Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

AM3+ Last Gasp?

 

Over the past several years I have reviewed quite a few Asus products.  The ones that typically grab my attention are the ROG based units.  These are usually the most interesting, over the top, and expensive products in their respective fields.  Ryan has reviewed the ROG graphics cards, and they have rarely disappointed.  I have typically taken a look at the Crosshair series of boards that support AMD CPUs.

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Crosshair usually entails the “best of the best” when it comes to features and power delivery.  My first brush with these boards was the Crosshair IV.  That particular model was only recently taken out of my primary work machine.  It proved itself to be an able performer and lasted for years (even overclocked).  The Crosshair IV Extreme featured the Lucid Hydra chip to allow mutli-GPU performance without going to pure SLI or Crossfire.  The Crosshair V got rid of Lucid and added official SLI support and it incorporated the Supreme FX II X-Fi audio.  All of these boards have some things in common.  They are fast, they overclock well, and they are among the most expensive motherboards ever for the AMD platform.

So what is there left to add?  The Crosshair V is a very able platform for Bulldozer and Piledriver based parts.  AMD is not updating the AM3+ chipsets, so we are left with the same 990FX northbridge and the SB950 southie (both of which are essentially the same as the 890FX/SB850).  It should be a simple refresh, right?  We had Piledriver released a few months ago and there should be some power and BIOS tweaks that can be implemented and then have a rebranded board.  Sounds logical, right?  Well, thankfully for us, Asus did not follow that path.

The Asus Crosshair V Formula Z is a fairly radical redesign of the previous generation of products.  The amount of extra features, design changes, and power characteristics make it a far different creature than the original Crosshair V.  While both share many of the same style features, under the skin this is a very different motherboard.  I am rather curious why Asus did not brand this as the “Crosshair VI”.  Let’s explore, shall we?

Click here to read the entire review on the ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z

Take a break from Ivy Bridge with the Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5

Subject: Motherboards | May 7, 2012 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, 990FXA-UD5, amd, am3, 990fx

If you need your Intel fix then scroll to the reviews below the fold where you will find a plethora of Z77 and X79 boards, but to provide a little variety check out the Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5 which is available for $180.  As you can tell from the pricing this is from the higher of end AMD motherboards, with four PCIe 16x slots of which two can manage a full 16x, a total of ten SATA6Gb/s ports, two of which are eSATA, fourteen USB 2.0, four USB 3.0 and even a pair of Firewire ports are available.  The variety and number of I/O ports is this boards strongest feature, Neoseeker would not recommend it for heavy overclockers but for someone who needs a workhorse that will handle a huge amount of drives and peripherals it is a very strong choice.

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"The Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5 is a solid motherboard with a nice feature set for the AM3 and AM3+ processors. We pit it against the ASUS Crosshair V Formula, provided with the AMD FX-8150 review kits back at launch, to see how it compares with the incumbent AM3 champ."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Source: Neoseeker

Can you effectively patch up a Bulldozer?

Subject: Processors | February 17, 2012 - 10:52 AM |
Tagged: fx-8150, FX, cpu, bulldozer, amd, 990fx

AMD's $270 flagship processor, the 3.6GHz FX-8150 had a mixed reception as the hype which lead up to the release built up our expectations to a point that the processor could not live up to.  Part of the disappointment has been blamed on the Windows 7 thread scheduler, which AMD described as not being optimized for their architecture, which lead to the release of hotfix files KB2645594 and KB2646060.  TechPowerUp revisited their benchmarks to see if these patches effectively increase the performance of multi-threaded tasks; single threaded tasks are dependant on processor speed so they should be unaffected by the patches.

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"After settling on the market, with all the quirks and bugs supposedly fixed, all the hype and disappointment blown away, we put AMD's FX-8150 under the scope. Benchmarks are done with and without the Windows 7 hotfix and in depth overclocking should resolve any doubts you have about AMD's flagship processor."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Source: TechPowerUp
Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Asus

900 Series: Bulldozer Ready

The rumor on the street is that Asus makes a few motherboards.  They may or may not be the world’s leading motherboard manufacturer.  Asus may also have a pretty good reputation for quality and innovation in their products.  It is tongue in cheek hour at PC Perspective.  All joking aside, Asus anymore is the gold standard for quality manufacturing and design in motherboards.

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Some months ago AMD released their AM3+ capable chipsets, though the release was not nearly as exciting as we had hoped.  The AMD 900 series of chipsets are essentially the same silicon as those that power the non-integrated AMD 800 series.  There are three SKUs that are currently available for the 900 series that Asus makes motherboards around.

Read the entire article here.

Bulldozer, get out of the way! This review is supposed to be about the ASUS Crosshair V Formula

Subject: Motherboards | October 27, 2011 - 03:20 PM |
Tagged: asus, Crosshair V Formula, FX 8150, 990fx, am3+

As sometimes happens when one sets out to write a review, at some point it turns out you aren't reviewing what you had originally intended to.  Such happened at Legit Reviews when they tested the ASUS Crosshair V Formula AM3+ board with an FX-8150 as well as an X6 1100T.  The motherboard is very interesting; just hard to make out through the wreckage of a big yellow machine lying in front of it.  If you can manage to make out the motherboard through the Phenom-enal holes punched in the 'dozer you can see three PCIe 2.0 x16 (dual x16 or x16, x8, x8), a PCIe 2.0 x16 in x4, a PCIe 2.0 x1 slot and even a legacy PCI slot.  There are also four USB 3.0 ports and an equal number of USB 2.0 ports (one can be made into an ROG port)  and a slew of others including a clear CMOS button for your cat or child to play with. 

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"This particular article, we went a little bit of a different route. We compared the ASUS Crosshair V Formula with the latest AMD FX-8150 'Bulldozer' processor, to itself with an AMD Phenom II X6 1100T. We wanted to see if there was much of a difference in performance between the two core architectures on the AMD 990FX chipset. The article inadvertently felt more like a shoot out between the two processors, when the focus was meant to be on the ASUS Crosshair V Formula. The performance between the two systems was entirely too similar for my tastes. The AMD FX-8150 didn't run the circles around the Phenom II X6 1100T that I had hoped it would..."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

The early bird gets the Bulldozer

Subject: Processors | October 11, 2011 - 09:44 PM |
Tagged: fx-8150, FX, cpu, bulldozer, amd, 990fx

You've been waiting through years of rumour and innuendo but the day has finally arrive, AMD's brand new Bulldozer architecture is here.  It is like nothing we've seen before in any chip based off of the venerable Athlon line, which has served dutifully for over a decade.  Bulldozer takes AMD's vision of a dual core processor not as two cores sewn together, but more as Siamese twins which share vital resources and are so closely conjoined that you cannot truly say where one ends and the other begins.  The Bulldozer core is exactly that, while only four Bulldozer cores exist they can handle eight integer execution units, and four shared 2 x 128 bit floating point/SIMD which is interpreted by your OS as 8 cores.

Implementing a new technology is not without its drawbacks.  The Athlon/Phenom architecture has been perfected by AMD thanks to its long life, while the Bulldozer is brand new and they've already started polishing it into Piledriver which will we see in the not too distant future (especially compared to the wait for Bulldozer).  That immaturity is shown in Ryan's review where he compares it clock for clock to a Phenom II.  It gets worse when compared against SandyBridge as the Bulldozer can at most occaisonally equal the performance of an i7-2600K.  The only saving grace is price when you look at heavily multi-threaded applications and there are not many out there. 

 However one benchmark cannot tell the whole story, which is why [H]ard|OCP released two reviews on Bulldozer which focus on different aspects of the chips performance.  Start off with their look at the performance which will give you an idea of how the chip performs under normal circumstances with its power saving features enabled and overclocked with those features disabled.  Then they head onto what most people are interested in, the gaming benchmarks.  Theoretical and productivity software benchmarks are one thing but we've all got to have fun sometimes and for those moments the new FX chips don't look too bad at all ... unless you are a Civ V fan.  

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"Computer hardware enthusiasts have literally waited for years for AMD's Bulldozer architecture to come to market and we finally see this today in its desktop form, code named Zambezi, brand named AMD FX. In this article we share with you our analysis of Bulldozer's performance in synthetic benchmarks and desktop applications."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Bulldozer Architecture

Introduction

Bulldozer.  Since its initial unveiling and placement on the roadmap many have called the Bulldozer architecture the savior of AMD, the processor that would finally turn the tide back against Intel and its dominance in the performance desktop market.  After quite literally YEARS of waiting we have finally gotten our hands on the Bulldozer processors, now called the AMD FX series of CPUs, and can report on our performance and benchmarking of the platform.

With all of the leaks surrounding the FX processor launch you might be surprised by quite a bit of our findings - both on the positive and the negative side of things.  With all of the news in the past weeks about Bulldozer, now we can finally give you the REAL information.

Before we dive right into the performance part of our story I think it is important to revisit the Bulldozer architecture and describe what makes it different than the Phenom II architecutre as well as Intel's Sandy Bridge design.  Josh wrote up a great look at the architecture earlier in the year with information that is still 100% pertinent and we recount much of that writing here.  If you are comfortable with the architeture design points, then feel free to skip ahead to the sections you are more interested in - but I recommend highly you give the data below a look first. 

The below text was taken from Bulldozer at ISSCC 2011 - The Future of AMD Processors.

Bulldozer Architecture Revisited

Bulldozer brings very little from the previous generation of CPUs, except perhaps the experience of the engineers working on these designs.  Since the original Athlon, the basic floor plan of the CPU architecture AMD has used is relatively unchanged.  Certainly there were significant changes throughout the years to keep up in performance, but the 10,000 foot view of the actual decode, integer, and floating point units were very similar throughout the years.  TLB’s increasing in size, more instructions in flight, etc. were all tweaked and improved upon.  Aspects such as larger L2 caches, integrated memory controllers, and the addition of a shared L3 cache have all brought improvements to the architecture.  But the overall data flow is very similar to that of the original Athlon introduced 14 years ago.

As covered in our previous article about Bulldozer, it is a modular design which will come in several flavors depending on the market it is addressing.  The basic building block of the Bulldozer core is a 213 million transistor unit which features 2 MB of L2 cache.  This block contains the fetch and decode unit, two integer execution units, a shared 2 x 128 bit floating point/SIMD unit, L1 data and instruction caches, and a large shared L2 unit.  All of this is manufactured on GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ 32nm, 11 metal layer SOI process.  This entire unit, plus 2 MB of L2 cache, is contained in approximately 30.9 mm squared of die space.

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Continue reading our review of the AMD FX Processor (codenamed Bulldozer)!!

More fun with AMD's new 990FX chipset

Subject: Motherboards | June 27, 2011 - 12:08 PM |
Tagged: Sabertooth, asus, amd, 990fx

The ASUS Sabertooth 990FX is not a ROG board as you might expect, instead it bears a logo describing it as a member of "THE ULTIMATE FORCE" aka TUF.  This AM3+ board still features some serious extras, from TUF components and MemOK as well as DIGI+ VRM which denotes an 8+2 power phases on the board and the ability to run 2 of it's 3 PCIe slots at a full 16x simultaneously.  Legit Reviews used the Phenom II X6 1100T BE to power the system during their testing as we are still awaiting the release of the AM3+ CPUs from AMD.  From their testing this $200 board takes top spot, USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbp/s performance were significantly ahead of the 890FX board they compared the Sabertooth to, making this a worthy upgrade for AMD users.

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"ASUS hit the mark with the Sabertooth 990FX! The Sabertooth 990FX was able to dig its teeth into everything we threw at it and be the dominant force in the charts! If you're in the market for a motherboard the ASUS Sabertooth 990FX should be at the top of your short list..."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

PC Perspective Podcast #158 - MSI P67-GD80 Motherboard review, Antec Performance P280 case, Corsair Force 3 SSD recall and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 9, 2011 - 03:47 PM |
Tagged: podcast, Intel, computex, amd, 990fx

PC Perspective Podcast #158 - 6/09/2011

This week we talk about the MSI P67-GD80 Motherboard review, Antec Performance P280 case, Corsair Force 3 SSD recall and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:00:43

Program Schedule:

 

  1. 0:00:33 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:01:50 AMD 990FX/SB950 Release: Asus SABERTOOTH 990FX and the MSI 990FXA-GD80
  6. 0:04:10 MSI P67A-GD80 LGA 1155 ATX Motherboard Review
  7. 0:06:42 MSI N560GTX-Ti HAWK Graphic Card Review
  8. 0:14:23 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. 0:15:02 PowerColor Shows Off New 4GB AMD Graphics Card With Two Stock Clocked 6970 GPUs
  10. 0:20:18 Antec Performance P280 Case First Look at Computex
  11. 0:23:40 ECS Motherboards on display at Computex 2011
  12. 0:27:02 MSI shows Gen3 PCIe, X79 Motherboard and GTX 580 Extreme
  13. 0:33:12 Thermaltake Level 10 GT White, Frio GT and BigWater coolers and USB Power Strip
  14. 0:39:05 AMD Brings Back FX Branding For High-End CPUs and Motherboards at E3
  15. 0:40:18 Corsair recalls entire Force Series 3 SSD line, cites hardware defects
  16. 0:44:05 PNY and Asetek Team Up to Deliver Sealed-Loop Water Cooling for CPUs and Graphics Cards
  17. 0:48:30 Just Delivered.  Large, nifty video card. - MSI N580GTX Lightning Extreme
  18. 0:49:45 Quakecon Reminder - http://www.quakecon.org/
  19. 0:51:30 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Gold bar USB 3.0 drive
    2. Jeremy: Still like the newstweak, but if'n I used it up then IPv6 didn't destroy the world!
    3. Josh: Boston Lager Cut!  http://www.samueladams.com/promos/lager-and-beef/lagercut.aspx
    4. Allyn: Intel 320 Warranty = 5 years
  20. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  21. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  22. 0:59:23 Closing

 

 

Source:

ECS Motherboards on display at Computex 2011

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | June 4, 2011 - 07:42 PM |
Tagged: x79, fusion, ECS, e-350, computex, 990fx

ECS, aka Elitegroup, had a large booth at Computex that focused more on its ODM aspects than consumer aspects, but there were still a couple of interesting designs to look at.

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The board we spotted was the new A990FXM-A motherboard that is of course based on the latest 990FX chipset from AMD.  Supporting the AM3+ processor socket and thus the pending AMD Bulldozer processors, the 990FX is going to be a long term product rather than a short term. One interesting addition to the board is found on the chipset heatsink that has a temperature reactive plastic on it that will turn from grey to orange-ish as the ambient case temperature increases.  This could be a great feature to easily gauge the heat level inside a windowed case.  

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Also an interesting move, ECS has elongated the receptacle on the 8-pin CPU power connection to make it easier to plug in and to remove.  If you have ever experienced a pinched finger or sliced finger nail from trying to reach down and unplug an ATX connector, you will see this as a nice addition.

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ECS also had its X79 motherboard variant on display, showing the company's readiness for the pending Sandy Bridge-E release.

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Also on the motherboard wall was the upcoming A75F-A with support for the AMD Llano Fusion-based processors that should be ready later in the summer. 

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Finally, a motherboard that we have just recently received for review purposes, the HDC-I is an AMD E-350 or E-240 Zacate platform mini-ITX form factor.  This solution might be a great option for users looking to build an HTPC box so be sure you check out our full review coming shortly.

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

Source: ECS