoblock should be interesting. While it may be expensive, I'm sure that some watercooling enthusiasts will find uses for it in all-out "cool all the things" builds!