ASUS Danshui Bay Motherboard Combines LGA1366 and Socket 2011

Subject: Motherboards, Processors | June 1, 2011 - 09:40 PM |
Tagged: socket 2011, lga1366, danshui bay, asus

At their Republic of Gamers press conference ASUS showed off a prototype concept motherboard that really got some attention.  The board combines an LGA1366 processor socket for current generation Nehalem processors AND a socket for the upcoming Sandy Bridge-E processors called Socket 2011.  What does a beast like this look like?

 

asusdanshui01.jpg

Okay, so this board probably won't fit in your case and maybe won't even see the light of day outside a few reviews and interesting designs.  But the concept is cool to see: use your LGA1366 processor today and still be able to upgrade to the Socket 2011 platform when those CPUs are released.  You can see each processor has its own seperate memory slots though they share most of the other components. 

The price of this board will also likely make it less than appealing to consumers; even those conscious of upgrade paths. 

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

Source: ASUS

MSI shows Gen3 PCIe, X79 Motherboard and GTX 580 Extreme

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Shows and Expos | June 1, 2011 - 07:57 AM |
Tagged: computex, msi, pcie, x79, 990fx, z68

MSI had quite a showing at this year's Computex starting with a host of new motherboards based on the Z68 chipset.  The most interesting of which was the new Z68A-GD80 (G3) that in addition to including all the features of the Sandy Bridge processor, SLI, CrossFire, Lucid Virtu and things like OC Genie II and Military Class Components II, is the first motherboard we have seen that integrates support for the PCI Express 3.0 specification.

msi01.jpg

MSI was able to do this by simply adhering to the already existing PCIe 3.0 specifications and claims the performance doubles from 8 GB/s up to 16 GB/s (for a x16 connection).  Even though there are no PCIe 3.0 accessories or graphics cards on the market today, MSI has seen performance improvements when testing PCI Express based solid state drives like the OCZ Revo.  We are eager to get this board in the hands of our storage guru and see what advantages it offers users today.

msi03.jpg

Next up is the new MSI 990FXA-GD80 motherboard based on AMD's latest 990FX chipset.  We actually have one of these in the office and should have a review up shortly.  With support for today's Phenom processors and tomorrow's Bulldozer-core based designs, I think the 990FX chipset will find its way into a lot of users machines.

msi02.jpg

Even further out into the future, we saw a glimpse of an MSI engineering sample for the pending Socket 2011 processors from Intel, the MSI X79A-GD65.  Supporting the upcoming Sandy Bridge-E processor family and a new quad-channel memory controller, you can clearly see the 2011 socket is HUGE and requires the memory slots to be divided up on either side of it. A lot will change more than likely between now and this boards release but it is cool to see a preview of what is in store for us!

msi04.jpg

Finally, MSI did have another card in the Lightning series to show off, the N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition.  This card has all the same engineering features of the previous Lightning models but adds in a couple of unique features called Smart Temp Sensor and Dust Removal.

msi05.jpg

The Smart Temp Sensor is actually a coating on the fan that changes from blue to white in appearance as the ambient temperature increases.  If the inside of your chassis hits the 45C mark then the fans will be completely white and should give you an indication of system stability.  My only concern is that even users with windows on their cases will have trouble seeing the fans on the graphics card cooler posted at a right angle. 

msi06.jpg

The Dust Removal feature is more interesting in that it runs the fans on the Xtreme Edition in the reverse direction for the first 30 seconds of the power cycle and then return to the proper direction for cooling the heatsinks.  The idea is that the 30 second reverse interval will help clear out dust from the heatsink and from the fan blades itself saving users in the long run.

Another interesting feature coming very soon to Android phone users is the ability to monitor and overclock your MSI graphics cards via an Afterburner app for your phone.  This will be available this month or early in July for Android and *maybe* by the end of the year for iPhone.

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

Source: MSI

MSI Officially Unveils AMD 9-Series Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | May 31, 2011 - 11:49 PM |
Tagged: msi, motherboard, bulldozer, amd, 990fx

Popular enthusiast motherboard maker MSI, today officially launched a new line of motherboards supporting AMD’s 9-Series chipsets. Specifically, the 990FXA-GD80 and the 990FXA-GD65 motherboards bring support for AMDs latest native eight-core AM3+ processors. The high-end motherboard, the 990FXA-GD80, comes equipped with MSI’s OC Genie II overclocking technology as well as “Military Class II components with MIL-STD-810G Certification.”

Further, the new 9-series lineup features support for both NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX multi-GPU technology, USB 3.0, native SATA III 6Gb/s, and THX TruStudio PRO surround sound.

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

 

Source: MSI

ASUS Launches New AMD 9 Series Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | May 31, 2011 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: motherboard, cpus, computex, asus, amd

Taipei, Taiwan (May 31th, 2011) ASUS has announced a new lineup of AMD based motherboards that support the 990FX/990X/970 chipsets and AM3+ CPUs, the first company in the market to provide fully compatible AM3+ motherboards. The models available are the M5A99/97 Series, the TUF SABERTOOTH 990FX and the ROG Crosshair V Formula. The M5A99/97 Series feature ASUS exclusive Dual Intelligent Processors (DIP), comprised of the TurboV Processor Unit (TPU) and Energy Processor Unit (EPU), which has been stated to be the “best power management technology” by worldwide media. Premium models also feature UEFI BIOS and the second generation of DIP that contains DIGI+ VRM (Digital power design), a first for AMD based boards. The new motherboards will be the first on the AMD chipset based platform to support both multi-GPU technologies AMD CrossFireX™ and NVIDIA® SLI™.


M5A99X EVO 3D -1.jpg

 

Dual Intelligent Processors 2 with DIGI+ VRM

The ASUS M5A99/97 Series motherboards offer unsurpassed compatibility with new AMD AM3+ socket CPUs, while also being backwards compatible with the previous generation AM3 CPU. The M5A99/97 core series is equipped with DIP2, which features DIGI+ VRM technology in addition to the TPU and EPU. DIGI+ VRM power delivery allows a user to precisely adjust and control power settings digitally for precise power control and flexible tuning of their system, perfectly serving the AM3+ CPU specification’s power demand. Digital control differs from analog controls by eliminating digital-to-analog conversion lag, which helps to improve overclocking capabilities. This means precise power flow adjustment and management as well as easy and flexible tuning, including extra DRAM power control for the AMD platform. It’s the most precise power delivery available, providing the best-in-class in power efficiency, performance and stability while also helping to maximize the overall overclocking potential. Also included on the M5A99/97 Series motherboards is the intuitive UEFI BIOS menu interface. UEFI BIOS allows a user to control and adjust their BIOS settings through the use of a mouse-enabled interface for more user-friendly navigation. The built-in EZ Mode option also provides a drag-and-drop boot priority option, for easier management of boot devices.

 

Specs:

 

Taipei, Taiwan (May 31th, 2011) ASUS has announced a new lineup of AMD based motherboards that support the 990FX/990X/970 chipsets and AM3+ CPUs, the first company in the market to provide fully compatible AM3+ motherboards. The models available are the M5A99/97 Series, the TUF SABERTOOTH 990FX and the ROG Crosshair V Formula. The M5A99/97 Series feature ASUS exclusive Dual Intelligent Processors (DIP), comprised of the TurboV Processor Unit (TPU) and Energy Processor Unit (EPU), which has been stated to be the “best power management technology” by worldwide media. Premium models also feature UEFI BIOS and the second generation of DIP that contains DIGI+ VRM (Digital power design), a first for AMD based boards. The new motherboards will be the first on the AMD chipset based platform to support both multi-GPU technologies AMD CrossFireX™ and NVIDIA® SLI™.


M5A99X EVO 3D -1.jpg

 

Dual Intelligent Processors 2 with DIGI+ VRM

The ASUS M5A99/97 Series motherboards offer unsurpassed compatibility with new AMD AM3+ socket CPUs, while also being backwards compatible with the previous generation AM3 CPU. The M5A99/97 core series is equipped with DIP2, which features DIGI+ VRM technology in addition to the TPU and EPU. DIGI+ VRM power delivery allows a user to precisely adjust and control power settings digitally for precise power control and flexible tuning of their system, perfectly serving the AM3+ CPU specification’s power demand. Digital control differs from analog controls by eliminating digital-to-analog conversion lag, which helps to improve overclocking capabilities. This means precise power flow adjustment and management as well as easy and flexible tuning, including extra DRAM power control for the AMD platform. It’s the most precise power delivery available, providing the best-in-class in power efficiency, performance and stability while also helping to maximize the overall overclocking potential. Also included on the M5A99/97 Series motherboards is the intuitive UEFI BIOS menu interface. UEFI BIOS allows a user to control and adjust their BIOS settings through the use of a mouse-enabled interface for more user-friendly navigation. The built-in EZ Mode option also provides a drag-and-drop boot priority option, for easier management of boot devices.

 

Specs:

 

Model

M5A99X EVO

M5A97 EVO

M5A97 PRO

M5A97

CPU Socket

AMD Socket AM3+ for AMD FX Series CPU up to 8-core, Compatible with AMD Socket AM3 for AMD Phenom™ II /Athlon™ II /Sempron™ 100 Series Processors

 

Chipset

AMD 990X/SB950

AMD 970/SB950

 

Memory

DDR3 2133(O.C.) / 1866 / 1600 / 1333 / 1066 MHz Support

 

Power Phase Design

DIGI+ VRM 6+2

4+2

 

PCIe x16 Slots

3

2

 

Multi-GPU

CrossFireX / SLI

CrossFireX

 

LAN

Realtek® Gigabit LAN

 

Audio

8 - Channel HD, DTS

8 - Channel HD

 

Storage

6 x SATA 6Gb/s
2 x SATA 3Gb/s
1 x Power eSATA
1 x eSATA

6 x SATA 6Gb/s
2 x eSATA

6 x SATA 6Gb/s

 

USB

4 x USB 3.0 (2 ports at back panel, 2 ports at front panel), 14 x USB 2.0

2 x USB 3.0 (back), 14 x USB 2.0

2 x USB 3.0 (back), 12 x USB 2.0

 

Dual Intelligent Processors 2 with DIGI+ VRM

V

V

V

 

UEFI BIOS

V

V

V

V

TPU (with onboard switch)

V

V

V (without onboard switch)

V (without onboard switch)

EPU (with onboard switch)

V

V

V (without onboard switch)

V (without onboard switch)

 

Source: Asus

ASUS Launches new line of ROG Motherboards for Core i7, Bulldozer

Subject: Motherboards, Chipsets | May 31, 2011 - 02:35 AM |
Tagged: computex, ROG, asus, crosshair, z68, maximus

On the first day of Computex 2011, ASUS held an event in Taipei to announce a host of new ROG (Republic of Gamers) branded devices including motherboards, displays, headphones, notebooks and even a desktop system.

03-genez.jpg

For the Intel Sandy Bridge platform ASUS is releasing the Maximus IV GENE-Z and Maximus IV Extreme-Z that will both obviously use the Intel Z68 chipset and support the host of new features it introduces including Smart Response Technology and dual-graphics capability with Lucid Virtu. The GENE model is the micro-ATX variant that that supports SLI and CrossFire in addition to the Sandy Bridge graphics technology. For a full size solution the Maximus IV Extreme-Z offers four full-size PCIe x16 slots and support for 3-Way SLI and CrossFireX.

02-maximusivextremez.jpg

For the AMD platform the Crosshair V Formula is the first ROG board to use the new AMD 990FX chipset as well as the first AMD board in a LONG time with support SLI in addition to CrossFire graphics scaling. Not only that, but this board will be the first ASUS option to offer the innovative UEFI BIOS that users on the Intel front have had access to for some time. While the Crosshair V Formula will work with current Phenom processors the big selling point is that it will support the upcoming AMD Bulldozer-based processors with the AM3+ socket due later in 2011.

A slightly more expensive Crosshair V Formula/Thunderbolt SKU will be available as well that will include an ASUS Thunderbolt card that combines ASUS Xonar audio capability (and built-in headphone amplifier) with the BigFoot Networks Killer NIC E2100 NPU. We can debate the value of Killer NIC addition to your system all day, but if you want it, that option will be available from ASUS in July.

01-crosshairvformula.jpg

All three boards will include the overclocking and performance features that users of the ROG brand have come to expect and will be available this month. Be sure to check out PC Perspective for reviews of all the new ROG offerings!

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

Source: ASUS

The backwards compatible 990FX has arrived; before the AM3+ chips even

Subject: Motherboards | May 30, 2011 - 12:44 PM |
Tagged: am3+, 990fx, amd

Hi Tech Legion has published their review of the ASUS Crosshair V Formula 990FX, the new AM3+ chipset from AMD.  While it is intended for the upcoming Bulldozer chips it is compatible with AM3 chips like the Phenom II X6 1090T they used to test.  It has three PCIe 2.0 x16 slots and two PCIe slots, one a x4 slot and one a 1x and even a legacy PCI slot.  The SB950 South Bridge supports six SATA 6Gb/s ports with RAID 0,1,5,10 and AMD's Asmedia USB 3.0 controller offers six USB 3.0 ports.  Audio is handled by the upremeFX X-Fi 2 and there are a host of other features available which you can read about in the full review.

Also keep an eye out on our front page, as Josh is finishing up his review as well.

HTL_CrossharV_990FX.jpg

"The ASUS Crosshair V Formula is an AM3+ motherboard from the Republic of Gamers lineup. The Crosshair V Formula is designed for hardcore gamers and overclockers who want the best and latest AM3+ motherboard. The ASUS Crosshair V Formula ROG motherboard is equipped with the 990FX/SB950 chipset, featuring native SATA 6Gb/s support and full compatibility with upcoming Bulldozer based 32nm AMD processors. For additional high-speed connectivity, the ASUS Crosshair V Formula is also equipped with an Asmedia USB 3.0 controller, boasting superior performance over the NEC USB 3.0 controller prevalent among the latest motherboards in the market. As with all the recent ROG-series boards, the ASUS Crosshair V Formula is powered by the Extreme Engine DIGI+ design, providing highly efficient and superior power delivery on the AM3+ platform."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Gigabyte Offers Z68 Motherboard With Bundled Intel 311 mSATA SSD

Subject: Motherboards | May 27, 2011 - 10:25 AM |
Tagged: z68, intel 311, gigabyte

Gigabyte has been on the ball as far as new Intel based Z68 motherboard launches go, and today is no different as they announce a new motherboard that will ship with an included Intel 311 mSATA SSD that is ready to power Intel's Smart Response Technology.

Gigabyte_Plus_Intel311.jpg

The new motherboard has been dubbed the Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3-iSSD, and is a Z68 based affair with an included 20GB SLC caching-ready solid state drive. Richard Chen, the VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for the motherboard manufacturer was especially enthusiastic about the launch, stating that "our customers realize the performance benefits that Intel Smart Response Technology has to offer, and the Z68XP-UD3-iSSD is the easiest way for them to instantly take advantage of the performance boost."

The bundle in question will be available from “selected online retailers” worldwide stating in early June of this year. Unfortunately, there is no word on pricing for the motherboard plus SSD; however, if priced right it will no doubt be a boon to first time builders in making their DIY rig that much easier to assemble.

Source: Gigabyte

Sneak Peak at the MSI 990FXA-GD65

Subject: Motherboards | May 24, 2011 - 05:20 PM |
Tagged: sb950, msi, amd, am3+, 990fx

 

AMD’s 900 series chipsets are coming.  Not exactly news here.  What is news it that we will be seeing them very soon.  Details are scarce, but from what all we can gather the 900 series will not be all that different from the 800 series.  The SB950 looks to be a tweaked SB850, but with no real new features over the older part.  The Northbridge portions should remain relatively unchanged, but again we could see a few tweaks and fixes applied throughout.  So in other words, no PCI-E 3.0 here or a significant die shrink.

We have on hand a few “spy shots” for the upcoming MSI 990FXA-GD65.  For those who pay attention, this sounds very familiar to the 890FXA-GD65.  When we take a look at the snapshots, we will see that the resemblance is more than just the name.

990FXA_GD65_1.jpg

 

More after the break...

The tough get tougher - meet the ASUS Sabertooth P67

Subject: Motherboards | May 23, 2011 - 05:42 PM |
Tagged: asus, Sabertooth, p67, tuf

[H]ard|OCP took a look at the ASUS Sabertooth P67, which is a member of ASUS' armour plated TUF series.  The two PCIe 16x slots, three PCIe 1x slots and two SATA 6Gb/s ports do not look unusual the TUF Thermal Armour does not.  Almost all of the components are covered by the heatsink, don't worry though as ASUS' Thermal Radar can see them.  That feature will keep an eye on your components temperatures, which is good thing as the TurboV EVO software makes overclocking a breeze.  The review was not barren of complaints, there are several improvements that [H] felt were necessary but that was not enough to spoil the overall stellar performance of the board.

H_ASUS_Sabertooth.jpg

"The Sabertooth P67 motherboard is the latest member of ASUS' TUF series of products. The board is built to be champion, with some of the best performance we have seem to date out of the Intel P67 platform."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASUS Sabertooth Motherboard Supporting 990FX Chipset Pictured

Subject: Motherboards | May 21, 2011 - 03:12 AM |
Tagged: asus, amd, 990fx

Soon, Intel based ASUS motherboards will be joined at the high end by one based on the AMD 990FX chipset.  TechPowerUp has the scoop on an upcoming Sabertooth motherboard.

While Intel seems to get the honors of the majority of high end motherboards, AMD enthusiasts will soon be able to get their hands on an ASUS 990FX Sabertooth motherboard with an AM3+ socket. ASUS is bringing out both the Republic of Gamers (ROG) as well as their "The Ultimate Force" branding. Let's see what that marketing speak purports to give AMD enthusiasts:

AMDSabertooth.jpg

According to TechPowerUp, the Sabertooth board for the AMD 990FX chipset "is designed to run up to four discrete graphics cards." Further, The board hosts an AM3+ socket, 10-phase digital VRMs, four DDR3 RAM slots connected to the CPU via a HyperTransport 3.1 link. TechPowerUp claims that the board will be able to accomodate up to 1866 MHz memory modules. The black PCB and green heatsinks keep with ASUS' TUF branded motherboards, and supports such features as UEFI BIOS and MemOK.

Connectivity options include:

   ASUS 990FX Sabertooth AMD Motherboard
PCI-E 4x PCI-E 2.0 (x16/x4/x16/NC or x16/x4/x8/x8)
PCI 1x PCI
SATA 6x SATA 3 ports and 2x SATA 2 ports

USB

1x USB 3 header, 1x USB 2
Firewire 1x Internal Firewire header
SPDIF-Out 1x Internal header
Rear I/O

1x PS/2 mouse/keyboard port

1x Optical Out

1x Firewire

6x USB 2.0

2x USB 3.0

2x eSATA (one powered)

1x Gigabit Ethernet

6x HD Audio ports (2.1 out + mic in or 5.1 output)

It's nice to see that AMD is still getting some high end motherboard love from manufacturers and consumers.  You can find more photos over at TechPowerUp.

Source: TechPowerUp

ECS Reveals Computex 2011 Hardware Lineup

Subject: Motherboards, Systems, Mobile | May 21, 2011 - 03:11 AM |
Tagged: hardware, ECS, computex

 

ECSComputex2011.png

ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems) will be attending this years Computex 2011 convention, and they plan to unveil a slew of new hardware.  During the week, they will be showing off new motherboards, a new graphics card, four All-In-One PCs, two tablets, two notebooks, and an eBook reader of all things.

For the DIY enthusiasts, ECS will be showing off a AMD 990FX chipset motherboard, which will support AMD's Bulldozer processors, as well as a new series of motherboards "for cloud computing, home server, (and) work station."  While they were not willing to give out details at this time, they will have live high end gaming setups for attendees to demo at the show.  Further, ECS is releasing a NVIDIA GeForce 560 graphics card.  Again, they did not share any specifications, they claim that their card is 40% faster than its 460 predecessor.

All-In-One PCs will also be receiving a large showing at the ECS booth, with three SKUs of their "PC—G11" touch screen computer with wireless connectivity.  The DS110, MS300, and MS150 specifically will provide different levels of performance thanks to three differing levels of hardware (they mention CPUs and chipsets).

On the mobile front, ECS is unveiling two tablets.  The S10 is a 10.1" Atom Z670 tablet with a resolution of 1366x768 and HDMI out along with 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, and "3G or GPS."  The V07 is a 7" tablet based on similar specifications that will be released in August 2011.  The MB40 and MB50 are 14" and 15" Sandy Bridge powered notebooks with LED displays at 1366x768 and featuring a 6-in-1 card reader.  Further, ECS is debuting a 6" and 8" touch screen eBook reader with WiFi, Bluetooth, and 3G.  The eBook reader will feature either a monochrome or multicolor display, and will run the Android mobile operating system.

Source: ECS

More high end SandyBridge goodness, the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro

Subject: Motherboards | May 16, 2011 - 05:00 PM |
Tagged: asus, z68, sandybridge

The expiration of the NDA on the Z68 chipset has launched an impressive amount of reviews, which represents just how much choice you will have if you upgrade to a high end SandyBridge motherboard.  That is also easy to see if you search NewEgg for Z68 based boards, which range from $120ish to over $350 depending on the features.  One possibility is the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro, a middle of the road $210 board sporting two PCIe x16 slots running 8x is you use dual GPUs along with an impressive array of output and input ports and 7.1 sound.  Legit Reviews didn't hand it an Editors Choice Award for nothing, this board has a lot going for it.

LR_asus-p8z68-v-pro-1.jpg

"Prior to the Intel Z68 chipset, you would have to choose. Either you could have integrated graphics and no overclocking capabilities, or overclocking abilities as well as the need to invest in a discrete graphics card. Fortunately that is no longer the case. We now have the best of both worlds at our fingertips with motherboards like the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro that we have been looking at today. Every gaming benchmark that we ran, the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro was able to out perform the GIGABYTE P67A-UD7..."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

First Look At The Asus Maximus IV Gene FLP

Subject: Motherboards | May 13, 2011 - 06:56 PM |
Tagged: z68, motherboard, asus

Interested in a first look at Asus' latest Gene series offering for z68? PC Perspective has you covered with quite a few photos of the up and coming motherboard for you to drool over!

To start off with, here is the proposed box art along with a view of the entire motherboard:

PR ROG Maximus IV GENE-Z motherboard with box.jpg

As you can see, the motherboad is adorned in bright red and dark black colors, and the area around the LGA 1155 socket is accented with black finned heatsinks covering the VRMs.  A close-up of the heatsinks can be seen below:

For even more detailed shots, and a run down of the connectivity and overclocking friendly hardware, please use the "Read More" link.

Source: Asus

Testing out the Intel Z68's "best of both worlds" mode with a 20GB SSD

Subject: Motherboards, Storage | May 13, 2011 - 03:26 PM |
Tagged: z68, ssd, larson creek, intel 311, smart response technology

One of the more interesting things about the Z68 is Intel's SRT which allows you to utilize a small SSD as a cache for your HDD, allowing you the speed benefits of an SSD in most applications without having to spend the money to buy an SSD large enough to hold all your favourite programs. Legit Reviews tests a 20GB Intel 311 SSD paired with a 600GB WD Velociraptor in both modes, enhanced and maximized to see which offers the greatest benefits. Check out their findings.

LR_larson-creek-ssd.jpg

"The Intel SSD 311 Series 20GB 'Larson Creek' drive proved itself to be a great cache drive. If you have an Intel Z68 platform that can run Intel Smart Response Technology, it's worth looking into if you have a hard drive for the primary drive and don't want to splurge on an SSD and having to re-install your OS!"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Gigabyte Launches World's First Z68 Motherboards With Support for mSATA Intel SLC SSDs and Smart Response Tech

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | May 11, 2011 - 05:23 PM |
Tagged: z68, srt, motherboard, gigabyte

Popular enthusiast motherboard maker Gigabyte has today announced 4 additional motherboards to their already expansive Z68 chipset based lineup at launch.

4277.jpg

In addition to the features discussed in the previous announcement, including Lucid Virtu technology, the four new models feature a mSATA connection for onboard Intel SLC SSDs such as the new Intel 311 20GB SLC SSD. The 20GB drive can be used in conjunction with the Intel Smart Response Technology to boost system performance.

While Intel's SRT technology is also included in the other Gigabyte Z68 Motherboards, these 4 specific models differ in the implementation. Specifically, they allow consumers to attach the small solid state drive directly onto the motherboard. This will free the standard SATA ports of a SRT SSD for another hard drive or optical drive.

news10.jpg

Gigabyte has found as much as a 471% improvement in PC Mark Vantage scores in using a 20GB Intel 311 SLC SSD and a SATA 2 hard drive versus solely a SATA 2 hard drive. PC Perspective also examined Intel's Smart Response Technology and found that in trace based testing, the SLC SSD greatly improved performance once the data had been cached to the SSD. As for improvements in boot performance, PC Perspective found that:

"Boot times were just 3 seconds shy of those achieved with the OS cached on the SSD entirely. Of significant note here is that the SSD 310 was able to edge out (0.5 secs) faster boot times than the SSD 320 *and* the SSD 510, which we tossed in for an additional point of comparison."

Intel's SRT technology can definitely improve performance in the right situations, and Gigabyte is offering even more options to implement it in their newly announced models; the Z68XP-UD3, Z68XP-D3, Z68AP-D3, and Z68P-DS3. The new models are due to be released in June 2011.

Source: Gigabyte

S-M-R-T, I am so smart. Intel's new Z68 with SRT is faster than a Homer

Subject: Motherboards | May 11, 2011 - 03:17 PM |
Tagged: z68, ssd, srt, msi, Intel

The wait is finally over and we can talk about the high end Sandy Bridge chipset which goes by the moniker Z68.  Finally you can use the GPU present in your Intel CPU and a discreet GPU at the same time and be able to overclock as well, which puts the H67 and P67 firmly back into the mid-range where they were intended to be.  That is not the only thing that has had enthusiasts waiting, Intel's Smart Response Technology, aka SRT but mostly known as SSD caching which implements cached I/O in a new way.  Check out [H]ard|OCP's full review to see what the impact of this technology has on your computing experience while you are waiting for the X79 to arrive.

You can see our coverage here.

i-am-so-smart-i-am-so-smart-s-m-r-t-i-mean-s-m-a-r-r-t-65762.jpg

"Cache I/O isn't a new advancement in storage technology but does play a large role in the future of storage on many Intel systems. Today we look at Intel's new Smart Response Technology and give our thoughts while keeping an eye on the future of consumer storage advances."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Fancy a peek at the Z68 even without any benchmarks?

Subject: Motherboards | May 10, 2011 - 02:47 PM |
Tagged: z68, sandy bridge, preview, lga1155, Intel

We here at PC Perspective are not big fans of the preview, as seeing a board without any accompanying benchmarks does not really provide us with the level information we crave.  However the wait for this high end Sandy Bridge chipset has been long and painful, as we want to see what the i7 2600K can do when it has a board that can really utilize its abilities.  To that end we take you to VR-Zone who have some pictures of Gigabyte's upcoming GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3.  Now to hope for someone to accidentally release some SSD cache benchmarks!

VR-Z_z68x_ud3h_2.jpg

Click for a bigger view.

"There has been some "concern" from Gigabyte's competitors that the company wasn't going to offer any Z68 motherboards with display connectivity, in fact, some of its competitors have been so "concerned" that they've sent out material stating this to media in certain parts of the world. Well, it turns out that it couldn't be further from the truth and yesterday you saw the GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3 and today we have a few hands on pictures of the GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 for your ogling pleasure."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: VR-Zone

Gigabyte Z68MX-UD2H-B3 Motherboard Pictured

Subject: Motherboards, Chipsets | May 9, 2011 - 09:11 AM |
Tagged: gigabyte, z68

The slueths over at VR-Zone have come across some photos of the upcoming Gigabyte Z68 motherboard option, the Z68MX-UD2H-B3.  The VRM setup is a 6+1 design which is pretty basic though the inclusion of three full-size PCI Express slots should allow for at least dual-card configurations of SLI and CrossFire and possibly even three cards.  

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VR-Zone has more info on the configuration options as well:

Moving on we have a header for two front USB 3.0 ports via an Etron host controller, no less than five headers for 10 USB 2.0 ports, seven SATA ports of which three are SATA 3Gbps and four are SATA 6Gbps and for some reason a serial port header.

Around the back we have four USB 2.0 ports, another two USB 3.0 ports using another Etron controller, an eSATA port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a PS/2 port, 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out and a set of four display ports consisting of a D-Sub, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort.

For those of you that love the mATX form factor seeing reasonable designs like this one are good indicators that the Z68 market is going to have just many options as the P67 one did.

Source: VR-Zone

AMD commits support to coreboot for the foreseeable future

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | May 7, 2011 - 10:51 PM |
Tagged: coreboot, amd

When you boot your computer, you probably see a splash screen from whatever motherboard manufacturer or system builder you purchased from. Under that splash screen your computer is busily preparing itself to accept your operating system of choice with a lot of proprietary code. coreboot, formerly LinuxBIOS, is an Free Software project first released over a decade ago designed to replace your aforementioned proprietary BIOS with their own lightweight code. They claim boot times to a Linux console of just 3 seconds.

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AMD Embedded: In this article.

Thursday, AMD announced on their blog that they have committed to supporting coreboot for all future products starting with Llano APU. They claim that support will continue for the foreseeable future for both features and products.

We are not expecting our readers to replace their BIOSes with coreboot except for a small segment of hardcore enthusiasts with a decent understanding of C. That said, the motivation of coreboot is not currently in the consumer market: the embedded market is the focus and AMD’s pledge of continued support should mean that cash registers, kiosks, and set-top boxes will have a little more AMD inside driving them.

Source: AMD Blog

Gigabyte Partners With Lucidlogix To Bring Switchable Graphics To Desktop Enthusiasts

Subject: Motherboards | May 6, 2011 - 10:18 AM |
Tagged: z68, switchable desktop graphics, Lucidlogix, gigabyte

Gigabyte, maker of quality motherboards that are recommended by many enthusiasts for DIY builds, has today announced a long term partnership with Lucidlogix to bring switchable graphics to its Z68 desktop chip set based motherboards.

While notebook users have enjoyed switchable graphics technology like Nvidia's Optimus and AMD's Switchable Graphics for some time, desktop users have not had a widely available solution. DIY (do it yourself) builds have been even further from a workable solution. Today; however, Gigabyte has stepped up to the plate to offer OEMs and enthusiast builders the opportunity to use switchable graphics by using the Lucidlogix Virtu technology.

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So far, Gigabyte has announced three motherboard models that will ship with Lucidlogix’s Virtu technology; the Z68X-UD3H-B3, Z68A-D3H-B3, Z68MX-UD2H-B3, and Z68MA-D2H-B3 specifically. These motherboards support both Virtu and Intel’s LGA 1155 “Sandy Bridge” processors, which include an integrated GPU that Intel dubs “processor graphics.”

While these Intel processor graphics’ gaming capabilities are extremely limited, they do very well running Windows 7’s Aero desktop while sipping power. Dedicated graphics cards on the other hand, tend to draw relatively large amounts of power even at idle. Until now, enthusiasts have had to choose between low power machines that are unable to run the latest games or gaming machines that remain power hungry in everyday non-gaming usage.

What Ludiclogix’s Virtu technology promises for Gigabyte customers is the best of both worlds. By allowing enthusiasts to use both a powerful dedicated graphics card for gaming and a low power card for everyday use, better control, efficiency, and choices become available.

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The way in which this switchable graphics technology works is that Lucidlogix presents a sort of virtualized graphics card to the operating system. There is then a bit of logic that determines which graphics card will process the various Direct X API calls. When only using the Aero desktop and IntelMedia processor graphics instructions, the dedicated card can be in a low power state while the integrated GPU handles the workload. When running games or when activated by a user (or their profile settings), the virtualized card passed the dedicated card instructions to process that are then routed out the Sandy Bridge video output connection. This allows enthusiasts the best of both power draw and performance worlds that mobile users have enjoyed for some time.

Another important benefit of the Virtu technology is that it will allow enthusiasts to use programs that benefit from Intel's Quick Sync technology.  Programs optimized with Intel Quick Sync in mind use fixed function transistors in the processor graphics of Sandy Bridge CPUs to hardware accelerate such task as video transcoding.  GPU accelerated software such as this is able to generate higher quality encodes at a faster frame rate (using Intel's Quick Sync) than both current Nvidia and AMD graphics cards.  According to Anandtech, when converting The Dark Night from a 12mbps 1080p x264 source video to a 1.5mbps 480p video optimized for the Ipod Touch, the Sandy Bridge's GPU was able to achieve 264.8 frames per second, which results in Quick Sync being "almost 4x faster than the Radeon HD 6970 and twice as fast as everything else."  PC Perspective also found marked improvements in transcoding time using Quick Sync to convert a 450mb Cannon 7D's video file to an ipad optimized format.  In PC Perspective's testing, they saw a 5.2x faster transcode time using Quick Sync versus without (no gpu acceleration). Until now enthusiasts with high end graphics were unable to use the graphics processor in Sandy Bridge CPUs as it automatically disables itself when it detects that a discrete graphics card is present in the system. 

The only drawback for high end gamers lies in issues with setting up multi-monitor rigs as the Virtu technology outputs over the motherboard’s single video output instead of, say, a dedicated card’s traditional multiple video outputs. For single screen gamers; however, Gigabyte motherboards with Virtu technology will be a boon.

Source: Gigabyte