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Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme WaterForce – The Most Expensive Z490 Motherboard Yet!

The new Z490 motherboards are out now together with the latest 10th gen Intel Core processors. If you are wondering what’s the most expensive Z490 motherboard that is available on the market; then look no further – meet the Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme WaterForce. This is currently the most expensive Z490 motherboard in the market, currently with a retail price of $1,300 USD. This is followed by the limited edition ASRock Z490 Aqua at $1,100 USD. The Z490 Aorus Xtreme WaterForce is loaded with features that are uncommon to most motherboards in the market. It comes with a dedicated all-in-one monoblock for the CPU, VRM, M.2 SSD and Chipset. Check our more details below.

Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme WaterForce Most Expensive

Gigabyte’s Z490 Aorus Xtreme WaterForce Is “Extremely” Cool!

The new Z490 Aorus Xtreme WaterForce motherboard is designed for the latest 10th Gen Intel Core processors; featuring an all-in-one monoblock to cool most of the heat generating parts of the motherboard. Unlike a typical motherboard, this one is meant to be used and connected to a custom water-cooling system. You can’t simply use it with a typical air cooler or AIO closed loop cooling solution.

Its all-in-one monoblock covers the CPU, VRM and even the M.2 SSD and Chipset area. Gigabyte is using high density copper fins for “extreme” heat dissipation; and they have included a leak detention circuit around the whole monoblock. This means that if ever a leak is detected, the system will automatically shut down.

There is only one pair of inlet/outlet on the monoblock. It features a G1/4 thread for high compatibility of other water-cooling parts. There are also addressable RGB LED lighting that illuminates through the transparent portion of the water block. Meanwhile, on the other side of the motherboard is a baseplate with a NanoCarbon coating. Heat coming from the back side of the motherboard is absorb and can be dissipated passively.

The Z490 Aorus Xtreme WaterForce features a True 16-Phase Digital VRM with 90A smart power stage. Gigabyte also designed this motherboard with 8 layer PCB, twice the cooper and with PCIe 4.0 ready low loss PCB. It can also support for DDR4 memory speeds of up to 5000MHz (OC). Another interesting feature on this motherboard is that 90% of the connectors are right-angled in design. This will make cable management easier and cables will not stick out or protrude from the motherboard.

Gigabyte’s Z490 Aorus Xtreme WaterForce also features the latest and fastest connectivity options. It is built with Aquantia 10Gbe BASE-T LAN + and Intel 2.5GbE LAN port with cFosSeed. It also features Intel Thunderbolt 3.0 and USB ports up to USB 3.2 Gen 2. For wireless connectivity, it features the new Intel WiFi 6 802.11ax with Bluetooth 5 module.

For those who demand high quality audio, the Z490 Aorus Xtreme WaterForce features an ESS Sabre HiFI DAC. Its audio section is composed of Realtek ALC 1220-VB, ESS9018K2M DAC and TI-Burr-Brown OP AMPs. There is also an anti-pop circuit design, auto impedance sensor, TXC oscillator and WIMA capacitors. Gigabyte also included an ESSential USB DAC that has an ESS 9218 DAC chip for the front audio. The external USB DAC with USB Type-C connector can be used on a desktop, laptop or even a smartphone.

Gigabyte also included an RGB Fan Commander, an accessory with similar function to Corsair’s Commander Pro. It’s like a central (RGB) fan hub to be used together with this motherboard. For the rest of the features and specifications, you can check it on the table below.

Z490 Aorus Xtreme WaterForce Finish Build

If you are wondering how a finish custom build with the Z490 Aorus Xtreme WaterForce motherboard would look like; KillR_MODZ built an awesome system called the IndominAORUS Bench. You can check out more photos of the build here.

IndominAORUS Bench

Price and Where to Buy

The Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme WaterForce motherboard is now available. It comes with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,299.99. Gigabyte is also offering a 3-year limited warranty period for the said motherboard.

Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme WaterForce Specifications

CPU SupportSupport for 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i9 processors/Intel® Core™ i7 processors/ Intel® Core™ i5 processors/Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/ Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1200 package

L3 cache varies with CPU
ChipsetIntel® Z490 Express Chipset
MemoryIntel® Core™ i9/i7 processors:
Support for DDR4 5000(O.C.)/4933(O.C.)/4800(O.C.)/ 4700(O.C.)/ 4600(O.C.)/ 4500(O.C.)/ 4400(O.C.)/ 4300(O.C.)/4266(O.C.) / 4133(O.C.) / 4000(O.C.) / 3866(O.C.) / 3800(O.C.) / 3733(O.C.) / 3666(O.C.) / 3600(O.C.) / 3466(O.C.) / 3400(O.C.) / 3333(O.C.) / 3300(O.C.) / 3200(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2933 / 2800 / 2666 / 2400 / 2133 MHz
Intel® Core™ i5/i3/Pentium®/Celeron® processors:
Support for DDR4 2666/2400/2133 MHz
4 x DDR4 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 GraphicsIntegrated Graphics Processor+Intel® Thunderbolt™ 3 Controller:
2 x Intel® Thunderbolt™ 3 connectors (USB Type-C™ ports), supporting DisplayPort and Thunderbolt™ video outputs and a maximum resolution of 5120 x 2880@60 Hz with 24 bpp
* Because of the limited I/O resources of the PC architecture, the number of Thunderbolt™ devices that can be used is dependent on the number of the PCI Express devices being installed. (Refer to Chapter 1-7, "Back Panel Connectors," for more information.)
* Support for DisplayPort 1.4 version, HDCP 2.3, and HDR.
Integrated Graphics Processor-Intel® HD Graphics support:
1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2160@30 Hz
* Support for HDMI 1.4 version and HDCP 2.3.
Maximum shared memory of 512 MB
AudioRealtek® ALC1220-VB codec+ESS ES9218P DAC (front panel audio)
Realtek® ALC1220-VB codec+ESS ES9018K2M DAC+TI OPA1622 operational amplifier (rear panel audio)
Support for DTS:X® Ultra
High Definition Audio
Support for S/PDIF Out
LAN1 x Aquantia 10GbE LAN chip (10 Gbit/5 Gbit/2.5 Gbit//1 Gbit/100 Mbit) (LAN1)
1 x Intel® 2.5GbE LAN chip (2.5 Gbit/1 Gbit/100 Mbit) (LAN2)
Wireless Communication moduleIntel® Wi-Fi 6 AX201
WIFI a, b, g, n, ac with wave 2 features, ax, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band
Support for 11ax 160MHz wireless standard and up to 2.4 Gbps data rate
Expansion Slots1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
* For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
* The PCIEX8 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16 slot. When the PCIEX8 slot is populated, the PCIEX16 slot operates at up to x8 mode.
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
* The PCIEX4 slot shares bandwidth with the M2P_PCH connector. The PCIEX4 slot operates at up to x2 mode when an M.2 SSD is installed in the M2P_PCH connector.
Multi-Graphics TechnologySupport for NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ and 2-Way NVIDIA® SLI™ technologies
Support for AMD Quad-GPU CrossFire™ and 2-Way AMD CrossFire™ technologies
Storage Interface1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2280/22110 SATA and PCIe x4/x2 SSD support)(M2A_CPU)
1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2280/22110 SATA and PCIe x4/x2 SSD support)(M2M_PCH)
1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 PCIe x4/x2 SSD support) (M2P_PCH)
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
* Refer to "1-9 Internal Connectors," for the installation notices for the PCIEX4, M.2, and SATA connectors.
Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
USBChipset+Intel® Thunderbolt™ 3 Controller:
2 x USB Type-C™ ports on the back panel, with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support
1 x USB Type-C™ port with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support, available through the internal USB header
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 (2 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
Chipset+2 USB 2.0 Hubs:
6 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers with the included front USB header extension cable)
Internal I/O Connectors1 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
1 x water cooling kit CPU LED header (LED_CPU)
1 x water cooling kit Chipset LED header (LED_PCH)
4 x system fan headers
2 x system fan/water cooling pump headers
1 x noise detection header
2 x addressable LED strip headers
2 x RGB LED strip headers
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
3 x M.2 Socket 3 connectors
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio header
1 x USB Type-C™ header, with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 header
1 x USB 2.0/1.1 header
2 x temperature sensor headers
1 x power button
1 x reset button
1 x OC button
2 x BIOS switches
Voltage Measurement Points
Back Panel Connectors1 x Q-Flash Plus button
1 x Clear CMOS button
2 x SMA antenna connectors (2T2R)
2 x Thunderbolt™ 3 connectors (USB Type-C™ ports, with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support)
4 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports (red)
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
1 x HDMI port
2 x RJ-45 ports
1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
5 x audio jacks
I/O ControlleriTE® I/O Controller Chip
H/W MonitoringVoltage detection
Temperature detection
Fan speed detection
Water cooling flow rate detection
Overheating warning
Fan fail warning
Fan speed control
* Whether the fan (pump) speed control function is supported will depend on the fan (pump) you install.
Noise detection
BIOS2 x 256 Mbit flash
Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS
Support for DualBIOS™
PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0
Unique FeaturesSupport 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.
Fast Boot
Game Boost
RGB Fusion
Smart Backup
System Information Viewer
USB TurboCharger
Support for Q-Flash Plus
Support for Q-Flash
Support for Xpress Install
Bundled SoftwareNorton® Internet Security (OEM version)
XSplit Gamecaster + Broadcaster (12 months license)
Operating SystemSupport for Windows 10 64-bit
Form FactorE-ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 27.1cm
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Peter Paul
Peter is a PC enthusiast and avid gamer with several years of hands-on experience in testing and reviewing PC components, audio equipment, and various tech devices. He offers a genuine, no-nonsense perspective, helping consumers make informed choices in the ever-changing world of technology.

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