Z790 AORUS MASTER Review in Spanish
Today we have the Z790 AORUS MASTER motherboard under review and it has been the board that has accompanied us for the tests we did to the thirteenth generation Intel Core i9-13900K (Raptor Lake-S) processor. The twelfth generation launch was somewhat turbulent at launch, but with this generation and experience with DDR5 memory, we'll see how it goes with the launch of the new chipset and the Z790 AORUS MASTER.
The board comes on loan thanks to GIGABYTE PERU.
Table of Contents
Z790 vs. Z690 chipset – Some changes
The changes with the new Z790 chipset are subtle, but it's important to differentiate. As for performance, Z790 should not bring more performance in gaming or productivity tasks. In a nutshell, with the new Raptor Lake-S processors (13th generation) the results are going to be identical.
So where does the change go?
The difference is the configuration of PCI lines and USB support that the Z790 chipset natively brings (without the need for additional drivers). Z790 has PCIe lane reconfiguration change; While Z690 boards came with a configuration of 12 lanes for PCIe Gen 4 and 16 lanes for PCIe Gen 3, the Z790 chipset increases to 20 PCIe Gen 4 lanes and reduces to 8 lanes for PCIe Gen 3.
This is a simple reconfiguration, but it is relevant as boards are gradually moving from PCIe Gen 3 to PCIe Gen 4 and 5 respectively. That doesn't mean the boards aren't backwards compatible with PCIe Gen 3, but they do have more native support with PCIe Gen 4.
A small change (improvement) with Z790 is the increase in Hi-Speed USB support (3.2 Gen 2 20 Gbps) from 4 (Z690) to 5.
Any increase above what the chipset natively supports comes thanks to additional drivers that the motherboard manufacturer offers in top-of-the-line models.
Z790 AORUS Master – Specifications and comparison with Z690 AORUS Master
A small but big change that comes with the Z790 AORUS MASTER, which should really be an industry standard, is some quality of life changes. The PCIe EZ-Latch Plus is a simple system to eject a video card installed on the motherboard, with the simple press of a button. You can't imagine how many times you've embarrassed yourself, especially someone changing video cards for testing, not having this option.
There is a slight increase in power phase (VCore) with the Z790 AORUS Master, from 19 (Z690 AORUS MASTER) to 20. The power requirement of the new Intel Core i9-13900K processor is quite absurd in multi-core tasks, but we doubt that a Z690 AORUS MASTER has problems with temperature issues (the same applies to the Z790 AORUS MASTER).
Power phase – Z790 AORUS MASTER
Power phase weight has come down over the years, as top-end motherboards from all brands almost always have pretty generous VRM specs. Concerns about motherboards getting hot are a thing of the past, but for those who want technical information, we have it.
The Z790 AORUS MASTER increases the amount of PowerStage to 20 for the VCore (19 on the Z690 AORUS MASTER) and uses the Renesas RAA229131 PWM controller. Each PowerStage has a maximum of 105A and the part AORUS chose is the Renesas RAA22010540. For the VCCGT (iGPU) it also uses the Renesas RAA22010540 and for the VCCAUX rails it uses a cheaper phaser, the Renesas RAA220075R0 (75A).
Theoretically, the maximum amperage capacity that can be fed to the processor is 2100W.
Inputs and outputs and features – Z790 AORUS MASTER
One of the marketing features of the Z790 AORUS MASTER board that comes to light is the increase in overclocking in RAM memories. According to their website, the maximum OC of RAM (DDR5) is 8000 MHz, while the maximum according to AORUS for their Z690 AORUS MASTER board, is 6000 MHz. This is a big difference, but unfortunately, we do not have kits that come close. at these frequencies to test how true this is.
Z790 AORUS MASTER continues to use Realtek ALC1220 codec as audio solution, paired with high-fidelity DAC chip, ESS ES9118 with DTS:X Ultra support.
The LAN controller leaves Intel solutions behind and this time adopts the 113 Gbps Marvell AQtion AQC10C. As a wireless network adapter, Z790 AORUS MASTER comes with the Intel® Killer™ Wi-Fi 6E AX1690 with Bluetooth 5.3 support and various bandwidths to choose from when connecting to a wireless network (depending on the router).
For USB lovers, the Z790 AORUS MASTER has several ports, although none USB 4 (40 Gbps). Through the chipset, 3 USB type C 3.2 Gen 2, one USB type C 3.2 Gen 1 and 7 USB 3.2 type A and 8 USBs 3.2 Gen 1 (between internal connectors and through the rear I/O panel).
The board also has internal USB 2.0 for special connections such as liquid cooling, among others.
The board has a total of 10 fan ports, something many will appreciate, as well as up to five M.2 drives. Two of them are connected directly to the processor and three through the chipset. In the case of using the first M.2. they will partially lose bandwidth on the first PCIEX16 slot by running at X8.
Z790 AORUS MASTER – Unboxing
Z790 AORUS MASTER – BIOS – Not many changes
The interface and BIOS used by GIGABYTE is different from the rest of the industry and has its main order. Those who are used to this will not take much importance. One has to "learn" to use the different options that the board brings and adapt, instead of having a similar order to other manufacturers, something a bit tedious for those who want to manually overclock both RAMs and the processor.
For normal users, this is not a problem, since most of them are only going to apply the XMP profile and that is the end of the story. It is good that GIGABYTE BIOSes now implement the seek option (“Alt-F”) as it was something that was missing for many generations of motherboards.
Unfortunately, the shortcut to enter the search option it does not work. The only way to get to the option is by going to the tab where it is located. If I put Alt-F in the main part of Tweaker, it writes the letter F in the option where it is…
A BIOS interface programming level bug that GIGABYTE needs to fix.
I found that the search option is not very friendly to the end user. For example, looking for the option RESIZEBAR or RESIZE BAR, if one does not put Resize you won't find it. In the first capture, we put Resize and no option was found, even though it exists within BIOS.
In the description, it appears that the user must be "CASE SENSITIVE", that is, have uppercase and lowercase letters detailed. Putting Re-size did not result in the option I was looking for, ResizeBar.
Only when putting Re-Size (as is) did he find the option he was looking for, a detail that is quite absurd since a normal user would not easily reach the conclusion that, to find said option, you have to search in such a way. This breaks the whole purpose that the search option in BIOS should make life easier for the end user.
It was no coincidence that we looked for this option, since the BIOS, by default, at the end of 2022, does not activate ResizeBar automatically. A normal user has to do it manually for it to work within Windows.
Checking the NVIDIA Control Panel, we see that ResizeBar is not activated. Something that most users would not bother to activate and I think this option should be activated.
To enable ResizeBar on GIGABYTE motherboards, you have to enable the option Above 4G Decoding y Re-Size BAR Support inside the settings tab.
Smart Fan 6 it is one of the options within GIGABYTE BIOS that just works. Nothing has changed and the truth is, there is no need to change something that works well. One can control all fan ports within BIOS without much difficulty.
Something that GIGABYTE has not removed from its BIOS options, are the memory straps that simply THEY DO NOT WORK with Intel processors. They just aren't supported with the processor, but they are still listed and an end user can waste several minutes of his life explaining...why the PC doesn't boot when manually overclocking the RAMs...hopefully GIGABYTE remove these options that just don't work.
Performance – Z790 AORUS MASTER
Benchmarking a motherboard should generally not result in one model being substantially better than the other, unless either model has a power restriction or vice versa. In any case, it helps us to recognize if there is any observation to make or if everything is working “okay”, during the performance tests.
Benchmark – Intel Core i9-13900K
CPU: Intel Core i9-13900K (https://amzn.to/3DamSWm)
Board: Z790 AORUS MASTER
RAM: Kingston Fury DDR5 5200C40 – 2x16GB (https://amzn.to/3FanUUC)
T.video (what we are testing): NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition
Operating system: Windows 11 Home Edition 22H2 – VBS OFF
Liquid refrigeration: Lian Li Galahad 360 (https://amzn.to/3N4P0ic)
SSD: HP FX900 1TB + Samsung 970 EVO PLUS 2TB (https://amzn.to/3DrZ15y)
Driver: NVIDIA 522.25
Power supply: Seasonic 1300W Gold Focus (https://amzn.to/3D3rkWD)
ResizeBar is not automatically enabled by BIOS
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VRM test – Z790 AORUS MASTER
Testing the power phase (VRM) is no longer of such importance for top-of-the-range models. However, it is our responsibility to test if there is no problem in stressing this part of the motherboard. For this, we now choose to use a stress test through Cinebench R23 (for thirty minutes) and check the sensor for VRM MOSFET.
Overclocking the Intel Core i9-13900K – Z790 AORUS MASTER
There are two options to overclock the Core i9-13900K. According to information from the latest BIOS, this instant overclock option also works with the Core i7-13700K. We'll also see manual overclocking, which will increase multi-core performance, but lower single-core performance in the process. Let's first start by looking at the option of 6GHz “instant”.
What this profile does, is to overclock the two best cores of the processor and power them to run at 6 GHz. To do this, one simply has to do the following steps:
-Go to BIOS
-In the TWEAKER option, choose Instant 6GHz
-Go to Save and Exit and save
Using BIOS F5b, The PC went into boot loop and the only way to fix this was by resetting the PC. It may or may not happen to them (depends on the BIOS version) but once you get past the motherboard logo screen, you enter your operating system.
Immediately one can see that the two best Core i9-13900K cores we have are running at 6 GHz under light loads.
They will wonder what "Magic" it's making the GIGABYTE board with the processor, but it's not hard at all to understand. The motherboard is simply increasing the voltage (approximately to 1.5v in this CPU sample) for the processor to run smoothly at this frequency and in light single-core scenarios.
Using 1.5v for these types of tasks will not cause your processor to degrade or be of concern. If it were 1.5v and you were consuming 400W, another story would be (if your cooling tolerated it).
To verify the improvement on single core, we will use Cinebench R23.
There is a 3.6% improvement when using the 6 GHz profile and in multi-core performance nothing has changed. This makes sense, as the profile does what we've said it should do, which is to improve two of the cores at light loads.
Manual Overclock – Intel Core i9-13900K
Manual overclock is another story. With this chip sample, the processor loses single-core performance, but gains multi-core. We will see how to manually overclock with the Core i9-13900K and with the Z790 AORUS MASTER board. The most important variables are:
-LLC (Load Line Calibration)
The Load Line Calibration we suggest (although you can try to use lower level) is Turbo.
The maximum P-Core that we have been able to obtain with 1.35v has been 5.6 GHz. The E-Core, they work at 4.5 GHz and the Uncore, at 5 GHz. I tried with 1.32v but it did not pass the 30 minute torture test that is within the Cinebench R23 options. For time reasons, if this test passes it is enough to validate OC results that the processor and motherboard can offer.
The improvement in multicore was 2.7%.
We tried lowering the voltage to 1.32v Vcore in BIOS, but it didn't pass the test.
Z790 AORUS MASTER – Some improvements to be made…
The launch of the Z790 AORUS MASTER has been better than the original launch of Z690 boards. There were problems with DDR5 and a lot of polishing was needed to have a BIOS with few problems. With the release of Z790, a state of reliability is noticeable and most of the problems have been solved. Anyway, there are always BIOS fixes coming.
What does the Z790 AORUS MASTER bring? A board that works well for most users in the limited tests we've done. The power stage is quite robust and there is no reason to worry even when using the top gaming Intel Core i9-13900K (or eventual KS) processor.
The inclusion of the new M.2 installation mechanism and removal of video cards from the first PCIe slot are welcome features that are finally coming as standard on top-of-the-line motherboards (and I hope that eventually all models will offer practical solutions like those mentioned).
What AORUS has to improve is to polish its BIOS. For example, standardize the options so that they have a similar structure with other manufacturers, instead of forcing the user to "get used" to the BIOS options that the brand puts. There are a few things to fix, for example not applying ResizeBar automatically and end user having to manually enable it.
Removing memory straps that don't work for 12th and 13th generation processors, something that should be pretty easy, but hasn't been done for the entire life of Alder Lake-S.
Something that AORUS should have included in this model, which is one of its top-of-the-range boards, is the introduction of USB 4 ports, something that its competition offers.
I hope that, with BIOS updates, the end user experience will improve, with quality of life changes and fixes like RSB being enabled automatically. At the end of the day, this Z790 AORUS MASTER edition leaves a better image than what was originally the 12th generation release and is suggestible for those users who are looking for a motherboard in the price range that it is located.