ASUS Never Sold ThunderboltEX. Intel Has Bigger Plans?

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | August 17, 2013 - 09:22 PM |
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 - 11:17 AM |
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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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Supermicro Launches C7Z87-OCE LGA 1150 Enthusiast Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | August 2, 2013 - 01:50 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 - 10:45 AM |
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."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte Releases Three New Budget H81 LGA 1150 Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | July 30, 2013 - 03:01 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 - 02:00 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 - 12:33 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 - 04:40 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 - 05:34 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 - 11:46 AM |
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."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

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

Subject: Motherboards | July 12, 2013 - 10:50 PM |
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 - 12:25 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

H87.png

B85

b85.png

H81

h81.png

 

Source: ECS

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

Subject: Motherboards | July 2, 2013 - 11:06 AM |
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."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

EVGA Announces Flagship X79 Dark LGA 2011 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 1, 2013 - 12:50 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.

ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme Dominates Computex Overclocking Event, Used to Break Eight World Records

Subject: Motherboards | June 26, 2013 - 11:49 AM |
Tagged: overclocking, computex 2013, ASUS ROG, ASUS Maximus VI Extreme, asus

During Computex 2013 in Taipei, Taiwan, Intel and Corsair sponsored the Computex OC Main Event where overclockers set out to push some of the latest hardware to the max. The ASUS Maximus VI Extreme motherboard was one of the pieces of hardware used at this event, and it was the board used in 10 out of 11 winning overclocking runs. Further, it was used in runs that ended up breaking a total of 8 world overclocking records.

PR ASUS Maximus VI Extreme took ten out of eleven wins at the Intel and Corsair Computex OC Main Event .jpg

Overclockers were able to achieve top spots for a number of benchmarking scores as well as CPU and GPU clockspeeds. The benchmarking records include new high scores for 3DMark01, 3DMark05, 3DMark06, SuperPi 32M, PiFast, and AquaMark3. The overclockers were also able to push an Intel "Haswell" Core-i7 4770K processor to an impressive 7092.68 MHz with HyperThreading disabled and two physical cores active. Considering how stubborn the new Haswell chips are when it comes to overclocking, hitting a bit over 7GHz is quite the feat. CPUs were not the only pieces of hardware that were pushed to the limits, however. Overclockers were also able to overclock four DDR3 DIMMs to 3957 MHz with 13-16-16-45 timings.

Left: CPU Overclock. Right: RAM Overclock. Click on image(s) for a larger version.

The breakdown of the new top benchmarking scores for the various software used at the OC Main Event (from systems using the ASUS Maximus VI Extreme board, Haswell CPU, and GTX TITAN) is listed below.

Benchmark/Overclocking Feat Score/Clockspeed
3DMark01 186,758
3DMark05 73,316
3DMark06 56,041
SuperPi 32M 4m, 35s, 406ms
PiFast 9.78s
AquaMark3 571,570
Haswell Clockspeed 7092.68 MHz (two cores)
DDR3 Clockspeed 3957 MHz (13-16-16-45)

Naturally, ASUS is extremely pleased with the performance of its new motherboard, which proved stable enough to support some impressive CPU, GPU, and RAM overclocking under LN2 and extreme clockspeeds. I'm looking forward to see what Morry is able to achieve using the board in a more real world 24/7 overclock scenario in our upcoming OC review using this ASUS board!

Check out our full review of the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme (overclocking performance details coming soon, as per the new review format).

Source: ASUS

ECS Reveals its First Motherboard with the AMD Kabini - KBN-I

Subject: Motherboards | June 19, 2013 - 11:10 AM |
Tagged: SoC, KBN-I, Kabini, ECS, A6-5200

ECS' new KBN-I board simply needs you to add some RAM and storage to become a fully functional computer.  The integrated 2.0Ghz A6-5200 with its accompanying HD 8400 graphics are enough power for general computing duties and perhaps even newer titles if you turn the settings down somewhat. If you do plan on gaming there is a PCIe 3.0 16x slot for an expansion card, though you might be better served with a TV capture card instead of a graphics card.   

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19th Jun 2013, Taipei, Taiwan - Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) reveals its latest Mini-ITX motherboard family-KBN-I-featuring the world 1st Quad Core SoC (system-on-a-chip) processor with the newest “Jaguar” 28 nanometer architecture. The ECS KBN-I is integrated AMD Quad Core A6-5200 APU with AMD Radeon HD 8400 Graphics, support new generation DirectX 11.1 graphics, and offer 50% longer battery life performance. The ECS KBN-I with official Windows 8 WHCK certification (Windows Hardware Certification Kit) allows users to take full advantage of the touch browser and function-oriented design of Windows 8. The NM70-I is optimized for home, general computing productivity and multimedia applications.

Up to 25% More Power Efficiency
Designed to save space and energy, the ECS KBN-I is the ideal solution for small-form factor systems, with the AMD Kabini Quad Core SoC processor and maximum of 25W low power consumption. It improves a better power efficiency with up to 25% more power efficiency thru clock gating and unit redesign compared with current generation low power platform. Thanks to new generation design of increasing the amount of core, instructions per clock(IPC), and boost clock speed, the ECS KBN-I reducing energy usage by operating at lower frequencies when performance is not necessary. The ECS KBN-I also has 9W fanless Heat Sink design, full electrostatic discharge protection and 100% solid capacitors to maximize the reliability and longevity of your system.

Excellent Extension Support
Even with the mini-ITX size of the KBN-I, ECS has kept in mind the expansion needs of future-proof minded customers. The ECS KBN-I supports video and storage upgrades with 1 x PCI-E x16, 2 x SATA 6GB/s connections, 2 x USB 3.0 ports and 4 x USB 2.0 ports. For industrial applications, the KBN-I is equipped with Serial port output (COM). The Mini-PCIe slot is designed for laptops and other small-footprint computer systems and supports Mini-PCI card (one full-card and one half-card) for mini-Wireless, mini-TV tuner and so on. Moreover, users can enjoy high definition media as the KBN-I support HD 1080p output including HDMI and standard analog D-Sub VGA output. The NM70-I is bundled with additional software including Norton anti-virus, Muzee, Cyberlink Media Suite, and the ECS iEZ utility, which combines eBLU BIOS Live Update Utility, eDLU Drivers Live Update Utility and the eSF Smart Fan Utility.

Source: ECS

The ASUS Z87-A, short name but long on features

Subject: Motherboards | June 17, 2013 - 03:14 PM |
Tagged: asus, z87, Z87-A

You have a lot of choice in motherboard if you are thinking of moving up to Haswell as there are a huge amount of models available.  At their core the different implementations of the Z87 are very similar, it is the materials used for construction and the add-ons which make a board stand out.  ASUS added 5k long life capacitors, rust proofing on the I/O panel, the new Realtek ALC1150 onboard audio and an ASMedia USB controller to increase the number of available ports, to name just a few features. Head over to [H]ard|OCP for the performance review of the $150 ASUS Z87-A motherboard.

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"We start today with reviewing new Z87 chipset motherboards, which we will surely see a lot of, with ASUS' new Z87-A motherboard. Before we even got the box open we had to stop for a second and enjoy the simplicity of the name. But don't let the name fool you. There is plenty going on here to keep your enthusiast attention."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Computex 2013: Gigabyte Shows Off GA-990FXA-UD7 AM3+ Motherboard That Hints At 5GHz AMD FX Processor

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | June 5, 2013 - 11:13 AM |
Tagged: gigabyte, ga-990fx-ud7, computex 2013, computex, amd fx, amd, am3+

Gigabyte is showing off quite a few motherboards at Computex 2013. One of the most interesting motherboards on display is the GA-990FX-UD7 for AMD AM3+ desktop processors. This is a high-end motherboard for enthusiasts and is packed with features.

The GA-990FX-UD7 features an 8+2 power phase, AM3+ CPU socket, four DDR3 DIMM slots, six PCI-E 2.0 x16 (physical) slots, one legacy PCI slot, and eight SATA 3 6Gbps ports. It has a black and glossy orange color scheme with large finned heatsinks around the CPU socket and over the southbridge. The board uses a Realtek ALC889 chipset for onboard audio that supports Dolby Home Theater and has a 108dB SNR rating. Further, the GA-990FX-UD7 supports 4-way SLI or CrossFire, Gigabyte's UEFI DualBIOS, and 3X power which allows faster battery charging for supported USB-connected mobile devices.

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The Gigabyte GA-990FX-UD7 at Computex 2013 as spotted by Sweclockers (Click for larger image).

Rear IO includes a single coaxial S/PDIF and six analog audio outputs, four USB 3.0 ports, two eSATA+USB combo ports, and a RJ45 LAN jack.

Interestingly, Gigabyte's Computex display mentions that the new AM3+ motherboard is compatible with AMD's 5GHz AM3+ processor, which lends credibility to previous rumors of a Piledriver-based eight core “Centurion” AMD FX processor clocked at 5GHz with a 220W TDP. That chip was rumored for a summer 2013 release in limited quantities, and it looks like enthusiasts might be able to get their hands on that chip later this year after all!

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Although AMD is not talking, Sweclockers has managed to put together a list of preliminary specifications for the codenamed Centurion processor. Rumors have it that the Centurion chip will be officially named the AMD FX-9000, and that it is a 4-module, 8-core part with a 4.8 GHz base clock and 5.0 GHz turbo clockspeed. It has a total of 8MB L2 cache, and 8MB of L3. Further, this 220W TDP part will support a maximum of DDR3-1866 (officially, before overclocking) and is build on AMD's 32nm SOI HKMG manufacturing process. You will need a beefy air cooler at the minimum to keep this chip happy, but otherwise it should be a fun chip for enthusiasts to tinker with!

Source: Sweclockers

Computex 2013: MSI Launches New Gaming and Overclock Series Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | June 4, 2013 - 11:17 PM |
Tagged: Z87-GD65 GAMING, uefi, overclocking, msi, haswell, computex 2013, computex

MSI announced new Z87 motherboards today, ready to accept Intel's new 4 Generation Core "Haswell" processors. The new Z87 boards are broken up into the company's "GAMING" series and a new "Overclock" series. Both boards use Military Class IV components that are MIL-STD-810G rated.

The MSI Z87-GD65-GAMING is the company's latest motherboard aimed at PC gamers. It incorporates a Killer NIC and the company's Audio Boost technology. It also supports MSI technology such as V-Check points (to get voltage readings with multi meter), Super RAID, Multi-BIOS II, and Go2BIOS.

MSI Z87-GD65 GAMING.jpg

On its face, the Z87-GD65-GAMING features an Intel LGA 1150 CPU socket, four DDR3 DIMM slots, eight SATA 6Gbps ports, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, and four PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots. Rear IO includes a PS/2 port, two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, coaxial and optical S/PDIF audio outputs, one DVI port, one VGA port, one HDMI output, one Kill NIC-backed Gigabit LAN port, and six analog audio jacks.

The MSI Z87-GD65-GAMING motherboard is currently selling for around $189 at various online retailers. It has earned a Computex 2013 Best Choice Gold award as well as a positive review from PC Perspective's resident motherboard guru Morry Teitelman. You can find our full review of the gaming motherboard here.

MSI also announced three new motherboards under its Overclock series. These boards are intended for PC enthusiasts who like to tinker with hardware and push their chips (CPU and GPU) as far as possible. The new boards include the Z87 MPOWER, Z87 MPOWER MAX, and Z87 XPOWER.

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The Overclock series motherboards also use Military Class components. They also feature MSI's latest Click BIOS 4 UEFI and Control Center software that allows monitory, tuning, and remote controlling of your PC. The MSI Overclock boards also have a tool that allows for automatic overclocking called OC Genie 4 that reportedly operates in two stages. The Z87 MPOWER has a 32-phase digital power system, supports DDR3-3000 memory, and supports 4-way SLI or Crossfire. The MPOWER MAX and XPOWER motherboards are OC (Overclock) Certified and supports MSI's Extreme Tuning Utility for overclocking within Windows.

Rear port layout is similar to the Z87-GD65-Gaming motherboard, except that the new MPOWER boards add a removable Intel Wi-Fi + Bluetooth card that adds 802.11g/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and Intel WiDi (Wireless Display) technology. The highest-end Z87 MPOWER, the XPOWER board, also has additional USB 3.0 ports on the back panel.

You can find more information on the Z87 MPOWER motherboards on this MSI product page.

Also read: MSI Launches 17" GS70 Gaming Notebook @ PC Perspective.

Source: MSI

PCPer Live! ASUS Z87 Motherboard and Intel Haswell Live Event!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Motherboards, Processors | June 4, 2013 - 07:40 AM |
Tagged: z87, video, overclocking, live, i7-4770k, haswell, ASUS ROG, asus

While we run around with our hair on fire trying to get ready for the Intel Haswell and Z87 product launch this weekend, I wanted to let everyone know about a live stream event we will be holding on Tuesday, June 4th.  JJ from ASUS, a crowd favorite for sure, will be joining us LIVE in studio to talk all about the new lineup of ASUS Z87 motherboards.  We'll also discuss performance and overclocking capabilities of the new processor and platform.

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ASUS Z87 and Haswell Live Stream

10am PT / 1pm ET - June 4th

PC Perspective Live! Page

Be sure you stop by and join in the show!  Questions will be answered, prizes will be given out and fun will be had!  Who knows, maybe we can break some stuff live as well??  On hand to give away to those of you joining the live stream, we'll have these prizes:

  • 2 x ASUS Z87 Motherboards
  • 1 x ASUS Graphics card

Methods for winning will be decided closer to the event, but if you are watching live, you'll be included.  And we'll ship anywhere in the world!

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ASUS and I also want the event to be interactive, so we want your questions.  We'll of course being paying attention to the chat room on our live page but you'll have better luck if you submit your questions about the ASUS Z87 products and Haswell processors before hand, in the comments section below.  You don't have to register to ask and we'll have the ability to read them beforehand! 

I'll update this post with more information after the reviews and stories start to hit, so keep an eye here for more details!!