Motherboards PC Hardware

REVIEW | Aorus Z490i Ultra: Everything in a Smaller Package

The Aorus Z490i Ultra is under Aorus’ lineup of board which carries the most variations – from specially themed boards to bringing the ITX offering of Aorus. There’s just something that Aorus does that makes their ITX boards shine even from other generations and platforms.

What’s in the Box

The Ultra product line isn’t short of generous in fact I would find the Ultra to be the product line up the balances price to feature offerings in the Aorus lineup.

Tiny Powerhouse

In general, Aorus has a great record with their ITX boards no matter which platform it maybe – They improve even if they are at the top of their game and this goes for all their products.

The Aorus Z490i Ultra displays the same things that push a buyer in buying it – great connector layout, exquisite cooling, and quality build. It just happens to be for the 10th generation of Intel processors this time around.

Since there is a limited surface area for this board they have tried to maximize the area of dissipation by connecting all of the heatsinks present on the board.

Performance and Benchmarks

Did the attempt of Aorus to cover as much area for cooling work? It certainly did. but without costing that much – again this is the Ultra lineup and far from mediocre.

Of course this is a benchmark where we push the heat and capabilities of the motherboard with the flagship 10th gen Intel processor and we’ve brought in the same benchmarking rig from our standardized Z490 line up.

Testing Rigs:

Motherboard: MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk
Processor: Intel I9 10900K
GPU: MSI RTX 2060 Gaming Z
RAM: Trident Z Royale 3000mhz 16gb dual kit DDR4 (clocked down to 2933)
Cooler: Noctua D15

Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair X370
Processor: Ryzen 9 3900X
GPU: MSI RTX 2060 Gaming Z
RAM: Trident Z Royale 3000mhz 16gb dual kit DDR4 (clocked down to 2933)
Cooler: Noctua D15

As much as we want to test some games with the processor and motherboard we won’t be maximizing the load on these hardware. With that in mind we have prepared the following for gauging the default and OC profile with the board.

– Cinebench (Single and Multicore)
– 3DMark
– Blender BMW Render Time Test
– Blender Temp Test

Cinebench R20 Single and Multicore Tests

We actually found out that the EasyTune feature wasn’t displaying OCs properly – we believe this is because of the first version of the BIOS. This remains the same on other boards as well.

Decent scores from our benchmark reveal that the I9 comes close to the 3900X – The temps are just right and there were no hiccups with any hardware involved. A much normal output we would expect in an ITX board from Aorus.

3DMark (CPU Score)

3DMark stresses both graphics and CPU power equally but the scores can be separated. The 10900K comes close to the 3900X but the amount of cores of the Ryzen 9 benefits greatly.

Blender BMW Render Time

One thing that might contribute to the weird trend of having the default profile working better than the OC profile is how they implemented OC profiles to the processor. It’s worth noticing that not all cores get cranked up – The system chooses 2 best cores and crank those for the performance boost and this can yield to these results.

Blender Temperature Test

The Aorus Z490i Ultra works great – not the best but actually works better than other boards in the market for taming temperature in VRM which matters.

OC profile

We can also confirm that the OC profiles don’t really stress the boards as much as the default profile as all of the work is boosted by 2 main cores rather than all cores which is worth taking note of – Manual OC options is the way to go. Even so, OC profile in the Z490i Ultra has the VRM temps not exceeding 60c which is good granted there is less surface area but it still is working thermally better than other budget boards in our bench.

Default profile

The default profile which is more stressed has the temps under 70c which is good in the terms of how huge the board is and how much cooling features can you pack inside while not sacrificing the whole structure of the board. For me the temperature test proves that the board performs above average but superb for its size category of ITX

Final Verdict and Recommendations

The Aorus Z490i Ultra provides the avenue of small form factor to the Ultra series of board from Aorus extremely well rounded while representing a the image of a board that shines amongst other brands with the same form factor.

Pros:

A worthy high class ITX board – Hailing from improvements they did in the X570 platform, Aorus provided innovation and and even improvement in cooling and connector arrangement within the board.

A cooling system that works – the problem with ITX boards is cooling because there’s less surface are to dissipate heat into – Aorus has mastered cooling from the X570 and brought it here with some other integratio[ns thus removing the limitation of surface area in cooling

Cons:

Not the best, not the worst
– We were amazed by how the Z490I handled thermals, but this board was made to fit smaller spaces – if by any chance you are building a something not along those lines then it’s better to get a different board

We’d give the Aorus Z490i Ultra a Gold Award for its sheer usability in cases you would need a different board – This is an ITX board and it should be used in ITX builds only or some smaller M-ATX cases but it seems like in the brink of market shortages if you need to pickup a board this was the only choice – you wouldn’t really regret it – It’s VRMs for a small motherboard actually do better than other bigger boards which means that Aorus does really work well with cooling. Apart from everything else we found the board is your typical high end Aorus board with superior cooling and gread audio options

Seth Francisco Capili
Seth is a marketing and business professional by choice - a tech enthusiast and writer by birth. Back from the brink of almost disconnecting with his technological side; Seth reunites with his technological persona through writing and managing a business around computers. With a knack for interacting with people and machine - Seth spearheads the social media management and content writing efforts of GGWPTECH. "In search of darkness, Never bring light - In search of Sethan, Google @ItzYaBoiSethan"

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