GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Review

Continuing the most acclaimed AORUS bloodline, GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 is the new king of gaming motherboards. The power delivery is remarkably robust and it possesses a superior thermal design. Owing to Z690 AORUS Elite AX’s full memory overclocking technology, your PC can be crowned with the all-time best gaming performance. Among all the Z690 alternatives that GIGABYTE’s DDR4 supports, AORUS Elite AX DDR4 is the most premium one. With this Z690 series, GIGABYTE has kept up with the latest trends of fast-advancing technology. Make notes, that this is Review of Gigabyte Z690, for Best Z690 Motherboard roundup, read our different detailed article.

Z690 AORUS Elite AX optimizes gaming performance by featuring upgraded power solutions and top-shelf connectivity. With AORUS Elite AX’s next-generation network and latest storage standards, the users can experience splendid connection flexibility accompanied by rapid data transfer. The Z690 AORUS Elite AX also features GIGABYTE’s Ultra durability, customizable lighting effects and one of the best VRM designs ever built to enable ultimate Turbo Boost. Now, having a choice to go with the old DDR4 memory is quite convenient for gamers that hope to get introduced to the ALDERLAKE gaming platform but at a lesser cost. This is because gamers can simply reuse their older DDR4 memory in this Z690 AORUS Elite that is DDR4-supported. It was also for this reason, that we ranked it as the Best DDR4 Motherboard For i5-12600k.

In this article, we will Review Gigabyte Z690 – the specifications, features, and performance of the Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4.  

Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Overview
Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Overview

Unboxing of Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 and First Impression:

  • User Manual
  • Installation Guide
  • Two Sticker Badges
  • Four M.2 Screws
  • 2 SATA Cables
  • G Connector
  • AORUS WIFI 6 Antenna

As far as the packaging of Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 is concerned, it is similar to the typical packaging of AORUS gaming motherboards. It has the model’s name at the bottom and a huge AORUS print at the top. Similar to the other Z690 packaging, there is PCLe 5 branding, Intel 12th Gen logo, Socket type LGA 1700, and a DDR4 badge as a replacement of DDR5. On the backside, the packaging features highlighted features and specifications. Out of the box, the Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 feels pretty heavy.

The accessories added in the packaging include a User Manual which is the same for the Z690 series, a Multilingual Installation Guide and two AORUS Sticker Badges. At the bottom of the box, you will get four M.2 Screws that are needed for mounting NVMe hard drive and you will also get a pack of 2 SATA Cables. Interestingly, a GIGABYTE G Connector is also included in the accessories; a G Connector allows you to connect all FP cables simultaneously and simplifies the whole process of building your PC. The accessories also include a high-performance AORUS WIFI 6 Antenna.

Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4

Fakhra Ahmad

Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Review
An ultra-durable motherboard with advanced thermal solutions to fit the overclocking demands of gamers. Ideal for users that intend on using memory-intensive and power-hungry applicationsw with minimum lag.
Design
Features
Performance
Overclocking

Summary

In short, GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite DDR4 is a relatively budget-friendly motherboard that possesses commanding power design and top-shelf thermal design. This Z690 mtherboard supports 12th Generation Intel Core Processors and boasts memory speed of 5333 Hz and beyond. Furthermore, with memory capacity of 128 GB and advanced connectivety, online gaming and multi-tasking can be done without experiencing any lag. In this article we will discuss in detail the design, features and performance of this DDR4 supported motherboard.

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Specifications:

BrandGigabyte
ManufacturerGigabyte
SeriesZ690 AORUS
Model NameZ690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4
ChipsetIntel Z690
CPU SocketLGA 1700
Form FactorATX
RAM Memory TechnologyDDR4
Compatible Processor12th Gen Intel Core, Intel Celeron, Intel Pentium
Memory Speed5333 MHz
Memory Storage128 GB
Memory Slots04
Graphic Card InterfacePCIe
Wi-Fi Generation6
CompatibilityIntel 12th Generation Processors
Wireless LANYES
RAID SupportYES
Weight4.75 Pounds
Dimensions13.18 x 10.62 x 3.14 inches

GIgabyte Z690 Design

Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Review

Assessing the design looks like GIGABYTE decided to give Z690 AORUS Elite AX a clean look with a two-tone black finish. The motherboard, for the most part, has a black layout coupled with a silver complementary aesthetic to suit any gamer’s personality. The Z690 chipset area and the VRM heatsinks are also clean with no outlandish text incorporated. The rear panel of the motherboard has a small element of built-in RGB lighting. This lighting also creates an under-glow effect on the side of the board through the light strip support.

Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Review

Since Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 is a mid-range motherboard, there is the absence of any plating or back armour which was present on Z690 AORUS Extreme. The lower section of the board possesses all the PCle slots, including the PCIe 5 x16 slot and two 3 x4 slots. Between these two slots lies four PCIe 4 x4 M.2 Ultra Storage Performance Connectors. The middle design of the motherboard contains a 6-layer PCB and x2 Copper on the inner layer of the PCB to provide stability.

Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Ports
Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Ports

The socket section of the Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 motherboard has a 2.5G LAN and WIFI6 802.11ax. The DisplayPort and an HDMI port allow the utilization of Intel’s integrated graphics. The Intel WIFI 6 CNVi that is included in this Z960 AORUS Elite AX was absent in the Z960 Standard Elite. Lastly on the design part would be I225-V 2.5 GbE controller present on the rear panel.

Features:

Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Review

The GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 offers a mid-range level of features without forsaking the performance requirements of gaming. Starting with the best-ever VRM design of this GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS series that has been manufactured with high-quality components that ensure ultimate Turbo Boost. Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 features a PCIe 5.0 x16 slot with GIGABYTE’s very own stainless steel protection design. GIGABYTE has ensured Ultra-durability and incremented tensile strength with the aid of SMD PCIe 5.0 Armor. The PCB is penetrated by multi-point stainless steel pins and this augments the robustness of the SMD slot.

The memory speed of Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 has been tested and proven at being 5333MHz and beyond with the maximum memory capacity being 128GB whereas 32GB is supported by a single slot. Earlier, this was only possible for High-End Desktops to support 128 GB. Now users who tend to run out of memory storage can utilize 2 DIMM per channel and run memory-intensive applications conveniently due to longer bandwidth. Furthermore, the memory routing has also been shielded under the PCB inner layer which is further protected by a large ground layer to avoid any form of external interference.

GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 also features a multi-zone design of Light Show with two RGB LEDs and 2 LEDs that are Digitally Addressable. Owing to the RGB Fusion 2.0 application featured with this Z690 series, the users have been equipped with even more LED customizations than before. With this application, the gamers can now personalize their gaming rig complementary to their unique style. In addition to that, a special gaming mode has also been newly integrated with help of which interactive lighting effects are associated with selected games and provides an even more immersive experience for gamers.

Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 PCIe Slots
Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 PCIe Slots

Other useful features introduced in the UEFI BIOS include a New User Interface with an EASY MODE that delivers all the significant hardware data pertinent to Storage, Fan performance or CPU clock – all in just one page. Moreover, for quick access, you can add frequently used items to a favourite menu. Furthermore, to aid thermal dissipation 2x copper is adopted on PCB inner layer. This lowers the temperature of the components by 3% with the help of its high conductivity. Thermal dissipation has also been amplified with the help of Smart Fan 6 and Intelligent Fan Control Design. The users can actually achieve complete fan silence with this effective feature. You can customize the readings of the temperature at which you wish the fans to stop.

For convenience, the GIGABYTE Q-Flash Plus feature has been included in the Z690 Elite AX DDR4 series which allows the users to update the BIOS without having to install the CPU, memory, or graphics card. Lastly, you can experience the ultimate fast connection with 2.5 GbE LAN and WIFI 6 802.11ax. Both of the features offer smooth video streaming and a better gaming experience with increased network efficiency. Users can also enjoy ultra-fast data transfer with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C that works up to 20Gps.

Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Back side view
Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Back side view

CPU Performance:

To test the CPU performance of GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4, we will be using Geekbench during our Motherboard Review. It is a program that has been widely acclaimed as a CPU benchmarking tool and it is compatible with Windows, iOS, OS X and Android. The tests from this program help quickly analyze and precisely measure the CPU performance of the motherboard. The scoring system shows single-core performance and multi-core performance separately. Motherboards with a higher Multi-core score have a frequency advantage over the others.

First, we will be comparing the standard version of the Z690 AORUS Elite AX with the DDR4 version of the series. With Core i9-12900K, the Single-Core Score of Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 was 1956 compared to the Single-Core Score of Z690 AORUS Elite AX being 2080. The drop in Single-Core performance is about 6%. Whereas the Multi-Core Score of Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 was 15202 compared to 18309 of Z690 AORUS Elite AX. The multi-core performance decreases by 17%.

Now we will compare the test scores of the DDR4 version of Z690 AORUS Elite AX with the DDR4 version of Z690 AORUS Elite. The Single-Score tests showed the CPU performance of the former to have a gain of 2% with the scores of Z690 Elite AX being 1956 while the Z690 Elite had the score of 1913. The Multi-core score of Z690 Elite AX was also 13% greater than Z690 Elite with scores of 15202 and 1385 in the respective order.

Another thing that we noticed in our GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Review is that the Read and write performance of GIGABYTE Z690 Elite AX DDR4 is also unparalleled at 21053 MB/s and 15499 MB/s respectively owing to the 2nd Gen SSD of 7000 MB/s and triple PCIe 4.0 M.2. The CPU performance is also boosted with the Direct Digital VRM Design; 16 V-Core Phases with 70A Power Stage assist in unleashing the maximum potential of the multi-core CPU performance. Furthermore, there are 2 VCCAUX Phases and 1 VCCGT Phase to boost the CPU integrated GPU performance.

Gaming Performance:

To ascertain maximum Turbo Boost along with the overclocking performance of the CPU, Z960 Elite AX DDR4 comes with effective VRM that has been designed with top-shelf components. GIGABYTE has utilized a completely Direct Digital VRM Design that allows the CPU to run at their full potential. Greater efficiency has been achieved in the gaming performance with help of high-quality MOSFET and tantalum polymer capacitors that stabilizes the CPU voltage whenever there is heavy loading. Compared to older versions of VRM design, the performance has further improved with low voltage ripple and temperature.

Furthermore, GIGABYTE Z690 Elite AX DDR4 features low impedance to ensure maximum performance. PCIe 5.0 x16 slot ensures that high speed is achieved and signal integrity is maintained. The performance boost is also ensured with memory speed up to 5333MHz and if the memory module is XMP capable. This RAM intensive motherboard allows the gamers to multi-task or install and smoothly play heavy games at a faster speed.

Furthermore, GIGABYTE has also Optimized Hybrid cores by introducing CPU upgrades in BIOS to fit the needs of different users. Voltage Policy, P-core and E-core activation can be adjusted and there has been no compromise on gaming performance. To enhance the gaming experience, the users can deactivate all E-core which will lower the CPU temperature by 5 degrees and the CPU power package by 20%.

To maximize multi-core performance, the users can activate all P-core and E-Core. In addition to that, GIGABYTE ensures that users are provided with the ultimate online gaming experience by using 2.5G LAN that can offer up to 2.5 GbE connectivity. An immersive gaming experience has also been made possible with the High-end Realtek Audio Codec.

Overclocking:

While reviewing GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS, we noted that The Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 is fine at overclocking and can easily be considered a competitor of other best motherboards on the market. The Z690 Elite AX DDR4 has been equipped with a 16+1+2 phase power delivery system with 70 A power. Furthermore, GIGABYTE Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 features EasyTune™ which is a user-friendly interface with which the users can fine-tune their memory clocks or alter their system settings. With the help of Smart Quick Boost, the users can overclock their system with a simple click.  

GIGABYTE also takes care of one of the biggest issues that arise with overclocking the processor which is the problem of extra heat generation and the damage it causes to the system. Temperature is regulated thanks to the well-designed advanced thermal solution of GIGABYTE Z690 Elite AX DDR4 with a fully covered MOSFET Heatsink and its increased surface area.

The AORUS M.2 Thermal Guard II makes use of the design of a double-sided heatsink; this prevents bottlenecks and throttling even at high speeds. Moreover, through Smart Fan 6 with PWM supported fan headers and internal temperature sensors, Z690 Elite AX DDR4 maintains the PC’s gaming performance by ensuring its functions quietly and stays cool.

Don’t Buy Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 if:

The main concern for users regarding this motherboard is the problems in recognition of NVMe. Most users claim that with shipped bios NVMe is mostly not initially recognized.

The suggested and practical solution for this is that before installing the windows, you should disable the VDM in the bios settings. This will solve the problem but it can be time-consuming. Furthermore, there is no ECCI support or SLI support.

Buy Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 if:

This series of Z690 is perfect for budget-conscious people. With Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4, you get 6 SATA III ports and four M.2 PCIe 4.0 which optimizes the overall performance.

If you are looking forward to connecting a wide range of graphics and utility cards then that would not be a problem with the PCIe 5.0 x16 slot and two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots. This Z690 motherboard also supports a total of 128 GB of memory storage which is a lot.

If you are planning on storing massive data then it is not a hurdle for Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4. You can also connect power-hungry devices to the USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C port of this Z690 motherboard. What’s more, is that it also supports RAID and AMD CrossFire. If you have lower budget, go for Gigabyte Z690 Aorus master, that was also included as Best Budget Motherboard For i9-12900k.

  • Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Ports
  • Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 - 2
  • Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 -3
  • Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 PCIe Slots
  • Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Back side view
  • Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 CPU Slot (2)
  • Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Overview
  • Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Mic and Jack view
  • Gigabyte Z690 AORUS Elite AX DDR4 Front Side

Final Review Verdict:

GIGABYTE Z690 Elite AX DDR4 provides all the essential features that are required by a gamer. Starting from fast speed connectivity and large memory storage to a good and immersive RGB lighting system, Z690 Elite AX DDR4 has all that a gamer needs. Not only that but the price of the motherboard has also been kept relatively low. Keeping everything we have mentioned above in mind, we find it safe to conclude that Z690 Elite AX DDR4 is ideal for gaming or for any other multi-tasking purposes. We hope this article was able to answer all of your queries pertaining to GIGABYTE Z690 Elite AX DDR4.

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Fakhra Ahmad

Fakhra is an adaptable and articulate content writer skilled in writing critical reviews about PC peripherals especially Motherboards, Mice, and Keyboards. She is a keen researcher and avid reader of news pertinent to tech and science.

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