MSI Launches 8 New FM2+ Motherboards Supporting AMD Godavari CPUs

Subject: Motherboards | May 4, 2015 - 02:49 PM |
Tagged: processor, msi, motherboard, Godavari, FM2+, cpu, APU, amd

MSI has revealed a new FM2+ motherboard lineup with support for upcoming AMD Godavari processors, further indicating the launch of these new CPUs will be very soon though no official announcement has yet been made by AMD.

msi_mobo_1.jpg

As reported back in January when the lineup allegedly leaked the new Godavari SKUs feature higher clocks on both processor and, more significantly, in GPU cores in upcoming APUs like the rumored 8850K. MSI states that "these new models are available in ATX, micro-ATX, and mini-ATX form factors and are backwards compatible with FM2 processors (Kaveri, Richland, Trinity, 6000 and 5000 series)", so it makes sense to consider these new models for future compatibility if shopping for an FM2 motherboard today. It remains to be seen if vendors will offer support for Godavari through BIOS updates, though it does at least seem likely.

For those interested here is the list of new MSI AMD FM2+/FM2 motherboard models:

  • A68HM-E33 V2
  • A88XM-E45 V2
  • A78M-E35 V2
  • A88XM-P33 V2
  • A78M-E45 V2
  • A88X-G41 PC Mate V2
  • A88XM-E35 V2
  • A88XI AC V2

The familiar Military Class 4 and OC Genie 4 branding is visible across the lineup, and the new models also feature "a rich blend of features and technologies, such as onboard LAN, PCI Express 3.0 x16, SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.0 and multiple display support".

Source: MSI

A flagship A88X board for well under $200, remember the ASUS Crossblade Ranger

Subject: Motherboards | February 12, 2015 - 03:01 PM |
Tagged: motherboard, Kaveri, Intel Gig-E, FM2+, DDR-3 2133, crossblade ranger, audio, asus, A88X

It has been a while since Josh reviewed the ASUS Crossblade Ranger so it seems appropriate to put up a reminder that there are some impressive AMD boards out there with The Tech Report's review of the board.  This board has just about everything except an M.2 port, from the Asus SupremeFX 2014 with high end caps and EMI shielding to HDMI, DVI, and VGA display outputs to a BIOS button on the backplate which allows you to update the upgrade the motherboard's firmware without a CPU or RAM installed.  Check out the full review to get a list of the other features as well as a glimpse into the personality traits the board displayed during testing.

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"Asus' Crossblade Ranger is a tweaker-friendly, top-of-the-line motherboard for AMD's Socket FM2+ processors. We kicked the tires and turned up the clocks to see whether the Ranger lives up to its top billing."

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Intel's 5.5-inch Socketed Motherboard is 28% Smaller than Mini-ITX

Subject: Motherboards | January 17, 2015 - 05:22 PM |
Tagged: SFF, nuc, motherboard, mini-itx, Intel

Bay Trail-M has been at the heart of several interesting micro-PC products in the past few months, but the limitations of the SoC have thus far kept these ultra-low power devices from becoming serious PC contenders. New products with AMD APUs look promising, and we will see how they perform once they become available. Meanwhile, Intel might be changing the mini-PC landcape soon with a new motherboard form-factor.

 

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Intel's 5.5" motherboard (Image credit: SemiAccurate)

It doesn't have a name but the 5.5" square board looks like a smaller version of a thin mini-ITX design, with flush mounted DIMM slots and support for M.2 SSD storage. SemiAccurate is reporting that "it will support up to 16GB of DDR3L, an M.2 SSD and 2.5″ HD, 4x USB 3.0, 2x HDMI, GbE, audio, and Wi-Fi". A mini-ITX board on the other hand, though slightly larger at 6.7" x 6.7", has the advantage of supporting full-size GPUs (except the thin-mini variant). But when size and power consumption are the primary concern the lack of PCIe expansion is less important, and this sub-ITX board offers socketed CPU support rather than a soldered BGA solution, permitting customization and potentially offering a more desktop-like upgrade path.

No word on availability of the prototype board from Intel, which the report said was seen at this year's CES. It would make sense that Intel has learned from their experience with the NUC and created a smaller form-factor, but it remains to be seen whether such a product will enter the retail channel or become an OEM part.

Source: SemiAccurate
Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Asus

A Step Up for FM2+

I have been impressed by the Asus ROG boards for quite a few years now.  I believe my first encounter was with the Crosshair IV Formula, followed by the CH IV Extreme with that crazy Lucidlogix controller.  These were really outstanding boards at the time, even if one was completely overkill (and not terribly useful for multi-GPU via Lucidlogix).  Build quality, component selections, stability, and top notch features have defined these ROG products.  The Intel side is just as good, if not better, in that they have a wider selection of boards under the ROG flag.

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Asus has had a fairly large hole in their offerings that had not been addressed until fairly recently.  The latest AMD APUs based on FM1, FM2, and FM2+ did not have their own ROG member.  This was fixed in late summer of this year.  Asus released the interestingly named Crossblade Ranger FM2+ motherboard for the AMD APU market.

FM2+ motherboards are, as a rule, fairly inexpensive products.  The FM2+ infrastructure does not have to support processors with the 219 watt TDPs that AM3+ does, instead all of the FM2+ based products are 100 watts TDP and below.  There are many examples of barebones motherboards for FM2+ that are $80 and less.  We have a smattering of higher end motherboards from guys like Gigabyte and MSI, but these are hitting max prices of $110 to $120 US.  Asus is offering users in the FM2+ market something a little different from the rest.  Users who purchase an AMD APU will be getting much the same overall experience that the top end Intel based ROG customers if they decide to buy the Crossblade Ranger, but for a much lower price.

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The bundle is functional, but not overly impressive.

Click here to read the entire Asus Crossblade Ranger Review!

 

MSI Also Launches X99S GAMING 9 ACK Motherboard

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | November 4, 2014 - 03:19 AM |
Tagged: msi, X99, motherboard, motherboards, qualcomm, killer, 802.11ac

The MSI X99S GAMING 9 AC motherboard is built for the Haswell-E architecture, and Morry did a review of it just a couple of week ago. He liked it, giving it a gold award. Now MSI has released a new model, the X99S GAMING 9 ACK, which is basically identical except for its wireless adapter. While the original AC-variant had Intel 802.11ac with dual antennas, the ACK comes with Qualcomm Killer-branded 802.11ac.

msi-x99s-ACK.jpg

Again, for the rest of the motherboard, I will refer you to Morry's review. The only real difference is the Killer NIC and Wireless-AC combo, which is actually more than it seems. If I understand it correctly, "Smart Teaming" will monitor the specific applications using the network and split them between LAN and WiFi, with the more latency-dependent programs getting the wired connection. In theory, this is interesting except that both streams would need to merge in order to get out the internet, which will be your bottleneck. On the other hand, if this works with multiple internet connections, then I could see a use case. For instance, someone has a solid DSL connection alongside their high-bandwidth Cable ISP.

Or, of course, that could not work at all and the outbound internet will, in fact, be your bottleneck.

Pricing and availability is also not available. You can find the original X99S GAMING 9, with the Intel wireless network controller, for about $405. An upgraded wireless adapter should not increase the cost much at all.

Source: MSI

MSI Launches X99S MPOWER Motherboard

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | November 4, 2014 - 01:12 AM |
Tagged: X99, overclocking, msi, mpower, motherboards, motherboard

The X99S XPOWER is MSI's top-of-the-line overclocking motherboard. The company has just introduced the X99S MPOWER to complement it on their product stack. It is a similar motherboard with a smaller price tag that was reduced by removing a few optional features (I will outline the major differences, below). These are basically unrelated to performance and overclocking, minus the buttons to set the base clock on the motherboard itself and a couple of accessories (the XPOWER comes with a free Delid Die Guard and temporary fan stand). It is more things like the number of I/O ports.

msi-2014-10_mpower_image1-1.jpg

The main differences with the MPOWER are:

  • It does not have the fifth, eight-lane PCIe slot, just the four provided by Haswell-E.
  • It has one Intel Gigabit Ethernet adapter, instead of two.
  • It does not have built-in 802.11ac WiFi or Bluetooth.
  • It has two less USB 3.0 ports (external).
  • It has one less USB 2.0 port (internal, seemingly the "Direct USB" port for BIOS updates).
  • It does not come with a Delid Die Guard or fan stand.

There are a few other differences, such as the XPOWER having an I/O port cover and a few extra on-board overclocking switches and buttons, but I cannot see anything that stands out. The current price difference is about 115$ at Newegg, which is a healthy saving if nothing is a deal-killer.

The X99S XPOWER motherboard is available now, although MSI does not provide an expected MSRP. I found it at Newegg for $270 (USD) and at MemoryExpress for $320 (CDN), though.

Source: MSI

Video Perspective: Gigabyte Z97 Motherboard Roundup

Subject: Motherboards | May 22, 2014 - 10:40 PM |
Tagged: z97, video, pcper, motherboard, live, gigabyte

Earlier this week we were visited by our good friend Leon Chen from GIGABYTE USA to talk all about his company's new lineup of Z97 motherboards. We discussed the various series' Gigabyte offers (Performance, Gaming, OC, Black Edition) as well as the unique features found on them including some impressive overclocking technology on the OC board and M.2 storage support for 10 Gb/s of bandwidth on others. We streamed the entire event live on http://www.pcper.com/live but if you missed, we have the replays of all the content included directly below for you to watch!

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If you want to read our first review of a Gigabyte Z97 motherboard as well, be sure to check out Morry's article covering the GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1-WIFI-BK Black Edition!

Part 1: Gigabyte Z97 Motherboard Overview with Leon!!

Part 2: Gigabyte Z97 Motherboard Software Demo and Q&A

If you want to be sure you know about any of our other upcoming live streaming video events, sign up for our PC Perspective LIVE! mailing list!

The Northbridge lost the war; now what?

Subject: General Tech | May 15, 2014 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: motherboard, chipset

As Josh will reminisce while deep in his cups, those heady days when motherboard reviewers anxiously awaited the release of a new chipset are now are in the past.  The CPU has absorbed the Northbridge where all the action was, leaving the Southbridge which is still a very interesting piece of technology but one that has become very similar between boards.  Manufacturers now focus on what DigiTimes is referring to as brand power and channel relationships; recognizable branding, package deals and bundled products like Thunderbolt, DACs and wireless chargers.  Reviewers look to the UEFI features which do differ from manufacturer to manufacturer as well as within the different family lines and software tools for overclocking when looking at the board instead of looking for the significant performance differences that once existed.  There are certainly benefits to this as well, not many people remember reserving IRQ5 to PCI slot 3 nor many of the other unique eccentricities we all used to have to remember to be able to build systems in the past.  After all, the only real constant is change.

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"Competition in the motherboard industry is expected to gradually turn to focus on each player's brand power and channel relationships as newly developed technologies are becoming similar, according to sources from channel retailers in China."

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Source: DigiTimes

ASUS Launches Six New H81 Motherboards For Budget Haswell Systems

Subject: General Tech | August 21, 2013 - 06:32 PM |
Tagged: H81, haswell, mini ITX, mATX, atx, motherboard, asus

ASUS recently announced six new Haswell-compatible motherboards using Intel's budget H81 chipset. The new motherboards come in full ATX, Micro ATX, and Mini ITX form factors. The new boards include the ATX H81-Plus, the Mini-ITX H81I-Plus, and four Micro ATX boards: the H81M-Plus, H81M-A, H81M-C, and H81M-E. 

All of the boards have two DDR3 DIMM slots, a LGA 1150 CPU socket, and four SATA ports (two SATA III 6Gpbs and two SATA II 3Gbps). Aside from the physical dimensions, the boards vary in the number and type of PCI-E 2.0 connectors and rear IO port selection. Further, the motherboards feature ASUS' DIGI+ VRM and 5X protection (eg. overcurrent) technologies.

ASUS H81-Plus.jpg

The H81-Plus features four PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots and two PCI-E x1 slots. Rear IO includes:

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 1 x COM
  • 1 x Parallel
  • 1 x VGA
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN
  • 3 x analog audio ports

The Micro ATX H81M-Plus has a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot and three PCI-E x1 slots. It does not inlclude the parallel or COM ports on the rear IO, and instead provides digital video outputs. Specifically, the H81M-Plus provides the following rear IO.

  • 2 x PS/2
  • Video:
    • 1 x HDMI
    • 1 x DVI-D
    • 1 x VGA
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN
  • 3 x Analog audio ports

The other micro ATX boards are variations of this design with slightly different IO and PCI-E .1 configurations. The ASUS H81M-A has the same rear IO as the H81M-Plus but has only two PCI-E x1 slots. The H81M-E is nearly identical to the H81M-Plus above except that there is no HDMI video output on the back panel. Finally, the H81M-C features two PCI-E 2.0 x 16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, and switches out the HDMI port for a LPT parallel port stacked on top of the DVI and VGA ports on the rear IO panel.

ASUS H81I-Plus.jpg

In addition to the ATX and Micro ATX motherboards, ASUS is launching the H81I-Plus, which is a Mini ITX motherboard for Intel Haswell processors and using the budget H81 chipset. The board has a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 connector and four SATA ports (two SATA 6Gbps). Rear IO on the Mini ITX H81I-Plus includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Video
    • 1 x HDMI
    • 1 x VGA
    • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN
  • 3 x Analog audio jacks

ASUS has not released official pricing or availability information, but expect the boards to be available soon for under $100.

Read more about H81 motherboards at PC Perspective.

Source: ASUS

Gigabyte Hosting Winter OC Whiteout Contest

Subject: General Tech | December 23, 2012 - 09:53 PM |
Tagged: overclocking, motherboard, gigabyte, contest

Gigabyte and Cooler Master have teamed up to host the Winter OC Whiteout overclocking competition. Enthusiasts are encouraged to push their systems as far as possible to achieve the highest 3D benchmark scores. Cooling methods like LN2 and liquid helium are encouraged to break existing records and grab the top spots, with certian hardware restrictions put in place over three classes to reportedly level the playing field.

Gigabyte Winter OC Whiteout Competition.jpg

 

The overclocking stages are as follows:

  • Stage One: 3DMark11 DX11 “No X79” single GPU only
  • Stage Two: 3DMark Vantange Dual Core, single GPU only
  • Stage Three: Heaven DX11 “Full Out” Any CPU, single GPU only

The stages are fairly self-explanatory. For stage one, users are not allowed to use any Intel X79 hardware (motherboards or processors). In stage two, the limits are that users can only use single or dual core processors. Stage three opens up the system such that you can use any processor and graphics card combination. Further, all three stages are limited to a single graphics card per system.

The contest is being run by HWBot, and overclock submissions need to follow the site’s validation rules. You will need to use a specific HWBot desktop background and submit screenshots of the overclock that include the benchmark score as well as screenshots of CPU-Z’s CPU, Memory, and Mainboard tabs. Also, you will need to include a photo of your computer hardware.

The photos of your computer hardware will also be used for a bonus contest where Gigabyte and Cooler Master will pick ten of the most festive submission photos on January 10th. Those ten photos will be placed on the Gigabyte Tech Column facebook page. The photo from that page receives the most Facebook likes by January 20th will win a bonus prize.

The prizes for the three main overclocking stages include a Gigabyte Z77X-UD4H motherboard and a Cooler Master Seidon 120mm CPU cooler. On the other hand, the bonus prize is a Gigabyte Z77-UD4 motherboard and a Cooler Master Sirus S-5.1 gaming headset.

The contest will run from December 21st to January 20th, 2013. You can find more information over at the HWBot contest page.

Source: Gigabyte