Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
Like many other manufacturers, GIGABYTE is using the launch of the Intel Z97 Express chipset to update its product line aesthetics and makeup. The Z97X-Gaming G1-WIFI-BK motherboard is part of GIGABYTE's Black Edition product line, differentiated from other GIGABYTE offers because of the enhanced validation criteria each individual Black Edition product is put through prior to leaving the assembly plant. Each board is put through a 168 hour stress test, consisting of both CPU and GPU-based Lite Coin mining, to prove its worth as part of the elite Black Edition product line. The Z97X-Gaming G1-WIFI-BK motherboard itself shares components and aesthetics with their Gaming line, featuring the line's black and red coloration and the GIGABYTE Gaming logo (the silver eye) on the Z97 chipset heat sink. With an MSRP of $349, the board is priced at a premium, more than justified by its enhanced feature set and Black Edition enhanced validation criteria.
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
GIGABYTE paired the Z97X-Gaming G1-WIFI-BK motherboard with an 8 phase digital power delivery system to ensure clean power to the CPU under all operating conditions. Additionally, the board's VRM heat sinks can be integrated into an existing water loop using the provided G 1/4" threaded ports. Note that the PLX and chipset heat pipe is physically separate from the VRM heat pipe and does not benefit by water cooling the board's VRM cooler. The Z97X-Gaming G1-WIFI-BK motherboard boasts the following integrated feature list: eight SATA 3 ports; one SATA Express 10 Gb/s ports; dual Gigabit NICs - an Intel i217V NIC and a Qualcomm® Atheros Killer E2201 NIC; an Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth PCIe adapter; four PCI-Express x16 slot; three PCI-Express x1 slots; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, and CMOS clear buttons; Dual-Bios and active BIOS switches; left and right channel audio gain control switches; Sound Blaster Core 3D audio solution; removable audio OP-AMP port; integrated voltage measurement points; hybrid VRM cooling solution; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
GIGABYTE is doing some interesting things with their next generation line of boards, offering support for current and next generation Intel Haswell processors. Additionally, these next generation boards will offer support for SATA 3 and next generation SATA storage solutions.
The biggest difference between their new board lines and existing Intel Z87 motherboard lines is how they are differentiating the different board series. GIGABYTE will have a total of four board series in their new product line:
- Normal series motherboards
- Gaming series motherboards
- Overclocking series motherboards
- Black Edition series motherboards
Normal Series motherboard
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
The Normal Series boards encompass their channel boards for mainstream consumers and system builders.
Gaming Series motherboard
The Gaming Series boards are geared more towards enthusiast and gamers users, featuring a black and red color scheme for eye-catching appeal.
Overclocking Series motherboard
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
The Overclocking Series boards are geared towards hard-core enthusiasts and the LN2 record setting crowd with features and designs specifically oriented to eeking out that last bit of speed and performance from the board.
Black Edition Series motherboard
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
The Black Edition Series boards build on several products from the other board lines, ensuring the utmost stability and performance through a specialized factory-performed testing regimen.
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 17, 2014 - 04:10 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, nividia, gigabyte, asus, R9 290X, GeForce GTX 780 Ti, factory overclocked
In the green trunks is the ASUS GTX 780 Ti DirectCU II OC which [H]ard|OCP overclocked to the point they saw in game performance of 1211MHz GPU and 7.2GHz on the memory. In the red trunks we find Gigabyte's R9 290X 4GB OC weighing in at 1115MHz and 5.08GHz for the GPU and memory respectively. Both cards have been pushed beyond the factory overclock that they came with and will fight head to head in such events as Battling the Field, Raiding the Tomb and counting to three twice, once in a Crysis and again in a Far Cry from safety. Who will triumph? Will the battle be one sided or will the contenders trade top spot depending on the challenge? Get the full coverage at [H]ard|OCP!
"Today we look at the GIGABYTE R9 290X 4GB OC and ASUS GeForce GTX 780 Ti DirectCU II OC video cards. Each of these video cards features a custom cooling system, and a factory overclock. We will push the overclock farther and put these two video cards head-to-head for a high-end performance comparison."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- NVIDIA 337.50 Driver Performance Review @ Hardware Canucks
- AMD Athlon's R3 Graphics: RadeonSI Gallium3D vs. Catalyst @ Phoronix
- ASUS Radeon R9 290 DirectCU II @ X-bit Labs
- HIS R7 260X iPower IceQ X² 2GB GDDR5 @ X-bit Labs
- Sapphire AMD Radeon R7 265 Dual-X 2GB @ eTeknix
- XFX Radeon R7 240 Core Edition Video Card Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Powercolor AMD Radeon R7 250X 1GB GDDR5 @ eTeknix
- Sapphire R7 250 Ultimate Passive 1GB GDDR5 @ eTeknix
- Sapphire R9 280X Vapor-X OC and R9 290 Vapor-X OC @ Kitguru
- Sapphire R9 280X VaporX Graphics Card Review @ Bjorn3D
- XFX R9 280 Double Dissipation Black Edition OC @ eTeknix
- GIGABYTE R9 290X OC WINDFORCE 3X @ Funky Kit
- XFX Radeon R9 290 CrossFire Video Card Review at 4K Ultra HD @ Legit Reviews
- AMD Radeon R9 295X2 @ Legion Hardware
- AMD Radeon R9 295X2 8GB @ eTeknix
- AMD Radeon R9 295X2 @ Kitguru
- AMD Radeon R9 295X2 8GB Video Card Review at 4K Ultra HD @ Legit Reviews
- AMD Radeon R9 295X2 8 GB @ techPowerUp
- AMD Radeon R9 295X2 Performance Review @ Hardware Canucks
- AMD's Radeon R9 295 X2 @ The Tech Report
- AMD Radeon R9 295X2 @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: Motherboards | March 24, 2014 - 05:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gigabyte, Z87X-UD7-TH, lga 1150, atx, Thunderbolt 2
Gigabyte's Z87X-UD7-TH goes all out in terms of expansion slots with 5 PCIe 3.0 16x capable of running 4 cards at 8x simultaneously, along with two PCIe 2.0 1x slots in case you need even more cards to be plugged in. The Intel DSL5520 adds support for Thunderbolt 2 and there are 10 SATA 6Gbps ports, 10 USB 3.0 ports and even 4 legacy USB ports which should be enough for just about any user. Peripheral support is not everything though, find out about overclocking and stability under load in [H]ard|OCP's full review.
"We’ve covered a lot of budget motherboards lately and shown that you can get quite a lot for your dollar. The GIGABYTE motherboard we are looking at today is not a budget motherboard. In fact it’s on the complete opposite of the spectrum, competing with ASUS’ WS offerings and MSI’s Big Bang XPower series."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Gigabyte's G1.Sniper 5 @ The Tech Report
- Asus Gryphon Z87 LGA 1150 @ X-bit Labs
- Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- ASUS H87-PRO Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- Asus Z87-Deluxe/Quad @ Kitguru
- MSI Z87I Gaming AC @ eTeknix
- ASRock Z87 Extreme11/ac @ The SSD Review
- ASUS Z87 Maximus VI Impact ITX Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Gigabyte mITX Z87N-WIFI Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
- ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer @ Hardware Secrets
- ASRock Fatal1ty FM2A88X+ Killer Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: Systems | March 12, 2014 - 07:38 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, SFF, projector, i3-4010u, gigabyte, bxpi3-4010, brix projector, brix
With more than a few of NUC-sized SFF PCs floating around these days, the BRIX Projector, with a catchy model number of BXPi3-4010, has something that no other option can offer: an integrated mini projector. As the name would imply, the BRIX Projector is part BRIX and part projector, and the combination is unique to the market as far as I can tell.
The guts of the BXPi3-4010 are split seemingly in half between the computer components that make up the BRIX and the DLP LED projector that rests on top. The processor inside is a Core i3-4010U that runs at up to 1.7 GHz and includes integrated Intel HD 4400 graphics. With a dual-core HyperThreaded design, the 4010U is competent, but nothing more, for standard application workloads and productivity. The HD 4400 graphics can run your most basic of games (think Peggle, FTL, Starbound) but isn't up to the task of most demanding 3D games like Bioshock.
You'll get a set of four USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet connection, mini-DisplayPort and HDMI output. Combined with the projector, you can use any TWO displays at one time: projector plus HDMI, HDMI plus mDP, etc.
The mini-HDMI input is pretty interesting and allows you to use the BRIX Projector as a stand alone projector, hooking up a DVD player, game console or anything to be displayed. The power button on the projector is separate from the PC power and you can run each without the other.
The unit comes as a barebones design, meaning you'll have to add mSATA storage and DDR3 low power SO-DIMMs to get up and running. Once you have your OS installed, you are going to be met with a rather small 854x480 resolution projector powered by a 75 lumen output. It's good, but not great.
That low resolution causes some issues with browsing the web and using some applications like Steam because we have all moved past the likes of 800x600 - thank goodness. Windows works fine and even Big Picture mode in Steam is an easy fix.
You can see in the video review below that image quality was pretty good for such a small device but the noise levels of the fan cooling the projector are quite high. I was even thinking of ripping it open and trying more creative ways of cooling the display components until Gigabyte informed me they need it back in a...functional capacity. Oh well.
The Gigabyte BRIX Projector BXPi3-4010 is selling for about $550 on both Newegg.com and Amazon.com which does NOT include the memory or storage you'll need (WiFi is included though). That seems kind of steep but considering other pico or mini projectors can easily cost $250-350, this BRIX unit is a better deal that the price might first indicate.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | January 28, 2014 - 04:54 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: gigabyte brix, gigabyte, amd
If you feel a little déjà vu while reading this, it is because this system is identical to the MAINGEAR SPARK. Both devices are powered by an AMD A8-5557M APU backed with an AMD Radeon R9 M275X mobile discrete GPU. They even use the same case with the same color scheme. The only difference that I could find is the MAINGEAR logo on the front versus the GIGABYTE logo on the top. I think we could safely say that both devices are made at the same place. I expect that GIGABYTE was the OEM for MAINGEAR's Steam Machine.
Check out Tim's post about the SPARK.
Check out GIGABYTE's product page for the BRIX Gaming.
When Tim published his post about the SPARK for CES, back on January 6th, little was known about the R9 M275X (beyond its 2GB of GDDR5). That is still the case. AMD has not said anything further about the mobile GPU. The press release from GIGABYTE claims that it will support DirectX 11.1 (which implies it will not support DirectX 11.2) and OpenGL 4.1 (which implies a lack of support for OpenGL 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4). GIGABYTE also claims that it will support "the latest OpenCL 1.1 standard" (which implies lack of support for OpenCL 1.2).
I seriously doubt that this is true.
I cannot see AMD regressing that heavily on API compatibility. OpenGL 4.2 has been supported since the HD 5000 (desktop) and HD 6000M (laptop) series. OpenCL 1.2 has been supported since the HD 5000 (desktop) and HD 7000M (laptop) line. One of the main features of OpenCL 1.2 is the ability share resources with DirectX 11 (OpenCL 1.1 shares with DirectX 10). In fact, I cannot find a single chip that AMD produced which supports OpenGL 4.1 and OpenCL 1.1 and fails to support OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL 1.2.
I would not trust GIGABYTE's press release when it comes to the R9 M275X.
Still nothing on pricing and availability for the GIGABYTE BRIX Gaming. Its product code will be the "GB-BXA8G-8890", which totally rolls off the tongue, so we have that going for us. It is a very interesting device. I wonder if we will see it, and other BRIX entries, find their way into the catalogs of other system builders.
Subject: General Tech | January 16, 2014 - 12:26 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, R9 290X, podcast, msi, Kaveri, gsync, gigabyte, freesync, benq, amd, a8-7600, 290x
PC Perspective Podcast #283 - 01/16/2014
Join us this week as we discuss the AMD Kaveri APU Launch, Gigabyte's New Slim Gaming Notebook, and CES 2014 Wrapup!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano
Week in Review:
0:22:45 AMD A8-7600 Kaveri APU Review
News items of interest:
0:59:35 Zotac has spherical SFF PC
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: Motherboards | January 14, 2014 - 06:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Kaveri, gigabyte, pcie 3.0, amd, FM2+, A88X, A55
City of Industry, California, January 14th, 2014 – GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, today announced official support for next generation AMD A-Series APUs based on the highly anticipated ‘Kaveri’ architecture. GIGABYTE ‘Kaveri’ support includes current AMD A88X and A55 (rev3.0) platform motherboards plus forthcoming A78 platform motherboards.By enabling support on current GIGABYTE AMD motherboards for these new AMD A-Series APUs, GIGABYTE ensures our customers are able to take advantage of a whole new approach to PC architecture design,” commented Henry Kao, Vice President of GIGABYTE Motherboard Business Unit. “Combining the highest level of quality design with the most advanced set of features, GIGABYTE FM2+ motherboards offer the best user experience for these new A-Series APUs.”
“These FM2+ Series motherboards from GIGABYTE are the ultimate showcase for our new A-Series APUs,” said Bernd Lienhard, corporate vice president and general manager, Client Business Unit, AMD. “In collaboration with GIGABYTE, AMD is proud to enable a truly optimized user experience in terms of raw computer performance while creating an industry-leading visual and audio experience with the latest generation of our APUs.”
GIGABYTE FM2+ Series Motherboards
GIGABYTE FM2+ Series motherboards showcase a number of features and technologies that separate them from the competition, including GIGABYTE AMP-UP Audio which includes an upgradable OP Amp, studio-grade Nichicon capacitors and Gain Boost switches. True Digital Power Delivery is combined with Triple Display Support including AMD Dual Graphics and AMD Eyefinity Technology support. GIGABYTE FM2+ series motherboards also provide native 4K resolution support via Display port and HDMI ports.
GIGABYTE FM2+ Series motherboards also integrate a range of features designed to ensure the long term stability and longevity of your PC. GIGABYTE DualBIOS ensures users are protected from BIOS failure, while an exclusive 2x Copper PCB design optimizes heat dissipation from the critical power delivery areas of the motherboard. One-Fuse-per-Port ensures each USB port has its own dedicated power fuse that prevents unwanted USB port failure.
AMD Kaveri Platform Highlights
The latest AMD A10-7850K and A10-7700K APUs integrate an enhanced CPU core based on the ‘Steamroller’ architecture with a new and updated Radeon Graphics core. Supporting native 8 GT/s PCI Express gen 3.0 and DX11.1 graphics, these new AMD A-Series APUs also offer native support for 4K resolution displays on HDMI and DisplayPort.
Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA)
AMD TrueAudio Technology
The latest AMD A-Series APUs are also the first equipped with AMD TrueAudio Technology a new programmable audio pipeline that fundamentally redefines how digital audio is processed. By allowing the graphics cores to handle sound processing for spatialization, reverb, limiters and simultaneous voice processing, game developers have greater artistic freedom than ever before, allowing for a vastly more realistic and compelling audio experience.
GIGABYTE FM2+ Series Motherboard Models
AMD A88X Platform
AMD A55 Platform (rev3.0 and above)
AMD A78 Platform (Forthcoming models)
Subject: Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2014 - 06:05 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: CES, CES 2014, gigabyte, R9 290X, gtx 780 ti, windforce
While the world still waits for stock of the custom cooled R9 290X and R9 290 cards from AMD's partners to show up in stores, Gigabyte was showcasing its WindForce models on the floor at CES 2014.
The Gigabyte GV-R929XOC-4GD is an R9 290X graphics cards that includes the company custom designed WindForce, triple fan cooler. The cooler is rated at 450 watts of dissipation, but hopefully you'll never actually be drawing that from this single GPU graphics card. The core clock on this model will be slightly overclocked, going from the stock 1000 MHz to 1040 MHz. Hopefully we'll have a review sample soon so we can verify that it maintains that overclocked clock speed throughout the gaming workloads.
Using the very same cooler is the GV-N78TGHZ-3GD based on the GeForce GTX 780 Ti GPU. In fact, without my tell you which card was which, you'd likely have no way to tell them apart without looking at the PCB more closely. Gigabyte will be setting the base clock on this model at 1085 MHz and the Boost clock at 1150 MHz.
The cards will also include a back plate on the rear of the PCB to help protect the components and ICs while also strengthening the board during shipping general use. Gigabyte says these cards will only carry and MSRP that is $20-50 more than the reference cards so look for each of them this month!
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2014 - 05:31 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: CES, CES 2014, gigabyte, brix, brix max, haswell, Android, NAS
While browsing the Gigabyte suite at CES I came across a very interesting new product from Gigabyte that falls into the Brix family. The Brix Max is a larger version of the Brix SFF chassis (taller) that includes support for four 2.5-in hard drives. Powered by a 4th Generation Intel Core (Haswell) Core i5-4250U processor, this system is aimed towards the NAS market. In particular, those that want tiny NAS devices.
With a total fluid capacity of 1.2 liters (please don't fill your Brix with liquid...), the Brix Max includes a USB flash port, 802.11n Wi-Fi, HDMI output, Gigabit Ethernet and four USB 3.0 ports. Maybe more surprising is the fact that this unit was running Android and marks the first time we have seen a Haswell platform running the OS.
Gigabyte demoed the Brix Max powering a handful of networked devices and providing media content and backup storage for all sorts of other operating system. I am still not sure what kind of software was running on the Android OS to facilitate the NAS functionality but the Max includes the ability to set users, partition different share locations and more. Hopefully we'll be able to get a sample in at the offices to test out and let our readers know how an Android-based NAS can perform.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!