ASRock Launches Extreme6/TB4 Motherboard With Two Thunderbolt Ports

Subject: Motherboards | October 29, 2012 - 11:24 AM |
Tagged: Z77, thunderbolt, motherboard, extreme6/tb4, asrock

Update: The specifications page is now live on the ASRock website.

Pegatron-owned motherboard company ASRock has launched a new Z77 motherboard with dual Thunderbolt ports dubbed the Extreme6/TB4. While all the nitty-gritty details are still up in the error due to an error on the ASRock site, we do have some information on the board worth sharing.

asrock_z77 extreme6-tb4_pr02.jpg

The ASRock Extreme6/TB4 is based on the Z77 chipset, which supports socket 1155 processors (Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge). Further, the board has four DIMM slots for DDR3 memory running at up to 2800MHz. Additionally, the Extreme6/TB4 uses gold capicitors, digital power technology, and a 8+4 power phase. Quad SLI and CrossFireX multi-GPU technologies are also features.

asrock_z77extreme6-tb4_banner.jpg

It features two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x8 or x8/x8), two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and two legacy PCI slots. For storage, the motherboard has four SATA III 6Gbps ports (RAID 0/1/5/10) and several USB headers.

Rear panel IO includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x eSATA
  • 1 x eSATA/USB
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x VGA
  • 2 x Thunderbolt
  • 5 x Analog audio jacks
  • 1 x S/PDIF optical audio port
  • 1 x HDMI

Thanks to the two Thunderbolt ports on the rear IO panel, the new ASRock motherboard can support up to 12 devices (with passthrough ports) and two DisplayPort displays. That's a lot of Thunderbolt gear!

Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or when the motherboard will be available for purchase.

Read more about Intel’s Thunderbolt technology at PC Perspective.

Source: ASRock

Gigabyte thinks Trinity looks best in basic black

Subject: Motherboards | October 25, 2012 - 02:46 PM |
Tagged: amd, gigabyte, F2A85X-UP4, socket fm2, trinity

Gigabyte's socket FM2 F2A58X-UP4 looks unique in that the colour scheme is a basic black and grey with none of the flashy colours common on today's motherboards.  All seven SATA ports and the eSATA are 6Gb/s so you don't have to worry about which ports to use, the three PCIe 16x slots can run at 8x/8x/1x when fully populated and with the half dozen USB 3.0 ports you end up with a lot of choices on a fairly inexpensive board.  [H]ard|OCP had fun when overclocking this board, a new chipset means new settings and tricks to learn in order to coax the most out of your processor, though the A10-5800K does top out fairly quickly regardless of the motherboard used.  Check out their full review here.

H_F2A85X.jpg

"GIGABYTE's F2A85X-UP4 brings AMD's "Trinity" APU to the desktop arena with a new chipset and a solid feature set at a nice price. But is that enough to make it compelling for enthusiasts?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

BioStar's Hi-Fi Z77X is aimed at HTPC users

Subject: Motherboards | October 15, 2012 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: Z77, biostar, Hi-Fi Z77X, lga 1155, htpc, atx

While you might not think of a full ATX board being the basis for an HTPC system, BIOSTAR is hoping that you will consider their Hi-Fi Z77X when you next spec out a possible system.  The extra size allows you to have more add-in card options with three 16x PCIe slots (8x, 8x, 4x) and two PCIe 1x slots, which simply would not fit on a mATX board.  The back panel offers VGA, HDMI and DVI out, so even without a discrete card you have quite a few output options as long as Intel onboard graphics are enough to meet your needs.  They also include a Realtec CODEC which is better than [H]ard|OCP expected on a sub-$150 motherboard and were also impressed by the overclocking ability on this value board, not as good as an enthusiast board but still pleasantly capable.

biostarz77htpc.jpg

"BIOSTAR generally has a reputation for making low end or budget oriented motherboards. Fortunately that isn't all BIOSTAR designs and builds. The Hi-Fi Z77X is an unusual motherboard in that it seems to be targeted towards HTPC and media type duties while still addressing enthusiast hardware and overclocking concerns."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte Launches Flagship GA-F2A85X-UP4 Trinity Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 3, 2012 - 02:52 AM |
Tagged: trinity, motherboard, gigabyte, fm2, APU

AMD’s latest Trinity APUs launched yesterday, and with that Gigabyte launched its flagship socket FM2 motherboard, the GA-F2A85X-UP4. This board was shown off earlier this year, but now we have all the details. This motherboard is packed with all the Gigabyte technology you would expect from an enthusiast board, and some of the more interesting features include the Ultra Durable 5 capacitors, a digital PWM array, single package IR3550 PowIRStage ICs, and dual APU clock generators to push overclocking of non-K edition processors as far as possible – at least in theory. Also interesting is the inclusion of Lucid’s Virtu MVP GPU virtualization technology, two EFI BIOS chips, switchable graphics, and the ability to crossfire certain 6000-series discrete graphics cards with the GPU in the Trinity APU.

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Internal connectivity options include the FM2 socket, four DDR3 DIMM slots (up to 64GB @ 1866MHz), seven SATA 6Gbps ports, one eSATA 6Gbps port, and support for RAID O, 1, 5, 10, and JBOD. Furter, the GA-F2A85X-UP4 supports three PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots. The first slot runs at x16 or x8 if there are two GPUs installed. The second and third slots run at x8 and x4 respectively. Gigabyte has also included three PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots for sounds and networking cards.

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Internal IO headers include one CPU fan, four system fans, one S/PDIF, one USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, one serial, one clear CMOS, and one TPM.

6623_big.jpg

Rear I/O on the flagship Trinity motherboard includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x S/PDIF
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x eSATA
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 6 x analog audio jacks

This board is packing a lot of hardware, and the price is right around $130 depending on the retailer. The GA-F2A85X-UP4 is available now. Interestingly Gigabyte has also announced the F2A85XM-D3H based on the same A85X chipset as the flagship F2-A85X-UP4 as well as some lower tier motherboards based on the A75 and A55 chipsets with new FM2 sockets. Unfortunately, these motherboards do not appear to be available yet. If you are interested in those boards (which should cost less), keep an eye out for the F2A75M-D3H, and F2A55M-HD2 – or simply watch PC Perspective’s homepage of course!

In the meantime, you can find more photos of the GA-F2A85X-UP4 on Gigabyte's website.

6675_big.jpg

Source: Gigabyte

ASUS Maximus V Extreme-ly fast overclock.

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Processors | October 2, 2012 - 08:06 PM |
Tagged: overclock, asus

ASUSTeK has just accomplished a new world record overclock with their ASUS Maximus V Extreme motherboard. They calculated 1 million digits of Pi in a time of 5s 94ms which beats the current best time 5s 125ms according to HWBot. This result once validated lands the Maximus V Extreme in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place positions.

ASUS has once again broke records in the Pi eating contest with their Maximus V Extreme motherboard.

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It must be a fun day for an overclocker when you get to play with Liquid Helium. While I attended the Physics department of Queen’s University up here in Canada the facility was known for its condensed matter group. Much of the building was fitted with piping to recapture and recondense the Helium after its experiments strictly due to how much it cost and how rare it is. If someone offers for you to break an overclocking record with it you are obliged to say yes.

The achieved overclock appears to be tuned towards the application. Memory frequency was kept at 1333 MHz with a FSB of about 110 MHz. I would expect this multiplier-centric overclock is designed to keep the overclock focused on sheer number crunching which Super Pi likely relies on over memory bandwidth. Perhaps reduced memory timings might even come in to play for applications like this?

ASUS broke a few records with their Liquid Helium attempt. As of time of writing none of these records have been updated to the HWBot leaderboard.

1m.PNG

With Super Pi running to 1 million digits Asus and their team recorded a time of 5s 94ms -- 31 milliseconds faster than the current leading time of 5s 125ms. The current leaderboard already contains the ASUS Maximus V Extreme motherboard in Gold, Silver, and Bronze positions. This podium has already been well represented by the Maximus V.

When you cannot be satisfied with 1 million digits of pi you can run the marathon to 32 million digits.

superpi32M4min43.jpg

The most current record that I could find was set by a team sponsored by GSkill who achieved the time of 4min 44sec 609ms just a couple of weeks ago. ASUS and their team - which apparently has at least one member, “Smoke”, in common with the team GSkill assembled - also beat this record by almost 2 full seconds with a score of 4min 43s 0ms.

Via Debuts EPIA-M920 Mini-ITX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | September 23, 2012 - 09:21 PM |
Tagged: VIA EPIA-M920, VIA, mini-itx

VIA recently announced a new motherboard and processor combination meant for embedded systems like Point of Sale (POS) machines and digital signage. The EPIA-M920 is the company's first mini-ITX form factor board to feature its VXIIH chipset. VIA has packed a lot into this 17cm x 17cm motherboard, and the specs suggest that it is a capable machine. It can't match the NUC, but it should cost less -- and one SKU can even be run fanless. The EPIA-M920 comes in two iterations depending on the processor you select: the 12Q and the 10E. The EPIA-M920-12Q packs a 1.2GHz VIA QuadCore E processor, and requires a CPU HSF with fan. On the other hand, the EPIA-M920-10E is powered by a VIA Eden X2 dual core processor at 1.0GHz. The 10E version can run without any heatsink fans, and is passively cooled by two small aluminum heatsinks over the VXIIH chipset and processor.

EPIA-M920_shadow_L_medium.jpg

The VXIIH chipset includes the Chromotion 5.0 video processor that hardware accelerates a number of video codecs includinig MPEG-2, MPEG-4, VC-1, and H.264. VIA claims that the graphics processor can handle videos with those codecs at resolutions up to 1080p (they did not specify bit rates, however) without affecting the CPU. Further, the GPU supports DirectX 11 graphics and stereoscopic 3D content.

The VIA motherboard can support up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM running at 1333MHz (via two SO-DIMM slots). Internal headers include:

  • 2 x LVDS (Low Voltage Differential Signaling)
  • 1 x USB 3.0
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x SATA
  • 3 x RS232 (congifurable: 5V/12V)
  • SDHC card slot
  • PCI-E x4 slot

In addition, the mini ITX motherboard will happily accept power connections from either an AC or CD power supply and is compatible with the slim, low wattage, DC PSUs though no specific recommended wattage was stated.

EPIA-M920_io_L_medium.jpg

Rear IO on the motherboard is also fairly impressive considering the size. Via has packed in the following connectors.

  • Dual Gigabit LAN ports powered by two VIA VT6130 controllers.
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x HDMI
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x COM
  • 3 x audio jacks (VIA VT2021 HD codec)
  • 2 x PS/2 ports

The VIA EPIA-M920 motherboard supports Windows 7, but it is primarily aimed at embedded markets, and as such is compatible with the Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows XP Embedded, and POSReady 7 operating systems. VIA intends for this system to be used to power digital signage, point of sale machines, ATMs, kiosks, embedded gaming platforms, and other digital media applications where low power flourishes. VIA Technologies Embedded Platform Division Head Epan Wu stated that "the VIA EPIA-M920 Mini-ITX packs in all of the latest technologies from VIA providing embedded system designers an ideal platform to create groundbreaking new devices."

Unfortunately, no pricing or availability information was stated in the press release. It should be available to system integrators soon, however. You can find more photos of the EPIA-M920 mini ITX motherboard in VIA's photo gallery.

Source: Via

The ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe is all dressed

Subject: Motherboards | September 21, 2012 - 05:34 PM |
Tagged: asus, p8z77-V deluxe

The ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe has a 20-phase power design, more heatsinks than an assault mech and a long list of features including a pair of PCIe 16x slots for CrossFireX and SLI, LucidLogix Virtu MVP, Quick Sync video, Smart Response Technology, Smart Connect Technology and many other extras.  You do pay a premium for such a long list as the board is $280 on NewEgg, those who want this much motherboard are going to have to spend a bit more than someone happy with a basic Z77 implementation.  [H]ard|OCP put the board to the test most important to many enthusiasts, overclocking an i7 3770K to 4.84GHz with some careful adjustments to the voltages provided to the components.  It pulled in a Gold Award but [H] recommends only the experienced pick up this board as there are available settings in the UEFI BIOS which could seriously damage your equipment if you aren't very familiar with the specifications of your CPU and memory.

H_98z77vdel.jpg

"The ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe comes from an outstanding pedigree as virtually every board in the ASUS P8xxx series has been excellent. Is this another tremendously worthy entry in the lineup or does this one shy away from its heritage? Read on to learn about our experiences with the P8Z77-V Deluxe."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte Shows Off the F2A85X-UP4

Subject: Motherboards | September 17, 2012 - 11:09 PM |
Tagged: trinity, piledriver, fm2, amd, A85X, a10

Gigabyte lit the social media fuse and showed off some of the first pictures of one of the A85X based motherboards.  A85X is the successor to the original FM1 A75 chipset, and it had a rather robust featureset for a "budget" oriented chipset.  The original A75 was paired with the Llano APU, otherwise known as the A8/A6/A4 APU from AMD.  The A85 is pin compatible with the A75, but it offers two more SATA 6 ports than the previous unit.  Both share 14 USB ports, four of which are USB 3.0

f2a85x_up4.jpg

The board overall looks nice and robust.  The black PCB and accoutrements make it seem like it is a mean board.  There are 4 USB 3.0 ports on the back and a header for front panel USB 3.0.  All eight SATA 6 ports are used on the board, six + one on the board and one e-SATA.  We do not know all the details about the power delivery system, but it looks like it is using a variant of what we saw with the latest Z77 boards from Gigabyte.  Good stuff, Mainerd.

October certainly looks to be the month that Trinity arrives.  Everyone is very curious how it will perform against the latest Ivy Bridge processors from Intel.  While AMD still has a GPU advantage, it is slowly shrinking.  Now we wonder how well the CPU part will perform and how much power it will pull.  Stay tuned, gentle readers...

Source: Gigabyte

MSI's new budget board, the Z77A-G41

Subject: Motherboards | September 12, 2012 - 07:06 PM |
Tagged: msi, MSI Z77A-G41, lga 1155

MSI adds to the value end of their Z77 based motherboard lineup with the Z77A-G41 at a mere $100, $90 after MIR.  For that price you get a board with a pair of PCIe 16x slots as well as a pair of both PCIe 1x and PCI slots.  [H]ard|OCP were less than impressed with the SATA ports, while there are six in total they are vertical and so add to the clutter of the machine as well as being in the way of the second PCIe slot.  They have never been fans of MSI's ClickBIOS, an opinion this board did not change nor were theu impressed with the overclocking abilities of the board, no matter how long they spent adjusting setting in the UEFI implementation.  That is not to imply that this board is not a good choice for everyone, it is only the enthusiast that will be disappointed, those looking for a stable motherboard to build an inexpensive machine will find this board fully up to the task.

H_z77a.jpg

"While it's usually the high end boards that get the most attention, it's often the lower end and mid-range boards that many people purchase. With this in mind we get back to basics with the Z77A-G41 which is an entry level offering from MSI that boasts many enthusiast features."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Biostar Launches Mini-ITX A68I-350 Deluxe Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | September 10, 2012 - 09:29 AM |
Tagged: mini-itx, htpc, fusion, biostar, APU, amd, a68i-350 deluxe, a68

While Intel has gotten a lot of Mini-ITX love lately, AMD is not out of the game yet. Motherboard manufacturer Biostar recently launched an AMD Fusion APU powered Mini-ITX motherboard that would make for a nice little HTPC. The A68I-350 Deluxe is based around some of the latest technologies including support for DDR3, PCI-E 3.0, and USB 3.0 standards.

Biostar A68I-350 Deluxe (2).jpg

The A68I-350 Deluxe motherboard measures 17 cm x 17 cm and comes with a bundled dual core AMD Fusion 350D APU. A heatsink and passive cooling for the south bridge are also provided in the package. The graphics card, memory, storage and other accessories are up to you, however. The Mini-ITX board features two DDR3 DIMM slots that support a maximum of 16 GB. Located in the lower right-hand corner are three SATA 3 6Gbps ports. Below that is a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot for a graphics card or other peripheral. Additional internal IO includes:

  • 1 x printer header
  • 2 x USB 2.0 header
  • 1 X front panel audio
  • 1 X front panel header (hdd, power, reset, ect)
  • 1 x S/PDIF-OUT header
  • 1 x CPU fan header
  • 1 x system fan header
  • 1 x serial header

According to Biostar, the motherboard also uses all solid capacitors to improve longevity.

Rear IO on the board is not quite as extensive as some of the other offerings available, but is still fairly good for the price. It features two PS/2 ports for keyboard and mouse, one HDMI out, one VGA output, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, one Ethernet port (Realtek RTL8111F Gigabit controller), and three audio output jacks (Realtek ALC662 6-channel HD audio).

Biostar A68I-350 Deluxe (1).jpg

The AMD APU that comes with the A68I-350 Deluxe features Radeon 6310 graphics, which are not the fastest but will still provide plenty of oomph for watching videos on the big screen. While it has not yet shown up at online retailers like Amazon and Newegg yet, it is reportedly already shipping and will have an MSRP of € 66 (euros) or approximately $84 USD. Considering the Intel options that have recently surfaced are going for $100+ easily, this Biostar motherboard should provide a nice budget option for your next HTPC or small form factor PC build!

You can find more information on the A68I-350 Deluxe over at the Biostar website.

Read more about Mini-ITX motherboards at PC Perspective.

Source: Biostar

Live Recap: Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 and Z77N-WiFi Motherboard Preview

Subject: Motherboards | September 9, 2012 - 06:14 PM |
Tagged: z77x-up7, z77n-wifi, video, live, h77n-wifi, gigabyte

A PC Perspective Live Recap is a recorded version of a previously live streamed event from http://pcper.com/live.  If you couldn't make the original air time, or simply want to re-watch, the on-demand version is provided below!

On the way to the Intel Developer Forum, Gigabyte's Colin Brix stopped by the PC Perspective offices to talk with us about the new Z77X-UP7 flagship motherboard with some really impressive overclocking features as well as the latest iteration of Gigabyte's Ultra Durable 5 technology. 

While he was here, we also got to see a sneak preview of the mini-ITX motherboard, the Z77N-WiFi!

If you missed the live event you can watch the replay below!

Live Gigabyte Motherboard Q&A - Ask your questions!

Subject: Motherboards | September 9, 2012 - 01:45 AM |
Tagged: Z77, pcper live, gigabyte

If you missed the live event, you can watch the replay with Colin and I right here to learn about the new Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 and Z77N-WiFi!!

On Sunday September 9th at 3pm ET / 12pm PT, Gigabyte will be at the PC Perspective offices doing a live event to show off some new products as well as answer any questions our readers and viewers might have.  It will all be happening on the PC Perspective Live! channel so be sure you are there later today to participate and possibly win some prizes from our friends at Gigabyte!

Just last month Gigabyte announced the release of the flagship Z77X-UP7 motherboard.

mb-news-01.jpg

This motherboard features a 32+3+2 power phase technology, Ultra Durable 5 components, an all digital PWM, support for 4-Way graphics configurations and a very unique Direct Link PCIe x16 slot for maximum bandwidth. 

The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 motherboard delivers a serious amount of power through its 32+3+2 power phase design (32 CPU phases, 3 Intel® HD Graphics, 2 VTT phases). With the industry’s highest phase count, the Z77X-UP7 motherboard is able to share the workload between 32 phases, ensuring lower working temperatures and maximum CPU power delivery.

Featuring the award winning GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 5 technology with high current capable components including 60A rated PowIRstages® from IR, the Z77X-UP7 is able to deliver an astonishing 2,000W of power and at the same time, operate at remarkably low temperatures. This means that even overclocked, water cooled Z77X-UP7 systems are able to provide remarkable levels of performance.

 The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 delivers the industry’s most scalable graphics platform, with support for both 4-way ATI CrossfireX™ and Nvidia SLI™. Providing PCI Express 3.0 x8 connectivity on 4 slots, the Z77X-UP7 delivers ultra smooth 3D rendering, blazing-fast frame rates and enhanced graphics capabilities for users wanting to get the highest levels of graphics performance from their system.

You can see the full release on Gigabyte's website here.

We will also touch on a new mini-ITX motherboard from Gigabyte as well - you'll definitely want to see this!

Here's where your participation comes in - submit your questions or thoughts on the products in our comments section below and we'll hand out a couple of prizes to two questions that we think are the best!  There is no registration required, so post away and be sure to join us on Sunday at 3pm ET / 12pm PT at http://pcper.com/live to participate in our live event!

EVGA Mini ITX Z77 Motherboard In the Works

Subject: Motherboards | August 29, 2012 - 02:45 PM |
Tagged: Z77, mini-itx, htpc, evga

There is something alluring about packing high-end motherboard hardware into a mini-ITX form factor, and it looks as though EVGA will be joining the small form factor game with its first Z77 mini-ITX board. German enthusiast site OCaholic managed to get its hands on the board for a short preivew, and with dimensions of 17 cm x 17 cm, the motherboard packs a ton of overclockable hardware into an attractive design. 

The Z77 motherboard features an Intel LGA 1155 socket that can accept either Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge processors in the i3, i5, and i7 flavors. To the left of the CPU socket is an 8-phase power phase with International Rectifier IR3550M MOSFETS. There is also an additional power phase dedicated to getting clean power to the memory. To the right of the CPU socket are two DDR3 memory slots capable of supporting a maximum of 32GB of RAM.

EVGA_Z77-mITX_14.jpg

The top right corner of the mini-ITX motherboard features red power and reset buttons as well as an LED display capable of displaying error codes should you push the board too far and it fails to post. The EVGA motherboard features a UEFI BIOS from which you can overclock or reset the board to defaults that should be similar to the company’s current offering.

normal_EVGA_Z77-mITX_06.jpg

Along the bottom of the Z77 motherboard is a PCI-E 3.0 X16 slot for adding a graphics card. Directly above the PCI-E 3.0 slot (from left to right) is a USB 3.0 header, mSATA connector, southbridge, and four SATA ports. Two are SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports (Intel RAID 0, 1, 4, 0+1), and the other two are SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports that support Intel RAID 0, 1, 5, 0+1, and JBOD. While it should not be a problem for most users, the SATA ports and RAM slot are packed in really close to the PCI-E slot, so if you are using a graphics card that utilizes a large heatsink, you will probably want to avoid this board. Unfortunately, that’s just one of the compromises necessary to get a motherboard this small though. At least the SATA ports are above the PCI-E 3.0 slot and not to the right of it (like some boards are set up).

normal_EVGA_Z77-mITX_03.jpg

Rear IO on the EVGA Z77 mini-ITX motherboard is pretty impressive for a board of this size. You get two USB 2.0 ports, Bluetooth, a small clear CMOS button to reset the BIOS to defaults, four USB 3.0 ports, 1 mini DisplayPort (or possibly Thunderbolt) port, two eSATA 6.0 Gb/s ports, 1 HDMI port, 1 Gigabit LAN port, five audio output jacks courtesy of a Realtek ALC898 8-channel controller, and one optical audio output (S/PDIF).

Unfortunately, there is no word yet on price or availability. Talk around the internet seems to suggest a release date sometime in September and price above $150, but as always you should take those numbers with at least a few grains of salt. Even so, this is an interesting motherboard, and I’m always glad to see more competition in the small form factor and mini-ITX hardware space.

The EVGA board has now joined the Gigabyte GA-H77N WIFI and the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe in the Z77 Mini ITX game. Here’s hoping the increased competition can bring prices down so I can get to building a nice Mini-ITX powered HTPC like the one Ryan built with an AMD APU (and desktop Trinity’s launch date seems to be getting further away rather than closer).

You can find more photos of the EVGA Mini-ITX motherboard over at OCaholic, and as always PC Perspective has you covered on mini-ITX motherboard news. Stay tuned for more details on this EVGA board as we get them!

Read more about mini-ITX motherboards.

Source: OCaholic

Gigabyte's Z77X-UD5H is sitting at the high end of mid-range

Subject: Motherboards | August 28, 2012 - 04:18 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, z77x-ud5h, Z77, lga 1155

For just under $200 you can pick up the Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H, a board that is a mix of high end and mid-range motherboard.  On the negative side [H]ard|OCP once again were disappointed by the performance of the mouse in Gigabyte's UEFI, not a big issue but very annoying when you are used to competitors implementations that don't force you back to the keyboard.  There were also a few aesthetic choices that [H] were not impressed by but the actual physical layout was done well.  As there is no PLX chip you will be best off using a pair of GPUs as the maximum which makes it a great mid-range board but misses the high end mark.  Check out how easy it is to overclock this motherboard in their full review.

H_giga_z77x.gif

"The Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H is a high end board with a mid-range price. Sound too good to be true? Well as it turns out it's still mostly a high end board with a few cost cutting measures here and there. The question I had to ask myself was: Is the Z77X-UD5H a high end dud or a mid-range marvel?"

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Live Review Recap: MSI Z77 MPower Motherboard Preview and GPU Lineup

Subject: Motherboards | August 22, 2012 - 08:35 AM |
Tagged: z77 mpower, Z77, video, msi, mpower, live review, live

Earlier this week MSI's Alex Chang stopped by the PC Perspective office to show off a new motherboard, the Z77 MPower.  If you missed the live stream, you can check out the replay right here below!  Be sure you keep an eye on our LIVE schedule on the right hand side as future events pop up!

MPower introduces a 24-hour burn-in test that is one of a kind. Electronic components are manufactured on an assembly line and then statistical sampling is used to ensure quality of construction. Every MPower board is tested using a full Prime95 burn-in test for 24 hours under a heavy overclock.

msimpower.jpg

While you can probably reproduce this yourself in the comfort of your own home, MSI basically is doing this at the factory level to ensure every single board performs at the highest level. Not only are we changing the game of overclocking, but we’re also ensuring consistent and enduring performance from a desktop mainboard.

Source: MSI

ASUS' P8Z77V-Pro; trimming the cost without paring off the features

Subject: Motherboards | August 21, 2012 - 06:52 PM |
Tagged: asus, P8Z77-V Pro

At $208 the ASUS P8Z77-Pro might surprise you, with three PCIe 3.0 16x slots (dual GPUs are limited to 8x speeds), two of both PCIe 1x and legacy PCI slots, four each of SATA2 and SATA 6Gbps ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, a half dozen USB 3.0 ports and built in WiFi it is not exactly a basic Z77 board.  It does suffer from the common ailment of Z77/Ivy Bridge systems, the overclocking potential is good but not excellent, though it was rock solid at the 4.79GHz that [H]ard|OCP managed to push it to.  ASUS does offer better Z77 boards at higher prices for the hard core enthusiasts which may be why this board didn't pick up an award.  For those not looking to overclock much and would rather save a few dollars the P8Z77-Pro is a solid contender for your hard earned money.

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"The P8Z77-V Pro is a perfect example of how powerful the ASUS P8xxx series is and what it has to offer. While many would consider it a stripped down model, it is anything but. While not as feature rich as some in the series, the P8Z77-V Pro does have a lot to offer, especially given its price point."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI MPower Motherboard Q&A - Ask your questions!!

Subject: Editorial, Motherboards | August 21, 2012 - 10:18 AM |
Tagged: Z77, msi, mpower, live

Tomorrow on our PC Perspective Live! channel we are going to be hosting MSI's Alex Chang, the man in charge of product marketing for motherboards and GPUs - so you'll definitely want to stop by and see what he has to say!  In preparation for his visit we wanted to give our readers a chance to ask some questions about the new product line coming from MSI, the MPower motherboards. 

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Starting with the Z77 model that has been teased at various locations (including our own PC Perspective Hardware Workshop at Quakecon 2012), the MPower motherboards will be doing some unique things like extending warranties to overclockers and running overclocking tests on EACH motherboard board it ships to retailers.  Here is a quick note from MSI on the topic:

MPower introduces a 24-hour burn-in test that is one of a kind. Electronic components are manufactured on an assembly line and then statistical sampling is used to ensure quality of construction. Every MPower board is tested using a full Prime95 burn-in test for 24 hours under a heavy overclock.

While you can probably reproduce this yourself in the comfort of your own home, MSI basically is doing this at the factory level to ensure every single board performs at the highest level. Not only are we changing the game of overclocking, but we’re also ensuring consistent and enduring performance from a desktop mainboard.

MSI has posted some new information on its website recently as well including some details on the overclocking burn-in tests:

OC Certified is MSI's OC testing procedure where Z77 MPOWER mainboards tested for stability with a 24-hour Prime95 stress test. OC Certified test a mainboard in three key areas:
• Higher Performance
• Enhanced PWM Cooling
• Better Power Stability

Higher Performance means all OC Certified tests are run at 4.6 GHz CPU speed. The Enhanced PWM Cooling test ensures that, even without airflow in a high-temperature room (30°C) without airflow from a CPU cooler. Better Power Stability is tested by running Prime95 for 24-hours in these conditions.

I would imagine that you have some questions about the product - its features, its new warranty, the overclocking capability for it, etc. and we want to offer you the chance to ASK those questions of MSI directly. 

You can comment on our post here (no registration is required) and then join us tomorrow at 1pm ET / 10am PT for the LIVE discussion and presentation of the MSI MPower Z77 motherboard.  We will have some prizes for those of you that ask the best questions so be sure to get your question in EARLY!

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Intel brings skulls back to the motherboard with the DZ77GA-70K

Subject: Motherboards | August 13, 2012 - 04:26 PM |
Tagged: lga 1155, Intel, DZ77GA-70K

The DZ77GA-70K is not exactly the rebirth of Intel's SkullTrail series but it certainly does bear similar branding.  Instead it is a high end Z77 based board which features integral Bluetooth and WiFi, 8 USB 3.0 ports, three PCIe 3.0 16x slots, a pair of PCIe 1x slots and even two PCI slots.  [H]ard|OCP liked the UEFI BIOS that Intel has included, though they feel it is lacking in the overclocking settings you would expect from an 'Extreme Motherboard'.  They have only good things to say about the stability of the board, so if you need a rock solid system with a lot of expansion capabilities more than you need a good overclocker, this might be the board for you.

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"We'll be taking a look at one of Intel's motherboards today, specifically the Intel DZ77GA-70K which is part of its Extreme Motherboard series. How can you tell it's an extreme motherboard? Why it has a skull on it of course! All kidding aside there is more to the DZ77GA-70K than just marketing."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

PC Perspective Hardware Workshop 2012 @ Quakecon 2012 in Dallas, TX

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling, Processors, Memory, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 9, 2012 - 10:30 PM |
Tagged: video, workshop, streaming, quakecon, prizes, live, giveaways

It is that time of year again: another installment of the PC Perspective Hardware Workshop!  Once again we will be presenting on the main stage at Quakecon 2012 being held in Dallas, TX August 2-5th.  

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Main Stage - Quakecon 2012

Saturday, August 4th, 2pm CT

Our thanks go out to the organizers of Quakecon for allowing us and our partners to put together a show that we are proud of every year.  We love giving back to the community of enthusiasts and gamers that drive us to do what we do!  Get ready for 2 hours of prizes, games and raffles and the chances are pretty good that you'll take something out with you - really, they are pretty good!

Our thanks for this year's workshop logo goes to John Pastor!!

Our primary partners at the event are those that threw in for our ability to host the workshop at Quakecon and for the hundreds of shirts we have ready to toss out!  Our thanks to NVIDIA, MSI Computer and Corsair!!

 

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Live Streaming

If you can't make it to the workshop - don't worry!  You can still watch the workshop live on our page right here as we stream it over one of several online services.  Just remember this URL: http://pcper.com/workshop and you will find your way!

Case Mod Competition

Along with the Hardware Workshop, PC Perspective is working with Modders Inc on the annual case mod contest!  There are two categories for the competition: "Scratch Built" and "In the Box" that will allow those that build their computer enclosures from the ground up to compete separately from those that heavily modify their existing cases and systems.

For more details, be sure to check out the on going thread at the Modders Inc Forums!

Prize List (will continue to grow!)

Continue reading to see the list of prizes for the workshop!!!

Source: PCPer

Gigabyte Unveils GA-H77N-WIFI Mini-ITX Motherboard

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling, Processors, Chipsets, Memory, Displays | August 7, 2012 - 10:07 AM |
Tagged: Z77, motherboard, mini-itx, Intel, gigabyte, ga-h77n-wifi

During a European roadshow, Gigabyte showed off a new Mini-ITX form factor motherboard for the first time. Called the GA-H77N-WIFI, the motherboard is well suited for home theater and home server tasks. Based on the H77 chipset, it is compatible with the latest Intel Core i3 (coming soon), i5, and i7 "Ivy Bridge" processors. The board goes for an all-black PCB with minimal heatsinks on the VRMs, and the form factor is the same size as the motherboard that Ryan recently used in his Mini-ITX HTPC build.

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The GA-H77N-WIFI features a LGA 1155 processor socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, PCI Express slot, two SATA 3Gbps ports, two SATA 6Gbps ports, and an internal USB 3.0 header. There are also two Realtek Ethernet controller chips and a Realtek audio chip.

Rear IO on the Mini-ITX motherboard includes:
  • 1 PS/2 port
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports
  • 2 HDMI ports
  • 1 DVI port
  • 2 Antenna connectors (WIFI)
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports
  • 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 1 Optical S/PDIF port
  • 5 Analog audio jacks

The dual Gigabit Ethernet ports are interesting. It could easily be loaded with open source routing software and turned into router/firewall/Wi-Fi access point. To really take advantage of the Ivy Bridge support, you could put together a nice media server and HTPC recording/streaming box (using something like SiliconDust's HDHomeRun networked tuners or Ceton's USB tuner since this board is very scarce in the way of PCI-E slots). What would you do with this Mini-ITX Gigabyte board?

Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or availability, but the motherboard is likely coming soon. You can find more information on the motherboard over at tonymacx86, who managed to snag get some photos of the board.

Source: Tony Mac X86