Subject: General Tech, Systems | June 4, 2013 - 09:40 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Kabini, Intel, haswell, gigabyte, computex 2013, computex, brix, amd
Earlier this year, Gigabyte showed off a new small form factor (SFF) mini PC called the Brix during its New Idea Tech Tour. Those initial models came equipped with Intel Ivy Bridge processors, two SO-DIMM slots (a maximum of 16GB of DDR3 1600MHz memory), one mSATA slot, and one mPCI-E connector for storage and wireless networking respectively. The Brix hardware is housed in an aluminum chassis that doubles as a heatsink. However, since the Brix's debut, both Intel and AMD have come out with new more power efficient processors. In light of this, Gigabyte is not only showing off the original Brix PC at Computex 2013, but a new SKU called the GB-XM1 that comes equipped with your choice of Intel Haswell or AMD Kabini processors.
The new 4.5 x 4.2 x 1.2" Gigabyte Brix XM1 PC supports mSATA, mPCI-E, dual display outputs, USB 3.0, and is VESA mountable. The Haswell variant's processor options range from a Core i3-4010U to a Core i7-4500U. On the AMD side of things, the GB-XM1 is available with options ranging from the E1-2100 to the A4-5000. All of the AMD "Kabini" chips are outfitted with 12 Radeon cores, but they differ from there. The highest-end chip, the A4-5000, is a quad core with 2MB of L2 cache while the lower tier chips are dual cores with only 1MB of L2 cache. The following chart outlines all of the Haswell and Kabini CPU choices.
|GB-XM1 (Haswell)||GB-XM1 (Kabini)|
For more information on Kabini, check out our review of the AMD A4-5000 Kabini processor. If you need a refresher on Intel's Haswell architecture, you can also find a review of the Core i7-4770K here.
Gigabyte has not released pricing or availability information on the GB-XM1, but expect the Kabini models to be noticeably cheaper than the Haswell counterparts. Thankfully, it is not all bad news for Kabini users, as the Radeon cores help the low power processor accomplish 3D and media playback tasks, as noted in Josh's review.
For those interested in the mini Brix PC as a media center box or low-power desktop PC, Engadget reports that Gigabyte is also experimenting with specialized Brix SKUs, including a wireless charging pad for mobile devices and another Brix with a Pico projector. These accessories are merely prototypes at this point and may not go into mass production.
I'm glad to see Gigabyte moving forward with its Brix lineup to provide a useful alternative to Intel's NUC.
Subject: Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 3, 2013 - 05:33 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8, u21m, Intel, haswell, gigabyte, convertible tablet, computex 2013, computex
Gigabyte launched its U21M convertible tablet at Computex this week. The Windows 8 PC is an 11.6” convertible notebook that is 20mm thick and weights approximately 3.28 pounds (or 3.06 lbs without HDD). It is powered by an Intel Haswell CPU with HD4000 processor graphics and it runs the full x86-64 version of Windows 8.
The notebook features a black and slate gray colored chassis that has a brushed metal texture over the top of the keyboard deck and display bezel. Design wise, it is reminiscent of Dell's Latitude XT series with more curves. The U21M uses a similar center 180-degree hinge that allows the display to be rotated around and then laid flat against the keyboard to enable tablet mode. There are no face function buttons on the display bezel aside from the Windows key, however.
Gigabyte has made ample use of the 11.6” form factor by designing a keyboard that stretches from one side of the system to the other. The six-row keyboard looks to be well laid out with good spacing between the keys and no real key placement oddities. key travel may be an issue though as the keys are close to the metal, as it were. Below the keyboard is a large touchpad with hardware mouse buttons.
The display itself is an 11.6” capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 1366 x 768. There does not appear to be digitizer/stylus support on the U21M, however. Above the touchscreen is a 1.3MP webcam. It also features two 1.5W speakers.
External IO options include:
- 2 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x VGA
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x RJ45 (Gigabit Ethernet)
- 2 x Audio
- 1 x SD
- 1 x SIM card slot
Internally, the U21M does not disappoint, with an Intel Haswell CPU, up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, and either a 128GB or 256GB mSATA SSD plus an optional mechanical hard drive up to 1TB. There is no discrete GPU, however. The system will rely on the Haswell CPU's processor graphics, though Gigabyte has not announced specific chips so the iGPU used is unknown. Wireless connectivity options include 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 + LE, and a built-in 3.5G radio. The system uses a respectable 7.4V, 40Wh Lithium-Polymer battery.
Gigabyte has not yet released pricing or availability dates, but you can find all the specifications along with additional photos on this product page.
My thought on this system is that it might be a good upgrade once my Dell Latitude XT finally dies on me (heh). It should definitely be faster and get much better battery life than my current convertible tablet, that's for sure! I'll be on the lookout for reviews, but what do you think about the U21M so far? If only it came in blue...
Today, Gigabyte unveiled their Intel Z87-based board lineup to select members of the press at a live event from their headquarters in City of Industry, CA. Their Z87 boards are broken down into four series - the Extreme OC series, the Gaming Series, the Thunderbolt series, and the Standard series.
Intel Z87 motherboard lineup
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
Gigabyte includes both a new interface for their UEFI BIOS and a new power paradigm, dubbed Ultra Durable 5 Plus, into each of their Intel Z87 boards.
UEFI BIOS Enhancement
UEFI BIOS explanation
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
They also fully redesigned their UEFI BIOS interface to make it more customizable, easier to use, and to allow real-time feedback for settings changes.
Over the weekend, Gigabyte posted a new photo to its Facebook page that teased the interface of the company’s upcoming UEFI BIOS. The new UEFI DualBIOS interface features an orange and black theme with a black background, orange accents, and white text. From the preview photos of Gigabyte’s Z87 motherboards, the BIOS colors will match up nicely with the actual black and orange colored hardware.
The middle pane occupies the most space and brings all of your standard BIOS setup and overclocking settings front and center. Gigabyte has laid out the various settings into tabbed categories. Users can further customize a shortcut menu on the right-most tab. This settings pane is surrounded on all sides by various bars and columns with status information.
The top bar includes graphs on the system’s voltages, fan speeds, and temperatures. The bottom bar displays system information such as the total amount of RAM installed, CPU and BIOS identification, and other information. On the left of the main settings panel is a column with readouts on the installed processor. The information it provides at a glance includes CPU voltage, frequency, temperature, and core ratio. It also lists the CPU fan speeds. Meanwhile, the column on the right-hand side of the display hosts temperature and fan speed information for the PCH, system/case sensor, and up to five case fans.
While some enthusiasts might balk at the orange, black, and white color scheme, in all it looks like a nice improvement. Most of the information is available at a glance, and the customizable shortcut menu is a useful feature.
You can find the original photo as well as several other preview photos on Gigabyte’s Facebook page.
What do you think about the new UEFI BIOS UI?
Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2013 - 06:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gigabyte, G1.Sniper 5, G1.Sniper 5M, AMP-UP Audio
Slow but surely teases of the next generation of motherboards for Intel processors are showing up, such as Tweaktown's preview here. You don't get to see much of the board its self but you do have a chance to learn about the new AMP-UP audio that will be featured on these motherboards. This will be a removable OP-AMP paired with Creative's Sound Core3D to bring high end audio performance to your onboard audio. It will be removable so that audiophiles can choose their favourite OP-AMP to install if they prefer it to the one included. Take a peek right here.
"The NDA is starting to come off the 4th Generation Intel Core series and today we'll show you what to expect from GIGABYTE in its new AMP-UP audio feature on the G1.Sniper 5 and G1.Sniper M5."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft Exchange rival Icewarp says selling Linux to Windows customers is easy @ The Inquirer
- Samsung making 20nm 4Gb LPDDR3 DRAM for mobile devices @ DigiTimes
- Is it me or did cloud marketing suddenly get really weird? @ The Register
- Intel LANFest SoCal 2013 – Local Gaming & Fun @ Legit Reviews
- Kitguru MEGA graphics card giveaway
- Noctua Joint Giveaway - NH-D14/NH-U14S/NH-U12S Up For Grabs Globally @ NikKTech
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
The Z77N-WiFi is GIGABYTE's latest edition to the Mini-ITX lineup. Although the board is not as packed with features as some of the other enthusiast-minded mini-ITX boards, GIGABYTE did some interesting things with the board layout to space components out on the board more evenly. The Z77N-WiFi even comes standard with dual-Realtek GbE NICs and an Intel 802.11n-based WiFi mPCIe card. We put the board through our normal gamut of tests to see how well this mighty mite sized up with its full-sized brethren. The Z77N-WiFi board comes with an equally reasonable retail price at a mere $129.99.
The WindForce 450W GPU cooler was not the only piece of hardware Gigabyte showed off at its New Idea Tech Tour event in Berlin, Germany. The company also detailed a new small form factor PC called BRIX. The Gigabyte BRIX computer is set to compete with Zotac's Nano and Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) PCs. There is no word on pricing or availability, but GIgabyte did delve into specifications of the tiny desktop PCs.
Computerbase.de was on hand at the New Idea event in Berlin.
The Gigabyte BRIX PC is similar to Intel's NUC with a small motherboard, Intel CPU, mSATA connector for storage, Mini PCI-E slot for a Wi-Fi card, and a small case. The BRIX system is slightly smaller than both the NUC and Zotac's Nano systems, though the BRIX motherboard itself is a bit larger than the NUC's. The BRIX motherboard measures 100 x 105mm and the case with internals measures 114.8 x 108 x 29.5mm and weighs 404 grams.
Internal specifications on the BRIX include an Intel ultrabook-class processor with sub-17W TDPs, two SO-DIMM slots (a maximum of 16GB at 1600MHz), one mSATA port, and one Mini PCI-E slot. The BRIX further comes with a Wi-Fi card and VESA mount. Processor options include:
- Intel Celeron 1007U
- Intel Core i3-3227U
- Intel Core i5-3337U
- Intel Core i7-3537U
The top-end Core i7-3537U gives you a dual core processor with hyper-threading clocked at 2GHz and 3.1GHz max turbo and 4MB cache. Pretty impressive for such a tiny PC!
The Gigabyte BRIX features a single USB 3.0 port on the front of the glossy black case. Rear IO includes an additional USB 3.0 port, one HDMI port, one DisplayPort video output, and a single Gigabit LAN port.
The Gigabyte BRIX looks to be a decent system that will give Zotac and Intel some needed small form factor competition. Here's hoping Gigabyte will allow custom cases, as I would love to see a passively-cooled option!
Computerbase.de has further details on the Gigabyte BRIX PC as well as a gallery of photos from the event.
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 14, 2013 - 11:59 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windforce, nvidia, gtx titan, gtx 680, gpu cooler, gigabyte
Earlier this week, PC component manufacturer Gigabyte showed off its new graphics card cooler at its New Idea Tech Tour even in Berlin, Germany. The new triple slot cooler is built for this generation's highest-end graphics cards. It is capable of cooling cards with up to 450W TDPs while keeping the cards cooler and quiter than reference heatsinks.
The Gigabyte WindForce 450W cooler is a triple slot design that combines a large heatsink with three 80mm fans. The heatsink features two aluminum fin arrays connected to the GPU block by three 10mm copper heatpipes. Gigabyte stated during the card's reveal that its cooler keeps a NVIDIA GTX 680 graphics card 2°C cooler and 23.3 dB quiter during a Furmark benchmark run. Further, the cooler will allow these high end cards, like the GTX Titan to achieve higher (stable) boost clocks.
ComputerBase.de was on hand at Gigabyte's event in Berlin to snap shots of the upcoming GPU cooler.
The company has not announced which graphics cards will use the new cooler or when it will be available, but A Gigabyte GTX 680 and a custom cooled-Titan seem to be likely candidates considering these cards were mentioned in the examples given in the presentation. Note that NVIDIA has prohibited AIB partners from putting custom coolers on the Titan thus far, but other rumored Titan graphics cards with custom coolers seem to suggest that the company will allow custom-cooled Titans to be sold at retail at some point. In addition to using it for the top-end NVIDIA cards, I think a GTX 670 or GTX 660 Ti GPU using this cooler would also be great, as it would likely be one of the quieter running options available (because you could spin the three 80mm fans much slower than the single reference fan and still get the same temps).
What do you think about Gigabyte's new 450W GPU cooler? You can find more photos over at Computer Base (computerbase.de).
Subject: Motherboards | April 10, 2013 - 10:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gigabyte, Z77X-UD4H, Intel Z77, lga1155
Like many Z77 boards, the Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H has a rather crowded socket area, if you are not going with a watercooling solution consider purchasing low profile DIMMs. One thing it has that most other boards do not have is an auxiliary power plug next to the SATA ports which takes a SATA power plug, not a molex connector. It also sports a significant number of slots, three PCIe 3.0 16x slots, three PCIe 1x slots and even a PCI slot. [H]ard|OCP had an interesting time overclocking this board, you should familiarize yourself with their experiences if you plan on picking this board up and overclocking your CPU.
"It’s been awhile since we’ve looked at a motherboard from Gigabyte. We haven’t forgotten Gigabyte and decided to take the Z77X-UD4H for a little test drive. The Z77X-UD4H is a sub-$170 motherboard with a great look and a solid feature list for the price point that has the computer hardware enthusiast in mind."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming @ Hardware.info
- MSI Z77A-G45 Gaming Motherboard Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD4H Intel Z77 Motherboard Review @ PCSTATS
- GIGABYTE Z77X-UP4 TH @ Tweaktown
- ASUS P8Z77-V PREMIUM @ Tweaktown
- ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt @ Tweaktown
- MSI Z77 MPower @ eTeknix
- ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion @ Tweaktown
- GIGABYTE Z77-HD4 @ Tweaktown
- ASUS P9X79 PRO Motherboard Review @ Techgage
- BIOS Option Of The Week - R/W Queue Bypass @ TechARP
Subject: General Tech | April 3, 2013 - 10:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, mechanical keyboard, gigabyte, Aivia Osmium, cherry mx red
Gigabyte has added another mechanical keyboard to their family, the Aivia Osmium which uses the quiet Cherry MX Red switches preferred by gamers who don't want a click to slow down their button mashing. It is definitely aimed at gamers with backlighting, audio in and about and a USB 3.0 port on the side along with sound and brightness wheels at the top. The Tech Report was very impressed with the macro capability of this keyboard, not bound by a certain set of dedicated keys but instead a full program which allows up to 25 programmed macros which can include both mouse and keyboard input. Head on over and check out the full review.
"Most high-end keyboards combine mechanical switches with LED backlighting and programmable macro keys. Gigabyte's Aivia Osmium adds a new twist: USB 3.0 connectivity. We take a closer look at this unique keyboard to see what's what."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Logitech G710+ Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ Tweaktown
- Cooler Master CM Storm Quick Fire Rapid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ Madshrimps
- SteelSeries APEX Gaming Keyboard @ Tweaktown
- Cooler Master Storm Trigger w/Green Keyswitches @ LanOC Reviews
- AZiO Large Print Tri-Color Backlight Keyboard Review @ OCC
- ROCCAT Isku FX Illuminated Gaming Keyboard Review @ NikKTech
- Logitech G710+ Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @LanOC Reviews
- Ducky Zero DK2108 Mechanical Keyboard @ eTeknix
- Satechi 10-Port USB 3.0 Hub UH3-10P Review @ Legit Reviews
- Func Surface 1030 XL mousepad @ Rbmods
- Func MS-3 Mouse & 1030XL Mouse Mat @ techPowerUp
- G600 MMO Gaming Mouse @ LanOC Reviews
- Razer Ouroboros Elite Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
- Tt eSPORTS Level 10 M Gaming Mouse @ techPowerUp
- Corsair Vengeance M65 FPS Laser Gaming Mouse Review @ Madshrimps
- A4TECH V3 Bloody Gun3 Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
- Corsair Vengeance M65 FPS Laser Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
- SteelSeries Guild Wars 2 Gaming Mouse Review @ Madshrimps
- Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse Review @ NikKTech
- AZIO GM-2000 Gaming Mouse Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Tesoro SHRIKE HL2 Laser Gaming Mouse Review @ NikKTech
- Func MS-3 Mouse Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Genius Gila GX Series Gaming Mouse Review @ Legit Reviews