REVIEW | Aorus Z490 Master: Decision over Option

The Aorus Z490 Master is the 2nd to the top in Aorus’ lineup for the 10th generation of processors of Intel. It’s always been a huge gap between the Xtreme top of the line board but we think that this time around, the Master is worth looking at for a chop off the price from the Xtreme.

What’s in the Box

Aorus was never the brand that skips out on inclusions in the package – It’s always been known that they cram so much stuff with motherboards that you actually end up just keeping the extra parts in the box of the board itself.

No One Remembers Number Two

It’s apparent that the Xtreme line from Aorus takes the attention of almost everyone and you can’t blame the board for being built rather so beefy. But Aorus did superb work in identifying what needs to be done in every product line to improve and differentiate it from the other categories.

The X570 had an unbeatable Xtreme board where the image of it marks a shadow in overclocks and power management that you can feel the sheer weight of it from just looking at the backplate.

But this is where Aorus tried to improve – They used the successful integration of heatsink plating from the Aorus X570 Xtreme to most of the models to give not just one board an edge but most of boards in the family of Aorus boards.

The difference between the Xtreme and Master is also been narrowed down to having 2 less phases and absence of the special capacitor that the Xtreme has which in terms is for more taxing power. Besides that all of the other goodies has been streamlined to be standard for most Aorus boards.

Performance and Benchmarks

Can I just get this out – Aorus did it again with superb audio drivers in this board. With just the basic drivers and no special software I experienced the noticeable difference in sound which was comparable to my old top of the line Gaming 9 Aorus Motherboard as well.

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

The Aorus Z490 Master bridges the gap between the Master and Xtreme quite well where the Master becomes a decent option rather than just a fallback when you’re short in getting the Xtreme board. The Master itself is a good choice, the bulk of the Aorus boards have 12 direct phase VRMs while the Master has 14 and the Xtreme has 16. If you look at it the right way, the Master is rather a point or 2 away from the Xtreme and can feed the hunger for OC appetite of many enthusiasts.

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

The I9 10900K comes pretty close to the Ryzen 9 3900X and I assume that the Aorus Master Z490 brings and presents the power that is consumed by the board. The processor can only push itself as much as the board used can push power to it reliably and in huge amounts.

Power delivery is an important aspect of any motherboard that boasts overclocking and handling higher TDP processors – The 10900K sole purpose for these tests are to see how much power a board can handle.

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 the test greatly even if its the opposite on our Tomahawk Z490 test.

Blender BMW Render Time

A similar trend of the processor shows that the default profile does better than the OC profile. This is a trend that follows through other boards.

Blender Temperature Test

The Aorus Z490 Master does absolutely well and at some point the numbers are unreal seeing an average of less than 60c – That’s a huge headroom for overclocking or just days with high ambient temperatures! this also means that the cooling system of the board coupled with the quality VRMs.

Final Verdict and Recommendations

The Aorus Z490 Master is a decision rather than an option where in areas the board looks second in aspects – It shines the same way as the Xtreme board. It boasts top notch specs that are a step above the majority of models.

Yeah sure the Xtreme is better but at what cost. The Z490 Master itself bring its image up from the rest of the other boards without bringing the higher pricetag of the Xtreme.


Better than the Rest, Almost – Aorus did a great job lifting the Master’s specs above the majority of boards in their lineup where it fulfills an area in the market that is similar to the Xtreme but with less price

VRMs are highly respectable – The VRM’s performance are superb keeping an average temp of less than 60c


Cost can be discouraging – While it may be cheaper than the Xtreme, the price point might not appeal to many customers due to the price.

Still an option to some – The tier that the Master occupies usually gives the flag to the highest possible product available which is in this case the Xtreme

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