MSI 3DMark Challenge: Rewarding Overclockers

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards | February 4, 2013 - 06:36 PM |
Tagged: msi, 3dmark

Do you have a beastly system with MSI parts, intense overclocking knowledge, and a desire for even more high-end parts? In honor of the new 3DMark's release, the motherboard and graphics card manufacturer is letting users of their parts enter in a contest for the highest 3DMark scores.

msi3dmarkBanner.jpg

In a partnership with the benchmarking leaderboard site, HWBot, MSI wants to see top scores for the Fire Strike test on the newly released 3DMark. The contest will run until March 3rd for entries looking to post top ranks. Beyond that, anyone with an MSI Z77 motherboard who enters before February 10th will be entered in a “Lucky Draw” for the MSI Z77A-GD55 Motherboard.

Winners of the leader contest will receive the MSI R7970 Lightning Boost Edition card for first place and an MSI Z77A-GD80 for second place. Note that we are not affiliated with this contest, we just think that our readers might like to know.

Check in to the press blast after the break.

Source: HWBot

ASRock Launches FM2A85X-ITX Mini-ITX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | February 3, 2013 - 05:09 AM |
Tagged: trinity, mini-itx, htpc, asrock, APU, amd, A85X

Taiwanese motherboard manufacturer ASRock has shown off a new mini-ITX motherboard aimed at home theater PC (HTPC) users called the FM2A85X-ITX. The new motherboard uses AMD’s A85X chipset and supports the company’s latest Trinity accelerated processing units (APUs).
The FM2A85X-ITX motherboard features an AMD FM2 socket surrounded by two DDR3 DIMM slots (max of 32GB 1866MHz RAM), a PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot, and seven SATA 6Gbps ports. A six phase VRM, two USB 3.0 headers, 8 channel audio chip, and RAID 0/1/10 support round out the package.

 

ASRock FM2A85X-ITX motherboard.jpg

External IO on the mini-ITX motherboard includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x eSATA 6Gbps
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x Optical S/PDIF
  • 5 x Analog audio jacks
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x VGA

According to Tech Power Up, the new motherboard will cost around $110 USD. Thanks to the form factor, APU support, and multitude of storage connectivity options, the board would make for an excellent addition to a HTPC build!

Read about other mini-ITX motherboard options at PC Perspective!

Thunder! Thunder! ThunderFX! Meet the new ASUS Maximus V Formula

Subject: Motherboards | January 24, 2013 - 04:26 PM |
Tagged: asus, maximus v formula, ThunderFX

While we have seen ASUS' Maximus V Formula before and it still sports three PCIe 3.0 16x ports, up to 32GB of DDR3, six SATA 6G ports, 8 USB 2.0 ports, six USB 3.0 ports, wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth and mSATA with the mPCIe combo card.  The new part to this version of the motherboard is the ThunderFX external USB audio DAC, which uses the C-Media 6631 audio processor and [H]ard|OCP found it superior to the onboard SupremeFX solution in every way.  Read on to see why.

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"Not one to rest on their laurels, ASUS adds another Z77 Express chipset based board to its Republic of Gamers lineup. This time in Formula trim. The Maximus V Formula / ThunderFX gives us most of what the Extreme version gave us and a couple of things it didn’t. What’s so special about the Maximus V Formula ThunderFX? Let's find out."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASUS wants to make sure you know they're here for you

Subject: Motherboards | January 23, 2013 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: asus, motherboards

ASUS wants to be sure everyone knows that it isn't going anywhere and that the motherboard business is doing just fine.  We are working very closely with the team at ASUS and can assure you they have little interesting in backing off the DIY train and are even investing more heavily in the enthusiast market.

We are still sorry to see Intel leave the business (at least after Haswell) but it is good to have company's like this coming out and assuring us of their support!

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Enthusiasts and PC builders trust ASUS as their go-to brand when it comes to building desktops. As the global leader in motherboard design across multiple product ranges, ASUS remains strongly committed to developing a wide range of new and innovative motherboards now and well into the future. For the consumer segment we have invested significant resources to grow and sustain the Build Your Own ecosystem, including the PCDIY initiative designed to educate and inspire new builders, our ongoing support for the PC gaming community, and our grassroots program for university students across North America providing support for learning through a number of vehicles. For the commercial segment we have been on the forefront with the highly acclaimed Corporate Stable Model (CSM) program in North America. ASUS motherboards have been recognized by eChannelNews with their Resellers Choice Award for Best Motherboard several years in the row. ASUS CSM motherboards covers a full range of chipsets and form factors, and come complete with a guaranteed long shelf life, advance cross shipping, and Intel vPro Technology. With the Haswell-based 4th generation Core platform we plan to deepen our commitment to bring excitement and new opportunities to the desktop platform.

ASUS will continue to expand our close partnership with Intel to fully support their growing CPU and chipset roadmap with a wide selection of motherboards that provide the highest quality and ownership value in the market. We have the utmost confidence in Intel’s continued commitment to desktop CPUs and chipsets, and eagerly look forward to leading the next generation of Build Your Own enthusiasts and system builders.

Intel to exit motherboard business after Haswell platform

Subject: Motherboards | January 22, 2013 - 08:52 PM |
Tagged: Intel, haswell

Word reached us tonight of some interesting and somewhat disappointing news out of Intel.  The company has announced a reorganization that will include the spinning down of the retail motherboard development team and product line after the release of the upcoming Haswell line of processors. 

We disclosed internally today that Intel’s Desktop Motherboard Business will begin slowly ramping down over the course of the next three years. As Intel gradually ramps down its motherboard business we are ramping up critical areas of the desktop space including integration of innovative solutions for the PC ecosystem such as reference design development, NUC and other areas to be discussed later.

The internal talent and experience of twenty years in the boards business (which until recently has been largely focused on desktop tower type designs) is being redistributed to address emerging new form factors -- desktop and mobile – and to expand Intel’s Form Factor Reference Design (FFRD) work and enable our partners to develop exciting new computing solutions.

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Intel's DX79SI was a launch board for Sandy Bridge-E

Many of our readers might not see this as an important decision with the likes of ASUS, MSI and Gigabyte to accommodate the needs of builders, but any time a company that has been in a business segment for more than 20 years exits, you need to pay attention.  And while Intel boards have traditional been used only on business and stability-dependent applications, the boards team has in the past few years been producing fantastic, high quality enthusiast class platforms and innovating on the UEFI design, etc.  Many boutique system builders were even using Intel motherboards in $5,000+ systems. 

As recently as CES earlier in the month, we met with the board team at Intel to discuss future plans for additional features as well new compelling changes to UEFI coming up in Haswell offerings.  Instead it appears that members of that product team will be slowly transitioned to the world of new form factors (like the recently announced Next Unit of Computing) and more. 

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Intel's Next Unit of Computing platform

Intel noted confidence in other companies like ASUS, MSI and Gigabyte for future motherboards and to "fully support Intel's growing roadmap."  And for those companies this will likely be good news in the short term as builders and OEMs will be transitioning away, looking for new options.  Still, this will no doubt fuel the fire of rumors about Intel's desire to move out of the socketed CPU business as quickly as possible.

Thunderbolt comes to ROG with the Maximus V Extreme

Subject: Motherboards | January 10, 2013 - 04:19 PM |
Tagged: Z77, thunderbolt, ROG, Maximus V Extreme, lga1155, asus

The new ASUS ROG Maximus V Extreme board has a high standard to meet thanks to the performance of previous models of the Maximus Extreme series.  Right off the bat you can tell this board is going to be popular with the enthusiasts as it sports five PCIe slots, capable of running at 8x, 16x, 8x, 8x if you populate four of them, with an extra 4x slot available for another card.  For storage there are a half dozen SATA 6Gbps ports with an additional three of the previous version of SATA as well as a single mSATA port and for peripherals you get 10 USB 3.0 ports plus another four USB 2.0 ports.  More important for some is the existence of a Thunderbolt port, a brand new feature for this family of motherboards.  [H]ard|OCP gave this motherboard a Gold Award, read on to find out why.

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"The Maximus V Extreme falls in line with ASUS' latest design philosophies and succeeds the older Maximus IV Extreme which was introduced during the P67 Express chipset days when the Core i7 2600K was the top end LGA1155 CPU. The last iteration of the Maximus was an absolutely incredible motherboard and like all ROG boards has big shoes to fill."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

CES 2013 Video: Gigabyte Shows 4K Display Support and Thin Mini-ITX Boards

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Displays, Systems | January 9, 2013 - 09:38 PM |
Tagged: video, thunderbolt, thin itx, mini ITX, ces 2013, CES, 4k

One of our final stops at CES this year was to visit with our friends at Gigabyte to see what they had to show off.  Right off the bat we found an impressive 4K display configuration with four 1080p monitors.  Running off of Gigabyte's GA-Z77X-UP5TH dual-Thunderbolt motherboard, each of the ports was split using a Lenovo adapter, each connecting to a pair of the monitors on the quad-display stand.  The result is a stunning 3840x2160 display configuration running completely off of the Intel HD 4000 graphics and the Core i7 processor.

Colin also showed us Gigabyte's push into the world of DIY and OEM All-in-One designs with a couple of motherboards based on the thin mini-ITX standard.  These boards are the same X/Y dimensions with a lower Z-height and very specific layout rules so that enclosures, cooling and components can be standardized. 

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

CES 2013: ASUS Shows Off P9X79-E WS Motherboard for SB-E Processors

Subject: Motherboards | January 9, 2013 - 12:01 PM |
Tagged: workstation, usb 3.0, socket 2011, sandy bridge-e, p9x79-e, ces 2013, CES, asus

ASUS is showing off a new flagship X79 motherboard at CES called the P9X79-E WS. The workstation-class board is packed with hardware and ready to take Intel’s socket 2011-based Sandy Bridge-E processors to the extreme. The P9X79-E WS is of the E-ATX variety and features a LGA 2011 socket nestled between eight DDR3 DIMM slots. The board can support a maximum of 64GB clocked at 2400 MHz. An eight-pin CPU power and standard 24-pin ATX connector supplies power to the board while ASUS’ 10+2 phase DIGI+ VRM delivers clean power to the processor and memory.

ASUS-P9X79-E-WS.jpg

The P9X79-E WS uses the X79 PCH and features six SATA 6 Gbps ports and four SATA 3 Gbps ports. With seven total PCI-E 3.0 x16 expansion slots, the P9X79-E WS can support quad SLI or CrossfireX multi-GPU solutions.

ASUS P9X79-E WS Motherboard for Socket 2011 Processors.jpg

Rear IO on the ASUS motherboard includes the following ports:

  • 1 x combo PS/2 port
  • 7 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 2 x USB 3.0 ports (plus two additional USB 3.0 headers on the motherboard)
  • 1 x USB BIOS flash port and button
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 2 x eSATA ports
  • 6 x Analog audio ports
  • 1 x S/PDIF port
  • 1 x FireWire port

While not quite as outlandish as the Zeus and Wolverine prototype motherboards ASUS showed off at Computex, the P9X79-E WS is a high-end board that should actually see the light of day. Unfortunately, ASUS has not released any official pricing or availability for its new flagship X79 motherboard yet. WCCF Tech has several close up photos of the ASUS board worth looking at as well.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Source: WCCF Tech

CES 2013: MSI Launches A85XMA-E35 ATX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | January 9, 2013 - 08:21 AM |
Tagged: msi, fm2, ces 2013, CES, atx, APU, a85xma-e35

MSI has launched another micro ATX motherboard for AMD APUs using the FM2 socket called the A85XMA-E35. Measuring 24.4 x 22.8 cm, the motherboard packs a number of MSI technologies including the company’s ClickBIOS II UEFI BIOS and OC Genie II auto-overclocking software.

 

MSI A85XMA-E35 FM2 ATX Motherboard.jpg

The micro ATX board features the FM2 socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots (16GB max), six SATA 6 Gbps ports, the Realtek ALC887 audio chip, a TPM module, PCI slot, two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 expansion slot.

MSI A85XMA-E35.jpg

Rear IO on the A85XMA-E35 board includes one PS/2 port, six USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, one Gigabit Ethernet port, six analog audio jacks, and VGA, DVI, and HDMI video outputs.

In the end, the A85XMA-E35 board is very similar to the A85XMA-P33 motherboard covered earlier today. MSI has added beefier heatsinks, additional expansion slots, and HDMI output so it should carry a small premium over the other board. MSI has not released official pricing for the board yet, however.

You can find more specifications and photos of the FM2-A85XMA-E35 on company's product page.

Read more about micro ATX motherboards at PC Perspective.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Source: MSI

CES 2013: MSI Launches A85XMA-P33 Micro ATX Motherboard With FM2 Socket

Subject: Motherboards | January 9, 2013 - 07:39 AM |
Tagged: msi, micro ATX, mATX, fm2, ces 2013, CES, APU, amd, a85xma-p33

MSI announced a new micro ATX motherboard at CES this week. Aimed at supporting AMD’s APUs, the MSI A85XMA-P33 is a socket FM2 motherboard that is replacing the company’s existing A75MA-P33 motherboard. The new A85XMA-P33 is nearly identical to the previous board, but it uses AMD’s A85X chipset rather than the A75.

MSI A85XMA-P33.jpg

The A85XMA-P33 features the FM2 socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, and six SATA 6 Gbps ports. It also has one legacy PCI slot, one PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot, and a single PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot.

Rear IO on the micro ATX motherboard includes two PS/2 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports (plus an additional 2 via motherboard header), three (6 channel) audio jacks, and a gigabit Ethernet port. Display outputs include a single DVI and a single VGA connector.

Other features include a five phase VRM and a UEFI BIOS. No official pricing has been announced yet, but you can expect it to be around the $70 mark. MSI has posted more photos and specifications on its website.

Read more about micro ATX motherboards at PC Perspective.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Source: Softpedia

Brace Yourself: The PC Perspective CES 2013 Coverage is Coming!

Subject: Graphics Cards, Networking, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling, Processors, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2013 - 10:47 AM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, pcper

It's that time of year - the staff at PC Perspective is loaded up and either already here in Las Vegas, on their way to Las Vegas or studiously sitting at their desk at home - for the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show!  I know you are on our site looking for all the latest computer hardware news from the show and we will have it.  The best place to keep checking is our CES landing page at http://pcper.com/ces.  The home page will work too. 

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We'll have stories covering companies like, Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte, Zotac, Sapphire, Galaxy, EVGA, Lucid, OCZ, Western Digital, Corsair and many many more that I don't feel like listing here.  It all starts Sunday with CES Unveiled and then the NVIDIA Press Conference where they will announce...something.

Also, don't forget to subscribe to the PC Perspective Podcast as we will be bringing you daily podcasts wrapping up each day.  We are also going to try to LIVE stream them on our PC Perspective Live! page but times and bandwidth will vary.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Video Perspective: MSI Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt for under $160

Subject: Motherboards | December 29, 2012 - 08:15 PM |
Tagged: z77a-g45 thunderbolt, Z77, video, thunderbolt, msi

If you are interested in joining in on the wave of Thunderbolt accessories coming out in 2013 you might want to learn about the new MSI Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt motherboard.  This new board promises to be the least expensive option with an integrated Thunderbolt port while also offering a great overclocking and feature set very similar to that of the MSI Z77A-GD80. 

You can pick it up at Newegg.com today for $159!

Check out our video overview!

 

PS - Let us know if you have any comments on the new video player / configuration!!

ASRock Z77 Extreme6/TB4 Motherboard Offers Thunderbolt with Discrete Graphics

Subject: Motherboards | December 11, 2012 - 10:34 PM |
Tagged: asrock, thunderbolt, Z77

Over the past 6 months or so we have seen most motherboard vendors release a Z77 option with support for the latest Thunderbolt connectivity option.  I did some initial testing on the ASUS P8Z77-V Premium motherboard and found that Thunderbolt was indeed impressive in terms of performance though it remained expensive and had a few hang ups. 

One of those was the need to use integrated graphics when utilizing the DisplayPort pass through of the connection.  Lucid was the first company to offer a solution thanks to their Virtu MVP software solution and GPU virtualization technology.  I tested that and it worked pretty well, allow us to utilize the power of your discrete GPU with a monitor connected through Thunderbolt on the motherboard.

Well ASRock has a new motherboard out, the Z77 Extreme6/TB4, that promises to allow you to use discrete graphics by simply utilizing a DisplayPort connection on the graphics card itself. 

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Besides offering a pair of Thunderbolt connections, the motherboard claims to be the "world's only Thunderbolt motherboard supporting discrete VGA card via Thunderbolt port."

asrock2.jpg

Essentially ASRock is taking the DP connection from the discrete graphics card, taking it into the motherboard through a DisplayPort input connection and then sending that back out the motherboard Thunderbolt header.  More than likely this is simple electrical pass through and there isn't much or any logic going on to "trick" the system.  It also raises concerns that the motherboard and display solution won't be officially approved by Intel.  (We are all, after all, still waiting to see the ASUS ThunderboltEX to hit the market...)

Hopefully we'll get one of these new boards in soon to see for ourselves!

Source: ASRock

Gigabyte Launches Two Mini ITX Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | December 3, 2012 - 04:51 AM |
Tagged: mini-itx, Intel, gigabyte, ga-c847n, ga-c807n, celeron 807

Gigabyte recently announced two mini-ITX form factor motherboards. In an interesting twist, instead of an AMD platform like many of the mini-ITX boards released this year, the Gigabyte GA-C807N and GA-C847N motherboards are based on the Intel NM70 chipset and come with integrated Intel Celeron 800-series processors.

Both motherboards come with Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable 4 Classic design and feature set. Two DDR3 (1333 MHz) DIMM slots, a single legacy PCI expansion slot, 5.1 channel audio controller, and a UEFI DualBIOS are all included features on the motherboards.

 

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The GA-C807N has three SATA II 3Gbps ports and one SATA III 6Gbps port. It further includes an Intel Celeron 807 processor that features a single physical core clocked at 1.5GHz.

External IO on the GA-C807N includes:

  • 2 x PS/2 ports
  • 1 x Parallel printer port
  • 1 x COM port
  • 1 x VGA port
  • 4 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet jack
  • 3 x analog audio outputs

 

On the other hand, the Gigabyte GA-847N motherboard has two SATA II 3Gbps ports and one SATA III 6Gbps port. It also bumps up the processor to a dual core Celeron 847 clocked at 1.1Ghz.

gigabyte_ga-c847n_02.jpg

External IO on the GA-847N includes:

  • 2 x PS/2 ports
  • 1 x Serial port
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x eSATA
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 4 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 3 x Analog audio jacks

 

Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or availability of the two Mini-ITX motherboards. With that said, the GA-C847N in particular looks like a neat motherboard. The dual GbE ports would make it a good DIY router+firewall or server box. As far as the Gigabyte GA-C807N, the parallel printer port is an odd included feature, but otherwise it looks like a decent entry level Mini-ITX board+cpu combination.

GIGABYTE Launches New HD Series - Brings HDMI and DVI Outputs to Value Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | November 29, 2012 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, amd, Intel, Z77, z75, h61, a85, a75, A55

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City of Industry, California, October 28, 2012 – GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, today launched its latest HD series motherboards, bringing unprecedented dual digital display support, including HDMI and DVI, to a range of value segment motherboard models.

The new GIGABYTE HD motherboard series defies the current ethos that means true digital display outputs are reserved for upper mainstream models, adding both HDMI and DVI ports to a range of motherboard models at attractive and affordable price points. All DIY enthusiasts can now enjoy true HD display capability using the most commonly integrated digital output technologies on today’s HD displays and TVs.

“The new GIGABYTE HD motherboard series means our customers can get much more bang-per-buck from their value segment motherboards,” commented Henry Kao, Vice President of GIGABYTE Motherboard Business Unit. “Adding dual digital display ports to this segment really sets GIGABYTE apart from the competition, raising the bar for value segment motherboard design.”

HD_WhiteMaking Digital Display Support a Standard Feature
Digital output technologies like HDMI are becoming the de-facto standard on most HDTVs and PC monitors, with the advantage of carrying both HD audio* and video signals over a single cable. As well as offering higher screen resolutions than analog display outputs, digital display outputs also offer support for the latest 3D media content as well as access to protected content via HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection).

Having access to dual digital displays is also a great way to increase productivity, offering much more on-screen real-estate than entry-level motherboards typically provide. GIGABYTE HD series motherboards are ideal for a range of business, office and education scenarios where adding an additional digital display or projector is paramount.

GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 4 Classic
GIGABYTE HD series motherboards integrate GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 4 Classic technology with built-in features that prevent common malfunction threats. Protection against humidity, electrostatic damage, power failure and high-temperatures is achieved using a range of technologies and features including glass fabric PCB technology, Lower RDS(on) MOSFETs, anti-surge ICs, solid capacitors and GIGABYTE Dual BIOS™.

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Intel models

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AMD models

You learn more about GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 4 Classic technology here: http://www.gigabyte.us/microsite/297/images/overview.html

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Source: Gigabyte

BioStar's inexpensive Hi-Fi A85W is one BIOS update away from greatness

Subject: Motherboards | November 26, 2012 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: amd, a85, socket fm2, biostar, Hi-Fi A85W

Biostar's Hi-Fi A85W is a low cost way to start building a new AMD system, currently after MIR it is $85 on NewEgg and comes with 8GB of free G.SKILL RAM.  You get a board that supports Hybrid CrossFire and sports a pait of PCIe 2.0 x16 slots (only one is full speed), two PCIe 2.0 x1 slots and a pair of legacy PCI slots.  It has eight SATA 6.0 Gb/s, eight USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports to give you a lot of flexibility for drives and peripherals as well as DVI, HDMI and VGA outputs and a feature dubbed "PURO Hi-Fi"; a sheild for the better than average onboard audio codec.  TechPowerUp were impressed with the wide variety of overclocking options in the UEFI BIOS, until they tried overclocking and found a variety of issues with TurboCore and other overclocking settings.  Hopefully Biostar wil release a BIOS update to fix what is otherwise a solid choice of FM2 motherboard.

TPU_biostarhifi.jpg

"Biostar is at it again with a mid-range entry level product, the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W. Ready to rock out with AMD's new Piledriver FM2 APUs, the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W comes with an audio-oriented theme that's usually reserved for high-end products. Did it play sweet music, or is it a bit out of tune?"

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: TechPowerUp

MSI's Z77A-GD55 is a brilliant budget board

Subject: Motherboards | November 19, 2012 - 01:10 PM |
Tagged: msi, Z77A-GD55, lga1155

Right now on NewEgg, the LGA1155 MSI Z77A-GD55 is a great deal at $130 after MIR and comes with a free 8GB dual channel DDR3-1600 Ripjaws kit from G.Skill.  For that low price you get a pair of PCIe 3.0 16x slots, a single 4x and four 1x slots along with two SATA 6Gbs ports and four SATA II ports capable of RAID, 10 USB 2.0 ports and a pair of USB 3.0 ports.  Those ports, along with the array of audio and video connectors on the backplate should provide enough connectivity for the majority of users with space to upgrade. [H]ard|OCP are not fans of the Double-Click BIOS II, with this implementation being no worse than other MSI boards and they did have some problems with the Control Center software, however with the very stable performance and easy overclocking ability of the board they highly recommend it for anyone looking for a budget conscious Ivy Bridge system.

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"This motherboard might be a bit off-the-radar for most enthusiasts since it is a bit "down the scale." However, if you want a lot of bang for your buck, then look no further than MSI's Z77A-GD55. While it's somewhat basic in features it's overclocking performance is stellar for the price, which is very value oriented."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

ECS Reveals its First Motherboard with Thunderbolt Support the Z77H2-A5X Deluxe

Subject: Motherboards | November 14, 2012 - 05:26 PM |
Tagged: ECS, Z77H2-A5X Deluxe, thunderbolt, Z77, lga 1155

Z77H2-A5X DE(V1)02.jpg

November 13, 2012, Taipei, Taiwan - Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) today reveals its first motherboard with Thunderbolt support, the Brand-New Black Series Z77H2-A5X Deluxe, based on the new Intel Z77 chipset. The Black Deluxe Series was created with power users and overclockers in mind. The Z77H2-A5X Deluxe embodies these qualities by providing all solid capacitors, triple thickness gold plating and overclocking friendly heatsinks and heatpipes.

The Z77H2-A5X Deluxe combines the latest motherboard technology with the above industry quality control standards set by ECS on the Black Series.

Power user features
For overclockers, the ECS Z77H2-A5X Deluxe provides a wealth of tweaking, control and adjustment features. ECS' Hyper Alloy Chokes give overclockers more stability because of their high energy efficiency and heat reduction. Long-life capacitors in all critical areas guard against failure even in the most challenging conditions. Triple thickness gold plating on CPU, memory and add-on card sockets ensures the Z77H2-A5X Deluxe always provides a reliable connection, even with heavy use and in hostile environments. Improved heavy duty heatsinks and heatpipes help dissipate heat efficiently when overclocking. Thor Ultra Protection offers complete electrostatic discharge protection for VGA, USB, LAN and HDMI ports against component damage from static electricity in dry climates. ECS' latest UEFI II: EZ BIOS also provides a modern high resolution BIOS and Window 8 ready to work with.

Thunderbolt Support
A single Thunderbolt port lets you connect high-performance data devices and high-resolution displays to a single port with up to blazing fast 10Gbps data transfer rates. USB 2.0 in comparison only has a max throughput of 480Mbps, about 20x slower. Not only is Thunderbolt fast, but it's also convenient. Up to six Thunderbolt devices can be connected to a single connector on the PC and a native DisplayPort display can be connected at the end of the daisy chain.

Support for 3 way NVIDIA SLI or ATI CrossFireX
The Z77H2-A5X Deluxe is at the forefront of the performance desktop PC market with support for three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots and additionally, 3-way NVIDIA SLI or ATI CrossFireX support, providing astonishingly realistic high speed graphics and physics performance for the latest games and entertainment.

The latest high speed storage connectivity
The Z77H2-A5X Deluxe provides enormous capacity for ultra high speed storage. The Z77H2-A5X Deluxe is equipped with 2 x SATA 6Gb/s, 3 x SATA 3GB/s, 1 x mSATA 3GB/s (from mini PCIe) and RAID 0,1,5,10 support.

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Fast external connectivity
The Z77H2-A5X Deluxe is equipped with all the external connections you need, including on-board Wireless LAN, Gigabit LAN, Bluetooth, 2x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0, and 8 channel HD audio with ATX software support. The new Intel Z77 chipset at the heart of the Z77H2-A5X Deluxe is the first to include USB 3.0 support without external chips, bringing greater performance, expandability and reliability.

Unprecedented reliability – ECS Nonstop Certified
To ensure maximum reliability and customer satisfaction, ECS has enhanced its already stringent quality control procedures by increasing the testing cycle for its Black Series to three times longer than the industry standard and by raising the burn in testing temperature to 125% of the industry standard. Only those boards that pass ECS' 72 hours burn in test as well as a 50 degrees Celsius severe environment test can be deemed ECS Nonstop Certified.

Source: ECS

ASUS offers high end options for your Socket FM2 processor

Subject: Motherboards | November 9, 2012 - 03:21 PM |
Tagged: asus, a85, F2A85-V Pro, trinity

The ASUS F2A85V Pro is a high end AMD board with a quite reasonable price for the features present on the board.  The two PCIe-16x slots can handle Crossfire with both cards running at 8x and the spacing between the slots means that even a three slot GPU will fit with no problems.  There are 7 SATA 6 Gbps ports which support a variety of RAID settings, as well as four USB 3.0 ports and a single eSATA port but it is the graphics outputs which really shine, HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA and DVI outputs are all available for your Trinity processor.  Take a look at those features, the new Network iControl software to manage your connections and the UEFI BIOS at Bjorn3D.

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"ASUS has released their the F2A85V-Pro for the socket FM2. The board retails at around $140, but is packed with features."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: Bjorn3D

ECS Launches A970M-A Deluxe for AMD Processors

Subject: Motherboards | October 31, 2012 - 03:59 PM |
Tagged: vishera, phenom, motherboard, ECS, atx, amd, am3, a970m-a deluxe

Elitegroup Computer Systems is on a roll this week for launching motherboards supporting AMD processors. In addition to its mini ITX offerings, the company is launching the A970M-A Deluxe in it’s full gold-clad ATX form factor glory (heh). It offers up support for AMD’s latest FX and Phenom II series processors along with SATA III 6Gbps and USB 3.0 for speedy storage. Unfortunately, there is no PCI-E 3.0. Otherwise, this is a high end motherboard and has the feature set to match.

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In typical ECS fashion, the company has outfitted the board with gold colored heatsinks, EZ BIOS, solid capacitors, “Thor Ultra Protection,” a dust shield, and support for up to 140W TDP processors, among other features. The EZ BIOS is actually a uEFI BIOS that allows you to tweak settings using a graphical interface as well as automatic overclocking functionality that can overclock the AMD processor for you (to an extent).

Internal IO and board layout

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The board has several gold-colored heatsinks over the VRM and southbridge hardware. Along the top of the board lies the AM3+ CPU socket and four DDR3 DIMM slots. The board supports up to 2133 MHz memory when overclocked and up to 32 GB of RAM (when using 8GB DIMMs). Expansion slots include two PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, and two legacy PCI slots. The lower-right corner features five SATA III 6Gbps ports – two of which are positioned at right angles to the board. Expansion headers include three fan headers, one COM header, and three USB 2.0 headers (up to 6 additional ports) are also included on the board.

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The rear panel IO includes:

  • 1 x PS/2 combo port
  • 1 x RJ45 port (Realtek 8111E Gigabit LAN Controller)
  • 1 x eSATA 6Gbps port
  • 2 x USB 3.0 ports
  • 8 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 5 x Analog audio jacks (4 line out, 1 line in. Realtek ALC892 codec)
  • 1 x S/PDIF optical audio output

While we do not yet have US pricing, when converted from the stated RS 9,000 (according to Think Digit)to USD, the board is just under $170. No word yet on stateside availability. You can find more information on the ECS specifcations page.

Source: ECS