Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Overview and Technical Specifications

What is the Second Look Review

The Second Look Review is used to take a more in-depth look at boards here at PC Perspective. In the initial review, we try to give you an overview of the board, forming an impression of how the board will perform in your system. The initial review details out the board features and layout, BIOS features, and stock performance. The Second Look review attempts to pull back the covers, exposing a more complete picture of the board's performance limits.

In this review, we cover subsystem testing including drive, networking, and audio functionality, as well as overclocking. Additionally, the board components and heat sinks are stripped down to uncover lower level board functionality and design. By the end of the Second Look review, a complete picture of board performance coalesces into an adequate picture for award determination. This award determination takes into account the board performance tested over the course of both the initial and second look reviews.

Be sure to take a look at our first review of this product for a better overall view of the layout and features as well.

Overview and Feature Recap

Features

Courtesy of GIGABYTE

  • Supports 4th Generation Intel® Core™ processors
  • GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 5 Plus Technology
  • All IR Digital Power design
  • GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™
  • Exclusive GIGABYTE OC Features
  • Unique OC Touch Feature
  • Unique OC Ignition Feature
  • Unique OC Brace Feature
  • Gold plated DDR/PCIe Slots and power connectors
  • 4-way Graphics Support
  • Durable black solid capacitors
  • GIGABYTE On/Off Charge™ 2 for USB devices
  • Dual Intel® LAN with high ESD Protection
  • Extreme Heat sink design with 9 system fan connectors
  • Realtek ALC898 with High Quality 110dB SNR HD audio
  • GIGABYTE Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi Card

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force is the flagship board in GIGABYTE's LGA1150 line of boards. GIGABYTE used the previous generation flagship board, the Z77X-UP7, as a template and improved the design to take this next generation board to even greater performance heights. GIGABYTE designed the Z87X-OC Force with an impressive 16-phase digital power delivery system, powered by International Rectifier (IR) manufactured PowIRstage™ ICs and PWM controllers. GIGABYTE integrated a plethora of features into the Z87X-OC Force including: 10 SATA 6Gb/s ports; dual Intel GigE NICs; five PCI-Express x16 slots for up to quad-card support; two PCI-Express x1 slots; onboard power, reset, BIOS reset, pre-power (OC Ignition), base clock up/down, CPU ratio up/down, OC Tag, OC Gear, and OC Turbo buttons; dual BIOS, BIOS select, PCIe port, and LN2 switches; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; integrated voltage measurement points; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

Continue reading our review of the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force motherboard!

Author:
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: Digital Storm

Haswell and Kepler

With the release of Intel's Haswell core processors and the updated graphics card lineup from NVIDIA, Digital Storm has updated many of their custom PC lines to include both.  A little while ago the company sent along a pre-built Ode system that includes some impressive hardware like an overclocked Core i7-4770K and a GTX 780 along with a Corsair SSD and more.  Even though the design is using fully off-the-shelf parts, the build quality is impressive and will interest many users that want the jump start of a ready made rig.

Our article today (and embedded video) will give you a quick overview of the hardware, the build and the performance that you can expect for this $2500 PC.

  • Digital Storm Ode Custom
  • Intel Core i7-4770K (OC to 4.4 GHz)
  • ASUS Z87-C Motherboard
  • Corsair H100 Water Cooler
  • 16GB (2 x 8GB) Kingston HyperX DDR3-1866
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 3GB Graphics Card
  • 120GB Corsair Neutron SSD
  • 1TB Western Digital 7200 RPM HDD
  • Corsair HX1050 Power Supply
  • Corsair Graphite 600T White Case

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Current pricing on this build is $2577 from Digital Storm's website and while that is definitely higher than buying the same components out right, the difference shouldn't be enough to scare you off.  More on that later.

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The Ode from Digital Storm is built around the Corsair 600T chassis, an older design that still stands up well in terms of looks and performance.  The only draw back to it is that it does not have an internal USB 3.0 header and thus still uses the external cable to plug into the back of the motherboard.  If you want to see video from 2010 we did of this case, check the way back machine to do so!

A white color scheme really makes this system stand out and the window on the side panel will let everyone gawk at the components included inside.  With plenty of room for fans, radiators and good intake filter support throughout, the 600T remains one of our favorite chassis at PC Perspective.

Continue reading our review of the Digital Storm Ode Custom Gaming PC!!

ASUS Launches ROG Tytan G70 Pre-Built Gaming Desktop

Subject: General Tech | August 2, 2013 - 06:18 PM |
Tagged: aus, ASUS ROG, tytan g70, pre-built, gtx 780, haswell

ASUS has announced the Replublic of Gamers Tytan G70 gaming desktop. The updated desktop uses the latest chips from Intel and NVIDIA along with a large transforming case. The system is cooled by an integrated water loop and 10 case fans.

The ROG Tytan G70 is bult using a large dark gray case that has sharp angles and extending side and top panels that automatically extend outwards to expose the six front intake fans and two rear exhaust fans. The chassis measures 530mm x 300 x 630mm and the system with hardware installed weighs about 53 pounds (24kg). The front of the case has sliding panels that allow users to access three 5.25" drive bays. The top panel has a red ROG logo and there are also LEDs below that change from blue to read when the Turbo Gear overclocking is enabled. Finally, the top panel houses a Qi wireless charger which can recharge Qi-supporting smartphones when placed on top of the case.

ASUS Tytan G70 Gaming Desktop PC.jpg

Internal hardware options are extensive, and users can configure the system with some beefy specifications. At the top end, users can get a watercooled Intel Core i7-4770K processor, 32GB of DDR3 RAM, a NVIDIA GTX 780 graphics card, five 3TB 3.5" mechanical hard drives, a 256GB SSD, an ASUS Xonar Phobeus sound card, and 700W power supply. The system supportsSonicMaster and MaxxAudio (from Waves) audio technologies.

The Tytan G70 supports software that automatically overclocks the Core i7-4770K to either 3.9GHz or 4.1GHz for all four cores without needing to reboot the system. When this "Turbo Gear" overclocking is activated, the case panels extend to reveal the various case fans to improve cooling performance.

Oddly enough there is no NVIDIA GTX Titan option for the ROG Tytan though one could add one in after the fact. Pricing has not yet been announced, but the pre-built ROG system should be available soon. Additional information can be found on the ASUS ROG blog.

Source: ASUS

Supermicro Launches C7Z87-OCE LGA 1150 Enthusiast Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | August 2, 2013 - 04:50 PM |
Tagged: supermicro, overclocking, lga 1150, haswell, c7z87-oce

Supermicro is a company well-known for its server-class motherboards, but its latest motherboard is actually aimed at consumers. The Supermicro C7Z87-OCE is an overclocking friendly board that features the Intel Z87 chipset and a LGA 1150 socket that is ready to be paired with an Intel Haswell processor.

C7Z87-OCE Motherboard.jpg

The board has a simple but effective layout. There are no fancy heatsinks or armor plating here, just a small heatsink over the VRMs. Beyond the CPU socket, features include four DDR3 DIMM slots (32GB max), eight SATA III 6Gbps ports, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, three PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and a AMI UEFI BIOS. Six of the SATA III ports are powered by the Intel Z87 chipset while the other two ports go through the ASMedia ASM1061 controller. Users can use RAID 0, 1, 5, or 10 with this board. The PCI-E 3.0 slots can run at x16, x8+x8, or x8+x4+x4 depending on the number of cards used. An interesting feature of the Supermicro C7Z87-OCE are four green buttons that are numbered 1 through 4. These can be used to overclock the processor by 15% (button 1), 23% (button 2), a user-adjustable amount (button 3), and to clear CMOS (button 4).

The rear IO options on the board include:

  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet (Intel i217V and i210AT NICs)
  • 5 x analog audio
  • 1 x S/PDIF
  • 1 x Thunderbolt
  • Video out:
    • 1 x VGA
    • 1 x DVI
    • 1 x DisplayPort (via the Thunderbolt connector)
    • 1 x HDMI

I'm glad to see another player enter the consumer motherboard arena, and I find it interesting that that player is Supermicro. According to TweakTown's review, the company's first consumer board is not perfect, with the BIOS in particular lacking, but it is an overall decent option for those users wanting a reliable motherboard to support their next system build.

Pricing and availability have not been announced.

Source: Supermicro

Cyberpower Launches Power Mega III Workstations

Subject: Systems | August 1, 2013 - 05:39 PM |
Tagged: workstation, quadro k4000, quadro, haswell, Cyberpower

Cyberpower recently launched a new series of workstation PCs for video editing and 3D professionals called the Power Mega III.  The new systems are powered by Intel’s latest processors and either NVIDIA Quadro or AMD FirePro graphics cards. The new series ranges in price from $1,099 to $4,299.

Power Mega III.jpg

The Cyberpower Power Mega III series includes the following systems:
Power Mega III 1000
Power Mega III 2000
Power Mega III 3000
Power Mega III 1000 Video
Power Mega III 2000 CAD
Power Mega III 3000 3D

Cyberpower allows users to customize the systems by adding additional storage, graphics cards, memory, and business software. The systems will be built in either the NZXT H630 or the Thermaltake Urban S21 chassis. Cyberpower further uses all-in-one liquid coolers to cool the Intel processors.

Cyberpower Power Mega III 3000.jpg

On the high end is the Cyberpower Power Mega III 3000 3D. Hardware includes dual Intel Xeon E5-2630 processors (both fitted with AIO coolers), a NVIDIA K4000 GPU (768 CUDA cores, 3GB GDDR5), 32GB of ECC RAM, a 3TB mechanical hard drive, and dual 120GB SSDs. This system starts at $4,249.

Cyberpower is aiming the new workstation systems at graphics and visual computing professionals that use 3D design, composition, and simulation applications.

More information can be found on the Cyberpower PC website.

Source: Cyberpower

Origin PC Launches Haswell-Powered EON13-S Gaming Laptop

Subject: Systems | August 1, 2013 - 02:45 AM |
Tagged: origin pc, laptop, haswell, gaming, eon13-s

Origin PC has announced a new 13-inch gaming laptop called the EON13-S that packs some impressive mobile gaming horsepower in a 4.4 pound system.The new gaming laptop features Intel Haswell CPUs and NVIDIA GTX 765M graphics cards along with ample mechanical and solid state storage drive options.

EON13-S.jpg

The EON13-S features a 13.3” 1920x1080 IPS LED-backlit display, backlit keyboard, and a 2MP webcam. External IO includes three USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, one HDMI out, two audio jacks, and a Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port.

EON13-S Right IO.jpg

Internal specifications include Intel Core i7 “Haswell” processors, GTX 765M graphics cards supporting Optimus technology, up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM, up to a 1TB mechanical hard drive and two mSATA drives in RAID 0 or 1. Alternatively, users can swap out the 2.5” HDD for a SSD up to 960GB in capacity. Users can further choose between a 802.11ac compatible Intel or Killer NIC, and a dedicated sound card up to a Sound Blaster X-Fi Recon3D. Also, an external DVD or Blu ray writer is available. A 6-cell battery powers the notebook and is rated at 300 minutes. The EON13-S will come pre-loaded with either Windows 7 or Windows 8.

The EON13-S starts at $1,418 and is available now. More details can be found on the EON13-S product page.

Source: Origin PC

Haswell to Reach 4.5W SDP in Limited Quantities

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | July 23, 2013 - 06:58 PM |
Tagged: SDP, haswell

Intel has just lowered their lowered thermal expectations for Haswell if, of course, you use SDP as your metric. Scenario Design Point (SDP), as opposed to Thermal Design Power (TDP), describes how much heat dissipation is required for the product at some, usually underclocked, performance target. SDP does not need to affect burst performance, however, as the chip can still up-clock given some extra headroom.

11-intel-green.png

While we don't know OEM partners, Intel could be green, with HP Envy?

It describes long-term cooling requirements, not instantaneous power draws.

In terms of SDP, Intel expected to ship 6W products based on their 4th generation core architecture. Today, Intel announced a limited stock will dip below that target, capable of just 4.5W in waste heat. OEMs who purchase from this limited binning will be able to include Haswell in even thinner active or passively cooled designs.

Intel has not described exact specifications, partners, or shipping dates.

Source: Intel
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Design

P7102677.jpg

With the release of Haswell upon us, we’re being treated to an impacting refresh of some already-impressive notebooks. Chief among the benefits is the much-championed battery life improvements—and while better power efficiency is obviously valuable where portability is a primary focus, beefier models can also benefit by way of increased versatility. Sure, gaming notebooks are normally tethered to an AC adapter, but when it’s time to unplug for some more menial tasks, it’s good to know that you won’t be out of juice in a couple of hours.

Of course, an abundance of gaming muscle never hurts, either. As the test platform for one of our recent mobile GPU analyses, MSI’s 15.6” GT60 gaming notebook is, for lack of a better description, one hell of a beast. Following up on Ryan’s extensive GPU testing, we’ll now take a more balanced and comprehensive look at the GT60 itself. Is it worth the daunting $1,999 MSRP? Does the jump to Haswell provide ample and economical benefits? And really, how much of a difference does it make in terms of battery life?

Our GT60 test machine featured the following configuration:

specs.png

In case it wasn’t already apparent, this device makes no compromises. Sporting a desktop-grade GPU and a quad-core Haswell CPU, it looks poised to be the most powerful notebook we’ve tested to date. Other configurations exist as well, spanning various CPU, GPU, and storage options. However, all available GT60 configurations feature a 1080p anti-glare screen, discrete graphics (starting at the GTX 670M and up), Killer Gigabit LAN, and a case built from metal and heavy-duty plastic. They also come preconfigured with Windows 8, so the only way to get Windows 7 with your GT60 is to purchase it through a reseller that performs customizations.

P7102684.jpg

Continue reading our review of the MSI GT60 Gaming Notebook!!

ASRock Announces Mini ITX H87E-ITX/ac LGA 1150 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 13, 2013 - 01:50 AM |
Tagged: lga 1150, Intel, haswell, H87, asrock, 802.11ac

ASRock has announced a new Mini-ITX form facotr motherboard for Intel’s latest Haswell processors (LGA 1150). It utilizes the H87 chipset and should be a good board for enthusiasts looking to build a SFF machine.

ASRock H87E-ITXac Mini ITX Motherboard.jpg

The H87E-ITX/ac features a LGA 1150 socket powered by a 4-phase DrMOS VRM, two DDR3 DIMM slots (maximum of 32GB), and a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot. Storage is handled by six SATA III 6Gbps ports located between the CPU socket and PCI-E slot. The board uses an Intel i217V chipset for the 802.11ac WLAN and an Intel Gigabit Ethernet NIC. A Realtek ALC1150 chipset handles the audio duties.

ASRock H87E-ITXac Mini ITX Motherboard Rear IO.jpg

Rear IO on the H87E-ITX/ac includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 jack
  • 1 x eSATA III
  • 1 x S/PDIF
  • 5 x Analog audio jacks

The rear IO also has two antenna connectors for the 802.11ac Wi-Fi card. ASRock includes an antenna but users should be able to use any third party antennas as it uses standard connectors.

ASRock has not yet released pricing or availability information, but you can find additional specifications and photos on this product page. I would wait for reviews, but it looks to be a decent board, and if the price is right it should be a popular option for SFF desktops and HTPC builds.

Source: ASRock

Intel Launching New BGA Processors: Three New Bay Trail Chips in Q4 and Three Haswell CPUs in 2014

Subject: Processors | July 12, 2013 - 10:06 PM |
Tagged: Intel, BGA, Bay Trail, haswell, roadmap

There has been a ton of BGA processor stories over the past year, with the most recent being that Intel will not be releasing the BGA-only 14nm Broadwell processors next year. It is not all bad news for BGA fans though, because Intel is reportedly introducing new BGA versions of Haswell-based chips late this year and in the first half of 2014.

According to a leaked road-map, Intel will release three new Bay Trail based BGA chips under the Pentium and Celeron brands by Q4 2013. Additionally, next year the company will launch three high performance BGA-only Haswell-based processors.

Intel Roadmap Showing New BGA Bay Trail and Haswell Processors.jpg

On the low end, Intel will launch three new Bay Trail-D based processors. The J1750 and J1850 will be Celerons while the J2850 will have Pentium branding. The specifications are available in the chart below.

10W TDP BGA Bay Trail CPUs (ETA: Q4'13)
  Base Clockspeed Cores / Threads Cache GPU GPU Clockspeed
Pentium J2850 2.4 GHz 4 / 4 2 MB Intel HD 688 / 792 MHz
Celeron J1850 2.0 GHz 4 / 4 2 MB Intel HD 688 / 792 MHz
Celeron J1750 2.4 GHz 2 / 2 2 MB Intel HD 688 / 750 MHz

For the enthusiast crowd that favors small systems (like Intel’s NUC), the company is releasing three new Haswell-based BGA processors under its Core i5 and Core i7 branding. Specifications for these high end chips are located in the chart below. Interestingly, these Haswell chips in a BGA package come with Intel's much faster Iris 5200 processor graphics. A high end desktop CPU SKU with Intel's GT3e (GT3 GPU with embedded memory) still eludes enthusiasts, however despite the BGA packaging. Note that the BGA Core processors are not coming until at least next year, according to the roadmap (which does note that dates are subject to change).

65W TDP BGA Haswell CPUs (ETA: 2014)
  Base Clockspeed Cores / Threads Cache GPU GPU Clockspeed
Core i7 4770R 3.2 GHz 4 / 8 6 MB Intel Iris 5200 1300 MHz
Core i5 4670R 3.0 GHz 4 / 4 4 MB Intel Iris 5200 1300 MHz
Core i5 4570R 2.7 GHz 4 / 4 4 MB Intel Iris 5200 1150 MHz

There has definitely been resistance against Intel’s BGA lineups by the enthusiast crowd, for fear that customization and DIY abilities would be hampered and that BGA would take over and displace LGA (socketed CPUs). In this particular case though, I think the new BGA processors are a good thing and so long as there continues to be LGA options for the DIY and enthusiast crowd, I look forward to seeing what platforms these new BGA chips are used in and what motherboard manufacturers offer with them (if they are even offered at retail at all, and not just to OEMs).

I think a BGA version of a desktop CPU with Intel's fastest GT3e processor graphics would actually be welcome since it appears that an LGA version is out of the question, and would be one way to sway desktop users over to Intel's BGA strategy and have them be open to similar options in future chips, such as Broadwell in 2015.

Source: eTeknix