Late in my review process I found out that it’s possible the PRO-AX may never make it to SA shores. A real pity as this motherboard represents some of the best value on the market for the Z490 platform. It may not have all the fancy visuals and little extras, but it covers its basics exceptionally well. Let’s not forget this motherboard has Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 6, 2.5G Lan, USB 3.2 Gen2, and a 12 phase VRM on top of PCIe 4.0 future compliance. There’s not much else one can ask for in a gaming motherboard.

With that said, the board isn’t perfect. I go back again to the UEFI section, where some peculiar design choices dampen an otherwise pleasant experience. The limited profile name length (13-character limit), awkward Fan control and puzzling naming for options come to mind. These take away from a UEFI that’s had huge improvements and has become one of the better experiences around.

This early in a platform’s life and with BIOS updates coming in fast. It’s difficult to say for sure that my experience will be yours as well. What I can say is that, all the minor issues withstanding, the Z490 AORUS PRO-AX did leave a positive impression. Perhaps I had lower expectations from GIGABYTE than I should have had, but for the estimated USD street price (prices may be higher right now), it provides some of the best value around. It may not work that well for the extreme users (that’s what the Extreme SKU is for), but for the vast majority of people the PRO-AX is more than one will ever need.

There are plenty of boards in this price segment, both from within GIGABYTE and competitors. As it stands, it may prove challenging finding a motherboard that’s outright better than this one. What it’s missing, it makes up for in performance and tuning ability. This board may not evoke the same excitement as say the MASTER or ULTRA, but for what it is and the segment it’s in. It’s certainly worth your consideration (assuming you can find it). I can’t imagine a much better way to get acquainted with the Z490 chipset.

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