ECS Launches A970M-A Deluxe for AMD Processors

Subject: Motherboards | October 31, 2012 - 03:59 PM |
Tagged: vishera, phenom, motherboard, ECS, atx, amd, am3, a970m-a deluxe

Elitegroup Computer Systems is on a roll this week for launching motherboards supporting AMD processors. In addition to its mini ITX offerings, the company is launching the A970M-A Deluxe in it’s full gold-clad ATX form factor glory (heh). It offers up support for AMD’s latest FX and Phenom II series processors along with SATA III 6Gbps and USB 3.0 for speedy storage. Unfortunately, there is no PCI-E 3.0. Otherwise, this is a high end motherboard and has the feature set to match.

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In typical ECS fashion, the company has outfitted the board with gold colored heatsinks, EZ BIOS, solid capacitors, “Thor Ultra Protection,” a dust shield, and support for up to 140W TDP processors, among other features. The EZ BIOS is actually a uEFI BIOS that allows you to tweak settings using a graphical interface as well as automatic overclocking functionality that can overclock the AMD processor for you (to an extent).

Internal IO and board layout

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The board has several gold-colored heatsinks over the VRM and southbridge hardware. Along the top of the board lies the AM3+ CPU socket and four DDR3 DIMM slots. The board supports up to 2133 MHz memory when overclocked and up to 32 GB of RAM (when using 8GB DIMMs). Expansion slots include two PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, and two legacy PCI slots. The lower-right corner features five SATA III 6Gbps ports – two of which are positioned at right angles to the board. Expansion headers include three fan headers, one COM header, and three USB 2.0 headers (up to 6 additional ports) are also included on the board.

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The rear panel IO includes:

  • 1 x PS/2 combo port
  • 1 x RJ45 port (Realtek 8111E Gigabit LAN Controller)
  • 1 x eSATA 6Gbps port
  • 2 x USB 3.0 ports
  • 8 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 5 x Analog audio jacks (4 line out, 1 line in. Realtek ALC892 codec)
  • 1 x S/PDIF optical audio output

While we do not yet have US pricing, when converted from the stated RS 9,000 (according to Think Digit)to USD, the board is just under $170. No word yet on stateside availability. You can find more information on the ECS specifcations page.

Source: ECS

BioStar's Hi-Fi Z77X is aimed at HTPC users

Subject: Motherboards | October 15, 2012 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: Z77, biostar, Hi-Fi Z77X, lga 1155, htpc, atx

While you might not think of a full ATX board being the basis for an HTPC system, BIOSTAR is hoping that you will consider their Hi-Fi Z77X when you next spec out a possible system.  The extra size allows you to have more add-in card options with three 16x PCIe slots (8x, 8x, 4x) and two PCIe 1x slots, which simply would not fit on a mATX board.  The back panel offers VGA, HDMI and DVI out, so even without a discrete card you have quite a few output options as long as Intel onboard graphics are enough to meet your needs.  They also include a Realtec CODEC which is better than [H]ard|OCP expected on a sub-$150 motherboard and were also impressed by the overclocking ability on this value board, not as good as an enthusiast board but still pleasantly capable.

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"BIOSTAR generally has a reputation for making low end or budget oriented motherboards. Fortunately that isn't all BIOSTAR designs and builds. The Hi-Fi Z77X is an unusual motherboard in that it seems to be targeted towards HTPC and media type duties while still addressing enthusiast hardware and overclocking concerns."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

It's been a couple months since we've had a chance to evaluate a Z77-based motherboard, so we are taking this opportunity to throw ASUS's P8Z77-V Deluxe on our test bench to put it through our comprehensive real-world and synthetic benchmarks. This $279 board has been available for several months and supports the LGA 1155 platform that includes Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors.

 

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Courtesy of ASUS

There are many features to drool over about the ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe, but my favorite ones include the board's unique power management features, Wi-Fi functionality with remote access, and customized UEFI BIOS.  This board also includes other enhancements that focus on support for faster USB 3.0 and PCIe 3.0 integration as well as extra SATA 6GB/s ports that provide double the bandwidth of current bus systems.

 

Continue reading more about our review of the ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe!

Murderbox Modding Limited Run of $1200 MKII PC Cases

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 21, 2012 - 08:37 AM |
Tagged: murderbox mkii, murderbox, modding, custom case, atx

The Canadian moddding duo behind Hardwood Studios Inc has unveiled its latest custom PC case called the Murderbox MKII. The Muderbox MKII represents a completly overhauled design that has its roots in the Silverstone TJ07 and is nearly ready for release after two years of development. The custom PC chassis gets you an all-alluminum chassis that offers better cable management, a water cooling friendly design, custom drive bays, and a custom black anodized textured surface. What will this cost you? A cool $1200 for the base model, and the price goes up from there if you add extras. The Murderbox MKII is a limited edition custom case with only 499 cases produced in total.

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The Murderbox MKII features a unibody aluminum chassis that has acylic side panel windows that are mounted to be flush with case metal on the outside. The front includes a red backlit logo, power and reset buttons, and a single externally accessible 5.25" drive bay. The top of the case features an etched fan grill, or a set of two fans should you upgrade to the fan accessory for $150.

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The dual fan accessory.

The back of the case is part of the removable motherboard tray and features plenty of vents and PCI slot covers. There is also space for a bottom mounted power supply. Internally, the Murderbox MKII features a spot to hold a watercooling resorvoir on the motherboard tray (that slides into the case on nylon-coated rails), space for a 480mm watercooling radiator in the bottom, and drive bays that are pre-wired. You put the storage drives onto sleds and slot them into the bays where they connect to already-mounted/wired SATA power and data connectors. The custom case can hold three 3.5" hard drives, three 2.5" SSDs, and a single 5.25" drive. On the top of the case is a slot loading DVD drive as well.

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Overall it is a really slick PC case that appears to have received quite a bit of TLC to get the perfect enthusiast case. However, with a limited run of 499 cases and a price tag that is more than most entire computer builds [My first DIY PC build actually cost just under 1200 in 2007, for example.. and I think the case was under $100 heh], the Murderbox MKII is going to be more of a spectacle than a stomach-able purchase (just imagine trying to get the 'significant other approval factor' passed on this thing!).

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On the other hand, this is a piece of finely crafted hardware that is sure to turn heads and is nice to gaze upon, so if you want to check out more pictures you can find the gallery on the Murderbox website!

See what parts we recommend for your next build on the PC Perspective Hardware Leaderboard.

Source: Murderbox
Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS continues to optimize their hardware for the overclocking and PC gaming crowds, but they are also catering to a niche audience looking for ultra stable and durable PC components. ASUS's Sabertooth X79 motherboard is their one of their latest products to bear the TUF series label and sport customized hardware and thermal components as well as a desert camo color scheme to complete the military look. This $329 motherboard comes with a five-year warranty, digital power management system, rugged chokes, solid capacitors, and MOSFETs that have been certified through third party, military-grade testing.

 

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Sabertooth X79 also comes with a host of other features to improve SSD caching and give users quad GPU support for CrossfireX and SLI graphics card configurations. This board also includes a unique UEFI BIOS and natively supports 2TB hard drives with 64-bit operating systems. The USB BIOS "Flashback" feature also helps new users update their motherboard BIOS without entering the BIOS. ASUS states that users can use any USB storage device with the latest BIOS, push the BIOS button located on the back I/O panel for three seconds, and the board will automatically update the BIOS using standby power. Very cool!

 

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Courtesy of ASUS

The back I/O panel on the Sabertooth X79 is no slouch either as it gives users a healthy amount of USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and eSATA 6GB/s ports for greater performance and expandability options. They also added a small fan over the back I/O panel as part of their "TUF Thermal Armor" feature that will help cool and exhaust heat from ther motherboard out the back of the chassis. Let's move on to the rest of the Saberbooth X79's features where we will get our first out-of-the-box look at this motherboard.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Sabertooth X79 LGA2011 Motherboard!!

NZXT Releases Switch 810 Special Edition Cases

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 16, 2012 - 12:28 PM |
Tagged: switch 810, special edition, nzxt, cases, atx

Popular case manufacturer NZXT has announced a special edition of it’s Switch 810 computer case. After listening to customer feedback, the company has decided to make the case available in two new colors. Gunmetal and Matte Black are the two new darker themes of the Switch 810.

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In a recent press release, NZXT stated that the two new available colors are its way of showing their fans that they do listen to and value feedback.

Specifically, “Without our community’s valuable feedback and criticisms, our products would not be as unique as they are today. We always aim to maintain customer satisfaction through providing high quality products at great prices, which is why we decided to release the Special Edition to feature two of the most demanded color palettes from our loyal fans: Matte Black and Gunmetal.”

The Switch 810 is a full tower ATX case constructed of steel and plastic materials. It features support for up to 10 fans, six internal hard drives, up to an E-ATX motherboard, and plenty of room for custom liquid cooling solutions. The case also provides cable management cut-outs and tool-less drive bays.

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The new Special Edition Switch 810 is available for purchase now from NZXT in either Gunmetal or Matte Black colors for $179.99 USD. When we reviewed the original version of the Switch 810, we gave it the PC Perspective Gold Award for its included enthusiast features and good execution. You can find our full review (including video) here.

Source: NZXT

Grab a white BMW for $115 ... Thermaltake's Level 10 GTS Snow Edition

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 3, 2012 - 03:18 PM |
Tagged: thermaltake, Level 10 GTS Snow Edition, atx

The 233 x 462 x 510mm Thermaltake GTS Snow Edition takes the familiar enclosure and reverses its colour to a very striking white.  With up to six fans, including a 200mm, as well as 3 grommets for external watercooling you have a choice on your cooling solution.  External drive bays make hotswapping a breeze and the USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports are easily accessible as well, not counting the external connectors on your motherboard.  Neoseeker found many things to like about this enclosure as well as a few areas they'd like to see improved but overall were quite impressed with this $115 BMW inspired case.

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"Thermaltake lets its snow once again in its Level 10 lineup of cases with the Snow Edition of its Level 10 GTS, sporting its striking white and black color scheme. Perhaps its most defining feature is the distinct hot swap drive bay system for hard drives. See how it all works in our review of the Level 10 GTS Snow Edition case, geared toward enthusiasts who don't want to spend top dollar for a Level 10 series product but still rock all the style."

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

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: Neoseeker
Author:
Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Courtesy of Gigabyte

We are still making our way through an avalanche of X79 motherboards on our test bench that leverages the power of Sandy Bridge-E CPUs, but we didn't want to wait any longer on powering up Gigabyte's GA-X79-UD5 extended ATX motherboard. Gigabyte has really stepped up their game by offering optimized LGA 2011 for no-nonsense PC builders, hardware enthusiasts, serious overclockers, and even FPS/RPG PC gamers. Our review of the X79-UD5 is going to evaluate every aspect of the board's ability to handle automatic and manual overclocking, DX10/DX11 gaming, and other synthetic and real-world benchmarks.

 

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Courtesy of Gigabyte

The Gigabyte X79-UD5 motherboard takes full advantage of the new features available with the LGA 2011 platform and X79 Express chipset like the abiliy to use up to 64GBs of quad-channel memory via eight DIMMs and support for dual and triple AMD CrossfireX or NVIDIA SLI graphics card configurations for multi-monitor, high-definition gaming. These features should make ultra enthusiasts grin from ear to ear because they will probably be the ones who tandem this board with an Intel Core i7-3960X processor and dual NVIDIA GTX 680s graphics cards that were just released earlier this week. The $299 price tag on this board also places it right in the middle of the pack of LGA 2011 motherboards available on Newegg and other vendors.

Continue reading our review of the Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 motherboard!

Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Courtesy of MSI

My first Sandy Bridge-E motherboard review of 2012 showcases the talents of Intel's latest i7-3820 3.6GHz quad-core processor and MSI's X79A-GD65 (8D) ATX motherboard. The enhancements included in the LGA 2011 platform combined with MSI's unique optimizations to the board's overclocking, gaming, and power management capabilities should make for an exciting testing experience.

 

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Courtesy of MSI

MSI currently has six motherboards that support the LGA 2011 socket and the X79A-GD65 (8D) is considered one of their higher-end offerings at $289.99. This board targets users who want to take advantage of three PCI-E x16 slots for AMD CrossfireX or NVIDIA SLI configurations. It also gives users the ability to use up to two SATA 6GB/s and four SATA 3GB/s devices courtesy of the X79 chipset. MSI also used a second ASMedia controller to add two more SATA 6GB/s ports to the board. All of these SATA3 ports support Intel's Rapid Storage Technology, but the SATA3 devices managed by the X79 chipset can only handle RAID 0 and 1 versus the ASMedia chip that handles RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10.

Continue reading our review of the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) Motherboard!!

Author:
Manufacturer: NZXT

Introduction, Features, Technical Specifications

Introduction

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PC enclosures continue to evolve as new hardware comes to market like Intel's new Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge processors, affordable solid state drives, and custom liquid cooling solutions. It is more critical than ever that users pay strict attention to not only what a PC case looks like, but what hardware it supports. Since it was founded in  2004, NZXT has been developing unique PC cases to satisfy the appetites of PC gamers and hardware enthusiasts alike. Their latest creation dubbed the Switch 810 is a full-tower "hybird" case that is optimized to support liquid cooling or air-cooled solutions.

 

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The Switch 810 brings together many crowd favorites like right-mounted hard drives with removable HD cages and support for 140 to 240mm radiators to give users a plethora of options for cooling their PC components. If you don't want to go the liquid cooling route, the Switch 810 has room for 10 fans on the front, back, top, and bottom panels. PC builders can use 120mm or 140mm fans, and NZXT starts them off by including four 140mm fans with the Switch 810 to provide excellent airflow for any PC setup.

Continue reading our review of the NZXT Switch 810 Full Tower PC Case!