It’s cheaper than others, but in addition lacking Thunderbolt 4 and extra SATA ports
There aren’t a number of choices for mini-ITX builds, however the Gigabyte Z690i Aorus Extremely Plus ITX motherboard stands out for its price-to-performance characteristic set, and clear design. And as an added bonus, it’s additionally cheaper than lots of its opponents that provide the identical (or lesser) specs.
Worth When Reviewed
Greatest Costs As we speak: Gigabyte Z690i Aorus Extremely Plus ITX
The small type issue gaming PC isn’t just a fad: It’s now a mainstream selection that guarantees a pint-sized powerhouse with fewer compromises in 2022.
With the arrival of Intel’s Twelfth-generation Alder Lake, new applied sciences equivalent to DDR5 and PCIe Gen 5 are right here. That’s not even the thrilling half—CPUs such because the Core i9-12900K blaze the path for gaming and might moonlight as workstations, too. (This mainstream show of CPU virtuosity is partly in charge for the decline in high-end desktops.)
All that energy can now match within the palm of your fingers due to the Gigabyte Z690i Extremely Plus. It’s the latest improve meant to handle points within the unique Z690i Extremely. We’ll talk about the strengths and weak point of this motherboard, pricing, options, and if it is going to work in your construct.
Gigabyte Z690i Aorus Extremely Plus ITX: The specs
What precisely are you able to pack right into a small motherboard? Because it seems, quite a bit! Let’s take a fast peep at what’s included, and we’ll talk about what options and specs matter most.
A particular word: The unique Z690i Extremely had a number of subject, largely with system instability when mixed with PCIE Gen 4 GPUs. The corporate opened up an improve program that permits house owners of the unique Z690i Extremely to improve to the Z690i Extremely Plus.
Mini-ITX type issue (6.7 x 6.7 inches)
Assist for Intel Twelfth-gen Alder Lake LGA 1700 CPUs
10+1+2 Digital VRM with 105 amps
DDR5 RAM (DDR4 model additionally out there)
PCIe Gen 5 16x Slot
Two M.2 slots
HDMI and DisplayPort out
8 USB ports on again, plus entrance USB3.2 Kind C
Intel Wi-Fi 6E
Intel 2.5Gbe LAN
RGB fusion header
2 SATA 6GB/S ports
Q Flash Plus BIOS
Realtek ALC4080 Codec
Gigabyte Z690i Aorus Extremely Plus ITX: The options
Spectacular record of specs, proper? It has nearly all the things you’d need—the one Z690 Mini ITX motherboard that packs just a little bit additional is the Asus Strix-I that we just lately reviewed. That features Thunderbolt 4, and a daughtercard supplying you with 4 SATA ports. It is available in at an MSRP of $439, nevertheless—way more costly than the $330 Gigabyte Extremely Plus Z690i right here.
Let’s see the way it fares:
Networking? Examine! Latest Wi-FI 6E, and Intel 2.5Gbe LAN
Nice energy supply 10+1+2 Direct Digital VRM—Handles i9 12900k? Positively!
PCIe Gen 5 16x slot
DDR5 RAM, however DDR4 model can also be out there, which is extra of a rarity for ITX Z690
Replace BIOS with out CPU performance (you’ll want this once you least anticipate it, belief us..)
M.2 slot—make that double M.2 slots!
Realtek onboard audio
Improved Gigabyte BIOS for tinkerers
MSRP of $330—cheaper than the $439 Asus choice, and solely lacking a number of options
You’ll want an LGA 1700 particular cooler or bracket; no backwards compatibility with LGA 1200 as with the Asus Z690 choices
Restricted to only two SATA ports
Earlier Extremely model had points which will scare off some new patrons, however Gigabyte appears to have addressed them on this up to date model
Appear to be U.S solely, so abroad patrons will probably be restricted
Gigabyte Z690i Aorus Extremely Plus ITX: Design
It has a backplate! Sorry, needed to get that one out of the way in which first. In any other case, It’s just a little bundle of energy. Lovable, isn’t it? With a pleasant, clear design—it solely has refined clues that it packs a punch with its Aorus styling. The construct high quality, extra importantly, feels strong.
Tastefully finished implementation of RGB is right here, in fact. In most Mini-ITX builds, the RGB is seldom seen on account of tightly packed tiny circumstances—however some do let that luminescent mild shine by means of.
General, a simple design that retains the options on faucet in a clear, well-laid-out scheme. Substantial bodily really feel on the construct high quality could be very welcome as properly, and sure, we’re a fan of backplates. (Helpful or not, they’re cool!)
Gigabyte Z690i Aorus Extremely Plus ITX: Efficiency and BIOS
The recent and heavy i9 12900K is not scary for Mini-ITX boards: Very like the Asus Strix-I, this board packs sufficient energy and cooling capabilities to tame the beast.
Operating something lower than an i9 12900K? Likewise, it is going to deal with them marvelously. Certainly this board would make an ideal pairing for the 12700K and even the 12600K, relying in your use case.
DDR5 efficiency can also be right here, and whereas there are definitely some diminishing returns, it’s good to be future-proof. Should you’d like to avoid wasting a couple of dollars and nonetheless keep nice efficiency, the DDR4 model of this motherboard has an MSRP of $309. (And also you’ll save on the DDR4 RAM price, too)
PCIe Gen 5 and Gen 4 additionally retains your GPU and NVME M.2 capabilities in the identical league as the larger Z690 ATX choices.
The Gigabyte UEFI BIOS has been significantly improved from earlier generations as properly, making changes and vital system tweaks easy.
I usually favor to make use of the BIOS for a number of very particular duties: setting the XMP profile for RAM, handbook CPU overclocking, setting exhausting drive boot order, and even a fan profile if I’m not utilizing a devoted fan controller.
BIOS updates, and the occasional tinkering with different settings deeply imbedded inside are all easy with this BIOS. Q Flash can also be out there and not using a CPU, for a BIOS replace if wanted. Gigabyte additionally provides a collection of software program that may be put in inside home windows itself, equivalent to RGB Fusion and different system controls—however usually I’d reasonably preserve sure duties to the BIOS as software program is commonly much less steady in my expertise.
Mini-ITX builds are all the craze, and the number of motherboards is usually a smaller pool in comparison with ATX. Gigabyte has an excellent price-to-performer right here for this phase. Its up to date type additionally squashes the problems of its Extremely predecessor, in order that may give customers a confidence increase.
Coming in a $330 isn’t low cost, however there aren’t any different choices that provide the identical characteristic set for this value. The Asus Z690 Strix-I prices way more, and cheaper ITX boards lack the wealthy spec record of the Z690i Extremely Plus. (Gigabyte additionally provides a “Lite” model of this board, however sans the next-gen options.) MSI’s Z690i Unify competitor can also be dearer. Whereas the Extremely Plus isn’t as loaded because the Asus Strix, the cheaper value and *practically all* of the related options land it with a decent displaying.