Board Layout and Features
The Z690 Aorus Elite AX DDR4 motherboard deviates from what you would normally expect when looking at a gaming ready full ATX motherboard which can be seen in the PCI Express layout. At the top you will find a single PCI Express 16x slot with a white center, at the very bottom of the motherboard you will find two more full length slots.
In terms of overall design, I am impressed with how the decorative lines merge to create a flowing pattern from the I/O cover to the PCB and down across the M.2 and MCP heatsinks. Sadly, this didn’t translate to the upper VRM heatsink or some of the other lines on the PCB. Sadly, this is not uncommon on production motherboards produced in volume.
Looking at the back of the motherboard can tell you a lot about how any particular board is constructed. Typically, you’ll see things like how the PCI Express slots are wired up and where the major components are located. With the advent of PCI Express 5.0 many board makers have started to use surface mount expansion slots in an attempt to reduce EMI.
When looking around the CPU socket you’ll find the extra tall LGA 1700 CPU socket and what appears to be a 19 Phase VRM. According to the documentation that is 16+1+2 Phase design leaving 16 Phases for the CPU with the others likely for Memory and PCI Express.
Unfortunately, you will be required to use an approved LGA 1700 CPU cooler for this motherboard as the mounting holes are following the new standard without provision for LGA 1200.
The 8+4 CPU power plugs are located behind the VRM heatsinks with easy access for installation and removal of the power cables.