The Gigabyte Z87X-UD7-TH is a fully packed ATX board

Subject: Motherboards | March 24, 2014 - 05:39 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Z87X-UD7-TH, lga 1150, atx, Thunderbolt 2

Gigabyte's Z87X-UD7-TH goes all out in terms of expansion slots with 5 PCIe 3.0 16x capable of running 4 cards at 8x simultaneously, along with two PCIe 2.0 1x slots in case you need even more cards to be plugged in.  The Intel DSL5520 adds support for Thunderbolt 2 and there are 10 SATA 6Gbps ports, 10 USB 3.0 ports and even 4 legacy USB ports which should be enough for just about any user.  Peripheral support is not everything though, find out about overclocking and stability under load in [H]ard|OCP's full review.

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"We’ve covered a lot of budget motherboards lately and shown that you can get quite a lot for your dollar. The GIGABYTE motherboard we are looking at today is not a budget motherboard. In fact it’s on the complete opposite of the spectrum, competing with ASUS’ WS offerings and MSI’s Big Bang XPower series."

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Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI Intros Trio Of Low-Cost FM2+ Motherboards Using A58 Chipset

Subject: Motherboards | February 28, 2014 - 01:23 AM |
Tagged: msi, A58, Kaveri, FM2+, micro ATX, atx

MSI has launched three new low cost FM2+ motherboards based around AMD's budget A58 chipset. The new boards include an ATX form factor MSI A58-G41 PC Mate and two micro ATX boards: the A58M-E35 and the A58M-E33. The boards are compatible with AMD's Richland, Trinity, and Kaveri APUs and support PCI-E 3.0. The cost savings come from using the A58 chipset which drops support for SATA III 6Gpbs and USB 3.0. The boards further have smaller heatsinks and fewer overclocking features. Despite the restrictions, the new MSI A58 FM2+ motherboards still incorporate MSI's OC Genie 4, Click BIOS 4, and Command Center technologies along with the company's Military Class 4 hardware components.

MSI A58-G41 FM2+ Motherboard.png

The MSI A58-G41 PC Mate is an ATX form factor board with an FM2+ CPU socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, six SATA II 3Gbps ports, two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, two PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots, and three legacy PCI expansion slots. Rear IO on this board includes two PS/2 ports, six USB 2.0 ports, a single Gigabit LAN port, three analog audio jacks, and three video outputs (HDMI, VGA, and DVI).

MSI A58M-E35 FM2+ AMD Motherboard.png

The Micro ATX A58M-E35 also has an FM2+ socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, and six SATA II ports, but the expansion slot layout is scaled down. There is a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, one PCI-E 3.0 x1 slot, and one PCI slot. Rear IO on this board is identical to the A58-G41 board above (six USB 2.0, two PS/2, one GbE port, three audio, and three video outputs).

MSI A58M-E33.png

Finally, MSI's lowest-end A58M-E33 is a Micro ATX board similar in layout to the A58-E35, but with fewer port options. The expansion slot and memory slot configuration stays the same as the E35, but there are two fewer SATA II ports (four total) and two fewer USB 2.0 ports on the rear IO panel. Speaking of I/O, the board is similar to the E35 except that it lacks a DVI video output and two USB 2.0 ports.

MSI has not yet released exact pricing, but expect these boards to be well under $100, and the two micro ATX variants to be closer to the $50 mark based on prices of the higher-end A78 and A88 chipset-based motherboards. All three will be available for purchase later this year.

Source: MSI

The Corsair case you could have won

Subject: General Tech | November 14, 2013 - 07:21 PM |
Tagged: corsair, Graphite Series 230T, atx

You may recognize the Corsair Graphite Series 230T ATX from the Halloween contest which has yet to be won, Ryan promises to do it soon.  While you wait you can read [H]ard|OCP's review of this case and their thoughts on its construction.  As you can see from the picture below the case can hold GTX 280 cards, it is 505x210x440mm (19.9x8.3x17.3") which gives you quite a bit of space to work with.  It is not often you see a case that costs less than $90 picking up a Silver Award.

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"Corsair has been known for RAM for well over a decade now, but it has become a big player in the computer case market in the last few years. The Corsair Graphite Series 230T ATX case is designed for "fast and straightforward system building, by design." Its list of features is impressive, so let's see how it hold up under pressure."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

In Win Unveils Full Tower Tou Chassis

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 6, 2013 - 01:12 AM |
Tagged: in win, tou, full tower, atx, tempered glass

In Win, a manufacturer of cases, power supplies, and storage drives showed off a prototype full tower ATX case at Computex 2013 that is now officially launching as a production model in limited quantities. The case, called the Tou, is constructed of a sand case aluminum frame and surrounded by tempered glass with a mirror finish.

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The glass is such that when the internal case LEDs are off, the various case panels act as mirrors. However, when the internal blue LEDs are turned on, light passes through the glass and users can see the PC internals through the glass panels.

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The full tower chassis is roughly rectangular with angular edges, a large mesh vent on the top panel, bottom mounted 5.25” drive bay, and two handles attached to the front panel. The front panel has two skinny vents on either side to allow the front 120mm intake fan to pull in cool air. The top panel supports 360mm water cooling radiators or three 120mm fans. Front IO includes two USB 3.0 ports and two audio ports.

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Internally, the In Win Tou case supports ATX motherboards, ATX power supplies, three 3.5” hard drives, two 2.5” SSDs, and GPUs up to 380mm in length.

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According to Hexus.net, the limited edition Tou case will be available soon for around $800. IT is an interesting design, and the mirrored panels are unique. I don't care for the particular angular edges and bolt pattern on the side panel, and the internal features are at a bare minimum, which is less than I would have expected from an $800 case. I'm interested to see what case modders are able to do with it though, and how enthusiasts take advantage of the mirrored glass to show off their systems.

Source: In Win

MSI Launches Budget Haswell-Ready H81-P33 Motherboard

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2013 - 03:09 PM |
Tagged: msi, haswell, h81-p33, H81, atx

MSI recently launched its own Haswell-ready motherboard equipped with Intel’s H81 chipset. Aimed at budget builds, the new MSI H81-P33 is a sub-$100 ATX board.

The H81-P33 features an LGA 1150 CPU socket and two DDR3 DIMM slots (32GB DDR3 1600 MHz maximum) fed by a 6-phase VRM. Below the CPU socket is a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot, two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and three legacy PCI connectors. To the left of the PCI slots sit two SATA III 6Gbps ports and two SATA II 3Gbps ports. A USB 3.0 header sits at the bottom of the board.

MSI H81-P33 ATX Motherboard.jpg

Rear IO on the MSI H81-P33 includes:

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 3 x Analog audio jacks

MSI has not announced specific pricing or availability, but expect it to be under $100. It should be a good starting point for a budget Haswell build.

NZXT Launches Phantom 630 Windowed Edition

Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2013 - 03:10 AM |
Tagged: nzxt, phantom 630, atx, side panel

NZXT launched the Phantom 630 case earlier this year for $180 in black, white, or gunmetal gray. Reportedly responding to enthusiast demand, NZXT announced a new version of the Phantom 630 with a larger acrylic side window.

The NZXT Phantom 630 Windowed Edition is identical to the original Phantom 630 except for a side panel with a large acrylic side window that shows off the entire motherboard. It has curved corners and a diagonal right side.

NZXT Phantom 630 Windowed Edition ATX Case_black.jpg

NZXT states on the product page that “you have been asking for this for a while and we've delivered...” The company further claims that the Phantom 630 Windowed Edition presents “the same  revolutionary, award-winning chassis that took bold innovation to the next level with a large side panel window. “

The Phantom 630 case measures 9.7x24.7x23.6" (245mm (W) x 627mm (H) x 600mm (D) ) and is constructed of SECC Steel and ABS plastic. The case supports four 5.25” drives, eight SSDs, and seven 140mm fans (with filtered intakes). You can read more about the case here.

NZXT Phantom 630 ATX Case.jpg

The Phantom 630 Windowed Edition has an MSRP of $179.99. Alternatively, enthusiasts who already have the original Phantom 630 can upgrade to the larger side window by replacing the side panel--which will be available for purchase from NZXT in October for $29.99.

Source: NZXT

ASUS Launches Six New H81 Motherboards For Budget Haswell Systems

Subject: General Tech | August 21, 2013 - 06:32 PM |
Tagged: H81, haswell, mini ITX, mATX, atx, motherboard, asus

ASUS recently announced six new Haswell-compatible motherboards using Intel's budget H81 chipset. The new motherboards come in full ATX, Micro ATX, and Mini ITX form factors. The new boards include the ATX H81-Plus, the Mini-ITX H81I-Plus, and four Micro ATX boards: the H81M-Plus, H81M-A, H81M-C, and H81M-E. 

All of the boards have two DDR3 DIMM slots, a LGA 1150 CPU socket, and four SATA ports (two SATA III 6Gpbs and two SATA II 3Gbps). Aside from the physical dimensions, the boards vary in the number and type of PCI-E 2.0 connectors and rear IO port selection. Further, the motherboards feature ASUS' DIGI+ VRM and 5X protection (eg. overcurrent) technologies.

ASUS H81-Plus.jpg

The H81-Plus features four PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots and two PCI-E x1 slots. Rear IO includes:

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 1 x COM
  • 1 x Parallel
  • 1 x VGA
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN
  • 3 x analog audio ports

The Micro ATX H81M-Plus has a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot and three PCI-E x1 slots. It does not inlclude the parallel or COM ports on the rear IO, and instead provides digital video outputs. Specifically, the H81M-Plus provides the following rear IO.

  • 2 x PS/2
  • Video:
    • 1 x HDMI
    • 1 x DVI-D
    • 1 x VGA
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN
  • 3 x Analog audio ports

The other micro ATX boards are variations of this design with slightly different IO and PCI-E .1 configurations. The ASUS H81M-A has the same rear IO as the H81M-Plus but has only two PCI-E x1 slots. The H81M-E is nearly identical to the H81M-Plus above except that there is no HDMI video output on the back panel. Finally, the H81M-C features two PCI-E 2.0 x 16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, and switches out the HDMI port for a LPT parallel port stacked on top of the DVI and VGA ports on the rear IO panel.

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In addition to the ATX and Micro ATX motherboards, ASUS is launching the H81I-Plus, which is a Mini ITX motherboard for Intel Haswell processors and using the budget H81 chipset. The board has a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 connector and four SATA ports (two SATA 6Gbps). Rear IO on the Mini ITX H81I-Plus includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Video
    • 1 x HDMI
    • 1 x VGA
    • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN
  • 3 x Analog audio jacks

ASUS has not released official pricing or availability information, but expect the boards to be available soon for under $100.

Read more about H81 motherboards at PC Perspective.

Source: ASUS

Cooler Master Launches CM 690 III ATX PC Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 30, 2013 - 08:26 AM |
Tagged: cooler master, cm 690 III, atx

Cooler Master has announced the CM 690 III, which is a redesigned full tower case in the same enthusiast vein as the original CM 690. Cooler Master has primarily redesigned the interior with a new hard drive mounting cage, tool-less drive bays, and additional cable management space behind the motherboard tray.

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The new Cooler Master CM 690 III measures 507mm x 230mm x 502mm (HxWxD) and weighs approximately 19 lbs (8.7kg). The case is all black with mesh front and top panels. The top of the case has a small storage compartment and front panel IO options including two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and two audio jacks. The front of the case has three externally-accessible 5.25” bays and space for a 200mm intake fan.

The CM 690 III comes in two SKUs, depending on whether you want a side panel case window or not. The model with a side window supports up to 7 fans while the model without a window supports up to 9 fans, and up to three 200mm fans. Also, cooling support further includes grommets on the rear of the case for external radiators, support for a 240mm water cooling radiator on both the top and front panel, and a 120mm raditor on the rear. Dust filters are located on the top, front, and PSU vents.

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The CM 690 III supports graphics cards up to 423mm long and CPU coolers up to 171mm high. Users can install up to 7 3.5” hard drives or up to 10 2.5” SSDs (one behind the motherboard and one on the bottom of the case).

The updated CM 690 III will be available in August for an undisclosed price.

ASUS Launches ROG Maximus VI Formula Z87 Gaming Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 30, 2013 - 03:33 AM |
Tagged: Maximus VI Formula, maximus vi, atx, ASUS ROG, asus

ASUS has officially launched the Maximus VI Formula motherboard which the company showed off earlier this year. This board has extensive IO and other enthusiast friendly features and is a complement to the Maximus VI Extreme that PC Perspective reviewed back in June.

The Maximus VI Formula uses the Intel Z87 chipset and supports Intel’s latest 4th Generation Core “Haswell” processors. The board is is clad in ASUS technology and a red and black Republic of Gamers color scheme. A 8+2-phase DIGI+ III VRM feeds the processor and memory on the board and is cooled by a massive CrossChill heatsink that can air cool the VRMs or integrate into your custom water loop. The LGA 1150 socket is paired with four DDR3 DIMM slots, and the board supports a maximum of 32GBs at 3100MHz. The DIGI+ III VRM uses NoFET MOSFETs, 60A BlackWing chokes, and 10K Japanese capacitors.

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An integrated SupremeFX audio chipset, Mini-PCI-E Combo II card (802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, and a NGFF slot for SSDs), Intel Gigabit NIC, UEFI BIOS, and ROG Armor with SECC back-plate are also featured on this board. The board also supports the company's OC Panel, which is a hardware box that sits outside the case and allows real time overclocking and monitoring.

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The Maximus VI Formula further includes 10 SATA 3 6Gbps ports, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (x8+x8 or x8+x4+x4 when in SLI or 3-way CrossFire), and three PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots. ASUS is bundling GameFirst II (QoS that prioritizes gaming traffic), Sonic Radar (visual cues point out direction noise is coming from in games), and ROG RAMDisk software with the motherboard.

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Rear IO on the Maximus VI Formula is extensive and surpasses even the Maximus VI Extreme. Port options include:

  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 6 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 jack (Intel NIC)
  • Video outputs
    • 1 x HDMI
    • 1 x DisplayPort
  • Audio outputs
    • 1 x optical S/PDIF
    • 6 x analog audio

The Maximus VI Formula is shaping up to be a beastly flagship board that enthusiasts should get a lot out of when it comes to features and overclocking ability.

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ASUS has not provided official pricing or release dates, but postings around the Internet suggests that it will be available sometime within the first half (first or second week) of August for around $310. An ASUS representative on the company's ROG channel stated that "currently the projected price is 300 to 310." You can find the product page with more photos and specifications on the ASUS website.

Source: ASUS

Cooler Master Launches New N400 and N600 N-Series Cases

Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 9, 2013 - 05:33 PM |
Tagged: n600, n400, mATX, cooler master, atx

Cooler Master recently launched two new N-series ATX computer cases in the US. The new N400 and N600 will join the existing N200 mini tower.

The two new polymer computer cases feature a full mesh front panel, support for 240mm water cooling radiators on the right side panel, seven PCI expansion slots, and room for several storage drives and fans. Front IO on the N400 and N600 cases include two USB 3, two USB 2, and two audio ports.

The N400 is the smaller of the two at 7.5” x 16.7” x 19.7.” It supports graphics cards up to 320mm as well as motherboards of mATX or ATX form factors. Further, the N400 can support two 5.25” optical drives, eight 3.5” hard drives, and three 2.5” solid state drives (SSD).

Cooler Master N400.jpg

The case has space for up to eight fans, and Cooler Master has pre-installed two 120mm XtraFlow fans. Dust filters cover the front and side intake vents.

Cooler Master N400 Internal.jpg

The internals of the N400 are a bit more basic than those of the N600. There are no cable routing grommets or water cooling grommets that pass through the rear panel. As a result, this case should be cheaper than the N600.

The Cooler Master N400 is available now for $60

In addition to the N400 and N200, Cooler Master will be releasing the N600. The N600 builds upon the n400 design by adding more drive space and a few extra features to aid in cooling and cable management. The N600 measures 8.1” x 17.9” x 18.9.”

Cooler Master N600.jpg

It supports both Micro ATX and ATX motherboards as well as graphics cards up to 430mm long. As far as cooling goes, users can install up to 10 fans, and Cooler Master bundles in two 120mm XtraFlow fans. A 240mm water cooling radiator can be installed in the right side panel as well as the top panel. Also, water cooling grommets are installed on the back case panel to allow for external water cooling radiators.

The case can support up to three 5.25” drives (tool-less), seven 3.5” drives, and five 2.5” SSDs (four in an SSD drive cage and one behind the motherboard tray). It also supports a bottom mounted PSU and has various rubber grommets around the motherboard tray for cable management.

Cooler Master N600 Internal.jpg

The N200, N400, and N600 were available in Europe in June, and now all three are coming to the US. You can grab the N200 and N400 right now for $50 and $60 respectively, but specific pricing and availability on the N600 is not yet available. It should be coming soon for around $90 (estimated), however. 

In all, the N400 and N600 seem like decent additions to the company’s N-series lineup. More information can be found on the Cooler Master website.