Another skinny Z97 board, Gigabyte's Z97-HD3

Subject: Motherboards | May 28, 2015 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: Z97-HD3, gigabyte, z97

The Z97-HD3 Rev. 2 is a trimmed down board, both literally and figuratively as it is a mere 19cm (7.5") wide and lacks the LEDs, gold heatsinks and Nichicon caps that the initial release did.  It is also less expensive, $80 after MIR which is a bonus for someone looking to build an entry level machine.  The topmost 16x PCIe slot is a 3.0 slot and perfect for single GPU systems, the second is 2.0 and a maximum of 4x which takes SLI out of the picture but will handle Crossfire, not something to be overly worried about for an entry level system.  Do these cost cutting measures also impact the performance and stability of the board?  Check out The Tech Report's full review to find out.

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"At $100, the Z97-HD3 is Gigabyte's most affordable full-sized Z97 board. We've taken a closer look at what the board has to offer, and we've paired it with a Pentium Anniversary Edition for some overclocking fun. Read on to see if it's worth opening your wallet."

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MSI X99A Motherboards Win Computex Best Choice Awards

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | May 27, 2015 - 08:01 PM |
Tagged: computex, computex 2015, msi, x99a xpower ac, x99a gaming 9 ack, X99

Even though COMPUTEX 2015 doesn't begin for almost a week, the organizers have presented their “Best Choice Award”. Many devices won from a variety of categories, such as the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet and the 19” Stainless Fanless Industrial Panel PC from Wincomm Corporation. Being COMPUTEX, they appreciate PC gaming and overclocking, which led to MSI winning a pair of awards for its X99-based motherboards.

The MSI X99A GAMING 9 ACK motherboard won the Best Choice Golden Award for Gaming and Entertainment because of its Streaming Engine Module. This feature uses an AVerMedia encoder to stream 60 megabit, 1080p, H.264 gaming video over the internet, to compensate for the lack of Intel Quicksync on Haswell-E. I have never seen it in action, but it seems to have interested the judges. MSI's second award is for the MSI X99A XPOWER AC motherboard, which won the Best Choice Award for Computer and System because of its overclocking capability.

COMPUTEX starts on June 2nd in Taiwan, which is next week, but expect more news before then.

Source: Computex
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The X99-Gaming 5P is the latest board to be branding as part of GIGABYTE's Champion Series of motherboards with enhanced overclocking and memory support common to board's in that series. The board also features the G1 Gaming-branding, clearly targeting the gaming crowd with is red and black aesthetics. The board supports all Intel LGA2011-3 based processors paired with DDR4 memory in up to a quad channel configuration. GIGABYTE priced the X99-Gaming 5P competitively with an MSRP of $309.99.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The X99-Gaming 5P was designed to take the abuse that enthusiast gamers put their boards through. The board features a 8+4-phase digital power system, using International Rectify Gen 4 digital PWM controllers and Gen 3 PowIRstage controllers, Server Level chokes, and long life Durable Black Solid capacitors. It also offers a superior sound solution for gaming, pairing together the Creative Sound Core3D&trade quad-core audio processor, high-end audio capacitors, and a removable OP-AMP.

Continue reading our review of the GIGABYTE X99-Gaming 5P motherboard!

Just Arrived: MSI 990FXA-Gaming Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | May 21, 2015 - 11:34 PM |
Tagged: msi, amd, 990fx, FX-8370, FX-9590, sli, crossfire, SoundBlaster, killer nic, usb 3.1

Several weeks ago MSI officially announced the 990FXA-Gaming motherboard for the AM3+ market.  The board is based on the tried and true 990FX and SB950 combo, but it adds a new wrinkle to the game: USB 3.1 support.  MSI has released the other AMD based USB 3.1 board on the market, the 970 Krait.

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Quite a few people were excited about this part, as the AM3+ market has been pretty stagnant as of late.  This is not necessarily surprising considering that AMD has not launched a new AM3+ chip since Fall of 2014 with a couple of "efficiency" chips as well as the slightly faster FX-8370.

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There was some speculation based on early photographs that the board could have a more robust power delivery system than previous AM3+ boards, but alas, that is not the case.  Upon closer inspection it appears as though MSI has gone the 6+2 phase route.  If there are good quality components in there, you can potentially run the 220 watt TDP FX-9000 series parts, but these puppies are not officially supported.  In fact, I received an email saying that I might want to be really careful in my choice of CPUs as well as being extremely careful when overclocking.

The board still has some real potential at being a really nice home for the 125 watt TDP and below parts.  The audio portion looks very well designed and features the SoundBlaster Cinema 2.  It supports both SLI and CrossFire in native 2 x 16x (highly doubtful with 3 cards with the way the slots are configured).  It has the Killer NIC ethernet suite which may or may not be a selling point, depending on who you ask.

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Overall the board is an interesting addition to the club, but I really wouldn't trust it with the FX-9000 series chips.  I have a 970 Gaming that came with the FX-9590 that had a similar power delivery system, and it ran like a champ; there is a possibility that the board will run this combination.  This is going to be installed this weekend and I will start the benchmarking!  Keep tuned!

Source: MSI
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: SUPERMICRO

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of SUPERMICRO

SUPERMICRO is a vendor you really don't hear much about anymore, unless you are dealing with datacenter and server builds. However, they are looking to make a comeback into the enthusiast crowd with their Intel X99 chipset-based offering, the C7X99-OCE motherboard. The board features a blue and black aesthetic with stylish heat sinks covering all the important areas with support for all Intel LGA2011-3 based processors paired with DDR4 memory in up to a quad channel configuration. Offered at a $329.99 MSRP, the SUPERMICRO C7X99-OCE remains reasonably priced in comparison to Intel X99 offerings from other manufacturers.

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Courtesy of SUPERMICRO

SUPERMICRO built the C7X99-OCE to appeal to the enthusiast crowd, powered by a more than adequate 8+4 phase digital power delivery system. The following features were integrated into the board: 10 SATA 3 ports; dual RJ-45 Intel i210-AT Gigabit NICs; four PCI-Express x16 slots; two PCI-Express x4 slots; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, CMOS clear, and overclocking buttons; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of SUPERMICRO

Continue reading our review of the SUPERMICRO C7X99-OCE motherboard!

First Glimpse of the MSI 990FXA-Gaming Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | May 6, 2015 - 10:21 AM |
Tagged: usb 3.1, sli, piledriver, msi, gaming, crossfire, amd, am3+, 990FXA-Gaming, 990fx

Some months ago MSI announced that they are releasing a slew of USB 3.1 compliant parts.  What was surprising was the mention of a brand new AM3+ board based on the now nearly geriatric AMD 990FX chipset.  The 990FX has had quite a lifespan with PCI-E 2.0 support and the accompanying SB950 southbridge with USB 2.0 and SATA6G features.

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It looks as if MSI is doing a clean sheet design for the 990FXA-Gaming.  This looks to be a class leading product with plenty of features.  Not only does it have the USB 3.1 support, but it also implements the enhanced audio design that we have seen on other top end boards from MSI.  It also embraces the Killer ethernet software suite (utilizing Qualcomm's Atheros Gig-E chip).

The power delivery system looks to be a full 8+2 unit, so it can officially handle the 220 watt TDP FX-9000 series of CPUs.  It supports both SLI and CrossFire.  The cooling on the board looks to be top notch as well, with a heatpipe stretching from the Southbridge, through the Northbridge, and finally to the VRMs.

We expect these boards to be available sometime around the middle of this month.  We should also be receiving a sample for testing around then.  It is nice to see new support for AMD's FX CPUs, and this should be a cost effective member of the club.  Though AM3+ is a dead end in terms of socket infrastructure, there is still a lot of value in AMD's FX CPU line.

There is no word on pricing at this time, but I would not be surprised to see it hit the $149 mark.  It does not seem as decked out as the 990FXA-GD80 which is priced around $179.  With the robust featureset that they do implement, it does look to be a value if it can hit that aggressive price point.

Source: MSI

The Asus Z97-P; yours for just over $110

Subject: Motherboards | May 5, 2015 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: asus, Z97-P

If you are looking for a low priced Z97 system you could do worse than base it off of the ASUS Z97-P.  It is a trimmed down ATX board, only 21.3cm wide which unfortunately leads to a relatively crowded CPU socket and you would be wise to double check the size of the cooler you intend to use.  You will also be limited to a single GPU as only one of the PCIe slots is 16x Gen3, the other 16x slot is in fact a 2x though that does leave enough lanes for the board to sport an M.2 slot.  There are sacrifices made on the board but the general high quality of ASUS firmware ensures you get stable performance and, in The Tech Reports' opinion, justifies the slightly higher cost when compared to some of the other budget Z97 boards on the market.

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"Asus' entry-level Z97 board is the Z97-P. Does the P in the model name signify that all it can hope for is a passing grade compared to its straight-As brother, the Z97-A? Read on to find out."

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MSI Launches 8 New FM2+ Motherboards Supporting AMD Godavari CPUs

Subject: Motherboards | May 4, 2015 - 02:49 PM |
Tagged: processor, msi, motherboard, Godavari, FM2+, cpu, APU, amd

MSI has revealed a new FM2+ motherboard lineup with support for upcoming AMD Godavari processors, further indicating the launch of these new CPUs will be very soon though no official announcement has yet been made by AMD.

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As reported back in January when the lineup allegedly leaked the new Godavari SKUs feature higher clocks on both processor and, more significantly, in GPU cores in upcoming APUs like the rumored 8850K. MSI states that "these new models are available in ATX, micro-ATX, and mini-ATX form factors and are backwards compatible with FM2 processors (Kaveri, Richland, Trinity, 6000 and 5000 series)", so it makes sense to consider these new models for future compatibility if shopping for an FM2 motherboard today. It remains to be seen if vendors will offer support for Godavari through BIOS updates, though it does at least seem likely.

For those interested here is the list of new MSI AMD FM2+/FM2 motherboard models:

  • A68HM-E33 V2
  • A88XM-E45 V2
  • A78M-E35 V2
  • A88XM-P33 V2
  • A78M-E45 V2
  • A88X-G41 PC Mate V2
  • A88XM-E35 V2
  • A88XI AC V2

The familiar Military Class 4 and OC Genie 4 branding is visible across the lineup, and the new models also feature "a rich blend of features and technologies, such as onboard LAN, PCI Express 3.0 x16, SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.0 and multiple display support".

Source: MSI

ASRock EPC612D4I Motherboard: Mini-ITX LGA 2011-3 with Quad-Channel DDR4

Subject: Motherboards | May 1, 2015 - 09:25 AM |
Tagged: sodimm, quad-channel, mini-itx, EPC612D4I, ddr4, ASRock Rack, asrock

They finally did it! A new mini-ITX LGA 2011-3 has been announced by ASRock, the EPC612D4I, and this server-grade product will offer full quad-channel memory support with a switch to SoDIMM RAM.

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Image credit: Tom’s IT Pro

While ASRock had previously released a mini-ITX X99 motherboard (the X99E-ITX/ac) there were concessions made based on the limitations of the form-factor, and the motherboard was limited to dual-channel memory with only two DDR4 DIMM slots. So for a full quad-channel experience it became obvious that a switch to SoDIMM’s would be required. So are there any DDR4 SoDIMMs available? They certainly aren’t cheap, but a quick search for the model number of this new board finds a page from Crucial for compatible DDR4 modules – at a cost of $555.99 for a massive 32GB (4x8GB) of 1.2V DDR4-2133 ECC memory.

Specs for the EPC612D4I from ASRock:

  • LGA 2011 R3 Intel Xeon processor E5-1600/2600 v3 series
  • 4x SO-DIMM slots, supports quad-channel DDR4 2133/1866 ECC
  • 4x SATA 6Gb/s by C612
  • 1x PCIe 3.0 x16                      
  • Integrated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and Dedicated LAN (RTL8211E)
  • Intel Dual GLAN (Intel i210 + Intel i217)

The new board was first reported by Tom's IT Pro and their article lists the retail price for the ASRock EPC612D4I at $265, which isn’t bad for a product like this. While definitely targeting the server market this could potentially be implemented for a very compact workstation setup (and allow creation of a PC to rival the diminutive Mac Pro, perhaps).

Source: ASRock

GIGABYTE Enables 5th Gen Intel Core CPU Support for 9 Series Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | April 30, 2015 - 10:32 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Intel, Broadwell, h97, z97, bios, cpu, processor

GIGABYTE has announced support for the upcoming LGA 1150 variants of Intel's 5th-generation Core (Broadwell) processors for all existing 9-series motherboards via BIOS update.

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The full press release appears below:


City of Industry, California, April 30th, 2015 – GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards is proud to announce their entire line-up of Z97 and H97 motherboards now support the soon-to-launch 5th Generation Intel® Core™ processors.

GIGABYTE engineers have tested and validated all GIGABYTE 9 series motherboards including Z97 and H97 chipset-based motherboards to ensure optimal performance for 5th Generation Intel® Core™ processors. Users wanting to take advantage of all the features of 5th Gen Intel® Core™ processors have to offer at launch, simply need to download the latest UEFI BIOS from the GIGABYTE website.

To get the latest UEFI BIOS for your motherboard, please visit the GIGABYTE website: http://www.gigabyte.us

Source: GIGABYTE