Subject: Motherboards | September 1, 2015 - 09:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Skylake, motherboard, LGA 1151, Intel Q170, Intel H170, Intel H110, Intel B150, asus
ASUS has announced a number of new motherboards today, all of which feature new Intel chipsets for LGA 1151 processors.
We've seen quite a few Z170 motherboards show up on the market in the past month, and now prepare for the onslaught of the alphabet soup of variations. In addition to Z170 you will now be seeing H170, B150, H110, and Q170 (and who knows what else might manifest itself?). Fortunately, ASUS has announced boards with all of these new chipsets so you can find one precisely tuned to your build's needs - since we don't all need overclocking or multi-GPU support after all.
The boards will be segmented into a couple of classes, Signature and Pro Gaming. As ASUS describes:
- ASUS Signature: H170, B150, H110 and Q170 chipsets in ATX, mATX and mITX, with 5X Protection II, USB Type-C, and LED-illuminated audio
- ASUS Pro Gaming: High-value H170 and B150 boards with gaming-optimized audio and networking, USB 3.1 and M.2 connectivity, and smart DIY features
Taking a look at the Signature series first, the H170-PRO, H170M-PLUS, and Q170M-C motherboards all require DDR4 memory, each supporting up to 64 GB 2133 MHz DDR4 RAM with 4 DIMM slots. The H170I-PLUS D3, on the other hand, makes use of the existing DDR3 standard for a less expensive upgrade path to Skylake, which natively supports both DDR3L (1.35V) and DDR4.
All four boards have Realtek ALC887 audio, and both “PLUS” boards offer Intel NICs with the Q170M-C sporting Intel vPro Gigabit LAN.
Moving down to the B150-PRO D3, B150M-PLUS D3, H110M-PLUS D3, and H110I-PLUS D3 we find a series of lower-cost boards that all make use of DDR3 memory, the same Realtek ALC887 audio, and Realtek Gigabit LAN. Both Intel B150 based boards also feature USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-C along with standard USB 3.0 ports.
Finally, we have the Pro Gaming tier, with the H170 PRO GAMING and B150 PRO GAMING D3. As you might have guessed the PRO GAMING D3 uses DDR3 memory, while the H170 version uses the new DDR4 standard. Both motherboards feature Intel NICs, Realtek ALC1150 audio, and USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A and Type-C.
Specifics on pricing and exact availability have not been disclosed, but the boards will be available “soon”.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of ASUS
The Z170-A motherboard is among initial offerings from ASUS' channel line of Intel Z170 chipset board line. The board features ASUS' new Channel line aesthetics, featuring white and black coloration to differentiate the line from their Z97 gold-theme offerings. ASUS uses the Z170-A to redefine the definition of a base-line motherboard, integrating many "upper-tier style" features not normally found on the lower tier offerings. The board's integrated Intel Z170 chipset integrates support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Skylake processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory. Offered at a price-competitive MSRP of $165, the Z170-A threatens to give the rest of the Z170-based boards a run for the money.
Courtesy of ASUS
The Z170 shares the same DIGI+ style power system of its higher priced siblings, featuring an 8-phase digital power delivery system. ASUS integrated the following features into the Z170-A board: four SATA 3 ports; one SATA-Express port; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; two PCI-Express x1 slots; one PCI slot; on-board power, and MemOK! buttons; EZ XMP and TPU switches; Crystal Sound 3 audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, and VGA video ports; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.
Courtesy of ASUS
The Z170-A motherboard comes standard with ASUS latest iteration of their sound technology, dubbed Crystal Sound 3. Like its predecessors, Crystal Sound 3 integrates the audio components on a isolated PCB from the other main board components minimizing noise generation caused by those other integrated devices. ASUS designed the audio subsystem with high-quality Japanese-sourced audio and power circuitry for a top-notch audio experience.
Subject: Motherboards | August 27, 2015 - 06:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z170-A, skylake-s, lga1151, Intel Z170, asus
Morry looked at the ASUS Z170-A at the beginning of the month, while SkyLake was still being launched and we were learning about multiple Z170 boards every day. With the chipset still so new it is worth investigating the results of other sites when they tested ASUS' mid-range motherboard which costs about half of the Z170-Deluxe. The aesthetics of this board are somewhat simpler than the Deluxe model and [H]ard|OCP reported the motherboard felt much thinner and more flexible, it didn't break but it certainly didn't feel as sturdy as the more expensive model. Apart from the construction they also could not reach the same RAM speeds as they did with the Deluxe, one of the testers could not get 3200MHz DIMMs to run completely stable at their JEDEC specs. Check out the full review here, the price on this motherboard can make the small issues moot for many enthusiasts looking to upgrade to a new Intel based system.
"Previously we looked at ASUS’ Z170-Deluxe which offered users a huge amount of features and a premium price to go with it. Not everyone wants to spend $300 or more on a motherboard which is why ASUS has just what you need. ASUS’ Z170-A offers all the performance without all the extra features and fluff and a low price point."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ASUS Z170-DELUXE @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1 @ Bjorn3d
- MSI Z170A Gaming M7 Motherboard Review @HiTech Legion
- EVGA Z170 FTW Motherboard Review: An Overclocking Gambit @ Modders-Inc
- EVGA Z170 FTW Motherboard Review @ HiTech Legion
- ASRock Z170 Extreme 7+ @ eTeknix
- GIgabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 Motherboard Review @ HiTech Legion
- BIOSTAR N3150NH ITX Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: Mobile | August 27, 2015 - 03:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, ZenBook UX305
That is correct, the 12mm thick Zenbook UX305 from ASUS does not have a LAN port, it is wireless or nothing for this ultrabook. It does have three USB 3.0 ports, a micro HDMI, a 3.5mm jack for audio and an SD card reader so you will be able to use some wired peripherals with this ultramobile device. At a mere 1.2 kg the machine is very light and with a M-5Y10 which can clock between 800MHz up to 2GHz with Turbo Boost it will run when you need it and be gentle on your battery when you do not. KitGuru has posted a review of the UX305 here.
"The ZenBook UX305 is the latest Ultrabook offering from Asus. When I last reviewed one of their products – the hybrid T300 Chi – it greatly impressed me. The UX305 is a similar device, with a Core M processor, 8GB RAM and another SanDisk M.2 SSD. This time, however, it is a conventional laptop, and is priced at £649.95."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Asus ZenBook UX305 @ The Inquirer
- Vodafone Smart Prime 6 Smartphone @ Kitguru
- Galaxy Note 5 vs S6 @ The Inquirer
- Wileyfox Swift hands-on @ The Inquirer
- SISWOO C55 Longbow Smartphone Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2015 - 12:59 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, Nixeus, vue24, freesync, gsync, amd, r9 nano, Fiji, asus, PB258Q, qualcomm, snapdragon 820, nvidia
PC Perspective Podcast #364 - 08/27/2015
Join us this week as we discuss the Nixeus Vue 24 FreeSync Monitor, AMD R9 Nano leaks, GPU Marketshare and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:22:36
Retail Card Design
AMD is in an interesting spot right now. The general consensus is that both the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and the R9 Fury graphics cards had successful launches into the enthusiast community. We found that the performance of the Fury X was slightly under that of the GTX 980 Ti from NVIDIA, but also that the noise levels and power draw were so improved on Fiji over Hawaii that many users would dive head first into the new flagship from the red team.
The launch of the non-X AMD Fury card was even more interesting – here was a card with a GPU performing better than the competition in a price point that NVIDIA didn’t have an exact answer. The performance gap between the GTX 980 and GTX 980 Ti resulted in a $550 graphics card that AMD had a victory with. Add in the third Fiji-based product due out in a few short weeks, the R9 Nano, and you have a robust family of products that don’t exactly dominate the market but do put AMD in a positive position unlike any it has seen in recent years.
But there are some problems. First and foremost for AMD, continuing drops in market share. With the most recent reports from multiple source claiming that AMD’s Q2 2015 share has dropped to 18%, an all-time low in the last decade or so, AMD needs some growth and they need it now. Here’s the catch: AMD can’t make enough of the Fiji chip to affect that number at all. The Fury X, Fury and Nano are going to be hard to find for the foreseeable future thanks to production limits on the HBM (high bandwidth memory) integration; that same feature that helps make Fiji the compelling product it is. I have been keeping an eye on the stock of the Fury and Fury X products and found that it often can’t be found anywhere in the US for purchase. Maybe even more damning is the fact that the Radeon R9 Fury, the card that is supposed to be the model customizable by AMD board partners, still only has two options available: the Sapphire, which we reviewed when it launched, and the ASUS Strix R9 Fury that we are reviewing today.
AMD’s product and financial issues aside, the fact is that the Radeon R9 Fury 4GB and the ASUS Strix iteration of it are damned good products. ASUS has done its usual job of improving on the design of the reference PCB and cooler, added in some great features and packaged it up a price that is competitive and well worth the investment for enthusiast gamers. Our review today will only lightly touch on out-of-box performance of the Strix card mostly because it is so similar to that of the initial Fury review we posted in July. Instead I will look at the changes to the positioning of the AMD Fury product (if any) and how the cooler and design of the Strix product helps it stand out. Overclocking, power consumption and noise will all be evaluated as well.
Introduction and First Impressions
The ASUS PB258Q is a "frameless" monitor with a full 2560x1440 resolution from a fairly compact 25-inch size, and at first glance it might appear to be a bare LCD panel affixed to a stand. This attractive design also features 100% sRGB coverage and full height/tilt/swivel and rotation adjustment. The price? Less than $400. We'll put it to the test to see just what kind of value to expect here.
A beautiful looking monitor even with nothing on the display
The ASUS PB258Q came out of nowhere one day when I was looking to replace a smaller 1080p display on my desk. Given some pretty serious size constraints I was hesitant to move up to the 27 - 30 inch range for 2560x1440 monitors, but I didn't want to settle for 1920x1080 again. The ASUS PB258Q intrigued me immediately not only due to its interesting size/resolution of 25-inch/1440p, but also for the claimed 100% sRGB coverage and fully adjustable stand. And then I looked over at the price. $376.99 shipped from Amazon with Prime shipping? Done.
The pricing (and compact 25-inch size) made it a more compelling choice to me than the PB278Q, ASUS's "professional graphics monitor" which uses a PLS panel, though this larger display has recently dropped in price to the $400 range. When the PB258Q arrived a couple of days later I was first struck by how compact it is, and how nice the monitor looked without even being powered up.
Subject: Displays | August 17, 2015 - 05:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: video, monitor, mg279q, lcd, ips, freesync, display, asus, 90Hz, 2560x1440, 144hz, 1440p
The response to Al's review of the ASUS MG279Q was, to be polite, somewhat energetic. While not much was learned a lot of opinions were voiced and occasionally they were even on topic. The Tech Report, not dissuaded by the response just posted a 10 minute video offering their thoughts on the new Freesync technology in general and this monitor specifically. The Closed Caption feature offers some rather amusing translations of what is being said but you should pay attention to what is actually being said as the video offers a good overview of what FreeSync is.
"Asus' MG279Q is a 27" FreeSync monitor with a 144Hz, 2560x1440 IPS panel for an appealing price. Our own Gyromancer, Nathan Wasson, has spent some quality time with the MG279Q, and he's collected his impressions in video form."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- Asus MG278Q FreeSync Game Monitor @ Kitguru
- BenQ GW2765HT @ Kitguru
- BenQ RL2755HM @ Kitguru
- SilverStone SST-MR01 Aluminium Monitor Riser @ eTeknix
Subject: Motherboards | August 14, 2015 - 01:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z170-Deluxe, skylake-s, lga1151, Intel Z170, asus
Morry offered you a preveiw of the ASUS Z170 Deluxe and now [H]ard|OCP have posted their opinion of the new motherboard. One new feature you might not have realized was incorporated on this board involves the 5 fan headers, all are 4-pin PWM and can be controlled in the UEFI BIOS. As well there is a dedicated waterpump header that is defaulted to full power, another handy new feature. The plastic shrouds are striking and will make this board popular with modders and those with glass cases who like to show off. During their testing [H] tried to push their i7-6700k past 4.7GHz but could not do so, they will be looking to source additional chips to see what difference, if any, exists.
"Today we review ASUS’ new Z170-Deluxe which is based on the new Intel Z170 Chipset supporting Skylake processors. We overclock Skylake and push the Z170-Deluxe to its limits. We find out about this solid new motherboard platform and we have to say we come away impressed."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI Z170A Gaming M7 Review @ OCC
- ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K6+ @ Kitguru
- MSI Z170A GAMING M7 @ eTeknix
- ASUS Z170-A Skylake Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- MSI Z170A GAMING M7 @ TechPowerUp
- Intel Z170 Chipset Summary @ [H]ard|OCP
- GIGABYTE X99-SLI LGA 2011v3 @ [H]ard|OCP
- Biostar N3150NH Mini-ITX Motherboard @ Modders-Inc
- MSi 970A SLI Krait Edition @ eTeknix
Subject: Graphics Cards | August 12, 2015 - 05:29 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: STRIX R9 Fury, Radeon R9 Fury, overclocking, oc, LN2, hbm, fury x, asus, amd
What happens when you unlock an AMD Fury to have the Compute Units of a Fury X, and then overclock the snot out of it using LN2? User Xtreme Addict in the HWBot forums has created a comprehensive guide to do just this, and the results are incredible.
Not for the faint of heart (image credit: Xtreme Addict)
"The steps include unlocking the Compute Units to enable Fury X grade performance, enabling the hotwire soldering pads, a 0.95v Rail mod, and of course the trimpot/hotwire VGPU, VMEM, VPLL (VDDCI) mods.
The result? A GPU frequency of 1450 MHz and HBM frequency of 1000 MHz. For the HBM that's a 100% overclock."
Beginning with a stock ASUS R9 Fury STRIX card Xtreme Addict performed some surgery to fully unlock the voltage, and unlocked the Compute Units using a tool from this Overclock.net thread.
The results? Staggering. HBM at 1000 MHz is double the rate of the stock Fury X, and a GPU core of 1450 MHz is a 400 MHz increase. So what kind of performance did this heavily overclocked card achieve?
"The performance goes up from 6237 points at default to 6756 after unlocking the CUs, then 8121 points after overclock on air cooling, to eventually end up at 9634 points when fully unleashed with liquid nitrogen."
Apparently they were able to push the card even further, ending up with a whopping 10033 score in 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme.
While this method is far too extreme for 99% of enthusiasts, the idea of unlocking a retail Fury to the level of a Fury X through software/BIOS mods is much more accessible, as is the possibility of reaching much higher clocks through advanced cooling methods.
Unfortunately, if reading through this makes you want to run out and grab one of these STRIX cards availability is still limited. Hopefully supply catches up to demand in the near future.
A quick look at stock status on Newegg for the featured R9 Fury card