A new processor needs a new home; meet the X79 chipset

Subject: Motherboards | November 14, 2011 - 04:02 PM |
Tagged: X79A-GD65 (8D), X79-UD5, x79, P8X79 PRO, msi, lga2011, Intel, gigabyte, DX79SI, asus

If you want to run a Sandy Bridge E chip, you are going to need a new motherboard as they use a brand new socket.  The upgrade isn't just about the socket though, as there is a noticeable increase in PCIe 3.0 lanes possible on the X79 chipset as well quad channel memory.  At The Tech Report is a look at motherboards from four major vendors, the Asus P8X79 PRO, Gigabyte X79-UD5, Intel DX79SI, and the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D).  Unfortunately Intel is plagued by issues with storage, while not the same as we saw in their previous chipset the port count is still lower than we expected and the RAID software is still labelled as a beta product.  Indeed by the end of the review it seems that each board did at least one thing to disappoint The Tech Report, though they hold hope for future revisions.

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"If you want to get in on Intel's new Sandy Bridge-E CPU, you'll need an LGA2011 motherboard. We've gathered four examples from Asus, Gigabyte, Intel, and MSI to see which one makes the best foundation for an Extreme Sandy build."

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ASUS Launches the Most Complete and Innovative X79 Motherboard Lineup

Subject: Motherboards | November 14, 2011 - 12:59 PM |
Tagged: asus, x79, p9x79 deluxe, P9X79 PRO, P9X79, P9X79 WS, TUF SABERTOOTH X79, ROG Rampage IV Extreme

Fremont, CA (November 14, 2011) - ASUS, maker of the world’s best-selling and most innovative motherboards, is excited to release a wide range of new X79 motherboards. All feature the new Intel® X79 Express Chipset, with support for 2nd generation Core™ i7 processors in the new LGA 2011 Socket. The complete lineup includes P9X79 Series motherboards with total performance tuning and control, the enthusiast-centric ROG Rampage IV Extreme, the ultra-reliable TUF SABERTOOTH X79, and the professional P9X79 WorkStation Series supporting NVIDIA® 4-way SLI™ and AMD CrossFireX™.

All motherboards feature ASUS Dual Intelligent Processor 3 technology with the latest ASUS DIGI+ Power Control design providing three digital voltage controllers onboard, one for the CPU and two for DRAM. ASUS’ class-leading Digital Power designs result in better performance, greater stability, and enhanced overclocking for all users. All of the new motherboards ship with multi-GPU support, PCI Express 3.0 capabilities*, exclusive ASUS UEFI and up to 64GB of quad-channel DDR3 support via 8-DIMM slots.

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P9X79 Series: The ideal choice for unmatched features and user-friendly innovation
ASUS has developed the best power, system, and BIOS tuning options available for users to ensure an optimized computing experience on the new P9X79 Deluxe, P9X79 Pro, and P9X79 motherboards. Each feature ASUS’ new DIGI+ Power Control and DIGI+ Memory voltage options that allow users to reach higher processor and DRAM overclocks with the upmost stability and reliability.

An 8-DIMM quad-channel design supports up to 64GB of DDR3 memory that takes full advantage of 64-bit applications. Additional memory capacity assists with intensive data, image, and video processing applications while users can also set up large RAM disks to greatly accelerate system performance. ASUS SSD Caching is extremely user-friendly with one-click speedup functionality that combines solid state drive speeds with mechanical hard drive capacities, providing up to three times faster storage performance.

The ASUS UEFI BIOS has won media and user acclaim for its intuitive and easy GUI interaction. The latest version has been upgraded with the industry first F12 BIOS snapshot hotkey, the F3 system info shortcut, and DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect), which offers advanced support for memory troubleshooting. USB BIOS Flashback enables true plug and play UEFI flashing with any USB storage device. It works even without powering up the PC, using only standby power without a CPU, Video card or memory installed. Optional BT GO 3.0! consists of an onboard Bluetooth v3.0 +HS module that offers wireless 802.11n support, adding instant access point detection and setup for Wi-Fi everywhere.

The exclusive ASUS BT suite includes several special functions, allowing users to easily sync and transfer files between PC and mobile devices, and even use smartphones to overclock or monitor their PC. ASUS USB 3.0 Boost adds new UASP support to accelerate USB 3.0 performance by almost three times over standard protocols with supported devices.

ROG Rampage IV Extreme: The best choice for gamers and enthusiasts
The Rampage IV Extreme supports 4-way NVIDIA® SLI™ and AMD CrossFireX™ and is designed to empower overclockers to reach new records while also offering the absolute best gaming performance and stability. It comes loaded with overclocking features well-suited to competitive benchmarking. Exclusive ROG X-Socket™ means LGA 1366 based CPU coolers and LN2 containers can be used as-is with the new board. OC Key™ is an ROG-designed device that connects to the DVI port of any graphics card to display performance and overclocking info on the screen independent of system resources. Users can make changes with no additional software, and without slowing their PC down.

For enhanced and modified cooling, ROG has developed Subzero Sense™, which detects cooling system temperatures as low as -193゚C. ROG Extreme Engine Digi+ II and specially sourced high-grade capacitors ensure long lasting and high-endurance power delivery demanded by gamers and competitive overclockers. The Rampage IV Extreme comes bundled with the hit game Battlefield 3™ from EA and DICE, which uses the Frostbite 2 engine to showcase the latest in DirectX® 11 technology and graphics effects.

TUF SABERTOOTH X79: The reliability choice for rugged engineering and long-life
The new TUF SABERTOOTH X79 ships with an intelligent thermal design, military grade-tested TUF components, and exclusive cooling features for enhanced system stability under the harshest conditions. TUF Thermal Armor with dual fans expands cooling and precise airflow for more effective heat dissipation, improving system reliability and performance. TUF Thermal Radar monitors real-time temps via 12 sensors in strategic locations on the board, automatically adjusting fan speeds to maintain extended stability and prevent overheating. Military-grade TUF components include capacitors, chokes, and MOSFETs. Their heat and stress tolerance allows ASUS to offer an exclusive 5-year warranty on the SABERTOOTH X79. Additionally, the new model includes the new DIGI+ Power Control design and UEFI, giving it the same precision, performance, and user friendly options offered by the P9X79 Series.

P9X79 WS:
The ideal professional choice for multi-GPU expandability Enhanced features and absolute stability is required from professional users and the P9X79 WS delivers, beginning with NVIDIA® 4-way SLI™ and AMD CrossFireX™ and dual hardware-accelerated Intel® LAN ports, which reduces CPU utilization for netcode processing by up to 71%. The P9X79 Work Station supports both Intel® Core™ i7 processors and the upcoming workstation-specific Xeon® family, and maintains compatibility with multiple memory, operating system, and RAID card selections. ASUS SSD Caching and USB BIOS Flashback are included along with ASUS’ DIGI+ Power Control design and award winning UEFI.

asusx79.jpg

Source: ASUS

X79 Motherboard Roundup Video Preview

Subject: Motherboards | November 14, 2011 - 02:51 AM |
Tagged: x79, video, msi, Intel, gigabyte, asus

I am sure by now you have been reading our review of the new Sandy Bridge-E processors, in particular the Core i7-3960X, but we only had a brief mention of the various X79 motherboards we had in-house in that article.  (Which if you haven't read yet, you definitely should!)

Over the course of the last 14 days or so, we have seen and played with:

  • ASUS Rampage IV Extreme
  • ASUS Sabertooth X79
  • ASUS P9X79 Pro
  • MSI X79A-GD65 8D
  • Gigabyte X79-UD3
  • Intel DX79SI

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We will have reviews of all of these boards in the coming days, but I wanted to at least make sure you saw each of these motherboards in our video roundup and preview.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more on the X79 platform and Sandy Bridge-E!!

Can ASRock manage to make an extreme motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | November 10, 2011 - 02:35 PM |
Tagged: asrock, Z68 Extreme4 Gen3, ga-z68x

Taking a break from reviewing the major names in motherboards, [H]ard|OCP took hold of ASRock's Z68 Extreme4 Gen3 motherboard to see what that companies flagship motherboard is capable of.  The motherboard arrived for review in an impressive stainless steel box, unfortunately once the box was opened the review started on a downhill trend.  [H] didn't say that the board had the worst layout they've seen but had serious concerns with the placement of PCIe slots as well as the location of the auxiliary power connection.  Once the board was hooked up [H] tried the UEFI BIOS that ASRock implemented with moderate success, they had better luck with the included overclocking software.  Even with the problems they describe in the review, the board did survive their stability testing with no problems whatsoever.

H_ASRockExtreme4.jpg

"Several people on our forums wanted to see a little more brand diversity when it comes to motherboard reviews. Ask and you shall receive. We take our first look at one of ASRock’s "finest" motherboards. The Z68 Extreme4 Gen3. Long name, lots of features, and a big steaming bowl of disappointment."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Meet MSI's new X79 series

Subject: Motherboards | November 7, 2011 - 02:35 PM |
Tagged: X79MA-GD4, X79A-GD65 8D, X79A-GD65, X79A-GD45, x79, msi

MSI sent us a little tease showing off their upcoming X79 motherboards, with 3 ATX models and an mATX as well.  You can see the MSI X79A-GD65 8D, the MSI X79A-GD65, MSI X79A-GD45 and the X79MA-GD4 pictured below.  The most obvious difference between the first two models is the number of DIMM slots, with the 8D sporting a total of 8 slots compared to 4 in the second model, though both do support Quad Channel DDR3.  The second two have less PCIe slots than the higher end boards, with the X79MA board being the mATX member.

All three full sized boards support OC Genie, and all support THX audio, bear both SLI and CrossFire logos and MSI's Military Class components.  The two GD65 models both have V-Points for checking voltages across the board, though only the 8D model has LCD readouts for post codes.  Click on the pictures below for much larger versions.

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and a late addition from MSI

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Source: MSI

Gigabyte Infusing X79 Motherboards With 3D UEFI BIOS

Subject: Motherboards | November 6, 2011 - 04:11 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, x79, pattsburg, Intel, SB-E, sandy bridge-e, uefi

Many motherboard manufacturers have phased out the old school BIOS in favor of a shiny graphical user interface (GUI) UEFI BIOS that adds support for booting from larger capacity hard drives and presenting configuration screens that are able to be navigated with mouse or touch controls. Gigabyte has been somewhat quiet on the UEFI BIOS front, until now that is. Starting with Intel’s new X79 chipset based motherboards, the company will begin using a new “3D BIOS.”

Gigabyte_3D_BIOS.jpg

Fortunately, red and cyan glasses won’t be required for Gigabyte’s new UEFI BIOS. Instead, the BIOS is only “3D” in the same sense that a computer game is 3D -- meaning a 3D perspective viewed through a 2D window of sorts (the monitor) and this is a good thing.

The way Gigabyte’s 3D BIOS works involves displaying a photo of the user’s motherboard with various hot-spots that display content sensitive information and configuration options when hovered over and clicked on respectively. For example, when hovering over and clicking on the SATA ports in the rotate-able photo of the board, users are presented with options to set the SATA controller mode to IDE, AHCI, or RAID mode. Also, when clicking on the CPU area, the user is able to adjust frequency, voltage, and timing settings for the CPU and RAM. Further, context sensitive help is available for all the various options in each dialog.

For those that prefer a more traditional text based approach, Gigabyte is also including an advanced mode for enthusiasts who like to dig into every setting possible. The advanced mode looks like one would expect a BIOS to - a text based UI with minimal distractions. The ability to use the mouse for navigation is still present, however.

The 3D motherboard will reflect the actual physical motherboard and can be easily rotated to admire the shiny interface. It is certainly an interesting angle and should help new users navigate and find the settings they need. Whether it will be enough to help differentiate the product or not remains to be seen. A video showing off the new 3D BIOS is available below, and more photos can be found here.

Source: Anandtech

Check out how the P67 chipset has evolved with the ASUS P8P67 EVO

Subject: Motherboards | November 3, 2011 - 04:25 PM |
Tagged: p67 b3, asus, P8P67 EVO Rev 3.0

If you are looking to build a low cost machine using the P67 chipset you could do worse than choosing the ASUS P8P67 EVO Rev 3.0 board.  Three PCI-Express x16 slots, a pair of PCI-Express x1 slots, and 2 PCI slots flesh out the board and ASUS has designed the layout in such a way that even with a graphics card in the PCIe 16x slot you will still be able to use both PCIe 1x slots.  Surprising for a sub-$200 board you get a MemOK button and an EPU switch for low power operation, features that are much more common on a higher end board.  [H]ard|OCP paired it with an Intel 2500K and were very impressed with the maturity this chipset displayed, great overclocking, rock solid stability and a very nice component layout all worked together to win a Silver Award.

asusP67Evo.jpg

"Through the P8P67 EVO, ASUS brings a board to the table that raises the bar on its other offerings. Not only does this motherboard perform like a champ, it is packed to the gills with features and integrated functionalities. At less than $165 after MIR, it shows to be a solid value."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte brings Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi to their X79 boards

Subject: Motherboards | November 2, 2011 - 03:42 PM |
Tagged: x79, gigabyte, bluetooth 4.0, G1-Assassin 2, X79-UD7, X79-UD5, bluetooth

Gigabyte is going crazy with the wireless options available to you in their X79 series of motherboards.

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With Bluetooth 4.0 available your iPhone 4S will be able to connect seamlessly to your Gigabyte motherboard.  The biggest improvement in the new standard is the power savings which it enables, something that iPhone 4S users are desperate for.  In fact if the attempt to standardize 3D glasses over Bluetooth 4.0 succeeds then one of these motherboards will be perfect for building a system connected to a 120Hz 3D monitor.

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As well, Gigabyte has extended their WiFi support to a dedicated card which sports dual antennas, one for WiFi and one for Bluetooth.  They also support the new Bluetooth Smart which is designed to work with a large variety of single use devices.   Your blood sugar monitor, house thermostat, security systems and smart watch could all connect to these motherboards as easily as your phone, headset or other Bluetooth devices.

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Source: Gigabyte

Bulldozer, get out of the way! This review is supposed to be about the ASUS Crosshair V Formula

Subject: Motherboards | October 27, 2011 - 06:20 PM |
Tagged: asus, Crosshair V Formula, FX 8150, 990fx, am3+

As sometimes happens when one sets out to write a review, at some point it turns out you aren't reviewing what you had originally intended to.  Such happened at Legit Reviews when they tested the ASUS Crosshair V Formula AM3+ board with an FX-8150 as well as an X6 1100T.  The motherboard is very interesting; just hard to make out through the wreckage of a big yellow machine lying in front of it.  If you can manage to make out the motherboard through the Phenom-enal holes punched in the 'dozer you can see three PCIe 2.0 x16 (dual x16 or x16, x8, x8), a PCIe 2.0 x16 in x4, a PCIe 2.0 x1 slot and even a legacy PCI slot.  There are also four USB 3.0 ports and an equal number of USB 2.0 ports (one can be made into an ROG port)  and a slew of others including a clear CMOS button for your cat or child to play with. 

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"This particular article, we went a little bit of a different route. We compared the ASUS Crosshair V Formula with the latest AMD FX-8150 'Bulldozer' processor, to itself with an AMD Phenom II X6 1100T. We wanted to see if there was much of a difference in performance between the two core architectures on the AMD 990FX chipset. The article inadvertently felt more like a shoot out between the two processors, when the focus was meant to be on the ASUS Crosshair V Formula. The performance between the two systems was entirely too similar for my tastes. The AMD FX-8150 didn't run the circles around the Phenom II X6 1100T that I had hoped it would..."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

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ASUS Showcases New X79 Motherboard Design

Subject: Motherboards | October 25, 2011 - 04:27 PM |
Tagged: x79, sabertooth x79, ROG Rampage IV Extreme, p9x79 deluxe, asus

Fremont, California (October 25, 2011) ― ASUS, the world’s leading motherboard maker, is excited to release a complete roster of Intel® X79 Express Chipset-based motherboards with the new LGA 2011 The new ASUS X79 motherboard offerings cover a wide gamut of PC users with the mainstream P9X79 Series, built-rugged TUF Series, feature laden Work Station (WS) Series and the pinnacle of gaming and enthusiast level motherboard design with the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Rampage IV Extreme. This impressive series of motherboards highlight best-in-class performance, stability, features and a user experience that is unmatched.

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P9X79 Series ― Impressive Control Features for Absolute Performance and Reliability
Several exclusive ASUS features make this series of motherboards the ideal choice for PC users who require a combination of performance, enhanced flexibility and incredible system control. This series offers an update to ASUS’ award winning UEFI graphical user interface for system options and the next-generation Dual Intelligent Processors 3 architecture, featuring the latest DIGI+ Power and new Digi+ DRAM technology. ASUS’ exclusive Digi+ technology offers the industry’s leading all-digital power control design that older analog solutions cannot match in performance, stability and control options.

Users will benefit from ASUS SSD Caching, which uses solid state drive speeds to intelligently accelerate frequently-accessed tasks and applications. Offering speeds up to three times faster than mechanical hard drives in most applications, ASUS SSD Caching features an exclusive user interface and storage control options that boosts performance with one click.

Other user enhancements include ASUS USB BIOS Flashback that allows for quick and easy BIOS flashing without the need for a video card, CPU or hard drive attached to the system. BT GO 3.0! with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi onboard enables faster connectivity and convenience without extra adapters, making wireless devices instantly accessible with improved compatibility and versatility on select boards.

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TUF SABERTOOTH X79 ― Ultimate in Control and Stability
Ruggedized and server-grade tested TUF boards have quickly garnered a reputation for the best cooling and stability in their class. The TUF Sabertooth X79 continues this tradition with a new generation of TUF Thermal Armor and new DIGI+ Power technology that is perfect for non-stop commercial use and demanding 24/7 applications. New Thermal Radar technology consists of 12 embedded sensors that detect heat levels across the board, adjusting fan speeds automatically or manually to ensure optimized cooling for improved reliability and stability.

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ROG Rampage IV Extreme – The Best Platform for Gaming or Overclocking
The new ROG Rampage IV Extreme motherboard puts the new Intel® X79 to perfect use for the highest-spec overclocking or gaming performance available to PC enthusiasts. It offers the ultimate enthusiast platform, providing gamers or enthusiasts with a rich selection of exclusive technologies that will be revealed shortly.

Source: ASUS

First Look! GIGABYTE X79 Motherboard revealed

Subject: Motherboards | October 25, 2011 - 04:18 PM |
Tagged: x79, gigabyte, G1-Assassin 2, X79-UD7, X79-UD5, X79-UD3

While we don't have much in the way of information about the capabilities of Gigabyte's new X79 boards we sure do have a lot of pictures. 

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First off is the successor to the popular G1. Assassin first introduced at CES in January.

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Next you can see the biggest of three brothers, the X79 UD7

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Which is followed by the middle child, the X79 UD5

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And last but not least in any test is the X79 UD3

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GIGABYTE USA page
http://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.10150364375938695.368866.28864403694&type=3

GIGABYTE Canada page
http://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.275394462500698.67641.189313774442101&type=3

Source: Gigabyte

Asus Shows Off New X79 Republic Of Gamers Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 25, 2011 - 03:33 PM |
Tagged: x79, socket 2011, sandy bridge-e, ROG, asus

Asus recently unveiled a new X79 socket 2011 motherboard specifically for Sandy Bridge-E, and it looks rather impressive. The new motherboard is a red and black affair that hold several overclocking friendly features and plenty of expansion options. Dubbed the Rampage IV Extreme, the X79 motherboard is part of Asus' Republic of Gamers lineup.

The new motherboard supports Intel's new socket 2011 CPU, eight DDR3 quad channel RAM slots, five PCI-E 3.0 slots (one rated at PCI-E x16 speeds and four at X8 speeds), one further PCI-E 3.0 x1 (physical) slot, and a host of SATA ports. Specifically, the X79 chipset powers two SATA 3 6Gbps and four SATA 2 3Gbps ports while the ASMedia controller powers an additional two SATA 3 6Gbps ports.

Asus Rampage IV Extreme.jpeg

Rear IO on the board includes eight USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, ROG Connect and CMOS reset buttons, four USB 3.0 ports, two eSATA 6Gbps ports, Gigabit LAN, Realtek audio powered 5.1 surround sound via five 3.5mm jacks or an optical output. The motherboard further supports Bluetooth version 2.1+EDR.

While the basic specifications of the motherboard are really nice, the most important aspects of the republic of gamers Rampage IV Extreme board are the overclocking features and diagnostics, and there are quite a few. Around the processor socket, there are chokes rated up to 50 amps and have VRMs cooled by a large black heatspreader. The RAM power circuitry, CPU VRMs, and chipsets are all cooled by heatspreaders and connected by aluminum heatpipes. The only issue that some people might run into is with CPU coolers that have wide bases as the heatpipe connecting the VRMs and chipset heatspreader is close to the processor socket, though most coolers will likely work fine.

Moving to the right of the Sandy Bridge-E socket, Asus has provided several handy overclocking tools including the "MEMOK!" RAM diagnostic button that will either reset the settings to get the board to boot or switch to overclocked profiles if activated after the motherboard has gotten past POST. Above that is a set of 4 dip switches to enable or disable the various PCI-E slots. A power and reset button are above those switches and will come in handy for overclocking the board outside of a typical case. Further, there is a diagnostic LED display in the upper right as well as a switch to enable a slow boot mode when using LN2 (liquid nitrogen) cooling. On the voltage front, there are numerous measurement points for CPU, RAM, and chipset voltages. Finally, next to the SATA ports is a odd looking four slot block that allows enthusiasts to measure temperatures of the various physical temperature diodes on the motherboard using "K-type thermocouple" device.

Needless to say, this new X79 based motherboard looks to be living up to its Republic of Gamers heritage thanks to its slew of overclocking and expansion features. If you're interested in seeing more pictures of this shiny bit of hardware, check out this VR-Zone story.

Source: VR-Zone

EVGA Shows Off Drool Worthy Dual Xeon Sandy Bridge-E SR3 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 21, 2011 - 01:46 PM |
Tagged: xeon, x79, SB-E, sandy bridge-e, motherboard, Intel, evga

Jacob Freeman of EVGA Google + fame recently posted a teaser photo of a certain shiny piece of X79 chipset baked silicon in the form of a new SR3 Super Record series motherboard. This monster of a board is packed to the brim with features, and mid tower cases need not apply.

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Starting at the top of the board and working our way down, we are presented with not one but two socket 2011 Sandy Bridge-E Xeon processor sockets! One processor will have access to eight DDR3 DIMM slots while the other will have access to four DDR3 DIMM slots.  While the RAM configuration may seem odd, EVGA wanted to make the transition from the boards SR2 predecesor as easy as possible, by allowing users to transfer all 12, triple channel DIMMs to the new SR3 motherboard.  When all 12 RAM slots are populated, the board will run in triple channel mode, and when four or eight slots are populated, the motherboard will utilize the new quad channel interface.  The RAM will be fed power via a eight phase PWM (pulse width modulation) circuitry. The board also features two eight pin EPS and two six pin PCI-E connectors, and seven PCI-E 3.0 slots that are all capable of running at least PCI-E 3.0 x8 and four of them are capable of providing PCI-E 3.0 x16 bandwidth, more than enough for even the beefiest SLI setup.

On the storage and IO front, the SR3 motherboard has 14 SATA ports, HD Audio via six 3.5mm jacks, USB 3.0 ports (the total amount is unclear), and eSATA support.  The bottom right corner of the board lies a handy diagnostic screen to report error codes.  Further, the motherboard will come with the new UEFI BIOS.  Mr. Freeman states that the x79 motherboard is fully furnished with solid state capacitors from Sanyo (specifically POSCAP).

In short, this motherboard is a total beast. Please excuse me as I try to remove my jaw from the floor cartoon style.

Source: EVGA

The many faces of Sandybridge motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | October 18, 2011 - 06:21 PM |
Tagged: Z68XP-UD3, x68, sapphire, sandybridge, Pure Platinum Z68, p67, Maximus IV Extreme B3, Intel, gigabyte, G1.Sniper, asus

When building a SandyBridge system you have several types of motherboard chipset to choose from, some with more capabilities than others.  The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme B3 is the odd duck in this roundup, being the only P67 board in an Z68 round up which means that it loses out on Intel SRT, which is not a drawback for those planning on using an SSD with a high enough capacity to be used as a main drive.  The two Gigabyte boards and the Sapphire board are Z68 and therefore sport all of the bells and whistles that come with that chipset.  In terms of pure performance and overclocking ability it is not the feature set that matters, it is the ability of the board its self.  Check out which of these 4 boards reigns supreme in Neoseeker's benchmarks here.

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"A quartet of motherboards based the Intel P67 and Z68 chipsets arrives at Neoseeker's labs, covering both the value and enthusiast market spectrums. There just might be something for everyone with a Intel LGA 1155 socket CPU in our latest motherboard roundup."

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Source: Neoseeker

EVGA Demos X79 Classified Motherboard at GeForce LAN 6

Subject: Motherboards, Chipsets | October 16, 2011 - 10:23 PM |
Tagged: evga, x79, classified

NVIDIA held its 6th GeForce LAN this weekend on the USS Hornet aircraft carrier based in Oakland, CA and at that event EVGA took the time to show off its upcoming X79 Classified motherboard.  As reported by the guys over at Legit Reviews, there will apparently by three different models available at the time of the Socket 2011, Sandy Bridge-E launch sometime in November. 

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Image from Legit Reviews.com

With plans to release an SLI, FTW and Classified model, EVGA was showcasing the flagship Classified model on stage with overclocker Kingpin.  You can see that the board above has some very unique layout points and features including five x16 PCIe slots (with a single x1) and support for Quad SLI all spaced out for large graphics cards.  EVGA is using their enthusiast expertise to design a board specifically for power users it appears. 

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Image from Legit Reviews.com

From the back panel it looks like the board will have 8 total USB 3.0 ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet, eSATA and Bluetooth. 

Intel was also on the stage and showed off its new Socket 2011 and LGA1366/1155/1156 compatible self-contained water cooler with a custom design from Asetek.  It should be available around the same time as the pending Sandy Bridge-E platform release, boxed and sold separately.  Interestingly it was pointed out that the fan was designed and built by Intel directly which will "offer a superior single fan cooling solution also optimized for outstanding acoustics."  I am eager to see what Intel was able to do differently than other cooling vendors.

There are more photos and details on the EVGA X79 Classified motherboard over at Legit Reviews so head over there for more!

ASUS P8Z68 Deluxe GEN3 Board Spotted with PCI Express 3.0 Support

Subject: Motherboards | October 14, 2011 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: z68, pcie 3.0, gen3, asus

Spending time the San Francisco bay area usually results in some interesting finds.  The first one I can talk about?  An upcoming launch of refreshed Z68 motherboards from ASUS that include support for PCI Express 3.0 technology coming next year.

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At first glance the board doesn't appear to be anything really different - it looks much like the Z68 boards currently on the market and the P67 boards before that.  The heatsink and blue/black color scheme and the Deluxe moniker has been in use by ASUS since the initial Sandy Bridge processor releases.  There are still 4 DIMM slots, 8 SATA ports, USB 3.0, Bluetooth, dual Gigabit Ethernet and more sitting right there, easy for us to see.

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But unlike previous boards from ASUS, this one is the first we have seen to offer and validate support for the upcoming PCI Express 3.0 standard rated at 32GB/s rather than 16GB/s.  ASUS is actually the last to market with the so-called "PCIe 3.0 ready boards" as we have seen boards from MSI, Gigabyte, ASRock and others on PC Perspective previously.  In fact, we just published a review of the MSI Z68A-GD80 (G3) board yesterday that offers the same feature. 

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Still, ASUS isn't one to sit by and let the competition pass so they built their own Z68 board that is now 100% ready for PCIe 3.0 devices and the pending Ivy Bridge processor from Intel.  The board will support full speed PCIe 3.0 speeds in both single GPU and SLI/CrossFire configurations.  In fact, ASUS says that both the BIOS and PCIe switches are ready, out of the box, with this new P8Z68 Deluxe GEN3 model, something that some other vendors' boards may not actually be.  That would mean the necessity to have a Sandy Bridge processor on-hand to flash the BIOS before an Ivy Bridge CPU would POST.  Just something to keep in mind.

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ASUS is hesitant to call the PCIe 3.0 support anything but future-proofing for consumers worried about the next-generation of graphics solutions from NVIDIA and AMD, though I would point out to our readers that any cards that come out in 2012 that do run PCIe 3.0 will still work just fine on PCIe 2.0 boards. 

That being said, an ASUS rep did mention in passing that they MIGHT have found another benefit to PCIe 3.0 on current systems and graphics cards: a reduction in microstuttering in PC gaming.  Now, I have yet to see this benefit in person and my initial thought was that this was simply a placebo effect, but I am eager to try it out when I get this board at the labs.  

Source: ASUS

UEFI comin' down the road ahead

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | October 13, 2011 - 12:02 PM |
Tagged: x79, uefi, roadmap

To call The Tech Report obsessed about motherboards is an understatement, like here at PC Perspective there is never enough information to satisfy us fully.   That is probably why we are such suckers for sneak peeks and hints of what is coming up in the next generation of parts.  Today it is the new UEFI implementation that we will be seeing from ASUS that will be present on the new family of X79 motherboards.  This new type of BIOS is obviously maturing as you can get the same functionality we are used to seeing from GUI based overclocking and monitoring programs except now you are much closer to the metal.  Check out the sneak peek and keep an eye out for more information from this super secret meeting.

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"Later this week, I embark on a super-secret mission to Silicon Valley to get a sneak peek at Asus' upcoming X79 motherboards. At a similar preview event for Sandy Bridge motherboards last year, I got my first hands-on time with the UEFI—that is, the better, more flexible BIOS replacement—that went on to outclass everything in the industry. Asus will probably have a few new UEFI tricks to show off this time around, and I'm curious to see what's in store. I also have some rather specific thoughts on what should be incorporated in new firmware implementations. When you've been reviewing motherboards for more than a decade, you spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about such things—and have a somewhat inflated sense of the value of your opinions."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

A tale of two tiny Llano motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | October 11, 2011 - 04:47 PM |
Tagged: mITX, llano, amd, asus, F1A75-I Deluxe, zotac, A75-ITX WiFi

If you are planning a microITX Llano build, it will be well worth your time to drop by The Tech Report as they are comparing two different mITX A75 boards.  The ASUS F1A75-I Deluxe and Zotac A75-ITX WiFi boards have many similarities, a pair of DDR3 slots, a single PCIe 16x slot, 4 SATA 6Gbps slots, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs with audio from the Realtek ALC892.  The differences lie in the outputs, where ASUS only has a pair of USB 3.0 ports, Zotac managed to squeeze a half dozen in at the cost of lowering the USB 2.0 port count.  To find out if there are any performance differences, you will have to read the full article.

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"The tight integration of AMD's Llano platform is perfectly suited to Mini-ITX motherboards. We test two of 'em from Asus and Zotac to see what's what."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

How do you surpass the ASUS Maximus III? Add a V and go for four

Subject: Motherboards | October 3, 2011 - 01:19 PM |
Tagged: asus, maximus iv extreme, lga1155, p67, NF200, x68

The ASSU Republic of Gamers is a fast growing family line, the newest arrival being the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme.  That pairs the Intel X68 chipset with the nForce 200 MCP to give you additional PCIe lanes.  In fact you can manually tweak the PCIe lanes assigned to the PCI3 16x slots, a feature that experienced overclockers will probably use frequently.  Speaking to the overclockers, [H]ard|OCP wanted to stress two very important capabilities of the board, not only did it hit 5.1GHz at a CPU voltage of 1.475v, it also boasted the lowest temperatures that [H] saw on their watercooling rig.  This board is not for the plug and play crowd but for the enthusiast crowd it will shine.

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"ASUS expands its Intel based Republic of Gamers line once again with the Maximus IV Extreme. This motherboard has a lot to live up to as each Maximus before this was nothing short of excellent and quite possibly the best motherboards available at the time of release. The Maximus IV Extreme continues the tradition and exceeds expectations."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD Bulldozer FX CPUs dated: October 12th. Shhh.

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Processors | October 1, 2011 - 01:55 AM |
Tagged: FX, bulldozer, amd, am3+

AMD has not been too well received in the upper end of CPUs for quite some time now. Once Intel started pushing for performance with their Conroe core, AMD was forced to stay competitive in the mainstream market to survive and that is pretty much where we have been for the last 5 years. Also returning after a nearly 5-year hiatus is the FX moniker for AMD’s flagship products. According to leak(s) from Microcenter that floated past our desks we should see a resurgence of at least one of those two on October 12th, 2011:

"AMD is launching their new AM3+ FX series processors on 10/12/11. We currently have a number of AM3+ compatible motherboards in stock. These motherboards will support the new AM3+ FX processors as well as legacy AM3 processors."

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Personally, I would shy away from the words "Bull" and "Dozer" in my product line.

Also from the memo we learned that the new AM3+ FX SKUs that will launch includes: FX-6100, FX-8120, and the FX-8150. The 6000-series parts constitute 6-core processors where the 8000-series parts constitute 8-core parts. To support those processors we shall see three Gigabyte motherboards, four ASUS motherboards, and four ASRock motherboards. Update Oct 1 @ 2pm: There may be more motherboards at launch but since this is a Microcenter leak it only considers their stock.

Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3
Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD7
ASUS Sabertooth 990FX
ASUS M5A88-V EVO
ASUS M5A99X EVO
ASUS M5A97 EVO
ASRock 990FX Extreme4
ASRock 890FX Deluxe 5
ASRock 880G PRO 3*
ASRock 890GX PRO 3*

 

Each of these motherboards will require a BIOS update to be serviceable though the leak suggests that the update would be performed by Microcenter themselves. If for some reason you have the board on your own you will need an older AM3 processor to perform the update. Also, the last two ASRock motherboards (asterixed) do not yet have a BIOS update for AM3+. AMD is expected to post an official blog about the topic on October 3rd at AMD.com.