Final Words & Conclusion
Gigabyte designed has a nice line of products with the Aorus range, the Z390 Aorus Pro tames the new 8-core parts well. It simply a well-built motherboard that ticks most boxes that Z390 has to offer. Granted though, after having tested roughly 5 boards, the performance all is more or less the same, as well as the features. Performance overall we cannot complain about. We do have a rougher time with tweaking though with the Gigabyte board. Nice to see is the new cooled VRM design, the thermal images are showing good results. Where Gigabyte needs to improve though is the BIOS, it just looks dated and simply is not very user-friendly, that's as far as my comment goes though. Z390 remains to be a bit of a simple release, it is a small step upwards with merely adding native USB 3.1 Gen 2 and WIFI (an optional SKU for this mobo), that and it's better optimized on the VRM area to deal with the new 8-core processors. However, the motherboard manufacturers always seem to improve and excel on what is available. Aesthetically speaking I think this board is one of the best motherboards out there, just gorgeous.
With this eight cores and sixteen threads proc you get a 95 Watt TDP processor. With the system at idle with a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti installed / 16 GB memory / SSD and the Z390 motherboard, I hovered at roughly 60~65 Watts in IDLE. That's okay, the load values are okay as well but definitely higher. When we stressed the processor 100% run we reach roughly 200 Watts with this 8-core part. That's the entire system. That is on the high side alright. Then again, does anyone actually care about it when you get performance metrics like shown today?
For Coffee Lake-S (8th and 9th Gen Intel procs) and DDR4 we always say, volume matters more than frequency. A 3,200 MHz kit, for example, is more expensive and does offer better bandwidth but the performance increase in real-world usage will be hard to find. Unless you transcode videos over the processor a lot. As always, my advice would be to go with lower clocked DDR4 memory with decent timings, but get more of it. Don't go for 8 GB, get two or four DIMMs and in total a minimum of 16 GB. The reason we test at 3200 MHz is simple, we do the same for AMD Ryzen and want to create a fair and equal playing ground for both. 3200 MHz is, however, a very nice equilibrium for both processor brands.
Performance & tweaking
We tested multiple Z390 motherboards all with the latest BIOS. As stated, this review was conducted with the publis F6 bios and the tweaking process simply remains more challenging compared to the competition. We need a more than the expected voltage to reach an all core 5.1 GHz. As stated, I have no doubt it can do 5200 MHz, but the board likely requires a bit of a BIOS update.
The Aorus Pro looks good and aside from the optional WIFI and a 3rd M2 slot, really you get all that Z390 offers. Nice is the M2 heatsinks, which are much welcomed. The BIOS needs some work though, I mean that in regards to tweaking and overclocking as well as a visual overhaul. Other than that there's little to complain really, a fast board, support for SLI and CrossFire, and an ALC1220 audio codec with s/pdif and thus two M2 slots. I would, however, have liked to see that new 2.5 Gigabit Realtek chip for Ethernet as I cannot believe that we're almost in the year 2019 with another chipset refresh and I still have to mention that we need to move to faster NICs. At the time of writing it looks that this mobo is going to cost 199 EUR at similar prices in USD. Gigabyte is on the right path design wise and build quality wise. It also is a nice series to look at, though not as sexy as the Aorus master though. If it suits your budget, sure recommended.
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