How do you surpass the ASUS Maximus III? Add a V and go for four

Subject: Motherboards | October 3, 2011 - 10:19 AM |
Tagged: asus, maximus iv extreme, lga1155, p67, NF200, x68

The ASSU Republic of Gamers is a fast growing family line, the newest arrival being the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme.  That pairs the Intel X68 chipset with the nForce 200 MCP to give you additional PCIe lanes.  In fact you can manually tweak the PCIe lanes assigned to the PCI3 16x slots, a feature that experienced overclockers will probably use frequently.  Speaking to the overclockers, [H]ard|OCP wanted to stress two very important capabilities of the board, not only did it hit 5.1GHz at a CPU voltage of 1.475v, it also boasted the lowest temperatures that [H] saw on their watercooling rig.  This board is not for the plug and play crowd but for the enthusiast crowd it will shine.

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"ASUS expands its Intel based Republic of Gamers line once again with the Maximus IV Extreme. This motherboard has a lot to live up to as each Maximus before this was nothing short of excellent and quite possibly the best motherboards available at the time of release. The Maximus IV Extreme continues the tradition and exceeds expectations."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Putting the PCIe 3.0 slot before the card, MSI's new Z68 board

Subject: Motherboards | September 26, 2011 - 01:56 PM |
Tagged: z68, msi, Z68A-GD65-G3, sandy bridge, lga1155

When [H]ard|OCP reviewed the MSI Z68A-UD3H B3, they took some time examining MSI's version of UEFI called Click BIOS; it did not come out well, they panned it as horrible.  MSI listened to their suggestions as well as comments from other sites and users and developed the Click BIOS 2, which is first hitting the market in the Z68A-GD65-G3.  That BIOS, barring a few small issues, came out much better and seemed more in line with the other main release of the UEFI from ASUS.  Apart from that feature, the board also a pair of PCIe 16x slots (which happen to be Version 3.0) as well as three PCIe 1x slots.  Externally it sports HDMI and DVI out, as well optical and analog SP/DIF ports, two USB 3.0 ports as well as four USB 2.0 ports; internally four SATA 6GB/s and four SATA II ports will keep storage fanatics happy.  The bundled control software received poor marks but for manual overclockers [H] leaves you with this comment ... "the only motherboard we have ever tested that allowed us to stably overclock our 2500K CPUs to 5GHz"

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"In the motherboard business, it’s about differentiating the product. Once in awhile a motherboard manufacturer like MSI does just that before "the other guy." And that’s where the Z68A-GD65-G3 comes in bringing PCI-Express Generation 3 support and a new UEFI interface to the table."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

The new ASUS Maximus IV boards are "twins"

Subject: Motherboards | September 8, 2011 - 10:48 AM |
Tagged: Maximus IV Extreme-Z, Maximus IV Gene-Z, asus, uATX, lga1155

If you are looking for a top of the line Z68 motherboard then two of the models you should consider are the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z and Maximus IV Gene-Z.  While they share many characteristics you can think of the Extreme-Z as the gaming board because of the four PCIe 16x slots and the Gene-Z as the media motherboard as it sports an HDMI out which the Extreme-Z does not.  As well as the difference in output, the Extreme-z has the common Realtek ALC 889 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC while the Gene-Z has the higher end SupremeFX X-Fi 2 built-in 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC.  The final difference and perhaps the easiest to spot is that the Extreme-Z is a full ATX board while the Gene-Z is uATX.  Check out the performance of both boards in Legit Reviews latest article.

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"The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z is aimed at those looking to squeeze every last Megahertz out of their second generation Intel Core processor. With features like the LN2 switch that will help get past that pesky little cold bug problem, we know this board is meant for the extreme user. When we were performing our overclocking with the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z it was a very smooth process. We were able to increase our multiplier to x51 and our Bclk to 100.4, though it showed up as 100.5 in CPUz. These settings brought us past the 5.1GHz mark and we were there in under an hour..."

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The new B3 revision of the ASUS P8P67 Pro is more Solid than Snake

Subject: Motherboards | August 17, 2011 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: lga1155, asus, P8P67 Pro rev b3

When testing the ASUS P8P67 Pro, [H]ard|OCP managed to get 4.8GHz out of an Intel i5 2500K; about as good a recommendation as you could hope for.  That is in addition to ASUS' specific BIOS which will disable Turbo scaling, pegging the CPU to the top speed whenever it is in use, which explains the higher scores in some of the benchmarks they ran.  The built in OC Tuner BIOS application will overclock the board for you, in the tests after about 5 minutes and a few reboots it stabilized a 2600K on the board at 43x102.1 or 4.39GHz and could be pushed higher if you manually raised the multiplier. The board may not have some of the extras available on other makes but as far as stability goes this board is hard to beat.

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"ASUS' latest foray in to the Intel LGA1155 market shows up in a competitive package, the P8P67 Pro. The board combines the features and technologies you've come to expect from ASUS and promises not to disappoint. This motherboard also happens to target the sub-$180 market so it will be on the list for budget minded builds."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

The difference a letter can make; 4 LGA1155 boards from Gigabyte

Subject: Motherboards | July 6, 2011 - 03:27 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, sandybridge, ga-z68x, lga1155

Gigabyte's GA-Z68X-UD3P-B3, GA-Z68X-UD4-B3, GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 and GA-Z68X-UD7-B3 are up for review on X-bit Labs right now.   You need to be fairly observant to notice the difference in the models and have a great memory to know which is which at a glance.  They all share some similar characteristics, such as the lack of onboard video out but also share positive traits like Dual BIOS and Phase LEDs and a number of USB 3.0 and SATA 6G ports.  They had a few problems during the review which you might want to find out about before purchasing one of these boards.

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"Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3P-B3, GA-Z68X-UD4-B3, GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 and GA-Z68X-UD7-B3 mainboards do not have video Outs, that is why integrated graphics doesn’t work on them. They can use Intel Smart Response technology, but do not support any of the Lucid Virtu modes. Read our in-depth review to find out about other features of these mainboards."

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Source: X-Bit Labs

Gigabyte Launches New Super4 Motherboards Based On Intel's H61 Chipset

Subject: Motherboards | June 10, 2011 - 01:07 AM |
Tagged: sandybridge, lga1155, Intel, h61, gigabyte

Gigabyte is on a roll lately as far as cranking out new motherboard series, and their latest unveiling introduces a new lineup that the company has dubbed its “Super4” motherboard series. The new motherboards amount to a budget Sandy Bridge platform that is positioned to save budget PC gamers a few bucks compared to the more feature-full, and more expensive, P67 and H67 chipsets by cutting out features that they do not necessarily need.

The GA-H61M-USB3-B3 Model Is Part of the New Super4 Series.

To be more specific, the new Super4 series is a new line of Gigabyte motherboards based around Intel’s H61 Express chipset, and supporting Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge socket 1155 processors. This chipset is fairly similar to it’s higher-end H67 brethren; however, it features only a single PCIe 2.0 x16 slot, 10 USB 2.0 ports, and four SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) ports versus the two PCIe 2.0 x16 slots, 14 USB 2.0 ports and six Sata II ports of H67. (A full comparison by Intel of the two chipsets can be found here.  Another differentiator between the two chipsets is the number of RAM DIMM slots available.  Whereas H67 boards could support four DIMM slots, H61 boards will only include two slots.

Gigabyte has then further added USB 3.0 support to their specific motherboards by including two USB 3.0 ports on the rear IO panel powered by an Etron EJ168 chip. Realtek Audio and Gigabit Ethernet is also included and accessible via the rear IO. As far as expansion slots, on the GA-H61M-USB3-B3 for example, Gigabyte has laid out the expansion slots as follows: One PCIe 2.0 x16 (running at x16) slot, one PCIe x1 slot, and two PCI slots. As the motherboards are based on Intel’s “H” chipset variant, their are the traditional DVI-D and VGA video outputs for the Intel processor graphics.

The new Super4 motherboard roll-out currently includes the following models: GA-P61-USB3-B3, GA-P61-DS3-B3, GA-HA65M-D2H-B3, GA-H61M-USB3-B3, GA-H61M-D2-B3, and GA-H61M-S2V-B3.

Gigabyte’s marketing team has appeared in full force, presenting the new Super4 series as “Super Safe, Super Speed, Super Savings, and Super Sound,” where the four pillars make up the motherboards “Super4” moniker.  The boards will likely retail for under $100 USD and will be priced lower than P67 and H67 based boards due to the fewer ports and supported PCIe x16 slots reducing the manufacturing cost. For single graphics card gaming rigs with only one or two storage drives, the new H61 motherboards may well prove to be a viable option. You can learn more about the boards by perusing the press release as well as by staying tuned to PC Perspective.

Source: Gigabyte

Fancy a peek at the Z68 even without any benchmarks?

Subject: Motherboards | May 10, 2011 - 11:47 AM |
Tagged: z68, sandy bridge, preview, lga1155, Intel

We here at PC Perspective are not big fans of the preview, as seeing a board without any accompanying benchmarks does not really provide us with the level information we crave.  However the wait for this high end Sandy Bridge chipset has been long and painful, as we want to see what the i7 2600K can do when it has a board that can really utilize its abilities.  To that end we take you to VR-Zone who have some pictures of Gigabyte's upcoming GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3.  Now to hope for someone to accidentally release some SSD cache benchmarks!

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Click for a bigger view.

"There has been some "concern" from Gigabyte's competitors that the company wasn't going to offer any Z68 motherboards with display connectivity, in fact, some of its competitors have been so "concerned" that they've sent out material stating this to media in certain parts of the world. Well, it turns out that it couldn't be further from the truth and yesterday you saw the GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3 and today we have a few hands on pictures of the GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 for your ogling pleasure."

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Source: VR-Zone

An armour plated Sabertooth from ASUS

Subject: Motherboards | May 5, 2011 - 11:28 AM |
Tagged: p67, thermal, armour, armor, lga1155

The ASUS P67 Sabretooth sports Thermal Armor, a shell over most of the PCB giving it a unique look, but that's not all.  It also helps to spread the heat generated from your components and caps and has thermal sensors embedded within to give you a really good look at the temperature of portions of your board.  The UEFI BIOS caught The Tech Report's eye as did the performance.  They aren't convinced that the board should have you upgrading before the looming release of the Z68 but if that is not within your budget, this board might be.

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"Asus' Sabertooth P67 motherboard offers five-year warranty coverage, loads of temperature sensors, and a novel shroud designed to cool motherboard components. We take a closer look at whether Asus has built the perfect premium P67 board for enthusiasts."

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