SUPERO Pro Gaming C9Z390-PGW Z390 Motherboard

A Closer Look

SUPERO’s C9Z390-PGW is your standard ATX motherboard that carries a somewhat neutral industrial look. Grey’s, black’s and a gunmetal green over a black PCB are broken by shiny steel armor of the memory and PCIe slots.

The rear of the board is matte black and mostly void of components.

One of the few exceptions is a test port near the CPU socket on the back. This probably won’t have any use to consumers.

The other exception is RGB LED’s around a few edges of the board to provide a little illumination.

The rear I/O has about everything. You get a PS/2 Combo port for mouse and keyboard, two USB 3.1 gen 1 port, four more USB 3.1 gen 2 ports, a pair of DisplayPort 1.2 outputs and an HDMI 2.0. Twin Antenna ports sit next to two LAN ports, one Aquantia powered port capable of speeds up to 10-gigabit, and an Intel-powered Gigabit port. Standard 3.5mm audio jacks and an optical output round out this area.

The top half of the board is dominated with heatsinks, two top and left for the VRM’s and one below the socket for the PCIe switch chip. Intel’s LGA1151 socket sits near the center with four steel-reinforced DDR4 DIMM slots.

On the bottom half of the board, you have four metal-clad PCIe x16 slots, capable of running in X16/x0/x16/x0 or x8/x8/x8/x8 mode. Given the PCIe allocations from the Splitter, you could also do x16/x0/x8/x8 or x8/x8/x16/x0 as well. A single PCIe x1 hides in the middle, and two M.2 slots are under the large heatsinks between PCIe slots. The heatsink top left here covers the Aquantia 10-Gigabit Ethernet controller.

The M.2 covers are held with three screws each, and a somewhat sticky thermal pad between the M.2 heatsink and the Chipset heatsink. It takes a bit of force to get this semi-adhesive loose, so don’t be surprised. There are thermal pads pre-applied for each drive.

Along the bottom of the board is the front panel audio header, a USB 3.1, 2.0 and 3.0 front panel headers.

Towards the front, you have a TPM header, front panel I/O connections that includes all of the usual plus some server oriented indicators like NIC activity, and a hardware UART COM port. SUPERO uses a socketed BIOS chip, handy for disasters, as well as numerous LED indicators around the board to help troubleshoot.

The front edge has a pair of U.2 ports, one with dedicated bandwidth and one shared with the second M.2 slot. Six SATA 6 Gbps ports round out storage. A four-pin fan header hides next to the SATA ports.

Next up is the main 24-pin power. The top right corner has power and reset buttons, as well as a Clear CMOS button. Two 4-pin fan headers help with cooling.

The top edge has a high power 4-pin header for pumps, two RGB headers, another 4-pin header and the 8-pin EPS power connection for the CPU.

Let’s take a quick look at the VRM’s. With the Rear I/O cover out of the way, we can remove the VRM heatsinks.

The VRM is a 9-phase system in a 6+2+1 configuration.

The Aquantia chipset heatsink is held on with some sort of adhesive, we couldn’t get it off easily so we left it. Alone.

The PCIe Switch heatsink comes off easily with a few screws removed, but all there is to see is a metal heat spreader with some part numbers on it. The Broadcom PEX8747 PCIe switch takes all 16 lanes from the CPU and splits them out to four x8 links. Other PCIe switches then recombine these as needed to make up the pair of x16 links.

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