Following up the 12th generation of CPU ‘s from Intel, Gigabyte has released a new Z690 board, the Aero G. After releasing the DDR4 variant we now have been bestowed with a DDR5 variant. The AERO is a ‘cheaper’ Creator edition for the Z690 series. How well does it operate? You’ll read it here!
My other, and last Gigabyte motherboard review I wrote can be found here: Gigabyte Z690 Xtreme
The list of specs is long, very long…But at least it is complete. That’s why I chose to put ALL of the specs in a list below.
If you’re not interested in scrolling until your finger falls off, easily skip this part by pressing on ‘Unboxing’ in the index!
LGA1700 socket: Support for 12th Generation Intel® Core™, Pentium® Gold and Celeron® Processors*
L3 cache varies with CPU
Intel® Z690 Express Chipset
Support for DDR5 6000(O.C.) / 5800(O.C.) / 5600(O.C.) / 5400(O.C.) / 5200(O.C.) / 4800 / 4000 MHz memory modules
4 x DDR DIMM sockets supporting up to 128 GB (32 GB single DIMM capacity) of system memory
Dual channel memory architecture
Support for ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8 memory modules (operate in non-ECC mode)
Support for non-ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx16 memory modules
Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
Integrated Graphics Processor-Intel® HD Graphics support:
1 x USB Type-C® port, supporting USB Type-C® and DisplayPort video outputs and a maximum resolution of 4096×2304@60 Hz
* Support for drawing tablets and 20V@3A of power delivery.
* Support for DisplayPort 1.2 version and HDCP 2.3
1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2160@30 Hz
* Support for HDMI 1.4 version and HDCP 2.3.
Realtek® ALC4080 CODEC
High Definition Audio
2-channel analog output
Support for S/PDIF Out
7.1-channel digital signals
Intel® 2.5GbE LAN chip (2.5 Gbps/1 Gbps/100 Mbps)
Wireless Communication module
WIFI a, b, g, n, ac, ax, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band
Support for 11ax 160MHz wireless standard and up to 2.4 Gbps data rate
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
(The PCIEX16 slot conforms to PCI Express 5.0 standard.)
2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x4 (PCIEX4_1, PCIEX4_2)
(The PCIEX4 slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
Support for AMD Quad-GPU CrossFire™ and 2-Way AMD CrossFire™ technologies
1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280/22110 PCIe 4.0 x4/x2 SSD support) (M2A_CPU)
2 x M.2 connectors (Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280/22110 PCIe 4.0 x4/x2 SSD support) (M2P_SB, M2Q_SB)
1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280/22110 SATA and PCIe 4.0 x4/x2 SSD support) (M2M_SB)
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
2 x USB Type-C® ports, with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 support
(1 port on the back panel, 1 port available through the internal USB header)
1 x USB Type-C® port on the back panel, with USB 3.2 Gen 1 support
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports (red) on the back panel
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports available through the internal USB header
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports on the back panel
Chipset+USB 3.2 Gen 1 Hub:
4 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports on the back panel
Chipset+USB 2.0 Hub:
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports available through the internal USB headers
Internal I/O Connectors
I’ve put this list in the chapter ‘unboxing’ due to it being more fitting with the images of the board that I took.
Back Panel Connectors
You can also find this in the chapter ‘unboxing’.
Fan speed detection
Water cooling flow rate detection
Fan fail warning
Fan speed control
1 x 256 Mbit flash
Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS
PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0
Support for APP Center
System Information Viewer
Support for Q-Flash Plus
Support for Q-Flash
Support for Xpress Install
Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
Support for Windows 11 64-bit
Support for Windows 10 64-bit
ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm
Time to reveal this bad boy!
Gigabyte seems to supply a lot with the Aero G. One thing I’ve noticed is that the box says DDR5, but the inside of the box and the manual says it’s for the DDR4 version. Taking a wild guess I’d say this is just for the samples that go out to reviewers and there’s an oopsie-doopsie, or is this normal?
Anyway, the bundle of fun includes the following:
And a multitude of screws to affix the SSD’s.
The components used for this review are as follows:
– 2x Kingston KC600 2.5” SSD
– 2x Kingston Renegade 2TB NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD
– Kingston Fury Beast KF548C38BB-16 (4800Mhz 16GB)
– Kingston Fury Beast KF560C40BBK2-32 (6000Mhz 32GB)
– BeQuiet! Silent Base 802 – I will be using the 900 for a different build.
– Intel i5-12500 (Hexa core @ 3GHz-4,6GHz).
The Aero G is an interesting looking board when it comes to the color patterns. White, gray and a black PCB the board looks great. And thinking about it, this would fit a Gigabyte Vision graphic card perfectly having the same color pattern.
The board contains sturdy steel blocks on the top and left of the I/O to let the heat flow away nicely.
Having the option with four dimm slots there’s enough space to cram in as much memory as you want. The max supported memory is 128 GB, 4x32GB! More than enough to handle 5 tabs of Google Chrome ;).
The Aero G seems to be missing a screen displaying all the postcodes, but it does have 4 LEDS showing potential problems such as: CPU, DRAM, VGA & BOOT.
Despite the motherboard lacking RGB on the board itself, it does have 2 different connectors on the top for A-RGB & RGB. The standard RGB can be used through a fan/strip to display 1 color over the entirety of them. The A-RGB is capable of lighting up the fans in a multitude of ways. And that ensures a cool looking result!
Something Gigabyte’s been up to for years is guarding off the PCIe slot. I remember joking about it a few years ago that you’d have to be a real specimen to bend/break a PCIe slot, so why is it necessary? Well, I stand corrected…This was a step in the right direction looking at the weight of GPU’s nowadays. Why go to the gym if you can just get 2 3090’s?
Above the PCIe slot there’s an M.2 slot running on PCIe-4.0. And having a Kingston Renegade capable of speeds up to 7000 Mb/s, you’ll be thankful for that!
The bottom of the board is interesting as well. Having another 3 M.2 slots hidden under the steel plate of the board I am baffled with all the options it has to offer. Having that much space ensures you’re future proofed for a while.
When it comes to connectors there’s a few interesting ones in here, which will be listed as follows:
1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x CPU fan header
1 x water cooling CPU fan header
4 x system fan headers
2 x system fan/water cooling pump headers
2 x addressable LED strip headers
2 x RGB LED strip headers
4 x M.2 Socket 3 connectors
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio header
1 x USB Type-C® header, with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 support
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 header
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
1 x noise detection header
2 x Thunderbolt™ add-in card connectors
1 x Trusted Platform Module header (For the GC-TPM2.0 SPI/GC-TPM2.0 SPI 2.0 module only)
1 x serial port header
1 x Q-Flash Plus button
1 x reset button
1 x reset jumper
2 x temperature sensor headers
1 x Clear CMOS jumper
The Aero G uses The Realtek ALC4080 chip. The chip itself has a USB 2.0 controller. The audio is displayed as USB as well.
Utilizing the chip you can make use of DTS:X Ultra. This does require you to download/buy the license for it.
The back of the board isn’t very interesting. No hidden M.2 slots or pots of gold to be found here :).
On the I/O panel you can find the following slots:
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
2 x SMA antenna connectors (2T2R)
4 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports
1 x DisplayPort In port
1 x HDMI port
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports (red)
1 x USB Type-C® port, with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 support
1 x USB Type-C® port, with USB 3.2 Gen 1 support
1 x RJ-45 port
1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
2 x audio jacks
iTE® I/O Controller Chip
To this day I am amazed by how many pins there are on a board, not to mention the fact how precise the machinery must be to produce something like this.
There we are, the i5-12500 is hooked up together with the KF548C38BB-16 (4800Mhz 16GB).
Obviously we’ll be using the standard Intel cooler, it works the best after all!
Of course it doesn’t…Just joking…
There’s a lot of fun using the Waterforce x360 or something similar, having even more RGB power, and let’s be honest, the LCD screen looks pretty cool. Not to mention having a better cooling solution for your CPU as opposed to the standard Intel cooler.
If you’re looking for non-RGB and a cheaper solution, the Pure Loop made by BeQuiet! might be your best bet!
The case we’re building it in is a Silent Base 802 from BeQuiet! A case with a mesh on the front of it, making the fans (Light Wings) become the center of attention from that perspective.
Time to throw everything into the case.
The motherboard lacks RGB on the board itself, and I can fully understand that. It’s not the designed demographic for it. But there’s enough options to make an RGB/A-RGB Las Vegas strip if you wish to do so. Of course the difference being between RGB and A-RGB that the former can only display a color. A-RGB is capable of showing multiple in its addressable options, good for Christmas!
Shown in the image below, the red LED that can show potential problems like I’ve mentioned before.
Let’s walkthrough the BIOS.
The noticeable thing about this motherboard is that it’s completely white, you don’t see that every day.
On the starting page ‘easy mode’ you can adjust timings, processor information and the possibility to set up an XMP.
The interesting thing about this memory is that there are 3 XMP profiles available.
4800, 5600 and 6000 Mhz.
Opening the advanced modus, you’ll land on the ‘Favorites (F11)’ page. Whatever page/tab you’re working from, you can place it right there for ease of access. It’ll definitely save you from opening over 300 tabs whilst tinkering.
And to no surprise, the ‘Tweaker’ tab allows you to tweak everything like timings and voltages. And the option to tweak the XMP.
You can edit the following in the settings tab:
– Platform Power
– IO Ports
(Hot Key: Alt-F)
– PC Health Status
System info shows all the information about the motherboard, CPU and memory.
You are also able to flash the BIOS from here.
The boot tab has all the options to boot your system of course, selecting which drive the OS is on etc.
And last but certainly not least, ‘Save & Exit’.
Luckily supported by each and every modern motherboard nowadays, Save/Load Profile.
It would be a crying shame not to be able to save your tinkering after hours of hard work.
In conclusion, loads of options in the BIOS.
Well, and now Gigabyte’s software.How much would you like? Gigabyte has more than enough software to use, but it all feels a bit…Rushed… The apps look simplistic, stutter every so often and occasionally crashes. All the while you can do everything else on your system.
If Gigabyte wants to be taken seriously in this department, they really need to up their game. It should all be faster and easier. Also having to download a multitude of different applications, meaning you have to keep them up to date as well. And not to mention them running in the background of your system, drawing resources it could be solved by having 1 control center for all of this. Us, the user would be able to pick and choose what they want to have running or not, and everything will be neatly under one roof, instead of separate.
In a previous review of a Gigabyte motherboard, I’ve also detailed all the software included.
If interested in what software, definitely take a look here.
Within the software itself there are three tabs and the options to download extra software. The tabs are ordered as follows:
– Gigabyte APP’s: This tab shows what software has been installed
– Windows Settings: This is a sort of configuration screen where you can tweak different settings such as firewall options or user accounts.
– Third-party Software: extra software that can be installed like the Symantec virusscanner.
On the top right there’s other options like the download icon enabling you to download newer versions of the software you have, and also drivers for your motherboard.
Through the option menu you can alter the language, colors and update schedule.
And that’s just 1 part of the software. Of course you have plenty of other applications that you can install. And in my opinion, therein lies the problem. As a gamer and avid PC user, the last thing I want to do is fall for the fallacy of installing more applications and having them run in the background to make my system run faster. Because obviously, that isn’t the case. Definitely a point of improvement there Gigabyte!
Whilst benchmarking the Aero G I’ve used 2 different types of memory on the same CPU. (i5 12500) Kingston Fury Beast KF548C38BB-16 (4800Mhz 16GB) and the Kingston Fury Beast KF560C40BBK2-32 (6000Mhz 32GB). Both sets have a standard XMP profile that coincide with the recommended speed of the memory.
Geekbench seems to notice the different types of memory on the same board. The scores on Single Core aren’t that high compared to the Multi Core with a whopping 1500 point difference.
CPU-Z notices a slight difference in the two types of memory.
In the Cinebench R20 and the following R23 the scores are noteworthy. The 20 has a little bit of a preference to the 16GB 4800 Mhz (single dimm), instead of the 6000 Mhz (dual dimms).
Testing with PassMark you can beautifully see a few test scores. The 2D and 3D tests are solely based on the CPU, due to not having a GPU in the system at that time. But even here it’s obvious that there’s even more power drawn from the ‘faster and more memory’.
Wow, I didn’t expect that one…:D
PCMark 10 has been tested as well, and I’m seeing that the 6000 kit does better with the i5. However, the productivity tests seem to net higher scores.
ATTO Disk Benchmark
With the ATTO Disk Benchmark you can – you’ll never guess this one – benchmark a hard drive or SSD.
With the Kingston Renegade 2TB NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD I’m noticing astonishing scores. The 6.4 GB/s are reached quickly, which is commendable.
Somewhere in the pile of garbage of my old hardware, I’ve had a PCIe 3.0 SSD lying around. And comparing the difference of the Kingston Fury and the older 3.0 is mesmerizing. Which translate in writing speeds as well, from SSD to SSD data transfers.
Just for fun I’ve tested with Prime95 just to stress the CPU a lot. With the standard Intel fan and later on with the water cooling system. In between the fan and water cooling there was a minimum of 10 degrees Celsius difference. 62 or 73 to precise during testing of about half an hour.
Funnily enough it seems rewarding to slot in the 32GB 6000 Mhz memory into the system as opposed to the 16GB 4800 Mhz. The scores are still higher with a comparable ‘dual channel’ set.
The Gigabyte 3070Ti was used on a resolution of 3840×1600 whilst gaming, in conjunction with the Kingston 32GB 6000Mhzand of course the previously installed CPU i5 12500.
All the tests have been executed three times and I’ve extrapolated an average from them. If there was a difference ‘too’ big to be true, I always neglect the test and run it once more. During these tests I did not have to do that once.
In Cyberpunk 2077 I’ve ran a few different tests.
One on Low, having the lowest settings for the most amount of frames, medium, and Ray Tracing: Ultra.
For each test there are three different scores. Min-, Average- en Max FPS.
The scores are quite interesting, even with Ray Tracing: Ultra it looks incredible, but it isn’t ideal for gaming. Do not expect a buttery smooth frame rate like on 120 FPS. In this case I’d go for medium and tweak it until you are satisfied. And probably on a normal resolution, the 3860×1600 is a bit overboard for this game and setup. Having a standard Full-HD screen would be a better bet.
F1 2020 seems to be working great even though it isn’t that demanding of a game. Even on high presets the average framerate doesn’t drop below 245 FPS. Not bad at all.
Far Cry New Dawn
On Far Cry New Dawn seems to be running well too. On low I get an average of 127 FPS. Ultra runs around 99 on average. Even though it’s 28 frames of difference, it’s noticeable. But the trade-off of graphics on ultra compared to low is a hard choice to make.
Metro: Last Light
Metro is a game that you have to tweak yourself instead of relying on the presets. And during the tests that became quite obvious. Definitely wouldn’t recommend maxing out everything on Very High. With a minimum frame rate of 24 FPS on medium you can definitely feel that. And that was on multiple runs of the lowest resolution. This can also be explained by the Texture Filtering that shot up from 4x at medium, to 16x at very high.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War
The minimum FPS are quite low with every benchmark weirdly enough. This was caused by multiple explosions in-game. But It’s still odd. The CPU didn’t seem to care, and neither did the memory and the SSD. Once again I’m learning the lesson not to follow the standard presets, but to tweak it myself. We are after all…Tweakers.
The last gaming benchmark for this board is Tomb Raider. And this one definitely has a few interesting scores. Between low and ultimate, there is a gigantic difference. At low it turns into Minecraft (Or the old Tomb Raider games, polygons anyone?) At Ultimate with an average frame rate of 152 It isn’t just smooth, it also looks stunning.
Even though this test isn’t really suitable for the category gaming, there might be people interested in the score of this motherboard combined with the 3070Ti from Gigabyte.
Looking at our normal benchmarks and the gaming benchmarks with the 3070Ti we can clearly see that the board combined with the i5 125000 and the 4800 Mhz/6000 Mhz is fast enough. I don’t want to call this whole build a bargain, but it is performing admirably.
System in use
My previous experience with Gigabyte was a whole lot less positive. I’ve used an X590 Aorus Pro combined with a 3700x AM4 CPU and G.skill memory netting me a whopping 60 BSOD’s…5 BSOD’s annoys me, let alone 60 of them…Experiencing the Gigabyte Z690 Aero G is a breath of fresh air. It’s an incredibly stable board. Whatever I throw at it, gaming, editing, having more than 2 Google Chrome tabs open if i felt adventurous, not a single problem. Just for a laugh, I didn’t run an XMP, it didn’t matter when it came to stability.
As a reviewer I have a plethora of hardware available, like network attached storage. (NAS) Having a gorgeous 10GbE NAS with a Thunderbolt 4 connection I had to put it to the test. Sadly the board doesn’t support either options, but it does support USB 3.2 GEN2x2 (20Gbit/s) which is swift on it’s own. The other cool thing is that if you’re a content creator, you can use the USB-C connection to hook up a drawing tablet like the Wacom Cintiq series.
The BIOS has more than enough options, but personally I’d think it be weird that an average creator will spend loads of time to configure the board in a way that makes something render a second faster. But, if you do want that, you’ve got the option.
Right, what I really want to talk about is gaming. How does that go in conclusion with a good GPU? Let’s say…A Gigabyte 3070Ti? Ha! What a coinkydink, they allowed me to borrow one of these too! Using a 3090 FE I do have to confess that I’m impressed with the power of the 3070Ti. But a GPU is only as good as it’s foundations in a build. And luckily the Intel i5 125000 and Kingston memory and SSD lay those foundations well. It all fits together perfectly. No more BSOD’s whilst gaming, you can finally go wild. And that is exactly what I did besides running the benchmarks.
If you’re lucky enough to have an ISP that has speeds available to you of around 1GbE, you’ll be even more future proofed with this board which is capable of 2.5GbE. If you go overboard with it now or in the future, make sure to buy a network card for a few bucks.
Now for the million dollar question, is the board cheap? Not a million luckily, but around 270 Euros whilst writing this, not cheap, but not expensive either. And for that price you do get those 4 m.2. Slots, DDR5 and PCIe-5.0.
With the Z690 Aero G released by Gigabyte there’s a good motherboard on the market. Gigabyte claims themselves that this board is meant for content creation. That’s completely fine in my opinion and a nice demographic to hit, but it’s still missing that Thunderbolt 4 and 10GbE connection. It’s for a content creator (and especially a hardcore content creator) required to push through loads of data and capacity to render. The 2.5GbE connection is an ‘upgrade’ but not the one I wanted to see myself (10 would be preferred).
Since the motherboard is aimed at content creators and not gamers, the board itself doesn’t have RGB. But Gigabyte didn’t exclude the option by adding A-RGB (Addressable RGB) and normal RGB connections on the board. That way you can still create your own RGB lightshow.
Despite a negative start of this conclusion I have to admit that this is a great board looking the price and quality of it. A plethora of options with 4 M.2 slots and 6 SATA connections.
As content creator you’ll be able to store all your data.
Having 4 memory slots on the Aero G that tally to a whopping 128GB of support, you’ll be fine for the future. Unless you have more than 2 Chrome tabs…
The other plus is having 3 quick PCI slots on the board (two running PCI 3.0 x4 and one on PCI 5.0 x16).
The other neat thing being that the USB-power delivery supports up to 60W through USB-C. I managed to recharge my Macbook Air on the USB-C connection alone. I imagine this being a good addition as content creator that has a multitude of systems, without the spaghetti of a hundred different chargers.
Cooling seems to be another plus on this board. The steel plating that are on the M.2 slots will ensure, provided you have a good airflow in your board, that your SSD’s will remain at a cool temperature.
The Gigabyte Z690 Aero G rightfully deserves 4 out of 5 stars. Looking at the options and price point, there is a well struck balance.