Video Perspective: Gigabyte Z97 Motherboard Roundup

Subject: Motherboards | May 22, 2014 - 07:40 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 - 10:15 AM |
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."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

ASUS Launches Six New H81 Motherboards For Budget Haswell Systems

Subject: General Tech | August 21, 2013 - 03:32 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 - 06:53 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

ECS Launches A970M-A Deluxe for AMD Processors

Subject: Motherboards | October 31, 2012 - 12:59 PM |
Tagged: vishera, phenom, motherboard, ECS, atx, amd, am3, a970m-a deluxe

Elitegroup Computer Systems is on a roll this week for launching motherboards supporting AMD processors. In addition to its mini ITX offerings, the company is launching the A970M-A Deluxe in it’s full gold-clad ATX form factor glory (heh). It offers up support for AMD’s latest FX and Phenom II series processors along with SATA III 6Gbps and USB 3.0 for speedy storage. Unfortunately, there is no PCI-E 3.0. Otherwise, this is a high end motherboard and has the feature set to match.

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In typical ECS fashion, the company has outfitted the board with gold colored heatsinks, EZ BIOS, solid capacitors, “Thor Ultra Protection,” a dust shield, and support for up to 140W TDP processors, among other features. The EZ BIOS is actually a uEFI BIOS that allows you to tweak settings using a graphical interface as well as automatic overclocking functionality that can overclock the AMD processor for you (to an extent).

Internal IO and board layout

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The board has several gold-colored heatsinks over the VRM and southbridge hardware. Along the top of the board lies the AM3+ CPU socket and four DDR3 DIMM slots. The board supports up to 2133 MHz memory when overclocked and up to 32 GB of RAM (when using 8GB DIMMs). Expansion slots include two PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, and two legacy PCI slots. The lower-right corner features five SATA III 6Gbps ports – two of which are positioned at right angles to the board. Expansion headers include three fan headers, one COM header, and three USB 2.0 headers (up to 6 additional ports) are also included on the board.

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The rear panel IO includes:

  • 1 x PS/2 combo port
  • 1 x RJ45 port (Realtek 8111E Gigabit LAN Controller)
  • 1 x eSATA 6Gbps port
  • 2 x USB 3.0 ports
  • 8 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 5 x Analog audio jacks (4 line out, 1 line in. Realtek ALC892 codec)
  • 1 x S/PDIF optical audio output

While we do not yet have US pricing, when converted from the stated RS 9,000 (according to Think Digit)to USD, the board is just under $170. No word yet on stateside availability. You can find more information on the ECS specifcations page.

Source: ECS

ECS HDC-12/E-350D2 Is Mini ITX Motherboard with AMD APU

Subject: Motherboards | October 31, 2012 - 08:21 AM |
Tagged: motherboard, mini-itx, hdc-12/e-350d2, ECS, e-350d, amd

Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) has launched a new motherboard and processor combination that pairs a mini-itx form factor board with an AMD E-350D Accelerated Processing Unit (APU). Measuring 17cm x 17cm, the HDC-12/E-350D2 is similar to the Biostar product covered previously, except for feature set. The ECS model uses the cheaper A45 FCH chipset and does away with modern expansion ports such as PCI-E 3.0 and USB 3.0. While it is less capable, it is also less expensive that the other boards.

ECS Mini ITX Motherboard.jpg

The board has a bundled AMD E-350D APU with dual CPU cores and integrated HD 6130 graphics. The memory controller supports a maximum of 16GB of DDR3 RAM running at 1066MHz via two DIMM slots on the motherboard. The A45 chipset supports two SATA II 3 Gbps ports, and that is one area where the low cost nature (and associated compromises) of the A45 chipset hits home as the higher end boards have more ports and support for SATA III 6 Gbps. Aside from some fan headers and headers for USB ports, the only other expansion option is a single legacy PCI slot at the bottom of the board.

External IO options include:

  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 3 x analog audio jacks

The lack of an optical audio output is disappointing as well, but the board can be powered by a single 24 pix ATX cable – no 4 or 8 pin CPU power required. In the end it is a cheap base for a low power system. It would make a great router / firewall device with the addition of a PCI Ethernet NIC, for example. The only real downside would be wireless as you would need to use USB NICs to add that capability. This could also make for an entry level HTPC build as the APU is capable of hardware accelerating 1080p video.

Along with the HTPC vein, ECS is bundling coupons for free copies of Cyberlink's MediaEspresso 6.5 LE and MediaShow 5.1 LE transcoding and playback software with the motherboard.

The ECS HDC-12/E-350D2 will retail for a sub-$100 price, and should be available for purchase soon.

Read more about Mini ITX motherboards at PC Perspective.

Source: Softpedia

ASRock Launches Extreme6/TB4 Motherboard With Two Thunderbolt Ports

Subject: Motherboards | October 29, 2012 - 08:24 AM |
Tagged: Z77, thunderbolt, motherboard, extreme6/tb4, asrock

Update: The specifications page is now live on the ASRock website.

Pegatron-owned motherboard company ASRock has launched a new Z77 motherboard with dual Thunderbolt ports dubbed the Extreme6/TB4. While all the nitty-gritty details are still up in the error due to an error on the ASRock site, we do have some information on the board worth sharing.

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The ASRock Extreme6/TB4 is based on the Z77 chipset, which supports socket 1155 processors (Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge). Further, the board has four DIMM slots for DDR3 memory running at up to 2800MHz. Additionally, the Extreme6/TB4 uses gold capicitors, digital power technology, and a 8+4 power phase. Quad SLI and CrossFireX multi-GPU technologies are also features.

asrock_z77extreme6-tb4_banner.jpg

It features two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x8 or x8/x8), two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and two legacy PCI slots. For storage, the motherboard has four SATA III 6Gbps ports (RAID 0/1/5/10) and several USB headers.

Rear panel IO includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x eSATA
  • 1 x eSATA/USB
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x VGA
  • 2 x Thunderbolt
  • 5 x Analog audio jacks
  • 1 x S/PDIF optical audio port
  • 1 x HDMI

Thanks to the two Thunderbolt ports on the rear IO panel, the new ASRock motherboard can support up to 12 devices (with passthrough ports) and two DisplayPort displays. That's a lot of Thunderbolt gear!

Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or when the motherboard will be available for purchase.

Read more about Intel’s Thunderbolt technology at PC Perspective.

Source: ASRock

Gigabyte Launches F2A75M-HD2 Micro ATX Motherboard

Subject: General Tech | October 23, 2012 - 03:50 AM |
Tagged: trinity, motherboard, mATX, gigabyte, fm2, APU

Gigabyte recently unveiled a low-cost micro ATX form factor motherboard for Trinity APUs called the F2A75M-HD2. The motherboard is aimed at low cost home theater and small form factor builds using AMD’s Trinity APUs. It measures 225 x 174 mm and offers up a number of features despite the small size. The board itself features the FM2 processor socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots (up to 32GB DDR3 1866Mhz), and a 5-phase VRM feeding the APU power. It also features Gigabyte’s dual BIOS chip technology and a UEFI BIOS.

Gigabyte F2A75M-HD2 (2).jpg

Internal I/O includes one PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot, one PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot, and one legacy PCI slot. Four SATA III 6Gbps ports are available, and the A75 chipset supports RAID 0, 1, and 10. Two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 headers are also available on the board for expansion.

Gigabyte F2A75M-HD2 (3).jpg

Rear I/O of the Gigabyte F2A75M-HD2 motherboard includes:

  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x VGA
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 3 x Analog audio jacks
  • 1 x PS/2 port
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet jack

While no specific availability date or MSRP was announced, you can expect this micro ATX Trinity-powered motherboard to be available soon for around $70 USD.

Gigabyte F2A75M-HD2.jpg

Read more about Gigabyte's FM2 motherboard lineup at PC Perspective.

Source: Gigabyte
Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

It's been a couple months since we've had a chance to evaluate a Z77-based motherboard, so we are taking this opportunity to throw ASUS's P8Z77-V Deluxe on our test bench to put it through our comprehensive real-world and synthetic benchmarks. This $279 board has been available for several months and supports the LGA 1155 platform that includes Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors.

 

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Courtesy of ASUS

There are many features to drool over about the ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe, but my favorite ones include the board's unique power management features, Wi-Fi functionality with remote access, and customized UEFI BIOS.  This board also includes other enhancements that focus on support for faster USB 3.0 and PCIe 3.0 integration as well as extra SATA 6GB/s ports that provide double the bandwidth of current bus systems.

 

Continue reading more about our review of the ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe!

Gigabyte Launches Flagship GA-F2A85X-UP4 Trinity Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 2, 2012 - 11:52 PM |
Tagged: trinity, motherboard, gigabyte, fm2, APU

AMD’s latest Trinity APUs launched yesterday, and with that Gigabyte launched its flagship socket FM2 motherboard, the GA-F2A85X-UP4. This board was shown off earlier this year, but now we have all the details. This motherboard is packed with all the Gigabyte technology you would expect from an enthusiast board, and some of the more interesting features include the Ultra Durable 5 capacitors, a digital PWM array, single package IR3550 PowIRStage ICs, and dual APU clock generators to push overclocking of non-K edition processors as far as possible – at least in theory. Also interesting is the inclusion of Lucid’s Virtu MVP GPU virtualization technology, two EFI BIOS chips, switchable graphics, and the ability to crossfire certain 6000-series discrete graphics cards with the GPU in the Trinity APU.

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Internal connectivity options include the FM2 socket, four DDR3 DIMM slots (up to 64GB @ 1866MHz), seven SATA 6Gbps ports, one eSATA 6Gbps port, and support for RAID O, 1, 5, 10, and JBOD. Furter, the GA-F2A85X-UP4 supports three PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots. The first slot runs at x16 or x8 if there are two GPUs installed. The second and third slots run at x8 and x4 respectively. Gigabyte has also included three PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots for sounds and networking cards.

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Internal IO headers include one CPU fan, four system fans, one S/PDIF, one USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, one serial, one clear CMOS, and one TPM.

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Rear I/O on the flagship Trinity motherboard includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x S/PDIF
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x eSATA
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 6 x analog audio jacks

This board is packing a lot of hardware, and the price is right around $130 depending on the retailer. The GA-F2A85X-UP4 is available now. Interestingly Gigabyte has also announced the F2A85XM-D3H based on the same A85X chipset as the flagship F2-A85X-UP4 as well as some lower tier motherboards based on the A75 and A55 chipsets with new FM2 sockets. Unfortunately, these motherboards do not appear to be available yet. If you are interested in those boards (which should cost less), keep an eye out for the F2A75M-D3H, and F2A55M-HD2 – or simply watch PC Perspective’s homepage of course!

In the meantime, you can find more photos of the GA-F2A85X-UP4 on Gigabyte's website.

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Source: Gigabyte