ASRock Unveils New AM1 Platform Motherboards For Socketed Kabini SoCs

Subject: Motherboards | March 6, 2014 - 01:33 AM |
Tagged: SoC, mini ITX, micro ATX, Kabini, FS1B, asrock, AM1

ASRock has joined the AM1 Platform fray with three of its own FS1B socketed motherboards: the AM1B-M, AM1B-ITX, and AM1H-ITX. The new motherboards come in Mini ITX and Micro ATX form factors that support all of Kabini’s I/O options including USB 3.0, SATA III, and PCI-E 2.0 connections.

ASRock AM1B-ITX(m).jpg

The two mini ITX motherboards (the AM1B-ITX and AM1H-ITX) feature a FS1B SoC socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, four SATA III 6Gbps ports, and a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot running at PCI-E 2.0 x4. ASRock is using two SATA III ports from the Kabini SoC and two SATA III ports from an ASMedia ASM1061 chipset. Both boards utilize the Realtek RTL8111GR NIC to provide gigabit Ethernet.

ASRock AM1H-ITX(m).jpg

The AM1H-ITX board builds upon the features of the AM1B-ITX by adding a mini PCI-E connector. While the AM1B-ITX uses a 5.1 channel Realtek ALC662 chipset, the AM1H-ITX uses a 7.1 channel ALC892 chipset that supports both analog and optical S/PDIF outputs.

Beyond the mini ITX boards, ASRock is launching the micro ATX AM1B-M. This board features the FS1B Kabini SoC socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots (16GB @ 1600MHz), two SATA III 6Gbps ports, a PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot (running at x4), and a PCI-E x1 slot. The board further offers Gigabit Ethernet and 5.1 channel audio. Noticeably absent is the additional ASMedia chipset that adds two SATA III ports.

ASRock AM1B-M(m).jpg

Additionally, the three boards have internal headers for extra USB ports and TPM security chips (the exact configuration of which depends on the specific board). The table below breaks down the basic differences between the boards.

  ASRock AM1B-M ASRock AM1B-ITX ASRock AM1H-ITX
Memory 2 x DDR3 (16GB @ 1600MHz) 2 x DDR3 (16GB @ 1600MHz) 2 x DDR3 (16GB @ 1600MHz)
Expansion Slots

1 x PCI-E 2.0 x16 (@ x 4)

1 x PC-E 2.0 x1 (@ x 1)

1 x PCI-E 2.0 x16 (@ x 4)

1 x PCI-E 2.0 x16

1 x mPCI-E

Storage 2 x SATA III

2 x SATA III from Kabini SoC

2 x SATA III from ASMedia ASM1061

2 x SATA III from Kabini SoC

2 x SATA III from ASMedia ASM1061

Networking Realtek RTL8111GR
Audio Realtek ALC662 Realtek ALC662 Realtek ALC892
Rear IO
  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x VGA
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 3 x analog audio
  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x Parallel
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 3 x analog audio
  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 3 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 1 x Optical S/PDIF
  • 5 x analog audio

 

As with the other AMD hardware partners, ASRock has not released pricing or availability information. You can expect the micro ATX to be the cheapest of the bunch, with the two mini ITX boards commanding a slight premium for their reduced size and bolstered I/O options. The boards with four SATA III ports would make for great home server options by not requiring a PCI-E card to connect more than two SATA drives. The boards will support Athlon and Sempron branded AMD Kabini SoCs, and the combination of a board and SoC will cost approximately $60 according to AMD.

While the AM1 Platform is restricted to single channel memory (a Kabini memory controller limitation) versus Bay Trail's dual channel memory support, the AM1 Platform offers SATA 6Gbps and a GCN-based graphics part. Bay Trail may have a leg up in memory bandwidth and TDPs, socketed Kabini offers more storage bandwidth and graphics performance. I'm interested to see how the two platform stack up, and what the new boards are able to do.

Also read: AMD Releases the AM1 Platform: Socketed Kabini APU

Source: ASRock

ASRock takes a shot at a Killer Fatal1ty

Subject: Motherboards | February 20, 2014 - 03:29 PM |
Tagged: z87, Killer Fatal1ty, asrock

ASRock has picked up some impressive branding recently but the question of performance remains.  They have been in the motherboard business for a while but have always been considered a bargain brand by most enthusiasts.  [H]ard|OCP reviewed their flagship Z87 board recently to see if perhaps it is time to reconsider that impression.  With three PCIe 3.0 16x slots and four PCIe 2.0 1x slots it does seem a high end motherboard and the inclusion of an onboard KillerNIC may also attract some attention.  If this board really wants to attract attention it is the overclocking and stability which really matter and seeing as how it finished the review wearing a gold medal you can get a rough idea of how that testing went.  Read the full review to see ASRock's impressive Killer Fatal1ty board in action.

13894801481w2xf1f7We_1_8_l.jpg

"If you’re a long time reader of HardOCP then you probably know we are not huge fans of ASRock as a brand overall. Recently we purchased a new motherboard to spend some time with the ASRock Z87 KILLER FATAL1TY, and as a result our opinions are changing. Is that change for the better or for worse?"

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

IDF 2013: Products With 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 Appear At IDF 2013

Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2013 - 06:30 PM |
Tagged: z87, Thunderbolt 2, sonnet, Intel, idf 2013, idf, gigabyte, asus, asrock, aja, 4k

Intel recently launched its next generation Thunderbolt 2 interface, and several devices using the new connection were shown off at the Intel Developer Forum. The major takeaway from Thunderbolt 2 is the increased bandwidth and benefits to video production houses working with large uncompressed media. Specifically, Thunderbolt 2 is a PCI-Express based external interface that sends both video output and data down a single cable. Upgrades over the original 10Gbps Thunderbolt standard include an updated to the DisplayPort 1.2 video standard and double the bandwidth to 20Gbps. Thanks to the increased bandwidth, Thunderbolt 2 enables simultaneous video output and video file transfer of 4K media. Video editors can watch and transfer 4K video to an DisplayPort-equipped monitor and external RAID array respectively.

Thunderbolt 2.jpg

Intel is kicking off the Thunderbolt 2 standard with the launch of its DSL5520 and DSL5320 Thunderbolt 2 controllers, which are already in the hands of device manufactures. In fact, there were quite a few bits of hardware being shown off at this years IDF that already support the new Thunderbolt 2 standard. Intel is expecting even more devices in 2014.

Intel Thunderbolt 2 Connectivity.jpg

Professional video editing and workstation hardware with Thunderbolt 2

While consumer PC hardware will be supporting Thunderbolt 2, the new interface is most beneficial to professional users and IDF was the launch pad for several high end pieces of production gear. Sonnet launched the Echo Express III external PCI-E card chassis that allows users to hook up PCI-E cards to systems via Thunderbolt 2 (for example: video capture card or fast solid state storage). Also, AJA showed off a video/audio capture box called the IO 4K that supports daisy chaining other Thunderbolt 2 devices and acts as a video capture card capable of taking in 4K and UltraHD video sources as well as high end audio inputs. Finally, PROMISE Technology showed off its Pegasus2 RAID 5 enclosure and SANLink2 Thunderbolt 2 bridge device.

Sonnet Echo Express III-D and Echo Express III-R PCI-E Card External Chassis.jpg

External boxes are not the only professional products with Thunderbolt 2 at IDF, however. The technology is also being integrated into workstations, including the Apple Mac Pro with six Thunderbolt 2 ports and HP’s new lineup of desktop workstations.

Z87 Motherboards With Thunderbolt 2

Thunderbolt 2 will also be used in consumer gear as well, including Z87 motherboards. Asus, AsRock, and Gigabyte all had motherboards on display that each featured two Thunderbolt 2 ports. The new interface will be available on the multiple boards from the manufacturers. German tech site ComputerBase.de posted several photos of Thunderbolt 2-equipped motherboards and gave a glimpse at the upcoming hardware.

New Motherboards With Thunderbolt 2 From Asus, Asrock, and Gigabyte.jpg

The Asus Z87-Deluxe/Quad, an AsRock Z87 motherboard, and Gigabyte Z87X-UD5 TH spotted at IDF by ComputerBase.de.

Of note are the ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Quad, AsRock Extreme 11/ac, and Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH. All boards off LGA 1150 CPU sockets, four DDR3 DIMM slots, a slew of SATA 6Gbps ports, multiple PCI-E 3.0 x16 and x1 slots, and rich rear IO including two Thunderbolt 2 ports (naturally).

AsRock Z87 Extreme 11ac Motherboard with Thunderbolt 2.jpg

The AsRock Z87 Extreme 11/ac via ComputerBase.de.

The following chart breaks down the specifications. Unfortunately pricing and availability have not been announced for these boards, but expect to pay a premium for the high end gaming hardware and new Thunderbolt 2 controller. (The Asrock Extreme 11/ac in particular takes the word “high end” to the, well, extreme.)

  ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Quad AsRock Extreme 11/ac Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH
SATA 6Gbps 10 10 10
PCI-E 3.0 x16 3 4 5
PCI-E 3.0 x1 4 3 2
mPCI-E n/a 3 1
Rear IO: --------------------- -------------------- ----------------------
PS/2 n/a 1 1
Audio 6 x analog, 1 x optical 5 x analog, 1 x optical 5 x analog, 1 x optical
Thunderbolt 2 2 2 2
GbE 2 2 1
Video out 1 x HDMI 1 x HDMI, 1 x DP 1 x HDMI, 1 x DVI
USB 3.0 6 (+4 USB 2.0) 6 (+2 USB 2.0) 6
eSATA n/a 1 n/a

It is promising to see so many devices this early into Thunderbolt 2's launch, and the various high end motherboard using both Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3 gives consumers the best of both worlds and access to all manner of external peripherals. The bandwidth increase is certainly welcome, and I am interested to see what sorts of new devices it enables. For now, I think Thunderbolt 2 is going to be mainly a professional (or at least "pro-sumer") technology. With that siad, 4K capture and video output is already being worked on, and I am curious to see what other applications and technologies will really be able to push the new 20Gbps interface and what trickles down to the consumer space!

Are you excited about Thunderbolt 2? Let us know what you think of the IDF-launched products and the interface technology in general in the comments below!

Source: Intel

ASRock Announces Mini ITX H87E-ITX/ac LGA 1150 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 13, 2013 - 01:50 AM |
Tagged: lga 1150, Intel, haswell, H87, asrock, 802.11ac

ASRock has announced a new Mini-ITX form facotr motherboard for Intel’s latest Haswell processors (LGA 1150). It utilizes the H87 chipset and should be a good board for enthusiasts looking to build a SFF machine.

ASRock H87E-ITXac Mini ITX Motherboard.jpg

The H87E-ITX/ac features a LGA 1150 socket powered by a 4-phase DrMOS VRM, two DDR3 DIMM slots (maximum of 32GB), and a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot. Storage is handled by six SATA III 6Gbps ports located between the CPU socket and PCI-E slot. The board uses an Intel i217V chipset for the 802.11ac WLAN and an Intel Gigabit Ethernet NIC. A Realtek ALC1150 chipset handles the audio duties.

ASRock H87E-ITXac Mini ITX Motherboard Rear IO.jpg

Rear IO on the H87E-ITX/ac includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 jack
  • 1 x eSATA III
  • 1 x S/PDIF
  • 5 x Analog audio jacks

The rear IO also has two antenna connectors for the 802.11ac Wi-Fi card. ASRock includes an antenna but users should be able to use any third party antennas as it uses standard connectors.

ASRock has not yet released pricing or availability information, but you can find additional specifications and photos on this product page. I would wait for reviews, but it looks to be a decent board, and if the price is right it should be a popular option for SFF desktops and HTPC builds.

Source: ASRock

Computex 2013: ASRock Teams Up With BMW To Create New SFF M8 Chassis

Subject: General Tech | June 3, 2013 - 01:28 AM |
Tagged: SFF, m8, Lan Box, computex 2013, case, bmw, asrock

New PC cases seem to be popular at Computex this year, and ASRock may have just blown away the small form factor competition with its compact BMW Group-designed “M8” chassis.

The new “M8” case was designed by a BMW Group consultancy firm called DesignworksUSA. They have created a compact metal case that will be right at home at a LAN party or on many enthusiasts' desks. The case is a large square with cut-off corners and indented side panels. It is designed to show off the PC internals with a large octagonal side window, and can be stood upright or laid out horizontally. Carrying handles are integrated into the corners as well, making it easier to carry to LAN parties. The front of the case includes the “A-Command” button which is basically a large home theater-style volume control dial with an integrated OLED screen. The dial can adjust audio volume and fan speeds while the OLED display reports on system temperature, time,  and usage (presumably HDD or CPU activity indicators).

ASRock M8 BMW Case.jpg

The case has a rather clean and sharp look that shows a bare metal side and a glossy black front panel. The BMW Group has added red accents to the front panel and side windows. In an interesting twist, according to the press release, the side panels are magnetic which enables easy access to the internals.

The small form factor (SFF) M8 case will be used by ASRock to create a custom gaming PC. The internal specifications have not yet been announced, however.

This is definitely a unique design that is likely to be popular among the enthusiast and gamer crowd. You can find more photos of the M8 case on the BMW Group website.

What do you think of this BMW-inspired PC chassis?

Source: BMW Group

ASRock Announces Its Z87 Motherboard Lineup

Subject: Motherboards | May 7, 2013 - 12:04 AM |
Tagged: Z87 OC Formula, z87, lga 1150, fatal1ty, asrock

The launch of Intel’s next-generation Haswell processors and Z87 chipset is getting closer, and the various motherboard vendors have started teasing their upcoming product lines. Taiwan-based motherboard manufacturer ASRock is the latest company to detail its initial Z87 lineup, and it is fairly extensive.

ASRock will be launching LGA 1150 boards under its Extreme, OC, and Fatal1ty series. The Z87 Extreme series is intended for enthusiasts that need the the most connectivity options possible, including having the highest number of PCI-E slots. The Z87 OC Formula motherboards have beefy VRM hardware and are built to be pushed to the limit by overclockers. Finally, the Fatal1ty-branded motherboards are aimed at PC gamers and support 3 way multi-GPU setups and Creative Sound Core 3D audio chips. Many of the ASRock boards and an alternative SKU with an included 802.11ac Wi-Fi card. These boards are identified by the “/ac” text in their product names.

AsRock Z87 Motherboard Lineup.jpg

The initial ASRock Z87 Extreme series launch will include the following boards:

  • Z87 Extreme 11
  • Z87 Extreme 9
    • Z87 Extreme 9 with 802.11ac WLAN
  • Z87 Extreme 6
    • Z87 Extreme 6 with 802.11ac WLAN
  • Z87 Extreme 4
  • Z87M Extreme 4 (Micro-ATX)

All of these boards will provide plenty of PCI-E slots and rear IO options that include eSATA, USB 3.0, at least one Gigabit LAN port (and dual on some boards), HDMI video outputs, and both digital and analog audio outputs. Note that the top three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots are rather close together on the Extreme 9 board. This lends credence to the Extreme series use as more of an enthusiast’s work rig with PCI-E SSD accelerator or hardware RAID cards rather than strictly a multi-GPU setup.

The OC series will include the following boards geared for Intel’s Haswell processors:

  • Z87 OC Formula
  • Z87M OC Formula
    • Z87M OC Formula with 802.11ac WLAN

The Z87 OC Formula series will launch with two boards, one that is full ATX and one that is Micro-ATX. These boards are similar in features and design to the Extreme 6 motherboard, but have additional hardware to facilitate overclocking.

Finally, the gamer-centric Fatal1ty series is aimed at high-end gaming PCs. The series will launch with the following boards:

  • Z87 Fatal1ty Professional
  • H87 Fatal1ty Performance

The Fatal1ty Professional uses Intel’s Z87 chipset and is aimed at high-end gaming PCs while the H78 Fatal1ty Performance uses the lower-cost H87 chipset and is aimed at midrange gaming systems. Multi-GPU and higher-end onboard sound are the main features of this ASRock series.

Pricing and availability are still unknown, but the company has quite the lineup planned, and the boards should cover a wide breadth of price points. It is nice to see the Micro ATX options as well as the standard ATX models. Now, we just need some Mini-ITX Z87 boards! Additional photos of the Z87 motherboards are available over at Tech Power Up.

Source: TechPowerUp

ASRock's Formula for success

Subject: Motherboards | March 19, 2013 - 01:36 PM |
Tagged: asrock, Z77 OC Formula, Intel Z77X

If you are shopping for a Z77 motherboard you have a lot of choice in make and model as well as price, they range from sub-$100 models to high end boards like the $225 ASRock Z77 OC Formula.  For that extra price you get a motherboard built with 12+4 phase power, premium alloy chokes, dual-stack MOSFETs and 8 layers of copper.  It is not just high end components, you also get a pair of PCIe 16x slots, a single PCIe 4x slot and a pair of 1x slots for add-in cards as well as four SATA 6Gbps ports and two SATA 3G ports, 10 USB 2.0 ports and 8 USB 3.0 ports along with onboard audio from Realtec's ALC898.  [H]ard|OCP did some testing to see if this board lives up to the OC in its name, which it did rather handily.

H_asrickz77ocformula.jpg

"Generally speaking our ASRock experiences have been positive save for one or two minor complaints. We’ve looked inexpensive but very popular ASRock model motherboards. Today we are taking a look at a higher end more expensive ASRock offering. The Z77 OC Formula caught our eye and will hopefully perform as good as it looks."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

It might be a little skinny but ASRock's Z77 Extreme4 can overclock

Subject: Motherboards | February 18, 2013 - 02:45 PM |
Tagged: Z77, asrock, Z77 Extreme4

ASRock has been steadily gaining popularity with system builders that want a balance between price, features and performance without sacrificing support or stability.  At $120, the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 seems to fit the first criteria, the pair of PCIe 3.0 16x slots capable of handling two cards at 8x speeds, four SATA 6Gbps ports and a half dozen USB 3.0 ports meet the second.  [H]ard|OCP tested the performance and stability of the board recently, getting an stable 4.8GHz overclock on their i7 3770K, demonstrating that even a value board can compete with expensive models.  The sacrifice made was in the thickness of the PCB, it is much thinner than most motherboards and while [H] did not break the PCB they had a few stressful moments; drop by to read about them.

H_asrockZ77x4.jpg

"While ASRock is a well known new comer in the motherboard market, we’ve not exactly been fans of ASRock products based on past experiences. ASRock’s popularity grows and as a result we are taking another look at a motherboard from in the hope of understanding this popularity. Is it just price, or is there more to ASRock’s offerings?"

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASRock Launches FM2A85X-ITX Mini-ITX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | February 3, 2013 - 05:09 AM |
Tagged: trinity, mini-itx, htpc, asrock, APU, amd, A85X

Taiwanese motherboard manufacturer ASRock has shown off a new mini-ITX motherboard aimed at home theater PC (HTPC) users called the FM2A85X-ITX. The new motherboard uses AMD’s A85X chipset and supports the company’s latest Trinity accelerated processing units (APUs).
The FM2A85X-ITX motherboard features an AMD FM2 socket surrounded by two DDR3 DIMM slots (max of 32GB 1866MHz RAM), a PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot, and seven SATA 6Gbps ports. A six phase VRM, two USB 3.0 headers, 8 channel audio chip, and RAID 0/1/10 support round out the package.

 

ASRock FM2A85X-ITX motherboard.jpg

External IO on the mini-ITX motherboard includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x eSATA 6Gbps
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x Optical S/PDIF
  • 5 x Analog audio jacks
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x VGA

According to Tech Power Up, the new motherboard will cost around $110 USD. Thanks to the form factor, APU support, and multitude of storage connectivity options, the board would make for an excellent addition to a HTPC build!

Read about other mini-ITX motherboard options at PC Perspective!

ASRock Z77 Extreme6/TB4 Motherboard Offers Thunderbolt with Discrete Graphics

Subject: Motherboards | December 11, 2012 - 10:34 PM |
Tagged: asrock, thunderbolt, Z77

Over the past 6 months or so we have seen most motherboard vendors release a Z77 option with support for the latest Thunderbolt connectivity option.  I did some initial testing on the ASUS P8Z77-V Premium motherboard and found that Thunderbolt was indeed impressive in terms of performance though it remained expensive and had a few hang ups. 

One of those was the need to use integrated graphics when utilizing the DisplayPort pass through of the connection.  Lucid was the first company to offer a solution thanks to their Virtu MVP software solution and GPU virtualization technology.  I tested that and it worked pretty well, allow us to utilize the power of your discrete GPU with a monitor connected through Thunderbolt on the motherboard.

Well ASRock has a new motherboard out, the Z77 Extreme6/TB4, that promises to allow you to use discrete graphics by simply utilizing a DisplayPort connection on the graphics card itself. 

asrock1.jpg

Besides offering a pair of Thunderbolt connections, the motherboard claims to be the "world's only Thunderbolt motherboard supporting discrete VGA card via Thunderbolt port."

asrock2.jpg

Essentially ASRock is taking the DP connection from the discrete graphics card, taking it into the motherboard through a DisplayPort input connection and then sending that back out the motherboard Thunderbolt header.  More than likely this is simple electrical pass through and there isn't much or any logic going on to "trick" the system.  It also raises concerns that the motherboard and display solution won't be officially approved by Intel.  (We are all, after all, still waiting to see the ASUS ThunderboltEX to hit the market...)

Hopefully we'll get one of these new boards in soon to see for ourselves!

Source: ASRock