ASUS brings you a fresh breath of X79

Subject: Motherboards | September 13, 2013 - 12:36 PM |
Tagged: x79, ASUS X79 Deluxe, Ivy Bridge-E

With so much of what used to be on the motherboard having been moved directly onto the CPU motherboard launches just aren't what they use to be.  That is why the launch of Ivy Bridge-E has not been accompanied by the arrival of a slew of new motherboards.  Some companies such as ASUS have done a refresh of existing X79 motherboard lines for the new IB-E processors but not a total revision or new chipset.  The X79-Deluxe is a perfect example, based on a mature board but with some new tricks added, as you can see in The Tech Report's review.

TR_board.jpg

"Most motherboard makers are relying on existing LGA2011 models to complement Intel's latest Ivy Bridge-E CPUs. Asus has taken a different approach by rolling its recent innovations into a brand new board: the X79-Deluxe. Join us as we take a closer look at what may be the most advanced X79 board around."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

ASUS ROG Rampage IV Black Edition Motherboard Claims 5 Overclocking World Records

Subject: Motherboards | September 11, 2013 - 07:44 PM |
Tagged: asus, rampage iv black edition, ASUS ROG, overclocking

Fremont, CA (September 11, 2013) - ASUS today announced that the Republic of Gamers Rampage IV Black Edition motherboard has achieved five world records in 3DMark 11, 3DMark Fire Strike, Cinebench, and CPU-Z Memory benchmarks the OC Main Event San Francisco, co-hosted by ASUS and Corsair, sponsored by Intel. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Intel Extreme Edition, pro-overclockers from around the world gathered with ROG team members Shamino, Raja, and coolice. The team was able to establish five world records using the newly-announced Rampage IV Black Edition Motherboard, Intel 4th Generation Core i7 Extreme Edition Processors and Corsair Dominator Platinum Memory in both 2D and 3D configurations.

ROG Overclocking: Five Major World Records!
Furthering its commitment to the pro-overclocking community, ASUS invited world-class overclockers 8 Pack, Gunslinger, Rbuass, Dumo and Fugger to join forces with ROG team members and engineers Shamino, Raja and coolice. Each brought their unique professional experience, working together to push the Intel Core i7-4960X processors and NVIDIA GeForce TITAN graphics cards to their limits.

image01.jpg

Shamino, Rbuass, 8 Pack and Gunslinger focused on the demanding 4-way SLI 3DMark 11 and Fire Strike benchmarks. On 3DMark 11, the team posted scores of 38,231 marks and 38,227 marks in 4-Way SLI on Entry and Performance presets respectively. On 3DMark Fire Strike, a score of 31,998 marks was achieved.

Using the 2D hardware configuration, the team was able to post a score of 17.55 points on 6-core Cinebench, a category record for the Intel Core i7-4960X. Lastly, the team achieved a memory overclock of 3900 MHz using Corsair Dominator Platinum memory, an unprecedented speed for quad-channel memory configurations.

"We are proud that previous ASUS X79 motherboards have dominated overclocking rankings by breaking 26 world records since the chipset launch," said Jackie Hsu, ASUS Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Worldwide Sales, Open Platform Business Group. "The accomplishments we demonstrated here at the OC Main Event San Francisco are a testament to what is achievable by combining world-class R&D with incredible talents from the enthusiast community.”

Xavier Laurent, Director of Product Marketing for Corsair adds "As a company that creates products by enthusiasts for enthusiasts, collaborating with like-minded partners ASUS and Intel to break world benchmarking records using Corsair Dominator Platinum and Vengeance Pro memory was a natural fit. The success of the OC Main Event San Francisco demonstrates the continued strength of the enthusiast community and validates our commitment to this portion of the ecosystem."

Rampage-IV-Black-Edition-1-723x1000.jpg

I for one welcome our new overclocking overlord

Source: ASUS

ASUS Announces X79 Rampage IV Black Edition at OC Main Event

Subject: Motherboards | September 10, 2013 - 09:15 PM |
Tagged: x79, rampage iv black edition, asus

Tonight at the OC Main Event sponsored by ASUS, Intel and Corsair, a new X79 motherboard was announced.  The ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition is being called "bullet proof" by some ASUS personnel I spoke with and should be one of the (if not THE) best X79 platform for Ivy Bridge-E processors available.

black1.jpg

ASUS takes a lot of pride in its motherboard development and they claim to have put 5x as many hours into developing the intricacies of things like memory traces compared to previous X79 offerings.  Over 500 engineering samples of the Black Edition were made prior to finalization and more than 10,000 man hours were put into the design.

black2.jpg

The Rampage IV Black Edition combines features of the Formula series with those of the Extreme boards to really make the ultimate flagship offering.  Things the advanced audio layout for gamers as well as the perfected overclocking capability will make this motherboard impressive, but also pretty damned expensive. 

I was told that unlike the previous Black Edition this motherboard is not a limited edition and will run until the market demands otherwise.

black3.jpg

Keep an eye out for news from the OC Main Event as ASUS has some plans for these overclocking records...

Core i7-4960X Ivy Bridge-E Overclocking Update: ASUS P9X79 Pro Results

Subject: Motherboards, Processors | September 3, 2013 - 06:19 PM |
Tagged: x79, P9X79 PRO, Ivy Bridge-E, Intel, i7-4960X, asus

If you read our Intel Core i7-4960X Ivy Bridge-E review posted earlier today, you likely saw our overclocking results.  After publication I got contacted by ASUS asking why we didn't attempt to overclock our CPU sample with one of their updated motherboards.  In truth we were unable to get any of the pre-release UEFI firmware updates to apply to our P9X79 Pro or Rampage IV Extreme motherboards. 

asusoc3.jpg

Move on to this afternoon and we were finally able to patch up the v1.02 of the P9X79 Pro and tossed in the same Core i7-4960X sample we used in our initial story.  What were the results?

asusoc1.jpg

Click to Enlarge

As you can see above we were able to overclock the processor to 4.413 GHz at UEFI set voltage of only 1.40v.  Previously we were only reaching a 4.3 GHz overclock and even had to up the voltage a bit higher.

I was hoping that I would be able to reach the 45x multiplier but alas it wasn't meant to be.  I will keep messing with our 4960X to see how much further can push it.

Trimming off the extras and keeping the good stuff, the ASUS Maximus VI Hero

Subject: Motherboards | August 26, 2013 - 06:29 PM |
Tagged: asus, z87, ASUS ROG, Maximus VI Hero

If there is one thing that has slowed the adoption of ASUS' impressive ROG line of motherboards it is the price to pick one up, high quality and extensive features do cost after all.  The new Maximus VI Hero, if you can find it, retails for a bit over $200 and comes with a long list of reasons to make it the Z87 of choice.  A pair of 16x, a 4x and three 1x PCIe slots offer a lot of choice for addin cards, ROG SupremeFX 8 channel sound will challenge many discrete audio cards and eight SATA 6Gbps ports will handle your storage needs.  It isn't just about the peripherals though, Hardware Canucks proved that this board can overclock just like one of it's $400+ siblings which is what most enthusiasts are truely looking for.  Check out the full review for the full list of reasons to consider this board.

HC_Intro.jpg

"Combining price and performance isn't something ASUS' ROG motherboards are known for but the Maximus VI Hero bucks that trend by delivering an incredible array of features at a lower than expected cost."

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Motherboards

GIGABYTE Launch Intel H81 Series Motherboards - Bringing Ultimate Durability to Entry-Level Platform Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | August 23, 2013 - 05:52 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, H81, GA-H81-D3, GA-H81M-S2PV, GA-H81M-S2PH, ga-h81m-ds2, GA-H81M-HD3, H81M-H, H81.AMP-UP

City of Industry, California, August 23rd, 2013 – GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, today announced its latest range of 8 series motherboards based on the new Intel H81 Chipset (PCH) supporting the latest 4th generation Intel Core processors. GIGABYTE Intel H81 series motherboards include ATX and Micro-ATX models, bringing together a unique blend of features and technologies that offer the absolute best in terms of quality, durability and overall lifespan.

image031.png

GIGABYTE H81 series motherboards stand out from the competition with signature features that guarantee the utmost in both performance and reliability. High quality components for key areas of the motherboard are joined by an updated and improved UEFI DualBIOS which offers a customizable, full HD BIOS environment, plus the new GIGABYTE App Center, which combines key GIGABYTE applications in a simple, unified interface. GIGABYTE H81 series motherboards also provide additional USB 3.0 ports and support the latest 4K resolution displays on both HDMI and DisplayPort.

image008.jpg

GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 4 Plus
GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 4 Plus focuses on “Ultra Performance” and “Ultra Safe”, with a range of features and component choices that provide optimal performance, cool and efficient operation and extended motherboard lifespan.

Ultra Performance
GIGABYTE uses All Solid Caps (Capacitors) and Low RDS(on) MOSFETs which are rated to work at higher temperatures to provide a longer lifespan. specially designed to produce lower switching for faster electric current charging and discharging, Low RDS(on) MOSFETs have lower power consumption during the switching process, resulting in a faster switching process and less heat generation.

Ultra Safe
GIGABYTE motherboards feature GIGABYTE DualBIOS, an exclusive technology from GIGABYTE that protects arguably one of your PC's most crucial components, the BIOS GIGABYTE DualBIOS means that your motherboard has both a 'Main BIOS' and a 'Backup BIOS', making users protected from BIOS failure due to virus attack, hardware malfunction, improper OC settings or power failure during the update process.

High ESD Protection for USB and LAN (USB 3.0 only)
3199GIGABYTE H81 Series motherboards raise the bar in terms of protecting your system, providing advanced electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection for both your Ethernet LAN and USB ports, both common sources of ESD-related failures. Each LAN and USB port is paired with a dedicated protection filter that can withstand high electrostatic discharges, protecting your system from common electrical surges and even direct lighting strikes.

Additional USB 3.0 Ports
GIGABYTE H81 series motherboards feature an onboard USB 3.0 host controller that provides an additional four USB 3.0 ports. Together with USB 3.0 ports provided by the Intel H81 chipset, users can enjoy SuperSpeed connectivity on a total of six USB 3.0 ports.

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4K Ultra HD Support
GIGABYTE H81 series motherboards provide native 4K support with integrated Intel HD Graphics via HDMI or DisplayPort. 4K resolution is the next technological milestone in high-definition content delivery, utilizing approximately 4,000 pixels on the horizontal axis, more than four times today’s standard HD pixel density.

New GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS with Dashboard Mode
Take control of how your BIOS looks and feels with the new GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS, a fully customizable user interface that allows you to adjust overclocking and performance settings in real-time. With smooth mouse control and shortcuts for fast navigation, the new and exclusive Dashboard Mode gives users complete access to all data related to your motherboard, including CPU, graphics and memory clocks, temperatures and voltages.

New GIGABYTE App Center
GIGABYTE App Center gives you easy access to a wealth of GIGABYTE apps that help you get the most from your GIGABYTE motherboard. Using a simple, unified user interface, GIGABYTE App Center allows you to launch all GIGABYTE apps installed on your system. The GIGABYTE App Center is also customizable with three attractive color schemes.

The GIGABYTE App Center Includes:

  • EasyTune
  • @BIOS
  • EZ Setup
  • Live Updates
  • USB Blocker
  • Smart Recovery
  • Smart Time Lock
GA-H81-D3 GA-H81M-S2PV

GA-H81M-S2PH

GA-H81M-DS2
GA-H81M-HD3

H81M-H

H81.AMP-UP  

Source: Gigabyte

ASUS Never Sold ThunderboltEX. Intel Has Bigger Plans?

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | August 18, 2013 - 12:22 AM |
Tagged: thunderboltex, thunderbolt

Thunderbolt has not exactly caught on for mainstream devices. Outside of media production, USB has a strong brand and carries less of a premium than Thunderbolt. Motherboard vendors and system builders can also more easily implement USB 3.0. Intel, according to VR-Zone, addresses this problem with a reference PCI Express x4 add-in card to be produced and marketed by select Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) partners.

The select partners are, according to current plans, ODMs with existing Thunderbolt motherboard designs.

ASUS_ThunderboltEX Card_4.jpg

ASUS TB_Header Add-in Card, about 19 months ago

Thunderbolt is, basically, the marriage between PCIe and DisplayPort as an external interface. Motherboards can either ship with Thunderbolt ports or a header for non-existent add-in cards. These TB_Headers, on ASUS motherboards, are General Purpose I/O (GPIO) connections used for a fairly unclear task. Officially, they help facilitate a DisplayPort connection to the integrated GPU although they are required even if using DisplayPort pass-through. The card has been stuck in certification woes.

In the Intel's reference design plans, both a GPIO header and internal DisplayPort connection are required on motherboards wishing to support this add-in card. This ends the hope of current system owners wishing to upgrade most existing rigs.

This initiative more seems like an attempt to defer most of the cost of Thunderbolt implementation to a down-the-line upgrade option. I do feel bad for ASUS. They appear to have the problem solved over a year ago with a solution very similar to the one Intel is working on now. If certification were not an issue, they could have very well been first to market. Now it appears they will be in the first wave.

Source: VR-Zone

Quad GPU on the MSI Z87 XPower thanks to the PLX chip

Subject: Motherboards | August 13, 2013 - 02:17 PM |
Tagged: msi, Z87 XPower, PEX 8747 PLX

MSI's Z87 XPower is a brilliant board to base a multi-GPU system on as it's 5 PCIe slots are capable of running two cards at 16x if you are not using the other three, for triple GPU you can manage 16x/8x/8x or even four slots at 8x if you go to the utter extreme thanks to the PEX 8747 PLX chip found on board.  If you are only using one GPU you can choose the slot which avoids the PLX chip altogether to avoid the latency penalty it adds.  A Killer NIC, MSI's Super RAID SSD caching, Multi-BIOS II, Debub LED, Go2BIOS, V-Check Points and Direct OC all add to the benefits you get from choosing this board.  If the $440 price tag doesn't immediately scare you off check out the full review at [H]ard|OCP.

You can also check out Morry's indepth look at the slightly less expensive GIGABYTE GA-Z87X-OC Force right here.

H_Xpower.jpg

"Higher end products are niche items which don’t make a lot of sense for the vast majority of users. Even gamers and enthusiasts sometimes shy away from these products unless the feature set aligns with their needs, desires, and budgets. The feature-packed MSI Z87 XPower is a fine example of this high end motherboard category. "

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Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Supermicro Launches C7Z87-OCE LGA 1150 Enthusiast Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | August 2, 2013 - 04:50 PM |
Tagged: supermicro, overclocking, lga 1150, haswell, c7z87-oce

Supermicro is a company well-known for its server-class motherboards, but its latest motherboard is actually aimed at consumers. The Supermicro C7Z87-OCE is an overclocking friendly board that features the Intel Z87 chipset and a LGA 1150 socket that is ready to be paired with an Intel Haswell processor.

C7Z87-OCE Motherboard.jpg

The board has a simple but effective layout. There are no fancy heatsinks or armor plating here, just a small heatsink over the VRMs. Beyond the CPU socket, features include four DDR3 DIMM slots (32GB max), eight SATA III 6Gbps ports, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, three PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and a AMI UEFI BIOS. Six of the SATA III ports are powered by the Intel Z87 chipset while the other two ports go through the ASMedia ASM1061 controller. Users can use RAID 0, 1, 5, or 10 with this board. The PCI-E 3.0 slots can run at x16, x8+x8, or x8+x4+x4 depending on the number of cards used. An interesting feature of the Supermicro C7Z87-OCE are four green buttons that are numbered 1 through 4. These can be used to overclock the processor by 15% (button 1), 23% (button 2), a user-adjustable amount (button 3), and to clear CMOS (button 4).

The rear IO options on the board include:

  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet (Intel i217V and i210AT NICs)
  • 5 x analog audio
  • 1 x S/PDIF
  • 1 x Thunderbolt
  • Video out:
    • 1 x VGA
    • 1 x DVI
    • 1 x DisplayPort (via the Thunderbolt connector)
    • 1 x HDMI

I'm glad to see another player enter the consumer motherboard arena, and I find it interesting that that player is Supermicro. According to TweakTown's review, the company's first consumer board is not perfect, with the BIOS in particular lacking, but it is an overall decent option for those users wanting a reliable motherboard to support their next system build.

Pricing and availability have not been announced.

Source: Supermicro

The Sabertooth Z87 is one TUF motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 30, 2013 - 01:45 PM |
Tagged: ASUS Sabertooth, ASUS Gryphon Z87, tuf

Along with the very obvious TUF Thermal Armour you can see in the picture below the board comes with ASUS' TUF warranty which lasts for 5 years.  The TUF series is different from the ROG series as the focus is more on durability than extreme performance but that doesn't mean that this board is lacking in speed or features.  It has three PCIe 16x slots with one running at 4x along with three PCIe 1x slots, a total of 10 SATA ports and a half dozen USB 3.0 ports.  [H]ard|OCP found overclocking on this board took a little more effort but did pay off in the end but it was the reliability of the board that truly impressed them.  If you are looking at picking up a pair of the biggest GPUs on the market this board would be a good choice as it is strong enough to support that weight without flexing.

H_sabreZ78.jpg

"The motherboard we are examining today is part of the ASUS "TUF" series which is an acronym for "The Ultimate Force." The Sabertooth Z87 looks like a promising follow up to the Sabertooth Z77 and given the Sabertooth pedigree, our expectations are high for this entry into the series which sets itself apart in the ASUS product stack."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte Releases Three New Budget H81 LGA 1150 Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | July 30, 2013 - 06:01 AM |
Tagged: H81, gigabyte, ga-h81m-ds2, ga-h81m-d3v, ga-h81m-d2v, budget

Gigabyte recently launched three new motherboards based on Intel’s budget H81 chipset. The new motherboards include the Gigabyte GA-H81M-D3V, GA-H81M-D2V, and the GA-H81M-DS2. The boards feature a 3-phase VRM, UEFI BIOS, two DIMM slots, four SATA ports (two SATA 3, two SATA 2), and a LGA 1150 CPU socket that supports Intel’s latest Haswell processors. They are all ATX and identical in featuresets, but differ in the rear IO ports and number of PCI-E x1 slots.

Gigabyte H81 motherboards. From right to left: GA-H81M-DS2, GA-H81M-D2V, and GA-H81M-D3V. (Click on images for larger versions.)

The GA-H81M-DS2 comes with a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot and two PCI-E x1 slots. Rear IO includes:

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 1 x LPT
  • 1 x COM
  • 1 x VGA
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 3 x analog audio
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet

Meanwhile, the GA-H81M-D2V includes the same PCI-E slot configuration as the GA-H81M-DS2 above, as well as the following IO:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x COM
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x DVI
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 3 x analog audio
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet

Finally, the Gigabyte GA-H81M-D3V steps up the PCI-E options to a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot and three PCI-E x1 slots. Rear IO on this budget H81 board includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x DVI
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 3 x analog audio
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet

All of the H81 Gigabyte boards should be available in the US soon for around $50. More information on the idividual boards can be found on the Gigabyte product pages linked above.

Source: Gigabyte

ASUS Releases BIOS Updates To Support Ivy Bridge-E CPUs On Its X79 Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards, Processors | July 30, 2013 - 05:00 AM |
Tagged: P9X79, Ivy Bridge-E, IVB-E, bios, ASUS ROG Rampage IV GENE X79, asus

ASUS has released BIOS updates for all of its LGA 2011 X79 motherboards that add support for Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge-E processors. The update enables enthusiasts to upgrade from their existing Sandy Bridge-E CPU to an Ivy Bridge-E model which adds marginal improvements in performance and power efficiency. Supported processors include the Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition, Core i7-4930K, and the Core i7-4820K. According to benchmarks by Tom's Hardware, the top-end Ivy Bridge-E i7-4960X exhibits up to 30% improvements in performance per watt along with being slightly faster in multi-threaded performance than SB-E. Of course, single threaded performance was shown to be similar to that of Sandy Bridge-E but slower than Haswell.

All of ASUS' X79 boards (including the ROG Rampage, TUF, and P9X79 series) will be getting a BIOS update which will be made available for download on the company's support website or via the individual motherboard product pages. The following chart indicates the motherboard and associated BIOS version number that adds support for IVB-E.

Motherboard BIOS Version Supporting IVB-E
ROG Rampage IV Extreme 4206
ROG Rampage IV Formula 4004
ROG Rampage IV Gene 4206
TUF Sabertooth X79 4104
P9X79 Series 4104

To grab the update, head over to the ASUS support site and type in your motherboard model name to get the appropriate BIOS file.

Will you be upgrading your LGA 2011 rig to Ivy Bridge-E?

Source: TechPowerUp

ASUS Launches ROG Maximus VI Formula Z87 Gaming Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 30, 2013 - 03:33 AM |
Tagged: Maximus VI Formula, maximus vi, atx, ASUS ROG, asus

ASUS has officially launched the Maximus VI Formula motherboard which the company showed off earlier this year. This board has extensive IO and other enthusiast friendly features and is a complement to the Maximus VI Extreme that PC Perspective reviewed back in June.

The Maximus VI Formula uses the Intel Z87 chipset and supports Intel’s latest 4th Generation Core “Haswell” processors. The board is is clad in ASUS technology and a red and black Republic of Gamers color scheme. A 8+2-phase DIGI+ III VRM feeds the processor and memory on the board and is cooled by a massive CrossChill heatsink that can air cool the VRMs or integrate into your custom water loop. The LGA 1150 socket is paired with four DDR3 DIMM slots, and the board supports a maximum of 32GBs at 3100MHz. The DIGI+ III VRM uses NoFET MOSFETs, 60A BlackWing chokes, and 10K Japanese capacitors.

ASUS Z87 ROG Maximus VI Formula Gaming Motherboard (2).jpg

An integrated SupremeFX audio chipset, Mini-PCI-E Combo II card (802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, and a NGFF slot for SSDs), Intel Gigabit NIC, UEFI BIOS, and ROG Armor with SECC back-plate are also featured on this board. The board also supports the company's OC Panel, which is a hardware box that sits outside the case and allows real time overclocking and monitoring.

ASUS Z87 ROG Maximus VI Formula Gaming Motherboard (1).jpg

The Maximus VI Formula further includes 10 SATA 3 6Gbps ports, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (x8+x8 or x8+x4+x4 when in SLI or 3-way CrossFire), and three PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots. ASUS is bundling GameFirst II (QoS that prioritizes gaming traffic), Sonic Radar (visual cues point out direction noise is coming from in games), and ROG RAMDisk software with the motherboard.

ASUS Z87 ROG Maximus VI Formula Gaming Motherboard (3).jpg

Rear IO on the Maximus VI Formula is extensive and surpasses even the Maximus VI Extreme. Port options include:

  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 6 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 jack (Intel NIC)
  • Video outputs
    • 1 x HDMI
    • 1 x DisplayPort
  • Audio outputs
    • 1 x optical S/PDIF
    • 6 x analog audio

The Maximus VI Formula is shaping up to be a beastly flagship board that enthusiasts should get a lot out of when it comes to features and overclocking ability.

ASUS_ROG_Maximus_VI_Extreme_with_OC_Panel_Extreme_Mode.jpg

ASUS has not provided official pricing or release dates, but postings around the Internet suggests that it will be available sometime within the first half (first or second week) of August for around $310. An ASUS representative on the company's ROG channel stated that "currently the projected price is 300 to 310." You can find the product page with more photos and specifications on the ASUS website.

Source: ASUS

ASUS Shows Off FM2+ Motherboards Compatible With AMD Kaveri APUs

Subject: Motherboards | July 28, 2013 - 07:40 PM |
Tagged: hUMA, Kaveri, hsa, fm2, asus, APU, A88X, A55, PCI-E 3.0, mATX

ASUS recently announced two new socket FM2+ motherboards that are compatible with AMD’s upcoming “Kaveri” Accelerated Processing Units (APUs). The new boards are the A88XMA and A55BM-A/USB3 and use the A88X and A55 AMD chipsets respectively. Pricing and availability have not yet been released, but the new boards confirm that users will need new motherboards in order to take advantage of AMD’s next generation APUs (though the new FM2+ boards are backwards compatible with the existing APUs, it will not work the other way around). Both motherboards should be available around the time of the Kaveri processor launch (2H 2013).

ASUS A88XMA Kaveri Motherboard (2).jpg

The AMD A88XMA FM2+ Motherboard.

Both the ASUS A88XMA and A55BM-A/USB3 motherboards come in the mATX form factor. The boards both have FM2+ processor sockets and expansion slots including a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, one PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot, and one legacy PCI slot. The support for PCI-E 3.0 is new for AMD motherboards, and the extra bandwidth may prove useful for as graphics cards get faster and AMD works on its hUMA and HSA architectures to create a layer of virtual memory that can be simultaneously addressed by CPUs and GPUs. There will still be latency to deal with over the PCI-E bus, but more data can be moved back and forth in the same amount of time.

ASUS A88XMA Kaveri Motherboard Rear IO.jpg

The two ASUS FM2+ motherboards also share the same rear IO options, which include:

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 3 x Video outputs:
    • 1 x HDMI
    • 1 x DVI
    • 1 x VGA
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 3 x Analog audio jacks

The RJ45 jacks are backed by a Realtek 8111G Gigabit Ethernet controller and the audio jacks are handled by a Realtek ALC887-VD chipset. Finally, they also have UEFI BIOSes in common, but from there the two boards diverge in hardware capabilities.

The ASUS A88XMA is the higher-end of the two boards, and features a FM2+ socket, four DDR3 DIMM slots, and six SATA 3 6Gbps ports. It utilizes the AMD A88X chipset which is aimed at enthusiast platforms.

ASUS A55BM-AUSB3 Kaveri Motherboard.jpg

ASUS' A55BM-A/USB3 budget motherboard.

On the other hand, the A55BM-A/USB3 motherboard uses the cheaper A55 chipset. That motherboard features an FM2+ socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, and six right angle SATA 2 3Gpbs ports. The A55Bm-A/USB3 should be significantly cheaper as a result of the A55 chipset and resulting hardware reductions. In most other respects, ASUS has managed to make the two baords remarkably similar, including aesthetics and basic board layout.

According to Bit-Tech, the two boards are are part of a larger family of boards with the new FM2+ sockets. As such, we should see additional ASUS boards that fill in the gaps between the two models closer to AMD's Kaveri launch. As noted above, ASUS has not provided official pricing or release date information yet.

Source: Bit-Tech

Hardware Flashback: Asus P2B

Subject: Motherboards | July 17, 2013 - 08:34 PM |
Tagged: Pentium II, Pentium !!!, pentium, P2B, Intel, hardware flashback, asus, 440 BX

Retro hardware is so much fun.  Today we have the Asus P2B, and while it was not a game changer for the time, it was a popular board.  This popularity sprang from its excellent compatibility with older Pentium II processors and a wide variety of AGP cards.  It was one of the last series of boards that Asus released that did not feature the jumperless BIOS options that we take for granted these days.

p2b_01.jpg

3 ISA ports staring us in the face!  ATA-33?  Oh yeah!

There are some things that really spring out when looking at the board.  Having 3 ISA slots seems pretty much overkill as most people used perhaps two of them (modem and sound card), but I can see this being popular with people who also utilize older SCSI cards (such as those used with scanners of the time).  Having 3 ISA meant that there were only 4 PCI slots.  Remember, ISA and PCI slots situated next to each other would share the same backplate slot, so PCI and ISA could not be used adjacent to each other.  Remember as well that we often saw issues with the first PCI slot as it shared resources with the AGP slot.  This essentially gives only two usable PCI slots if a user was full up on ISA cards.

The board features 3 DIMM slots at a time when it was popular to use a buffer chip to allow up to four DIMM slots.  These buffer chips were often a big performance hit in memory operations and they quickly fell out of favor with most enthusiasts and power users.  Having 3 DIMM slots did lower the maximum potential installed memory, but not by all that much.  The performance benefits of slightly less memory but better performance often outweighed having that fourth DIMM.

p2b_02.jpg

These old boards look so bare even compared to current low-end motherboards.  Excellent for someone who needs two serial ports, though!

The BX boards supported the 100 MHz bus speed for the latest Pentium IIs and upcoming Pentium !!!s.  This particular board was quite popular with people that had older Pentium IIs with the 66 MHz FSB.  Running these at 3 x 100 or 3.5 x 100 would give a nice overall boost for these aging processors.  Users who were early implementers of Pentium II CPUs were stuck with the old 440FX chipset which did not feature SDRAM or AGP support.  This would have been a nice upgrade in performance and functionality for those users as they could pop in their Pentium II 266 or 300 and tweak their way to performance nirvana.

This board was released before we saw the change to the colored peripheral connections, so every plug on the back of the board is black.  Color coding was for wimps anyway.  It also does not include integrated sound.  So there goes one of those ISA slots.  Users of the time would have probably installed a soundcard, modem, PCI Ethernet card, and their AGP card.  So where would the Voodoo 2 go?  How about two of them?  Things would get awful crowded very quickly.

p2b_03.jpg

That dust may or may not have been deposited around 1999...

The AGP support on these boards was of course excellent.  That is primarily because Intel was the main driver of the specification and everyone else developed their cards to run in these slots.  VIA, SiS, and others of course had compatibility issues with a wide variety of cards.  This is why we saw other folks like 3dfx make their products run at below AGP specs.  For instance, the Voodoo 3 was essentially a PCI 66 MHz device in the AGP slot.  This disabled features like sideband addressing and reading textures from main memory.

This was still a popular board even in the face of competition with superior features.  The Asus brand and name goes far.  Plus it was a fast board for the time that was a bit no-frills.  Recipe for success?  I guess so.  This particular board and CPU were running in a homebuilt server for around 10 years until it was replaced.  I guess it was money well spent.

Source: Asus

MSI's Z87-GD65 Gaming is a brilliant board at a reasonable price

Subject: Motherboards | July 15, 2013 - 02:46 PM |
Tagged: Z87-GD65 GAMING, z87, msi

At just under $200 the MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming offers great value and performance for someone building a Haswell based system.  It has all of the current features you expect from a high end board from MSI such as OC Genie 4, Military Class 4 components, super ferrite chokes, Hi-C Capacitors, Dark Caps and a Killer NIC.  [H]ard|OCP was also very glad to see the end of MSI's ClickBIOS and were much happier with the new UEFI BIOS that MSI is using on their new boards.  With three PCIe 16x slots you can utilize multiple GPUs and 10 SATA 6Gbps ports ought to satisfy almost any user.  It picked up a Gold Award from [H] and you can see why in the full review.

If you missed Morry's review of this board you can get it right here.

H_gd65.jpg

"MSI’s GAMING series is back with an all new entry. The Z87-GD65 GAMING is certainly a promising contender and is one of the more unique offerings we’ve seen from MSI. We liked the last GAMING board we looked at, and we have liked all previous GD-65 series motherboards, hopefully this followup entry can measure up."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASRock Announces Mini ITX H87E-ITX/ac LGA 1150 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 13, 2013 - 01:50 AM |
Tagged: lga 1150, Intel, haswell, H87, asrock, 802.11ac

ASRock has announced a new Mini-ITX form facotr motherboard for Intel’s latest Haswell processors (LGA 1150). It utilizes the H87 chipset and should be a good board for enthusiasts looking to build a SFF machine.

ASRock H87E-ITXac Mini ITX Motherboard.jpg

The H87E-ITX/ac features a LGA 1150 socket powered by a 4-phase DrMOS VRM, two DDR3 DIMM slots (maximum of 32GB), and a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot. Storage is handled by six SATA III 6Gbps ports located between the CPU socket and PCI-E slot. The board uses an Intel i217V chipset for the 802.11ac WLAN and an Intel Gigabit Ethernet NIC. A Realtek ALC1150 chipset handles the audio duties.

ASRock H87E-ITXac Mini ITX Motherboard Rear IO.jpg

Rear IO on the H87E-ITX/ac includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 jack
  • 1 x eSATA III
  • 1 x S/PDIF
  • 5 x Analog audio jacks

The rear IO also has two antenna connectors for the 802.11ac Wi-Fi card. ASRock includes an antenna but users should be able to use any third party antennas as it uses standard connectors.

ASRock has not yet released pricing or availability information, but you can find additional specifications and photos on this product page. I would wait for reviews, but it looks to be a decent board, and if the price is right it should be a popular option for SFF desktops and HTPC builds.

Source: ASRock

Breaking Limitations! CPU OC on ECS H87, B85, and H81 Motherboards

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | July 5, 2013 - 03:25 PM |
Tagged: elitegroup, ECS, H87, B85, H81

ECS has some great news for those who want to upgrade to Haswell but aren't able to afford one of the high end Z87 motherboards.  They've announce three motherboards all designed with overclocking in mind.  If you save a bit on the motherboard you can use those savings to pick up a faster 'K' model to put in your motherboard!

2013/7/5 Taipei, Taiwan – Now you don’t necessarily need K-Series CPU along with Z-Series chipset to experience the joy of overclocking. ECS recently announced that ECS motherboards with all Intel® 8 Series chipset, including H87, B85, and H81, have the CPU overclocking ability, giving non Z-Series motherboard users an additional benefit of CPU overclocking performance.

ECS has achieved the Non-Z Series CPU overclocking with H87, B85, and H81 motherboards by simply adjusting the CPU Ratio in BIOS setting, offering an extremely easy way of performing CPU overclocking. More importantly, H87, B85, and H81 CPU overclocking ability provides an affordable solution for all different levels of overclockers.

H87

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B85

b85.png

H81

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Source: ECS

Gigabyte's Z87X-UD5H has a lot going for it, but perhaps it could do better

Subject: Motherboards | July 2, 2013 - 02:06 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, z87, Z87X-UD5H

Gigabyte's new Z87X-UD5H is more than just a chipset refresh, they've included 12 phase digtial power, fuses and ESD protection on the USB ports as well as high quality ICs and long life capacitors.  The board can handle multiple GPUs on its two PCIe 16x slots, running at 8x when both are populated and additionally has a 4x and three 3x slots for any other cards you might want to install.  A brand new UEFI offers an attractive interface but [H]ard|OCP were not as impressed with some of the functionality of the new UEFI on the board.  Check out their full review here.

H_gigz87.jpg

"Gigabyte brings a lot to the test bench with the Z87X-UD5H. New UEFI, New Easy Tune software, and a whole lot more. Gigabyte is facing some very tough competition based on what we’ve seen from other manufacturers. Does Gigabyte still have what it takes to compete? Let’s find out."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

EVGA Announces Flagship X79 Dark LGA 2011 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 1, 2013 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: x79 dark, x79, lga 2011, evga

EVGA has announced a new flagship LGA 2011 motherboard called the X79 Dark. The new motherboard is E-ATX and measures 304.8 x 263.5mm. It features a 12 layer PCB, new UEFI BIOS, and a number of enthusiast and overclocking-friendly features.

EVGA X79 Dark LGA2011 Motherboard.jpg

The motherboard features a 12+2 VRM for the CPU, and a 4 phase VRM for the memory. The board has a single LGA 2011 processor socket surrounded by four DDR3 DIMM slots on either side and a large hexagonal heatsink for the VRM above it. Below the CPU socket, EVGA has included five PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots and a single PCI-E 3.0 x4 slot. All of the physical PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots are at least electrically x8, and two of them are electrically x16. The bottom-right corner of the motherboard is taken up by a massive PCH heatsink with a large red EVGA logo. To the right of the PCH heatsink, the board has 10 SATA ports at right angles to the board PCB. Six of the SATA ports are SATA III 6Gbps and four of them are SATA II 3Gbps.

Of course, the board has Intel Ethernet controllers, 8 channel audio, and internal headers for two additional USB 3.0 ports. The board requires one 24-pin, two 8-pin, and one 6-pin PCI-E power connectors to supply power to the board and connected components. Finally, EVGA has also included EVBot voltage measurement points along with an updated UEFI BIOS.

EVGA X79 Dark LGA2011 Motherboard UEFI Motherboard.jpg

The EVGA X79 Dark has a fairly extensive external IO panel, which includes:

  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x Bluetooth
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x eSATA 3Gbps
  • 5 x Analog audio jacks
  • 1 x S/PDIF
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports (Intel NICs)

The new LGA 2011 X79 Dark motherboard is model number 150-SE-E789-KR and will be available soon for $399.99.