AERO is a new VISION! GIGABYTE released a new themed and specific target market series of the motherboards, graphics cards, and other related products named VISION with the release of the Intel Comet Lake’s platform. This series was aimed at the content creators specifically and GIGABYTE provided features and functions particularly suited for this segment. The majority of the VISION series products come in the White and black color combination with White having dominance.
This time, GIGABYTE has changed the name of the series to AERO and we are now seeing a Silver and Black color combination. The AERO series is also aimed at the Content Creators and one feature which has been the light show of the VISION series has been retained and further augmented in the AERO series. This feature is called Vision Link. A single port capable of doing multiple tasks including Fast Charging, Display, High-Speed Storage transfer, and others.
Also Read: Best Z690 Motherboards
GIGABYTE has released three motherboards in the Z690 chipset with the release of Intel’s Alder Lake aka 12th generation platform. These are:
- Z690 AERO D
- Z690 AERO G
- Z690 AERO G DDR4
The AERO D is the highest-end offering in this segment with a couple of more features than the balanced and pocket-friendly AERO G motherboard. The AERO G is also available in the DDR4 should the user go that way.
13th Gen Awards
We are taking a look at the GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G motherboard in this content. Let’s start with the salient features of the motherboard.
- Supports 12th Gen Intel® Core™ Series Processors
- Dual Channel Non-ECC Unbuffered DDR5, 4 DIMMs
- PCle 5.0 x16 slot design can be ready for PCle 5.0 GPU or NVMe storage
- Go further without more cables by VisionLINK I/O design
- Brings a speed network experience with Intel® 2.5GbE LAN
- WIFI6 2×2 802.11ax 2T2R & BT5 with new antenna for better signal
- No Hassle Connection with front USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C®
- 4 x Ultra-Fast NVMe PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 connectors with enlarged thermal guards
- Advanced thermal architecture design for the better thermal dissipation
- Smart Fan 6 features hybrid fan headers and numerous temperature sensors for fan mode configuration
- Q-Flash Plus Updates BIOS without Installing the CPU, Memory, and Graphics Card
The above picture show the block diagrams of the Z590 and Z690 chipsets for comparison and a better understanding of the differences between both.
Here are the specifications as well.
Packaging and Unboxing
The motherboard is shipped inside the same themed packing box as we have seen on the Z490 VISION G motherboard. The board features the PCIe 5 and DDR5 interface.
Take a glimpse of the motherboard with the box wide open.
- 1x Motherboard
- 1x WiFi Antenna
- 1x User Manual
- 2x SATA Cables
- 1x Noise Detector Cable
- 4x NVMe SSD Screws
Closer Look at the GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G
The GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G motherboard packs features and functions aimed at the Content Creators segment who would want to have high-performance CPUs, Graphics Cards, RAM kits, and obviously the powerful motherboard to drive all these components. This has been the idea behind the VISION series from GIGABYTE and now it is AERO. The GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G packs an Intel LGA1700 socket and Z690 chipset. It has 19 power phases for balanced power delivery to the components. This is not a high-end power delivery design but it will do the job just fine. The board has 4x NVMe SSD slots and a PCIe x16 5.0 slot. We have 4x DDR5 DIMM slots.
The above picture shows the layout of the motherboard.
The above is the block diagram of the motherboard.
We have onboard WIFI 6 2×2 802.11ax 2T2R & BT5 with a new antenna for better signal and 2.5GbE LAN. I would have loved to see 10GbE but GIGABYTE has reserved that for the AERO D model. This motherboard has an integrated I/O shield which is in the white color. Let’s take a look at the motherboard.
Taking a glance at the motherboard, we have an all-out black color PCB. The heatsinks have a silver coloring tone to them. The support arms of the rear IO are in the white color. The integrated IO shield is also in the white color. Other than that, we can safely say that this motherboard is for silver and black accent builds. The stenciling is mostly in gray and black colors.
We have 4x DIMM slots for DDR5 RAM, 3x PCIe 3.0/5.0 slots at X16/X4/X4, 6x SATA ports, Thunderbolt ports, USB 2.0 ports, USB Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 1, USB 3.2 ports, onboard audio solution driven by Realtek ALC4080, Intel 2.5 GbE NIC, on-board WiFi 6 and nice handy I/O connectivity options. The 6-layered PCB has an ATX form factor measuring 30.5cmX24.4cm and has support for Microsoft Windows 10 and 11.
Let’s dive in.
The motherboard features a thick aluminum-based heatsink cover on the Rear IO of the motherboard. The AERO text is crossing over the shroud side to the heatsinks. There are no integrated RGB strips under the cover. The inclined portion of the cover has a colorful texture. One thing we are noticing is the lesser use of plastic around the socket area on the covers and heatsinks.
We have a black color aluminum heatsink on the top. GIGABYTE Creator Series is printed over it. These black and silver accents on the IO cover give a unique look to the motherboard outlook.
The top NVMe slot has a silver color heatsink cover. It has a latch and screw lock design. The first PCIe slot is the only slot on the motherboard which is metal reinforced. It is compatible with the PCIe 5.0 with backward compatibility to the previous protocols. We have a large-size heatsink with the same color and stenciling as is on the top cover and heatsinks. There is a black color heatsink on the Z690 chip. Once again we are seeing a black and silver color combination. This large size silver heatsink cover has 3x NVMe slots underneath.
There is a white color protective cover on the CPU socket. Intel has released a new socket design with the Alder Lake architecture and it is now using 1700 pins. The Y value is increased and so is the Z value. For those who are well versed with the Intel X99/X299 platforms, a quick look at the socket would show that Intel has provided the same dual catcher locking mechanism on the LGA1700 socket as well.
The socket is using Tantalum capacitors for better efficiency in handling transient loads. There is a small arrow indicator on the socket’s cover indicating the corner to which the arrow-marked side of the CPU has to be aligned. The Intel LGA1700 on The GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G motherboard supports the Intel 12th generation of Core i series CPUs. The motherboard comes with an HDMI port supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×[email protected] Hz with a maximum shared memory of 512MB. The HDMI port is a 1.4 version and HDCP 2.3. There is also a USB Type C port supporting DisplayPort video output with a maximum supported resolution of 4096×[email protected]
The above picture shows the VRM and MOSFETs employed on the GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G motherboard. We have a 16+1+2 digital power phase design with each phase capable of enduring 70A.
The PWM controller handling the MOSFETs is RAA229131. We have 16 power phases dedicated to the VCore using the ON FMDMF5062/TI95480. With 70Amps per phase, we have a total of 1120A across the 16 phases. This is not a high-performance design but it will handle the load so employing the Core i9 on this motherboard should not pose any challenge to the user. We have 1x phase dedicated to the VccGT using SPS 60A and lastly, we have 2x digital phases dedicated to the VccAUX using DrMOS 70A.
GIGABYTE has employed a Direct-Touch HeatPipe-II between the two VRM heatsinks and is using 5W/MK Thermal pads to ensure effective heat transfer from the MOSFETs.
The 8+4 12V ATX power connectors to power the CPU are located on the top left most side. There is no fan header near these connectors unlike what we have seen so far on the GIGABYTE boards.
Traversing to the far right side of the motherboard, we have 4x headers there. These are:
- 1x CPU Fan Header [4-pin PWM, Hybrid, 2A]
- 1x CPU OPT Fan Header [4-pin PWM, Hybrid, 2A]
- 1x 3-pin Digital RGB Header
- 1x 4-pin RGB Header
This motherboard is using nuvoTon 3947S PWM fan controller chips to regulate the fan headers.
There are 4x DDR5 DIMM slots on the GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G motherboard. These are in the Dual Channel configuration. The maximum capacity is 128GB with 32GB per DIMM slot and the maximum supported frequency is 6000 MT/s (OC) with BIOS update F6b. This motherboard supports ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8 memory modules (operate in non-ECC mode) as well non-ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx16 memory modules. These slots are not reinforced. The latches on both sides of a DIMM slot open.
We have a solid pin 24-pin ATX connector here.
We have more headers here:
- 2x 4-pin PWM PUMP Headers
- 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Header.
- 2-pin Temp Sensor header.
We have a front-panel USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 header.
We have 4 LED indicators for VGA, CPU, BOOT, and DRAM marking printed at the bottom. This is the troubleshooting mechanism provided on this motherboard. Each of these 4 LEDs is dedicated to the VGA, CPU, BOOT, and DRAM. In case of any issue or error, the corresponding LED will light up continuously until the problem is resolved. I was expecting a debug LED on this motherboard but it is not there.
We have 5+3-pin connectors for the Thunderbolt Add-In Card. Please keep in mind that every motherboard manufacturer is using its own pin-count headers. Asus has a 14-pin single header making it incompatible with the non-Asus add-in cards. You would need a GIGABYTE Thunderbolt Add-In Card for better compatibility.
There are 6x SATA ports rated at 6 Gbps located on the lower right side of the motherboard. This motherboard supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10.
There is a Reset Jumper and a Reset button. This allows the user to quickly turn on/off the PC in an open-air environment meaning when the motherboard is installed on a test bench, not inside a PC case.
Let’s take a look at the connectivity options located at the base of the motherboard.
Starting from the right side, we have:
- System Panel Connector
- Reset Jumper
- 4x 4-pin PWM Fan Headers
- Q-Flash Plus button
- 2x USB 2.0 headers
- TPM Header
- 4-pin 12V RGB Header
- 3-pin 5V RGB Header
- COM Port
- Front Panel Audio Header
The Q-Flash Plus allows the user to update the BIOS of the motherboard without installing the CPU/RAM etc. There is a Q-Flash LED Indicator on the top of the button. The USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port located under the 2.5GbE port on the rear IO is dedicated to the Q-Flash Plus BIOS update. The user would need to download the BIOS file from the GIGABYTE website. Rename it to GIGABYTE.BIN and copy it to FAT 32 formatted USB flash drive. Connect the USB to the above-mentioned port. Connect the 12V and 24V connectors from the PSU to the motherboard. Turn the PSU on and press the Q-Flash Plus button. The LED will start blinking fast indicating that it is searching for the BIOS file. Once the BIOS flashback is completed the LED will turn off and the PSU will shut down and restart. The BIOS is updated.
The above picture shows the PCB with heatsinks and covers except the chipset cover removed. We have a black color stepped-design on the chipset heatsink.
The above picture shows the PCIe and NVMe slots on the motherboard. The top PCIe slot is wired with the CPU and is rated for PCIe generation 5.0 with backward compatibility. It is a full-length slot with 16 lanes. The bottom two slots are PCIe 3.0 x4 ones wired with the chipset. The top slot is metal reinforced. The motherboard supports AMD 2-way and Quad-GPU crossfire.
We have a total of 4x NVMe SSD slots on this motherboard. The top slot is above the top PCIe slot and is wired with the CPU. It is labeled as M2A_CPU and it has Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280/22110 PCIe 4.0 x4/x2 SSD support. The remaining three connectors are wired with the chipset. The top two ports are labeled as M2P_SB and M2Q_SB. They have Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280/22110 PCIe 4.0 x4/x2 SSD support. The last connector labeled as M2M_SB has Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280/22110 SATA, and PCIe 4.0 x4/x2 SSD support.
The above picture shows the M2A_CPU M.2 connector after removing the thermal cover.
The above picture shows the underside of the thermal covers of the M.2 connectors.
We have iTE8689E chip for I/O control.
The motherboard has a single 256Mbit Flash chip. We have other iTE chips as well which are IT5708FN and IT5701E which are used as Q FLASH PLUS and RGB controllers.
Following USB connectivity options are present:
- 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
The GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G is using Realtek High-End HD Audio Codec ALC4080. This motherboard is using high-end Chemicon audio capacitors. The high-end audio capacitors are suited for high-grade audio equipment, using state-of-the-art technology to provide rich sound in the bass and clearer high frequencies. These high-quality capacitors help deliver high resolution and high fidelity audio to provide the most realistic sound effects for gamers. Channel support is 2 channel analog and S/PDIF Out.
The above picture shows the Intel AX-AX201 Wi-Fi 6 CNVi controller module installed at the third M.2 connector in a low-profile layout. To this end, GIGABYTE has provided an Antennae. This motherboard does not have WiFi 6E interface but a WiFi6 802.11 ax protocol.
All new antenna supports WIFI a, b, g, n, ac, and ax, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band. It has a magnetic base. Moreover, Bluetooth 5.2 provides a better range over the previous BT protocol with faster transmission. The wireless solution supports 11ax 160MHz wireless standard and up to 2.4 Gbps data rate.
GIGABYTE has provided WIFI 6E 2×2 module with the AERO D model.
The GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G is using Intel 2.5 GbE NIC. Adoption of 2.5G LAN provides up to 2.5 GbE network connectivity, with at least two times faster transfer speeds compared to general 1GbE networking. It is also backward compatible with Multi-Gig(10/100/1000/2500Mbps) RJ-45 Ethernet. Since this is a Creator’s segment board, I was expecting a 10GbE port but GIGABYTE has only implemented that port on the VISION D motherboard.
The following options are provided:
- 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
The above picture shows the backside of the PCB.
The above picture summarized the 6 key features of the AERO series motherboards segregating them from the Gaming oriented motherboards.
The above picture illustrates the concept of Vision Link. Basically, we have a USB Type-C port that is capable of handling features like USB Alternate Mode using DisplayPort, PD (Power Delivery), and single-cable connectivity in addition to the high-speed data transfer connectivity.
The Vision Link is capable of providing a charging capability of up to 60W to compatible devices. This is a fast-charging solution. Similarly, using the Alternate Mode on DP/HDMI, a single port can output to the compatible displays. The fun part is that we can have multiple signals on the same cable.
The user can output to the pen display using a USB Type-C cable.
The BIOS setup is similar to what we have seen on the GIGABYTE Z490 VISION G motherboard. Let’s run down some important settings and layouts. We are not covering the entire menu as we still have the same layout and run down.
The BIOS is loaded in an Easy Mode by default. The user can change the setting to load in the Advanced Mode. The CPU voltage, frequency, and temperature are displayed as well as the stock speed of the DDR5 kit.
Here is a complete gallery of what to expect from BIOS In GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G.
Smart Fan 6 gives total control of the connected fans/pumps to the user. The user can change the control type of the connected fan to PWM or Voltage. Voltage is for 3-pin fans. The auto will work just fine as well. The user can set the custom fan curve as well. The control source can be set to CPU, external sensors, PCIe etc. The user can also select the predefined speed control modes Full speed, silent, Normal, and Manual. Selecting Manual will allow the user to plot the graph according to the required custom fan curve based on 10 values input. Alarms can be created based on the given temperature threshold.
The SPD information of the RAM module no 2 is shown in the picture.
The first section of importance under Advanced Mode is Tweaker. This is the main section covering every aspect of the CPU and DRAM ranging from the frequency to core ratio to voltages and whatnot. It has been categorized into Frequency, Voltage, and Memory Settings. CPU Base Clock, Core Ratio, Uncore Ratio, and XMP settings are located here.
The user can set the manual timings for the DDR5 kit from this menu.
The user can change the advanced settings for the DDR5 kit from this menu.
The user can change the Load Line Calibration and related settings from this menu.
Clicking on Advanced CPU Core Settings will load another page with a plethora of controlling options for the advanced users. Here you can find settings for Speed Shift Technology, EIST Function, Turbo Boost and Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0, and various other CPU-related settings. The user can set per core frequency, disable the cores, define the custom short and long power durations, etc.
The channels link speed can be set from this menu.
The above menu shows the settings for the TPM connector.
GIGABYTE has provided tons of applications which the user can download from their website to be used for this motherboard. Their App Center is the basic application which is a must installed in order for all other applications to work except for the RGB Fusion 2. Here is a list of some of the applications:
- System Information Viewer (SIV)
- Easy Tune
- Fast Boot
GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G Benchmarks
The following test bench setup is used to test the performance of the motherboard:
- Intel i7-12700k
- ARCTIC Liquid Freezer – II 420
- XPG Lancer RGB 6000 32GB DDR5
- GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3070 VISION OC 8G
- be quiet! Straight Power 11 850W Platinum
- Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 2TB PCIe 4 NVMe SSD
- Samsung 840 EVO 1 TB SSD for the Games
- Thermaltake Corfe P6 TG Snow Edition in an open-frame layout
Microsoft Windows 10 x64 Pro was used for all the testing. Nvidia 512.15 drivers were used for graphics card testing. The following software were used for performance evaluation: –
Storage Drive Tests
- Crystal Disk Mark
- Cinebench R23
- CPU Profile
- GeekBench 5
- Hyper Pi
- AIDA64 Extreme
Overall System Tests
- Performance Test
For gaming and synthetic bench of the graphics card following software were used:-
- Assassin’s Creed Origin
- Shadow of Tomb Raider
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- DOOM Eternal
This section will show the results of the various test suites and gaming benchmarks that we have run on this motherboard.
The above picture shows the CPU-Z values of the platform.
PCMark10 is a reputed systemic benchmarking utility, commonly used to gauge the overall performance of your gaming PC by incorporating three sets of scores: ‘Essentials,’ which includes internet surfing and web browsing loops, Video Conferencing for those crucial Zoom meetings, and app start-up times, followed by a ‘Productivity’ score, which measures the time taken to process writing scripts and crunch spreadsheets, rounded off by a ‘DCC’ (Digital Content Creation) score, for gamers who’d like to undertake tasks such as pictorial and video editing as well as workflows that require immense rendering and virtualization situations to provide one combined score and a subset of three differing scores, which you may use to compare against rival systems.
Performance Test is a PC benchmarking tool developed by PassMark, with the former formulating a criterion of several different categories, such as CPU, 2D Graphics, 3D Graphics, Memory (RAM), and Disk Mark (Storage Media), to spit out a singular figure, which gamers may use to juxtapose similarly-specced gaming systems to accurately evaluate whether or not their gaming system is operating at peak performance in terms of different aspects such as the CPU, GPU, RAM, and HDDs/SSD read/write speeds.
Maxon’s CineBench R23 (Release 23) one-ups competing CPU benchmarking utilities by way of its main distinguishing feature: the ability to run real-world CPU performance simulations courtesy of its proprietary Cinema 4D tool, rather than just focusing on absolute raw potential so as to provide gamers with realistic expectations for their processor’s actual performance in day-to-day tasks and gaming routines.
Arguably the most famous benchmarking software in the gaming industry, GeekBench 5 now features an advanced CPU test (split into a single-core and multi-core score, the former of which mainly sets the mark for real-world gaming performance), which boasts support for measuring Machine Learning (ML) and Augmented Reality (AR), to comply with the latest and greatest processors from Intel and AMD, and hence, provide you a more reflective measure to help you determine if your gaming system is up to today’s standards.
A variant of a popular 22-year-old compression tool for securing (encrypting) sensitive data, transformed into a benchmarking utility, which primarily focuses on your processor’s performance by running scripts of documentational compressions and decompressions.
Hyper PI, originally based on ‘Super PI,’ a program dating back to 1995, stress-tests your CPU to find out a highly accurate value of the PI up to 32 million decimal places using successive iterations of calculations. Gamers may even customize settings for Hyper PI to use only a certain number of CPU cores, adjust the CPU’s priority, and of course, set the number of decimal places of PI to be calculated.
AIDA64 Extreme is another industry-leading and, thus, a rightfully popular software utility for pushing your gaming system’s RAM modules to the limit to test for memory stability and performance under the most demanding workflows, incorporating a host of additional tools for benchmarking your processor, storage media, and other components as well as quantifying overall PC performance and diagnosing potential systematic issues
CrystalDiskMark NVMe SSD
CrystalDiskMark is the standard choice of enthusiasts worldwide for ascertaining HDD and SSD performance in terms of sequential and random read/write speeds.
CrystalDiskMark USB 3.2 Gen 1
CrystalDiskMark USB 3.2 Gen 1 tests the sequential and random read/write speeds of externally connected storage devices such as portable HDDs and SSDs. Notwithstanding, the previously mentioned internal Sabrent Rocket SSD has been used for this speed test.
ATTO NVMe SSD
Designed to rival CrystalDiskMark, ATTO also benchmarks read and write speeds for HDDs and SSDs, albeit using a somewhat complicated Graphical User Interface (GUI).
ATTO USB 3.2 Gen 1
ATTO USB 3.2 Gen 1 generally serves to measure read/write speeds of storage media connected via a USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 5 Gbps Type-A port. However, as we can see, the internally connected Sabrent Rocket NVMe SSD has been used for this test.
3DMark CPU Profile
The 3DMark CPU Profile utility hosts a subset of six scores, all of which combine to present users with a singular CPU score, which they may use to quantify their processor’s real-world performance. The six scores are obtained using the exact same workload on every test, with the difference being the number of threads used. The area after the green bar shows gamers the maximum potential available for CPU overclocking.
3DMark Fire Strike encompasses a DirectX 11 benchmark, which includes two GPU tests, a physics/rendering simulation, and a unified script that stresses both the CPU and GPU. Our 3DMark Fire Strike test was run at 2K resolution (2560×1440) with visual effects and quality set to the maximum (Ultra).
3DMark Time Spy Extreme
3DMark Time Spy Extreme has been designed to take advantage of the latest Nvidia RTX 30xx Series and AMD’s Radeon 6xxx Series GPUs. Based on a DirectX 12 testing algorithm, 3DMark Time Spy Extreme boasts added support for beastly processors, such as the Intel Core i7-12700K with its 20x threads to run at peak potential. As before, settings were subjectively altered to test Battlefield V performance, running at 2K resolution with visual effects set to Ultra.
Blender is an open-source tool for creating animations, motion effects, and advanced 3D applications amongst a comprehensive suite of varying utilities. As such, the Blender Foundation released the Blender Benchmark, which tests either the CPU or GPU. As seen above, settings were subjectively altered to explicitly test for CPU performance. A user-friendly graphical chart is also displayed to help gamers compare their componential performance.
Following games have been tested using their maximum graphics quality presets/settings.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Bar graph for Shadow of the Tomb Raider FPS, tested at 1920×1080, 2560×1440, and 3840×2160 – Higher is better
Assassin’s Creed Origin
Assassin’s Creed: Origins, tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions at Ultra High quality – Higher is better
Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2; a notoriously taxing game, tested with three different resolutions at Ultra quality – Higher is better
Control, arguably the most demanding game in our benchmarks; tested with all popular resolutions at Ultra settings in DirectX 12 – Higher is better
DOOM Eternal, a relatively underwhelming game in terms of system requirements; nevertheless, tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 2160p with visual quality set to Ultra – Higher is better
Power Consumption, and Thermals
For the purpose of to-the-point testing, we disabled the Gigabyte Core enhancement to stay with the Intel default’s. On stock all the settings were left at Auto except the DRAM voltage and timings. We have used CineBench R23 Multi CPU run of 20 minutes for the thermals and stability. HWInfo64 was used to monitor the sensors.
On stock, the maximum package temperature was 70°C at an ambient of 30°C. The maximum power draw was roughly 178W. This is the peak value. The power draw remains around 150W or so after the initial load.
Next, we removed all the limits and repeat the tests on Auto. This time the package temperature crossed 100°C as the motherboard was pouring over 1.356V voltage. The maximum power draw was 252.3W.
Here is the Cinebench R23 result with all limits removed.
We have used the Hti HT18 Thermal camera to record the thermals of the VRM area of the motherboard under load using a CineBench R23 CPU Multi run of 20 minutes.
- The MOSFETs were operating at around 66.2°C at an ambient of 30°C.
- The VRM cooling is on the point on the GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G motherboard.
Is GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G Worth Buying?
GIGABYTE has renamed the VISION series products as AERO under Alder Lake platform. AERO Series motherboards are a fresh approach to creators that evolve with optimized features for content creation. To deliver reliable computing performance, impressive connectivity, expandable graphics, and ultra-fast storage for creators to deal with heavy design workloads like 3D rendering and feature-length video production. GIGABYTE is covering almost all categories of the creators be they are start-ups, professionals, doing stuff for fun and what not.
The Z690 AERO D is an all-out feature rich motherboard aimed at the professionals. The Z690 AERO G is a mid-range motherboard with a balanced set of features to provide the creators with necessary technology without breaking the bank though the motherboard is retailing at $309.9 at the time of the review [NewEgg Price]. Then there is a DDR4 version of the Z690 AERO G with no future upgrade path from a memory perspective but it is the least expensive option of all three.
The keynotes of the GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G motherboard include:
- VISION Link
- Intel 2.5GbE LAN
- Intel WiFi 6 802.11 AX
- Bluetooth 5.2
- 4x DDR5 DIMM slots
- PCIe 5.0 x16 slot
- USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 USB Port
- 4x M.2 PCIe 4.0 Connectors
- Powerful cooling on the MOSFETs
- Thermal Guards and Covers
- 8x Hybrid 4-pin PWM Fan Headers
- 2 Sensor Ports
- Thunderbolt ports
The motherboard is using an Intel LGA1700 socket with a Z690 chipset which is the latest from the blue camp. This board is using 16+1+2 digital power phases which are fine equipped to handle your Core i9 12900k. Though keep in mind that this power design is mediocre. For a more powerful delivery option, you may want to take a look at the high-end AORUS range of the motherboards from the GIGABYTE. We have SPS 70A per 16 phases dedicated to the VCore. We have 1x phase dedicated to the VccGT using SPS 60A and lastly, we have 2x digital phases dedicated to the VccAUX using DrMOS 70A. GIGABYTE has employed a Direct-Touch HeatPipe-II between the two VRM heatsinks and is using 5W/MK Thermal pads to ensure effective heat transfer from the MOSFETs.
The GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G has 4 DDR5 DIMM slots with a maximum capacity of 128GB DDR4 in a dual-channel using a maximum supported transfer rate of 6000MHz (OC) with BIOS updated F6b. The single module density is up to 32GB. These are not metal-reinforced slots. Next, we have 4x NVMe ports. The top one is wired with the CPU socket and three are wired with the chipset. All NVMe ports have thermal covers for effective heat transfer.
There are 9x thermal sensors across the entire PCB and 2 external sensors are provided. Smart Fan 6 is used to control the functionality of these headers. The motherboard has 8+4 pin EPS connectors using a solid pin design. The motherboard has 17 USB ports from mid-board to rear IO including the 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports.
There are no integrated RGB/A-RGB LEDs on the motherboard so if that is what you are also looking for then the AERO series might not be your cup of tea. In addition, there are 2x 5V lighting headers and 2x 12V lighting headers. The motherboard comes with Intel 2.5 GbE NIC and a 2×2 WiFi 6 201AX solution with an antenna. The Audio section is using Chemicon capacitors to drive the Realtek ALC4080. The rear IO has only two Audio ports so we are limited in terms of channel output. The motherboard comes with a single 256 Mbit flash UEFI/BIOS.
We have tested the motherboard using Intel i7 12700k, XPG Lancer RGB 6000 32GB DDR5 kit, GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3070 VISION OC 8G, and Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 2TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD. The Auto Enhancement was disabled so that we can work on Intel’s default settings. XMP profile was loaded and the kit was operating at 6000MHz using 40-40-40-76 at 1.350V.
The new platform has performed remarkably well and DDR5 is indeed paying off when it comes to high bandwidth transfer but it is doing at the cost of high latency which is expected. What impresses us wat the MOSFET temperature. The maximum we saw was 66.2°C under an AVX load of 20 minutes run. The VRM cooling is quite effective. The CPU on Auto boosted to 5.0GHz on a core depending on the load and thermal headroom. The CPU was doing 70ish under synthetic load on Intel default settings. Once we removed all the limits, the CPU easily crossed 100°C under AVX load. The power draw was roughly 258W with no limit and 178W under the limit. The overall performance coming from the RAM, Storage, Graphics, and CPU is satisfactory and the content creator would enjoy a nice experience on this motherboard.
One caveat we found during the overclocking. We were using Override mode and the motherboard was pushing way too much voltage than what was being specified. This was resulting in instability and thermal throttling. We set the Override voltage at a lower voltage hoping that the motherboard would come down in terms of extra being pushed but it was not a satisfactory result either. They need to optimize the override-based overclocking. On a side note, we do recommend also checking out B660 Motherboards, that also support 12th Generation Processors. These rival to Z690 Motherboards.
Here is the summary of our GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G Motherboard Review.
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GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G Review Summary
Design - 8.5/10
Features - 8/10
Performance - 9/10
Value - 8/10
The GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G is a mid-range motherboard aimed at content creators with almost a balanced set of features to deliver a satisfactory high-performance to the users. The gamers can also enjoy this motherboard though you would not find those extras in this motherboard when it comes to serious gaming.
- Adequate VRM Cooling
- VISION Link using USB Type-C with DisplayPort In port
- PCIe 5.0 x16 slot
- 4x M.2 NVMe PCIe 4 slots
- 1x 2.5GbE LAN port
- 8x Fan Headers and 9x thermal sensors
- Audio ALC4080 Codec
- WIFI 6
- The almost balanced feature set given the price
- No 10GbE LAN port
- No WIFI 6E
- No Thunderbolt ports on the Rear IO
- Only two Audio ports on the Rear IO
- The PCIe 3.0 x4 slots are sharing bus with the M.2 WIFI and the LAN port.