Gigabyte makes some interesting choices with the GA-Z68X-UD4-B3

Subject: Motherboards | June 7, 2011 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: z68, gigabyte, GA-Z68X-UD4-B3

The GA-Z68X-UD4-B3 does not have any video out connectors, a choice which seems very strange for a Z68 based motherboard since it removes the GPU switching ability which is so popular with the new high end SandyBridge board.  Theoretically that should reduce the price of the board, though Gigabyte instead chose to pack it with other extras, a wide variety of output ports on the back panel, the new Touch BIOS and even an ability to switch between two separate 8 phase power planes.  See if the trade offs make sense to you by reading iXBT Labs' full review.

ixbt_ud4b3i68z.jpg

"If the lack of support for integrated graphics doesn't bother you, Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD4-B3 is a good and promising choice. It stands out among typical mid-end solutions by having richer functionality (two USB 3.0 and two additional SATA 6Gbps controllers), comes with a lot of software utilities, and you don't have to pay for extra hardware features you might not need. Also, the Touch BIOS adds nice variety to all those implementations of UEFI."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: iXBT Labs

Gigabyte X58A-OC Motherboard offers tons of features, removes others

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | June 2, 2011 - 05:13 AM |
Tagged: X58, overclocking, gigabyte, computex

Releasing a motherboard based on the X58 chipset at this point might seem odd, but when you can offer a unique take on the overclocking market you might just find a niche.  Gigabyte is hoping that is the case with the new X58A-OC model that is going to be priced very competively thanks in large part to the removal of many features.

gb07.jpg

The orange and black color scheme on the board is actually pretty unique while the layout is setup in a way for quad-GPUs - you are going to need that to break those overclocking records. 

gb08.jpg

In the top right hand corner there are a host of overclocking specific features.  The "4G" button will automatically overclock basically any Nehalem processor to something above 4.0 GHz while the Gear button will decrease the size of the increments available to the user on voltage to the processor.  The ratio and frequency +/- buttons are going to be of great use for overclocking a system on the fly without having to go through the trouble of entering a BIOS.  Don't forget you have your power and reset buttons and voltage monitoring leads here too.

gb09.jpg

Where Gigabyte saves a bit of money is with the non-overclocking features; things like eSATA and high-end audio are left out so that the even the classic external connection space is pretty bare. 

gb10.jpg

You will also notice near the SATA data connections some SATA-style power connectors as well.  These are used to supply extra voltage to the PCI Express connections for overclocking and pushing quad graphics cards.  

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

Source: Gigabyte

New Gigabyte Motherboards: Llano, iSSD and Socket 2011 Models

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | June 2, 2011 - 04:52 AM |
Tagged: ssd, socket 2011, llano, intel ssd, gigabyte, computex, APU

We stopped by the Gigaybte booth during Computex 2011 this week and found a host of new motherboards that range from the mainstream to the ultra-extreme. 

gb01.jpg

First up is the A75-UD4H that supports the new AMD FM1 socket and the upcoming AMD Llano processor.  Even though the APU will have integrated graphics on die, the Gigabyte board support AMD Dual Graphics technology and CrossFire multi-GPU solutions in conjunction with 8 USB 3.0 ports. 

gb02.jpg

The board will include output connections of VGA, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort along with size USB ports, four of which are USB 3.0. 

gb03.jpg

The Z68XP-UD3 motherboard is one that will be offered in two different ways: one with an SSD and one without.  The "iSSD" model will actually include an mSATA Intel 20GB SLC SSD and should come in at a cost of under $250.  Considering the Larson Creek drive will cost you anywhere from $90-110 on its own, the combination of a Z68 motherboard and SSD is actually very price competitive.  Plus, you get the convenience of having the SSD on the motherboard without it taking up a 3.5-in or 2.5-in drive bay.

gb04.jpg

For those that choose to get the lower cost board without the included Intel SSD you will be able to choose from several other newcomers to the mSATA form factor including Kingston and OCZ.

gb05.jpg

Of course we had to take a look at the Socket 2011 motherboard, the X79A-UD3 with support for the upcoming Intel Sandy Bridge-E processor.  According to the slide information this will include a new version of the SSD caching technology called RSTe (Rapid Storage Technology Enterprise) with support for USB 3.0 and quad-channel DDR3 memory.

gb06.jpg

For those that haven't seen, here is a close up of the Socket 2011 in all its glory - that's a lot of pins!!

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

Source: Gigabyte

Gigabyte Offers Z68 Motherboard With Bundled Intel 311 mSATA SSD

Subject: Motherboards | May 27, 2011 - 10:25 AM |
Tagged: z68, intel 311, gigabyte

Gigabyte has been on the ball as far as new Intel based Z68 motherboard launches go, and today is no different as they announce a new motherboard that will ship with an included Intel 311 mSATA SSD that is ready to power Intel's Smart Response Technology.

Gigabyte_Plus_Intel311.jpg

The new motherboard has been dubbed the Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3-iSSD, and is a Z68 based affair with an included 20GB SLC caching-ready solid state drive. Richard Chen, the VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for the motherboard manufacturer was especially enthusiastic about the launch, stating that "our customers realize the performance benefits that Intel Smart Response Technology has to offer, and the Z68XP-UD3-iSSD is the easiest way for them to instantly take advantage of the performance boost."

The bundle in question will be available from “selected online retailers” worldwide stating in early June of this year. Unfortunately, there is no word on pricing for the motherboard plus SSD; however, if priced right it will no doubt be a boon to first time builders in making their DIY rig that much easier to assemble.

Source: Gigabyte

Gigabyte Launches World's First Z68 Motherboards With Support for mSATA Intel SLC SSDs and Smart Response Tech

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | May 11, 2011 - 05:23 PM |
Tagged: z68, srt, motherboard, gigabyte

Popular enthusiast motherboard maker Gigabyte has today announced 4 additional motherboards to their already expansive Z68 chipset based lineup at launch.

4277.jpg

In addition to the features discussed in the previous announcement, including Lucid Virtu technology, the four new models feature a mSATA connection for onboard Intel SLC SSDs such as the new Intel 311 20GB SLC SSD. The 20GB drive can be used in conjunction with the Intel Smart Response Technology to boost system performance.

While Intel's SRT technology is also included in the other Gigabyte Z68 Motherboards, these 4 specific models differ in the implementation. Specifically, they allow consumers to attach the small solid state drive directly onto the motherboard. This will free the standard SATA ports of a SRT SSD for another hard drive or optical drive.

news10.jpg

Gigabyte has found as much as a 471% improvement in PC Mark Vantage scores in using a 20GB Intel 311 SLC SSD and a SATA 2 hard drive versus solely a SATA 2 hard drive. PC Perspective also examined Intel's Smart Response Technology and found that in trace based testing, the SLC SSD greatly improved performance once the data had been cached to the SSD. As for improvements in boot performance, PC Perspective found that:

"Boot times were just 3 seconds shy of those achieved with the OS cached on the SSD entirely. Of significant note here is that the SSD 310 was able to edge out (0.5 secs) faster boot times than the SSD 320 *and* the SSD 510, which we tossed in for an additional point of comparison."

Intel's SRT technology can definitely improve performance in the right situations, and Gigabyte is offering even more options to implement it in their newly announced models; the Z68XP-UD3, Z68XP-D3, Z68AP-D3, and Z68P-DS3. The new models are due to be released in June 2011.

Source: Gigabyte

Gigabyte Z68MX-UD2H-B3 Motherboard Pictured

Subject: Motherboards, Chipsets | May 9, 2011 - 09:11 AM |
Tagged: gigabyte, z68

The slueths over at VR-Zone have come across some photos of the upcoming Gigabyte Z68 motherboard option, the Z68MX-UD2H-B3.  The VRM setup is a 6+1 design which is pretty basic though the inclusion of three full-size PCI Express slots should allow for at least dual-card configurations of SLI and CrossFire and possibly even three cards.  

gbyte_z68.jpg

VR-Zone has more info on the configuration options as well:

Moving on we have a header for two front USB 3.0 ports via an Etron host controller, no less than five headers for 10 USB 2.0 ports, seven SATA ports of which three are SATA 3Gbps and four are SATA 6Gbps and for some reason a serial port header.

Around the back we have four USB 2.0 ports, another two USB 3.0 ports using another Etron controller, an eSATA port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a PS/2 port, 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out and a set of four display ports consisting of a D-Sub, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort.

For those of you that love the mATX form factor seeing reasonable designs like this one are good indicators that the Z68 market is going to have just many options as the P67 one did.

Source: VR-Zone

Gigabyte Partners With Lucidlogix To Bring Switchable Graphics To Desktop Enthusiasts

Subject: Motherboards | May 6, 2011 - 10:18 AM |
Tagged: z68, switchable desktop graphics, Lucidlogix, gigabyte

Gigabyte, maker of quality motherboards that are recommended by many enthusiasts for DIY builds, has today announced a long term partnership with Lucidlogix to bring switchable graphics to its Z68 desktop chip set based motherboards.

While notebook users have enjoyed switchable graphics technology like Nvidia's Optimus and AMD's Switchable Graphics for some time, desktop users have not had a widely available solution. DIY (do it yourself) builds have been even further from a workable solution. Today; however, Gigabyte has stepped up to the plate to offer OEMs and enthusiast builders the opportunity to use switchable graphics by using the Lucidlogix Virtu technology.

news1.jpg

So far, Gigabyte has announced three motherboard models that will ship with Lucidlogix’s Virtu technology; the Z68X-UD3H-B3, Z68A-D3H-B3, Z68MX-UD2H-B3, and Z68MA-D2H-B3 specifically. These motherboards support both Virtu and Intel’s LGA 1155 “Sandy Bridge” processors, which include an integrated GPU that Intel dubs “processor graphics.”

While these Intel processor graphics’ gaming capabilities are extremely limited, they do very well running Windows 7’s Aero desktop while sipping power. Dedicated graphics cards on the other hand, tend to draw relatively large amounts of power even at idle. Until now, enthusiasts have had to choose between low power machines that are unable to run the latest games or gaming machines that remain power hungry in everyday non-gaming usage.

What Ludiclogix’s Virtu technology promises for Gigabyte customers is the best of both worlds. By allowing enthusiasts to use both a powerful dedicated graphics card for gaming and a low power card for everyday use, better control, efficiency, and choices become available.

virtu-diagram.png

The way in which this switchable graphics technology works is that Lucidlogix presents a sort of virtualized graphics card to the operating system. There is then a bit of logic that determines which graphics card will process the various Direct X API calls. When only using the Aero desktop and IntelMedia processor graphics instructions, the dedicated card can be in a low power state while the integrated GPU handles the workload. When running games or when activated by a user (or their profile settings), the virtualized card passed the dedicated card instructions to process that are then routed out the Sandy Bridge video output connection. This allows enthusiasts the best of both power draw and performance worlds that mobile users have enjoyed for some time.

Another important benefit of the Virtu technology is that it will allow enthusiasts to use programs that benefit from Intel's Quick Sync technology.  Programs optimized with Intel Quick Sync in mind use fixed function transistors in the processor graphics of Sandy Bridge CPUs to hardware accelerate such task as video transcoding.  GPU accelerated software such as this is able to generate higher quality encodes at a faster frame rate (using Intel's Quick Sync) than both current Nvidia and AMD graphics cards.  According to Anandtech, when converting The Dark Night from a 12mbps 1080p x264 source video to a 1.5mbps 480p video optimized for the Ipod Touch, the Sandy Bridge's GPU was able to achieve 264.8 frames per second, which results in Quick Sync being "almost 4x faster than the Radeon HD 6970 and twice as fast as everything else."  PC Perspective also found marked improvements in transcoding time using Quick Sync to convert a 450mb Cannon 7D's video file to an ipad optimized format.  In PC Perspective's testing, they saw a 5.2x faster transcode time using Quick Sync versus without (no gpu acceleration). Until now enthusiasts with high end graphics were unable to use the graphics processor in Sandy Bridge CPUs as it automatically disables itself when it detects that a discrete graphics card is present in the system. 

The only drawback for high end gamers lies in issues with setting up multi-monitor rigs as the Virtu technology outputs over the motherboard’s single video output instead of, say, a dedicated card’s traditional multiple video outputs. For single screen gamers; however, Gigabyte motherboards with Virtu technology will be a boon.

Source: Gigabyte

Gigabyte goes wireless with their new Aviva mouse

Subject: General Tech | May 5, 2011 - 06:04 PM |
Tagged: mouse, wireless, gaming, gigabyte

Gigabyte has joined in the attempts of many companies to convince gamers that wireless mice are cool.  With 50 hours of battery life and 6500DPI sensor the Aviva M8600 sounds good on paper but until you get it on the mat you will never know how well it performs.  Hardware Secrets were certainly impressed by its ambidexterity, they were just as uncomfortable using it with the left hand as with the right.  No complaints about input lag though.

HS_aviva.jpg

"Gamers usually shun wireless peripherals, always wary of a possible energy loss. No one wants to rummage around for a cable and lose an online match. With that in mind, Gigabyte has released a wireless gaming-grade mouse with a long lasting 50 hour battery that comes with an extra battery that you can rapidly switch. Besides those characteristics, the Aivia M8600 reaches 6,500 DPI and features a design for both right- and left-handed users, plus ten reprogrammable buttons. Let's talk first about its physical aspects and then test its wireless operation."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

New Gigabyte Business Notebook Is Feature Rich And Sleek

Subject: Mobile | May 3, 2011 - 02:09 AM |
Tagged: Road Warrior, laptop, gigabyte

Gigabyte recently announced in a press release a new ultra light notebook aimed at business users. More specifically, they unveiled the Gigabyte GS-AH6G3N, which is a laptop that purports to support the latest technology. According to the press release, the ultra light laptop brings to the table support for both Sandy Bridge processors and up to 8GB DDR3 RAM. A fingerprint reader and TPM module are also available for the security conscious. The 14" and less than 4.5 pound (2 kilogram) notebook is very sleek looking with sharp and clean lines detailing a dark black or silver body.

As a business notebook, it uses the Intel Mobile HM65 Express chip set, which means that you are looking at using the integrated processor graphics contained in the Core i 2xxx chips. To the road warriors' comfort, the integrated graphics should provide longer battery life while still running Windows 7’s Aero desktop smoothly. Another touted feature is the inclusion of USB 3.0 ports which will help in keeping large amounts of data backed up. An included HDMI port should help to sway business users who need to connect to projectors and large displays for their work in its favor (a VGA port is provided as well, for older projectors.)

GS-AH6G3N.jpg

 The full specifications that Gigabyte list are as follows:

CPU LGA 1155 socket, Intel® Core™ i7 / Core™ i5 / Core™ i3 processor
OS Microsoft Windows 7
Display 14" LED Backlit at 1366x768 pixels
RAM DDR3 (2 slots) up to 8GB
Chipset Intel Mobile HM65 Express
Graphics Intel HD 3000
Hard Drive Sata 2.5", 9.5mm drivers.  Up to 750GB
Optical Disk Drive  (Optional) 9.5mm Super Multi DVD-RW
 I/O  2xUSB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x HDMI, 1x VGA, RJ45, Mic-in, headphone-out, DC-in, docking connector, and 3-in-1 card reader (SD,MMC,Memory Stick)
 Audio  2x 1.5watt stereo speakers
 Communications  Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WIFI, Bluetooth v3.0 + EDR (Wifi/BT Combo)
 Webcam  1.3 megapixel camera + microphone
 Security  Kensington lock, Fingerprint reader, and optional G-sensor and TPM
 Battery  6-cell Li-Ion 2600mAh 60WHr (claimed 7 hours of battery life)
 Dimensions  338 (W) x 235 (D) x 26.0 (H) mm
 Weight  ~2kg (with DVD drive and 6 cell battery), ~4.49 lbs
 Color  Silver / Black

 

Unfortunately for business users in the United States, Gigabyte branded notebooks can be a bit difficult to purchase as they are generally sold overseas.  Once this laptop has been on the market for a few months, they do start to trickle over into the US markets.  For overseas readers of PC Per; however, the Gigabyte notebook may be something to consider as in the end it shapes up to be a powerful but small notebook that should work well for those that need to travel light and fast for their business.

Source: Gigabyte

Gigabyte demos TouchBIOS configuration tool

Subject: Motherboards | April 29, 2011 - 12:52 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, bios, touchbios

For pretty much all of my life, the BIOS of a motherboard has been the same old boring DOS-sytle coloring and controls.  Arrow keys, enter, that's pretty much it.  The recent adoption of the EFI standard is changing that quite a bit and if you look at some of our recent motherboard reviews, you'll notice that BIOS manipulation is now much more intuitive and graphical interesting.  

Gigabyte sent over a link to a video demonstrating their latest enhancement to the BIOS known as "TouchBIOS".  As the name implies, the interface has been tweaked for a touch screen though you can obviously also use a mouse to get the job done.  This is a Windows application however, so keep that in mind - you aren't actually able to use a touch screen when entering the BIOS.  Applying the changes also requires a reboot, so there is no additional magic there.

So what do you guys think?  Is this is a useful addition to the world of BIOS controls?

Source: Gigabyte