ASRock Reveals New Technology Advances at COMPUTEX 2012

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2012 - 01:06 AM |
Tagged: Z77, x79, trinity, sandy bridge-e, PLX PEX 8747, Ivy Bridge, Intel, fm2, asrock, amd

Four new Intel motherboards from ASRock were revealed at Computex, the X79 Extreme11, Z77 Extreme9 and Z77 OC Formula.  All use their new XFast 555 Technology software for XFast RAM, XFast LAN and XFast USB which should at the very least allow you great control over all the frequencies on your motherboard. 

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The motherboard for power users supports Sandy Bridge E processors, the X79 Extreme11 sports PLX PEX 8747 bridges which means this motherboard can run multi-GPU 4-Way SLI/CrossFireX at PCIe Gen3 x16/x16/x16/x16 and puts EVGA's Classified SR-2 in serious trouble on the Leaderboard when released.  24 + 2 Power Phase Design, onboard Creative Sound Core3D and an LSI SAS2308 chip which gives you ten SATA3 connectors with 8 of the able to be set to SAS mode.

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The  Z77 Extreme9 also sports the PLX PEX 8747 bridge which allows a surprising full PCIe Gen3 x8/x8/x8/x8 quad GPU mode.  The included T2R Dual Band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n + BT v4.0 Module supports dual band WiFi and BlueTooth and combines with the Wi-SB BOX to provide better signal and an extra pair of USB 3.0 connectors.

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The Z77 OC Formula wants to step on ASUS' toes; while the score is impressive, the overclocks need a little work.  They don't say much about this board but from the preliminary testing it looks like great fun for the serious overclocker.

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Last but not least is the Z77 Extreme6/TB4 which features four channel Thunderbolt, for that you can read two Thunderbolt ports.  ASRock mentions that this "allows one port to be connected to the onboard graphics and the other one can be used for discrete graphics card." which could lead to all sorts of speculation.

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On the AMD side we have the ATX FM2A75 Pro4, and microATX FM2A75 Pro4-M and FM2A75M-DG which support Trinity processors but unfortunately we don't have much more than their names.  TechPowerUp did get some pictures of the boards recently.

They are also showing the EN2C602-4L, E3C204-V, E3C204-4L and H77WS-DL server boards which come with a full suite of software to ensure an easy setup, an IPC motherboard for those small purpose-built applications and an intriguing HTPC box called the ASRock VisionX Series.  This is reputed to featuring Ivy Bridge, Radeon HD 7850M graphics and AMD HD3D Technology with dual band WiFi but might cost a bit more than the alternative, the ASRock MINI Series which has and AMD E2-1800 backed up by a Radeon HD7340.

visionx.jpg

Source: ASRock

ASUS preps ThunderboltEX add-in card for Z77 and H77 motherboards

Subject: Motherboards, Displays | June 4, 2012 - 09:30 PM |
Tagged: Z77, thunderboltex, thunderbolt, h77, computex, asus

Ever since we posted our series of videos with ASUS on the new Z77 chipset and the features ASUS was introducing on their P8Z77 lineup, we have had countless questions about the Thunderbolt header, the implementation and finally the required add-on card to enable it.  Well thankfully at Computex this week ASUS is revealing the product that users of the P8Z77 motherboards will need to enable the Thunderbolt connection, the ASUS ThunderboltEX.

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Even though we have already had some hands-on time with the new ASUS P8Z77-V Premium motherboard that integrates a Thunderbolt header on the board directly, the rest of the P8Z77-V line has a 9-pin header labeled "TB_header" that will allow users to purchase the ThunderboltEX card and enable the technology in their system.  ASUS was the only company to really plan ahead for Thunderbolt technology across the entire series of Z77 motherboards and as such should enjoy the feature benefits of TB for some time.

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The ThunderboltEX will plug into the bottom PCIe slot using up the x4 connection and will be required to use a header cable to connect to the TB_header shown above.  This header serves a dual purpose - it allows the integrated graphics of the Ivy Bridge (and even discrete graphics) to pass through to the ThunderboltEX card and then out to either a Thunderbolt enabled display or a DisplayPort monitor in a daisy chain of devices.  It also allows ASUS to make sure this card is ONLY used on their own lineup of motherboards - sorry, you won't be able to buy the ASUS ThunderboltEX and use it on your Gigabyte or MSI or even your non "TB_header" ASUS motherboard.

You will also have to install an included full-size DisplayPort cable from the output on the Z77 motherboard back panel to the full-size DP input on the ThunderboltEX itself.  This allows the pass through of all the video data.

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Once everything is configured, users will have a full speed 10 Gbps ready Thunderbolt connection to use with external storage, break out boxes and other accessories coming down the pipeline rapidly.  ASUS claims this implementation will still support 6 daisy-chained devices with a seventh device as either a Thunderbolt or mini-DisplayPort monitor.  Even better, hot plug support will still be enabled!

ASUS stands committed to the belief that motherboard design is not just about pure spec but ensuring a quality design and overall implementation. This is achieved through many means such as sensible layout, flexible I/O connectivity and robust control over parameters of operation. In addition foresight in design can play an important role. ASUS recently launched the world’s first certified native Thunderbolt motherboard with the P8Z77-V Premium. While the Premium leads the industry in respect to connectivity and overall functionality it carries a flagship price for its premium feature set. ASUS had kept this in mind along with thinking about how to best support the advanced new interconnect that is Thunderbolt. With this in mind ASUS is proud to unveil its exclusive Thunderbolt upgrade solution for its line of Z77 and H77 motherboards. The ThunderboltEX card is the first add-on card on the market enabling an easy way to upgrade ASUS motherboards with the latest I/O. This is proof in having foresight in design as compatible boards had to have a special TB header in place to support this upgrade.

Currently, the ThunderboltEX is awaiting Thunderbolt device certification and ASUS will obviously announce when that occurs.

Obviously this implementation of Thunderbolt is not as elegant as the one you will find on the ASUS Premium Z77 motherboard or the MSI Z77A-GD80, but it does enable other ASUS Z77 motherboard users to add the feature to their systems without REQUIRING to the cost up front to everyone.  It does remind me a little bit of the first days of ATI CrossFire but I think most of you would agree that this solution is better than forcing users to buy a $450 motherboard.

I don't have any information on pricing or availability but you can be sure as soon as our questions are answered by ASUS we will update this post!  

If you are looking for more information on Thunderbolt devices and performance, check out our stream of posts on the subject and take a look at the Thunderbolt / ASUS video below!

Source: ASUS

Gigabyte shows motherboard with dual Thunderbolt outputs on-board

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | June 4, 2012 - 04:14 PM |
Tagged: computex, gigabyte, Z77, thunderbolt, Z77X-UP5 TH

Anandtech has the scoop on a new motherboard being shown at Computex this week from Gigabyte that features not just Thunderbolt support, not just a single Thunderbolt port but DUAL Thunderbolt connections.  The Z77X-UP5 TH is the first such PC platform to offer support for four channels of the new connectivity technology.

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Image source: Anandtech.com

Both ports can run at the full 10 Gbps speeds thanks to the inclusion of a PLX PCI Express bridge chip so bandwidth restrictions shouldn't be a concern.  We don't know the pricing or availability of this new board quite yet but Gigabyte is finally jumping into the world of Thunderbolt after the MSI and ASUS announcements last month.  

Hit up the Anandtech link above for more photos of this board! 

Source: Anandtech

MSI Launches Z77A-GD80 Motherboard With Thunderbolt

Subject: Motherboards | May 23, 2012 - 05:15 PM |
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).

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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.

Source: MSI

Thunderbolt for Windows Performance Preview - ASUS P8Z77-V Premium

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Storage | May 21, 2012 - 06:57 PM |
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.

You can see MSI's full press release right hereWe can't find the ASUS press release anywhere Here is the ASUS press release as well, but here are a few selections:

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"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!

ASUS P8Z77-V Premium motherboard announced.

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | April 27, 2012 - 02:48 PM |
Tagged: Z77, msata, Ivy Bridge, asus

ASUS announces their upcoming P8Z77-V Premium flagship motherboard for Intel processors. Many features have been included such as 4-way SLi and onboard MSATA support with a 32GB MSATA SSD.

Does anyone know where I can get 4 GTX 680s?

In case you missed it, JJ from ASUS was recently at the PC Perspective offices to announce their Z77 lineup of motherboards. Lots of stuff was given away to live viewers. JJ stuck around after the live stream to record a couple of videos about overclocking Ivy Bridge and WiDi support which were released publicly earlier this week.

Now they reached out to us to announce their flagship P8Z77-V Premium Z77-based motherboard.

The upcoming ASUS flagship P8Z77-V PREMIUM.jpg

Two antennas, why-fi not?

The main features of the motherboard are as follows:

  • USB3 Boost support
  • USB Bios Flashback
  • Dual Intel Gigabit Nics featuring iNetwork Control Packet Priority
  • 4 way SLI and 4 way Crossfire support via a new PLX Gen 3 switch
  • Dual Band Wifi with BT 4.0 featuring WiFi Go! Software Suite ( for DLNA Streaming/Serving, Easy file transfer to android/iOS devices and remote desktop functionality )
  • Onboard MSATA support with 32GB MSATA SSD
  • Digi+ VRM with 3 way Digital power design ( CPU/VRM – DRAM – iGPU )
  • 9 SATA Ports
  • 6 4 Pin PWM Fan Headers featuring Fan Xpert 2 Fan Technology ( for advanced control in UEFI and OS as well as automatic fan calibration )

The feature which sticks out to me the most is the 32 GB mSATA SSD allegedly packaged with the motherboard. That would certainly be nothing to sneer at. Judging by the photos provided by Asus the flash cells appear to be produced by Toshiba.

mSATA based SSD onboard.JPG

Want to see half of a pegasus flashing?

Also visible on the MSATA drive is a chip produced by Nanya which is commonly known for producing RAM. I am, however, not Al and as such will not speculate further about the SSD -- except that my guess is the chip is probably cache. So unfortunately, I do not know which controller it will utilize.

The other feature which catches my eye is the support for 4-way SLi or Crossfire. Not much else to say about that except that knowing somewhere out there someone will be gaming with four GTX 680s and there better be more than a single 60hz 1080p monitor.

Some day.

Source: PCPer

Podcast #199 - Ivy Bridge Desktop and Mobile reviews, Intel and AMD Earnings, and a Gold Motherboard

Subject: General Tech | April 26, 2012 - 04:59 PM |
Tagged: Z77, podcast, nvidia, Ivy Bridge, Intel, earnings, amd, 3770k

PC Perspective Podcast #199 - 04/26/2012

Join us this week as we talk about Ivy Bridge Desktop and Mobile reviews, Intel and AMD Earnings, and a Gold Motherboard

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, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano

Program length: 1:06:54

Program Schedule:

  1. Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge LGA1155 Processor Review
  6. Intel Core i7-3720QM - Ivy Bridge For Mobile Review: Monster Kill!
  7. NVIDIA continues to tease, sends us a crowbar
  8. ASUS Demonstrates Z77 Motherboard Features at PC Perspective
  9. ASUS Overclocks Ivy Bridge To 7 GHz, Breaks World Records
  10. Intel Announces Q1 2012 Earnings: Not a Record, but Close
  11. AMD Q1 2012 Earnings Analysis: Looking Back and Looking Forward
  12. New mLink PCI-E to Thunderbolt Enclosure Shown Off at NAB 2012
  13. Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: ECS GOLDEN BOARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    2. Jeremy: 25GB free on Microsoft SkyDrive
    3. Josh: I like this case. Not exactly affordable, but still really nice.
    4. Allyn: Is it a pen or is it a pencil?
  14. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  15. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  16. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  17. Closing

Source:
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

An update to a great architecture

This article will focus on the new Ivy Bridge, 3rd Generation Core Processor from a desktop perspective.  If you are curious as the performance and features of the Ivy Bridge mobile processors, be sure to check out our Core i7-3720QM ASUS N56VM review here!!

One of the great things about the way Intel works as a company is that we get very few surprises on an annual basis in terms of the technology they release.  With the success of shows like the Intel Developer Forum permitting the release of architectural details months and often years ahead of the actual product, developers, OEMs and the press are able to learn about them over a longer period of time.  As you might imagine, that results in both a much better understanding of the new processor in question and also a much less hurried one.  If only GPU cycles would follow the same path...

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Because of this long-tail release of a CPU, we already know quite a bit about Ivy Bridge, the new 22nm processor architecture from Intel to be rebranded as the 3rd Generation Intel Core Processor Family.  Ivy Bridge is the "tick" that brings a completely new process technology node as we have seen over the last several years but this CPU does more than take the CPU from 32nm to 22nm.  Both the x86 and the processor graphics portions of the die have some changes though the majority fall with the GPU.

Ivy Bridge Architecture

In previous tick-tock scenarios the "tick" results in a jump in process technology (45nm to 32nm, etc) with very little else being done.  This isn't just to keep things organized in slides above but it also keeps Intel's engineers focused on one job at a time - either a new microprocessor architecture OR a new process node; but not both.

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For the x86 portion of Ivy Bridge this plan stays in tract.  The architecture is mostly unchanged from the currently available Sandy Bridge processors including the continuation of a 2-chip platform solution and integrated graphics, memory controller, display engine, PCI Express and LLC along with the IA cores.  

Continue reading our review of the new Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge Processor!!

See, Ivy Bridge really was about to be released!

Subject: Processors | April 23, 2012 - 12:41 PM |
Tagged: Z77, Ivy Bridge, Intel, i7-3770k, i5-3570, 3770k, 3570, 22nm

Intel's latest die shrink and architecture refinement, aka their "Tick", has arrived in the form of Ivy Bridge.  This CPU is actually only one third CPU, a third devoted to Intel's HD4000 graphics core, and the final third comprised of a shared L3 cache, memory controller and other IO devices.  [H]ard|OCP did an almost direct comparison between Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge, with the 2600K having the same amount of cores as the 3770K and only lags behind by 100MHz in raw speed.  The overall performance increases and new features that this new architecture were targeted more at the mainstream user than the enthusiast in [H]'s opinion but if you are building a new machine and aren't going for overclocking records then they wholeheartedly recommend Ivy Bridge.

You can catch Ryan's full review right here though you cannot yet buy it.

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"The new Ivy Bridge processor has already been well covered across the Internet due to leaks of Intel parts into review sites' hands. So at this point there is little to tell in all honesty. But today we work to tell you what you most likely already know; Ivy Bridge looks to be a very solid product but offers little in the way of an upgrade from Sandy Bridge."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASUS Demonstrates Z77 Motherboard Features at PC Perspective

Subject: Motherboards, Processors, Chipsets | April 23, 2012 - 12:05 PM |
Tagged: Z77, Ivy Bridge, Intel, asus, 3770k

Last week our good friends at ASUS stopped by the PC Perspective offices to bring along their entire new lineup of Z77 motherboards and show off the changes and new features being offered.  At the time, there we were something we couldn't show you including our overclocking demonstration as it was using the brand new Intel Ivy Bridge processor.  Not only can we now show you that but we have broken up the demo portion of the video in quicker, bite-sized segments. 

Overclocking

JJ Guerrero shows us the basics of overclocking Ivy Bridge both from the updated UEFI and the AI Suite II software.

 

WiDi on the Desktop

Did you know that desktop PCs using the correct Intel wireless controllers will be able to support Wireless Display technology?  

More videos after the break!!