System Performance

Not all motherboards are created equal. On the face of it, they should all perform the same and differ only in the functionality they provide - however, this is not the case. The obvious pointers are power consumption, POST time and latency. This can come down to the manufacturing process and prowess, so these are tested.

For Z790 we are running using Windows 11 64-bit with the 22H2 update.

Power Consumption

In previous motherboard reviews, we focused on the overall system power, and while sometimes useful, it doesn't paint the full picture. Motherboards can vary in power, but users with more M.2 SSDs, more devices plugged into the motherboard, and additional PCIe devices such as capture cards or sound cards will experience variances in power consumption.

For our motherboard reviews going forward, we're going to be focusing on power draw explicitly from the CPU, as in real-world situations, the processor is the de-facto part of the system that will display variance in power; the graphics card will also draw power, but with so many different models of the graphics card, these values will vary massively. To capture CPU power draw from each motherboard tested, we will be using ElmorLabs PMD-USB power measurement device, which directly plugs into the 8-pin ATX EPS 12 V CPU power connectors, and lets us directly measure the power being fed into the CPU via the power delivery from the power supply.

Ideally, lower values are better, especially with Intel's 13th and 12th Gen Core processors. The other factor is, of course, performance, which goes hand in hand with power consumption depending on the workload and the amount of CPU processing being utilized on the cores. At idle, the lower value is best, but some motherboard vendors are more aggressive on voltages, and more voltage = more heat and higher power consumption.

At idle values, we are measuring the value while the system has settled down, and for load power, we're measuring the average peak value over the course of the 10-minute CB23 MT run. This is because while power-hungry at full-load, processors can sometimes spike for a second or two and as such, can skew peak results, hence why we take the average value.

CPU Package Power: OS Idle

CPU Package Power: CineBench R23 MT 10-min Run

Starting with CPU package power in an idle state, the GIGABYTE Z790 Aorus Xtreme was the most economical out of the LGA1700 boards we've tested so far with our Core i9-13900K. We measured an OS idle reading of 3.7 W, which is around half a watt less than the ASRock Z790 LiveMixer. 

Focusing on the full-load average, the Z790 Aorus Xtreme averaged 271.6 W over a 10-minute loop of the CineBench R23 MT benchmark. This means, on average, it used around 4.5% less power than the ASRock Z790 Taichi Carrara at full load.


Different motherboards have different POST sequences before an operating system is initialized. A lot of this depends on the board itself, and POST boot time is determined by the controllers on board (and the sequence of how those extras are organized). We look at the POST Boot Time using a stopwatch as part of our testing. This is the time from pressing the ON button on the computer to when Windows starts loading. (We discount Windows loading as it is highly variable given Windows-specific features.)


Measuring UEFI post times into Windows 11, the GIGABYTE Z790 Aorus Xtreme took 22.6 seconds to boot into Windows from system power-up. Things that can increase booting times include additional controllers such as Thunderbolt 4, CPU and memory initialization times, and of course, storage. While the Z790 Aorus Xtreme is not a slow booter, this can be attributed to the number of premium controllers installed onto the board.

DPC Latency

Deferred Procedure Call latency is a way in which Windows handles interrupt servicing. In order to wait for a processor to acknowledge the request, the system will queue all interrupt requests by priority. Critical interrupts will be handled as soon as possible, whereas lesser priority requests such as audio will be further down the line. If the audio device requires data, it will have to wait until the request is processed before the buffer is filled.

If the device drivers of higher priority components in a system are poorly implemented, this can cause delays in request scheduling and process time. This can lead to an empty audio buffer and characteristic audible pauses, pops, and clicks. The DPC latency checker measures how much time is taken processing DPCs from driver invocation. The lower the value will result in better audio transfer at smaller buffer sizes. Results are measured in microseconds.

Deferred Procedure Call Latency

We measure DPC latency out of the box without tweaks or customizations within Windows. The GIGABYTE Z790 Aorus Xtreme managed a latency reading of 135.7 microseconds, which isn't the best we've seen but is more than capable for audio/DAW workloads and applications.

Board Features, Test Bed and Setup CPU Performance, Short Form
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  • meacupla - Tuesday, September 5, 2023 - link

    My initial thought on the E-ATX design of this mobo.
    They put enough thought to recess the bulky 90 degree 24pin power connector on a really long mobo. However, they left the USB-C internal header a regular 0 degree, and gave it a trench in the plastic?
    Oh Gigabyte, don't ever change.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, September 5, 2023 - link

    Obviously the USB-C header was a last minute addition.
  • shabby - Tuesday, September 5, 2023 - link

    Lol @ the price, glws gigabyte 😂
  • TheinsanegamerN - Tuesday, September 5, 2023 - link

    $800. Christ.

    I remember when you could get asrock taichi x470 boards with 10g ethernet for $349, and I thought that was pricy.
  • Threska - Tuesday, September 5, 2023 - link

    So only the upper class will be buying these? Middle class barely exists, and the poor..., oh well.
  • Tom Sunday - Sunday, September 10, 2023 - link

    I would love to own a Z790 Aorus Xtreme, but my limits just gotten pushed again when I tanked-up twenty dollars worth of gas—about 2 and a half gallons—at the Chevron gas station on Cesar Chavez Ave at the intersection of Alameda Street in downtown Los Angeles. I am just a poor PC enthusiast Bro and there are now thousands like me trying to making over the daily rounds. Thus my hardware for the past several years has always been bought at the weekend local computer shows and over the folding tables. Mostly new if even possible but several (3-4) generational ago parts for my hobbled together EATX case. No sales tax and cash remains king for the real good deals! We are living in challenging times. Moving to Montana is now in my dreams.
  • meacupla - Tuesday, September 5, 2023 - link

    No one is forcing you to buy this mobo.
    Taichi x470 Ultimate didn't have PCIe 5.0, DDR5 or 2xTB4 on top of 10gbe
  • Aspernari - Saturday, September 9, 2023 - link

    A 10G Ethernet adapter is probably one of the lowest-cost components on this board. You can get a 4 port 10GbE NIC for under $100 retail.
  • Gillll - Tuesday, September 5, 2023 - link

    nowadays, your Thermal inspection should have an SSD gen 5 thermal inspection as well. as those newest SSD are quite hot. add to the fact that most M.2 PCIE5 connectors are above the GPU and below to the CPU, this is a recipe for disaster, as you can't use a better SSD HS, rather only the one provided by the motherboard manufacture, i mean you can but it probably limit your GPU or CPU HS size.
  • blingon - Tuesday, September 5, 2023 - link

    Reads like AI generated marketing copy fed with a starting term of "premium".

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