Five X79 boards to choose from

Subject: Motherboards | January 23, 2012 - 05:22 PM |
Tagged: x79, asus, asrock, Intel, msi, ECS, lga2011, p9x79 deluxe, X79 Extreme9, X79R-AX, DX79SI, X79A-GD65(8D)

There are five usual suspects when discussing the X79 chipset, Asus's P9X79 Deluxe, the Asrock X79 Extreme9, ECS's X79R-AX, Intel's DX79SI and last but not least, MSI's X79A-GD65(8D).  While very similar overall, each board has distinct features that the companies have introduced as standard over the years, from ASUS' Q-LED to MSI's OC Genie.  TechSpot had their work cut out for them, the boards range in price by $100 and the board that they picked as the winner might just surprise you.

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"Those wanting to build the ultimate performance system will naturally turn to Intel’s new LGA2011 platform which recently made its debut with the Sandy Bridge-E processors. This highly refined architecture takes the original Sandy Bridge design and pumps it full of steroids, while adding a few new things. Moreover, the platform is expected to support enthusiast-level Ivy Bridge processors that are slated for release by the end of 2012, adding to the platform's longevity.

So if you're already spending $600+ on a processor alone, you'll want to make sure your motherboard is equally impressive. Today we are checking out five high-end X79 motherboards from Asus, Asrock, ECS, Intel and MSI."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: TechSpot

CES 2012: MSI GUS II External Thunderbolt Graphics Upgrade System

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 07:41 PM |
Tagged: CES, thunderbolt, msi, gus ii, gus, external graphics

While wandering around the MSI suite at The Venetian today I came across a very interesting new device.  The GUS II is an external discrete graphics card dock that connects to a notebook PC (or small-form factor, etc) via a Thunderbolt connection. 

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Thunderbolt is a somewhat new interface that extends the PCI Express bus outside of the machine allowing for performance as high as 10 Gb/s per channel in its full implementation.  Current Intel implementations that ship with the Macbook Air and likely included in the first batch of Thunderbolt-capable Ultrabooks are built around Eagle Ridge that offers two bi-directional channels.  Still, even with a 10 Gb/s rating, we are seeing more than enough bandwidth for a discrete graphics card.

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You can see that device obviously won't fit your new Radeon HD 7970 3GB in there but the GUS II will support cards with as much as 150 watts of power consumption via the included external power brick.  75 watts of power is supplied by the internal PEG slot while the internal 6-pin ATX power connector supplies another 75 watts.

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MSI was running an HD 5770 inside the GUS II on a MacBook Pro running Windows 7.  Unigine Heaven was playing on the graphics card outputs and it was definitely running at speeds and quality settings that the GPU in the Macbook would not have been able to.

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MSI mentioned they were hopeful the price would be in the $150 range which is actually quite a good surprise considering they are going to be including the Thunderbolt cable in the box - an accessory that is notoriously expensive today. 

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All that is holding up the GUS II from release at this point is compatibility and driver support from AMD and NVIDIA.  Because you are essentially adding in another PCI Express graphics card to system that might only have been prepared and QA'd for a single one, there are some issues to work out.  Even with the hardware in a basically complete state, there is no time table for release though hopefully we can get this pushed into the mainstream soon.

Thunderbolt might finally bring us the dockable and upgradeable graphics we have always envisioned for notebooks.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Take a closer look at MSI's new Z77 motherboards

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 06:19 PM |
Tagged: Z77, msi, lga1155, Ivy Bridge, CES

You probably saw Scott's coverage of the unveiling of the new Z77 chipset based motherboards from Gigabyte which will support Intel's soon to be released Ivy Bridge family of processors.  This spells a return to LGA 1155, though don't expect your old Sandy Bridge processor to be able to take advantage of all the features of this new high end chipset.

MSI has two brand new boards they are showing off at CES 2012, the Z77A-GD80 and the Z77A-GD65.   The first will be their new flagship motherboard and will feature new versions of ClickBIOS, their UEFI implementation and Multi-BIOS overclocking helper which will allow you to save profiles and recover from BIOS corruption.  The board will continue their tradition of PCIe 3.0 compliance with three 16x slots and it will have four dual dual channel DIMM slots that can accept up to DDR3-2667.  They've also included four USB 3.0 and four SATA 6Gbps ports for your storage needs.

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 The Z77A-G65 below sports the same overall features as the GD80 with some changes to the PCB.  Looking to the top of the board you can see the GD65 lacks a heatsink at the very top edge but you can still see that MSI has used Military Class III components on the motherboard and the always on USB charging port.

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*update*  The missing link has been found that seperates the GD80 from the GD65 and that difference is none other than Thunderbolt.  The Z77A-GA80 has Thunderbolt support, the new interface which allows an external peice of hardware direct access to the PCIe bus and will allow transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps. That speed allows the use of devices like MSI's GUS II, an external video card enclosure that comes with an expensive and sometimes hard to find Thunderbolt cable.  That interface is not limited to GPUs, it will be interesting to see what use enthusiasts who purchase the Z77A-GD80 will put Thunderbolt to.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: MSI

MSI Launches Military Inspired Interceptor Computer Case Series

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 7, 2012 - 07:08 PM |
Tagged: msi, cases, atx, interceptor, raptor, CES

It seems to be "Diversification Season" here in the tech world, as Vizio adds computers to their portfolio and now MSI, a company most well known for motherboards and graphics cards, is launching a series of computer cases. The new MSI cases have a military inspired theme and have been dubbed the Interceptor Series. Currently, there are two mid tower ATX form factor cases in the lineup including the Raptor and Nighthawk.

Both the Nighthawk and Raptor cases are constructed of black steel , have included ball-bearing fans, and plenty of ventilation, tool-less drive bays and expansion slots, and a three year manufacturer's warranty. Also, both cases have seven expansion slots and can accommodate graphics cards up to 12.2" in length.

The Raptor is the least flashy of the two, though it still manages to look nice. The side panel has a large mesh ventilation area over the CPU and VRM area. Meanwhile, the front of the case features a blue LED fan behind a mesh grill with MSI logo, and supports three 5.25" drive bays. Further, the case comes with a 12-in-1 card reader accessible on the front panel as well as two USB ports, 1 USB 3.0 port and two audio ports (mic and headphone). Last up, the case is ready for water cooling radiators and has a bottom mounted PSU rack.

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The Raptor

If the Raptor is the little brother, the Nighthawk is the big guns and the case is definitely more flashy in its military theme inspiration. The side panel has a larger mesh grill that breaks out of the case and has what may resemble bullet holes throughout. The front panel is more stylized as well with a large mesh grill minus logos to facilitate the most airflow with a blue LED fan behind it. The front panel support three USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.0 port, and two audio jacks for microphone and headphones. This case also has the 12-in-1 card reader and the front of the case can hold up to four 5.25" drives. The case is a bit taller than the raptor and has larger feet so it sits higher off of the ground. MSI claims the case is ready to roll with liquid cooling solutions as well.

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The Nighthawk

MSI says that the cases will be available for purchase by the end of December in North America. The Nighthawk has an MSRP of $79.99 while the Raptor has an MSRP of $59.99. Not a bad start, MSI. The cases may yet be something that Ryan and the crew will be able to see first-hand at CES.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: MSI

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Gear Up with MSI: Win Intel Motherboards, GeForce Graphics Cards

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards | November 30, 2011 - 11:13 AM |
Tagged: z68, x79, sandy bridge-e, msi, GTX 580, GTX 560, giveaway, contest

This is a pretty big week here at PC Perspective as we released our highly anticipated review of the Intel Sandy Bridge-E and X79 platform.  If you haven't read that over, you need to do so, right away!!  But we also have some impressive gear to giveaway thanks to our friends at MSI and their "Gear Up with MSI" campaign!

What are the prizes?  I know that's what you want to know first...

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Wow, these are some stellar prizes!  First prize basically gets the components required for one of the fastest gaming rigs on the planet while the 2nd prize will be able to play Batman: Arkham City with all the top settings! 

So what do you have to do to win these prizes?  The steps are simple:

  1. Make a comment on this post thanking MSI for this kick ass contest!!  That's pretty simple right?  You don't have to register, though we would appreciate it!
  2. Like MSI on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MSI.ComputerUS
    1. (Just a hint, they have a lot of Facebook-specific contests throughout the year!)
  3. Like PC Perspective on Facebook: http://facebook.com/pcper
  4. Follow PC Perspective on Twitter: http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. Circle PC Perspective on Google+: http://gplus.to/pcper
    1. (Another hint, comments on our G+ post about this contest get another entry!)

We will pick random winners in our pool of entries on Wednesday, the 7th of December!  Sorry, US and Canada residents only for this one!  If you don't have a Facebook/Twitter/Google+ account commenting here will still enter you.

Oh, and if you haven't seen the other contest MSI is running around the release of Batman: Arkham City, you should check out this page on their site.  Posting a photo of yourself dressed up like Batman has never been so lucrative! 

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The Grand Prize for MSI's Batman Photo Contest!!

Winners Announced!!  Sorry about the late update, but we did pick our winners!  The first prize went to use "Equinox2355" and the second prize went to "Deman".  Thanks to everyone for participating and we'll have more contests very soon!!!

Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

A Temporary Card with a Permanent Place in Our Heart

Today NVIDIA and its partners are announcing availability of a new graphics card that bridges the gap between the $230 GTX 560 Ti and the $330 GTX 570 currently on the market.  The new card promises to offer performance right between those two units with a price to match but with a catch: it is a limited edition part with expected availability only through the next couple of months.

When we first heard rumors about this product back in October I posited that the company would be crazy to simply call this the GeForce GTX 560 Ti Special Edition.  Well...I guess this makes me the jackass.  This new ~$290 GPU will be officially called the "GeForce GTX 560 Ti with 448 Cores". 

Seriously.

The GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Core Edition

The GeForce GTX 560 Ti with 448 cores is actually not a GTX 560 Ti at all and in fact is not even built on a GF114 GPU - instead we are looking at a GF110 GPU (the same used on the GeForce GTX 580 and GTX 570 graphics cards) with another SM disabled.  

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GeForce GTX 580 Diagram

The above diagram shows a full GF110 GPU sporting 512 CUDA cores and the full 16 SMs (simultaneous multiprocessors) along with all the bells and whistles that go along with that $450 card.  This includes a 384-bit memory bus and a 1.5 GB frame buffer that all adds up to still being the top performing single graphics card on the market today.  

Continue reading our review of the GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Core Graphics Card!!

MSI's All-new X79 Series Mainboards Deliver Superior Stability with Military Class III Components

Subject: Motherboards | November 16, 2011 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: msi, x79, X79A-GD65 (8D), X79A-GD65, X79A-GD45, X79MA-GD45

(Industry, CA) -- Leading international mainboard and graphics card manufacturer MSI today announces the official release of its X79A-GD65 (8D), X79A-GD65, X79A-GD45, and X79MA-GD45 mainboards. The new mainboards are based on Intel's latest X79 chipset and uses the LGA 2011 socket supporting the 2nd generation Core i7 processors. The X79A-GD65 (8D) features with 8 memory DIMMs, supports 16GB DDR3 memory modules, bringing maximum capacity up to a staggering 128GB! For superior quality and stability, MSI X79 series mainboards adopts Military Class III components. With DrMOS II - the next generation of DrMOS with improved double thermal protection - the lifetime of components is maximized, even in warmer environments or when the machine is heavily overclocked. MSI X79 series mainboards also feature the latest PCI Express Gen 3 bus and MSI's proprietary Click BIOS II for maximum performance and user convenience. When taking into account all of the other advanced technologies supported such as 3-Way NVIDIA SLI and 4-way AMD CrossFireX multi-GPU processing technology, THX TruStudio PRO sound, Multi-BIOS II, Control Center II, and Super Charger, MSI X79-series mainboards are simply the best choice for enthusiasts!

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New Military Class III Components and the Next-gen DrMOS: DrMOS II
MSI X79 series mainboards maintains MSI's commitment to product stability and reliability by introducing Military Class III components. In addition to the use of Tantalum core capacitors (Hi-c CAP), Super Ferrite Chokes (SFC) and Solid Capacitors (Solid CAP), MSI now incorporates next-generation DrMOS II design. While competitors are just beginning to adopt a DrMOS solution, MSI's DrMOS II provides an integrated and fully-automated Double Thermal Protection to maximize the lifespan of components – even in warmer environments or when heavily overclocked. All Military Class III components have passed MIL-STD-810G certification, making MSI's Military Class III components synonymous with premium quality and ultimate stability.

Double the Bandwidth with PCI Express Gen 3
MSI's X79 mainboards support the latest PCI Express Gen 3 standard to deliver a staggering 32GB/s of bandwidth, double that of the previous generation. PCI Express Gen 3 support can also be enabled or disabled through the BIOS interface to ensure compatibility with graphics cards regardless of whether users use a PCI Express Gen 3 graphics card!

World's 1st Unified UEFI & Software Graphical Interface – Click BIOS II
MSI's Click BIOS II is the world's 1st to provide a unified graphical user interface under both UEFI & Windows. System settings can be adjusted using the mouse or even LCD touch control under different environments. Click BIOS II can not only save overclocking settings to a USB storage device but also upload them for sharing with other overclocking enthusiasts. This convenient and intuitive design is the result of continual technological breakthrough developed by MSI for its flagship mainboard line.

Easiest One-second Overclocking Technology – OC Genie II
MSI's proprietary OC Genie II can achieve amazing performance increases in just one second. CPU and memory performance are optimized without compromising system stability, significantly saving the time required by overclockers for fine-tuning. Once the user enables OC Genie on MSI's X79 mainboards, the clock rate on the Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition processor pumped from a default of 3.3GHz to 4.0GHz. The 21% increase enables users to enjoy the performance boost from overclocking with ease.

Comprehensive Support for Multi-GPU Processing Technology
MSI X79 mainboards fully support 4-way AMD CrossFireX and 3-way NVIDIA SLI multi-GPU processing technologies, providing the most scalability and performance for gamers who require extreme gaming performance.

THX TruStudio PRO Surround Sound Technology for the Best Audio Experience
MSI X79 series mainboards are all equipped with THX TruStudio PRO audio technology for the best sound quality. Experience the most immersive surround sound effects when you are watching Blu-ray movies, other media, or playing 3D games!

Multi-BIOS II Offers Safe and Convenient BIOS Switching
MSI's X79 mainboards support the latest Multi-BIOS II technology. The integrated dual BIOS design improves safety and convenience by allowing enthusiasts to use a switch on the mainboard to manually switch between different BIOS setups when one is corrupted by overclocking or other factors.

Super Charger Charges Your iPad / iPhone / Smart Phone, Even When Computer is Powered Off!
MSI's X79 mainboards support Super Charger fast charging technology to deliver triple the current of standard USB 2.0 interfaces. Even if your computer is switched off, you’ll still be able to quickly recharge your iPad/iPhone or smart phone to ensure you always stay connected!

Source: MSI

A new processor needs a new home; meet the X79 chipset

Subject: Motherboards | November 14, 2011 - 04:02 PM |
Tagged: X79A-GD65 (8D), X79-UD5, x79, P8X79 PRO, msi, lga2011, Intel, gigabyte, DX79SI, asus

If you want to run a Sandy Bridge E chip, you are going to need a new motherboard as they use a brand new socket.  The upgrade isn't just about the socket though, as there is a noticeable increase in PCIe 3.0 lanes possible on the X79 chipset as well quad channel memory.  At The Tech Report is a look at motherboards from four major vendors, the Asus P8X79 PRO, Gigabyte X79-UD5, Intel DX79SI, and the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D).  Unfortunately Intel is plagued by issues with storage, while not the same as we saw in their previous chipset the port count is still lower than we expected and the RAID software is still labelled as a beta product.  Indeed by the end of the review it seems that each board did at least one thing to disappoint The Tech Report, though they hold hope for future revisions.

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"If you want to get in on Intel's new Sandy Bridge-E CPU, you'll need an LGA2011 motherboard. We've gathered four examples from Asus, Gigabyte, Intel, and MSI to see which one makes the best foundation for an Extreme Sandy build."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

X79 Motherboard Roundup Video Preview

Subject: Motherboards | November 14, 2011 - 02:51 AM |
Tagged: x79, video, msi, Intel, gigabyte, asus

I am sure by now you have been reading our review of the new Sandy Bridge-E processors, in particular the Core i7-3960X, but we only had a brief mention of the various X79 motherboards we had in-house in that article.  (Which if you haven't read yet, you definitely should!)

Over the course of the last 14 days or so, we have seen and played with:

  • ASUS Rampage IV Extreme
  • ASUS Sabertooth X79
  • ASUS P9X79 Pro
  • MSI X79A-GD65 8D
  • Gigabyte X79-UD3
  • Intel DX79SI

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We will have reviews of all of these boards in the coming days, but I wanted to at least make sure you saw each of these motherboards in our video roundup and preview.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more on the X79 platform and Sandy Bridge-E!!