ASUS preps ThunderboltEX add-in card for Z77 and H77 motherboards

Subject: Motherboards, Displays | June 5, 2012 - 01:30 AM |
Tagged: Z77, thunderboltex, thunderbolt, h77, computex, asus

Ever since we posted our series of videos with ASUS on the new Z77 chipset and the features ASUS was introducing on their P8Z77 lineup, we have had countless questions about the Thunderbolt header, the implementation and finally the required add-on card to enable it.  Well thankfully at Computex this week ASUS is revealing the product that users of the P8Z77 motherboards will need to enable the Thunderbolt connection, the ASUS ThunderboltEX.

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Even though we have already had some hands-on time with the new ASUS P8Z77-V Premium motherboard that integrates a Thunderbolt header on the board directly, the rest of the P8Z77-V line has a 9-pin header labeled "TB_header" that will allow users to purchase the ThunderboltEX card and enable the technology in their system.  ASUS was the only company to really plan ahead for Thunderbolt technology across the entire series of Z77 motherboards and as such should enjoy the feature benefits of TB for some time.

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The ThunderboltEX will plug into the bottom PCIe slot using up the x4 connection and will be required to use a header cable to connect to the TB_header shown above.  This header serves a dual purpose - it allows the integrated graphics of the Ivy Bridge (and even discrete graphics) to pass through to the ThunderboltEX card and then out to either a Thunderbolt enabled display or a DisplayPort monitor in a daisy chain of devices.  It also allows ASUS to make sure this card is ONLY used on their own lineup of motherboards - sorry, you won't be able to buy the ASUS ThunderboltEX and use it on your Gigabyte or MSI or even your non "TB_header" ASUS motherboard.

You will also have to install an included full-size DisplayPort cable from the output on the Z77 motherboard back panel to the full-size DP input on the ThunderboltEX itself.  This allows the pass through of all the video data.

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Once everything is configured, users will have a full speed 10 Gbps ready Thunderbolt connection to use with external storage, break out boxes and other accessories coming down the pipeline rapidly.  ASUS claims this implementation will still support 6 daisy-chained devices with a seventh device as either a Thunderbolt or mini-DisplayPort monitor.  Even better, hot plug support will still be enabled!

ASUS stands committed to the belief that motherboard design is not just about pure spec but ensuring a quality design and overall implementation. This is achieved through many means such as sensible layout, flexible I/O connectivity and robust control over parameters of operation. In addition foresight in design can play an important role. ASUS recently launched the world’s first certified native Thunderbolt motherboard with the P8Z77-V Premium. While the Premium leads the industry in respect to connectivity and overall functionality it carries a flagship price for its premium feature set. ASUS had kept this in mind along with thinking about how to best support the advanced new interconnect that is Thunderbolt. With this in mind ASUS is proud to unveil its exclusive Thunderbolt upgrade solution for its line of Z77 and H77 motherboards. The ThunderboltEX card is the first add-on card on the market enabling an easy way to upgrade ASUS motherboards with the latest I/O. This is proof in having foresight in design as compatible boards had to have a special TB header in place to support this upgrade.

Currently, the ThunderboltEX is awaiting Thunderbolt device certification and ASUS will obviously announce when that occurs.

Obviously this implementation of Thunderbolt is not as elegant as the one you will find on the ASUS Premium Z77 motherboard or the MSI Z77A-GD80, but it does enable other ASUS Z77 motherboard users to add the feature to their systems without REQUIRING to the cost up front to everyone.  It does remind me a little bit of the first days of ATI CrossFire but I think most of you would agree that this solution is better than forcing users to buy a $450 motherboard.

I don't have any information on pricing or availability but you can be sure as soon as our questions are answered by ASUS we will update this post!  

If you are looking for more information on Thunderbolt devices and performance, check out our stream of posts on the subject and take a look at the Thunderbolt / ASUS video below!

Source: ASUS

GIGABYTE Unveils Exclusive Ultra Durable 5 Technology at Computex 2012

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | June 4, 2012 - 10:46 PM |
Tagged: ultra durable 5, IR3550 PowIRstage, International Rectifier, gigabyte, computex 2012, computex

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City of Industry, California, June 4th , 2012– GIGABYTE TECHNOLGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, today introduced their latest Ultra Durable 5 technology, featuring a range of high current capable components including the industry’s highest rated 60A IR3550 PowIRstage ICs that provide the best quality power delivery to the CPU for record-breaking performance, cool and efficient operation and extended motherboard lifespan.

GIGABYTE is yet again raising the bar of motherboard quality and durability with their Ultra Durable 5 technology, which includes high current capable components for the CPU power zone including the highest rated and awarded IR3550 PowIRstage ICs from International Rectifier, 2X Copper PCB and high current Ferrite Core Chokes rated up to 60A which together are able to deliver up to 60°C* cooler temperatures than traditional motherboards. Featured on a range of new motherboards based the Intel X79 and Z77 Express Chipsets, GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 5 technology is the next evolution in quality motherboard design.

“As the exclusive motherboard manufacturer to utilize the amazingly efficient IR3550 PowIRstage ICs from International Rectifier, GIGABYTE has spent a considerable amount of engineering resources to ensure our Ultra Durable 5 motherboards are our best Ultra Durable motherboards yet,” commented Henry Kao, Vice President of GIGABYTE Motherboard Business Unit. “GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 5 motherboards are especially optimized for water cooled systems and overclocked Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge “K” SKU CPUs due to their exceptionally low operating temperatures, and make the perfect match for anyone looking to push their system to limits.”

“We are delighted that IR’s award winning IR3550 PowIRstage provides the high current, thermal capability and outstanding performance to power GIGABYTE’s new Ultra Durable 5 motherboard series,” said Deepak Savadatti, Vice President and General Manager, IR’s Enterprise Power Business Unit.

The magic happens thanks to all new Integrated Circuit design

Source:

Corsair Announces 'Neutron' SSD Series Driven by LAMD Controller

Subject: Storage | June 4, 2012 - 10:31 PM |
Tagged: neutron, ssd, LAMD, corsair, computex

Today at Computex, Corsair announced a new line of SSDs. This 4th generation line will sport a new controller made by Link_A_Media Devices (LAMD). Their announcement boasts a System On a Chip (SoC) design, but that's the way most modern SSD controllers are architected. The new controller has the following claimed specs:

Neutron (Standard):

  • 90,000 read / 85,000 write IOPS (assumed 4k random)
  • 555MB/s read / 370MB/s write (sequential)

Neutron GTX:

  • 90,000 read/write IOPS (assumed 4k random)
  • 555MB/s read / 500MB/s write (sequential)

Here's a few quick pics:

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The drives meet all of the typical SSD wickets, such as TRIM support and a generous 5-year warranty. The specs do look very good, but the proof is in the benches, which we hope to see shortly.

Full press blast follows after the break:

Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR3 memory launches at Computex

Subject: Memory | June 4, 2012 - 10:12 PM |
Tagged: dominator, ddr3, corsair, computex

Corsair is jumping back into the world of high-end consumer memory with a new Dominator series of DDR3 kits that include a customizable light bar, DHX cooling, Corsair Link support and screened, overclockable ICs.

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Available in both quad and dual-channel kits and 8GB, 16GB, 32GB and even 64GB capacities and frequencies as high as 2800 MHz.  All of the Dominator Platinum kits will support Intel's XMP 1.3 profiles for easier overclocking on supporting motherboards.

Maybe more exciting is the new light bar that contains a user interchangeable light pipe with "lets enthusiasts tailor the downwash lighting color to match their PC lighting and components."  While all modules will ship with white lights you will be able to buy additional colors from Corsair to customize your configuration.

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Dominator Platinum memory also supports full Corsair Link connectivity, allowing customers with Corsair Link to monitor DRAM temperature and other parametric data. This feature, unique to Dominator memory, provides end users with the data they need to tune system cooling and monitoring. Dominator Platinum memory kits also support Corsair AirFlow fans and AirFlow Pro™ dynamic temperature and activity displays to provide the low temperatures required for stable and reliable overclocks.

“Dominator has been the choice of performance enthusiasts and overclockers since its release six years ago, and Dominator Platinum will continue to dominate the memory market for many more years to come,” said Thi La, VP of the Memory Business Unit at Corsair. “The stunning new industrial design and customizable light bar makes Dominator Platinum even more special and distinctive, while the patented DHX cooling technology and hand-sorted DRAM ICs deliver the performance and overclockability that enthusiasts demand.”

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Source: Corsair

Corsair announces AX1200i DSP-based fully modular power supply

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 4, 2012 - 10:01 PM |
Tagged: power supply, corsair, computex, ax1200i

As Computex continues into its first full day over in Taiwan, Corsair has a few things to show you, starting with a new high-end power supply called the AX1200i, a completely digitally-controlled unit.

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The new AX1200i is rated at 80 PLUS Platinum levels of efficiency thanks in part to the digital power control technology to provide stable voltages, low ripple and low noise levels.  A new circuit board layout and reduced component count also aid in the ability for this Corsair unit to hit efficiency as high as 92% and to operate in a fanless, silent mode up to 40% utilization.

"Corsair has earned a reputation as one of world’s best providers of enthusiast PSUs, and with the AX1200i, we have raised the technology and performance bar far above anything the market has seen,” said Ruben Mookerjee, VP and General Manager of the Components Business Unit at Corsair. “By designing the first DSP-based enthusiast PSU and integrating our unique Corsair Link technology, we can offer enthusiasts a PSU with a matchless combination of performance and customizable features.”

AX1200i’s DSP-based design, combined with Corsair Link technology, provides enthusiasts with unprecedented control over the features and performance characteristics of their PSU. This includes real-time monitoring of temperature, current draw, and power efficiency, as well as the ability to adjust the speed of the internal 140mm fan. These features also allow for a unique level of customization, such as the ability to switch from the default single +12V rail configuration to a tailored “multi-rail” mode, with the ability to set over current protection set-points on a per-rail basis.

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The new Corsair AX1200i power supply will be available in August and will ship with a 7-year warranty.  Pricing is unknown.

Source: Corsair

LSI Demo Shows SandForce SF-2000 Series Driving Toshiba 19nm and IMFT 20nm Flash

Subject: Storage | June 4, 2012 - 10:00 PM |
Tagged: computex, SF-2000, sandforce, LSI, flash

As some of you may already be aware, SandForce was acquired by LSI back in January of this year. SandForce has made a very popular SSD controller for some time now and was the first maker to demo a controller driving 25nm flash (last year). Now SandForce (under LSI) has done it once again. This time with the same type of controller driving both 19nm Toshiba and 20nm Micron (IMFT) flash memory types:

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The release from LSI reports the controller supporting all six flash vendors, giving some serious flexibiltiy to makers of flash memory systems and products. Aside from a confirmation of the ability to drive newer flash memory types, the remainder of the specs appear largely the same, minus some additional tweaks to ECC necessary to support increased error rates encountered as dies shrink.

Full press release from LSI after the break:

Gigabyte shows motherboard with dual Thunderbolt outputs on-board

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | June 4, 2012 - 08:14 PM |
Tagged: computex, gigabyte, Z77, thunderbolt, Z77X-UP5 TH

Anandtech has the scoop on a new motherboard being shown at Computex this week from Gigabyte that features not just Thunderbolt support, not just a single Thunderbolt port but DUAL Thunderbolt connections.  The Z77X-UP5 TH is the first such PC platform to offer support for four channels of the new connectivity technology.

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Image source: Anandtech.com

Both ports can run at the full 10 Gbps speeds thanks to the inclusion of a PLX PCI Express bridge chip so bandwidth restrictions shouldn't be a concern.  We don't know the pricing or availability of this new board quite yet but Gigabyte is finally jumping into the world of Thunderbolt after the MSI and ASUS announcements last month.  

Hit up the Anandtech link above for more photos of this board! 

Source: Anandtech

This morning at Computex it is ASUS in the spotlight

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 4, 2012 - 05:02 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, ultrabook, taichi, tablet, computex, asus, transformer book, Transformer

ASUS has been showing off its new mobile products at Computex, as you can see from Ryan's pictures below this post.  You can catch all the PC Perspective coverage by checking this page, as all Computex related content will show up there.   With all the fancy new products, the more pictures the better which is why you should also check out the coverage The Tech Report put up.  They snapped a few photos of the dual display Taichi which doesn't have a lid, instead there is a second independent touch screen display on the back which takes the idea behind ASUS' Transformer series to a whole new level.  That doesn't mean they abandoned the Transformer though as they also showed off three brand new Ivy Bridge powered Transformer Books and two separate tablets, the 600 and the 810 with the Tegra powered 600 running WinRT for ARM and the 810 running Windows 8 thanks to its Atom processor.

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"We're rarely surprised at trade shows these days, but Asus CEO Johnny Shih saved something special for the end of his press conference today. After discussing everything from cloud storage to all-in-ones to notebooks and tablets, he pulled out one more thing: the Taichi. It looked like any other notebook, and Shih took great pleasure in showing off the "beautiful black mirror finish" on the top panel. I couldn't help but shake my head and sigh; the glossy finish was covered in fingerprints and smudges."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

ASUS shows Tablet 810 and 600 using Intel Clover Trail and Tegra 3, Windows 8

Subject: Mobile | June 4, 2012 - 04:04 PM |
Tagged: windows 8 rt, windows 8, tegra 3, tablet 810, tablet 600, computex, clover trail, asus

Haven't had enough tablets yet?  ASUS hopes that's the case as they continue to release products using Windows 8 with the fresh touch interface.  First up, Anandtech tells us about the new ASUS 810 tablet using the Intel Clover Trail x86 SoC.

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Image source: Anandtech.com

The 810 will include an 11.6-in screen with a 1366x768 resolution IPS display - we have seen almost all of the new Clover Trail based tablets using this low resolution likely due to the underpowered graphics power of the 32nm Intel graphics powering them.  ASUS also includes 2GB of memory, 64GB of solid state storage, 8MP and 2MP cameras and support for NFC (near field communications).  

Much like the Transformer brand of tablets ASUS has made popular already, the 810 (and the 600 below) will offer keyboard / battery docks. 

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Image source: Anandtech.com

The ASUS Tablet 600 will also run Windows 8, but the RT (ARM) version, and will be powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 3 quad-core SoC.  This model will also have 2GB of memory but will drop to 32GB of local storage and include the 8MP and 2MP cameras.  The 10.1-in screen will keep the 1366x768 resolution and it can take advantage of the optional keyboard dock.  

If you continue to be interested in the ASUS 600 tablet, the first Windows 8 RT Tegra 3 powered device, check out the video demonstration created by NVIDIA below.

Source: Anandtech

ASUS Transformer Book is Ultrabook and detachable tablet

Subject: Mobile | June 4, 2012 - 03:35 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, transformer book, Transformer, tablet, computex, asus

Another in a line of announcements from ASUS today is the Transformer Book, an Ultrabook with a detachable tablet.  I find it interesting that ASUS chose to go with the "Transformer" brand for this machine that is x86 and Windows based rather than ARM and Android based.  Engadget has a lot of photos and details, including information about the hardware included within: an Intel Ivy Bridge-based Core i5/i7 processor, 4GB of memory, an SSD for storage and 11, 13 and 14-in screen sizes.  

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Image source: Engadget.com

Since these are taking the Ultrabook name we have a general idea of the physical traits including the thickness and performance found within.  In the standard notebook mode we can see the Transformer Book with its high resolution screen, backlit keyboard and single surface touchpad. 

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Image source: Engadget.com

The design of the Transformer Book is very familiar to users that have seen other Transformer tablet models.  One interesting aspect noted by Anandtech is that the base of the Book (the keyboard and touchpad) will actually include a discrete graphics chip leaving the tablet alone to operate on the Ivy Bridge graphics alone.

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Image source: Engadget.com

Here is the Transformer Book in its tablet-only form and it should operate like just about any Windows 8-based device. 

I am very interested to hear about the battery life of these Ivy Bridge-based tablet devices and how much of an extension you'll get when utilizing the keyboard base. 

Check out the video from Engadget below!

Source: Anandtech