The GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Master is using its typical Aorus themed UEFI BIOS, which we've seen many times over the last few years. The GUI uses orange highlights, with a primarily black background and white text. It uses an orange highlight to depict which option is selected. The GIGABYTE UEFI firmware also has two modes for users to choose between, the 'Easy' mode and the 'Advanced' mode.

Upon entering the firmware for the first time, which can be accessed by pressing either the Del or F2 Key during post, it will revert to the Easy mode. Users can see a basic list of hardware installed within the Easy mode, including information on the processor, memory, and fans installed onto the 4-pin headers. Users can also enable X.M.P 3.0 profiles on supported kits of memory, see basic information on temperatures from different sensors such as CPU and VRMs, and view current CPU VCore voltage.

Users can access the Advanced mode by pressing the F2 Key. The Advanced mode opens up a whole host of settings and customizable options for users to tweak, fine-tune, and overclock their system. All of the board's overclocking settings can be found within the 'Tweaker' menu, with various options for overclocking the CPU, memory, and integrated graphics on supported Alder Lake CPUs.

The Advanced mode also allows users to customize the chipset-related settings, enable or disable non-critical controllers such as networking and audio, and access various platform and power management settings. By pressing the F6 Key within the firmware, users can access GIGABYTE's Smart Fan 6 utility, where the 4-pin fan headers can be assigned fan profiles or sync fan settings across all of the headers.

Overall, GIGABYTE UEFI firmware is easy to use, it's responsive to our USB keyboard and mouse. It has a large variety of customizable settings for users to sink their teeth into. There are plenty of avenues available to increase overall system performance, including extensive memory tweaking options, as well as plenty of options for overclocking both the P and E-cores on Intel's Alder Lake processors.


When it comes to software, each vendor has its own software suite designed to energize and supplement its hardware offerings. GIGABYTE includes a wide variety of software applications, including its EasyTune software for overclocking within Windows and its System Information Viewer (SIV) utility for monitoring temperatures, voltages, and it also features its Smart Fan 6 automatic fan tuning utility.

As many vendors include with its motherboards, GIGABYTE has its own overclocking utility called EasyTune. The EasyTune software allows users to overclock the processor within Windows, including CPU frequency and allows users to customize primary voltages related to the CPU such as CPU VCore and CPU VCCIN. Users can even change the memory frequency ratio and customize the primary latency timings, although users doing this will need to restart their PC for settings to take effect.

The System Information Viewer (SIV) utility allows users to monitor system temperatures, voltages, and other things such as CPU core frequency. It also includes its Smart Fan 6 automatic fan tuner which optimizes fan speeds based on temperature and fan RPM, as well as the ability for users to create their own fan profile curves. Users can also set temperature and voltage alerts from a variety of integrated sensors throughout the board and various voltages from CPU VCore, CPU VCCIN, and on the 12 V, 5 V, and 3.3 V rails incoming from the power supply.

Other utilities within GIGABYTE's software bundle include its @BIOS utility, which allows users to flash the board's firmware to the latest, either from a file or via GIGABYTE's web server. The Aorus Game Boost is an application that allows users to 'optimize' system processes, while the RGB Fusion 2.0 software allows users to customize the integrated and attached RGB LED strips with various lighting effects and a color wheel.

Overall the software bundle with the GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Master is befitting of a premium motherboard. As we've highlighted many times over the years, we wish motherboard vendors would bundle audio software as standard and not force users to download them from the Microsoft Store.

Visual Inspection Board Features, Test Bed and Setup
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  • Silver5urfer - Saturday, February 26, 2022 - link

    You should have gone with MSI Unify X or ASUS APEX series for DRAM performance. Tachyon was not good for Z590 not sure how it is for Z690.
  • meacupla - Friday, February 25, 2022 - link

    Were you able to get memory to overclock beyond its stock 4800?
    The board's spec does say it supports up to 6400.

    Because I have doubts that this board can really do 6400, when it has 4 slots.
  • Jp7188 - Sunday, February 27, 2022 - link

    It would be great if Anandtech would do a piece comparing memory overclocks on the various boards. I was super excited to get my hands on a 6400 CL32 kit only to find it wouldn't work at full speed in the Aorus Master while it apparently does in other boards from ASUS and MSI. Fast mem with tight timings appears to be a significant differentiator for this generation of motherboards.
  • Infy2 - Sunday, February 27, 2022 - link

    Testing 2022 hardware with graphics card from 2016, time to upgrade I think? A powerful CPU like Adler Lake with such an obsolete graphics card will hardly show meaningful differences in gaming performance.
  • shabby - Monday, February 28, 2022 - link

    Insert AnandTech gpu review joke here...
  • DanNeely - Monday, February 28, 2022 - link

    The only way you're going to see any differences from CPU performance is to turn the graphics settings down to the point where the GPU isn't fully loaded and the CPU itself becomes the bottleneck. At that point any vaguely half decent card will work.
  • Tom Sunday - Sunday, February 27, 2022 - link

    Yes the GIGABYTE Z690 Aorus Master is pricey to say the least. I like to think being an enthusiast myself, but at the same time not convinced that l will be able to really taking proper advantage of all the Z690 Aorus Master offered premium features. It’s almost March/April now knocking on our door and I wonder with Intel breaking-out in the second half of 2022 their next-gen 13th Gen Core Raptor Lake, is it actually time to hold off building or even thinking now about an all new premium ($$$$) system? Intel proffers in featuring double-digit performance increases and greater core and thread counts. Moreover a more matured Alder Lake tech! Motherboard vendors in turn already doing a similar marketing dance of much improved MB-tech over their fall 2021 or early 2022 premium products. The old story prevails! “When to hold and when to fold with ones dollars?
  • TLindgren - Monday, February 28, 2022 - link

    Yeah, it's expensive but the real problem this motherboard have is that Gigabyte has a cheaper motherboard that is arguably better in many ways, the Z690 Aero D! The Master does have better integrated Audio though - the Aero D's ALC4080 is just as good as the Master's ALC1220 but they skimped on audio connectors so the Aero D is only 2.0, not 7.1.

    * Aero D offers both x16/x0 or x8/x8 PCIe 5.0 vs the Masters x16 PCIe 5.0 plus PCIe 4.0 4x!. Both have a third x16 running in x4 PCI 3.0.
    * Both have the same 10Gbps network chip, Aero D adds a 2.5Gbps to that.
    * Aero D adds dual Thunderbolt (replaces the "plain" USB-C connectors)
    * Aero D had DP+HDMI for the iGPU, Master has just DP - these outputs are useful for debugging and adding more screens while still rendering on the dGPU. With TB the Aero D has potentially four extra screens while Master has one!
    * Audio is a clear win for the Master - the audio codec on the Aero D should be comparable to the one used on the Master, but it doesn't have ports in the back for more than 2.0 audio!
    * Master has 5 M.2 compared to Aero D's 4.
    * Master has 9 USB Type-A compared to Aero D's 6.
    * Master has... "voltage measurement points". Swoon (not!).

    I consider the extras the Aero D has to be far more consequential than the extras the Master has, *except* Audio.

    The four PCIe 5.0 switches in the Aero D should cost Gigabyte more than the improved Audio on the Master and that ignores that Aero D also have 2xThunderbolt and a second LAN controller.

    So, exactly why does the Master cost $499?
    The answer is of course that retail pricing is controlled by what they think they can take for it, not what it costs to make, as long as they're not loosing money of course.
  • DanNeely - Monday, February 28, 2022 - link

    With garbage 2.0 audio out the Areo D belongs in the $20 or less liquidation junkbin if not the dumpster out back.
  • nevcairiel - Monday, February 28, 2022 - link

    I haven't used analog audio connectors in years. Headphones run a USB DAC, desktop speakers are just stereo, and actual movie watching uses HDMI to a receiver.

    Gladly safe a whole bunch of money if audio is the only meaningful difference I don't care about. Not that I'm going to buy anything Gigabyte anyway..

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