Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: EVGA

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of EVGA

Sometimes, good things do come in small packages. The latest board on our test bench from EVGA proves that fact, the EVGA Z77 Stinger. The Z77 Stinger is a micro-ITX form factor board based on the Intel Z77 chipset, but don’t let its size fool you. This board is packed with features and delivers the performance that we’ve come to expect out of its full-size brethren. At a mere $199.99 base price, the EVGA Z77 Stinger would be at home in any enthusiast’s full tower case or HTPC build.

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Courtesy of EVGA

Even with its small stature, the EVGA Z77 Stinger promises to pack some power. It features support for the following: SATA 2, SATA 3, eSATA, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 type devices; two different network types featuring an Intel GigE NIC and an Atheros Bluetooth adapter; PCI-Express x16 3.0 and m-PCIe ports; and HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.1a style video ports. With the addition of an m-PCIe adapter, the board can support onboard Wi-Fi as well.

Continue reading our review of the EVGA Z77 Stinger mini-ITX Motherboard!!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ECS

Introduction and Specs

Introduction

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Courtesy of ECS

As part of their Black Extreme line of motherboards, the ECS Z77H2-AX pairs the promise of performance and a mile-long feature list with looks that could kill. We decided to put this board through the paces, throwing our normal suite of benchmark and functionality tests to see how well it lived up to its reputation. The ECS Z77H2-AX seems to be well priced at its $309.99 base price with all the higher-end features and bling built into the board.

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Courtesy of ECS

From the initial unboxing of the board, I was dumbstruck. ECS literally gold-plated every heat-producing surface on this board, giving it a very unique look and feel. The board itself has no shortage of features with SATA 2, SATA 3, mSATA, and eSATA ports, support for 3 different networking types, and enough USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports for anyone.

Continue reading our review of the ECS Z77H2-AX Golden Motherboard!!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Intro and Tech Specs

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

 

Today we will be evaluating the ASUS P8Z77 WS motherboard on the test bench, evaluating its performance and functionality in various ways to ensure that the board works up to the standards we’ve come to expect from ASUS. At $339 a base price, this Intel Z77 chipset based board is part of the ASUS Workstation series, designed to meet the needs of the harsh corporate and server environments requiring optimal component functioning over a 24/7 timeframe.

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Courtesy of ASUS

 

The P8Z77 WS is a feature-rich solution with dual Intel-based GigE NICs, an ASUS customized UEFI BIOS, and multi-GPU PCI 3.0 support offered innately through the Intel Z77 chipset as well as the integrated LicidLogix Virtu MVP chipset.

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Courtesy of ASUS

Continue reading our review of the ASUS P8Z77 WS Workstation Motherboard!!

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Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Overview

Today we are taking a look at MSI’s flagship Z77 motherboard, the Z77A-GD80. Beyond being the GD80 SKU, which for several generations now has been given MSI’s premiere options, this GD80 in particular is an innovative board. This is due to the Z77A-GD80 being the first Windows motherboard that was certified for Intel’s Thunderbolt technology.

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As many of you may know, Thunderbolt has 10 Gbps of bandwidth, as well as integrates Mini DisplayPort for video. With all of this bandwidth, Thunderbolt is an exciting standard, which we will focus on in depth later in this review.

Continue reading our review of the MSI Z77A-GD80 Thunderbolt Motherboard!

Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

It's been a couple months since we've had a chance to evaluate a Z77-based motherboard, so we are taking this opportunity to throw ASUS's P8Z77-V Deluxe on our test bench to put it through our comprehensive real-world and synthetic benchmarks. This $279 board has been available for several months and supports the LGA 1155 platform that includes Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors.

 

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Courtesy of ASUS

There are many features to drool over about the ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe, but my favorite ones include the board's unique power management features, Wi-Fi functionality with remote access, and customized UEFI BIOS.  This board also includes other enhancements that focus on support for faster USB 3.0 and PCIe 3.0 integration as well as extra SATA 6GB/s ports that provide double the bandwidth of current bus systems.

 

Continue reading more about our review of the ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe!

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Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Gigabyte

PC gaming is alive and well and hardware vendors are working to create unique features in their product lines to entice this niche audience. Gigabyte has always had a soft spot for gamers who want the best components for their LAN rigs so they can own their friends in any game genre they choose to play. Gigabyte has broadened their product line to include performance gaming mice, keyboards, and PC cases. They also have a line of "G1-Killer" motherboards that Gigabyte claims is designed with 3D gaming in mind. One of their latest boards in the G1-Killer series is the G1.Sniper M3, and just happen to have a sample that we are reviewing today.

 

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Courtesy of Gigabyte

The G1.Sniper M3 was designed into a micro ATX form factor that sports Intel's latest Z77 Express chipset and supports the third generation of Intel's LGA 1155 "Ivy Bridge" processors. It is challenging to pack enough performance features and overclocking options onto a micro ATX footprint, but Gigabyte's G1.Sniper M3 has broken the code in this department. This $180 board includes a digital power phase design with auto voltage compensation, dual UEFI BIOS, and an onboard Creative Sound Core3D quad-core audio processor for rich, high-definition audio.

Continue reading our review of the Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 LGA 1155 Micro ATX Motherboard!!

Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

An overview of Thunderbolt Technology

The promise of Thunderbolt connectivity has been around for a couple of years now. Today, Thunderbolt is finally finding its way to the PC platform in the form of motherboards from ASUS and MSI. First unveiled as "Light Peak" at the Intel Developer Forum in 2009, the technology started out as a way to connect multiple devices to a system over a fiber optic cable (hence the 'light' in the name), though the final products have changed the implementation slightly.

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The first prototype implementations actually used a USB-style connection and interface. It further required fiber optic cables. When it was renamed to Thunderbolt and then released in conjunction with a new lineup of Apple MacBook laptops, not only did the physical interface move to a mini-DisplayPort connection but the cable was made to use copper rather than fiber. Without diving too far into the reasons and benefits of either direction, the fact is that the copper cables allow for modest power transfer and are much cheaper than fiber optic variants would be.

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Thunderbolt's base technology remains the same, however. It is a transfer standard that allows for 10 Gbps of bandwidth for each channel (bi-directional) and concurrently supports both data and display connections. The actual interface for the data path is based on PCI Express and connected devices actually appear to Windows as if they are internally connected to the system which can offer some interesting benefits – and headaches – for hardware developers. The display connection uses the DisplayPort standard and can be used along with the data connection without affecting bandwidth levels or performance.  

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For current Intel processor implementations, the Thunderbolt connection is supported by a separate controller chip on the motherboard (or a riser card) – and some routing is required for correct usage. The Thunderbolt controller does not actually include a graphics controller, so it must be fed an output from another graphics processor, obviously in this case directly from the Ivy Bridge / Sandy Bridge processors. In theory, these could be from other controllers, but with the ubiquitous nature of integrated processor graphics on IVB and SNB processors, this is going to be the implementation going forward according to motherboard and system designers. 

Continue reading our review of Thunderbolt on Windows and the ASUS P8Z77-V Premium!!

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Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS continues to optimize their hardware for the overclocking and PC gaming crowds, but they are also catering to a niche audience looking for ultra stable and durable PC components. ASUS's Sabertooth X79 motherboard is their one of their latest products to bear the TUF series label and sport customized hardware and thermal components as well as a desert camo color scheme to complete the military look. This $329 motherboard comes with a five-year warranty, digital power management system, rugged chokes, solid capacitors, and MOSFETs that have been certified through third party, military-grade testing.

 

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Sabertooth X79 also comes with a host of other features to improve SSD caching and give users quad GPU support for CrossfireX and SLI graphics card configurations. This board also includes a unique UEFI BIOS and natively supports 2TB hard drives with 64-bit operating systems. The USB BIOS "Flashback" feature also helps new users update their motherboard BIOS without entering the BIOS. ASUS states that users can use any USB storage device with the latest BIOS, push the BIOS button located on the back I/O panel for three seconds, and the board will automatically update the BIOS using standby power. Very cool!

 

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Courtesy of ASUS

The back I/O panel on the Sabertooth X79 is no slouch either as it gives users a healthy amount of USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and eSATA 6GB/s ports for greater performance and expandability options. They also added a small fan over the back I/O panel as part of their "TUF Thermal Armor" feature that will help cool and exhaust heat from ther motherboard out the back of the chassis. Let's move on to the rest of the Saberbooth X79's features where we will get our first out-of-the-box look at this motherboard.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Sabertooth X79 LGA2011 Motherboard!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Courtesy of Gigabyte

We are still making our way through an avalanche of X79 motherboards on our test bench that leverages the power of Sandy Bridge-E CPUs, but we didn't want to wait any longer on powering up Gigabyte's GA-X79-UD5 extended ATX motherboard. Gigabyte has really stepped up their game by offering optimized LGA 2011 for no-nonsense PC builders, hardware enthusiasts, serious overclockers, and even FPS/RPG PC gamers. Our review of the X79-UD5 is going to evaluate every aspect of the board's ability to handle automatic and manual overclocking, DX10/DX11 gaming, and other synthetic and real-world benchmarks.

 

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Courtesy of Gigabyte

The Gigabyte X79-UD5 motherboard takes full advantage of the new features available with the LGA 2011 platform and X79 Express chipset like the abiliy to use up to 64GBs of quad-channel memory via eight DIMMs and support for dual and triple AMD CrossfireX or NVIDIA SLI graphics card configurations for multi-monitor, high-definition gaming. These features should make ultra enthusiasts grin from ear to ear because they will probably be the ones who tandem this board with an Intel Core i7-3960X processor and dual NVIDIA GTX 680s graphics cards that were just released earlier this week. The $299 price tag on this board also places it right in the middle of the pack of LGA 2011 motherboards available on Newegg and other vendors.

Continue reading our review of the Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 motherboard!

Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Courtesy of MSI

My first Sandy Bridge-E motherboard review of 2012 showcases the talents of Intel's latest i7-3820 3.6GHz quad-core processor and MSI's X79A-GD65 (8D) ATX motherboard. The enhancements included in the LGA 2011 platform combined with MSI's unique optimizations to the board's overclocking, gaming, and power management capabilities should make for an exciting testing experience.

 

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Courtesy of MSI

MSI currently has six motherboards that support the LGA 2011 socket and the X79A-GD65 (8D) is considered one of their higher-end offerings at $289.99. This board targets users who want to take advantage of three PCI-E x16 slots for AMD CrossfireX or NVIDIA SLI configurations. It also gives users the ability to use up to two SATA 6GB/s and four SATA 3GB/s devices courtesy of the X79 chipset. MSI also used a second ASMedia controller to add two more SATA 6GB/s ports to the board. All of these SATA3 ports support Intel's Rapid Storage Technology, but the SATA3 devices managed by the X79 chipset can only handle RAID 0 and 1 versus the ASMedia chip that handles RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10.

Continue reading our review of the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) Motherboard!!

Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

7-series based motherboards from ASUS

This is going to be an interesting couple of months as the industry balances the move from Sandy Bridge to the 3rd Generation of Intel Core processor and the 7-series chipsets.  We have documented the rumored delays of the Ivy Bridge CPUs but it looks like Intel is moving ahead with the Z77/H77 chipset launch as planned.  This means that from now until whenever those new CPUs actually launch we will see quite a few new motherboards announced from the typical vendors claiming "future platform compatibility." 

Recently we spent some time with our friends at ASUS to learn about its plans for the Z77 launch and I must say I came away quite impressed with the technology and features being integrated.  Today I am allowed to share with you some photos and basic information about the features being offered on the ASUS Z77 lineup, though without much hands-on time we are limited in what we can say.  

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There are going to be options ranging from the high-end Maximus V Formula to the budget priced P8Z77-V to the ultra-niche with the mini-ITX P8Z77-I Deluxe.  Enjoy!

Continue reading our preview of the upcoming ASUS Z77 motherboards!!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Foxconn

Layout and Features

From the Forums is a new segment here on PC Perspective where we dive through the best content on the PC Perspective Forums and bring it to the main stage here on pcper.com.  Even though this content isn't direct from our editors it brings value to the reader and so we wanted to push into the spotlight!  Our forums are some of the best online if you are looking for community fun and gaming or have a particularly annoying issue you are trying to work out on your latest build.  Be sure you stop by to see what our members are up to today!!

Windwithme has been a member of the PC Perspective Forums since mid-2009 and has continually contributed with in-depth reviews of hardware including motherboard, graphics cards SSDs and more.  Though English is not his native language, and because of that some of his text will seem odd to US readers, the content is great and we are glad to have Windwithme as part of our community!  Enjoy!  You can find the original thread for this content right here.

If you have any feedback on this new feature, please drop us a line in the commments below!


 

Ever since Intel officially launch Sandy Bridge-E new platform in 2011 November,
several motherboard companies successively roll out new motherboard based on X79 chipset to support Intel next generation high-end platform.

Due to the continuous effort of self-own brand management made by FOXCONN, Quantum Force series still dominant high-end motherboard.

FOXCONN X79 Quantumian-1 still provides various choices for the market though the quantities of Quantum Force series are not as various as they are in the past time.  Soon after the release of Intel X79 chipset, FOXCONN promptly roll out corresponding X79 motherboard. Quantum Force was naming in a special way which the Intel code won’t be shown on the models.

This time, Quantumian-1 which belongs to the series of Quantum Force still follows the high-end style both in material and design.

The patterns shown on exterior packing of high-end product are always different which exhibits the great efforts on art design.

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The full picture of FOXCONN Quantumian-1

Quantum Force is common to use black and red to create contrast visual sense.
Currently, there are more and more motherboard brands adopt these two colors to match. 

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It is known that the market segment of Quantumian-1 x79 is positioned as high-end product line.
Besides, the corresponding specification, design and featured over clocking function have also been highly highlighted.

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Accessories

  • Product manual
  • easy guide
  • nVIDIA SLI 3Way bridge
  • CD
  • IO shield

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  • SATA connectors and cables both in red and yellow
  • DC power cable SATA

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Continue reading the rest of this forum review of the Foxconn Quantumian-1 X79 Motherboard!!

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Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Introduction and Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Gigabyte

AMD's Fusion technology has worked out well for the company in 2011 and many vendors have reaped the benefits by including this platform in their mini ITX motherboards and netbook offerings. Gigabyte found room in their product line to feature this chipset in its GA-E350N-USB3. We received one of these boards for review to see how it stacks up against other E-350 mini ITX boards available today.

 

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Courtesy of Gigabyte

 The GA-E350N-USB3 can be purchased for around $89.99 (after mail-in rebate from Newegg) and includes an AMD dual-core E-350 1.6GHz processor with an integrated Radeon HD 6310 GPU and support for USB 3.0, SATA3, and a PCI-E x16 slot for add-on video cards or other PCI-E devices. AMD developed the Brazos platform to directly compete with Intel's Atom and NVIDIA's ION technologies for the top slot this year's netbooks, notebooks, and some entry-level desktop solutions.

Read our full review of the Gigabyte E350-USB3 motherboard!

Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASRock

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASRock

Our test bench has seen a flood of Z68-based enthusiast motherboards this fall and ASRock added their flagship Z68 Extreme 7 Gen 3 board to the top of the pile for testing. The Extreme 7 Gen 3 pulls out all the stops for extreme enthusiasts and ultra overclockers by arming this board with next-gen PCI-E 3.0 support and an NVIDIA NF200 chip to allow users to run dual graphics cards at PCI-E x16/x16 mode and three graphics cards at x16/x8/x8 respectively.

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Courtesy of ASRock

This $275 board brings with it a lot of features that users have been begging for like a graphical Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), Intel's Smart Response techology, dual gigabit LAN capabilities, and support for six USB 3.0 and six SATA 3 devices. They also didn't skimp on the power components by adding premium gold caps that are made in Japan and considered by many to be luxury capacitors. 

Read our entire review of the ASRock Z68 Extreme 7 Gen 3 motherboard!

Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Asus

900 Series: Bulldozer Ready

The rumor on the street is that Asus makes a few motherboards.  They may or may not be the world’s leading motherboard manufacturer.  Asus may also have a pretty good reputation for quality and innovation in their products.  It is tongue in cheek hour at PC Perspective.  All joking aside, Asus anymore is the gold standard for quality manufacturing and design in motherboards.

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Some months ago AMD released their AM3+ capable chipsets, though the release was not nearly as exciting as we had hoped.  The AMD 900 series of chipsets are essentially the same silicon as those that power the non-integrated AMD 800 series.  There are three SKUs that are currently available for the 900 series that Asus makes motherboards around.

Read the entire article here.

Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Courtesy of MSI

Micro-Star International, better known as MSI, has been busy little bees in 2011 to fend off fierce competition from ASUS, Gigabyte and other motherboard vendors. This year's launch of the Z68 chipset from Intel combined the capabilities and features from the H67 and P67 chipsets, and MSI capitalized on this when they joined forces with LucidLogix to include their Virtu technology in their latest Z68A-GD80 motherboard. Lucid's Virtu tech provides users with switchable graphics, which allows users to enjoy both graphics power of integrated GPU and discrete GPU.

 

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Courtesy of MSI

MSI also used the Z68A-GD80 as their first motherboard to support PCI Express 3.0, which boosts 32GB/s of transfer bandwidth and makes this mobo a bit more future proof for users looking for their next hardware upgrade. MSI also upgraded their BIOS system to ClickBIOS II, which  provides a consistent user interface both in the UEFI BIOS and in Windows. Users can control their system settings directly from Windows and the GUI also supports touchscreen controls.

Continue reading our review of the MSI Z68A-GD80 G3 motherboard!!

Author:
Manufacturer: PC Perspective

The Basics

Introduction

If you have been visiting PC Perspective at all over the last week there is no doubt you have seen a lot of discussion about the currently running Battlefield 3 beta.  We posted an article looking at performance of several different GPUs in the game and then followed it up with a look at older cards like the GeForce 9800 GT.  We did a live stream of some PC Perspective staff playing BF3 with readers and fans, showed off and tested the locked Caspian Border map and even looked at multi-GPU scaling performance.  It was a lot of testing and a lot of time, but now that we have completed it, we are ready to summarize our findings in a piece that many have been clamoring for - a Battlefield 3 system build guide.

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The purpose of this article is simple: gather our many hours or testing and research and present the results in a way that simply says "here is the hardware we recommend."  It is a the exact same philosophy that makes our PC Perspective Hardware Leaderboard so successful as it gives the reader all the information they need, all in one place.

Continue reading our guide for building a system for Battlefield 3!!

Author:
Subject: Motherboards

Introduction and Specifications

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Courtesy of ECS

ECS developed the HDC-I motherboard to take advantage of AMD's new Brazos platform that's based on the Hudson M1 chipset and their latest E-350 dual-core processor and integrated DDR3 800/1066 memory controller. The dual-core E-350 APU, which combines the CPU and GPU, brings a host of features to mini ITX enthusiasts like USB 3.0 compability, SATA 6Gb/s support, bluetooth and Radeon HD 6310 graphics and UVD 3 to play 3D Blu-ray and HD-1080P movies.

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Courtesy of ECS

Another huge advantage of going with a mini ITX motherboard for your next home theater PC is the balance of computing power and power consumption that the AMD Brazos platform adds to the ECS HDC-I. The HDC-I is an energy-efficient motherboard that has integrated computing power and graphics firepower for users looking for an "all-in-one" solution for their next small form factor build.

Continue reading our review of the ECS HDC-I Fusion Mini ITX Motherboard!!

Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Features

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Courtesy of MSI

In 2011, MSI has based their enthusiast-level Sandy Bridge motherboards on two main features: novice and advanced overclocking and stable and reliable hardware components. We had the opportunity in March to evaluate the sub-$200 P67A-GD65, which flexed its muscles in several benchmarks including PC gaming and general PC tasks and applications.

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Courtesy of MSI

The P67A-GD80 adds a few more ultra-enthusiast features and an additional PCIe x16 slot, which pushes the price of this high-end motherboard to around $229 (before mail-in rebate at Newegg). This board sports Intel's P67 chipset that supports their latest LGA 1155 Sandy Bridge processors. It also has three PCIe x16 slots that are compatible with CrossfireX and SLI graphics card configurations to make this board a fantastic solution for triple-monitor, high-resolution gaming.

Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: AMD

AMD Unleashes the 990FX: Paving the way for Bulldozer

Word of the AMD 990FX chipset first came around the end of last year.  Speculation was brisk as to what new features it would bring, and when exactly it would help to usher in the age of Bulldozer to the world.  Most thought that it would be a shrink of the then current 890FX, and the new SB950 southbridge would have improvements to the SATA 6G controller, as well as a native USB 3.0 implementation.  Today we finally get to see the reality of the situation.  It is not groundbreaking, nor is it altogether exciting, but it is certainly interesting.

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 The 990FX and SB950 chips are identical to the previous 890FX and SB850.  They are the same silicon.  For those hoping for new technology will be disappointed.  But all is not lost!  AMD did increase the HyperTransport specification from 3.0 to 3.1, which allows the HT bus to run at 6.4 GTPS as compared to the older 5.2 GTPS.  This is in place to allow the upcoming Bulldozer chips to run the northbridge portion of the chip up to 3.2 GHz, and to give the CPU more bandwidth between the different busses on the board (eg. SATA, USB 3.0, and PCI-E connections).