MSI Launches New X79 Flagship Big Bang-XPower II Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | January 5, 2012 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: x79, msi, motherboard, big bang II, big bang 2

MSI is hoping to make a "big bang" with their new flagship Big Bang-XPower II X79 based motherboard. The board itself is full sized ATX, and sports a dark matte gray PCB with glossy black connectors and heat-sinks. The rear IO is aluminum and the PCH heat-sink has six copper heat-pipes (or supa' pipes as we like to call them around the office). The board has quite a few overclocker and enthusiast friendly features.

MSI_Big_Bang_II.jpg

Specifically, the new Big Bang II is based on the X79 chipset and is ready to accept a Sandy Bridge-E (Socket 2011) processor. A total of 8 DIMM slots makes for some quad channel goodness, and MSI claims that the board will be able to support up to 128 GB (RAM Drive anyone!?) of RAM when 16GB DIMMS become available. Further, the motherboard is PCI-E 3.0 compliant and is ready for 4-way SLI or Crossfire multi-gpu setups in addition to sound cards and RAID controllers thanks to its seven total PCI-E expansion slots.

20120103_5.jpg

All this kit is going to need quite a bit of power, and MSI has gone so far as to brand their motherboard with the "Xtreme Power Design," which seems to indicate they mean serious business. More than the name, the two 8 pin and 1 6 pin (in addition to traditional 24 pin ATX power) connectors for the CPU and Graphics/PCI-E 3 devices respectively. The two CPU power connectors deliver 300 watts while the VGA connector can provide an additional 150 watts of power to compliment the total maximum power draw of 770 watts (!). (Needless to say, I would need a new PSU to push this board to its max). Managing this power is a 22 phase PWM "with hybrid design power" using solid and Hi-c capacitors. The VRM area of the board is massive, in other words.

20120103_3.jpg

The overclocker friendly features include voltage check pins for CPU, RAM, and chipset, and a backup BIOS with accompanying switch. Further, a Direct Overclock button to adjust the CPU BCLK (in intervals as small as .1MHz), and power and reset buttons on the board itself are also included. Last up is a feature called PCI-E CeaseFire, which allows users to completely turn off graphics cards without needing to physically remove them from the motherboard by using a series of switches next to the Direct OC buttons. MSI claims that the Big Bang-XPower II is "the optimal weapon for enthusiast overclockers to break world records."

Rear IO includes a PS/2 port, six USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet, six analog audio jacks, S/PDIF optical and coaxial audio outputs, a Clear CMOS button, and a Firewire port.

Needless to say, this board boasts quite a few features! More information can be found here.

Source: MSI

EVGA Shows Off Drool Worthy Dual Xeon Sandy Bridge-E SR3 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 21, 2011 - 01:46 PM |
Tagged: xeon, x79, SB-E, sandy bridge-e, motherboard, Intel, evga

Jacob Freeman of EVGA Google + fame recently posted a teaser photo of a certain shiny piece of X79 chipset baked silicon in the form of a new SR3 Super Record series motherboard. This monster of a board is packed to the brim with features, and mid tower cases need not apply.

photo_black.jpg

Starting at the top of the board and working our way down, we are presented with not one but two socket 2011 Sandy Bridge-E Xeon processor sockets! One processor will have access to eight DDR3 DIMM slots while the other will have access to four DDR3 DIMM slots.  While the RAM configuration may seem odd, EVGA wanted to make the transition from the boards SR2 predecesor as easy as possible, by allowing users to transfer all 12, triple channel DIMMs to the new SR3 motherboard.  When all 12 RAM slots are populated, the board will run in triple channel mode, and when four or eight slots are populated, the motherboard will utilize the new quad channel interface.  The RAM will be fed power via a eight phase PWM (pulse width modulation) circuitry. The board also features two eight pin EPS and two six pin PCI-E connectors, and seven PCI-E 3.0 slots that are all capable of running at least PCI-E 3.0 x8 and four of them are capable of providing PCI-E 3.0 x16 bandwidth, more than enough for even the beefiest SLI setup.

On the storage and IO front, the SR3 motherboard has 14 SATA ports, HD Audio via six 3.5mm jacks, USB 3.0 ports (the total amount is unclear), and eSATA support.  The bottom right corner of the board lies a handy diagnostic screen to report error codes.  Further, the motherboard will come with the new UEFI BIOS.  Mr. Freeman states that the x79 motherboard is fully furnished with solid state capacitors from Sanyo (specifically POSCAP).

In short, this motherboard is a total beast. Please excuse me as I try to remove my jaw from the floor cartoon style.

Source: EVGA

New Gigabyte Tool Switches SATA Mode In Windows

Subject: Motherboards | August 30, 2011 - 07:17 AM |
Tagged: Utility, p67, motherboard, Intel, gigabyte, bios

According to Tech Power UP, Gigabyte recently released a Windows tool that allows users to change the SATA controller mode without digging into the BIOS. The SATA controller mode relates to how the controller on the motherboard or add-on card communicates with the hard drive or SSD. Users will be able to choose from legacy IDE, AHCI, and RAID modes. From the brightly colored Windows tool, users can change the setting accordingly. The utility will then write the setting to the CMOS and prompt the user to reboot the computer so that the change can take effect.

The tool will work with any Gigabyte motherboards with the Intel H61, H67, P67, or Z68 chipsets. Further, the utility will run on both 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems. It is available to download from here.  The package comes as a zip file containing an executable that does not need to be installed, which is a welcome touch.

diskswitch.png

While the Gigabyte Disk Mode Switch tool will make changing the setting easier than digging through the BIOS, it effectively accomplishes the same thing. What this means from a practical standpoint is that the Windows tool for changing the SATA mode suffers from the same issues that changing it in the BIOS does; mainly that the (Windows) operating system does not like such drastic changes and the user may encounter problems with Windows recognizing the drive and/or assigning the proper drivers. This is an issue primarily when changing the SATA mode of the drive that the operating system is installed on. While there are some registry tweaks that promise to help smooth the process, it is generally recommend to ensure the proper SATA mode is set before installing Windows onto the drive. Therefore, this tool’s usefulness is somewhat questionable.

Have you encountered any issues in changing the SATA mode post-install? Is this gigabyte tool useful or just another piece of manufacturer "helpware" that DIYers will never use?

ECS Announces Three New A55 Based AMD Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | August 9, 2011 - 06:42 PM |
Tagged: motherboard, ECS, APU, amd, A55

According to Tech Connect, ECS is about to release three ECS FM1 motherboards powered by the lighter A55 chipset to compliment the company’s higher end A75 boards. The new A55 based motherboards will be known as the A55F-A, A55F-M2, and the A55F-M3, the first being ATX and the remaining two boards being micro-ATX.

ECSA55F-A.jpg

The new motherboards will support AMD’s A Series APUs and will feature one PCI-E x16 slot, Gigabit Ethernet, and one VGA connection. The standard ATX sized A55F-A will further have four DDR3 DIMM slots, five SATA II 3Gb/s ports, 12 USB 2.0 ports, and HDMI and DVI video connectors. The A55F-M2 on the other hand with receive two DDR3 DIMM slots, six SATA 3Gb/s ports, 12 USB 2.0 ports, and HDMI and optional DVI connections. Lastly, the A55F-M3 has two DDR3 DIMM slots, four SATA 3Gb/s ports, and eight USB 2.0 ports.

More photos of the new boards can be seen here. Price and availability of the new A55 chipset motherboards have not yet been released.

Source: Tech Connect

Sapphire Introduces New Pure Platinum Motherboard Supporting AMD A-Series APUs

Subject: Motherboards | July 21, 2011 - 11:25 AM |
Tagged: sapphire, motherboard, fusion, APU, amd

Sapphire Technologies, most popular for their line of AMD discrete graphics cards, has recently unveiled a new ATX motherboard supporting AMD’s A-Series APUs. Dubbed the Sapphire Pure Platinum A75, the board supports the latest interface standards including SATA 3 6Gbps, USB 3.0, PCI-E 2, and USB 2.0. Further, the board supports Gigabit LAN, Bluetooth, and four dual channel memory sockets.

Sapphire Pure Platinum A75.jpg

The Pure Platinum A75 motherboard is a full ATX affair that is chock full of expansion slots. Four dual channel DIMM slots for DDR3 memory, two PCI-E 2 x1 slots, one PCI-E 2 x4 slot, one PCI-E 2 x16 slot, and two PCI slots along the bottom of the board. On the storage front, the motherboard contains five SATA 3 6Gbps ports with ACHI and RAID support and a single SATA 2 3Gbps port that is connected to the rear header and is used as an eSATA connection.

Other features of the board include Dual Graphics support when the APU is paired with a AMD HD 6600 or HD 6500 series for a boost in graphics performance by using both the discrete card and APU together. A single digital debug display, push buttons for resetting the BIOS, starting, and restarting the system, Dual BIOS support, and voltage test pads that allow voltage readings of the APU and memory circuits. Further, the motherboard uses gold plated connectors on the USB 3.0 and LAN ports in addition to solid capacitors and Sapphire Diamond Black chokes in the VRM area.

Sapphire Pure Platinum A75_rearIO.jpg

Rear IO of the board includes Display Port, DVI, HDMI, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, one Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR antenna, one eSATA port, and one PS/2 keyboard/mouse combination port. The board also included the standard fair of audio ports, supporting up to 7.1 audio.

According to Sapphire, the board is currently in production and will be available through the usual channel partners and retailers. You can check out more photos of the motherboard here.

Source: Sapphire

New ASRock Z68 Fatal1ty Motherboard Supports PCI-E 3.0

Subject: Motherboards | June 29, 2011 - 08:08 AM |
Tagged: z68, pcie 3.0, motherboard, Intel

ASRock recently unveiled a new enthusiast Z68 chipset based motherboard supporting the PCI-Express 3.0 standard. Dubbed the Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3, the company claims that when coupled with the upcoming Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs, “users are assured to enjoy the full power of PCIe Gen3 standard” as a powerful gaming motherboard.

 

Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3(M).jpg

The board further features the LGA 1155 socket, four DDR3 DIMM slots capable of 2133 Mhz, two PCI-Express 3.0 slots, one PCI-Express 2.0 x16, one PCIe x1 slot, and two PCI slots. IO standards include the latest SATA III 6 Gbps, Intel’s SRT (Smart Response Technology) caching, and USB 3.0. The board is further capable of supporting either NVIDIA Quad SLI or AMD CrossfireX technology. An on-board PLX PEX8608 chip has been added to allow the PCIe 2.0 and PCIe 3.0 ports to coexist at their native speeds.

Rear connections include a special Fatal1ty mouse port that users can adjust the polling rate of to anywhere between 125 Hz to 1000 Hz, eight USB ports (likely four USB 2.0, four USB 3.0), VGA output, two HDMI outputs, Digital audio out, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and 7.1 channel THX TruStudio audio outputs.

The ASRock board is ready to get its game on according to the company who stated that “is the world's first motherboard that supports PCIe 3.0 and goes on sale now.”

Source: ASRock
Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: AMD

AMD Unleashes the 990FX: Paving the way for Bulldozer

Word of the AMD 990FX chipset first came around the end of last year.  Speculation was brisk as to what new features it would bring, and when exactly it would help to usher in the age of Bulldozer to the world.  Most thought that it would be a shrink of the then current 890FX, and the new SB950 southbridge would have improvements to the SATA 6G controller, as well as a native USB 3.0 implementation.  Today we finally get to see the reality of the situation.  It is not groundbreaking, nor is it altogether exciting, but it is certainly interesting.

amd990fx_01.jpg

 The 990FX and SB950 chips are identical to the previous 890FX and SB850.  They are the same silicon.  For those hoping for new technology will be disappointed.  But all is not lost!  AMD did increase the HyperTransport specification from 3.0 to 3.1, which allows the HT bus to run at 6.4 GTPS as compared to the older 5.2 GTPS.  This is in place to allow the upcoming Bulldozer chips to run the northbridge portion of the chip up to 3.2 GHz, and to give the CPU more bandwidth between the different busses on the board (eg. SATA, USB 3.0, and PCI-E connections).

MSI Officially Unveils AMD 9-Series Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | May 31, 2011 - 11:49 PM |
Tagged: msi, motherboard, bulldozer, amd, 990fx

Popular enthusiast motherboard maker MSI, today officially launched a new line of motherboards supporting AMD’s 9-Series chipsets. Specifically, the 990FXA-GD80 and the 990FXA-GD65 motherboards bring support for AMDs latest native eight-core AM3+ processors. The high-end motherboard, the 990FXA-GD80, comes equipped with MSI’s OC Genie II overclocking technology as well as “Military Class II components with MIL-STD-810G Certification.”

Further, the new 9-series lineup features support for both NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX multi-GPU technology, USB 3.0, native SATA III 6Gb/s, and THX TruStudio PRO surround sound.

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

 

Source: MSI

ASUS Launches New AMD 9 Series Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | May 31, 2011 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: motherboard, cpus, computex, asus, amd

Taipei, Taiwan (May 31th, 2011) ASUS has announced a new lineup of AMD based motherboards that support the 990FX/990X/970 chipsets and AM3+ CPUs, the first company in the market to provide fully compatible AM3+ motherboards. The models available are the M5A99/97 Series, the TUF SABERTOOTH 990FX and the ROG Crosshair V Formula. The M5A99/97 Series feature ASUS exclusive Dual Intelligent Processors (DIP), comprised of the TurboV Processor Unit (TPU) and Energy Processor Unit (EPU), which has been stated to be the “best power management technology” by worldwide media. Premium models also feature UEFI BIOS and the second generation of DIP that contains DIGI+ VRM (Digital power design), a first for AMD based boards. The new motherboards will be the first on the AMD chipset based platform to support both multi-GPU technologies AMD CrossFireX™ and NVIDIA® SLI™.


M5A99X EVO 3D -1.jpg

 

Dual Intelligent Processors 2 with DIGI+ VRM

The ASUS M5A99/97 Series motherboards offer unsurpassed compatibility with new AMD AM3+ socket CPUs, while also being backwards compatible with the previous generation AM3 CPU. The M5A99/97 core series is equipped with DIP2, which features DIGI+ VRM technology in addition to the TPU and EPU. DIGI+ VRM power delivery allows a user to precisely adjust and control power settings digitally for precise power control and flexible tuning of their system, perfectly serving the AM3+ CPU specification’s power demand. Digital control differs from analog controls by eliminating digital-to-analog conversion lag, which helps to improve overclocking capabilities. This means precise power flow adjustment and management as well as easy and flexible tuning, including extra DRAM power control for the AMD platform. It’s the most precise power delivery available, providing the best-in-class in power efficiency, performance and stability while also helping to maximize the overall overclocking potential. Also included on the M5A99/97 Series motherboards is the intuitive UEFI BIOS menu interface. UEFI BIOS allows a user to control and adjust their BIOS settings through the use of a mouse-enabled interface for more user-friendly navigation. The built-in EZ Mode option also provides a drag-and-drop boot priority option, for easier management of boot devices.

 

Specs:

 

Taipei, Taiwan (May 31th, 2011) ASUS has announced a new lineup of AMD based motherboards that support the 990FX/990X/970 chipsets and AM3+ CPUs, the first company in the market to provide fully compatible AM3+ motherboards. The models available are the M5A99/97 Series, the TUF SABERTOOTH 990FX and the ROG Crosshair V Formula. The M5A99/97 Series feature ASUS exclusive Dual Intelligent Processors (DIP), comprised of the TurboV Processor Unit (TPU) and Energy Processor Unit (EPU), which has been stated to be the “best power management technology” by worldwide media. Premium models also feature UEFI BIOS and the second generation of DIP that contains DIGI+ VRM (Digital power design), a first for AMD based boards. The new motherboards will be the first on the AMD chipset based platform to support both multi-GPU technologies AMD CrossFireX™ and NVIDIA® SLI™.


M5A99X EVO 3D -1.jpg

 

Dual Intelligent Processors 2 with DIGI+ VRM

The ASUS M5A99/97 Series motherboards offer unsurpassed compatibility with new AMD AM3+ socket CPUs, while also being backwards compatible with the previous generation AM3 CPU. The M5A99/97 core series is equipped with DIP2, which features DIGI+ VRM technology in addition to the TPU and EPU. DIGI+ VRM power delivery allows a user to precisely adjust and control power settings digitally for precise power control and flexible tuning of their system, perfectly serving the AM3+ CPU specification’s power demand. Digital control differs from analog controls by eliminating digital-to-analog conversion lag, which helps to improve overclocking capabilities. This means precise power flow adjustment and management as well as easy and flexible tuning, including extra DRAM power control for the AMD platform. It’s the most precise power delivery available, providing the best-in-class in power efficiency, performance and stability while also helping to maximize the overall overclocking potential. Also included on the M5A99/97 Series motherboards is the intuitive UEFI BIOS menu interface. UEFI BIOS allows a user to control and adjust their BIOS settings through the use of a mouse-enabled interface for more user-friendly navigation. The built-in EZ Mode option also provides a drag-and-drop boot priority option, for easier management of boot devices.

 

Specs:

 

Model

M5A99X EVO

M5A97 EVO

M5A97 PRO

M5A97

CPU Socket

AMD Socket AM3+ for AMD FX Series CPU up to 8-core, Compatible with AMD Socket AM3 for AMD Phenom™ II /Athlon™ II /Sempron™ 100 Series Processors

 

Chipset

AMD 990X/SB950

AMD 970/SB950

 

Memory

DDR3 2133(O.C.) / 1866 / 1600 / 1333 / 1066 MHz Support

 

Power Phase Design

DIGI+ VRM 6+2

4+2

 

PCIe x16 Slots

3

2

 

Multi-GPU

CrossFireX / SLI

CrossFireX

 

LAN

Realtek® Gigabit LAN

 

Audio

8 - Channel HD, DTS

8 - Channel HD

 

Storage

6 x SATA 6Gb/s
2 x SATA 3Gb/s
1 x Power eSATA
1 x eSATA

6 x SATA 6Gb/s
2 x eSATA

6 x SATA 6Gb/s

 

USB

4 x USB 3.0 (2 ports at back panel, 2 ports at front panel), 14 x USB 2.0

2 x USB 3.0 (back), 14 x USB 2.0

2 x USB 3.0 (back), 12 x USB 2.0

 

Dual Intelligent Processors 2 with DIGI+ VRM

V

V

V

 

UEFI BIOS

V

V

V

V

TPU (with onboard switch)

V

V

V (without onboard switch)

V (without onboard switch)

EPU (with onboard switch)

V

V

V (without onboard switch)

V (without onboard switch)

 

Source: Asus

First Look At The Asus Maximus IV Gene FLP

Subject: Motherboards | May 13, 2011 - 06:56 PM |
Tagged: z68, motherboard, asus

Interested in a first look at Asus' latest Gene series offering for z68? PC Perspective has you covered with quite a few photos of the up and coming motherboard for you to drool over!

To start off with, here is the proposed box art along with a view of the entire motherboard:

PR ROG Maximus IV GENE-Z motherboard with box.jpg

As you can see, the motherboad is adorned in bright red and dark black colors, and the area around the LGA 1155 socket is accented with black finned heatsinks covering the VRMs.  A close-up of the heatsinks can be seen below:

For even more detailed shots, and a run down of the connectivity and overclocking friendly hardware, please use the "Read More" link.

Source: Asus