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

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

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

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

Check out our video overview!

 

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

ASRock Z77 Extreme6/TB4 Motherboard Offers Thunderbolt with Discrete Graphics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: ASRock

Gigabyte Launches Two Mini ITX Motherboards

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

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

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

 

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

External IO on the GA-C807N includes:

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

 

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

gigabyte_ga-c847n_02.jpg

External IO on the GA-847N includes:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Intel models

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AMD models

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

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Source: Gigabyte

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

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

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

TPU_biostarhifi.jpg

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

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Source: TechPowerUp

MSI's Z77A-GD55 is a brilliant budget board

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

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

H_gd55.jpg

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

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Z77H2-A5X DE(V1)IO.jpg

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

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

Source: ECS

ASUS offers high end options for your Socket FM2 processor

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

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

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

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Source: Bjorn3D

ECS Launches A970M-A Deluxe for AMD Processors

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

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

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

Internal IO and board layout

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

a970m-a-deluxe_580_io.jpg

The rear panel IO includes:

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

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

Source: ECS

ECS HDC-12/E-350D2 Is Mini ITX Motherboard with AMD APU

Subject: Motherboards | October 31, 2012 - 11:21 AM |
Tagged: motherboard, mini-itx, hdc-12/e-350d2, ECS, e-350d, amd

Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) has launched a new motherboard and processor combination that pairs a mini-itx form factor board with an AMD E-350D Accelerated Processing Unit (APU). Measuring 17cm x 17cm, the HDC-12/E-350D2 is similar to the Biostar product covered previously, except for feature set. The ECS model uses the cheaper A45 FCH chipset and does away with modern expansion ports such as PCI-E 3.0 and USB 3.0. While it is less capable, it is also less expensive that the other boards.

ECS Mini ITX Motherboard.jpg

The board has a bundled AMD E-350D APU with dual CPU cores and integrated HD 6130 graphics. The memory controller supports a maximum of 16GB of DDR3 RAM running at 1066MHz via two DIMM slots on the motherboard. The A45 chipset supports two SATA II 3 Gbps ports, and that is one area where the low cost nature (and associated compromises) of the A45 chipset hits home as the higher end boards have more ports and support for SATA III 6 Gbps. Aside from some fan headers and headers for USB ports, the only other expansion option is a single legacy PCI slot at the bottom of the board.

External IO options include:

  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 3 x analog audio jacks

The lack of an optical audio output is disappointing as well, but the board can be powered by a single 24 pix ATX cable – no 4 or 8 pin CPU power required. In the end it is a cheap base for a low power system. It would make a great router / firewall device with the addition of a PCI Ethernet NIC, for example. The only real downside would be wireless as you would need to use USB NICs to add that capability. This could also make for an entry level HTPC build as the APU is capable of hardware accelerating 1080p video.

Along with the HTPC vein, ECS is bundling coupons for free copies of Cyberlink's MediaEspresso 6.5 LE and MediaShow 5.1 LE transcoding and playback software with the motherboard.

The ECS HDC-12/E-350D2 will retail for a sub-$100 price, and should be available for purchase soon.

Read more about Mini ITX motherboards at PC Perspective.

Source: Softpedia

ASRock Launches Extreme6/TB4 Motherboard With Two Thunderbolt Ports

Subject: Motherboards | October 29, 2012 - 11:24 AM |
Tagged: Z77, thunderbolt, motherboard, extreme6/tb4, asrock

Update: The specifications page is now live on the ASRock website.

Pegatron-owned motherboard company ASRock has launched a new Z77 motherboard with dual Thunderbolt ports dubbed the Extreme6/TB4. While all the nitty-gritty details are still up in the error due to an error on the ASRock site, we do have some information on the board worth sharing.

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The ASRock Extreme6/TB4 is based on the Z77 chipset, which supports socket 1155 processors (Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge). Further, the board has four DIMM slots for DDR3 memory running at up to 2800MHz. Additionally, the Extreme6/TB4 uses gold capicitors, digital power technology, and a 8+4 power phase. Quad SLI and CrossFireX multi-GPU technologies are also features.

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It features two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x8 or x8/x8), two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and two legacy PCI slots. For storage, the motherboard has four SATA III 6Gbps ports (RAID 0/1/5/10) and several USB headers.

Rear panel IO includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x eSATA
  • 1 x eSATA/USB
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x VGA
  • 2 x Thunderbolt
  • 5 x Analog audio jacks
  • 1 x S/PDIF optical audio port
  • 1 x HDMI

Thanks to the two Thunderbolt ports on the rear IO panel, the new ASRock motherboard can support up to 12 devices (with passthrough ports) and two DisplayPort displays. That's a lot of Thunderbolt gear!

Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or when the motherboard will be available for purchase.

Read more about Intel’s Thunderbolt technology at PC Perspective.

Source: ASRock

Gigabyte thinks Trinity looks best in basic black

Subject: Motherboards | October 25, 2012 - 02:46 PM |
Tagged: amd, gigabyte, F2A85X-UP4, socket fm2, trinity

Gigabyte's socket FM2 F2A58X-UP4 looks unique in that the colour scheme is a basic black and grey with none of the flashy colours common on today's motherboards.  All seven SATA ports and the eSATA are 6Gb/s so you don't have to worry about which ports to use, the three PCIe 16x slots can run at 8x/8x/1x when fully populated and with the half dozen USB 3.0 ports you end up with a lot of choices on a fairly inexpensive board.  [H]ard|OCP had fun when overclocking this board, a new chipset means new settings and tricks to learn in order to coax the most out of your processor, though the A10-5800K does top out fairly quickly regardless of the motherboard used.  Check out their full review here.

H_F2A85X.jpg

"GIGABYTE's F2A85X-UP4 brings AMD's "Trinity" APU to the desktop arena with a new chipset and a solid feature set at a nice price. But is that enough to make it compelling for enthusiasts?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

BioStar's Hi-Fi Z77X is aimed at HTPC users

Subject: Motherboards | October 15, 2012 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: Z77, biostar, Hi-Fi Z77X, lga 1155, htpc, atx

While you might not think of a full ATX board being the basis for an HTPC system, BIOSTAR is hoping that you will consider their Hi-Fi Z77X when you next spec out a possible system.  The extra size allows you to have more add-in card options with three 16x PCIe slots (8x, 8x, 4x) and two PCIe 1x slots, which simply would not fit on a mATX board.  The back panel offers VGA, HDMI and DVI out, so even without a discrete card you have quite a few output options as long as Intel onboard graphics are enough to meet your needs.  They also include a Realtec CODEC which is better than [H]ard|OCP expected on a sub-$150 motherboard and were also impressed by the overclocking ability on this value board, not as good as an enthusiast board but still pleasantly capable.

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"BIOSTAR generally has a reputation for making low end or budget oriented motherboards. Fortunately that isn't all BIOSTAR designs and builds. The Hi-Fi Z77X is an unusual motherboard in that it seems to be targeted towards HTPC and media type duties while still addressing enthusiast hardware and overclocking concerns."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte Launches Flagship GA-F2A85X-UP4 Trinity Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 3, 2012 - 02:52 AM |
Tagged: trinity, motherboard, gigabyte, fm2, APU

AMD’s latest Trinity APUs launched yesterday, and with that Gigabyte launched its flagship socket FM2 motherboard, the GA-F2A85X-UP4. This board was shown off earlier this year, but now we have all the details. This motherboard is packed with all the Gigabyte technology you would expect from an enthusiast board, and some of the more interesting features include the Ultra Durable 5 capacitors, a digital PWM array, single package IR3550 PowIRStage ICs, and dual APU clock generators to push overclocking of non-K edition processors as far as possible – at least in theory. Also interesting is the inclusion of Lucid’s Virtu MVP GPU virtualization technology, two EFI BIOS chips, switchable graphics, and the ability to crossfire certain 6000-series discrete graphics cards with the GPU in the Trinity APU.

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Internal connectivity options include the FM2 socket, four DDR3 DIMM slots (up to 64GB @ 1866MHz), seven SATA 6Gbps ports, one eSATA 6Gbps port, and support for RAID O, 1, 5, 10, and JBOD. Furter, the GA-F2A85X-UP4 supports three PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots. The first slot runs at x16 or x8 if there are two GPUs installed. The second and third slots run at x8 and x4 respectively. Gigabyte has also included three PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots for sounds and networking cards.

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Internal IO headers include one CPU fan, four system fans, one S/PDIF, one USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, one serial, one clear CMOS, and one TPM.

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Rear I/O on the flagship Trinity motherboard includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x S/PDIF
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x eSATA
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 6 x analog audio jacks

This board is packing a lot of hardware, and the price is right around $130 depending on the retailer. The GA-F2A85X-UP4 is available now. Interestingly Gigabyte has also announced the F2A85XM-D3H based on the same A85X chipset as the flagship F2-A85X-UP4 as well as some lower tier motherboards based on the A75 and A55 chipsets with new FM2 sockets. Unfortunately, these motherboards do not appear to be available yet. If you are interested in those boards (which should cost less), keep an eye out for the F2A75M-D3H, and F2A55M-HD2 – or simply watch PC Perspective’s homepage of course!

In the meantime, you can find more photos of the GA-F2A85X-UP4 on Gigabyte's website.

6675_big.jpg

Source: Gigabyte

ASUS Maximus V Extreme-ly fast overclock.

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Processors | October 2, 2012 - 08:06 PM |
Tagged: overclock, asus

ASUSTeK has just accomplished a new world record overclock with their ASUS Maximus V Extreme motherboard. They calculated 1 million digits of Pi in a time of 5s 94ms which beats the current best time 5s 125ms according to HWBot. This result once validated lands the Maximus V Extreme in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place positions.

ASUS has once again broke records in the Pi eating contest with their Maximus V Extreme motherboard.

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It must be a fun day for an overclocker when you get to play with Liquid Helium. While I attended the Physics department of Queen’s University up here in Canada the facility was known for its condensed matter group. Much of the building was fitted with piping to recapture and recondense the Helium after its experiments strictly due to how much it cost and how rare it is. If someone offers for you to break an overclocking record with it you are obliged to say yes.

The achieved overclock appears to be tuned towards the application. Memory frequency was kept at 1333 MHz with a FSB of about 110 MHz. I would expect this multiplier-centric overclock is designed to keep the overclock focused on sheer number crunching which Super Pi likely relies on over memory bandwidth. Perhaps reduced memory timings might even come in to play for applications like this?

ASUS broke a few records with their Liquid Helium attempt. As of time of writing none of these records have been updated to the HWBot leaderboard.

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With Super Pi running to 1 million digits Asus and their team recorded a time of 5s 94ms -- 31 milliseconds faster than the current leading time of 5s 125ms. The current leaderboard already contains the ASUS Maximus V Extreme motherboard in Gold, Silver, and Bronze positions. This podium has already been well represented by the Maximus V.

When you cannot be satisfied with 1 million digits of pi you can run the marathon to 32 million digits.

superpi32M4min43.jpg

The most current record that I could find was set by a team sponsored by GSkill who achieved the time of 4min 44sec 609ms just a couple of weeks ago. ASUS and their team - which apparently has at least one member, “Smoke”, in common with the team GSkill assembled - also beat this record by almost 2 full seconds with a score of 4min 43s 0ms.

Via Debuts EPIA-M920 Mini-ITX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | September 23, 2012 - 09:21 PM |
Tagged: VIA EPIA-M920, VIA, mini-itx

VIA recently announced a new motherboard and processor combination meant for embedded systems like Point of Sale (POS) machines and digital signage. The EPIA-M920 is the company's first mini-ITX form factor board to feature its VXIIH chipset. VIA has packed a lot into this 17cm x 17cm motherboard, and the specs suggest that it is a capable machine. It can't match the NUC, but it should cost less -- and one SKU can even be run fanless. The EPIA-M920 comes in two iterations depending on the processor you select: the 12Q and the 10E. The EPIA-M920-12Q packs a 1.2GHz VIA QuadCore E processor, and requires a CPU HSF with fan. On the other hand, the EPIA-M920-10E is powered by a VIA Eden X2 dual core processor at 1.0GHz. The 10E version can run without any heatsink fans, and is passively cooled by two small aluminum heatsinks over the VXIIH chipset and processor.

EPIA-M920_shadow_L_medium.jpg

The VXIIH chipset includes the Chromotion 5.0 video processor that hardware accelerates a number of video codecs includinig MPEG-2, MPEG-4, VC-1, and H.264. VIA claims that the graphics processor can handle videos with those codecs at resolutions up to 1080p (they did not specify bit rates, however) without affecting the CPU. Further, the GPU supports DirectX 11 graphics and stereoscopic 3D content.

The VIA motherboard can support up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM running at 1333MHz (via two SO-DIMM slots). Internal headers include:

  • 2 x LVDS (Low Voltage Differential Signaling)
  • 1 x USB 3.0
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x SATA
  • 3 x RS232 (congifurable: 5V/12V)
  • SDHC card slot
  • PCI-E x4 slot

In addition, the mini ITX motherboard will happily accept power connections from either an AC or CD power supply and is compatible with the slim, low wattage, DC PSUs though no specific recommended wattage was stated.

EPIA-M920_io_L_medium.jpg

Rear IO on the motherboard is also fairly impressive considering the size. Via has packed in the following connectors.

  • Dual Gigabit LAN ports powered by two VIA VT6130 controllers.
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x HDMI
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x COM
  • 3 x audio jacks (VIA VT2021 HD codec)
  • 2 x PS/2 ports

The VIA EPIA-M920 motherboard supports Windows 7, but it is primarily aimed at embedded markets, and as such is compatible with the Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows XP Embedded, and POSReady 7 operating systems. VIA intends for this system to be used to power digital signage, point of sale machines, ATMs, kiosks, embedded gaming platforms, and other digital media applications where low power flourishes. VIA Technologies Embedded Platform Division Head Epan Wu stated that "the VIA EPIA-M920 Mini-ITX packs in all of the latest technologies from VIA providing embedded system designers an ideal platform to create groundbreaking new devices."

Unfortunately, no pricing or availability information was stated in the press release. It should be available to system integrators soon, however. You can find more photos of the EPIA-M920 mini ITX motherboard in VIA's photo gallery.

Source: Via

The ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe is all dressed

Subject: Motherboards | September 21, 2012 - 05:34 PM |
Tagged: asus, p8z77-V deluxe

The ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe has a 20-phase power design, more heatsinks than an assault mech and a long list of features including a pair of PCIe 16x slots for CrossFireX and SLI, LucidLogix Virtu MVP, Quick Sync video, Smart Response Technology, Smart Connect Technology and many other extras.  You do pay a premium for such a long list as the board is $280 on NewEgg, those who want this much motherboard are going to have to spend a bit more than someone happy with a basic Z77 implementation.  [H]ard|OCP put the board to the test most important to many enthusiasts, overclocking an i7 3770K to 4.84GHz with some careful adjustments to the voltages provided to the components.  It pulled in a Gold Award but [H] recommends only the experienced pick up this board as there are available settings in the UEFI BIOS which could seriously damage your equipment if you aren't very familiar with the specifications of your CPU and memory.

H_98z77vdel.jpg

"The ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe comes from an outstanding pedigree as virtually every board in the ASUS P8xxx series has been excellent. Is this another tremendously worthy entry in the lineup or does this one shy away from its heritage? Read on to learn about our experiences with the P8Z77-V Deluxe."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte Shows Off the F2A85X-UP4

Subject: Motherboards | September 17, 2012 - 11:09 PM |
Tagged: trinity, piledriver, fm2, amd, A85X, a10

Gigabyte lit the social media fuse and showed off some of the first pictures of one of the A85X based motherboards.  A85X is the successor to the original FM1 A75 chipset, and it had a rather robust featureset for a "budget" oriented chipset.  The original A75 was paired with the Llano APU, otherwise known as the A8/A6/A4 APU from AMD.  The A85 is pin compatible with the A75, but it offers two more SATA 6 ports than the previous unit.  Both share 14 USB ports, four of which are USB 3.0

f2a85x_up4.jpg

The board overall looks nice and robust.  The black PCB and accoutrements make it seem like it is a mean board.  There are 4 USB 3.0 ports on the back and a header for front panel USB 3.0.  All eight SATA 6 ports are used on the board, six + one on the board and one e-SATA.  We do not know all the details about the power delivery system, but it looks like it is using a variant of what we saw with the latest Z77 boards from Gigabyte.  Good stuff, Mainerd.

October certainly looks to be the month that Trinity arrives.  Everyone is very curious how it will perform against the latest Ivy Bridge processors from Intel.  While AMD still has a GPU advantage, it is slowly shrinking.  Now we wonder how well the CPU part will perform and how much power it will pull.  Stay tuned, gentle readers...

Source: Gigabyte

MSI's new budget board, the Z77A-G41

Subject: Motherboards | September 12, 2012 - 07:06 PM |
Tagged: msi, MSI Z77A-G41, lga 1155

MSI adds to the value end of their Z77 based motherboard lineup with the Z77A-G41 at a mere $100, $90 after MIR.  For that price you get a board with a pair of PCIe 16x slots as well as a pair of both PCIe 1x and PCI slots.  [H]ard|OCP were less than impressed with the SATA ports, while there are six in total they are vertical and so add to the clutter of the machine as well as being in the way of the second PCIe slot.  They have never been fans of MSI's ClickBIOS, an opinion this board did not change nor were theu impressed with the overclocking abilities of the board, no matter how long they spent adjusting setting in the UEFI implementation.  That is not to imply that this board is not a good choice for everyone, it is only the enthusiast that will be disappointed, those looking for a stable motherboard to build an inexpensive machine will find this board fully up to the task.

H_z77a.jpg

"While it's usually the high end boards that get the most attention, it's often the lower end and mid-range boards that many people purchase. With this in mind we get back to basics with the Z77A-G41 which is an entry level offering from MSI that boasts many enthusiast features."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Biostar Launches Mini-ITX A68I-350 Deluxe Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | September 10, 2012 - 09:29 AM |
Tagged: mini-itx, htpc, fusion, biostar, APU, amd, a68i-350 deluxe, a68

While Intel has gotten a lot of Mini-ITX love lately, AMD is not out of the game yet. Motherboard manufacturer Biostar recently launched an AMD Fusion APU powered Mini-ITX motherboard that would make for a nice little HTPC. The A68I-350 Deluxe is based around some of the latest technologies including support for DDR3, PCI-E 3.0, and USB 3.0 standards.

Biostar A68I-350 Deluxe (2).jpg

The A68I-350 Deluxe motherboard measures 17 cm x 17 cm and comes with a bundled dual core AMD Fusion 350D APU. A heatsink and passive cooling for the south bridge are also provided in the package. The graphics card, memory, storage and other accessories are up to you, however. The Mini-ITX board features two DDR3 DIMM slots that support a maximum of 16 GB. Located in the lower right-hand corner are three SATA 3 6Gbps ports. Below that is a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot for a graphics card or other peripheral. Additional internal IO includes:

  • 1 x printer header
  • 2 x USB 2.0 header
  • 1 X front panel audio
  • 1 X front panel header (hdd, power, reset, ect)
  • 1 x S/PDIF-OUT header
  • 1 x CPU fan header
  • 1 x system fan header
  • 1 x serial header

According to Biostar, the motherboard also uses all solid capacitors to improve longevity.

Rear IO on the board is not quite as extensive as some of the other offerings available, but is still fairly good for the price. It features two PS/2 ports for keyboard and mouse, one HDMI out, one VGA output, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, one Ethernet port (Realtek RTL8111F Gigabit controller), and three audio output jacks (Realtek ALC662 6-channel HD audio).

Biostar A68I-350 Deluxe (1).jpg

The AMD APU that comes with the A68I-350 Deluxe features Radeon 6310 graphics, which are not the fastest but will still provide plenty of oomph for watching videos on the big screen. While it has not yet shown up at online retailers like Amazon and Newegg yet, it is reportedly already shipping and will have an MSRP of € 66 (euros) or approximately $84 USD. Considering the Intel options that have recently surfaced are going for $100+ easily, this Biostar motherboard should provide a nice budget option for your next HTPC or small form factor PC build!

You can find more information on the A68I-350 Deluxe over at the Biostar website.

Read more about Mini-ITX motherboards at PC Perspective.

Source: Biostar