When Alder Lake was released, it was joined by a number of new technologies including PCI Express 5.0 and DDR5. These promised to deliver better performance by providing a solid foundation with higher memory speeds and faster I/O transfers and lower latency. What is interesting is that it has been over seven years since I reviewed my first DDR4 memory module and over that time we have seen memory performance and speed steadily increased.
What most enthusiasts fail to remember is that the performance difference between late DDR3 and early DDR4 platforms was negligible and happened to be the largest argument against upgrading. As you can imagine this had a profound impact on sales and slowed overall adoption of DDR4 along with the new hardware platforms.
Well, it would seem that board makers have decided to invoke an old hardware hack and offer several hybrid versions of their Z690 and B660 motherboards that fully support DDR4 memory and allowing users more options when it comes to upgrading their systems while still taking advantage of what Alder Lake has to offer.
In this review we will be looking at the Z690 Aorus Elite AX DDR4. This motherboard not only supports Alder Lake and the LGA 1700 socket but offers compatibility for DDR4 memory modules along with the features of the Z690 chipset.
I have already done a review of the Z690 Aorus Pro and would urge any of you to check out that review if you are interested in the DDR5 enabled version of the Z690 Aorus motherboard line. When you consider the features and visual layout the two motherboards are very similar and a key distinction when looking at lower-end motherboards like this.
CPU: LGA1700 socket: Support for 12th Generation Intel® Core™, Pentium® Gold and Celeron® Processors*
Chipset: Intel® Z690 Express Chipset
- Support for DDR4 5333(O.C.)/ DDR4 5133(O.C.)/DDR4 5000(O.C.)/4933(O.C.)/4800(O.C.)/ 4700(O.C.)/ 4600(O.C.)/ 4500(O.C.)/ 4400(O.C.)/ 4300(O.C.)/4266(O.C.) / 4133(O.C.) / 4000(O.C.) / 3866(O.C.) / 3800(O.C.) / 3733(O.C.) / 3666(O.C.) / 3600(O.C.) / 3466(O.C.) / 3400(O.C.) / 3333(O.C.) / 3300(O.C.) / 3200 / 3000 / 2933 / 2800 / 2666 / 2400 / 2133 MHz memory modules
- 4 x DDR DIMM sockets supporting up to 128 GB (32 GB single DIMM capacity) of system memory
- Dual channel memory architecture
- Support for ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8 memory modules (operate in non-ECC mode)
- Support for non-ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx16 memory modules
- Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
- Integrated Graphics Processor-Intel® HD Graphics support:
- 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2160@60 Hz
* Support for HDMI 2.1 version and HDCP 2.3.
** Support native HDMI 2.1 TMDS compatible ports.
- 1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096x2304@60 Hz
* Support for DisplayPort 1.2 version and HDCP 2.3
- Realtek® ALC1220-VB CODEC
* The back panel line out jack supports DSD audio.
- High Definition Audio
- 2-channel analog output
- Support for S/PDIF Out
1-channel digital signals
* Actual output of digital signals may vary depending on the playback content and software used, and an external DAC is required.
LAN: Realtek® 2.5GbE LAN chip (2.5 Gbps/1 Gbps/100 Mbps)
Wireless Communication module
- Intel® Wi-Fi 6 AX201:
- WIFI a, b, g, n, ac, ax, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band
- BLUETOOTH 5.2
- Support for 11ax 160MHz wireless standard and up to 2.4 Gbps data rate
* Actual data rate may vary depending on environment and equipment.
- 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
* For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.
(The PCIEX16 slot conforms to PCI Express 5.0 standard.)
- 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x4 (PCIEX4_1, PCIEX4_2)
(The PCIEX4 slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
Multi-Graphics Technology: Support for AMD Quad-GPU CrossFire™ and 2-Way AMD CrossFire™ technologies
- 1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280/22110 PCIe 4.0 x4/x2 SSD support) (M2A_CPU)
- 1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280/22110 SATA and PCIe 4.0 x4/x2 SSD support) (M2M_SB)
- 2 x M.2 connectors (Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280/22110 PCIe 4.0 x4/x2 SSD support) (M2Q_SB/M2P_SB)
- 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
- Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
* Refer to "2-7 Internal Connectors," for the installation notices for the M.2 and SATA connectors.
Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
* System acceleration with Intel® Optane™ Memory can only be enabled on the M.2 connectors supported by the Chipset.
- 1 x USB Type-C® port on the back panel, with USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 support
- 1 x USB Type-C® port with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support, available through the internal USB header
- 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports (red) on the back panel
- 5 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports (3 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
- Chipset+2 USB 2.0 Hub:
- 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)
Internal I/O Connectors
- 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
- 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
- 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
- 1 x CPU fan header
- 1 x water cooling CPU fan header
- 3 x system fan headers
- 1 x system fan/water cooling pump header
- 2 x addressable LED strip headers
- 2 x RGB LED strip headers
- 4 x M.2 Socket 3 connectors
- 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
- 1 x front panel header
- 1 x front panel audio header
- 1 x USB Type-C® header, with USB 3.2 Gen 2 support
- 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 header
- 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
- 2 x Thunderbolt™ add-in card connectors
- 1 x Trusted Platform Module header (For the GC-TPM2.0 SPI/GC-TPM2.0 SPI 2.0 module only)
- 1 x reset button
- 1 x Q-Flash Plus button
- 1 x reset jumper
- 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
Form Factor: ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm