Sometime in the what we believe to be the near future, Intel will finally roll out its 9th generation Core processor family, which is rumored to include two 8-core CPU models. We'll have to wait and see about that. Until then, Intel's hardware partners are gearing up for the launch with supporting hardware. Specifically, Gigabyte is waiting in the wings with multiple new motherboards based on Intel's upcoming Z390 Express chipset.
Gigabyte has not announced anything yet, of course, but there are multiple leaked press renders of the company's upcoming motherboards. The newest one depicts a Gigabyte Z390 Gaming SLI motherboard.
This one looks to be sold and marketed under Gigabyte's own brand, as opposed to its Aorus division. The Z390 Gaming SLI is not a flagship product, though it's clearly targeted at gamers who want to run multiple graphics cards. It sports three PCI Express x16 slots, two of which are reinforced. Gamers who plan to fill those will dual GeForce RTX cards are looking at spending $998 or more on GPUs (the GeForce RTX series starts at $499).
It's fun to imagine a decked out configuration with no *bleeps* given in regards to cost. In that scenario, a gamer could outfit this motherboard with a Core i9-9900K processor and dual GeForce RTX 2080 Ti cards. That would put the foundation in the neighborhood of $3,000 for the motherboard, graphics cards, and processor combined.
This is the second leaked Z390 motherboard from Gigabyte in less than a week. Previously, Gigabyte's Z390 Aorus Elite broke cover (shown above). The two motherboards look similar overall, expect the Z390 Gaming SLI adds another PCIe x16 slot, has a different onboard audio scheme, and features a different aesthetic design. The port selection is different as well.
As for the chipset, the Z390 builds on the existing 300 series that launched earlier this year, but with higher end features. It introduces 802.11ac (courtesy of an integrated Intel Wireless-AC 9560 MAC), but also Bluetooth 5.0, along with support for up to 6 USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (10 Gbps), 10 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) ports or 14 USB 2.0 ports. 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes are supported, as are RAID 0, 1 and 5 with PCIe NVMe SSDs.
Rumor has it Intel will launch its 9th generation Core CPUs in early October, which means the Z390 chipset (and motherboards) will arrive at that time as well.