Asus Launches New Mini ITX Motherboards With Braswell-Based Intel Celeron Processors

Subject: Motherboards | July 4, 2015 - 10:52 PM |
Tagged: SFF, mini ITX, fanless, Braswell, Airmont, asus

Asus has introduced two new small form factor motherboards featuring soldered Intel “Braswell”-based Celeron processors. The Asus N3150I-C and N3050I-C are Mini ITX form factor boards with decent connectivity and lower power draw with the processor options topping out at 6 watts.

Asus Braswell-Based Celeron Mini ITX Motherboards N3150i-c and N3050i-c.jpg

The two SFF motherboards are essentially the same, with the main difference being the bundled processor (see below). The boards have 24+4 pin ATX power inputs, two full-size DDR3 memory slots, two SATA 6 Gbps ports, a single PCI-E 2.0 x4 slot (open ended), and one mini PCI-E connector. The Intel processors on both boards are passively cooled by a large rectangular gold-colored aluminum heatsink.

The rear of the board includes the following I/O ports.

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x RS232
  • 3 x Audio outputs

The N3150I-C board uses an Intel Celeron N3150 while the N3050I-C uses an Intel Celeron N3050. Both chips are 14nm and based on the newer Airmont architecture. These “Braswell” chips have incremental improvements in CPU performance and more significant graphics performance boosts with the inclusion of up to 16 execution units.

Specifically, the N3150 is a quad core chip clocked at 1.6 GHz base to 2.08 GHz burst with Intel HD Graphics (12 EUs up to 640 MHz) and a 6W TDP. On the other hand, the Celeron N3050 is a dual core chip – also with a 6W TDP – clocked at 1.6 GHz base and 2.16 GHz burst paired with Intel HD Graphics (12 EUs) clocked at up to 600 MHz.

These new boards could be used as the base for a NAS box, home media server, or a router and wireless AP by using those PCI-E and mPCI-E slots. Pricing and availability have not yet been announced, however.

Source: Asus

When the going gets tough, the TUF get going to ASUS

Subject: Motherboards | July 2, 2015 - 06:17 PM |
Tagged: Sabertooth X99, asus, tuf

The TUF series of ASUS boards are recognizable thanks to the Thermal Armour which covers the vast majority of the board and are marketed as having mil-spec components to outlast other motherboards using the same chipset.  This board supports quad GPU setups but keep in mind that there is also an M.2 port, that you need a more expensive CPU and the fact that there are only three PCIe 16x 3.0 slots, the other card will be in a PCIe 4x 2.0 slot, leaving a single 1x slot for other cards. The AI Suite III overclocking software is not supported on this TUF board but [H]ard|OCP had great success overclocking manually, some of their reviewers more so than others though.  Check out the full review if you are comparison shopping for an X99 motherboard.

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"ASUS’ SABERTOOTH X99 promises premium quality and unmatched stability alongside industry leading fan control. Saberooth motherboards have in the past all been universally excellent and this motherboard is one of the newest in the TUF series. Can ASUS keep that streak going? It's going to be TUF."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

ECS getting out of the retail motherboard business?

Subject: General Tech | June 24, 2015 - 01:38 PM |
Tagged: ECS, motherboards, rumours

According to rumours DigiTimes has heard, ECS motherboards may no longer be sold by themselves and will only be found in OEM builds.  With the slowdown in the DIY PC market, arguably caused in part by a lack of reasons to completely upgrade gaming systems, ECS may be withdrawing from the market.  This bears to reason as their motherboard families have been much smaller than the competitions for a while now and you do not see much marketing for them on sites recently. It is always sad to see the marketplace shrink, hopefully this will give them the ability to focus more on their tablets and laptops and make those products more competitive; though that market is even tougher to succeed at than the motherboard business.

ecs-elitegroup_f.png

"Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) has announced that it will no longer actively market own-brand DIY motherboards but will undertake ODM/OEM production if clients have demand, and this is the equivalent of a gradual withdrawal from the global own-brand DIY motherboard market, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers."

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Source: DigiTimes

MSI's X99A MPower has a bit of personality

Subject: Motherboards | June 16, 2015 - 01:45 PM |
Tagged: msi, X99, X99A MPower

MSI's X99A MPower board sports the new USB 3.1 but not the new plugs if you were hoping for USB ports that do not have an orientation.  Depending on the CPU installed, he four PCIe 16x slots can support up to three GPUs at once if you use the M.2 port, otherwise four cards can be run.  The Realtek ALC1150 7.1 codec is compatible with S/PDIF and provides optical out as well as 5 mini-jacks for speakers.  [H]ard|OCP preferred manually overclocking to the use of the OC Genie or the Command Center software and two of the reviewers experience some quirky behaviour which prevented the board from winning an award but once the settings were tweaked the board performed admirably.

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"MSI’s X99A MPower promises to deliver a ton of features at a reasonable price. SATA Express, full speed M.2 support, and USB 3.1 compatibility are all examples of what this motherboard has to offer. The MSI MPower series has never disappointed us before, so we have high hopes for this motherboard."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Computex 2015: ASRock Shows Off Skylake-Based Z170 Gaming Mini ITX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | June 10, 2015 - 01:42 AM |
Tagged: Z170, Skylake, mini ITX, Intel Skylake, computex 2015, computex, asrock

ASRock had some nice looking motherboards on display at Computex, but one in particular caught my attention. The ASRock Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac is a Mini ITX motherboard ready to support Intel's upcoming Skylake processor, DDR4 memory, and a slew of speedy connectivity options.

Asrock Z170 Gaming-ITXac Mini ITX Motherboard.jpg

The LGA 1151 socket is situated in the middle of the compact board and is surrounded by a 6+2 power phase, two DDR4 memory slots, the PCH with red heatsink and ASRock Gaming logo, a mini PCI-E slot with pre-installed 802.11ac Wi-Fi card, and a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot snuggled along the bottom edge. Storage support includes four SATA 3 ports and a single SATA Express port in the bottom right corner. Several websites are also reporting that this board has an Ultra M.2 port as well, which may be located on the underside of the board like existing Mini ITX motherboard implementations (for space reasons). Unfortunately, I was not able to dig up any photos of the back so we will have to wait for reviews to confirm this. 

As far as external I/O, the motherboard has the following ports on the rear panel:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 3 x Video outputs (two HDMI and one DisplayPort)
  • 2 x USB 3.1
  • 6 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x Gigabit LAN (from Intel)
  • 3 x Analog audio output
  • 1 x Optical audio output

In all, this pint-size motherboard packs a punch and will make for a powerful small form factor gaming PC when paired with a Skylake CPU and dedicated graphics card! Of course, the all-important pricing and availability were not announced at the show.

Source: VR-Zone

The new Broadwell on MSI Z97 and H97

Subject: Motherboards | June 3, 2015 - 05:03 PM |
Tagged: msi, z97, h97, LGA1150, broadcom

If you had any worries about being able to use the new Broadwell processors on your LGA 1150 board you can feel much better after this press release from MSI.  They have announce full support for Intel's new processors when they arrive on the market, after applying an update to your motherboards Click BIOS 4.

unnamed.png

MSI, leading in motherboard design, is proud to announce that our Z97 & H97 motherboards fully support the 5th Generation Intel® Core™ processors! With the latest BIOS update, current MSI Z97 & H97 motherboards are completely compatible with the 5th Gen Intel® Core™ processors, and able to unleash your system’s full performance. Committed to ensuring compatibility and performance, the MSI R&D team is making sure you never have to worry about your MSI Z97 & H97 motherboard supporting the latest generation of Intel® Core™ processors. If you want to fully enjoy all the advantages of the 5th Generation Intel® Core™ processors, MSI Z97 & H97 motherboards are definitely your best choice.

z97.png

Click BIOS 4, the highly-awarded UEFI design
MSI Click BIOS 4 is optimized for the 5th Generation Intel® Core™ processors. The highly awarded design is reliable, easy to use, and able to unleash your system’s performance. Besides providing great performance and stability, MSI Click BIOS 4 is recognized as an extraordinary piece of kit which allows you to fully customize your PCs setup.

 

Source: MSI

Computex 2015: MSI Announces X99A GODLIKE GAMING Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | June 2, 2015 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: X99A GODLIKE GAMING, RGB, msi, motherboard, Intel X99, gaming, computex 2015, computex

In the spirit of being un-subtle (and writing things in all-caps) MSI has introduced its new ultra high-end X99 platform motherboard, the X99A GODLIKE GAMING.

image10.png

MSI says the X99A GODLIKE GAMING is the “world’s first RGB LED motherboard, supporting more than 2000 colors and many style presets such as breathing, flashing and waving”. Flashing and waving? Two things my motherboard has always needed. And breathing? Well, we all have to do that.

In all seriousness however (that name notwithstanding) the X99A GODLIKE GAMING looks like a really interesting product for a gaming market permeated by RGB-adorned peripherals and enclosures.

From MSI:

“The X99A GODLIKE GAMING employs the latest Audio Boost 3 PRO technology to deliver crystal clear sound quality and lossless audio compression. For efficient data transfer, Turbo M.2, SATA Express and USB 3.1 are supported. The X99A GODLIKE GAMING also adopts the latest Killer DoubleShot-X3 PRO. Smart teaming with two Killer Ethernet chips and Killer 1535 Wi-Fi module, X99A GODLIKE GAMING can provide up to 2.867Gbps of network bandwidth for hardcore gamers. The Mystic Light, another special feature, lets users easily control the LED light effects with the MSI Gaming APP on OS and the Mystic Light APP on Android mobile devices.”

No details yet on pricing or availability for this “god-like” motherboard just yet.

Source: MSI

Support for AMD A-Series ‘Godavari’ APUs

Subject: Motherboards | May 29, 2015 - 04:03 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Godavari, asus, amd

If you are running an ASUS FM2+ board and you want to install the shiny new AMD A10-7870K Godavari processor then it is time to fire up either the ASUS USB BIOS Flashback or ASUS EZ Update tools.   Below is a list of all of UEFI versions for all compatible motherboards which you will need to update to in order to boot the new processor.  If you do not see your motherboard on the list then it is likely it will not support the new processor, keep an eye on the relevant page on ASUS for more information.

mobo.png

Gigabyte has also release updates to support the new APU, head to their downloads page and search for the model of motherboard you are currently using for the latest UEFI BIOS to flash to.

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Source: ASUS

Another skinny Z97 board, Gigabyte's Z97-HD3

Subject: Motherboards | May 28, 2015 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: Z97-HD3, gigabyte, z97

The Z97-HD3 Rev. 2 is a trimmed down board, both literally and figuratively as it is a mere 19cm (7.5") wide and lacks the LEDs, gold heatsinks and Nichicon caps that the initial release did.  It is also less expensive, $80 after MIR which is a bonus for someone looking to build an entry level machine.  The topmost 16x PCIe slot is a 3.0 slot and perfect for single GPU systems, the second is 2.0 and a maximum of 4x which takes SLI out of the picture but will handle Crossfire, not something to be overly worried about for an entry level system.  Do these cost cutting measures also impact the performance and stability of the board?  Check out The Tech Report's full review to find out.

00-whole_board.jpg

"At $100, the Z97-HD3 is Gigabyte's most affordable full-sized Z97 board. We've taken a closer look at what the board has to offer, and we've paired it with a Pentium Anniversary Edition for some overclocking fun. Read on to see if it's worth opening your wallet."

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MSI X99A Motherboards Win Computex Best Choice Awards

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | May 27, 2015 - 08:01 PM |
Tagged: computex, computex 2015, msi, x99a xpower ac, x99a gaming 9 ack, X99

Even though COMPUTEX 2015 doesn't begin for almost a week, the organizers have presented their “Best Choice Award”. Many devices won from a variety of categories, such as the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet and the 19” Stainless Fanless Industrial Panel PC from Wincomm Corporation. Being COMPUTEX, they appreciate PC gaming and overclocking, which led to MSI winning a pair of awards for its X99-based motherboards.

The MSI X99A GAMING 9 ACK motherboard won the Best Choice Golden Award for Gaming and Entertainment because of its Streaming Engine Module. This feature uses an AVerMedia encoder to stream 60 megabit, 1080p, H.264 gaming video over the internet, to compensate for the lack of Intel Quicksync on Haswell-E. I have never seen it in action, but it seems to have interested the judges. MSI's second award is for the MSI X99A XPOWER AC motherboard, which won the Best Choice Award for Computer and System because of its overclocking capability.

COMPUTEX starts on June 2nd in Taiwan, which is next week, but expect more news before then.

Source: Computex

Just Arrived: MSI 990FXA-Gaming Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | May 21, 2015 - 11:34 PM |
Tagged: msi, amd, 990fx, FX-8370, FX-9590, sli, crossfire, SoundBlaster, killer nic, usb 3.1

Several weeks ago MSI officially announced the 990FXA-Gaming motherboard for the AM3+ market.  The board is based on the tried and true 990FX and SB950 combo, but it adds a new wrinkle to the game: USB 3.1 support.  MSI has released the other AMD based USB 3.1 board on the market, the 970 Krait.

msi_990fxa_g_01.jpg

Quite a few people were excited about this part, as the AM3+ market has been pretty stagnant as of late.  This is not necessarily surprising considering that AMD has not launched a new AM3+ chip since Fall of 2014 with a couple of "efficiency" chips as well as the slightly faster FX-8370.

msi_990fxa_g_02.jpg

There was some speculation based on early photographs that the board could have a more robust power delivery system than previous AM3+ boards, but alas, that is not the case.  Upon closer inspection it appears as though MSI has gone the 6+2 phase route.  If there are good quality components in there, you can potentially run the 220 watt TDP FX-9000 series parts, but these puppies are not officially supported.  In fact, I received an email saying that I might want to be really careful in my choice of CPUs as well as being extremely careful when overclocking.

The board still has some real potential at being a really nice home for the 125 watt TDP and below parts.  The audio portion looks very well designed and features the SoundBlaster Cinema 2.  It supports both SLI and CrossFire in native 2 x 16x (highly doubtful with 3 cards with the way the slots are configured).  It has the Killer NIC ethernet suite which may or may not be a selling point, depending on who you ask.

msi_990fxa_g_03.jpg

Overall the board is an interesting addition to the club, but I really wouldn't trust it with the FX-9000 series chips.  I have a 970 Gaming that came with the FX-9590 that had a similar power delivery system, and it ran like a champ; there is a possibility that the board will run this combination.  This is going to be installed this weekend and I will start the benchmarking!  Keep tuned!

Source: MSI

First Glimpse of the MSI 990FXA-Gaming Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | May 6, 2015 - 10:21 AM |
Tagged: usb 3.1, sli, piledriver, msi, gaming, crossfire, amd, am3+, 990FXA-Gaming, 990fx

Some months ago MSI announced that they are releasing a slew of USB 3.1 compliant parts.  What was surprising was the mention of a brand new AM3+ board based on the now nearly geriatric AMD 990FX chipset.  The 990FX has had quite a lifespan with PCI-E 2.0 support and the accompanying SB950 southbridge with USB 2.0 and SATA6G features.

msi_990fxag.jpg

It looks as if MSI is doing a clean sheet design for the 990FXA-Gaming.  This looks to be a class leading product with plenty of features.  Not only does it have the USB 3.1 support, but it also implements the enhanced audio design that we have seen on other top end boards from MSI.  It also embraces the Killer ethernet software suite (utilizing Qualcomm's Atheros Gig-E chip).

The power delivery system looks to be a full 8+2 unit, so it can officially handle the 220 watt TDP FX-9000 series of CPUs.  It supports both SLI and CrossFire.  The cooling on the board looks to be top notch as well, with a heatpipe stretching from the Southbridge, through the Northbridge, and finally to the VRMs.

We expect these boards to be available sometime around the middle of this month.  We should also be receiving a sample for testing around then.  It is nice to see new support for AMD's FX CPUs, and this should be a cost effective member of the club.  Though AM3+ is a dead end in terms of socket infrastructure, there is still a lot of value in AMD's FX CPU line.

There is no word on pricing at this time, but I would not be surprised to see it hit the $149 mark.  It does not seem as decked out as the 990FXA-GD80 which is priced around $179.  With the robust featureset that they do implement, it does look to be a value if it can hit that aggressive price point.

Source: MSI

The Asus Z97-P; yours for just over $110

Subject: Motherboards | May 5, 2015 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: asus, Z97-P

If you are looking for a low priced Z97 system you could do worse than base it off of the ASUS Z97-P.  It is a trimmed down ATX board, only 21.3cm wide which unfortunately leads to a relatively crowded CPU socket and you would be wise to double check the size of the cooler you intend to use.  You will also be limited to a single GPU as only one of the PCIe slots is 16x Gen3, the other 16x slot is in fact a 2x though that does leave enough lanes for the board to sport an M.2 slot.  There are sacrifices made on the board but the general high quality of ASUS firmware ensures you get stable performance and, in The Tech Reports' opinion, justifies the slightly higher cost when compared to some of the other budget Z97 boards on the market.

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"Asus' entry-level Z97 board is the Z97-P. Does the P in the model name signify that all it can hope for is a passing grade compared to its straight-As brother, the Z97-A? Read on to find out."

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MSI Launches 8 New FM2+ Motherboards Supporting AMD Godavari CPUs

Subject: Motherboards | May 4, 2015 - 02:49 PM |
Tagged: processor, msi, motherboard, Godavari, FM2+, cpu, APU, amd

MSI has revealed a new FM2+ motherboard lineup with support for upcoming AMD Godavari processors, further indicating the launch of these new CPUs will be very soon though no official announcement has yet been made by AMD.

msi_mobo_1.jpg

As reported back in January when the lineup allegedly leaked the new Godavari SKUs feature higher clocks on both processor and, more significantly, in GPU cores in upcoming APUs like the rumored 8850K. MSI states that "these new models are available in ATX, micro-ATX, and mini-ATX form factors and are backwards compatible with FM2 processors (Kaveri, Richland, Trinity, 6000 and 5000 series)", so it makes sense to consider these new models for future compatibility if shopping for an FM2 motherboard today. It remains to be seen if vendors will offer support for Godavari through BIOS updates, though it does at least seem likely.

For those interested here is the list of new MSI AMD FM2+/FM2 motherboard models:

  • A68HM-E33 V2
  • A88XM-E45 V2
  • A78M-E35 V2
  • A88XM-P33 V2
  • A78M-E45 V2
  • A88X-G41 PC Mate V2
  • A88XM-E35 V2
  • A88XI AC V2

The familiar Military Class 4 and OC Genie 4 branding is visible across the lineup, and the new models also feature "a rich blend of features and technologies, such as onboard LAN, PCI Express 3.0 x16, SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.0 and multiple display support".

Source: MSI

ASRock EPC612D4I Motherboard: Mini-ITX LGA 2011-3 with Quad-Channel DDR4

Subject: Motherboards | May 1, 2015 - 09:25 AM |
Tagged: sodimm, quad-channel, mini-itx, EPC612D4I, ddr4, ASRock Rack, asrock

They finally did it! A new mini-ITX LGA 2011-3 has been announced by ASRock, the EPC612D4I, and this server-grade product will offer full quad-channel memory support with a switch to SoDIMM RAM.

EPC612D4I-R1.00_45.jpg

Image credit: Tom’s IT Pro

While ASRock had previously released a mini-ITX X99 motherboard (the X99E-ITX/ac) there were concessions made based on the limitations of the form-factor, and the motherboard was limited to dual-channel memory with only two DDR4 DIMM slots. So for a full quad-channel experience it became obvious that a switch to SoDIMM’s would be required. So are there any DDR4 SoDIMMs available? They certainly aren’t cheap, but a quick search for the model number of this new board finds a page from Crucial for compatible DDR4 modules – at a cost of $555.99 for a massive 32GB (4x8GB) of 1.2V DDR4-2133 ECC memory.

Specs for the EPC612D4I from ASRock:

  • LGA 2011 R3 Intel Xeon processor E5-1600/2600 v3 series
  • 4x SO-DIMM slots, supports quad-channel DDR4 2133/1866 ECC
  • 4x SATA 6Gb/s by C612
  • 1x PCIe 3.0 x16                      
  • Integrated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and Dedicated LAN (RTL8211E)
  • Intel Dual GLAN (Intel i210 + Intel i217)

The new board was first reported by Tom's IT Pro and their article lists the retail price for the ASRock EPC612D4I at $265, which isn’t bad for a product like this. While definitely targeting the server market this could potentially be implemented for a very compact workstation setup (and allow creation of a PC to rival the diminutive Mac Pro, perhaps).

Source: ASRock

GIGABYTE Enables 5th Gen Intel Core CPU Support for 9 Series Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | April 30, 2015 - 10:32 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Intel, Broadwell, h97, z97, bios, cpu, processor

GIGABYTE has announced support for the upcoming LGA 1150 variants of Intel's 5th-generation Core (Broadwell) processors for all existing 9-series motherboards via BIOS update.

GIGABYTE.jpg

The full press release appears below:


City of Industry, California, April 30th, 2015 – GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards is proud to announce their entire line-up of Z97 and H97 motherboards now support the soon-to-launch 5th Generation Intel® Core™ processors.

GIGABYTE engineers have tested and validated all GIGABYTE 9 series motherboards including Z97 and H97 chipset-based motherboards to ensure optimal performance for 5th Generation Intel® Core™ processors. Users wanting to take advantage of all the features of 5th Gen Intel® Core™ processors have to offer at launch, simply need to download the latest UEFI BIOS from the GIGABYTE website.

To get the latest UEFI BIOS for your motherboard, please visit the GIGABYTE website: http://www.gigabyte.us

Source: GIGABYTE

The David of Z97 motherboards, Gigabyte's GA-Z97MX-Gaming 5

Subject: Motherboards | April 15, 2015 - 03:05 PM |
Tagged: z97, SFF, gigabyte, GA-Z97MX-Gaming 5

You could argue that the Z97 chipset is not the freshest but for serious gamers that are on a budget and for whom space is at a premium the $130 Gigabyte GA-Z97MX-GAMING 5 is a smart choice.  Four memory slots which support up to DDR3-3100, four PCI-e slots, an M.2 PCIe slot and even a SATA Express port mean you can support newer technology without breaking the bank, especially if you plan incremental upgrades.  It also has onboard Realtek ALC1150 7.1 surround sound with support for the Creative X-Fi MB3 and a swapable TI Burr Brown OPA2134 OP-AMP along with S/PDIF out also make this a good board for a fledgling sound artist.  Check out the full review at Modders Inc; you don't have to be big nor expensive to provide a long list of features.

gaz97mxg5_15.jpg

"Long are the days of the SUPER TOWER chassis being the king of the gamers den, in the past few years the SFF (Small Form Factor) has taken over the market. This is not only due to the compact size of mATX and ITX but that both form factors are continuing to squeeze performance into every bit of their tiny …"

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Source: Modders Inc

Gigabyte's Z97X Gaming 7, a decent motherboard all around

Subject: Motherboards | March 30, 2015 - 03:57 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Z97X Gaming 7, z97, Intel

The Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 7 motherboard offers a nice balance between price and performance, at $172 it is a bit pricey but when on sale for around the $150 mark it is a great deal.  The onboard audio provided by Realtek's ALC1150 produced very good sound and while the Qualcomm Killer NIC E2201 doesn't offer benefits over a more generic NIC there are those who prefer the software which comes with it.  The board overclocked very well for [H] manually, providing noticeable boosts with solid performance, however the EasyTune software provided them with some issues.  Check out the full review right here.

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"GIGABYTE's Z97X Gaming 7 promises solid overclocking and performance. The feature list for the Z97X Gaming 7 is long and includes gamer focused features like a dedicated audio amplifier, Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 support and more. We've had mixed results with the GIGABYTE lately, so the real question is; does it work?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI Unveils First AMD AM3+ Motherboard With USB 3.1

Subject: Motherboards | March 25, 2015 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: usb 3.1, usb, msi, amd, am3+, 10Gbps

Last week, MSI launched a slew of new USB 3.1 equipped motherboards. Today, the company is releasing more details on one of the AMD-based products: the MSI 970A SLI Krait Edition. This upcoming motherboard is geared towards gamers using AMD FX (AM3+) processors and supports multi-GPU setups (both SLI and CrossFire). The 970A SLI Krait Edition has a black and white color scheme with rich expansion options and large aluminum heatsinks over the VRMs and northbridge.

MSI 970A SLI Krait Edition Motherboard.png

The AM3+ processor socket sits to the left of four DDR3 memory slots. Six expansion slots take up the majority of the lower half of the board and include two PCI-E x16, two PCI-E x1, and two PCI slots. Six SATA ports occupy the bottom-right corner with four at 90-degree angles. MSI is using its latest “Military Class 4” capacitors and other hardware along with gold audio traces connecting the rear IO audio jacks to the onboard sound chip.

Speaking of rear IO, you will find the following ports on the 970A SLI Krait Edition.

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.1
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 6 x Analog Audio

The main feature that MSI is pushing with this new board is the addition of two USB 3.1 (Type A) ports to the AMD platform. This is the first AM3+ motherboard to support the faster standard – up to 10 Gbps using an Asmedia ASM1352R controller – while also being backwards compatible with older USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 devices.

MSI has not yet released pricing or availability, but expect it to launch soon for less than $100.

Josh's Thoughts

Few specifications have been released about this board so far, as well as no timetable for the launch.  It is a finished product and should be out "soon" as Tim mentioned.

There are a few things we can gather from the photo of the board.  The audio solution is not nearly as robust as we saw with the 970 Gaming motherboard.  I doubt it will have the headphone amplification, and the filtering is going to be less due to fewer caps used.  The audio is still physically isolated on the PCB, but it has not received the same focus as what we saw on 970 Gaming.

It looks like it is a full 8+2 power phase implementation, as it is taking up more space on the board than the 6+2 unit on the 970 Gaming did.  This should allow for a greater selection of CPUs to be used, as well as potentially greater overclocking ability.  It does not feature a separate SATA controller, so all 6 SATA ports on the board are handled by the SB950.  There are no external e-SATA ports, which really is not a big deal as those are rarely used.

This looks to be a nice addition to the fading AM3+ market.  For those holding onto their AMD builds and wish to upgrade, this looks to be an inexpensive option with next generation connectivity.  MSI looks to have paid the licensing fee necessary to support SLI, plus they utilize the same AMD 970 chipset on the 970 Gaming that is not supposed to be able to split the 1 x 16X PEG connection to 2 x 8X slots.  Some interesting design and chippery are required to that.

Source: MSI

When is an SoC not an SoC? When it is the GIGABYTE X99-SOC Champion

Subject: Motherboards | March 20, 2015 - 06:31 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, x99-soc champion, Intel, X99

Relatively new to the market is the $360ish Gigabyte X-99-SOC Champion, expensive compared to previous Intel boards but a decent price for an X99 board.  It has four PCIe 16x slots of which two can only run at 8x maximum as well as three PCIe 1x slots, a single M.2 and a single SEx connector as well as a half dozen SATA 6Gbps ports which can run in RAID and another 4 which are only able to run in AHCI mode.  There are no C-type connectors but there are a plethora of USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports as well as a Thunderbolt header.  This is definitely a board for power users and manual overclockers as you can see in Hardware Canucks review here

You can also expect to see Morry's review of this Gigabyte board in the very near future.

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"GIGABYTE's X99-SOC Champion seems to have everything it takes to become a legendary motherboard. It has high end overclocking built into its bones and a low price but will that lead to success?"

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