Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 7, 2012 - 09:36 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: video, trinity, msi, mobile, laptops, Ivy Bridge, Intel, gaming notebook, gaming, computex, amd
MSI has been busy at this year’s Computex trade show. In addition to the company’s graphics cards and motherboard displays, MSI is showing off four new G Series gaming notebooks. Three of them are running Intel Ivy Bridge processors while the fourth machine is powered by a top-end AMD Trinity APU. Included in the new G series is the GT70, GT60, GE70, GE60, and GX60. The only AMD system is the GX60. Let’s take a look at that one first.
The GX60 has a similar exterior build as the other G Series notebooks, but has vastly different internals and does not appear to have the same audio technology as the Intel-based notebooks. The desktop replacement class (read: heavy and not so great battery life heh) laptop features an AMD A10-4600M APU, AMD A70M chipset, and AMD Radeon 7970M graphics card. Other features include MSI’s “SuperRAID” storage with up to two SSDs in RAID and a mechanical hard drive, Steelseries keyboard, and a Killer E2200 gaming network card. Another interesting feature is the system’s ability to output to up to three displays with AMD Eyefinity technology. The system was able to pull a respectable 30 frames per second on the Unigine Heave benchmark and will have an MSRP of around 1,000 British Pounds (~$1,557.70 USD). According to eTeknix, the AMD Trinity-based notebook will be available soon.
The Intel Ivy Bridge based systems get a bit more love than the AMD Trinity system with SuperRAID support, up to 32GB of RAM, MSI Audio Boost (powered by Dynaudio or THX TruStudiio Pro depending on model), gold-plated audio connectors, Turbo Drive Engine and NVIDIA discrete graphics. The Intel and AMD G series laptops all get 1080p displays and custom backlit keyboards built by SteelSeries. The AMD system may well have MSI Audio Boost, gold plated connectors, and the like but MSI did not seem to tout them on the GX60 like they did for the Intel ones. The GX60 does at least get the SteelSeries keyboard and SuperRAID tech. Anyway, onto the Intel gaming rigs.
MSI GT70 and GT60
The MSI GT 70 is the largest and fastest gaming notebook at the MSI booth with a 17” 1080p display, quad core Core i7 processor, SuperRAID storage, THX certified Dynaudio sound, Turbo Drive Engine, Killer E2200 NIC, and a NVIDIA GTX 680M mobile GPU with GDDR5 RAM. The GT70 utilizes MSI’s SuperRAID to the fullest with two SSDs and a mechanical hard drive for up to 700MB/s read speeds. The system further features a backlit keyboard from SteelSeries that has five LED pattern modes (Normal, Gaming, Wave, Breathing, and Dual Color) and various selectable colors to choose from. The GT70 was pulling about 45 frames-per-second on the Unigine Heaven benchmark and P20,000 on 3DMark Vantage. Consumers should expect it to be available for around 2,500 British Pounds (~$3,894.25 USD).
The MSI GT70 gaming notebook
The GT60 is a smaller version of the GT70 with 15.6” chassis, slightly slower Ivy Bridge Core i7 processor at 2.9GHz, and only a GTX 670M graphics card. It features the same MSI technology as its bigger brother, the GT70, but may not have the exact SuperRAID setup. Otherwise it has Dynaudio, 1080p display, the backlit SteelSeries keyboard, and lots of other goodies. No price info on this one to report, unfortunately.
MSI GE70 and GE60
The two MSI GE branded gaming laptops are the budget versions of the GT70 and GT60. They feature slower IVY Bridge processors, a downgrade in the Intel chipset to H76M, and a GPU downgrade to a NVIDIA GT650M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. The displays are still 1080p, but they do not have Dynaudio (only THX TruStudio Pro), and the SteelSeries keyboards are not backlit. Of the two, the GE70 has a slightly faster Intel processor. They do both feature Turbo Drive Engine technology and likely SuperRAID though the setups are likely limited versus the bigger GT70’s chassis. Again, no word on how much these will cost or when they will be shipping.
All the notebooks have a nice black finish to them and the SteelSeries keyboard looks pretty nice. I’m interested in the AMD GX60 myself as I find Trinity neat. The Intel-based systems are definitely power houses though, especially the GT70 and although I don’t expect battery life to be anywhere near great these would be a good choice for gamers that demand the portability of a laptop platform.
Update: the press release does clarify that the GT70 and GE70 have 17.3” 1080p screens while the GT60 and GE60 have 15.6” 1080p screens. It also lists USB 3.0 compatibility on the Intel-based notebooks along with a built-in 720p 30fps webcam for video conferencing.
Subject: Motherboards | June 6, 2012 - 06:04 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Z77, msi, motherboard, mini-itx, Intel, htpc, computex
MSI is showing off a lot of motherboards at Computex 2012. One in particular that stuck out to me was a mini ITX motherboard that sported Ivy Bridge compatibility, four SATA ports (2 which are SATA 6Gbps), and PCI-E 3.0 compliant making it perfect for an high performance HTPC build. The motherboard in question is the MSI Z77IA-E53 and as the name suggests it is based around Intel’s Z77 chipset.
The mini-ITX form factor motherboard sports MSI’s ClickBIOS II UEFI BIOS and its OC Genie II technology as well as THX TruStudio Pro audio. Other features include an LGA 1155 socket for Ivy Bridge or Sandy Bridge (Core i7, i5, i3, Pentium or Celeron) processors, two DDR3 DIMM slots (up to 16GB of 2800MHz), and a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot at the very bottom of the motherboard.
On the back of the board, the Z77IA-E53 features HDMI and VGA video outputs, two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA port, Gigabit LAN, PS/2 port, optical audio outpu, three 3.5mm jacks for analog audio output, and WiFi and Bluetooth radios.
Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or availability.
What does $399 buy these days?
I think it is pretty safe to say that MSI makes some pretty nice stuff when it comes to video cards. Their previous generation of the HD 6000 and GTX 500 series of cards were quite popular, and we reviewed more than a handful here. That generation of cards really seemed to stake MSI’s reputation as one of the top video card vendors in the industry in terms of quality, features, and cooling innovation. Now we are moving onto a new generation of cards from both AMD and NVIDIA, and the challenges of keeping up MSI’s reputation seem to have increased.
The competition has become much more aggressive as of late. Asus has some unique solutions, and companies such as XFX have stepped up their designs to challenge the best of the industry. MSI has found themselves to be in a much more crowded space with upgraded cooler designs, robust feature sets, and pricing that reflects the larger selection of products that fit such niches. The question here is if MSI’s design methodology for non-reference cards is up to the challenge.
Previously I was able to review the R7970 Lightning from MSI, and it was an impressive card. I had some initial teething problems with that particular model, but a BIOS flash later and some elbow grease allowed it to work as advertised. Today I am looking at the R7950 TwinFrozr3GD5/OC. This card looks to feature a reference PCB combined with a Twin Frozr III cooling solution. I was not entirely sure what to expect with this card, since the Lightning was such a challenge at first.
Subject: Motherboards | June 5, 2012 - 06:40 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: trinity, msi, htpc, fm2, computex, amd
Located at Booth L0810 in Nangang Hall 4F, MSI is showing off a tong of new hardware. One of the interesting displays is a wall of new motherboards based on AMD’s desktop Trinity APUs. Using the company’s Hybrid Digital Power design, the FM2 socket-based motherboards come in three sizes: EATX, ATX, and mini-ITX to meet various project needs.
MSI's Trinity display at Computex 2012. Source: MSI
The smallest of the bunch is the MSI A85IA-E53 motherboard, which is designed for HTPC use. Based on AMD’s A75 chipset, the mini-ITX board features an AMD FM2 socket in the middle, with two DDR3 DIMM slots (a maximum of 16GB of memory) below, a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot to the left, and four SATA 6Gbps ports to the right of the FM2 socket.
Rear IO on the board includes a combo PS/2 port, optical audio (TOSLink) output, VGA and HDMI video outputs, three eSATA ports, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit LAN port, and analog audio out via three 3.5mm jacks. The motherboard also features integrated WiFi and Bluetooth radios. Built with the company’s military class III components, the A85IA-E53 comes packed with the ClickBIOS II, OC Genie II, and support for HD7000 series graphics cards.
MSI has two mid-sized ATX form factor motherboards with the the MSI A55M-P33 (F2) and MSI A85MA-35. The former is intended for traditional desktop use cases while the latter is rather shallow in depth and is meant to be used in living room HTPCs.
MSI A55M-P33 (F2)
The MSI A55M-P33 (F2) is the company’s budget desktop motherboard. It supports OC Genie II and ClickBIOS II technologies as well as AMD Dual Graphics which allows the pairing of a Trinity APU integrated graphics card and discrete AMD GPU. In adition to the FM2 socket, the board features two DDR3 DIMM slots (maximum of 16GB of 1866MHz memory), four SATA 3Gbps ports, one PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot, one PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot, and one legacy PCI slot.
This motherboard is actually based on the AMD A55 chipset which explains the lack of 6Gbps ports and USB 3.0 support. The company describes the board as the “value choice” for those upgrading to a new Trinity-based system. Rear IO on the A55M-P33 (F2) includes eight USB 2.0 ports, six 3.5mm jacks for analog audio output, Gigabit Ethernet, and DVI and VGA display outputs.
The second ATX motherboard is the MSI A85MA-E35. This motherboard has been designed wider and shallower than traditional desktop ATX boards so that it can fit into slim HTPC cases (that usually have more room longways than height-wise as they need to be able to fit into AV racks and other short spaces). It is essentially the mATX A85IA-E53’s big brother as it takes the AMD A75 chipset and takes advantage of the larger PCB area to add additional functionality. The motherboard features MSI’s OC Genie II and ClickBIOS II technology and AMD’s Dual Graphics support for pairing a dedicated GPU with the Trinity APU’s graphics portion.
The board is rather spaced out as the PCB is stretched out to keep things as shallow as possible. It does feature two DDR3 DIMM slots (maximum of 16GB 1866MHz RAM), the AMD FM2 processor socket, one PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot, two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and one legacy PCI slot. The only motheboard component with a heatsink attached is the southbridge, which is powering six SATA ports, at least four of which are 6Gbps (MSI only lists four 6Gbps ports in the documentation, seen above and to the right of the board [TechPowerUp indicates that all six are 6Gbps, however]). Rear IO includes four USB 3.0 ports, six analog audio out jacks, Gigabit LAN, and what is likely a PS/2 port and optical audio output.
Finally, the FM2 motherboard to rule them all (or at least the company’s AMD lineup) is the MSI A85XA-G65. The board comes packed with MSI technology including Military Class III components, OC Genie II, ClickBIOS II, Hybrid Design Power, THX TruStuio Pro, AMD Dual Graphics (APU+discrete card), AMD CrossFire, NVIDIA SLI, and AMD Eyefinity.
In other words, MSI has bolted just about everything it could to this board. They confidently labeled the motherboard as the board for enthusiasts to use to push Trinity overclocks as far as possible. The first thing I noticed about the image (seen below) of the A85XA-G65 was the massive heatsinks on the VRMs and southbridge – did I mention they were huge? In addition to the well-cooled VRMs, the motherboard features four DDR3 DIMM slots (max of 32GB 1866MHz RAM), two PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, three PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and two legacy PCI slots towards the bottom of the board. To the right is the southbridge (with relatively large heatsink) powering eight SATA 6Gbps ports.
The A85XA-G65 supports DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, and VGA video outputs. Beyond that, rear IO includes a combo PS/2 port, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit LAN, six 3.5mm jacks for multi-channel analog audio outputs, and an optical audio output. If you want to push desktop Trinity to the max, this board definitely seems like a good place to start.
MSI has definitely come out in full force with a slew of AMD Trinity motherboards. The HTPC ones, and the mini-ITX one in particular, interest me. The beastly A85XA-G65 is also pretty neat for overclocking potential. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more Computex 2012 coverage! What do you guys want to see from the show? You can see a few more photos after the break.
Subject: General Tech | June 3, 2012 - 04:07 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: overclocking, overclock, msi, hicookie, gigabyte, G.Skill, evga, computex 2012, asus
G.Skill will host an overclocking event at Computex 2012 with seven overclockers in an attempt to break world overclocking records. The company is teaming up with ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte, and MSI for the event, which will be held in Taipei, Taiwan from June 5th to June 9th 2012.
Enthusiast RAM manufacturer G.Skill has announced that they will be hosting an overclocking event at Computex 2012 in Taiwan. The company is partnering up with motherboard manufacturers ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte, and MSI who will provide several high end motherboards for the overclocking invitational.
G.Skill has further invited seven professional overclockers to attend the event and try to break world records for processors and DDR3 memory using LN2 and a combination of high end motherboards, graphics cards, and G.Skill’s DDR3 RAM. The overclockers in question are Elmor, Fred Yama, Hiwa, Young Pro, Kingpin, HiCookie, and Dinos22. HiCookie was covered by us recently when he pushed a Core i7 3770K to 7.03 GHz and DDR3 memory to an impressive 3.28 GHz. The G.Skill event will push for even higher overlcocks.
The overclocking event will run from June 5th, 2012 to June 9th, 2012 from 11am to 5pm. It will be located at Computex 2012 in the Nangang Exhibition Hall at booth L0118. The event schedule will be as follows:
|Date||Motherboard Brand||Platform||G.Skill Overclockers||Motherboard Overclockers|
|June 5th||MSI||Z77 & X79||
Young Pro (Australia)
Young Pro (Australia)
|Fred Yama (Japan)|
|June 7th||EVGA||Z77 & X79||
Young Pro (Australia)
Young Pro (Australia)
As G.Skill's first overclocking invitational, they will need to push hard for success, and they made sure to have the best record-breaking chance possible by inviting some of the world's best overclockers. As a personal fan of G.Skill, I'm rooting for them to break the RAM overclocking record!
Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2012 - 02:59 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, xfx, thunderbolt, podcast, msi, Ivy Bridge, Intel, asus, amd, 7870, 7850, 680
PC Perspective Podcast #203 - 05/24/2012
Join us this week as we talk about the ASUS N56VM notebook, XFX 7850s and 7870s, Thunderbolt on Windows and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 0:02:00 You talked about all the cool stuff last week!
- 0:13:30 Antec High Current Pro Platinum 1000 watt PSU
- 0:16:20 ASUS N56VM Ivy Bridge Notebook - our reference system
- 0:17:30 XFX HD 7870 and HD 7850 Black Edition
- 0:28:25 Unreal Engine 4 Screenshots
- 0:31:00 AMD to stop making "needlessly powerful" CPUs
- 0:42:00 NVIDIA is not recalling Kepler
- 0:45:00 Thunderbolt for Windows from ASUS and MSI announced
- 0:48:30 Josh's Banana Phone - VIA $49 Android PC
- 0:51:30 Seagate to purchase LaCie
- 0:56:30 The discrete graphics card is not dead
- 1:02:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
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?