ASRock takes a shot at a Killer Fatal1ty

Subject: Motherboards | February 20, 2014 - 12:29 PM |
Tagged: z87, Killer Fatal1ty, asrock

ASRock has picked up some impressive branding recently but the question of performance remains.  They have been in the motherboard business for a while but have always been considered a bargain brand by most enthusiasts.  [H]ard|OCP reviewed their flagship Z87 board recently to see if perhaps it is time to reconsider that impression.  With three PCIe 3.0 16x slots and four PCIe 2.0 1x slots it does seem a high end motherboard and the inclusion of an onboard KillerNIC may also attract some attention.  If this board really wants to attract attention it is the overclocking and stability which really matter and seeing as how it finished the review wearing a gold medal you can get a rough idea of how that testing went.  Read the full review to see ASRock's impressive Killer Fatal1ty board in action.

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"If you’re a long time reader of HardOCP then you probably know we are not huge fans of ASRock as a brand overall. Recently we purchased a new motherboard to spend some time with the ASRock Z87 KILLER FATAL1TY, and as a result our opinions are changing. Is that change for the better or for worse?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI's tiny little Z87I GAMING AC would make a sweet LAN party system

Subject: Motherboards | January 24, 2014 - 01:25 PM |
Tagged: msi, Z87I GAMING AC, mini-itx, z87

MSI's Z87I GAMING AC is a mini-ITX board suitable for a small mobile gaming machine thanks to a 16x PCIe 3.0 port and both a KillerNIC for wired connectivity and dual band WiFi thanks to the onboard Intel 7260 chip.  Also worth noting is the PS/2 port, aka the gaming port, which has been modified to accept a polling rate of 1000Hz for either a mouse or keyboard.  [H]ard|OCP had some small difficulty with the extra drivers for the KillerNIC and Command Centre but as they are optional that did not concern them overly; especially once they got around to overclocking with this board.  Check out the full review here.

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"With gigantic towers going the way of the dinosaur and power coming in smaller and smaller configurations mini-ITX gaming oriented motherboards are more attractive than ever before. We put the Z87I GAMING AC to the test and find out if good things come in small packages or big headaches do. "

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Podcast #280 - NVIDIA GRID Beta, R9 290X Custom Coolers, 2TB SSDs and more!

Subject: General Tech | December 11, 2013 - 10:35 PM |
Tagged: z87, xfire, video, shield, R9 290X, podcast, pcper, nvidia, litecoin, grid, frame rating, eyefinity, crossfire, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #280 - 12/12/2013

Join us this week as we discuss the NVIDIA GRID Beta, R9 290X Custom Coolers, 2TB SSDs 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, Allyn Malventano and Scott Michaud

 
Program length: 1:09:46
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Allyn: Windows 8.1 tweaks at WinAero.com
  4. Closing/outro

 

Podcast #271 - Hawell NUC, MSI X87 XPOWER Motherboard, the Steam Controller and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2013 - 11:32 AM |
Tagged: Z87 XPower, z87, video, steam os, Steam Controller, Steam Box, steam, podcast, nuc, msi, haswell

PC Perspective Podcast #271 - 10/03/2013

Join us this week as we discuss the Hawell NUC, MSI X87 XPOWER Motherboard, the Steam Controller 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, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Scott Michaud

 
Program length: 1:24:00
  1. Batman: Arkham Origins keys anyone??
  2. Week in Review:
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Allyn: Dual Power eSATA USB 2.0 Power combo to 22Pin SATA cable (on eBay)
    2. Scott: Teksavvy Internet (Not USB Hubs)
  5. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  6. Closing/outro

 

Fill out the Form Below to Enter for the Batman: Arkham Origins key!!!

IDF 2013: Products With 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 Appear At IDF 2013

Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2013 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: z87, Thunderbolt 2, sonnet, Intel, idf 2013, idf, gigabyte, asus, asrock, aja, 4k

Intel recently launched its next generation Thunderbolt 2 interface, and several devices using the new connection were shown off at the Intel Developer Forum. The major takeaway from Thunderbolt 2 is the increased bandwidth and benefits to video production houses working with large uncompressed media. Specifically, Thunderbolt 2 is a PCI-Express based external interface that sends both video output and data down a single cable. Upgrades over the original 10Gbps Thunderbolt standard include an updated to the DisplayPort 1.2 video standard and double the bandwidth to 20Gbps. Thanks to the increased bandwidth, Thunderbolt 2 enables simultaneous video output and video file transfer of 4K media. Video editors can watch and transfer 4K video to an DisplayPort-equipped monitor and external RAID array respectively.

Thunderbolt 2.jpg

Intel is kicking off the Thunderbolt 2 standard with the launch of its DSL5520 and DSL5320 Thunderbolt 2 controllers, which are already in the hands of device manufactures. In fact, there were quite a few bits of hardware being shown off at this years IDF that already support the new Thunderbolt 2 standard. Intel is expecting even more devices in 2014.

Intel Thunderbolt 2 Connectivity.jpg

Professional video editing and workstation hardware with Thunderbolt 2

While consumer PC hardware will be supporting Thunderbolt 2, the new interface is most beneficial to professional users and IDF was the launch pad for several high end pieces of production gear. Sonnet launched the Echo Express III external PCI-E card chassis that allows users to hook up PCI-E cards to systems via Thunderbolt 2 (for example: video capture card or fast solid state storage). Also, AJA showed off a video/audio capture box called the IO 4K that supports daisy chaining other Thunderbolt 2 devices and acts as a video capture card capable of taking in 4K and UltraHD video sources as well as high end audio inputs. Finally, PROMISE Technology showed off its Pegasus2 RAID 5 enclosure and SANLink2 Thunderbolt 2 bridge device.

Sonnet Echo Express III-D and Echo Express III-R PCI-E Card External Chassis.jpg

External boxes are not the only professional products with Thunderbolt 2 at IDF, however. The technology is also being integrated into workstations, including the Apple Mac Pro with six Thunderbolt 2 ports and HP’s new lineup of desktop workstations.

Z87 Motherboards With Thunderbolt 2

Thunderbolt 2 will also be used in consumer gear as well, including Z87 motherboards. Asus, AsRock, and Gigabyte all had motherboards on display that each featured two Thunderbolt 2 ports. The new interface will be available on the multiple boards from the manufacturers. German tech site ComputerBase.de posted several photos of Thunderbolt 2-equipped motherboards and gave a glimpse at the upcoming hardware.

New Motherboards With Thunderbolt 2 From Asus, Asrock, and Gigabyte.jpg

The Asus Z87-Deluxe/Quad, an AsRock Z87 motherboard, and Gigabyte Z87X-UD5 TH spotted at IDF by ComputerBase.de.

Of note are the ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Quad, AsRock Extreme 11/ac, and Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH. All boards off LGA 1150 CPU sockets, four DDR3 DIMM slots, a slew of SATA 6Gbps ports, multiple PCI-E 3.0 x16 and x1 slots, and rich rear IO including two Thunderbolt 2 ports (naturally).

AsRock Z87 Extreme 11ac Motherboard with Thunderbolt 2.jpg

The AsRock Z87 Extreme 11/ac via ComputerBase.de.

The following chart breaks down the specifications. Unfortunately pricing and availability have not been announced for these boards, but expect to pay a premium for the high end gaming hardware and new Thunderbolt 2 controller. (The Asrock Extreme 11/ac in particular takes the word “high end” to the, well, extreme.)

  ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Quad AsRock Extreme 11/ac Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH
SATA 6Gbps 10 10 10
PCI-E 3.0 x16 3 4 5
PCI-E 3.0 x1 4 3 2
mPCI-E n/a 3 1
Rear IO: --------------------- -------------------- ----------------------
PS/2 n/a 1 1
Audio 6 x analog, 1 x optical 5 x analog, 1 x optical 5 x analog, 1 x optical
Thunderbolt 2 2 2 2
GbE 2 2 1
Video out 1 x HDMI 1 x HDMI, 1 x DP 1 x HDMI, 1 x DVI
USB 3.0 6 (+4 USB 2.0) 6 (+2 USB 2.0) 6
eSATA n/a 1 n/a

It is promising to see so many devices this early into Thunderbolt 2's launch, and the various high end motherboard using both Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3 gives consumers the best of both worlds and access to all manner of external peripherals. The bandwidth increase is certainly welcome, and I am interested to see what sorts of new devices it enables. For now, I think Thunderbolt 2 is going to be mainly a professional (or at least "pro-sumer") technology. With that siad, 4K capture and video output is already being worked on, and I am curious to see what other applications and technologies will really be able to push the new 20Gbps interface and what trickles down to the consumer space!

Are you excited about Thunderbolt 2? Let us know what you think of the IDF-launched products and the interface technology in general in the comments below!

Source: Intel

Trimming off the extras and keeping the good stuff, the ASUS Maximus VI Hero

Subject: Motherboards | August 26, 2013 - 03:29 PM |
Tagged: asus, z87, ASUS ROG, Maximus VI Hero

If there is one thing that has slowed the adoption of ASUS' impressive ROG line of motherboards it is the price to pick one up, high quality and extensive features do cost after all.  The new Maximus VI Hero, if you can find it, retails for a bit over $200 and comes with a long list of reasons to make it the Z87 of choice.  A pair of 16x, a 4x and three 1x PCIe slots offer a lot of choice for addin cards, ROG SupremeFX 8 channel sound will challenge many discrete audio cards and eight SATA 6Gbps ports will handle your storage needs.  It isn't just about the peripherals though, Hardware Canucks proved that this board can overclock just like one of it's $400+ siblings which is what most enthusiasts are truely looking for.  Check out the full review for the full list of reasons to consider this board.

HC_Intro.jpg

"Combining price and performance isn't something ASUS' ROG motherboards are known for but the Maximus VI Hero bucks that trend by delivering an incredible array of features at a lower than expected cost."

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MSI's Z87-GD65 Gaming is a brilliant board at a reasonable price

Subject: Motherboards | July 15, 2013 - 11:46 AM |
Tagged: Z87-GD65 GAMING, z87, msi

At just under $200 the MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming offers great value and performance for someone building a Haswell based system.  It has all of the current features you expect from a high end board from MSI such as OC Genie 4, Military Class 4 components, super ferrite chokes, Hi-C Capacitors, Dark Caps and a Killer NIC.  [H]ard|OCP was also very glad to see the end of MSI's ClickBIOS and were much happier with the new UEFI BIOS that MSI is using on their new boards.  With three PCIe 16x slots you can utilize multiple GPUs and 10 SATA 6Gbps ports ought to satisfy almost any user.  It picked up a Gold Award from [H] and you can see why in the full review.

If you missed Morry's review of this board you can get it right here.

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"MSI’s GAMING series is back with an all new entry. The Z87-GD65 GAMING is certainly a promising contender and is one of the more unique offerings we’ve seen from MSI. We liked the last GAMING board we looked at, and we have liked all previous GD-65 series motherboards, hopefully this followup entry can measure up."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Podcast #259 - MSI Z87 MPower Motherboard, Mobile Frame Rating, Intel Bay Trail and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 11, 2013 - 11:06 AM |
Tagged: podcast, video, frame rating, z87, mpower, msi, Bay Trail, celeron, atom, pentium

PC Perspective Podcast #259 - 07/11/2013

Join us this week as we discuss the MSI Z87 MPower Motherboard, Mobile Frame Rating, Intel Bay Trail 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 and Allyn Malventano

Program length: 1:14:34

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
  4. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  5. Closing/outro

Gigabyte's Z87X-UD5H has a lot going for it, but perhaps it could do better

Subject: Motherboards | July 2, 2013 - 11:06 AM |
Tagged: gigabyte, z87, Z87X-UD5H

Gigabyte's new Z87X-UD5H is more than just a chipset refresh, they've included 12 phase digtial power, fuses and ESD protection on the USB ports as well as high quality ICs and long life capacitors.  The board can handle multiple GPUs on its two PCIe 16x slots, running at 8x when both are populated and additionally has a 4x and three 3x slots for any other cards you might want to install.  A brand new UEFI offers an attractive interface but [H]ard|OCP were not as impressed with some of the functionality of the new UEFI on the board.  Check out their full review here.

H_gigz87.jpg

"Gigabyte brings a lot to the test bench with the Z87X-UD5H. New UEFI, New Easy Tune software, and a whole lot more. Gigabyte is facing some very tough competition based on what we’ve seen from other manufacturers. Does Gigabyte still have what it takes to compete? Let’s find out."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

The ASUS Z87-A, short name but long on features

Subject: Motherboards | June 17, 2013 - 03:14 PM |
Tagged: asus, z87, Z87-A

You have a lot of choice in motherboard if you are thinking of moving up to Haswell as there are a huge amount of models available.  At their core the different implementations of the Z87 are very similar, it is the materials used for construction and the add-ons which make a board stand out.  ASUS added 5k long life capacitors, rust proofing on the I/O panel, the new Realtek ALC1150 onboard audio and an ASMedia USB controller to increase the number of available ports, to name just a few features. Head over to [H]ard|OCP for the performance review of the $150 ASUS Z87-A motherboard.

H_asusz87a.jpg

"We start today with reviewing new Z87 chipset motherboards, which we will surely see a lot of, with ASUS' new Z87-A motherboard. Before we even got the box open we had to stop for a second and enjoy the simplicity of the name. But don't let the name fool you. There is plenty going on here to keep your enthusiast attention."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP