New ASRock Z68 Fatal1ty Motherboard Supports PCI-E 3.0

Subject: Motherboards | June 29, 2011 - 08:08 AM |
Tagged: z68, pcie 3.0, motherboard, Intel

ASRock recently unveiled a new enthusiast Z68 chipset based motherboard supporting the PCI-Express 3.0 standard. Dubbed the Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3, the company claims that when coupled with the upcoming Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs, “users are assured to enjoy the full power of PCIe Gen3 standard” as a powerful gaming motherboard.

 

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The board further features the LGA 1155 socket, four DDR3 DIMM slots capable of 2133 Mhz, two PCI-Express 3.0 slots, one PCI-Express 2.0 x16, one PCIe x1 slot, and two PCI slots. IO standards include the latest SATA III 6 Gbps, Intel’s SRT (Smart Response Technology) caching, and USB 3.0. The board is further capable of supporting either NVIDIA Quad SLI or AMD CrossfireX technology. An on-board PLX PEX8608 chip has been added to allow the PCIe 2.0 and PCIe 3.0 ports to coexist at their native speeds.

Rear connections include a special Fatal1ty mouse port that users can adjust the polling rate of to anywhere between 125 Hz to 1000 Hz, eight USB ports (likely four USB 2.0, four USB 3.0), VGA output, two HDMI outputs, Digital audio out, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and 7.1 channel THX TruStudio audio outputs.

The ASRock board is ready to get its game on according to the company who stated that “is the world's first motherboard that supports PCIe 3.0 and goes on sale now.”

Source: ASRock

Gigabyte makes some interesting choices with the GA-Z68X-UD4-B3

Subject: Motherboards | June 7, 2011 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: z68, gigabyte, GA-Z68X-UD4-B3

The GA-Z68X-UD4-B3 does not have any video out connectors, a choice which seems very strange for a Z68 based motherboard since it removes the GPU switching ability which is so popular with the new high end SandyBridge board.  Theoretically that should reduce the price of the board, though Gigabyte instead chose to pack it with other extras, a wide variety of output ports on the back panel, the new Touch BIOS and even an ability to switch between two separate 8 phase power planes.  See if the trade offs make sense to you by reading iXBT Labs' full review.

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"If the lack of support for integrated graphics doesn't bother you, Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD4-B3 is a good and promising choice. It stands out among typical mid-end solutions by having richer functionality (two USB 3.0 and two additional SATA 6Gbps controllers), comes with a lot of software utilities, and you don't have to pay for extra hardware features you might not need. Also, the Touch BIOS adds nice variety to all those implementations of UEFI."

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Source: iXBT Labs

MSI shows Gen3 PCIe, X79 Motherboard and GTX 580 Extreme

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Shows and Expos | June 1, 2011 - 07:57 AM |
Tagged: computex, msi, pcie, x79, 990fx, z68

MSI had quite a showing at this year's Computex starting with a host of new motherboards based on the Z68 chipset.  The most interesting of which was the new Z68A-GD80 (G3) that in addition to including all the features of the Sandy Bridge processor, SLI, CrossFire, Lucid Virtu and things like OC Genie II and Military Class Components II, is the first motherboard we have seen that integrates support for the PCI Express 3.0 specification.

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MSI was able to do this by simply adhering to the already existing PCIe 3.0 specifications and claims the performance doubles from 8 GB/s up to 16 GB/s (for a x16 connection).  Even though there are no PCIe 3.0 accessories or graphics cards on the market today, MSI has seen performance improvements when testing PCI Express based solid state drives like the OCZ Revo.  We are eager to get this board in the hands of our storage guru and see what advantages it offers users today.

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Next up is the new MSI 990FXA-GD80 motherboard based on AMD's latest 990FX chipset.  We actually have one of these in the office and should have a review up shortly.  With support for today's Phenom processors and tomorrow's Bulldozer-core based designs, I think the 990FX chipset will find its way into a lot of users machines.

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Even further out into the future, we saw a glimpse of an MSI engineering sample for the pending Socket 2011 processors from Intel, the MSI X79A-GD65.  Supporting the upcoming Sandy Bridge-E processor family and a new quad-channel memory controller, you can clearly see the 2011 socket is HUGE and requires the memory slots to be divided up on either side of it. A lot will change more than likely between now and this boards release but it is cool to see a preview of what is in store for us!

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Finally, MSI did have another card in the Lightning series to show off, the N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition.  This card has all the same engineering features of the previous Lightning models but adds in a couple of unique features called Smart Temp Sensor and Dust Removal.

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The Smart Temp Sensor is actually a coating on the fan that changes from blue to white in appearance as the ambient temperature increases.  If the inside of your chassis hits the 45C mark then the fans will be completely white and should give you an indication of system stability.  My only concern is that even users with windows on their cases will have trouble seeing the fans on the graphics card cooler posted at a right angle. 

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The Dust Removal feature is more interesting in that it runs the fans on the Xtreme Edition in the reverse direction for the first 30 seconds of the power cycle and then return to the proper direction for cooling the heatsinks.  The idea is that the 30 second reverse interval will help clear out dust from the heatsink and from the fan blades itself saving users in the long run.

Another interesting feature coming very soon to Android phone users is the ability to monitor and overclock your MSI graphics cards via an Afterburner app for your phone.  This will be available this month or early in July for Android and *maybe* by the end of the year for iPhone.

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

Source: MSI

ASUS Launches new line of ROG Motherboards for Core i7, Bulldozer

Subject: Motherboards, Chipsets | May 31, 2011 - 02:35 AM |
Tagged: computex, ROG, asus, crosshair, z68, maximus

On the first day of Computex 2011, ASUS held an event in Taipei to announce a host of new ROG (Republic of Gamers) branded devices including motherboards, displays, headphones, notebooks and even a desktop system.

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For the Intel Sandy Bridge platform ASUS is releasing the Maximus IV GENE-Z and Maximus IV Extreme-Z that will both obviously use the Intel Z68 chipset and support the host of new features it introduces including Smart Response Technology and dual-graphics capability with Lucid Virtu. The GENE model is the micro-ATX variant that that supports SLI and CrossFire in addition to the Sandy Bridge graphics technology. For a full size solution the Maximus IV Extreme-Z offers four full-size PCIe x16 slots and support for 3-Way SLI and CrossFireX.

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For the AMD platform the Crosshair V Formula is the first ROG board to use the new AMD 990FX chipset as well as the first AMD board in a LONG time with support SLI in addition to CrossFire graphics scaling. Not only that, but this board will be the first ASUS option to offer the innovative UEFI BIOS that users on the Intel front have had access to for some time. While the Crosshair V Formula will work with current Phenom processors the big selling point is that it will support the upcoming AMD Bulldozer-based processors with the AM3+ socket due later in 2011.

A slightly more expensive Crosshair V Formula/Thunderbolt SKU will be available as well that will include an ASUS Thunderbolt card that combines ASUS Xonar audio capability (and built-in headphone amplifier) with the BigFoot Networks Killer NIC E2100 NPU. We can debate the value of Killer NIC addition to your system all day, but if you want it, that option will be available from ASUS in July.

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All three boards will include the overclocking and performance features that users of the ROG brand have come to expect and will be available this month. Be sure to check out PC Perspective for reviews of all the new ROG offerings!

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

Source: ASUS

Gigabyte Offers Z68 Motherboard With Bundled Intel 311 mSATA SSD

Subject: Motherboards | May 27, 2011 - 10:25 AM |
Tagged: z68, intel 311, gigabyte

Gigabyte has been on the ball as far as new Intel based Z68 motherboard launches go, and today is no different as they announce a new motherboard that will ship with an included Intel 311 mSATA SSD that is ready to power Intel's Smart Response Technology.

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The new motherboard has been dubbed the Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3-iSSD, and is a Z68 based affair with an included 20GB SLC caching-ready solid state drive. Richard Chen, the VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for the motherboard manufacturer was especially enthusiastic about the launch, stating that "our customers realize the performance benefits that Intel Smart Response Technology has to offer, and the Z68XP-UD3-iSSD is the easiest way for them to instantly take advantage of the performance boost."

The bundle in question will be available from “selected online retailers” worldwide stating in early June of this year. Unfortunately, there is no word on pricing for the motherboard plus SSD; however, if priced right it will no doubt be a boon to first time builders in making their DIY rig that much easier to assemble.

Source: Gigabyte

More high end SandyBridge goodness, the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro

Subject: Motherboards | May 16, 2011 - 05:00 PM |
Tagged: asus, z68, sandybridge

The expiration of the NDA on the Z68 chipset has launched an impressive amount of reviews, which represents just how much choice you will have if you upgrade to a high end SandyBridge motherboard.  That is also easy to see if you search NewEgg for Z68 based boards, which range from $120ish to over $350 depending on the features.  One possibility is the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro, a middle of the road $210 board sporting two PCIe x16 slots running 8x is you use dual GPUs along with an impressive array of output and input ports and 7.1 sound.  Legit Reviews didn't hand it an Editors Choice Award for nothing, this board has a lot going for it.

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"Prior to the Intel Z68 chipset, you would have to choose. Either you could have integrated graphics and no overclocking capabilities, or overclocking abilities as well as the need to invest in a discrete graphics card. Fortunately that is no longer the case. We now have the best of both worlds at our fingertips with motherboards like the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro that we have been looking at today. Every gaming benchmark that we ran, the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro was able to out perform the GIGABYTE P67A-UD7..."

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First Look At The Asus Maximus IV Gene FLP

Subject: Motherboards | May 13, 2011 - 06:56 PM |
Tagged: z68, motherboard, asus

Interested in a first look at Asus' latest Gene series offering for z68? PC Perspective has you covered with quite a few photos of the up and coming motherboard for you to drool over!

To start off with, here is the proposed box art along with a view of the entire motherboard:

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As you can see, the motherboad is adorned in bright red and dark black colors, and the area around the LGA 1155 socket is accented with black finned heatsinks covering the VRMs.  A close-up of the heatsinks can be seen below:

For even more detailed shots, and a run down of the connectivity and overclocking friendly hardware, please use the "Read More" link.

Source: Asus

Testing out the Intel Z68's "best of both worlds" mode with a 20GB SSD

Subject: Motherboards, Storage | May 13, 2011 - 03:26 PM |
Tagged: z68, ssd, larson creek, intel 311, smart response technology

One of the more interesting things about the Z68 is Intel's SRT which allows you to utilize a small SSD as a cache for your HDD, allowing you the speed benefits of an SSD in most applications without having to spend the money to buy an SSD large enough to hold all your favourite programs. Legit Reviews tests a 20GB Intel 311 SSD paired with a 600GB WD Velociraptor in both modes, enhanced and maximized to see which offers the greatest benefits. Check out their findings.

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"The Intel SSD 311 Series 20GB 'Larson Creek' drive proved itself to be a great cache drive. If you have an Intel Z68 platform that can run Intel Smart Response Technology, it's worth looking into if you have a hard drive for the primary drive and don't want to splurge on an SSD and having to re-install your OS!"

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Podcast #154 - Intel Z68 Chipset release, Intel SRT SSD caching technogy, OCZ Agility 3 and Solid 3 and more!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 12, 2011 - 02:30 PM |
Tagged: z68, ssd, srt, solid, smart response technology, smart response, podcast, ocz, Intel, agility

PC Perspective Podcast #154 - 5/12/2011

This week we talk about the Intel Z68 Chipset release, Intel SRT SSD caching technogy, the OCZ Agility 3 and Solid 3, Viewer Questions 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: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:15:39

Program Schedule:

Source:

Gigabyte Launches World's First Z68 Motherboards With Support for mSATA Intel SLC SSDs and Smart Response Tech

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | May 11, 2011 - 05:23 PM |
Tagged: z68, srt, motherboard, gigabyte

Popular enthusiast motherboard maker Gigabyte has today announced 4 additional motherboards to their already expansive Z68 chipset based lineup at launch.

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In addition to the features discussed in the previous announcement, including Lucid Virtu technology, the four new models feature a mSATA connection for onboard Intel SLC SSDs such as the new Intel 311 20GB SLC SSD. The 20GB drive can be used in conjunction with the Intel Smart Response Technology to boost system performance.

While Intel's SRT technology is also included in the other Gigabyte Z68 Motherboards, these 4 specific models differ in the implementation. Specifically, they allow consumers to attach the small solid state drive directly onto the motherboard. This will free the standard SATA ports of a SRT SSD for another hard drive or optical drive.

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Gigabyte has found as much as a 471% improvement in PC Mark Vantage scores in using a 20GB Intel 311 SLC SSD and a SATA 2 hard drive versus solely a SATA 2 hard drive. PC Perspective also examined Intel's Smart Response Technology and found that in trace based testing, the SLC SSD greatly improved performance once the data had been cached to the SSD. As for improvements in boot performance, PC Perspective found that:

"Boot times were just 3 seconds shy of those achieved with the OS cached on the SSD entirely. Of significant note here is that the SSD 310 was able to edge out (0.5 secs) faster boot times than the SSD 320 *and* the SSD 510, which we tossed in for an additional point of comparison."

Intel's SRT technology can definitely improve performance in the right situations, and Gigabyte is offering even more options to implement it in their newly announced models; the Z68XP-UD3, Z68XP-D3, Z68AP-D3, and Z68P-DS3. The new models are due to be released in June 2011.

Source: Gigabyte