Back in June, Gigabyte announced a refresh of the AMD X570 platform: the X570S. These motherboards updated the available I/O options while doing something their predecessor could not: passively cool the X570 chipset. Among these sleek new boards, tucked in the back of their marketing, was a one that traded the flash of LEDs for alabaster shrouds and panels.
Today, we get to take a look at one of these motherboards: the Gigabyte X570S AERO G. And, if you are a “Stormtrooper” build enthusiast, you might just fall in love with this creatively different motherboard!
The X570S AERO G is an ATX form factor, AM4-based motherboard from Gigabyte that is geared toward content creators. With AMD Ryzen processors excelling in the creative space alongside gaming, it’s no small wonder that we would see these become more prevalent in the market. So, what does that mean for a potential user besides some buzzy marketing?
Simply put, it all comes down to I/O.
The Gigabyte X570S AERO G has a lot to offer when it comes to connectivity; strictly looking at USB ports for a moment, this motherboard has two USB 2.0/1.1 ports, four USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type A ports, two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A ports, one USB-C port with USB 3.2 Gen 1 support, and 1 USB-C port with USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 support on the rear I/O panel. In other words: there is no shortage of connection points for your devices.
(picture courtesy of Gigabyte)
And, that isn’t all:
Staying on the topic of the rear I/O panel, the top-most USB-C port (USB 3.2 Gen 1) works in tandem with DisplayPort In to provide something Gigabyte calls VisionLINK. VisionLINK allows for data and video transfer over USB-C while allowing 60W power changing to the connected device. This technology is meant to cut down on the cables needed to connect devices, providing a more streamlined approach to connectivity. VisionLINK is especially helpful to artists utilizing pen displays. While this isn’t quite Thunderbolt, there is a header available if you want to add an expansion card for that.
Moving internally for a moment, Gigabyte tooks another design step with the X570S AERO G that wouldn’t make as much sense in the realm of gaming, but makes more sense for someone actively creative digital art, videos, or live streaming. One of those steps is that the X570S AERO G has four PCIe 4.0 slots for M.2 SATA or NVMe drives. Granted, some of those PCIe lanes are shared with SATA ports and the PCIEX4 slot, but if you are recording while streaming or working with larger file libraries that demand the fastest read/write speeds, these extra slots could improve workflow.
Speaking of PCIe lanes, aside from the four M.2 slots, the X570S AERO G has three PCIe 4.0 slots for expansion. Running at x16, x8, and x4 lanes, respectively, these lanes have a fair amount of space between them - in case you need to run PCIe cards alongside a GPU - which seem to be growing in size with each new generation!
The connectivity doesn’t stop with USB and PCI ports, the Gigabyte X570S AERO G wants to make sure your internet connection flows fast, no matter how you connect. Whether it’s utilizing Intel’s 2.5G RJ-45 LAN port for a hardline to the internet or the onboard 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 connection, the X570S AERO G provides you with two great options. There is also an outboard antenna - in case you are a hair too far away from your wireless router.
These are some of the standout features, but let’s take a closer look at just how well it runs.
Before we get into the numbers, here are the system specifications for our test bench:
- CPU: Ryzen 7 3800X
- Cooling: Corsair Hydro Series H150i CAPELLIX AiO (Closed loop cooler), 3x LL120 fans
- RAM: 32 GB ZADAK Spark DDR4 (3200MHz)
- Motherboard: Gigabyte X570S AERO G
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Founder’s Edition
- Storage: 500GB Samsung 980 PRO, 1TB WD_Black SN750, SeaGate FireCuda 2TB
- PSU: NZXT E850
- Case: Corsair iCUE 4000X
- Case Fans: 3x Corsair LL120
While looking over the data, we compared the Gigabyte X570S AERO G with the PRIME X570-PRO from ASUS. Both motherboards are marketed a bit like mullets (the hair style, not the fish): business up front, party in the back. Offering features for both creative types and performance chasers, these two motherboards seemed to be a natural pair to compare.
What we see when comparing the numbers between these to two motherboards is an incremental improvement across the board. Now, some tests, such as Cinebench, show virtually the same performance between the two, but the gap starts to become more visible in PCMark 10 and 7-Zip.
The difference isn’t much, but we don’t actually want it to be. Remember: this is the same chipset; consistency is good. Since all of the system hardware is the same, this simply shows us that both motherboards are functioning as intended. This could be chalked up to a difference in power delivery or in how thermal management happens.
(Note: Gigabyte is not clear in their literature or website about VRMs used. Thanks to Joe Shields’ review over at Tom’s Hardware, we know this is a 12+2 phase setup… but even he couldn’t find a datasheet with details about the parts used.)
The Gigabyte X570S AERO G has a lot going for it, but it is not a perfect motherboard. Many of the issues come down to placement. Since we talked about it in the overview, let’s start by talking about the placement of some of the connections. A prime example of this concerns the PCIEX4 slot.
Where it is positioned on the motherboard, the PCIE4X slot has very little room between where it is in relation to the internal audio, USB, and RGB headers. This isn’t a problem if you aren’t using that slot, but this is where my Elgato 4K60 Pro lives. Fortunately, my cables for these devices are a fair bit flexible, but my audio header is not. There was a moment where I was considering which device was not getting plugged in. A few millimeters of space would have been nice.
Continuing the critique on placement here, the status LEDs seem to share the fate of the X570 chipset fans of former motherboards: they are blocked by larger GPUs. While thermal management isn’t a concern with the status LEDs, visibility is. These lights assist in troubleshooting hardware issues that arise during boot, so their obstruction is a significant design flaw.
Speaking of design choices, let’s talk designation:
When I first saw the Gigabyte X570S AERO G, my mind immediately went to the theming of their VISION series GPUs and motherboards. While both “series” belong to their Ultra Durable lineup, Gigabyte made things a bit confusing with branding the X570S as an AERO-series product. Why? Because it does not thematically match the other AERO series products at all… and the AERO lineup at present… is laptops. This delineation would make more sense if Gigabyte was trying to separate the Intel- and AMD-based motherboards, but there is a VISION series B550 and the AERO laptops are all Intel-based. The lack of consistency is staggeringly confusing.
Finally, let’s talk about VisionLINK. Conceptually, I like it. It feels like a solid marriage between Thunderbolt and NVIDIA’s now-defunct VirtualLink. These powered ports offered a streamlined approach to the user, but they can be rather niche. The benefit here is that the ports are USB-C ports that can be used for everyday devices. For me, I love that I can power an Elgato 4K60 S+ without having to find a free outlet. However, if you want to utilize this feature, make sure you have your manual handy or that you have a good memory because the VisionLINK port is not labeled on the rear I/O at all.
While the naming convention makes no sense within their product stack, the X570S AERO G motherboard is, indeed, a vision! The silver and white designs make for a really clean looking build, especially with the backdrop of a white case like the Corsair 4000X we built in. It isn’t all form though - many of the shrouds serve as heatsinks for the power section, chipset, and M.2 drives.
Coming in at a retail price of $349.99 USD (via Newegg), is this upgrade more than a fancy new letter in the chipset designation and some pretty shrouding? Considering that the Gigabyte X570S AERO G comes in at the higher end of the X570 market - especially when you look at the non-S, is it worth the extra cash?
We are in a bit of a weird in-between space with AMD CPUs. The 5000-series APUs recently released and our best guess is that we won’t see the next (and final AM4) iteration of the Ryzen series until some time in 2022. Since we can't see the future, our final verdict comes back to our main talking point in the overview: I/O.
We found the X570S AERO G to be an incredibly versatile motherboard when it comes to connectivity; that is its strongest feature. If you are looking for a creatively different motherboard with up-to-date I/O with options including ports capable of powering devices, you have the need for extra internal storage, and you don’t mind leaving RGB behind, the X570S AERO G might be worth the leap for you.The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.