Gigabyte Z690 Xtreme

Motherboards

Gigabyte Z690 Xtreme

Pros

  • Two Thunderbolt 4, 10GbE, 2.5GbE LAN & WiFi 6E (AX)
  • Four NVMe slots
  • Two PCI Express x16 contain the PCI Express 5.0 standard
  • Good looking board with everything neatly tucked away behind a ‘major’ heatsink
  • DDR5, but unsure if that’s a pro looking at the prices
  • More than enough options
  • RGB & A-RGB capabilities, RGB on the board itself (logo, front and sides)
  • USB-DAC
  • Three years warranty

Cons

  • The price is quite Xtreme
  • Software delivered by Gigabyte is a bit of a letdown
  • RAM-cover isn’t high enough or able to move high enough for memory that’s on the high side
Gigabyte Z690 Xtreme Review

Introduction

Following the 12th generation released by Intel the market of motherboards is booming right now. And there is something to buy for every budget. A B660 motherboard if you’re fine with having a starter build. Or the Z690 boards such as the Gigabyte Aero G that I’ve previously reviewed with more options. But also something more extreme…And that is exactly what this review is about, the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Xtreme. And it is certainly Xtreme, not just the price tag!

Next to the Gigabyte Xtreme I also did a review of the Gigabyte Z690 AERO G (rev. 1.0) DDR5. 

Specifications

The list of specs is long, very long… So for the people that hate scrolling, my apologies in advance. 🙂
Would you like to skip the specs? Press on the next chapter called ‘Unboxing’ in the index above!

CPU
LGA1700 socket: Support for 12th Generation Intel® Core™, Pentium® Gold and Celeron® Processors
L3 cache varies with CPU

Chipset
Intel® Z690 Express Chipset

Memory
Support for DDR5 6600(O.C.) / 6400(O.C.) / 6200(O.C.) / 6000(O.C.) / 5800(O.C.) / 5600(O.C.) / 5400(O.C.) / 5200(O.C.) / 4800 / 4000 MHz memory modules
4 x DDR5 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

Onboard Graphics
Integrated Graphics Processor+Intel® Thunderbolt™ 4 Controller:
2 x Intel® Thunderbolt™ 4 connectors (USB Type-C® ports), supporting DisplayPort and Thunderbolt™ video outputs and a maximum resolution of 5120×2880@60 Hz with 24 bpp (via single display output)

Audio
1 ESS ES9280AC DAC chip + 2 ESS ES9080 chips
DTS® Sound Unbound™
High Definition Audio
2-channel
Support for S/PDIF Out

LAN
Marvell® AQtion AQC113C 10GbE LAN chip
(10 Gbps/5 Gbps/2.5 Gbps/1 Gbps/100 Mbps) (LAN1)
Intel® 2.5GbE LAN chip (2.5 Gbps/1 Gbps/100 Mbps) (LAN2)

Wireless Communication module
Intel® Wi-Fi 6E AX210
WIFI a, b, g, n, ac, ax, supporting 2.4/5/6 GHz carrier frequency bands
BLUETOOTH 5.2
Support for 11ax 160MHz wireless standard and up to 2.4 Gbps data rate

Expansion Slots
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
(The PCIEX16 and PCIEX8 slots conform to PCI Express 5.0 standard.)
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4_1)
(The PCIEX4_1 slot conforms to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)

Multi-Graphics Technology
Support for AMD Quad-GPU CrossFire™ and 2-Way AMD CrossFire™ technologies

Storage Interface
CPU:
1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280/22110 PCIe 4.0 x4/x2 SSD support) (M2A_CPU)
Chipset:
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)
4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
* System acceleration with Intel® Optane™ Memory can only be enabled on the M.2 connectors supported by the Chipset.

USB
Chipset+Intel® Thunderbolt™ 4 Controller:
2 x USB Type-C® ports on the back panel, with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support
Chipset:
1 x USB Type-C® port with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 support, available through the internal USB header
6 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports (red) on the back panel
Chipset+USB 3.2 Gen 2 Hub:
4 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports (red) on the back panel
Chipset+USB 3.2 Gen 1 Hub:
4 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports available through the internal USB headers
Chipset+USB 2.0 Hub:
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports available through the internal USB header (with the included front USB header extension cable)

Internal I/O Connectors
1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
2 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connectors
1 x CPU fan header
1 x water cooling CPU fan header
4 x system fan headers
4 x system fan/water cooling pump headers
1 x noise detection header
1 x AORUS RGB Memory Armor power header
2 x addressable LED strip + RGB LED strip combo extension cable headers
4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
4 x M.2 Socket 3 connectors
1 x front panel header
1 x USB Type-C® header, with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 support
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 headers
1 x USB 2.0/1.1 header
2 x temperature sensor headers
1 x power button
1 x reset button

Back Panel Connectors
1 x Q-Flash Plus button
1 x OC Ignition button
1 x Clear CMOS button
2 x SMA antenna connectors (2T2R)
2 x Thunderbolt™ 4 connectors (USB Type-C® port, with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support)
10 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports (red)
2 x RJ-45 ports
1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
2 x audio jacks
* The mic in jack supports only mono microphone input.

Getting closer to the end!

I/O Controller
iTE® I/O Controller Chip
H/W Monitoring
Voltage detection
Temperature detection
Fan speed detection
Water cooling flow rate detection
Fan fail warning
Fan speed control
Noise detection

BIOS
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
Unique Features

Support for APP Center
* Available applications in APP Center may vary by motherboard model. Supported functions of each application may also vary depending on motherboard specifications.
@BIOS
EasyTune
Fast Boot
Game Boost
ON/OFF Charge
RGB Fusion
Smart Backup
System Information Viewer
Support for Q-Flash Plus
Support for Q-Flash
Support for Xpress Install
Bundled Software
Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
cFosSpeed

Operating System
Support for Windows 11 64-bit
Support for Windows 10 64-bit

Form Factor
E-ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 28.5cm

Unboxing

Time to unbox the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Xtreme. One important thing to note is that this specific board has been ‘used’ by other reviewers and media. Which explains the scratches and damages on both the box and the board. Furthermore I’ve noticed a few cables missing that should’ve been in there like the USB-3.2 connection for the front face of the PC.
– Four little screws to affix the M.2 SSD’s to the board.
– Four SATA cables
– Twee Antennas
– Manual and a USB stick
– Cables for the USB 3.2 connector to the front with an angle of 90 degrees
– Lots of RGB cables

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

The parts 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 en de 900
– Intel i9-12900K (16 core @ 3,2GHz-5,2GHz).

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

Both the Aorus Xtreme and the Aero G have both become interesting builds. In order to do this, it required a lot of components.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

For the Aero G the BeQuiet! Pure Power 11 FM was used. And the Xtreme was equipped with the BeQuiet! Straight Power 11.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

And of course both of the builds have been kitted out with loads of RGB fans!
(BeQuiet! Light Wings 140/120 PWM High Speed).

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

Back to the board itself!
If you look straight at the board you will immediately know it’s a special one. The Xtreme is black with gray accents. In parts in between it are plastic mirrors giving off a cool looking effect as well.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

The Xtreme has a ‘badass’ look. This dark board is equipped on the front and back in a sort of ‘metal’ armor. Which helps a lot keeping all the components to stay cool. (Both in appearance and performance!) However, this also makes this board a lot heavier as opposed to regular motherboards.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

What can you expect overall? Obviously this board is equipped with a 1700 socket for the Intel 12th gen. On the right side there are four DDR5 slots that can support up to a maximum of 128GB. The Xtreme has two buttons (power and reset) on the board and a post to see the error code, if one may occur.
Under the big metal blocks above and on the left are 20 Vcore (105A) phases that supply more than enough power to let the board work at maximum capacity. These heavy cooling blocks will ensure good cooling.

Connectors on the top aren’t as angled as the one on the right. And it looks to me like they’ve done this with good reason. There’s a chance that cooling fans could be placed (Or for example watercooling). And having a cable and a fan…Well…No one should be a fan of that…

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

A special feature about this board is that the top M.2 slot is cooled as well. The bottom three are under one metal block.

The PCI-slots in order from top to bottom are as follows:
– PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
– PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
(The PCIEX16 and PCIEX8 slots conform to PCI Express 5.0 standard.)
– PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4_1)
(The PCIEX4_1 slot conforms to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)

All three slots are encased in metal. (Ultra Durable PCIE Gen5 Armor – As named by Gigabyte).

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

Time to slot in the Kingston Renegade 2TB NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD. The great thing about this board is that it is cooled at both the top and bottom of the SSD by a thermal pad.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

These double thermal pads are also on the other three PCIe M.2 slots.
The M.2 slots are configured like this. One is directly connected to the CPU, the other three are connected through the chipset.

CPU:
1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280/22110 PCIe 4.0 x4/x2 SSD support) (M2A_CPU)
Chipset:
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)

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

The following internal connectors are on the board.
1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
2 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connectors
1 x CPU fan header
1 x water cooling CPU fan header
4 x system fan headers
4 x system fan/water cooling pump headers
1 x noise detection header
1 x AORUS RGB Memory Armor power header
2 x addressable LED strip + RGB LED strip combo extension cable headers
4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
4 x M.2 Socket 3 connectors
1 x front panel header
1 x USB Type-C® header, with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 support
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 headers
1 x USB 2.0/1.1 header
2 x temperature sensor headers
1 x power button
1 x reset button

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

A personal favorite of mine on this board is the amount of connections, and especially loads of USB connectors. I somehow manage to always have a lack of ports. But with a whopping 10 USB 3.2 and 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports you’ll have more than enough.

1 x Q-Flash Plus button
1 x OC Ignition button
1 x Clear CMOS button
2 x SMA antenna connectors (2T2R)
2 x Thunderbolt™ 4 connectors (USB Type-C® port, with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support)
10 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports (red)
2 x RJ-45 ports
1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
2 x audio jacks

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

Initially I wanted to slot the Xtreme in the BeQuiet! Silent Base 802 as well. However, since the Xtreme is an EATX form factor instead of just an ATX with 90 degree connectors on the side of the bord (24 pin and such), the board was too big for this case.

Later on, I’ve also configured the build into the 900 rev 2. Seeing a dark board like this in a dark case is a fantastic look. The Silent Base 802 is a really nice case. The Germans have truly thought about how people want their water cooling built into it. Definitely saves you messing around for about half an hour.

When it comes to watercooling I’ve chosen the Gigabyte Waterforce x360. A water cooling unit with an LCD screen. It should be obvious by now that you can never be seen lacking enough bling/RGB powaahhh in your builds.
And so it happens to be after taking photographs of it that it’s quite easy to turn the LCD display at an angle. I genuinely thought that needed to be done with software..Mistake on my side! If you’re looking for a non-RGB solution and a cheaper option, the Pure Loop of BeQuiet! might be a good solution for you!

It’s a little bit of a shame that the cover above the ram modules don’t fit. Nonetheless, the Kingston Fury’s look good either way.

And of course I’ve got the cables ready for the 3070Ti that I’m going to slot in.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

Good..Time to slot in the RTX 3070Ti.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

The 3070Ti has a BIOS for an OC mode and Silent.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

The following connections are on the Gigabyte 3070Ti:
– 2x DisplayPort
– 2x HDMI

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

When the GPU is in the case it becomes quite noticeable how big the card actually is. But ah well, I was used to the 3090 FE. And that’s definitely not a small card either.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

Bios

Let’s walk through the bios options.
On the homepages ‘easy mode’ you can see the timings, processor information and the capability to configure the XMP including handy information for which one you want.
The interesting part about this memory is that it has 3 XMP profiles. 4800, 5600 and 6000 Mhz.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

When you open the advanced mode, you’ll end up on the ‘Favorites (F11)’ page. From there all pages can be placed on the favorites. So you can decide which important settings you want to see together, instead of the usual 300 different tabs.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

And under the ‘Tweaker’ tab you can ‘tweak’ you can tweak to your heart’s content. Ranging from timings to voltages. And you can also edit the XMP not counting the other plethora of options. More than enough to get the maximum amount out of your current system.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

In the settings tab the following can be edited:
– Platform Power
– IO Ports
– Miscellaneous
Option Search
(Hot Key: Alt-F)
– PC Health Status

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

The system info tab also shows all the information of the motherboard, processor and memory. This tab can also be used to flash the bios.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

The boot tab of course has all the options for booting your system. Selecting which drive you want to start your operating system on etc.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

And unsurprisingly last but not least, the ability to ‘Save & Exit’.
And thankfully the option to Save/Load Profile. Especially comes in handy after hours of tweaking so that you can save all your hard work.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

Combining everything together, it’s a BIOS with a lot of options.

Additional functions on the board

Which i will follow up with using the system.

Cooling with this motherboard is quite good. The “Thermal Reactive Armor with NanoCarbon Fins-Array III Heatsink, Direct-Touch Heatpipe II and NanoCarbon Baseplate” effectively cool the components of the board well. And that is very necessary. The PCI 4.0 M.2 slots are getting quite warm. And placing my hand on the heatsink, it doesn’t feel as warm as I thought. And I can read that back with the temperatures. Dragging and dropping multiple games back and forth in between the SSD’s the reading shows it’s not raising above 46 degrees Celsius. And that’s definitely not bad. Both SSD’s also have a thermal pad on either side so the heat can flow away on both the top and bottom sides.

The neat thing about it is that the NVME SSD heatsink looks completely different compared to the other 3 slots under it. The top one has got a real heatsink (NanoCarbon Fins-Array with a dual heatpipe). And that makes sense of course, since most people tend to have the top SSD as the most used one. Either having your operating system on it and or a huge gaming library.

It’s quite clear to me that this board monitors your temperatures a lot. And that becomes abundantly clear if we go in-depth with the Smart Fan 6 option that this board offers.
Included on this motherboard are the following
– 10 PWM/DC Fan connectors (blue icons),
– 7 internal temperature sensors (red icons),
– 2 external temperature sensor connectors (green icons)
– 1 noise detection cable

Having a multitude of sensors on this board makes it able for you to have the most precise fan curve possible. Which makes it possible to exactly choose how fast you want the fans to run given the exact amount of temperature.

The noise detection sensors will measure the amount of sound emitted by the fans.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

I truly appreciate having the 10GbE (AQUANTIA® AQC113C) on this board. Usually I always use a NAS having 10GbE and it’s a treat if you can truly get up to these speeds, pumping your data left and right. Which is also applicable for the Thunderbolt 4 capable of transferring 40Gb/s of data. Or.. Having external hardware connected to it. Even daisy chaining and recharging other systems like a MacBook or iPad Pro is possible. However, the system does need to be on for this.

What I don’t see utilized often are the two separate WiFi 6E antennas. This helps tremendously with getting even more coverage in the areas that you want, placing the both of them seperately.

On the Z690 Aorus Xtreme itself the DAC is a little bit different than usual. Onboard sound has turned into an ESSential HEX USB DAC. Which is the literal name in Windows. The idea behind the USB DAC is that there should be less interference on the sound. Having all the connectors together would mean that the signal should travel a shorter distance, resulting in less distortion.
The same can be applied to the USB DAC that has been included.
The aptly named GP-JODY, has a USB-C connector on one side and a 3.5 jack at the opposite end. The DAC can be used on systems with a USB-C connector. And it works quite well. I’ve used the DAC on an iPad Pro 12,9” with high-end headphones. And I have to say, I was impressed. This USB-DAC can be used on the front of the PC so you won’t need the ‘old analog’ cables anymore, which are definitely more sensitive to interference. The DAC makes use of a ESS SABRE HiFi ES9280CPRO chip.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

Having the word Xtreme in the name means having RGB on the board itself of course, not to mention the multitude of connectors for lightstrips. Enough to decorate the house to make it look like Christmas, or to signal incoming air traffic. RGB enthusiasts rejoice, because not only is there just a standard RGB connector, there’s also addressable RGB on the board.
The Xtreme has 2 addressable LED connectors and not one, not two, but three standard RGB connectors. Having 5 connections (Which you can also expand with RGB splitters) I am sure you can make it feel like you live in a rainbow if that is what you fancy.

Having 13 different options, to static RGB, to flashing on your music or sound effects in games…You can RGB to your heart’s content!

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

If you know beforehand that your sparkly brand new CPU isn’t supported by your newly purchased board. You can simply update the board without the CPU, memory or GPU. By loading a file on the USB-Stick, renaming it to gigabyte.bin and clicking the Q+Flash button, the newest BIOS will be installed in no time. A very good option to have available!

Software

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.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

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!

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

Besides having a plethora of software, Gigabyte also has EasyTune. With EasyTune it’s possible to overclock your system with a few clicks. The fun part is being able to overclock from the application itself, provided the application actually works. In this department the Gigabyte software falls short once again. EasyTune could not be started in whatever way i tried it. Installing/reinstalling failed as well. And that’s quite a shame, because I was curious how easy and ‘automatic’ I would be able to overclock my system.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

Alas, the App center wasn’t able to be used either. The software really feels like a kindergarten assignment. One throws a bit of glue on a piece of paper with whatever leaves they can find in autumn and Gigabyte creates this. We can stare at both of them, but nothing is going to happen.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

Benchmarks

With a board like this it’s definitely time to fire up some benchmarks.

PC benchmarks

For the benchmarks with the Xtreme i’ve used two types of memory on the same CPU (i9 12900K) Kingston Fury Beast KF548C38BB-16 (4800Mhz 16GB) and the Kingston Fury Beast KF560C40BBK2-32 (6000Mhz 32GB). Both of them have a standard X.M.P profile that coincide with the required speeds of the memory.

Geekbench 5

Geekbench seems to spot the difference in the different memory on the same board. The scores on single core are not that impressive compared to the multi core. A whopping ~4700 points difference is quite a bit.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

CPU-Z

CPU-Z has a small difference with the two types of memory.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

Cinebench20 &R23

In the Cinebench R20 and the R23 the scores are noteworthy. The 20 has a small preference for the 16GB 4800 Mhz (single dimm), instead of the 6000 Mhz (dual dimms). This was also obvious whilst testing the Gigabyte Aero G, seeing the single dimm perform better compared to the dual dimms.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

PassMark

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

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

PCMark 10

Obviously i’ve tested the PCMark 10, and something to note is that the 6000 kit scores better combined with the i9. However, there is one test, essentials, that comes out looking better. With digital content creation the score nearly doubles. And that happened each and every time during testing. This score is what raises the average of the PCMark 10.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

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. The image below is the Aero G, but the scores are correct. A worthwhile achievement for the PCIe 4.0 SSD’s.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

Comparing this to the speeds of the PCIe 3.0 M.2 SSDs, It’s really cool seeing how far we’ve come along with even faster SSD’s. And these speeds translate great in transferring data- SSD to SSD.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

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.

Gaming

As a gamer I am obviously interested in the capabilities for gaming. And that seems to be going well. After the benchmarks I’ve played loads of Forza Horizon 5 and a plethora of other games. And it truly matters having a stable system.

To play the games I’ve used the Gigabyte RTX 3070Ti connected to 2 different monitors and having 2 different ram sets slotted in.
The monitors ran on a resolution of 3840×1600 and 2560×1080 (because why make it easy when you can do it the hard way).
Memory-wise I’ve used the Kingston 32GB 6000Mhz (two sticks) and a 16GB 4800Mhz (one stick). CPU was the ever so fast 12900K.

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.

Cyberpunk 2077

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.

2560×1080:
16GB 4800Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

32GB 6000Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

3860×1600:
16GB 4800Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

32GB 6000Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

F1 2020

F1 2020 is scoring pretty well, even though It’s not that heavy of a game. Even on high (High is actually ultra high) presets the average framerate doesn’t drop below 167 FPS on the highest resolution. And that’s quite a feat.

2560×1080:
16GB 4800Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

32GB 6000Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

3860×1600:
16GB 4800Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

32GB 6000Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

Far Cry New Dawn

Far Cry New Dawn plays great on this system. On low I’ve gotten an average of 127 FPS and on Ultra 102. Despite the average difference of 25 frames during the benchmark, It’s very noticeable. Details on Ultra are stunning compared to low settings. It’s also noteworthy that the 6000 kit manages to squeeze out a few more frames than the 4800 kit.

2560×1080:
16GB 4800Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

32GB 6000Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

3860×1600:
16GB 4800Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

32GB 6000Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

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 34 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.

2560×1080:
16GB 4800Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

32GB 6000Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

3860×1600:
16GB 4800Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

32GB 6000Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

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.

2560×1080:
16GB 4800Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

32GB 6000Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

3860×1600:
16GB 4800Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

32GB 6000Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

Tomb Raider

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.

2560×1080:
16GB 4800Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

32GB 6000Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

3860×1600:
16GB 4800Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

32GB 6000Mhz

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

3DMark

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.
Personally I found it quite interesting that in the three tests for each memory module, that the CPU score with the dual dimms were utilized a lot. Causing the CPU score to be more than 2000 points higher compared to the single dimm.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

Looking at the benchmarks that I’ve ran, including the gaming ones with the 3070Ti, it’s quite clear that the board combined with the Intel i9 12900K and 4800 Mhz or 6000 Mhz is fast enough. The total sum of the whole build i wouldn’t call it a bargain, but it is definitely cool..

Conclusion

Having previously reviewed the Z690 Aero G I have to say that Gigabyte’s Z690 Aorus Xtreme is a prime contender on the market for motherboards. However, this is not a board for your normal consumer. This is a board for the consumer that has high demands and also wants to overclock high. With all the different options, there’s a lot to get out of this board.
The tests with the 12900K, Kingston SSDs, Kingston memory and the gigabyte RTX 3070Ti have shown how much power you can get from a setup like this. And that is definitely a huge plus. Being not the die-hard overclocker I can concur that this is a very suitable board to get the maximum performance out of your system. The board weighs a lot, and there’s a good reason for that. The Xtreme is made out of metal on either side to let the heat flow away.

The Xtreme has options like Thunderbolt 4, 10GbE & 2.5GbE, Bluetooth 5.2 and even WiFi 6E (ax). When it comes to wireless options you’re definitely on the newest protocols. And you can write all your data swiftly on the PCI 4.0 NVMe x4 slots. More than enough bandwidth to write all your SSDs full within no-time. Another nice thing is that you don’t necessarily have to use a PCI 4.0 x4 SSD. You can choose a 3.0 x4 m.2 SSD containing loads more storage. ideal to have your Steam library a mouse click away. Oh how the times have changed… In the past I had a WD Black 2TB. And that used to be such a convenience.
No bother of ‘Hey let’s play game A!’ Yikes, don’t have it installed at the moment…’How about game B?’ Nope…

The design and placement of the board looks neat. The RGB lighting looks good. And another thing that’s also good, the connectors on the right side of the board are curved, which helps with airflow. No more cables that block the airflow. Clever Gigabyte!

I would have preferred the RAM-cover being able to handle the memory that you already have. There’s a one size fits all, but…It doesn’t… The Kingston memory is just a tad too high, and that is a shame. This renders me unable to use the RAM-cover, missing RGB.
Which means I’m missing results in my games. Because everyone knows the rule of thumb: Extra RGB = Extra skill and frames. The memory isn’t that much higher than something that would fit. On the flipside, a cover like that won’t be good for the airflow either. But there’s just no other way to put it in place. And to put duct tape on an expensive board like this would be…A stunt…This is definitely a negative.
The Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Xtreme is not only Xtreme with its options, but the price also reflects its name. You can get one for 799 euros. And that’s quite a lot. But this would be the perfect board for people that have bought the 3090, because they simply could. Or having the four M.2 slots for a bit of data storage. Well, when in Rome…
If you truly want to turn this into the ultimate gaming/workstation using the 10GbE or Thunderbolt 4 combined with 4 M.2 slots.. You’ll certainly have loads of fun with this. It’s after all an incredibly cool and impressive system.

The Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Xtreme receives 4 out of 5 stars from me. Even though the options/possibilities – and there are a lot of them – it’s quite an investment. All the while the gigabyte Xtreme is the cheapest board looking at extreme motherboards. The other extreme ones easily will cost you over a 1000 euros.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS XTREME

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