Take a break from Z170 with the BIOSTAR A68N-5200

Subject: Motherboards | January 19, 2016 - 07:27 PM |
Tagged: Kabini, biostar, amd, A68N-5200

We don't often think of Kabini based systems lately, focusing on systems of significantly more power but it is worth remembering that the low powered AMD processor and motherboard combo still exists.  The motherboard comes with an integrated A6-5200 with HD 8400 Graphics for a grand total of $68 leaving you short only a DIMM and storage device from having a fully functional system.  You will not be playing Crysis on this system but if you pick up a low cost GPU you would certainly be able to play online games and older titles, if you wanted to go that direction.  You could instead look at building a low powered, low cost system for Internet browsing and emailing for a friend or relative for very little cost, especially if you have an old disk lying around somewhere unused to install in the system.  It can also manage decent encoding performance for its price, check out the review at MadShrimps to see more.

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"The A68N-5200 board, by incorporating one A6-5200 Kabini-based APU, is bringing to the table even more raw performance when compared to its A4-5000, while the GPU component gets a 100Mhz boost. While the increased 3D performance is minimal versus the A4, other tasks which require CPU performance will get up to 25% performance boost."

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Source: MadShrimps

GIGABYTE launches one new X170 and four X150 motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | January 15, 2016 - 05:24 PM |
Tagged: X170-Extreme ECC, X170, X150M-PRO ECC, X150M-PLUS WS, X150-PRO ECC, X150, gigabyte, GA-X150-PLUS WS

These five motherboards will be more at home powering a server than a high end gaming machine as they fully support Intel's Xeon E3-1200 v5 and other LGA 1151 processors, all but two offer ECC memory compatibility using Intel's C236 and C232 chipset.  That doesn't mean you shouldn't consider them for your next build as they should offer rock solid stability and hey, they're camouflaged!

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Up first are the X170-EXTREME ECC and X150-PRO ECC, with the first PCIe 3.0 16x slot connected directly to the CPU socket, no detours for that data.  The boards support PCIe Gen.3 x4 NVMe M.2 natively and you can pick up a U.2 converter if that is what you need for your drives and Intel's USB 3.1 controller will give you performance on both the original flavour and Type-C USB ports.  The X170 Extreme comes with a Killer E2400 Gigabit NIC, along with all of the benefits provided by that chip.

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Up next are the X150M-PRO ECC, X150M-PLUS WS and X150-PLUS WS motherboards which are listed on Gigabyte's site.  The X150M-Pro is mATX but Gigabyte still managed two PCIe 16x slots, with one limited to 4x speeds and a pair of PCI slots along with an M.2, 6 SATA 6Gbps and a SEx connector.  The X150M Plus is very similar but sports a single PCIe 16x and a 4x no legacy connectors nor a SEx port.  Finally the full ATX GA-X150-PLUS WS which adds a pair of PCIe x1 slots in addition to two PCIe 16x slots, with one limited to 4x speeds and a pair of PCI slots.

Source: Gigabyte

EVGA Z170 Motherboards to Support BCLK Overclocking Non-K CPUs

Subject: Motherboards | January 14, 2016 - 08:04 PM |
Tagged: unlocked, overclocking, oc, LGA 1151, Intel K series, Intel, evga, bios, BCLK

An upcoming BIOS update for EVGA Z170 motherboards to allow BCLK overclocking on non-K Intel processors.

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The news came from EVGA Product Manager Jacob Freeman via Twitter this afternoon:

Update: The new BIOS 1.07 enabling non-K BLCK OC is now available from EVGA.

We have been following the story of BCLK overclocking of locked Skylake CPUs since early last month, when Techspot published benchmarks from an Intel Core i3-6100 clocked at 4.70 GHz - thanks to a pre-release ASRock BIOS. The BIOS has since been released, and other vendors are updating their Z170 motherboards to support these locked processors as well, the latest being EVGA.

It remains to be seen if Intel will have anything to say about their cheaper "locked" processors becoming more attractive to potential overclockers, as the unlocked K parts have provided a nice profit margin for the company. So far, board partners are moving forward seemingly unimpeded with the updates to remove the overclocking limitations, and that's great news for enthusiasts.

Source: Twitter

Mini-STX Has Arrived: Meet the ECS H110SU-02 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | January 13, 2016 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: small form factor, SFF, mini-stx, LGA 1151, Intel H110, ECS, CES 2016, CES

ECS has entered the brand new Mini-STX market with their H110SU-02 motherboard, one of our first looks at a motherboard based on Intel's 5x5 concept for a sub-mITX form-factor.

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The ECS H110SU-02 (Image credit: Maximum PC)

As you can see this tiny motherboard offers a standard LGA 1151 socket for Intel processors up to 65W, and uses SoDIMM memory (DDR4). The board only offers one SATA port, with a pair of M.2 slots in a stacked configuration for both full-length (2280) SSDs and the shorter (2230) cards such as wireless network adapters.

Specifications:

  • Platform: Intel H110/B150 chipset
  • CPU: LGA1151 socket for Intel i3/i5/i7/Pentium/Celeron Processors (65W)
  • Memory: 2x SO-DIMM DDR4 slots
  • Storage: 1x M.2 Slot (2280); 1x SATA
  • Networking: RJ45; 1x M.2 Slot (2230) for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 4.0 card
  • USB: 1x USB 3.1 Type-C; 2x USB 3.0 ports
  • Audio: 3.5 mm combo jack
  • Power Supply: DC-in 19V, 90W
  • Dimensions (W x D) 140 x 147 mm

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Mini-SFX vs. Mini-ITX comparison (Image credit: Maximum PC)

Maximum PC posted this video with their overview of the motherboard:

With no PCI Express slot and the limitation of a 65W processor (which eliminates current high-end models such as the Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K, both at 91W) this is targeting a different audience than those choosing mini-ITX for a small gaming rig, for example. Still, there will undoubtedly be a number of applications for a system of just over 5 inches square; though Intel's existing NUC platform provides essentially the same experience in a smaller package, minus the socketed desktop CPU support, of course.

No details were given on pricing or availability.

Source: Maximum PC

MSI trims the fat off the Z170A SLI Plus but leaves the meat

Subject: Motherboards | January 8, 2016 - 02:48 PM |
Tagged: msi, Z170A SLI PLUS

The overall look of the is quite nice, traces are covered and the simplistic black and silver colour scheme will appeal to those of us who prefer simplicity to dancing LEDs.  However [H]ard|OCP was somewhat disappointed by the vertically aligned SATA ports and the lack of Steel Armor PCI-E reinforcement on the third PCIe slot, however some sacrifices needed to be made to bring the price down to around $160.  MSI did keep their 11 power phases, Military Class 4 components and energy efficient dark chokes, far more important to performance than what they did omit.  Check out the full review to see the UEFI screens and overall performance of this Gold Award winning board.

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"Sometimes less is more. That’s the approach MSI has taken with the MSI Z170A SLI Plus. Sure, ridiculously overpriced and feature packed motherboards are nice to drool but sometimes you want just the right tool for the job. The MSI Z170A SLI Plus is poised to be everything you need and nothing you don’t."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte reveals two motherboards and a Next Generation BRIX at CES 2016

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2016 - 01:28 PM |
Tagged: X170-Extreme ECC, gigabyte, GA-X150M-PLUS WS, GA-X150-PLUS WS, CES, brix

Gigabyte revealed two high end LGA1151 motherboards which will support Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 processors in addition to the more common Core models purchased by enthusiasts.  The GA-X150-PLUS WS is a full sized ATX board with a PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 connector with transfer rates of up to 32Gb/s as well as SEx ports and a network traffic management application called cFosSpeed on the gigabit NIC to reduce latency.

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The GA-X150M-PLUS WS is a Micro-ATX version of the previous board, keeping all of the features of the larger model but sacrificing dual GPU support due to size constraints.  They also released a X170-Extreme ECC, one of the few consumer boards to support ECC memory for those who regularly use programs which can benefit from error correcting DRAM.

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For those who like their systems small and ready to go out of the box, the new Brix line up is a mere 0.46L (34.4 x 112.6 x 119.4mm) and uses the new Skylake processors, the model number indicating the processor you will find within the Brix.  They all sport an M.2 SSD slot, a pair of slots for SO-DIMM DDR3L, HDMI and Mini DisplayPort 1.2 outputs along with four USB connectors and both wired and wireless network connectivity.  These new Brix will also support Thunderbolt 3 over their USB Type-C port

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Full PR after the break.

Source: Gigabyte

MSI teases their new motherboards

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 09:02 AM |
Tagged: Z170A, X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON, msi, GAMING PRO CARBON, CES, B150M GAMING 3X

We will let MSI tell you about the two new Carbon editions of their popular Gaming Pro and Godlike Gaming motherboards as well as the B150M GAMING 3X in their own words for now.  Expect more once we lay Mk.1 eyeballs on the products.

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Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON Edition - Sporting the latest Intel® Z170 chipset and the latest version of Mystic Light, the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON Edition motherboard is sure to offer outstanding performance and customization of your system. Enjoy crystal-clear immersive in game sounds from the premium quality components of Audio Boost 3. Steel Armor ensures the most heavyweight graphics card setups are solid and stable. Engineered to provide both a stunning gaming and visual experience, the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON Edition gives you plenty of reasons to show off.

X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON Edition - The world’s most powerful gaming motherboard solution just got better. The X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON Edition motherboard features the improved Mystic Light RGB LED feature, supporting up to 16.8Million colors and 16 LED effects to style your rig in any way possible. Featuring the patented Turbo Socket, the X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON Edition removes all limits by providing extra pins (2036 in total) for better overlocking of the Intel® extreme processors. Dominate the world of gaming and overclocking while looking awesome with the new X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON Edition motherboard.

B150M GAMING 3X - MSI celebrates its 30th Anniversary with the B150M GAMING 3X, with a golden PCB and red color scheme – which represents fortune and bliss in traditional Chinese culture. The B150M GAMING 3X inherits MSI’s GAMING DNA, with a powerful GAMING LAN to experience ultrafast online gaming, and Audio Boost 3 for a crystal clear immersive gaming experience. This special 30th Anniversary model will include a MSI GAMING mouse as a bundle deal!

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: MSI

ASUS Announces ROG Maximus VIII Formula Motherboard with EK Hybrid Liquid Cooling

Subject: Motherboards | December 30, 2015 - 04:06 PM |
Tagged: Z170, water cooling, water block, Maximus VIII Formula, EKWB, ek, crosschill, ATX motherboard, ASUS ROG, asus

ASUS ROG has announced the Maximus VIII Formula, a premium ATX motherboard with integrated EK hybrid liquid cooling which allows users to choose liquid or air cooling for the board's hottest components.

Maximus-VIII-Formula_3D-1-s.jpg

"The latest ROG Z170 motherboard now comes with the exclusive CrossChill EK hybrid cooling block! ROG teamed up with the guys at EK to create a high-conductivity channel, so you will be ready for liquid-cooling goodness right out-of-the-box. Don’t worry if you don’t intend to upgrade to liquid-cooling straight away, because this also runs on air cooling. Why spend more money on a third-party waterblock when it’s already built-in and looks this good?"

In addition to the integrated water cooling support the Maximus VIII Formula includes the usual bells and whistles we've come to expect from these ROG motherboards, including advanced overclocking support and premium audio, and the Formula also offers RGB headers and lighting controls and "ROG Armor". There is also advanced storage support from both M.2 and U.2 connectors, and provides advanced wireless via built-in 2x2 802.11ac with an external antenna included.

Maximus-VIII-Formula_Crosschill-EK-s.jpg

Specifications from ASUS:

  • Processor: LGA1151 socket for 6th-generation Intel Core i7 / i5 / i3 / Pentium / Celeron processors
  • Chipset: Intel Z170 Express
  • Memory: 4x DIMMs, up to a maximum of 64GB, DDR4 3733 (OC), Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
  • Expansion slots: 
    • 2x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (single at x16, dual at x8/x8 mode)
    • 1x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot (maximum at x4 mode)
    • 3x PCIe 2.0 x1 slots
  • Graphics (Integrated Intel HD Graphics processor):
    • DisplayPort 1.2 with maximum resolution of 4096 x 2034 at 60Hz
    • HDMI with maximum resolution of 4096 x 2160 at 24Hz
    • Intel InTru 3D / Quick Sync Video / Clear Video HD Technology / Insider
  • Multi-GPU: Two-way/quad-GPU NVIDIA® SLI and AMD three-way/quad-GPU CrossFireX technology
  • Storage:
    • 1x U.2 (supports PCIe 3.0 x4 NVM Express storage)
    • 1x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, supports 2242/2260/2280/22110 devices
    • 2x SATA Express
    • 8x SATA 6.0 Gbps (4 shared with SATA Express)
  • Networking/LAN: 
    • Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN and ASUS LANGuard
    • Integrated 2×2 dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi with external antenna included
  • USB: 
    • 2x USB 3.1 (1x Type-A; 1x Type-C)
    • 10x USB 3.0 ports (6 on back panel, 4 mid-board)
    • 4x USB 2.0 ports (mid-board)
  • Audio: ROG SupremeFX 2015 8-channel high-definition audio
    • ESS ES9023P high-definition DAC
    • 2V RMS Headphone Amp into (32-600 ohms)
    • SupremeFX shielding technology
    • Sonic SenseAmp
    • Jack-detection, multi-streaming, front-panel mic jack-retasking
    • Optical S/PDIF-out port on back panel
  • Dimensions / form factor: ATX, 12.0 x 9.6in (30.5 x 24.4cm)

Maximus-VIII-Formula_ROG-Amor-s.jpg

Pricing and availabilty were not announced. Full press release after the break.

Source: ASUS ROG

MSI Releases Intel C236 Workstation Motherboards for Xeon E3-1200 v5

Subject: Motherboards | December 22, 2015 - 11:06 AM |
Tagged: Xeon E3-1200 V5, workstation, msi, motherboard, Intel C236, C236M Workstation, C236A Workstation

MSI has launched a pair of workstation motherboards based on Intel's C236 chipset, with support for the new 6th-gen "Skylake" Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 processors.

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With the C236A Workstation (ATX) and C236M Workstation (Micro-ATX) boards potential system builders will have a lot of flexibility with enclosure size, and both motherboards support ECC DDR4.

"MSI C236 WORKSTATION motherboards are optimized for professional and industrial use. Advanced PCB design, engineered using industry leading standards and the use of the highest quality components passing the most extreme quality validation, the C236A WORKSTATION and C236M WORKSTATION motherboards guarantee the best in performance and reliability. Designed and optimized for NVIDIA® Quadro® and AMD® FirePro graphics cards multi-GPU setups, equipped with unique Steel Armor and optimal PCI Express slot placement ensure great efficiency and perfect stability for heavy duty computing."

c236a.jpg

The MSI C236A Workstation Motherboard

The specifications of the two motherboards differ in more ways than form-factor, with the biggest feature set coming from the ATX model (C236A):

  • Supports Intel Xeon E3 v5 series / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron processors for LGA 1151 socket
  • Supports ECC DDR4 Memory
  • Supports Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro professional graphics cards
  • DDR4 Boost
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type-C port, ASMedia ASM1142 Chipset)
  • Turbo M.2 32Gb/s
  • Multi-GPU with Steel Armor PCI-E slots (Supports NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire)
  • Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN
  • Click BIOS 5
  • Military Class 4
  • Overvoltage Protection
  • Windows 10 Ready

c236m.jpg

The C236M Workstation Motherboard

The Micro-ATX model (C236M) looks to be more of a budget option, with differences including lack of M.2 support, no USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port, and Realtek RTL8111H Gigabit LAN instead of the larger board's Intel NIC. As this is mATX there are only two PCIe slots, which are configured x16/x4.

Pricing and availability were not immediately available.

Source: MSI

ASUS Introduces E3 Pro Gaming V5 Motherboard for Intel Xeon E3-1200 CPUs

Subject: Motherboards | December 19, 2015 - 11:09 PM |
Tagged: motherboard, Intel Xeon E3-1200, Intel C232, E3 Pro Gaming V5, ATX motherboard, asus

ASUS has introduced a new ATX gaming motherboard for Intel's 6th-generation Xeon E3-1200 server processors, offering premium desktop gaming features on a board built with Intel's C232 chipset.

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The board is built with Intel's C232 chipset, needed to support the Xeon E3-1200 processors (not compatible with desktop chipsets). Intel's C232 product page lists a maximum of only 8 PCI Express lanes, so (as pointed out in the comments) the E3-1200 and desktop Skylake processors will provide 16 lanes to the first PCIe slot, with the C232 providing up to 8 more for the other slots. (Intel's C236 chipset, the other chipset supporting these new Skylake Xeon CPUs, supports 20 PCIe lanes.)

The E3 Pro Gaming V5 supports not only E3-1200 series Xeon processors, but 6th-generation Intel Core and Pentium/Celeron CPUs as well with its LGA1151 socket. Why exactly would a server CPU be an attractive option for a gaming rig anyway? For one thing the 4 core/8 thread Skylake desktop CPU (the i7-6700K) is difficult to find and currently $419.99 on Newegg (and out of stock). A Skylake Xeon E3-1230 v5 on the other hand (all models above E3-1220/1225 are 4 core/8 thread) starts at $274.99 (Newegg).

E3PGV5.jpg

Here are some of the specifications from ASUS:

  • CPU: Intel Socket 1151 for Xeon E3-1200 v5 and 6th genereation Core, Pentium and Celeron Processors 
  • Chipset: Intel C232
  • Memory: 4x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory, Dual-Channel Memory Architecture 
  • Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
  • Expansion Slots:
    • 1x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 mode) 
    • 1x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode)
    • 2x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1 
    • 2x PCI
  • Multi-GPU Support: Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX Technology, AMD 2-Way CrossFireX Technology
  • Storage: (Intel C232 chipset) 1x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key design, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (Supports both SATA & PCIE SSD), 6x SATA 6Gb/s ports, support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
  • Intel Rapid Storage Technology Enterprise support
  • LAN: Intel I219LM, 1x Gigabit LAN Controller, GameFirst technology, Anti-surge LANGuard
  • Audio: SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio
  • USB Ports:
    • (ASMedia USB 3.1 controller) 1x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
    • (Intel C232 chipset) 6x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • Form Factor: ATX (12 inch x 9.6 inch)

Availability for the U.S.A. was not specified, but according to the press release (accessed via Vortez here) it will be offered in the UK with an MSRP of £118.10, or approximately $175 US.

Source: ASUS

A new motherboard from EVGA, the Z170 FTW

Subject: Motherboards | December 14, 2015 - 01:21 PM |
Tagged: evga, Z170 FTW, Intel Z170

EVGA has released several new motherboards based on Intel's Z170 chipset, with the Z170 FTW being the model which Bjorn3D received for review.  The colour scheme is a little more subdued that some of the other manufactures which may appeal to those of us not looking for excessive amounts of bling on our motherboards.  Bjorn reports that the four PCIe 16x slots can only manage dual SLI or Crossfire, however the remaining slots allow you to put in a card to use to power PhysX or an NVMe PCIe SSD if that is within your budget.  Outputs on the back include DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4 but unfortunately no USB 3.1 ports.  The UEFI is interesting, each vendor is trying to outdo the competition when it comes to aesthetics and EVGA is no exception.  Read through the full review to see if the included features on the outweigh the several which are missing if you are considering picking up this board.

EVGA_Z170_FTW_2.jpg

"One of three motherboards available from EVGA for the new Z170 platform along with the flagship Classified board, and the M-ATX Stinger. Available now on Amazon featuring a new BIOS GUI interface, a highly efficient VRM, a CPU socket that has 1.5X the amount of gold content for improved signal quality, 4 DIMM slots supporting 64GB of DDR4 memory, and support for SLI + PhysX to name a few."

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Source: Bjorn3D

Maximum Impact and mimimum footprint; the ASUS Maximus VIII Impact

Subject: Motherboards | December 3, 2015 - 01:39 PM |
Tagged: skylake-s, ROG, Republic of Gamers, Maximus VIII Impact, lga1151, Intel Z170, asus

Before looking at this particular Maximus board, make sure you have checked out Morry's review of the Silver Award winning Maximus VIII Gene as it is well worth the read.  If you find that a mATX board is simply too big for you then you could consider the ASUS Maximus VIII Impact, a mini-ITX board with a fair spread of features.  You are limited to a single x16 PCIe slot but that leaves plenty of channels for 6 USB 3.0, two 3.1 ports of which one is a Type-C connector, four SATA 6GBps ports and U.2 as well.  This board also features the SupremeFX audio found on the Gene, albeit in a slightly different form and adds dual channel WiFi support as well.  [H]ard|OCP were very impressed with Impact, check out the many reasons why it picked up their top awards here.

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"Let’s face it, most sequels are never as good as the original films. When it comes to motherboards the opposite usually rings true. ASUS’ Republic of Gamers brand has had several iterations of the mini-ITX Maximus Impact, today we have version VIII. Hopefully ASUS continues its track record of great sequels."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI Announces KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE Motherboard with Free Game

Subject: Motherboards | December 1, 2015 - 11:02 AM |
Tagged: Z170, Rainbow Six Siege, msi, motherboard, KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE, krait gaming, krait

MSI has announced a partnership with Ubisoft and introduced a specially designed motherboard, the Z170A KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE, which includes a free copy of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (Standard Edition).

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"With this new model you will receive a free copy of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege [Standard Edition]. But that’s not all, during this exclusive promotion MSI is also giving away a free copy of the game with the Z170A GAMING M5 motherboard. The promotion starts on Tuesday 1st of December, 2015."

The motherboard is based on the current Z170A KRAIT EDITION, and this new R6 SIEGE design offers the same gaming-oriented featues such as DDR4 Boost, Intel LAN, and high-end audio components, and both feature USB 3.1 Gen 2 support with Type-C and Type-A ports.

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No specifics on pricing/availability just yet.

Source: MSI

ASUS updates the TUF line of motherboards with the ASUS Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1

Subject: Motherboards | November 20, 2015 - 02:51 PM |
Tagged: asus, TUF SABERTOOTH Z170, LGA 1151

It has been a while since we saw a new Sabertooth motherboard from the other side of ASUS, The Ultimate Force, up for review but [H]ard|OCP has remedied that with the new Z170 member of this line of products.  It bears the same Thermal Armour design as previous models, adding a small fan that doesn't quite fit in with the overall design of the motherboard.  As well you will notice an absence of a visible CMOS battery, it is indeed buried under the armour.  [H]ard|OCP were less than impressed with the memory subsystem, the board is rated for DDR4 2400MHz DIMMs maximum and no higher.  On the other hand the incredible stability of this board and the amount of features available on this relatively inexpensive Z170 board did garner a Gold Award.  Read the full review to understand the benefits and drawbacks of this motherboard.

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"In our opinion ASUS’ TUF series motherboards target the sweet spot in regard to features, price, and performance. TUF motherboards give you more features than most mid-range motherboards but lack certain features found on the high end. The Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 is the flagship part of the current TUF series."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Asus Lights Up Budget Skylake With New B150 Pro Gaming D3 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | November 11, 2015 - 08:07 PM |
Tagged: Skylake, Intel Skylake, Intel B150, asus

Asus has a bright new option for budget gamers with a Skylake compatible motherboard based around the B150 chipset. The Asus B150 Pro Gaming D3 is a cheaper alternative that sacrifices some expandability while still incorporating several enthusiast-friendly features.

Intel’s B150 chipset is a cheaper alternative to the Z170 which has received a lot more attention this year. 

The Asus B150 Pro Gaming D3 features a LGA 1151 socket ready for up to Core i7 Skylake processors that is powered by the company’s “Digi+” VRMs. On the memory front, Asus has opted for four DDR3 slots supporting up to 64GB dual channel DDR3 modules at 1,866 MHz. This is a departure from most of the Skylake motherboards that have launched this year which use DDR4. Opting for DDR3 means slightly less potential performance but at welcome cost savings.

For storage, this motherboard has six SATA 6Gbps ports and a single M.2 slot for solid state drives (albeit limited to 2 lanes of PCI-E).

Asus B150 Pro Gaming D3 Motherboard With PCI and LED Lighting.png

The lower-left of this budget board is dominated by a slew of expansion slots as well as Asus’ SupremeFX (Realtek ALC1150 codec) audio hardware. The B150 chipset powers a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot and the board further includes a second PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, two PCI-E x1 slots, and two PCI slots for legacy expansion cards. 

To help this board stand out, the company has added LED lighting above the PCI-E slot and along the right edge of the board. These LEDs can be configured as a solid color, to cycle colors, or to respond to changes in CPU temperature or load (which could help accentuate a custom case mod or simply act as more "bling").

Rear I/O is decent with the following options:

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x VGA
  • 4 x USB 3.0 (Intel B150)
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A (ASMedia)
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C (ASMedia)
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet (Intel)
  • 5 x Analog audio (300 ohm headphone support, Realtek codec)
  • 1 x S/PDIF

There are some limitations with this board, however. The major downgrade from Z170 to B150 is the number of PCI Express lanes from 20 on Z170 to 8 with B150. As such, when using the second physical x16 slot (max electrical x4) with a x4 or faster device the two physical x1 slots will be disabled. Further, when using the M.2 slot for your SSD in SATA mode, one of the physical SATA ports will be disabled. There is only so much bandwidth to go around here as well as the loss of overclocking ability with the cheaper chipset.

Naturally, Asus has not released specific pricing or availability for the B150 Pro Gaming D3. Expect it to undercut existing Skylake compatible boards, though. And if you have been thinking about upgrading, this is a cheaper upgrade path (you can re-use your DDR3 memory) that is an alternative to the Biostar board that can support both DDR3 and DDR4.

Also read: The Intel Core i7-6700K Review - Skylake First for Enthusiasts

Source: Asus

ASUS Announces ROG Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly Motherboard and Matrix GTX 980 Ti

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards | November 9, 2015 - 10:49 AM |
Tagged: ROG, Republic of Gamers, Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly, Matrix GTX 980 Ti, Headphone Amp, E9018K2M, DAC, asus, 10GbE, 10 Gbps Ethernet

ASUS has announced two new products for their Republic of Gamers lineup today, and while we saw the Matrix GTX 980 Ti at IFA in September (and the Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly was also on display), there are further details for both products in today's press release.

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ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly motherboard with Matrix 980 Ti

The motherboard in question is the Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly, a Z170 board with an external headphone amp and 10Gb/s Ethernet add-in card included. This board could run into some money.

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The ROG 10G Express expansion card

While other Maximus VIII series motherboards have high-end audio support, the Extreme/Assembly further differentiates itself with an included 10Gb/s Ethernet card. ASUS has partnered with Tehuti Networks for the card, which in addition to 10Gbps also operates at conventional 100/1000 Ethernet speeds, as well as new 2.5/5Gbps over CAT5e.

“ROG 10G Express is the enterprise-speed Ethernet card, powered by Aquantia® and Tehuti Networks: these key partners are both members of the NBASE-T™ alliance, and are working closely to create the new 2.5Gbit/s and 5Gbit/s standards that will be compatible with the existing Category 5e (Cat 5e) cabling and ports. With PCI Express 2.0 x4 speed, it equips Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly gamers for next-generation LAN speeds of up to 10Gbit/s — or up to ten times (10X) faster than today’s fastest onboard consumer Ethernet.”

This will certainly add to the cost of the motherboard considering a 10GbE card (without the 2.5/5Gbps feature) currently sells for $239.99 on Amazon.

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The ROG SupremeFX Hi-Fi amplifier

If you’re an audio enthusiast (like me) you’ll be impressed by the attention to audio, which begins with the audiophile-grade ESS E9018K2M DAC chip found on other members of the Maximus VIII family, and capable of not only native PCM 32-bit/384kHz playback, but up to dual-rate DSD (DSD128). The external headphone amplifier features the Texas Instruments TPA6120A2, and has a very high 6V output to drive the most challenging headphone loads.

What about the Matrix GTX 980 Ti? Full specifications were announced for the card, with boost GPU clock speeds of up to 1317 MHz.

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  • Graphics Engine: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
  • Video memory: 6GB GDDR5
  • CUDA cores: 2816
  • GPU clock (boosted):
    • 1317MHz (OC mode)
    • 1291MHz (gaming mode)
  • GPU clock (base)
    • 1216MHz (OC mode)
    • 1190MHz (gaming mode)
  • Memory clock: 7200MHz
  • Memory interface: 384-bit
  • Display Output: 3x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x Dual-link DVI
  • Dimensions: 11.62 x 5.44 x 2 inches

Availability and pricing information for these new ROG products was not released.

Source: ASUS ROG

MSI Z170A Gaming M7, a board nicely balanced in performance and price

Subject: Motherboards | November 6, 2015 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: Z170A Gaming M7, msi, LGA 1151, Intel

At $220 currently the MSI Z170A Gaming M7 sits comfortably between a value board and a flagship model.  The heatsinks not only look good but provide decent cooling as well, as [H]ard|OCP points out in their review.  As far as connectivity goes, this board has a half dozen SATA 6Gbps ports, two SEx ports and two M.2 slots along with a total of seven USB 2.0 ports, six USB 3.0 ports and a pair of USB 3.1 ports, one of which has a Type-C connection.  There are three PCIe 3.0 slots, x16 in design and capable of running x8/x8/x4 when all populated, with another four 1x slots for an impressive total number of slots.  Check out the overclocking performance and the new UEFI which replaces the old Click BIOS in the full review.

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"MSI has changed gears as of late vowing to be the number one motherboard manufacturer in the "gaming" segment. While a "gaming" motherboard MSI is still focused on overclocking with this model. We look at the Z170A Gaming M7 to see if it brings MSI one step closer or a step away from that very goal."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI Announces Z170A SLI PLUS Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | November 3, 2015 - 04:00 AM |
Tagged: Z170A SLI PLUS, X99 SLI PLUS, sli, msi, motherboard, crossfire, black PCB

MSI has announced their third PRO Series motherboard, the all-black Z170A SLI PLUS.

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"MSI, leading in motherboard design, completes the PRO Series motherboard line-up with the launch of the all black Z170A SLI PLUS motherboard. Inheriting DNA from the critically acclaimed X99A SLI PLUS motherboard, the Z170A SLI PLUS is powerful, packed with features and styled with class."

While not lacking in stealthy looks from the black PCB to the matching RAM slots and heatsinks, the specifications of this new SLI PLUS board place it firmly into the premium category.

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Features include Intel Gigabit LAN, MSI’s DDR4 Boost technology (which isolates memory traces on the board), Turbo M.2 (and U.2) with speeds up to 32 Gb/s with NVMe SSDs, and the Steel Armor PCI Express slots. And while SLI is right there in the title, there is also support for AMD Crossfire with those super-strong PCIe slots.

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The board is fabricated with MSI’s Military Class 4 components including super ferrite chokes and all solid capacitors, and also offer a “EZ Debug” LED and overvoltage protection. In addition to support for the fastest internal storage standards (M.2, U.2, and SATA Express), the Z170A SLI PLUS offers full USB 3.1 Gen2 support for transfers up to 10 Gb/s for compatible devices.

  • Supports 6th Gen Intel Core / Pentium / Celeron processors for LGA 1151 socket
  • Supports DDR4-3600 Memory (OC)
  • DDR4 Boost
  • USB 3.1 Gen2
  • Turbo M.2 32Gb/s + Turbo U.2 ready + USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C + SATA 6Gb/s
  • Steel Armor PCI-E slots; Supports NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire
  • OC Genie 4
  • Click BIOS 5
  • Audio Boost
  • Military Class 4
  • Guard-Pro
  • EZ Debug LED
  • Overvoltage Protection
  • 4K UHD Support
  • Windows 10 Ready

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Pricing and availability were not specified with this morning’s announcement.

Source: GIGABYTE

GIGABYTE Adds Thunderbolt 3 Support to Existing Z170 Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | October 29, 2015 - 11:01 AM |
Tagged:  Z170X-Gaming GT,  Z170X-Gaming 7, Z170X-Gaming G1, thunderbolt 3, motherboard, gigabyte, firmware

GIGABYTE has announced support for Intel Thunderbolt 3 for three existing Z170 motherboards after receiving certification from Intel.

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The motherboards include the GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-Gaming G1, GA-Z170X-Gaming GT, and GA-Z170X-Gaming 7. How do you get Thunderbolt 3 if you own one of these boards? Simply update to the latest firmware.

“Users that wish to upgrade their motherboard can download an updated version of the firmware from GIGABYTE’s website. Once the user installs the updated firmware, Thunderbolt™ 3 support will be enabled on the motherboard.”

GIGABYTE has provided quick links to access the firmware update page for each motherboard:

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Thunderbolt 3 on the motherboards is powered by Intel’s controller, and is available via USB Type-C connector on the motherboards to provide bandwidth of up to 40 Gb/s, double that of Thunderbolt 2.

Source: GIGABYTE

ASUS’ New ROG Maximus VIII Extreme Flagship Now Available For $500

Subject: Motherboards | October 28, 2015 - 08:38 PM |
Tagged: Z170, Skylake, Maximus VIII Extreme, e-atx, ddr4, ASUS ROG, asus

Motherboards supporting Intel’s latest “Skylake” processor have been trickling out for months, and ASUS is no stranger to the Z170 chipset. After several months of waiting, its flagship motherboard is now available under the Republic of Gamers brand. The ROG Maximus VIII Extreme is a monster both in size – it’s an E-ATX board – and features. It’s not cheap though with an MSRP of $499.

The Maximus VIII Extreme is clad in black and red with silver capacitors. A massive heatsink keeps the Extreme Engine Digi+ power delivery hardware cool even under heavy overclocking conditions. Nested between the VRMs and the four DDR4 slots (up to 3866MHz) is the LGA 1151 processor socket. This motherboard can be used with the OC Panel II hardware overclocking module which can sit outside the case or in a 5.25” drive bay. There are also overclocking buttons on the top-right corner of the board itself.

ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Extreme EATX Skylake Motherboard.png

Storage options include eight SATA 6Gbps ports (two SATA Express), a M.2, and a separate U.2 MVMe connector. Networking is handled by Intel Gigabit Ethernet (1219-V) and a 3x3 802.11ac WiFi NIC. ASUS is further including its SupremeFX 8-channel audio chipset.

When it comes to PCI-E expansion, this board delivers with four PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (which can run at x16/x8/x8/x4) and two PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots. 

Rear I/O includes:

  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 4 x USB 3.1 (3 x Type A + 1 x Type C)
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 5 x Analog Audio
  • 1 x S/PDIF optical audio out
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x PS/2 combo port
  • 3 x Wi-Fi antenna connectors
  • 1 x Clear CMOS + 1 x BIOS Flashback button

Needless to say this board has everything but the kitchen sink (though that might be unlocked with a BIOS update...) in it. It is squarely aimed at extreme overclockers and gamers wanting to run triple or quad multi-GPU setups along with Intel’s latest Skylake CPU. The flagship hardware will cost you though, with street prices just under $500 USD. If you’re interested in this beast, keep an eye out for reviews (which appear to be scarce at the moment).

Source: ASUS