Computex: Gigabyte Shows Off Thunderbolt Motherboard and Peripherals

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | June 5, 2012 - 08:04 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, motherboard, gigabyte, ga-z77x-up5 th, computex

Intel’s 10Gbps copper-based Thunderbolt technology is big at this year’s Computex show, and Gigabyte was not shy about showing off their Thunderbolt hardware. Not to be outdone by the Intel booth, Gigabyte had on display a Thunderbolt motherboard and no less than 13 pieces of Thunderbolt hardware!

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The motherboard in question is Gigabyte’s GA-Z77X-UP5 TH which is an ATX form factor board that supports Intel Ivy Bridge processors, dual UEFI BIOS technology, SLI and CrossFireX multi-GPU setups, four DDR3 DIMM slots, six SATA 6Gbps ports, three PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, and a single legacy PCI slot. It also, of course, features a Thunderbolt port.

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The list of Thunderbolt-enabled peripherals was impressive – they only seemed to be missing Thunderbolt docks. The full list of devices is available in the table below, but Gigabyte had the Apple Thunderbolt display, several Thunderbolt external hard drives, a Thunderbolt SSD, Thunderbolt-equipped RAIDed NAS boxes from several vendors, and the active Thunderbolt cables themselves (from Sumitomo Electric).

Vendor Model name Category
Apple Thunderbolt Display Display
Blackmagic design UltraStudio 3D Video editing
Blackmagic design Intensity Extreme Video editing
CalDigit T1 Storage
elgato Thunderbold SSD Storage
LaCie 2Big Storage
LaCie eSATA Hub Thunderbolt Hub
Promise Technology, Inc Pegasus R6 Storage
Seagate GoFlex ThunderBolt Adapter HDD Adapter
Seagate GoFlex Desk ThunderBolt Adapter HDD Adapter
Sonnos Sonnet ECHO ExpressCard ExpressCard
Sumitomo Electric Thunderbolt Cable Cable
Western Digital My Book Thunderbolt Drive Storage

Although Thunderbolt is going to be a niche connection (mostly due to expense of cables and components vs the “good enough” and much cheaper USB 3.0 standard) for the foreseeable future, Computex 2012 is trying its best to drive home the idea that Thunderbolt is not going away. There are definitely more Thunderbolt devices than I had originally predicted to show up at the show in Taipei.

Source: Gigabyte

Computex: MSI Unveils Four New AMD Trinity FM2 Socket Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | June 5, 2012 - 06:40 PM |
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.

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MSI's Trinity display at Computex 2012. Source: MSI

MSI A85IA-E53

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.

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Source: MSI

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.

A55M-P33 (F2).jpg

Source: TechPowerUP

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.

MSI A85MA-E35

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.

A85MA-E35.jpg

Source: TechPowerUp

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.

MSI A85XA-G65

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.

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Source: MSI

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.

Source: MSI

Computex: 3DMark Announces Windows 8 Benchmarking - First Screenshots

Subject: General Tech | June 5, 2012 - 01:37 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, computex, benchmarking, 3dmark

Popular benchmarking software company Futuremark has announced on their website a new version of their 3DMark application for Windows 8 benchmarking. While not available for download (yet), the application can be used to benchmark the performance of Windows 8 machines. Currently the company is calling the software "3DMark for Windows 8" which breaks the traditional numbered naming scheme.

3DMark_Windows8.jpg

Not much is known about the particulars yet, but we were able to snag some screenshots from their site which may or may not be publicly available any more. Take a look below the break (there are quite a few). More information should be coming shortly as Computex 2012 marches on.

I will miss the rocket powered airship and big guy with the minigun, but I suppose these benchmarks will be fun to watch as well.

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See more screenshots after the break!!

Source: Futuremark

Computex: ASUS Mars III Dual GTX 680 Card Comes With 8GB RAM

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 5, 2012 - 12:59 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, mars 3, gtx 680, computex, asus

ASUS has created a graphics card that places two NVIDIA GTX 680 GPUs and 8GB of RAM on a single PCB cooled by three fans and a heatpipe-aided fin array. With three PCI-E power connectors and a dual slot design, you can bet that it will be expensive, large, and in charge (of your electric bill). (Even so, I still want one even if I have to get a new case :P).

ASUS is showing off a graphics card at Computex that is sure to be of interest to enthusiasts everywhere. The successor to their elusive Mars II (which we reviewed here), the new ASUS Mars III is a dual GPU graphics card utilizing two NVIDIA GTX 680 GPUs and a total of 8GB of GDDR5 memory on a single PCB. The dual slot card is cooled by three fans on an aluminum and heatpipe aided fin array. Around the back of the card are three eight pin PCI-E power connectors for up to 525watts of power! There is also a red button to the left of the connectors that spins the fans up to 100% for maximum overclocking. Towards the front is a single SLI connector (for up to 4-way SLI) along with three DVI ports and a mini-DisplayPort for video output.

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In short, this graphics card is a total beast. Although we do not yet know clockspeeds or other specific details, you can expect the cards to be expensive and very fast. According to VR-Zone, the card being shown off at Computex 2012 is an engineering sample and the company is still working to refine the final design – particularly the cooler and PCB. You can find more photos of this massive card here.

Source: VR-Zone

SanDisk releases new 'Lightning' bootable, lower-cost competitor to the Intel 910 Series PCIe SSD

Subject: Storage | June 5, 2012 - 01:07 AM |
Tagged: ssd, sandisk, pcie, enterprise, computex

Just over a month back we took a look at the Intel SSD 910 Series PCIe SSD. While the specs and performance were excellent, there were some factors preventing use in workstation systems - namely the prohibitive cost and lack of a Boot ROM. With that, it seems SanDisk has made an attempt to answer that call. Today at Computex they announced a new PCIe Enterprise SSD, the PCIe Lightning:

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This is a much simpler layout, with flash right alongside the controller - an option not possible with the multi-PCB Intel 910 Series as it contained much more flash on its daughter boards. With this simpler layout comes lower cost but unfortunately lower maximum capacities. Less complexity also means lower maximum specs, but they still look quite good given the price point this card will be filling:

  • Price: $1350 (200GB) / $2350 (400GB)
  • 4k 70/30 R/W split: 23,000 IOPS
  • Sequential Throughput: 425 MB/sec
  • Warranty: 5 Year
  • Endurance: 10 full-drive writes per day for warranty duration

I'm glad to see some good PCIe SSD competition cropping up - especially the bootable kind.

Full release after the break:

 

Rosewill Premieres a Full Line of Gaming Weaponry

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2012 - 12:09 AM |
Tagged: rosewill, computex, computex 2012, Fortress, Tachyon, SilentNight, Hercules, Throne

Rosewill is up to quite a bit at this years Computex with quite a few different products to house or interface with your computer. Starting with the largest of their new lineup; who wouldn't want another full sized Throne in their house? 

THRONE 3.jpg

Nine hard drive bays with four fans passing air over them, ten expansion bays to handle even the Wonder Twin Dream System with handy grommets for watercooling or wire management the interior of your case will look snazzy.  A bottom mounted PSU and top mounted large exhaust fan does make air cooling an extreme system possible for any hydrophobics out there.  Those preferring a good looking exterior will like the LEDs.

THRONE 1.jpg

Speaking of PSUs, they are showing off an 80Plus Platinum Certified tro at Computex with the Fortress, Tachyon and SilentNight with the 1600W Hercules standing tall above them. 

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They have two mechanical keyboards on display as well, though they do not specify which type they have used, the Limited Edition Elite Ivory RK-9000 series and the backlit RK-9100.  That doesn't cover all the releases they have (though it does their pictures), as they have the RSV-L4500 server chassis with up to 15 3.5" drives and eight 120mm fans, the RMX-N360RT wireless router for beginning network techs as well as experienced ones and a dual Xeon Super System named after a cult classic, which may be the only way to lay your hands on four GTX680's, the Red Dawn.

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Source: Rosewill

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.

ASUS_ThunderboltEX Card_2.jpg

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.

ASUS_ThunderboltEX Card_5.jpg

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.

ASUS_ThunderboltEX Card_4.jpg

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 Unveils Exclusive Ultra Durable 5 Technology at Computex 2012

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | June 4, 2012 - 06:46 PM |
Tagged: ultra durable 5, IR3550 PowIRstage, International Rectifier, gigabyte, computex 2012, computex

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City of Industry, California, June 4th , 2012– GIGABYTE TECHNOLGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, today introduced their latest Ultra Durable 5 technology, featuring a range of high current capable components including the industry’s highest rated 60A IR3550 PowIRstage ICs that provide the best quality power delivery to the CPU for record-breaking performance, cool and efficient operation and extended motherboard lifespan.

GIGABYTE is yet again raising the bar of motherboard quality and durability with their Ultra Durable 5 technology, which includes high current capable components for the CPU power zone including the highest rated and awarded IR3550 PowIRstage ICs from International Rectifier, 2X Copper PCB and high current Ferrite Core Chokes rated up to 60A which together are able to deliver up to 60°C* cooler temperatures than traditional motherboards. Featured on a range of new motherboards based the Intel X79 and Z77 Express Chipsets, GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 5 technology is the next evolution in quality motherboard design.

“As the exclusive motherboard manufacturer to utilize the amazingly efficient IR3550 PowIRstage ICs from International Rectifier, GIGABYTE has spent a considerable amount of engineering resources to ensure our Ultra Durable 5 motherboards are our best Ultra Durable motherboards yet,” commented Henry Kao, Vice President of GIGABYTE Motherboard Business Unit. “GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 5 motherboards are especially optimized for water cooled systems and overclocked Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge “K” SKU CPUs due to their exceptionally low operating temperatures, and make the perfect match for anyone looking to push their system to limits.”

“We are delighted that IR’s award winning IR3550 PowIRstage provides the high current, thermal capability and outstanding performance to power GIGABYTE’s new Ultra Durable 5 motherboard series,” said Deepak Savadatti, Vice President and General Manager, IR’s Enterprise Power Business Unit.

The magic happens thanks to all new Integrated Circuit design

Source:

Corsair Announces 'Neutron' SSD Series Driven by LAMD Controller

Subject: Storage | June 4, 2012 - 06:31 PM |
Tagged: neutron, ssd, LAMD, corsair, computex

Today at Computex, Corsair announced a new line of SSDs. This 4th generation line will sport a new controller made by Link_A_Media Devices (LAMD). Their announcement boasts a System On a Chip (SoC) design, but that's the way most modern SSD controllers are architected. The new controller has the following claimed specs:

Neutron (Standard):

  • 90,000 read / 85,000 write IOPS (assumed 4k random)
  • 555MB/s read / 370MB/s write (sequential)

Neutron GTX:

  • 90,000 read/write IOPS (assumed 4k random)
  • 555MB/s read / 500MB/s write (sequential)

Here's a few quick pics:

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SSDv2_NTRN_GTX_A.png

The drives meet all of the typical SSD wickets, such as TRIM support and a generous 5-year warranty. The specs do look very good, but the proof is in the benches, which we hope to see shortly.

Full press blast follows after the break:

Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR3 memory launches at Computex

Subject: Memory | June 4, 2012 - 06:12 PM |
Tagged: dominator, ddr3, corsair, computex

Corsair is jumping back into the world of high-end consumer memory with a new Dominator series of DDR3 kits that include a customizable light bar, DHX cooling, Corsair Link support and screened, overclockable ICs.

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Available in both quad and dual-channel kits and 8GB, 16GB, 32GB and even 64GB capacities and frequencies as high as 2800 MHz.  All of the Dominator Platinum kits will support Intel's XMP 1.3 profiles for easier overclocking on supporting motherboards.

Maybe more exciting is the new light bar that contains a user interchangeable light pipe with "lets enthusiasts tailor the downwash lighting color to match their PC lighting and components."  While all modules will ship with white lights you will be able to buy additional colors from Corsair to customize your configuration.

cutaway_DomPLT_G.png

Dominator Platinum memory also supports full Corsair Link connectivity, allowing customers with Corsair Link to monitor DRAM temperature and other parametric data. This feature, unique to Dominator memory, provides end users with the data they need to tune system cooling and monitoring. Dominator Platinum memory kits also support Corsair AirFlow fans and AirFlow Pro™ dynamic temperature and activity displays to provide the low temperatures required for stable and reliable overclocks.

“Dominator has been the choice of performance enthusiasts and overclockers since its release six years ago, and Dominator Platinum will continue to dominate the memory market for many more years to come,” said Thi La, VP of the Memory Business Unit at Corsair. “The stunning new industrial design and customizable light bar makes Dominator Platinum even more special and distinctive, while the patented DHX cooling technology and hand-sorted DRAM ICs deliver the performance and overclockability that enthusiasts demand.”

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Source: Corsair