Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 17, 2014 - 01:18 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SFF, mini ITX, gigabyte, fanless, essence, Bay Trail
Gigabyte recently rolled out a new small form factor case called the Essence for DIY PCs. The chassis measures 300mm x 234mm x 74mm (~11.8" x 9.2" x 2.9"), comes bundled with a 120W PSU, and will happily hold a Mini ITX motherboard and laptop-sized hard drive. Large mesh vents on the side panels allow for plenty of airflow and ventilation to run a fanless system.
The Essence case uses a SECC frame along with ABS plastic. A rectangular base, which hosts the front IO ports, holds the machine vertically and at a slight backwards tilt. The DC power components are mounted to the bottom of the motherboard tray and are driven by a 120W external power supply (Similar to the type of setup the Xbox 360 uses). The red removable motherboard tray (accessible via the right side panel) allows you to screw in a Mini ITX motherboard and a single 2.5" SSD or HDD up to 9.5mm thick.
The front IO includes two USB 2.0 ports, one headphone output, and one microphone jack. Aesthetically speaking, the Essence looks nice with its red faceplate, silver power button, and black mesh side panels with embossed shapes. It is small enough that it could easily sit next to a monitor and act as a low power desktop or next to the TV as a home theater PC. So long as you do not mind it not fitting into an AV rack/stack, this case could be used along with a cheap SSD and fanless Bay Trail or Kabini-based system for a silent media box or streaming client for Steam games.
The Gigabyte Essence is now available in Japan for 13,800 Yen or approximately $125 USD. It comes with a one year warranty. There is no word yet on availability in other countries at this time, however.
Subject: Systems | August 8, 2014 - 05:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gigabyte, gigabyte brix, brix, BXi5G-760
This particular Brix is a lot more powerful than most with an i5-4200H and what they refer to as a GeForce GTX 760 with 6GB of GDDR5. The GTX 760 is not quite the same as the desktop version, with 1344 shaders as opposed to 1152 and a slightly lower clock at 967MHz Boost for the GPU and 1250MHz for the RAM. The storage and RAM are left up to you, with the assumption that an SSD will be installed like it was in The Tech Report's review model. The small system was capable of 1080p gaming at medium to high resolution which is rather impressive considering the heat constraints.
"Gigabyte's Brix Gaming BXi5G-760 is a mini-PC on steroids, with a discrete Nvidia GPU and a dual-core Haswell CPU inside. Can it hang with traditional gaming PCs? We put it through some tough tests to find out."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- DinoPC Slayer 15.6″ GTX 870M and Magma Wrath GTX 770 @ Kitguru
- PC Specialist Vanquish 270X System @ eTeknix
- PCSpecialist Optimus V X13 @ Kitguru
- Cube Raptor Gaming PC @ eTeknix
- MSI Nightblade Z97 Barebones System Review @HiTech Legion
- Armari Magnetar M16E-AW1200-GPU Workstation @ Kitguru
- TR's July 2014 System Guide
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Memory | July 6, 2014 - 03:53 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: overclocking, memory, gigabyte
About a week ago, HWBOT posted a video of a new DDR3 memory clock record which was apparently beaten the very next day after the movie was published. Tom's Hardware reported on the first of the two, allegedly performed by Gigabyte on their Z97X-SOC Force LN2 Motherboard. The Tom's Hardware article also, erroneously, lists the 2nd place overclock (then 1st place) at 4.56 GHz when it was really half that, because DDR is duplex (2.28 GHz). This team posted their video with a recording of the overclock being measured by an oscilloscope. This asserts that they did not mess with HWBOT.
The now first place team, which managed 2.31 GHz on the same motherboard, did not go to the same level of proof, as far as I can tell.
This is the 2nd fastest overclock...
... but the fastest to be recorded with an oscilloscope that I can tell
Before the machine crashes to a blue screen, the oscilloscope actually reports 2.29 GHz. I am not sure why they took 10 MHZ off, but I expect it is because the system crashed before HWBOT was able to record that higher frequency. Either way, 2.28 GHz was a new world record, and verified by a video, whether or not it was immediately beat.
Tom's Hardware also claims that liquid nitrogen was used to cool the system, which brings sense to why they would use an LN2 board. It could have been chosen just for its overclocking features, but that would have been a weird tradeoff. The LN2 board doesn't have mounting points for a CPU air or water cooler. The extra features would have been offset by the need to build a custom CPU cooler, to not use liquid nitrogen with. It is also unclear how the memory was cooled, whether it was, somehow, liquid nitrogen-cooled too, or if it was exposed to the air.
Subject: Motherboards | June 19, 2014 - 04:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK, z97, Ultra Durable BLACK EDITION, lga 1150, gigabyte
The Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK is serious about PCIe slots, the four 16x slots can all run simultaneously at 8x speeds which is fairly rare for a Z97 board and is due to the presence of a PLX PEX8747 chip. Gigabyte also provided some serious onboard audio with an OP-AMP socket to go with their EMI shielded Sound Core3D chip and a pair of low noise "DAC-UP" USB ports for high end headphones. [H]ard|OCP's review also brings up two points about this board, the aesthetic similarities to the ASUS ROG boards and the 168 hour/7 day stress test done to every single Black Edition board before it is packaged and sold. If you are in the market for a $380 motherboard then this review is a must read.
"GIGABYTE has come to market with a great execution of concept that is shrouded by me-too branding. The Ultra Durable BLACK EDITION motherboards are tested to work before you purchase, and not only that, these motherboards are load tested to work for a full week before you ever open the box."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI Z97 Gaming 7 @ [H]ard|OCP
- MSI Z97 Gaming 7 Review @ OCC
- Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE @ eTeknix
- ASUS Z97-DELUXE (NFC & WLC) Review @ Hardware Canucks
- ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer @ eTeknix
- Intel Z97 Motherboard Roundup with ASUS, Biostar, Gigabyte and MSI @ Legit Reviews
- ASRock Z97 Extreme6 @ eTeknix
- MSI Z97 MPOWER MAX AC Motherboard Review @HiTech Legion
- ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Performance @ eTeknix
- MSI B85M Gaming Motherboard Review @ Modders-Inc
- Socket FM2+ Mainboards Comparison: Asus A88XM-Plus versus Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3H @ X-bit Labs
FM2+ Has a High End?
AMD faces a bit of a quandary when it comes to their products. Their APUs are great at graphics, but not so great at general CPU performance. Their products are all under $200 for the CPU/APU but these APUs are not popular with the enthusiast and gaming crowd. Yes, they can make excellent budget gaming systems for those who do not demand ultra-high resolutions and quality settings, but it is still a tough sell for a lot of the mainstream market; the primary way AMD pushes these products is price.
Perhaps the irony here is that AMD is extremely competitive with Intel when it comes to chipset features. The latest A88X Fusion Control Hub is exceptionally well rounded with four native USB 3.0 ports, ten USB 2.0 ports, and eight SATA-6G ports. Performance of this chipset is not all that far off from what Intel offers with the Z87 chipset (USB and SATA-6G are slower, but not dramatically so). The chip also offers RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 support as well as a 10/100/1000 Ethernet MAC (but a physical layer chip is still required).
Now we get back to price. AMD is not charging a whole lot for these FCH units, even the top end A88X. I do not have the exact number, but it is cheap as compared to the competing Intel option. Intel’s chipset business has made money for the company for years, but AMD does not have that luxury. AMD needs to bundle effectively to be competitive, so it is highly doubtful that the chipset division makes a net profit at the end of the day. Their job is to help push AMD’s CPU and APU offerings as much as possible.
These low cost FCH chips allow motherboard manufacturers to place a lot of customization on their board, but they are still limited in what they can do. A $200+ motherboard simply will not fly with consumers for the level of overall performance that even the latest AMD A10 7850K APU provides in CPU bound workloads. Unfortunately, HSA has not yet taken off to leverage the full potential of the Kaveri APU. We have had big developments, just not big enough that the majority of daily users out there will require an AMD APU. Until that happens, AMD will not be viewed favorably when it comes to its APU offerings in gaming or high performance systems.
The quandary obviously is how AMD and its motherboard partners can create inexpensive motherboards that are feature packed, yet will not break the bank or become burdensome towards APU sales? The FX series of processors from AMD do have a bit more leeway as the performance of the high end FX-8350 is not considered bad, and it is a decent overclocker. That platform can sustain higher motherboard costs due to this performance. The APU side, not so much. The answer to this quandary is tradeoffs.
Subject: Editorial | June 12, 2014 - 02:28 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: Z97X-SOC Force, video, titan z, radeon, project tango, podcast, plextor, nvidia, Lightning, gtx titan z, gigabyte, geforce, E3 14, amd, 4790k, 290x
PC Perspective Podcast #304 - 06/12/2014
We have lots of reviews to talk about this week including the GeForce GTX TITAN Z, Core i7-4790K, Gigabyte Z97X-SOC Force, E3 News and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom and Allyn Maleventano
Pimp Next Week Events
0:03:45 Podcast #305 with David Hewlett!
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
0:57:40 Ryan: Ken's Switching Hardware
1:02:15 Josh: This saved me last weekend.
1:04:00 Allyn: Sony DSC-RX10
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
The Z97X-SOC Force motherboard is the premier offering in GIGABYTE's Overclocking Series of boards. The overclocking series boards are designed with enhancements and features meant to appeal to enthusiasts and professional overclockers alike. The Z97X-SOC Force board deign is based on the previous generation Z87X-OC Force, featuring the same black and orange coloration typical to the series. The board does contain several evolutionary changes making the board easier to use and more appealing to its target users. At an MSRP of $209.99, the Z97X-S0C Force is competitively priced to appeal to all levels of enthusiasts.
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
GIGABYTE enhanced the board power regulation system designed into the current generation boards, allowing for use of a simplified cooling and fewer power phases. As a result, the Z97X-SOC Force is packed with 8-phase digital power circuit for the CPU, using International Rectifier (IR) based PowIRstage digital controllers and 10k-rated black solid capacitors to ensure system stability under any conditions. The Z97X-SOC Force board comes standard with the following integrated features: six SATA 3 ports; one SATA Express 10 Gb/s ports; a Qualcomm® Atheros Killer E2201 NIC; four PCI-Express x16 slots; a PCI-Express x1 slots; two PCI slots; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, CMOS clear, CMOS battery clear, OC Ignition, OC Tag, OC Turbo, OC Touch, Settings Lock, Direct to BIOS, and Memory Safe buttons; Dual-BIOS, active BIOS, and IC Trigger switches; OC PCIe and OC DIMM switch jumper blocks; integrated voltage measurement points; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 4, 2014 - 01:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: thermaltake, roccat, nzxt, gigabyte, computex 2014, asus
The Tech Report has been busy at Computex, visiting as many booths as they can in amongst the numerous vendors showing off their upcoming products. From ASUS we get another look at the ROG systems and a G-Sync monitor as several new motherboards. Both Thermaltake and Roccat have new peripherals to show off while NZXT is more focussed on cooling products. Gigabyte has taken advantage of the event to show how fast their limited edition Z97X-SOC Force LN2 can push DDR3, hitting 4.5GHz in a live demo! There is more coverage that that, as well as our own, so you can expect to be busy over the next few days.
"Earlier today at Computex, Asus let loose a veritable cornucopia of items under its Republic of Gamers brand. Among them: two stylish mini gaming desktops plus a 27" display outfitted with Nvidia's G-Sync technology."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Computex 2014 Gigabyte Suite Visit @ Hardware Asylum
- Computex 2014 In Win S-Frame @ Hardware Asylum
- Intel gives biz typoslabs their very own 14nm Core-M silicon @ The Register
- Kaveri Mobile APUs; AMD's FX Reincarnated @ Hardware Canucks
- A first look at AMD's Kaveri APU for notebooks @ The Tech Report
- Linux hit by GnuTLS exploit, follows Heartbleed model @ The Inquirer
- TSMC reportedly to tie up with Micron to develop 3D ICs @ DigiTimes
- PCIe hard drives? You read that right, says WD @ The Register
- Pittasoft BlackVue Sport SC500 Action Camera @ NikKTech
Subject: Motherboards | June 3, 2014 - 07:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gigabyte, Intel Z97, Z97X-UD5H
Gigabyte's Z97X-UD5H might be sitting in the sweet spot for those looking for a Z97 board, at $190 it is in line with the price the previous models launched at. You can also pick up it's brother the Z97X-UD5H-BK which has undergone a week long stress test; however Gigabyte is charging an almost $50 extra for the Black Edition. There are three PCIe 3.0 slots which can run x16/x0/x0, x8/x8/x0 or x8/x4/x4, M.2 and SATAe ports though using the M.2 will disable the dual 6Gbps SATA ports. From the testing done at The Tech Report this is not a board for beginners, there are some rough edges which an experienced user will easily overcome but for a less experienced system builder they may lead to a negative experience. Check out the benchmarks and full review here.
"Another Z97 motherboard has worked its way through our test suite. Today, we take a detailed look at Gigabyte's Z97X-UD5H, which is loaded with PCIe x16 slots, next-gen storage interfaces, and a high-definition firmware interface."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Motherboard Review @HiTech Legion
- ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X KILLER @ techPowerUp
- ASUS Z97-DELUXE NFC & WLC (Intel LGA 1150) @ techPowerUp
- ASUS ROG Maximus VII Hero Review @ OCC
- Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 WIFI-BK Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VII Ranger Z97 @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 7 @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 7 @ Kitguru
- Haswell Refresh: Intel's New Z97 Platform Explored @ Legion Hardware
- ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer @ kitguru
- MSI's Z97 Gaming 7 @ The Tech Report
- ECS L337 GANK Drone Z87H3-A3X Review @ OCC
- ECS Z87H3-A2X Golden Motherboard Review @ Modders-Inc
- ASUS A88X-Pro FM2+ Motherboard Review @ Modders-Inc
- MSI A88X-G45 Gaming @ Kitguru
- MSI B85M Gaming Motherboard Review @ Hardware Asylum
Subject: Motherboards | May 22, 2014 - 10:40 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: z97, video, pcper, motherboard, live, gigabyte
Earlier this week we were visited by our good friend Leon Chen from GIGABYTE USA to talk all about his company's new lineup of Z97 motherboards. We discussed the various series' Gigabyte offers (Performance, Gaming, OC, Black Edition) as well as the unique features found on them including some impressive overclocking technology on the OC board and M.2 storage support for 10 Gb/s of bandwidth on others. We streamed the entire event live on http://www.pcper.com/live but if you missed, we have the replays of all the content included directly below for you to watch!
If you want to read our first review of a Gigabyte Z97 motherboard as well, be sure to check out Morry's article covering the GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1-WIFI-BK Black Edition!
Part 1: Gigabyte Z97 Motherboard Overview with Leon!!
Part 2: Gigabyte Z97 Motherboard Software Demo and Q&A
If you want to be sure you know about any of our other upcoming live streaming video events, sign up for our PC Perspective LIVE! mailing list!