The newly released 12th generation Intel Core series processors not only comes with the latest standard PCIe Gen 5 as the new Alderlake CPUs also support the latest JEDEC DDR5 standard. Like the Skylake platform launch where motherboard partners offer DDR3 and DDR4 supported motherboards, Intel’s brand partners also have the choice to offer their motherboards in either DDR4 or DDR5 flavors. The choice of having to go with the seven-year-old DDR4 memory means a lesser cost for gamers wanting to jump into the Alderlake platform as they can simply reuse their existing DDR4 memory on select DDR4-supported motherboards such as the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Elite AX DDR4. Today we have a preview of one of the newly launched Gigabyte Z690 motherboards, the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Elite AX DDR4, a slightly toned-down version of its DDR5 counterpart.
|Z690 AORUS ELITE AX DDR4|
|Power Design||16 + 1 + 2 Digital ( SPS 70A )|
|MOSFET ( Vcore )||ON FMDMF5062 70A|
|MOSFET ( Vcc GT )||1 * Digital SPS 60A|
|MOSFET ( Vcc AUX )||2 * Digital DrMOS 70A|
|DDR Frequency ( MHz )||4 * DDR4 4600 – 5000|
|Expansion Slot||1 * PCIe® 5.0 x16 / 2 * PCIe® 3.0 x4|
|Thermal Solution||Fully Covered MOS Heatsink,|
|5 W/mK Thermal Pad|
|M.2 Heatsink||2 * Enlarged Thermal Guard|
|M.2 Slot||4 * Gen 4|
|SATA||6 * SATA 3|
|PCB Size||ATX 305 x 244|
|Wireless LAN||WIFI 6 802.11ax|
|20 Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C||1 ( R )|
|USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C||1 ( F )|
|Onboard Display||HDMI 2.0 / DisplayPort|
|RGB Headers||RGB * 2 / Digital * 2|
Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Elite AX DDR4 Unboxing and First Impressions
The Z690 Aorus Eltie AX DDR4 sports your typical Aorus gaming motherboard packaging with only the Aorus print on the front and the model name on the bottom. Like the rest of the Z690 motherboards we’ve checked out so far, there’s a large PCIe 5 branding and the Intel 12th Gen Core series badge. The Z690 Aorus Elite AX has a DDR4 badge instead of a DDR5 badge as the motherboard only supports DDR4 memory modules. The back of the packaging shows a shot of the Z690 Aorus Elite AX DDR4 as well as its key specifications and highlighted features.
- 1x User Manual
- 1x Multilingual Installation Guide
- 4x M.2 Screw Screw
- 2x Aorus Sticker Badge
- 1x Gigabyte G Connector
- 2x SATA Cable
- Aorus Wifi 6 Antenna
The Z690 Aorus Elite AX DDR4 is a clean-looking motherboard thanks to its two-tone black finish with no outlandish text design in both the Z690 chipset area, IO Shroud, and VRM heatsinks.
Being a mid-range motherboard, Gigabyte didn’t provide any back armor or plating on the Z690 Aorus Elite AX DDR4 unlike the one on the Aorus Z690 Extreme.
The Aorus Z690 Elite AX DDR4 has one 8-pin EPS 12V connector and an auxiliary 4-pin EPS 12v connector to power the Intel 12th Gen Core series processors. Aorus Z690 motherboards use Solid Pin Power connectors for stable and reliable power delivery supply during CPU overloading.
VRM configuration of the Z690 Aorus Elite AX DDR4 is robust with a 16+1+2Digital Power Phase setup at 70A. The Z690 Aorus Elite AX DDR4 uses a RAA229131 PWM controller and FMDDMF506270A MOSFETS for the CPU Vcore, Digital SPS60A VCC GT MOSFET, and DrMOS 70A VCC Auxiliary MOSFET.
Aorus uses a full Direct Digital VRM design and tantalum polymer capacitors resulting in a 30 percent less voltage spike compared to a Parallel VRM design.
While the new Alderlake platform supports the new JEDEC DDR5 standard, motherboard manufacturers have the option to select which memory generation to support on their motherboards. DDR4 motherboards such as the Z690 Aorus Elite AX make it easier for consumers to upgrade to the LGA 1700 socket as they won’t have to shell out money for DDR5 RAM. The Z690 Aorus Elite AX DDR4 supports up to 128GBs of memory with a max speed of 5,000Mhz.
There’s a generous amount of connectivity on the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Elite DDR4 with two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, four USB 3.1 Type-A ports, one USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C port. There’s also your standard IO port, audio ports, ethernet port, and Wifi 6.
Intel’s latest Z690 chipset and the latest Intel Alderlake processors come with improved connectivity resulting in PCIe 5 support and high-bandwidth multi-storage support. The Aorus Z690 Elite AX DDR4 supports four PCI-E Gen 4 M.2 SSDs.
The topmost M.2 slot located above the PCI-E Gen 5 x16 slot has a dedicated M.2 heatsink while the remaining M.2 slots share one bulky heatsink.
Audio is a plus on the Z690 Aorus Elite as it uses the ALC 1220-VB2 with Smart Headphone Amp preventing common issues like volume and distortion.
Our quick hands-on over the motherboard shows that the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Elite AX DDR4 has the right bells and whistle for a performance-grade motherboard without any unnecessary gimmicks and features that would just make the motherboard’s price out of reach for most gamers. Being the first DDR4 Z690 motherboard on our site, we’re very much excited to test the difference in the performance of Intel Alderlake processors when equipped with the seven-year-old generation DDR4 memory versus the latest DDR5 memory. Unfortunately, we don’t have the price for the motherboard as of writing so be sure to check out our performance review of the Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Elite AX DDR4 that’s filled with more data and benchmarks as the embargo lifts on November 4.