A mouthfull of a motherboard, the MSI X99A XPower Gaming Titanium Edition

Subject: Motherboards | August 12, 2016 - 03:26 PM |
Tagged: X99A XPower Gaming Titanium Edition, Intel X99, msi

The list of features on this motherboard is as long as the name; five PCIe 3.0 16x slots, the  Game Boost overclocking knob, 10 SATA 6Gbps ports, one each of SEx, M.2 and U.2, 13 USB 3.1 ports including a single Type C, WiFi and Bluetooth ... all it is missing is a game fowl in a fruit tree.  [H]ard|OCP did have problems with XMP settings, but nothing they couldn't overcome via manual settings and the issues they had with the Core-i7 6950X turned out to be caused by the PSU and RAM and not the motherboard at all.  If you need a plethora of storage and add-in cards then check this board out as it can handle almost anything you want to stick in it.

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"MSI’s X99A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM is a mouthful, but the XPOWER series has been a favorite of ours here at HardOCP for years now. The latest X99 iteration has much to prove. Is the X99A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM another pretty face, or is it a fitting addition to the venerable XPOWER line?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Maximus VIII Extreme is the flagship in the ROG (Republic of Gamer) board line, offering supporting the Intel Z170 chipset. The board features the standard black and red ROG aesthetics in an E-ATX form factor to best accommodate the slew of features and supported options offered with this board. ASUS integrated black chrome heat sinks with integrated LEDs for a unique and customizable look. The board's integrated Intel Z170 chipset integrates support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Skylake processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory. The Maximus VIII Extreme may not be very approachable for most users at its $499 MSRP, but the price remains justified given the sheer amount of features integrated into the board and the included accessories.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS integrated the following features into the Maximus VIII Extreme board: four SATA 3 ports; two SATA-Express ports; one U.2 32Gbps port; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; 3x3 802.11ac WiFI adapter; four PCI-Express x16 slots; two PCI-Express x1 slots; on-board power, reset, MemOK!, Safe Boot, ReTry, DirectKey, Multi-GPU, BIOS Switch, Clear CMOS, and USB BIOS Flashback buttons; Slow Mode and PCIe Lane switches; LN2 Mode jumper; ProbeIt voltage measurement points; 2-digit Q-Code LED diagnostic display; ROG SupremeFX 2015 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort and HDMI video ports; and USB 3.0 and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support. ASUS also included their Fan Extension controller card and OC Panel II device and accesory pack with the Maximus VIII Extreme board.

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS included their OC Panel II device with the Maximus VIII Extreme motherboard. This device can be used as an external panel or case-mounted using the included 5.25" device bay. The OC Panel II gives user access to a variety of OC settings as well as board bus speed, temperature, and fan speed monitoring settings. Additionally, the panel provides additional fan and temperature headers as well as headers used for advanced overclocking endeavors.

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme motherboard!

MSI Announces the X99A TOMAHAWK Gaming Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | August 2, 2016 - 05:11 PM |
Tagged: X99A TOMAHAWK, msi, motherboard, Intel X99, gaming, atx, armor

MSI has announced their newest X99 motherboard, the X99A TOMAHAWK, a premium design with a stealthy black and gray color scheme, and boasting several new features according to MSI.

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"The X99A TOMAHAWK has been designed from the ground up as completely new X99 GAMING model. It comes packed with several new and unique MSI features and a fully armored IO and audio cover, harnessing optimized gaming audio and industries’ highest quality components, providing gamers with best-in-class features and protection.

Besides its stunning looks, the cover labeled with TOMAHAWK also protects against Electro Magnetic Interference and ensures pure performance and the best audio signal for your gaming rig. Heavy plated heatsinks with MSI’s unique styling, make sure your system can handle anything when and runs cool when racking up frags and climbing the leaderboards when gaming for longer periods of time."

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Here's the rundown of features for the X99A TOMAHAWK, which include dual Intel NICs and USB 3.1 Gen2 support (full specs and more info available on the product page):

  • Supports New Intel® Core™ i7 processors Extreme Edition in LGA 2011-3 socket
  • Supports Quad Channel DDR4-3333+(OC) Memory
  • DDR4 Boost: Give your DDR4 memory a performance boost
  • Support lntel® Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0.
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 2X FASTER: USB 3.1 Gen2 offers performance twice as fast as a regular USB 3.0 connection
  • Turbo M.2 32Gb/s + Turbo U.2 32Gb/s + USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A+C + SATA 6Gb/s
  • TWIN GAMING LAN with LAN Protect, powered by Intel®: The best online gaming experience with lowest latency
  • Audio Boost 3: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality
  • GAMING Hotkey: Assign macros, launch your favorite games or do real-time overclocking using a single button
  • XSplit Gamecaster v2.5: 1 year free premium license to show off your skills and achievements to the world
  • SteelSeries Certified: Optimized for SteelSeries gaming gear
  • Military Class 5: The latest evolution in high quality components featuring the brand new Titanium Chokes
  • MULTI-GPU with Steel Armor: Steel Armor PCI-E slots. Supports 3-Way NVIDIA SLI™ & AMD Crossfire™
  • Click BIOS 5: Award-winning brand new Click BIOS 5 with high resolution scalable font
  • GAMING CERTIFIED: 24-hour on- and offline game testing by eSports players for the best gaming experience
  • USB Speed Up: for up to 30% performance improvement on USB devices

Pricing and availablity for the X99A TOMAHAWK has not been announced.

Source: MSI

ASRock Releases H110M-STX Mini-STX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 28, 2016 - 10:04 AM |
Tagged: small form-factor, SFF, mini-stx, mini-pc, H110M-STX, asrock

The motherboard within ASRock's DeskMini mini-PC kit has been released as a standalone product, and this H110M-STX motherboard offers Intel processor support up to 65W in its 5" x 5" Mini-STX form-factor.

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Image credit: ASRock

Specifications from ASRock:

  • Supports LGA 1151 6th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron Processors up to 65W TDP
  • Supports Dual-Channel DDR4 SO-DIMM 2133
  • Graphics output: D-Sub, HDMI, DisplayPort
  • ALC283 Audio Codec
  • 2x SATA3, 1 M.2 (PCIe Gen3 x4)
  • 3x USB 3.0 (Type-A & Type-C from front I/O; 1 from rear I/O)
  • 3x USB 2.0 (2 from onboard header; 1 from rear I/O)
  • Intel Gigabit LAN
  • 1x M.2 (Key E for WiFi + BT module)

Like thin-Mini-ITX motherboards the H110M-STX requires an external 19v power adapter. ASRock recommends a 120W adapter for 65W CPUs, while 35W Intel CPU builds can manage with a 90W adapter.

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Image credit: ASRock

As to availability/price, this has yet to appear in the usual e-tail channels in the U.S., with no results currently on Amazon or Newegg. ASRock's larger H110-ITX board sells for $69.99, so this may give us an indication of where pricing might be - though the smaller STX form-factor could increase cost.

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Image credit: ASRock

A sub-mITX form-factor might seem a bit unnecessary, but the smaller board does provide builders with a way to create their own mini-PC boxes with upgradable processors. Naturally, one would need an enclosure for this tiny motherboard, and the only one I have seen thus far came from SilverStone's booth at CES - though ready availability for all products in this newest form-factor is still an issue.

Source: ASRock

This ASUS ROG X99 board comes with no reSTRIXions on GAMING

Subject: Motherboards | July 7, 2016 - 04:27 PM |
Tagged: asus, rog x99 strix gaming, X99

The relatively recent refresh of X99 motherboards have seen several features become standard including an RGB lightshow, USB 3.1 and U.2 ports, though the chipset itself remains unchanged.  [H]ard|OCP tried out ASUS' new ROG X99 Strix Gaming motherboard recently, even suffering for their fans while doing so.  That minor fingernail related incident aside the board proved quite capable, though perhaps not to the extreme level they were hoping to see.  In part that lies in the fact that this is a Gaming board as opposed to one of the extreme overclocking boards, which is also reflected in the pricing.  For those looking for a board that runs out of the box, with some overclocking potential it is worth looking at the full review; those hoping to play with LN2 may wish to shop around more.

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"ASUS’ ROG X99 STRIX GAMING motherboard adds a bit of bling to the ROG line and much needed fresh blood that comes with some cool features and a much lower price point than other ROG X99 chipset offerings. And it has all the pretty lights in any color you want, if that is your thing."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte's Z170X-UD3 for the middle of the road enthusiast

Subject: Motherboards | June 8, 2016 - 06:17 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Z170X-UD3, Intel Z170

At $150 Gigabyte's Z170X-UD3 is within the budget of many system builders but the question remains as to the value you get for that money.  The Tech Report delved into this topic in their recent review and the prognosis is good, especially if you can find it on sale for $120 like they did.  They did find the firmware somewhat limiting, though some of us do like the Classic Mode UEFI the fan speed control is quite limited.  Gigabyte did address that with their System Information Viewer utility for Windows which does allow for fine control and when asked Gigabyte did suggest they may address this in a new UEFI update.  With three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, USB 3.1 and a pair of M.2 ports you do not suffer for connectivity and the overclocking potential is certainly acceptable for this price point.  Check out their full review here.

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"Gigabyte's Z170X-UD3 is a mid-range motherboard that gives builders everything the Z170 chipset has to offer and more. We take an in-depth look at this board to see whether it lives up to the promise of its impressive spec sheet."

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Motherboard by Colorful Includes GTX 1070 Graphics

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards | June 6, 2016 - 05:14 PM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, motherboard, gtx 1070, GP104, colorful

So here's an interesting bit of news from Colorful, via Videocardz and LG Nilsson. Remember when on-board graphics was a pejorative? Since the GPUs that are attached to many CPUs tend to sufficiently cover everything below a discrete graphics add-in board, there is not a whole lot of mind-share for discrete, on-board GPUs. You get the occasional desktop-style device with a mobile add-in module, but that's about it.

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Image Credit: LG Nilsson (via Videocardz)

In this case, it looks like Colorful, the Chinese PC hardware manufacturer, integrated the required components from a GTX 1070 directly onto a motherboard's PCB. We've heard rumors that GP104 would be available in mobile form-factors in a few months, so it's possible that this draws from some laptop initiatives, but it's interesting to see others consider it too. As Videocardz pointed out, this is not an ATX-standard board, so it's possible that Colorful is planning on getting into (or supporting someone getting into) small form factor desktops or is building hardware for all-in-one PCs.

So what's next? A vendor like ASUS making a VRWorks Audio sound card with integrated Pascal?

Source: VideoCardz

You want to see MSI's new motherboards? Well, here's the mother lode

Subject: Motherboards | June 2, 2016 - 02:17 PM |
Tagged: msi, computex 2016

MSI sent along a number of pictures of their upcoming motherboards and there are more than a few of them.  All the pictures are quite large, make sure to click on the ones that interest you as you will be able to make out quite a bit of detail.

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First is the B150M Mortar Arctic with clean traces, Steel Armor and Crossfire support.

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Next up is the workstation class C236M with 10GbE ethernet and the Intel C236 chipset.

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Next is another motherboard designed to pull its weight, the X99A Workstation has dual Gigabit LAN and support for 8 ECC DIMMs

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We now return to the enthusiast class motherboards with the Z170 MPower Gaming Titanium with U.2, M.2 and USB 3.1 Type-C ports.

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You can also chose an X99 flavoured MPower Gaming Titanium, sharing the same features as the Z170.

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The X99A Gaming Pro Carbon sports a different colour scheme and includes the Mystic Light feature to let you program your own light show.

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Moving away from Intel for a moment, check out the 970A Gaming Pro Carbon for AMD AM3+ processors.

Source: MSI

GIGABYTE Showcases New Motherboards and BRIX at Computex 2016

Subject: Motherboards, Systems | June 1, 2016 - 01:50 PM |
Tagged: Z170, X99, Ultra Gaming, Intel H170, gigabyte, designare, brix

Gigabyte is showing off new X99, B150 and Z170 motherboards, the Ultra Gaming series and the Designare series which they describe as being optimized for content creators, designers, and artists.  The Ultra Gaming series will add Ambient Surround LEDs, found on the motherboard and Pinstripe Headers so that you can have a lightshow while you game. 

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Also new is Hybrid Fan Control which will allows the motherboard headers to support Voltage Calibration and Pulse Width Modulation fans and pumps.  M.2 and U.2 support is of course also added to the new boards.  The new boards include the GA-X99-Ultra Gaming, GA-X99-Phoenix SLI, GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming, GA-Z170-UD3 Ultra and GA-B150-Gaming TH.

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The Designare series is a bit different, with a focus on storage speed.  USB 3.1 ports offer quick transfer speeds for your external storage and support for three NVMe drives in RAID-0 ensure that the speed of your internal storage does not slow your creative flow down.  This series features the GA-X99-Designare EX, GA-Z170X-Designare and GA-H170-Designare.

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They also offered a teaser as to their new BRIX lineup.  The BRIX Gaming UHD will be tiny, less than 2.6L and less than 2kg but will support Core i5 and i7 processors.  As we well there will be a new GIGABYTE PC which will be slightly larger at about 10L and will support full sized graphics cards.

Click for the full press release.

Source: Gigabyte

ECS launches brand new LEET GAMING motherboard & LIVA mini PC

Subject: Motherboards, Systems, Shows and Expos | May 30, 2016 - 12:31 PM |
Tagged: ECS, leet gaming, liva pro, Z170-LIGHTSABER, computex 2016

It must have been quite a fight for ECS to be able to call their new motherboard the Z170-LIGHTSABER but that is exactly what they have done.  The motherboard features the usual lineup of Z170 features, three 16x PCIe 3.0 slots with an additional 1x, 7.1 sound from an onboard ALC1150 codec and an OPAMP, a pair of USB 3.1 ports along with over a dozen legacy USB ports and support for an M.2 drive.  In addtion higher end Nichicon caps were used, there is an E2400 Killer NIC onboard and seven colour LEDs to make it shine.  They also discuss a brand new USB power supply for use with devices that draw a lot of power, it will be interesting to see if this has the impact on VR devices they imply.

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They have also announced the new LIVA Pro based on the new SFX motherboard standard.  The brochure has a good example of what this new form factor is and how it compares to others.

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The LIVA Pro will support any 6th generation Skylake Intel processor with a TDP of 65W or less and a pair DDR4 SO-DIMMs of up to 32GB.  Internal storage is handled by an M.2 drive and the 1.3L case has an external 2.5" drive dock built into it for additional storage.  For external interfaces you have a USB 3.0 Type C port, three USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0, HDMI and DisplayPort.  There is a second M.2 port which is populated by a WiFi/Bluetooth combo card.

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Click on through to read the PR.

Source: ECS