Gigabyte has pulled all the stops to make the Z690 AORUS Elite AX gaming motherboard a highly accessible upgrade for gamers. It goes past connecting all the essentials for bringing computers to life. An extra abundance of ports are made readily available with peripherals in mind. Here, the Z690 AORUS Elite AX gaming motherboard comes at a height of content creation and ever-growing setups. But along its design to keep things simple, Gigabyte overlooks a few customization features for tweakers.
As computer manufacturers launched their own gaming products, Gigabyte would respond with its AORUS line. Its own esports grade line competed with an emphasis on offering more. The gaming-first products would focus on usability over RGB substance (though that will always shine on). The Z690 AORUS Elite AX more than reflects Gigabyte’s direction to give gamers “robust” usability. This starts by including more than enough extra ports, slots and headers. Each feature also comes with ways to boost performance. Even after the basics are in, the Z690 AORUS Elite AX feels almost modular. Simply put, it’s pretty damn hard to run out of plugs or possibilities with this 12th-Gen Intel motherboard.
Durability is a strong selling point for the Z690 AORUS Elite AX. It packs a sturdy gunmetal cover for its I/O, Wi-Fi and M.2 pieces. Users can expect a peace of mind under rough-and-tough builds. Setting up the Z690 AORUS Elite AX gaming motherboard comes easy with distinguishable screws and larger holes to make standoffs erm—stand out. The built-in I/O shield saves time for builders looking for a quick 12th Gen upgrade. But it’s an even bigger payoff for gamers who want a motherboard to keep up with different cases (save for this reviewer).
It’s worth noting the board is a standard ATX size. I didn’t mind the swift change from MicroATX, since the Z690 AORUS Elite AX rewards upgraders with even more hardware real estate. The motherboard does a great job of spacing out its components. So much that each installed piece stands out for a clean presentation. GPUs are given enough room to not block necessary headers. This comes with a wide release lock that gives users easy removal. Gigabyte leaves room for its own reset switch button and the Q-Flash for a quick BIOS refresh. These considerate hardware additions add to the premium usability of the Z690 AORUS Elite AX, already packed with more than enough quality-of-life tools.
“…newer builders can appreciate using the latest and greatest parts with the Z690 AORUS Elite AX, which can take just about any 2022 component.”
Unsurprisingly, the Z690 AORUS Elite AX packs the latest support for 12th Gen Intel Core processors. Unfortunately, it’s bad news for experienced upgraders. This trades the square-based LGA 1151 CPUs for larger 1700 sockets. In other words, users can forget about backwards compatibility for previous generation CPUs with 1151 types. This also adds a slight complication for some older coolers that might have trouble fitting. But newer builders can appreciate using the latest and greatest parts with the Z690 AORUS Elite AX, which can take just about any 2022 component. The motherboard is built for gamers expecting to add top-of-the-line parts. Only Gigabyte surprises its competition by keeping the 1700 sockets, which are bound to be a standard.
The Z690 AORUS Elite AX gaming motherboard can plug-and-play with cores like my 12th Gen i5 12600K. It’s a no-frills setup that comes easy for users skipping the BIOS updates. The on-board menu system …….