Video Perspective: MSI Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt for under $160

Subject: Motherboards | December 29, 2012 - 08:15 PM |
Tagged: z77a-g45 thunderbolt, Z77, video, thunderbolt, msi

If you are interested in joining in on the wave of Thunderbolt accessories coming out in 2013 you might want to learn about the new MSI Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt motherboard.  This new board promises to be the least expensive option with an integrated Thunderbolt port while also offering a great overclocking and feature set very similar to that of the MSI Z77A-GD80. 

You can pick it up at Newegg.com today for $159!

Check out our video overview!

 

PS - Let us know if you have any comments on the new video player / configuration!!

ASRock Z77 Extreme6/TB4 Motherboard Offers Thunderbolt with Discrete Graphics

Subject: Motherboards | December 11, 2012 - 10:34 PM |
Tagged: asrock, thunderbolt, Z77

Over the past 6 months or so we have seen most motherboard vendors release a Z77 option with support for the latest Thunderbolt connectivity option.  I did some initial testing on the ASUS P8Z77-V Premium motherboard and found that Thunderbolt was indeed impressive in terms of performance though it remained expensive and had a few hang ups. 

One of those was the need to use integrated graphics when utilizing the DisplayPort pass through of the connection.  Lucid was the first company to offer a solution thanks to their Virtu MVP software solution and GPU virtualization technology.  I tested that and it worked pretty well, allow us to utilize the power of your discrete GPU with a monitor connected through Thunderbolt on the motherboard.

Well ASRock has a new motherboard out, the Z77 Extreme6/TB4, that promises to allow you to use discrete graphics by simply utilizing a DisplayPort connection on the graphics card itself. 

asrock1.jpg

Besides offering a pair of Thunderbolt connections, the motherboard claims to be the "world's only Thunderbolt motherboard supporting discrete VGA card via Thunderbolt port."

asrock2.jpg

Essentially ASRock is taking the DP connection from the discrete graphics card, taking it into the motherboard through a DisplayPort input connection and then sending that back out the motherboard Thunderbolt header.  More than likely this is simple electrical pass through and there isn't much or any logic going on to "trick" the system.  It also raises concerns that the motherboard and display solution won't be officially approved by Intel.  (We are all, after all, still waiting to see the ASUS ThunderboltEX to hit the market...)

Hopefully we'll get one of these new boards in soon to see for ourselves!

Source: ASRock

ECS Reveals its First Motherboard with Thunderbolt Support the Z77H2-A5X Deluxe

Subject: Motherboards | November 14, 2012 - 05:26 PM |
Tagged: ECS, Z77H2-A5X Deluxe, thunderbolt, Z77, lga 1155

Z77H2-A5X DE(V1)02.jpg

November 13, 2012, Taipei, Taiwan - Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) today reveals its first motherboard with Thunderbolt support, the Brand-New Black Series Z77H2-A5X Deluxe, based on the new Intel Z77 chipset. The Black Deluxe Series was created with power users and overclockers in mind. The Z77H2-A5X Deluxe embodies these qualities by providing all solid capacitors, triple thickness gold plating and overclocking friendly heatsinks and heatpipes.

The Z77H2-A5X Deluxe combines the latest motherboard technology with the above industry quality control standards set by ECS on the Black Series.

Power user features
For overclockers, the ECS Z77H2-A5X Deluxe provides a wealth of tweaking, control and adjustment features. ECS' Hyper Alloy Chokes give overclockers more stability because of their high energy efficiency and heat reduction. Long-life capacitors in all critical areas guard against failure even in the most challenging conditions. Triple thickness gold plating on CPU, memory and add-on card sockets ensures the Z77H2-A5X Deluxe always provides a reliable connection, even with heavy use and in hostile environments. Improved heavy duty heatsinks and heatpipes help dissipate heat efficiently when overclocking. Thor Ultra Protection offers complete electrostatic discharge protection for VGA, USB, LAN and HDMI ports against component damage from static electricity in dry climates. ECS' latest UEFI II: EZ BIOS also provides a modern high resolution BIOS and Window 8 ready to work with.

Thunderbolt Support
A single Thunderbolt port lets you connect high-performance data devices and high-resolution displays to a single port with up to blazing fast 10Gbps data transfer rates. USB 2.0 in comparison only has a max throughput of 480Mbps, about 20x slower. Not only is Thunderbolt fast, but it's also convenient. Up to six Thunderbolt devices can be connected to a single connector on the PC and a native DisplayPort display can be connected at the end of the daisy chain.

Support for 3 way NVIDIA SLI or ATI CrossFireX
The Z77H2-A5X Deluxe is at the forefront of the performance desktop PC market with support for three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots and additionally, 3-way NVIDIA SLI or ATI CrossFireX support, providing astonishingly realistic high speed graphics and physics performance for the latest games and entertainment.

The latest high speed storage connectivity
The Z77H2-A5X Deluxe provides enormous capacity for ultra high speed storage. The Z77H2-A5X Deluxe is equipped with 2 x SATA 6Gb/s, 3 x SATA 3GB/s, 1 x mSATA 3GB/s (from mini PCIe) and RAID 0,1,5,10 support.

Z77H2-A5X DE(V1)IO.jpg

Fast external connectivity
The Z77H2-A5X Deluxe is equipped with all the external connections you need, including on-board Wireless LAN, Gigabit LAN, Bluetooth, 2x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0, and 8 channel HD audio with ATX software support. The new Intel Z77 chipset at the heart of the Z77H2-A5X Deluxe is the first to include USB 3.0 support without external chips, bringing greater performance, expandability and reliability.

Unprecedented reliability – ECS Nonstop Certified
To ensure maximum reliability and customer satisfaction, ECS has enhanced its already stringent quality control procedures by increasing the testing cycle for its Black Series to three times longer than the industry standard and by raising the burn in testing temperature to 125% of the industry standard. Only those boards that pass ECS' 72 hours burn in test as well as a 50 degrees Celsius severe environment test can be deemed ECS Nonstop Certified.

Source: ECS

Podcast #225 - Intel's New Low Priced 240GB SSD, Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Convertible Ultrabook, AMD ARM processors, and more!

Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2012 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: z77a-gd80, yoga 13, thunderbolt, podcast, pcper, msi, Lenovo, intel ssd, intel 335, Intel, Ideapad, asus, arm, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #225 - 11/01/2012

Join us this week as we talk about Intel's New Low Priced 240GB SSD, Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Convertible Ultrabook, AMD ARM processors, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

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 RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts:Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano, and Chris Barbere

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:10:09

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:01:40 The Windows You Love is Gone
    2. 0:07:30 Intel SSD 335 Series 240GB Full Review - Intel's first 20nm SSD
    3. 0:15:30 MSI Z77A-GD80 with Thunderbolt Motherboard Review
    4. 0:20:20 Video Perspective: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Windows 8 Ultrabook Preview
  2. 0:29:22 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:30:35 Corsair Announces new products
      1. Corsair Announces Vengeance MM200 and MM400 gaming mouse mats
      2. Corsair Announces Updated Hydro Series H60 and New Hydro Series H55
    2. 0:36:10 ASUS Launches Line of VivoBook Laptops Running Windows 8
      1. Asus Zenbook Refresh Introduces Several New Ultrabooks
    3. 0:42:05 How to Build a PC with Windows 8 - PC Perspective Live!
    4. 0:43:50 Microsoft Giving Away Free Media Center Keys For Windows 8
    5. 0:46:30 ASRock Launches Extreme6/TB4 Motherboard With Two Thunderbolt Ports
    6. 0:47:30 AMD Announces It Will Build 64-bit ARM Processors for Server Markets
    7. 0:53:15 Intel Wants To See 48-Core Processors In Future Smartphones
    8. 0:56:30 NZXT Unleashes the Kraken -- World's first all-in-one 140mm & 280mm liquid-cooler
  4. Closing:
    1. 1:00:20 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Symphony on Steam - Free Keys to Give Away!!
      2. Jeremy: Grab media centre, even if you don't plan on getting Win 8 yet
      3. Allyn: Start8 - for you Windows 8 users
      4. Chris: MechWarrior Online
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Overview

Today we are taking a look at MSI’s flagship Z77 motherboard, the Z77A-GD80. Beyond being the GD80 SKU, which for several generations now has been given MSI’s premiere options, this GD80 in particular is an innovative board. This is due to the Z77A-GD80 being the first Windows motherboard that was certified for Intel’s Thunderbolt technology.

IMG_8239.JPG

As many of you may know, Thunderbolt has 10 Gbps of bandwidth, as well as integrates Mini DisplayPort for video. With all of this bandwidth, Thunderbolt is an exciting standard, which we will focus on in depth later in this review.

Continue reading our review of the MSI Z77A-GD80 Thunderbolt Motherboard!

ASRock Launches Extreme6/TB4 Motherboard With Two Thunderbolt Ports

Subject: Motherboards | October 29, 2012 - 11:24 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.

asrock_z77 extreme6-tb4_pr02.jpg

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

Podcast #218 - Gigabyte Z77X-UD7, Apple A6 SoC, Thunderbolt GPU Tech from Lucid, and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2012 - 04:53 PM |
Tagged: z77x-ud7, z77n-wifi, WD, thunderbolt, SoC, podcast, lucid, idf 2012, Hybrid Drive, haswell, gpu, gigabyte, arm, a6

PC Perspective Podcast #218 - 09/13/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the Gigabyte Z77X-UD7, Apple A6 SoC, Thunderbolt GPU Tech from Lucid, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

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 RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malvantano and Scott Michaud

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:01:33

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:02:50 Live Recap: Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 & Z77N-Wifi Preview
    2. 0:11:11 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Review
    3. 0:16:20 Apple A6 SOC: Cortex A15 Hits the Market
    4. 0:21:30 IDF 2012: Intel Haswell Architecture Revealed
      1. Intel Haswell CPUs as low as 10W TDP
  2. 0:28:05 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:28:45 IDF 2012: Lucid External GPUs?
    2. 0:32:05 IDF 2012: Intel Dives in to Oil!
    3. 0:35:45 IDF 2012: Western Digital Hybrid Hard Drives - 5mm 500GB
    4. 0:38:00 AMD Steamroller -- Shrunk Die Without a Die Shrink?
    5. 0:39:50 Firefox OS Interface: Sept 6, 2012.
    6. 0:42:30 CiiNow Sounds Like Wii... also AMD Investment.
    7. 0:47:15 Valve Big Picture Mode for Steam
  4. Closing:
    1. 0:50:36 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Jeremy: SLI\CrossFire PSU for dirt cheap, NewEgg not quite so good
      2. Josh: Not terrible. Hopefully it actually works for the S3
      3. Allyn: WD MyBook VelociRaptor Duo
      4. Scott: Back to school? For the love of God, laser printers.
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro

 

Podcast #217 - Corsair AX1200i Power Supply, Video Games as Art, Wireless Charging and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 6, 2012 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: wireless charging, VIVO, thunderbolt, podcast, k90, k60, corsair, black mesa, ax1200i, asus

PC Perspective Podcast #217 - 09/06/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the Corsair AX1200i Power Supply, Video Games as Art, Wireless Charging and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

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 RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malvantano and Scott Michaud

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

A big thanks goes to our friends at ALXTech.net for hosting our PC Perspective gaming server!  Find out how you can get a game server for just $0.65/slot by visiting http://alxtech.net/pcper/!!

Program length: 1:24:36

Program Schedule:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:01:55 Corsair AX1200i Power Supply review
    2. 0:09:00 Lucid Virtu MVP for mobile
    3. 0:19:25 Corsair K60 and K90 Keyboard review
    4. 0:28:50 Video Games Do Not Want to be Art?
  2. 0:38:20 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:39:20 Wireless charging is close!
    2. 0:44:13 Western Digital 2TB Thunderbolt MyBook
    3. 0:47:20 Arctic MC101 Trinity based HTPC
    4. 0:48:50 ASUS shows Vivo tablets at IFA
    5. 0:53:30 Ultrabook with 2560x1440 display from Samsung
    6. 0:56:10 Lower Power IVB coming soon
    7. 0:57:30 The ASUS Eee PC line is gone...
    8. 1:02:30 ASUS launches "Powered by ASUS" systems
  4. Closing:
    1. 1:08:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Apple iPad HDMI adapter
      2. Jeremy: Almost as long to develop as Duke Nukem but way cheaper and so much better
      3. Josh: $155 for people with patience...
      4. Allyn: Storage Testbed! Z77, baby.
      5. Scott: Wacom Cintiq 22HD (video)
      6. Also -- Arctic Silver 5 -- does it expire?
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro

Drobo 5D and Drobo Mini with Thunderbolt Available for Pre-order, Final Pricing Announced

Subject: Storage | July 25, 2012 - 01:58 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, redundant storage, drobo mini, drobo 5d, drobo

We covered the new Thunderbolt-equipped Drobo units last month, and they are looking like promising additions to the company’s lineup. Both Drobo units were slated for a July release, and they are right on track. You can now pre-order the Drobo 5D and Drobo Mini from a number of retailers including Amazon, NCIX, B&H Photo, and Tiger Direct among others.

For the uninitiated, the Drobo 5D is a five bay Drobo S with upgrades. It features USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt interfaces as well as an mSATA SSD to improve performance. Like the predecessor, it will accept standard 3.5-inch desktop drives. You can pre-order it now for $849.

The Drobo Mini on the other hand forgoes desktop drives to achieve a much smaller form-factor. It will accept up to four 2.5-inch laptop hard drives (or SSDs if you want crazy speeds). The Drobo Mini is further able to connect to your computer using either USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt. Like the Drobo 5D, it has an integrated mSATA port (not included). You can pre-order this little redundant storage system for $649.

You can find more information about the new Drobo products on the company’s website. The full press release is available here..

Source: Drobo

Falcon Ridge Will Double Thunderbolt Bandwidth to 20Gbps

Subject: General Tech | July 25, 2012 - 10:19 AM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, falcon ridge, thunderbolt controller, displayport 1.2, optical cable, redwood ridge, haswell

Intel’s Thunderbolt technology came to the Windows PC side of the computer market in a big way with high end desktop motherboards and add-in cards. The current generation “Cactus Ridge” Thunderbolt controller is able to offer up to 10Gbps of bi-directional bandwidth with either two or four PCI Express lanes as well as a DisplayPort connection that does not interfere with file transfer bandwidth. In 2014, that bandwidth may double to 20Gbps with a new Falcon Ridge controller.

With current-gen tech, Thunderbolt is based on using copper cables and electronics on either end of the cable. Right now, the cables are still fairly expensive at $50, but with new vendors the prices will hopefully go down soon. Next year we should see the Cactus Ridge successor Redwood Ridge. According to DigiTimes, this Thunderbolt controller will add support for DisplayPort 1.2 but will otherwise be very similar with 10Gbps and copper cables.  It is slated for a 2013 release, and a release coinciding with Intel’s Haswell processors and motherboards sounds logical.

Will Falcon Ridge finally give us optical-based Thunderbolt at retail?

In 2014 we will reportedly see the release of a fourth-generation Thunderbolt controller called Falcon Ridge that will offer up to 20Gbps of bi-directional bandwidth. While the cables will likely be even more expensive, I’m excited to see Thunderbolt progressing as it is a high performance transfer medium for professionals and enthusiasts. One thing that is not clear is whether Intel will be able to get DisplayPort + 20Gbps bi-directional bandwidth from copper cables. With Falcon Ridge we may well see the company finally make the move to optical cabling, which would return Thunderbolt to its initially-planned roots.

What would you do with the extra bandwidth provided by Falcon Ridge?

If you haven’t already, please check out our Thunderbolt coverage.

Source: DigiTimes