Subject: Motherboards | May 23, 2012 - 05:15 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Z77, thunderbolt, msi, motherboard
The MSI Z77A-GD80 motherboard that was first shown off at CES 2012 has officially launched today. The new motherboard is based on the Z77 chipset and supports Intel’s latest 22nm Ivy Bridge processors as well as the new Thunderbolt interface (a demo of Thunderbolt can be found here).
The MSI board further utilizes their “Military Class III” components, UEFI / Windows GUI ClickBIOS II firmware, and their automatic overclocking OC Genie II software. The board also features four DIMM slots for up to 32GB of DDR3 2800MHz memory, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, four PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots, four SATA II and four SATA III. It also supports two-way SLI or three-way Crossfire for multi-GPU setups and has an additional USB 3.0 header for expansion cards or front panel ports.
Rear IO includes 4 USB 2.0 ports, a combination PS/2 mouse/keyboard port, digital and optical audio outputs, HDMI, Gigabit LAN, two USB 3.0 ports, VGA output, and 6 port analog audio output.Last but not least the Thunderbolt port, resting under the VGA output. MSI is pushing the new transfer technology hard in the press release because of the super fast transfer rates (theoretically up to 10Gbps).
Unfortunately, there is no word on pricing or availability for this motherboard (yet). Stay tuned to future updates as more information is released. More photos of and specification details for the new Thunderbolt equipped motherboard can be found here.
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Storage | May 21, 2012 - 06:57 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Z77, thunderbolt, p8z77-v premium, msi, asus
We have really been waiting for this since we first saw the release of Thunderbolt on the Apple MacBooks last year, but we finally have it: Thunderbolt support for PC users! Both MSI and ASUS today announced availability of motherboards with integrated Thunderbolt connectivity: the ASUS P8Z77-V Premium and the MSI Z77A-GD80 will both get you a single integrated Thunderbolt port.
"Intel and ASUS have worked closely on the implementation of Thunderbolt technology onto Asus motherboards”, said Jason Ziller, Intel’s Director of Thunderbolt Marketing. “The P8Z77-V PREMIUM is the first Thunderbolt certified motherboard in the industry, a testament to its solid design and compatibility."
With its long history of working with high tech vendors, ASUS is able to show its strength and commitment to innovation with a close relationship to three of the leading brands currently producing products with Thunderbolt technology, Elgato, LaCie, and PROMISE.
Thunderbolt is a new, high-speed I/O technology designed for performance, simplicity and flexibility, with lightning fast transfer speeds that are twice that of USB 3.0 and up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0. It offers simultaneous bi-directional 10Gbps transfer speeds over a single cable, with the flexibility to daisy-chain up to six Thunderbolt-ready devices with a single connection as well as offering full display port support for a 7th Thunderbolt or display port equipped monitor. This allows for a clutter-free computing experience while offering unprecedented levels of performance. Users can connect multiple Thunderbolt-enabled external storage drives to a Thunderbolt-enabled display and transfer files while watching HD movies, all without experiencing any lag. In addition for content professional this connection has been designed form the ground up for multimedia offering low latency with highly accurate time synchronization for professional audio and video applications. PC enthusiast and gamers can take immediate advantage combining Thunderbolt and on-board Lucid Virtu MVP to enjoy top-notch graphics performance.
Even better, we have some in-action video of the new ASUS Thunderbolt-implementation including performance!
This video was recorded well before today's launch during our Z77 Live Review and clearly shows some of the benefits of Thunderbolt, as well as some of the limitations, you'll find if you pick up the ASUS P8ZZ77-V Premium motherboard!
Subject: Motherboards | May 16, 2012 - 01:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, z77a-gd65, lga1155
MSI's Z77A-GD65 comes with a nice set features including THX TruStudio PRO, Lucid’s VirtuMVP, active phase switching, and HDMI 1.4 along with support for both SLI and CrossFireX. It supports PCIe 3.0 on its three 16x slots, running 8x, 4x, 4x or 8x, 8x, 0x which should still offer enough bandwidth for multiple GPU based systems. Overclocking Ivy Bridge on this board was not difficult, ignoring the voltage and heat issues common to all Ivy Bridge processors and overall [H]ard|OCP has found the Z77 to be one of the better designed chipsets recently released and like that it doesn't exhibit the growing pains many others have felt on initial release. MSI took that solid design and pushed it further, something we've come to expect from their GD65 series motherboards.
"MSI has been on a roll with its motherboards as of late. It’s because of this that our expectations for MSI’s foray into the world of Z77 chipset based motherboards are so high. MSI’s "GD65" series of motherboards have been an especially solid value and the Z77A-GD65 looks to be no different."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Gigabyte address Z77X-UD5H @ Kitguru
- ASRock Z77 Professional Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- MSI Z77A-GD65 (Z77) Motherboard Review @ eTeknix
- ECS Z77H2-AX Black Extreme Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
- Intel DZ77GA-70K Motherboard Components @ Benchmark Reviews
- Gigabyte Z77-D3H (Z77) Motherboard Review @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H @ Funkykit
- A First Look at Thunderbolt on Windows with MSI's Z77A-GD80 @ AnandTech
- ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe @ AnandTech
- ECS Z77H2-AX Golden Edition Review @ OCC
- Intel Z77 Motherboard Review with Ivy Bridge - ASRock, ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI @ AnandTech
- ECS X79R-AX Deluxe Review @ Neoseeker
- BIOS Option Of The Week - CPU Direct Access FB @ TechARP
- Gigabyte Sniper M3 Review @ Bjorn3D
- Gigabyte A75M-D2H and A75-UD4H Motherboard Review @ OCC
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 5, 2012 - 06:28 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nvidia, msi, kepler, gtx 670, asian colorful
Earlier this week we reported on a rumored MSI GTX 670 graphics card with a “DispalyPort” that was coming out soon. A new photo of the MSI card is below along with the box (though the typo is covered up by the card). Swelclockers has now gotten their hands on even more photos of the alleged GPU–this time from manufacturer Asia Colorful. The two rumored cards are said to be based on the NVIDIA reference design, and supporting the rumors, both cards do look very similar in design.
The alleged MSI GTX 670 GPU
The cards that appear to be Kepler based GTX 670s have a black PCB that extends about 3/4ths of the length of the heatsink and fan cooler. Except for a bit of overlap, the heatsink covers the PCB and the fan is located in the part of the card that hangs past the edge of the PCB. It also looks like they have moved the PCI-E power connectors to the outside edge of the card–a different rumored GTX 670 had the PCI-E power on the back edge of the card.
The underside of the Asia Colorful GTX 670 graphics card.
As far as specifications, the cards support PCI-E 3.0, two DVI outputs, an HDMI and what looks like a DisplayPort output. Beyond that, the card is said to be based on a scaled down version of NVIDIA’s Kepler architecture based GTX 680 GPU. For the GTX 670, NVIDIA has allegedly disabled 192 CUDA cores for a total of 1344. They have also reduced the base GPU core clockspeed from 1,006MHz on the GTX 680 to 900MHz. Although the card still uses the same 256-bit memory interface, the GTX 670 has a reduced memory (GDDR5) clockspeed of 5GHz versus 6GHz on the GTX 680. Because of the scaled back nature of the card, it has a lower TDP of approximately 150W.
Because they have been spotted in retailer’s hands, the GTX 670 is likely very close to release. Rumors are now suggesting that the card will be sold for somewhere between $349 and $379 USD.
Also on the Kepler front, is this cool looking single slot Kepler-class GPU that may or may not be a custom designed GTX 670. What Kepler rumors have you heard, and are you looking forward to the cheaper GTX 600 series cards?
It seems like MSI has some cheaper Kepler based NVIDIA graphics cards coming soon if this photo from Malaysian retailer Cycom turns out to be legitimate. Spotted by Lowyat user Chapree, the photo appears to be an MSI GTX 670 graphics card. Further, the card appeared on the company’s website at a price of 1399 Malaysian ringgits which translates to just under $462 USD.
Interestingly, the box contains a typo for Displayport in the form of “DispalyPort.” While that may indicate a fake card, it doesn’t totally rule it out either. The NVIDIA GTX 680 is the only available Kepler card (if you can find one to buy that is!), and many users are clamoring for some cheaper options. Here’s hoping they are coming sooner rather than later!
Subject: Motherboards, Processors, Chipsets | April 13, 2012 - 11:37 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Z77, video, msi, live review, Intel, gigabyte, ECS, asus
A PC Perspective Live Review Recap is a recorded version of a previously live streamed event from http://pcper.com/live. If you couldn't make the original air time, or simply want to re-watch, the on-demand version is provided below!
Z77 chipset based motherboards are already available and on the market and while we can't share performance or details on the Ivy Bridge processor yet, we can show off and discuss the Z77 chipset and motherboards. In our Live Review we did a quick unboxing and preview of several models including:
- MSI Z77A-GD65 - $169
- Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H - $189
- Intel DZ77GA-70K - $239
- ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe - $274
- ECS Z77H2-AX (Non Golden Model - $164)
Subject: Motherboards | April 10, 2012 - 12:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, Big Bang XPower II, x79, lga2011
If you are looking for Z77 previews then the long list below should keep you occupied, but since Ivy Bridge processors are not yet available these tests with Sandy Bridge processors are more of a performance preview even if almost every model of Z77 board can already be had. If you are more interested in [H]ard numbers then why not check out [H]'s review of the MSI Big Bang XPower II, a fully evolved X79 motherboard. This chipset has matured and expanded its capabilities, a Core i-7 3960K was perfectly stable at 4.7GHz after a bit of work. The board came off of the review with flying colours even if the BIOS was renamed to the MSI DoubleClick BIOS thanks to some issues with the UEFI's interface.
"MSI pulls out all the stops to create the Big Bang XPower II. A true enthusiast class motherboard designed for over the top enthusiast rigs. The XPower II is able to satisfy the overclocker and fits the needs of the multi-GPU user looking for a bigger bang. And yes, you even get fake bullets and guns on your heatsinks."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Z77 motherboards from Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI @ The Tech Report
- Asus Maximus V Gene (Z77) Motherboard Sandy Bridge Review @ eTeknix
- Intel DZ77GA-70K Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- Intel Z77 Chipset motherboard Review @ OCC
- ECS Z77H2-AX Golden @ Guru of 3D
- MSI Z77A-GD65 LGA1155 Motherboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- MSI Z77-GD65 @ Bjorn3D
- Biostar TZ77XE4 Intel LGA1155 Preview @ techPowerUp
- ECS Golden Board Z77H2-AX LGA 1155 Preview @ techPowerUp
- ECS, Gigabyte & Intel Z77 Motherboard Preview @ Neoseeker
- Intel 7 Series Chipset and DZ77GA-70K @ Guru of 3D
- Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H Motherboard Sandy Bridge Review @ eTeknix
- GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD5H WiFi & GA-Z77X-UD3H Motherboard Reviews @ Legit Reviews
- ASRock Z77-Professional @ Funky Kit
- ASUS P8-Z77V Pro @ OC3D
- Z77 Motherboard Video Reviews @ Hi Tech Legion
- Intel Z77 Series Chipset Launch Roundup @ HardwareHeaven
- Asus Sabertooth Z77 @ Kitguru
- Biostar TZ77XE4 Z77 Motherboard Preview @ eTeknix
- ECS Z77H2-AX Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- Lucid Virtu MVP (HyperFormance) Tested with ASRock Z77 and Intel Ivy Bridge @ Tweaktown
- Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- Asus Sabertooth P67 Motherboard Review @ Ninjalane
- ASRock Fatal1ty x79 Professional Intel 2011 Motherboard @ TechwareLabs
- Asus Z9PE-D8 WS Dual Socket Workstation Motherboard Review @ eTeknix
- ASRock X79 Extreme4 Motherboard Review Take Two @ [H]ard|OCP
- Asus X79 Sabertooth Motherboard @ Bjorn3D
- ASUS Rampage IV Formula Motherboard @ Bjorn3D
- BIOS Option Of The Week - Delay DRAM Read Latch @ TechARP
- 990FX Motherboard Roundup with Thuban and Bulldozer – A Second Wind for ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI and Biostar @ AnandTech
- Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3 Review @ HCW
Will it Strike Again?
It can now be claimed that we are arguably in our 4th generation of Lightning products from MSI. It can also be claimed that the 3rd generation of products really put that brand on the mainstream map. The R6970 and N580GTX (and XE version) set new standards for enthusiast grade graphics cards. Outstanding construction, unique pcb design, high quality (and quantity) of components, and a good eye for overall price have all been hallmarks of these cards. These were honestly some of my favorite video cards of all time. Call me biased, but I think when looking through other reviews those writers felt much the same. MSI certainly hit a couple of homeruns with their three Lightning offerings of 2011.
Time does not stand still. Resting on laurels is always the surest way to lose out to more aggressive competitors. It is now 2012 and AMD has already launched the latest generation of HD 7000 chips, with the top end being the HD 7970. This particular product was launched in late December, but cards were not available until January 9th of 2012. We are now at the end of March where we see a decent volume of products on the shelves, as well as some of the first of the non-reference designs hitting the streets. Currently Asus has its DirectCU II based 7970, but now we finally get to see the Lightning treatment.
MSI has not sat upon their laurels it seems. They are taking an aggressive approach to the new Lightning series of cards, and they implement quite a few unique features that have not been seen on any other product before. Now the question is did they pull it off? Throwing more features at something does not necessarily equal success. The increase in complexity of a design combined with other unknowns with the new features could make it a failure. Just look at the R5870 Lightning for proof. That particular card tread new ground, but did so in a way that did not adequately differentiate itself from reference HD 5870 designs. So what is new and how does it run? Let us dig in!
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 16, 2012 - 02:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: MSI R7970 Lightning, msi, factory overclocked
MSI is taking full advantage of AMD's permission to wander away from the reference design with their brand new 7970 Lightning Edition. Instead of putting a stable overclock on it and selling it at a mark up, they've completely redesigned the power architecture as well as replacing the cooler with one that is quieter and more effective. From the proprietary "GPU Reactor" which increases the amount of current available for your GPU to a significantly higher maximum setting on Power Tune, this card is for the serious overclocker who is experienced with over-volting.
Leading international graphics card and mainboard maker MSI today announced the release of the MSI R7970 Lightning, the new heir to the throne of Lightning graphics cards. Equipped with AMD's 28 nm Radeon HD 7970 GPU, the MSI R7970 Lightning features an all-new Unlocked Digital Power Architecture that incorporates an Unlocked BIOS, Digital PWM Controller, and Enhanced Power Design to boost overclocking potential to new heights and make overclocking easier than ever. In an industry first, the proprietary "GPU Reactor" power supply module reduces power supply noise and also boosts overclocking stability as well. To keep this beast cool, the MSI R7970 Lightning utilizes the latest Twin Frozr IV Thermal Design equipped with Dust Removal Technology. The dual 10 cm fans with Propeller Blade Technology generate massive airflow for fast heat dissipation while remaining whisper silent. The two form-in-one heat sinks improve cooling for memory and the power supply module as well ensure structural integrity. The R7970 Lightning uses Military Class III components which have passed rigorous third-party testing to meet MIL-STD-810G standards, guaranteeing the card's stability and reliability under actual use conditions. Moreover, the "3X3 OC Kits" are designed to simplify overclocking, which makes it easier than ever for enthusiasts to fine-tune the performance of their graphics cards. For both professional users and gaming enthusiasts alike, the R7970 Lightning's ability to simultaneously run 6 displays makes it the natural choice!
Unlocked Digital Power Provides Record-Breaking Potential
The R7970 Lightning boasts an all-new Unlocked Digital Power architecture that provides record breaking potential. The key components involved include the Unlocked BIOS, digital PWM chipset, and an improved power supply design. Unlocked BIOS removes CCC overclocking limits, Power Tune limit is increased by 180%, and OCP limits are relaxed to completely unleash the graphics card's overclocking potential. The digital power supply signal provides voltage signals that are more stable and accurate than conventional analog designs, meaning the voltage can be adjusted more quickly and precisely during overclocking. The improved power supply design provides double the power of the reference board and consists of 17 power supply parameters, dual 8-pin power supply connectors, and the Lightning Power Layer (LPL) design. For true overclocking enthusiasts, the R7970 Lightning with Unlocked Digital Power is simply a dream come true!
GPU Reactor for the Ultimate Power Core
The MSI R7970 Lightning implements the innovative "GPU Reactor" power supply module which, when installed on the back of the GPU, increases current volume by 88%, reduces power supply noise by 13%, and improves overall overclocking stability. MSI GPU Reactor is easy to install and has built in safety features that make it easy even for ordinary users to install and remove.
Extreme Cooling Design for Better Cooling and Structural Strength
The MSI R7970 Lightning incorporates the next-generation Twin Frozr IV Thermal Design. The striking design of the new Twin Frozr IV comes from the two large 10cm PWM fans with Propeller Blade Technology that cool the advanced cooling body of the Twin Frozr IV. Under the aluminum Twin Frozr IV body, you can find a high density fin grid array that provides heat dissipating area that is fed by heat-pipes featuring MSI's SuperPipe technology. MSI has also incorporated its exclusive Dust Removal Technology. Fans are running in reverse for 30 seconds after booting to remove dust from the heat sinks and keep the graphics card's cooling performance running at optimum levels. The R7970 Lightning also boasts two form-in-one heat sinks. One heat sink is located on the front of the graphics card to cool the memory and power supply modules, while the second heat sink on the back of the card helps to protect and reinforce the card structure. This extreme cooling design provides the R7970 Lightning with the best cooling performance and the most reliable structure.
Premium Materials and User-friendly Overclocking Design
MSI has always led the industry thanks to its unyielding commitment to product stability and quality and made sure that the R7970 Lightning was equipped with Military Class III components certified to MIL-STD-810G military standards in seven different categories by a third-party laboratory. Be it tantalum core Hi-c CAP around the graphics card, the CopperMOS cooling design, the form-in-one Golden SSC, or as the card's moisture/rust-proof Dark Solid CAP, all work together to provide the MSI R7970 Lightning with the best possible stability.
For overclocking enthusiasts, MSI has developed the 3X3 OC Kits: V-Check Points enable GPU, Memory and VDDCI voltage to be monitored while Triple Overvoltage and Triple Temperature Sensor enable overclockers to quickly fine-tune and track the performance of their graphics card using enthusiasts favorite Afterburner overclocking software. The 4 Mini DisplayPorts and 2 DVI ports on the R7970 Lightning enable AMD Eyefinity technology to drive 6 screen output with just one card, providing just the kind of performance industry professionals and gaming enthusiasts need.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | March 8, 2012 - 04:00 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: Z77, ssd, podcsat, podcast, msi, Intel, gpu, cpu, asus, amd, 7870, 7850
PC Perspective Podcast #192 - 03/08/2012
Join us this week as we talk about the AMD Radeon HD 7870 and 7850, Z77 Motherboard previews, and a Steam console?
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano
This Podcast is brought to you by
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- 0:02:00 Installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview In A VirtualBox Virtual Machine
- 0:05:00 AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB and HD 7850 2GB Pitcairn Review
- 0:18:30 ASUS Z77 Chipset Motherboard Preview: Formula, Gene, mini-ITX
- 0:24:30 MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) LGA 2011 ATX Motherboard Review
- 0:26:00 Visual Computing Still Decades from Computational Apex
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- 0:37:00 GDC 12: The bigger big picture, Steam Box to be announced?
- 0:40:30 MSI Shows of Next Generation Twin Frozr IV Cards at Cebit
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