Gigabyte's torture tested Black Edition Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK

Subject: Motherboards | June 19, 2014 - 04:45 PM |
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.

We are kind enough here to assume you have already memorized Morry's review.

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"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."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

The Gigabyte Z87X-UD7-TH is a fully packed ATX board

Subject: Motherboards | March 24, 2014 - 05:39 PM |
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.

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"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."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

The suave looking MSI Z87 MPOWER

Subject: Motherboards | October 28, 2013 - 02:27 PM |
Tagged: Z87 MPOWER, widi, msi, lga 1150

The Z87 MPOWER that [H]ard|OCP just reviewed is great at wireless connectivity, including WiFi, BlueTooth and WiDi as well.  It is no slouch on wired connectivity either with 8 available SATA 6Gbps port and a similar number of USB 3.0 ports but what is relatively rare is onboard support for 3 displays.  Those features help sell it as a base for an HTPC but you can also make it a powerful gaming machine as it can handle 3-Way CrossfireX and 2-Way SLI as well as sporting Lucid’s VirtuMVP 2.0.  There were some issues with MSI's bundled software utilities but the physical board its self performed well enough to pick up a Silver Award; check out the full review to see the board in action.

If you missed Morry's review of this board you should definitely go back and read it.

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"The "M" series motherboards from MSI have gained a lot of recognition recently being an upper quality not-so-high-priced motherboard for the computer hardware enthusiast. However while MSI brings us some of the best hardware you’ll find on the current market seemingly goes a bit off course with firmware and software."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

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

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.

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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

ASRock Announces Its Z87 Motherboard Lineup

Subject: Motherboards | May 7, 2013 - 12:04 AM |
Tagged: Z87 OC Formula, z87, lga 1150, fatal1ty, asrock

The launch of Intel’s next-generation Haswell processors and Z87 chipset is getting closer, and the various motherboard vendors have started teasing their upcoming product lines. Taiwan-based motherboard manufacturer ASRock is the latest company to detail its initial Z87 lineup, and it is fairly extensive.

ASRock will be launching LGA 1150 boards under its Extreme, OC, and Fatal1ty series. The Z87 Extreme series is intended for enthusiasts that need the the most connectivity options possible, including having the highest number of PCI-E slots. The Z87 OC Formula motherboards have beefy VRM hardware and are built to be pushed to the limit by overclockers. Finally, the Fatal1ty-branded motherboards are aimed at PC gamers and support 3 way multi-GPU setups and Creative Sound Core 3D audio chips. Many of the ASRock boards and an alternative SKU with an included 802.11ac Wi-Fi card. These boards are identified by the “/ac” text in their product names.

AsRock Z87 Motherboard Lineup.jpg

The initial ASRock Z87 Extreme series launch will include the following boards:

  • Z87 Extreme 11
  • Z87 Extreme 9
    • Z87 Extreme 9 with 802.11ac WLAN
  • Z87 Extreme 6
    • Z87 Extreme 6 with 802.11ac WLAN
  • Z87 Extreme 4
  • Z87M Extreme 4 (Micro-ATX)

All of these boards will provide plenty of PCI-E slots and rear IO options that include eSATA, USB 3.0, at least one Gigabit LAN port (and dual on some boards), HDMI video outputs, and both digital and analog audio outputs. Note that the top three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots are rather close together on the Extreme 9 board. This lends credence to the Extreme series use as more of an enthusiast’s work rig with PCI-E SSD accelerator or hardware RAID cards rather than strictly a multi-GPU setup.

The OC series will include the following boards geared for Intel’s Haswell processors:

  • Z87 OC Formula
  • Z87M OC Formula
    • Z87M OC Formula with 802.11ac WLAN

The Z87 OC Formula series will launch with two boards, one that is full ATX and one that is Micro-ATX. These boards are similar in features and design to the Extreme 6 motherboard, but have additional hardware to facilitate overclocking.

Finally, the gamer-centric Fatal1ty series is aimed at high-end gaming PCs. The series will launch with the following boards:

  • Z87 Fatal1ty Professional
  • H87 Fatal1ty Performance

The Fatal1ty Professional uses Intel’s Z87 chipset and is aimed at high-end gaming PCs while the H78 Fatal1ty Performance uses the lower-cost H87 chipset and is aimed at midrange gaming systems. Multi-GPU and higher-end onboard sound are the main features of this ASRock series.

Pricing and availability are still unknown, but the company has quite the lineup planned, and the boards should cover a wide breadth of price points. It is nice to see the Micro ATX options as well as the standard ATX models. Now, we just need some Mini-ITX Z87 boards! Additional photos of the Z87 motherboards are available over at Tech Power Up.

Source: TechPowerUp

Noctua Offers Free LGA 1150 Haswell Mounting Kit Upgrade for Older Heatsinks

Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2013 - 12:05 AM |
Tagged: noctua, lga 1150, hsf, heatsink, haswell, cpu cooler

Noctua has recently announced that the company is providing free mounting kits to owners of existing coolers to make them compatible with Intel's latest LGA 1150 (Haswell) motherboards. The new NM-i115x mounting kit will allow enthusiasts to recycle their older Noctua coolers with the new platform without issue. The kit includes a new back plate with fixed struts and the necessary connectors (screws, springs, et al) to make alignment and mounting easier than previous setups.

Noctua NM-i115X.jpg

Because the LGA 1150 socket keeps the same mounting hole spacing as the current LGA 1156 and LGA 1155 sockets, many newer Noctua cooler will not need the mounting kit upgrade, and can simply be installed into the Haswell machine as is. In other words, if the heatsink worked with your Lynnfield, Sandy Bridge, or Ivy Bridge-based system, it will work in a Haswell system as well. According to Noctua, the following coolers are already compatible with Haswell:

NH-C14, NH-D14, NH-C12P SE14, NH-L12, NH-L9i, NH-U12P SE2, NH-U9B SE2

If your cooler was released prior to LGA 1156, you will need to grab the NM-i115x mounting kit upgrade by filling out this form. Noctua will make the kit available on its website as well as in retail stores (for a minimal charge, though the company did not provide specific pricing). You will need to provide proof of purchase for your existing cooler by sending Noctua a scan or screenshot of your invoice or receipt.

For more information on the NM-i115x, head over to the Noctua product page.

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It is nice to see Noctua standing behind its products like this, even if it only affects a small number of users that will be making the jump for LGA 775/ect to LGA 1150.

Source: Noctua