Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The Z97X-SOC Force motherboard is the premier offering in GIGABYTE's Overclocking Series of boards. The overclocking series boards are designed with enhancements and features meant to appeal to enthusiasts and professional overclockers alike. The Z97X-SOC Force board deign is based on the previous generation Z87X-OC Force, featuring the same black and orange coloration typical to the series. The board does contain several evolutionary changes making the board easier to use and more appealing to its target users. At an MSRP of $209.99, the Z97X-S0C Force is competitively priced to appeal to all levels of enthusiasts.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

GIGABYTE enhanced the board power regulation system designed into the current generation boards, allowing for use of a simplified cooling and fewer power phases. As a result, the Z97X-SOC Force is packed with 8-phase digital power circuit for the CPU, using International Rectifier (IR) based PowIRstage digital controllers and 10k-rated black solid capacitors to ensure system stability under any conditions. The Z97X-SOC Force board comes standard with the following integrated features: six SATA 3 ports; one SATA Express 10 Gb/s ports; a Qualcomm® Atheros Killer E2201 NIC; four PCI-Express x16 slots; a PCI-Express x1 slots; two PCI slots; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, CMOS clear, CMOS battery clear, OC Ignition, OC Tag, OC Turbo, OC Touch, Settings Lock, Direct to BIOS, and Memory Safe buttons; Dual-BIOS, active BIOS, and IC Trigger switches; OC PCIe and OC DIMM switch jumper blocks; integrated voltage measurement points; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

Continue reading our review of the GIGABYTE Z97X-SOC Force motherboard!

PCIe 4.0 Is 2x Bandwidth of 3.0, like 3.0 to 2.0 and 2.0 to 1.0

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | June 7, 2014 - 05:47 PM |
Tagged: pcie 4.0, pcie, PCI SIG

You know the PCI-SIG might break the pattern with PCIe 5.0, just to mess with us. But for right now, Tom's Hardware seems to have acquired part of the PCIe 4.0 spec and it is expected to get 2 GB/s bandwidth per lane, per direction. This is double the bandwidth of PCIe 3.0, continuing the trend of each major PCIe release doubling bandwidth of the previous major version.

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A 16-lane PCIe 4.0-compliant graphics card or storage add-in board (that feels so weird to write...) has a maximum bandwidth of 32 GB/s inbound and 32 GB/s outbound, 64 GB/s total. This is still below GDDR5 bandwidth, but approaching the same order of magnitude. That said, memory bandwidth is the major roadblock for optimizing GPGPU workloads, already. APUs will probably still have an advantage in CPU and GPU tag-teaming tasks, despite their lower compute performance.

According to bit-tech, the spec is expected to arrive with Skylake and its 100-series chipset.

A midrange board for the experienced; the Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H

Subject: Motherboards | June 3, 2014 - 07:01 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Intel Z97, Z97X-UD5H

Gigabyte's Z97X-UD5H might be sitting in the sweet spot for those looking for a Z97 board, at $190 it is in line with the price the previous models launched at.  You can also pick up it's brother the Z97X-UD5H-BK which has undergone a week long stress test; however Gigabyte is charging an almost $50 extra for the Black Edition.  There are three PCIe 3.0 slots which can run x16/x0/x0, x8/x8/x0 or x8/x4/x4, M.2 and SATAe ports though using the M.2 will disable the dual 6Gbps SATA ports.  From the testing done at The Tech Report this is not a board for beginners, there are some rough edges which an experienced user will easily overcome but for a less experienced system builder they may lead to a negative experience.  Check out the benchmarks and full review here.

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"Another Z97 motherboard has worked its way through our test suite. Today, we take a detailed look at Gigabyte's Z97X-UD5H, which is loaded with PCIe x16 slots, next-gen storage interfaces, and a high-definition firmware interface."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Computex 2014: ASUS ROG Crossblade Ranger motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | June 2, 2014 - 11:41 PM |
Tagged: ROG, Maximus VII Formula, computex 2014, asus, AMD FM2+

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Courtesy of ASUS

Today, ASUS announced the newest member of their ROG line of board for the AMD FM2+ platform, the Crossblade Ranger. The board brings many of the same features designed into the Intel-based ROG line to the AMD FM2+ family of processors, giving the AMD-enthusiasts an edge over of the competition.

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Courtesy of ASUS

With the Crossblade Ranger motherboard, ASUS brings to bear the ROG core game-boosting features found on its Intel Z97-based Maximus VII board line to the AMD FM2+ camp. Offering include its SupremeFX 2014 audio subsystem and Radar II in-game audio enhancements, Intel-based Gigabit Ethernet, the GameFirst III network optimization software, and the KeyBot keyboard macro technology.

The SupremeFX 2014 subsystem integrates an audio processor capable of up to 120dB signal-to-noise ratio output, as well as the Sonic SenseAmp technology that automatically adjusts headphone impedance for the best audio gaming experience. The audio subsystem also integrated into ASUS Sonic Studio Audio suite for the highest levels of audio-fidelity control. The GameFirst II network optimization software is ASUS' answer to the Killer NIC, offering game-based network packet prioritization technology to minimize lag during you online slag fest. ROG KeyBot is an in-built macro system that creates gaming macros for any keyboard attached to the supported USB port to elevate your gaming experience to the next level.

ASUS has not yet announced price or availability specifics for the ROG Crossblade Ranger, but expects the board to be available at retail by July 2014.

For more Computex 2014 coverage, please check out our feed!

Source: ASUS

Computex 2014: ASUS ROG Maximus VII Impact

Subject: Motherboards | June 2, 2014 - 11:29 PM |
Tagged: ROG, mITX, Maximus VII Impact, Intel Z97, haswell, computex 2014, asus

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Courtesy of ASUS

Today, ASUS announced a new edition to their Z97-based ROG line of boards, the Maximus VII Impact. This mini-ITX board carries many of the Intel Z97 enhancements of its fellow ROG boards, as well as a few secrets of its own. Don't let looks deceive you, a heart of a champion beats in the Maximus VII Impact's small silicon footprint.

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS went back to the drawing board with their ROG Impact-based design, striving to deliver an mini-ITX form factor product that does not compromise on features, performance, overclocking potential, or CPU cooler compatibility. The result was the re-engineered ROG Maximus VII Impact, featuring unprecedented compatibility with a wide range of both CPU coolers and PCI-Express expansion cards. Powering the board is the Impact Power II power card, featuring the same digital power circuitry found on the full-sized ROG ATX boards. The Impact Power II PCB is mounted vertically to maximize the board's space use. Also integrated into the board is the Impact CooolHub, an optional add-on card containing two additional 4-pin fan headers as well as an LN2 header. The board also comes with the mPCIe Combo IV card, supporting 802.11ac wireless operation, as well as M.2 SSDs operating at up to 20Gbps, utilizing bandwidth up to PCIe x4 speeds.

Like other ROG Z97-based offerings, the Maximus VII Impact board comes standard with its own version of the SupremeFX 2014 audio subsystem - the SupremeFX Impact II audio card. Additionally, the board offers full compatibility with the soon-to-be-released Intel Devil's Canyon-based CPUs with enhanced tuning capabilities.

ASUS has not yet announced price or availability specifics for the ROG Maximus VII Impact, but expects the board to be available for purchase at North American-based retailers by Q3 2014.

For more Computex 2014 coverage, please check out our feed!

Source: ASUS

Computex 2014: ASUS ROG Maximus VII Formula

Subject: Motherboards | June 2, 2014 - 11:28 PM |
Tagged: ROG, Maximus VII Formula, Intel Z97, haswell, computex 2014, asus

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Courtesy of ASUS

Today, ASUS announced the latest member of their Z97-based ROG line of boards, the Maximus VII Formula. The board features many enhancements in its design and integrated components to make it a worthwhile successor to its predecessor.

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Courtesy of ASUS

For better board performance and cooler running, ASUS revised the hybrid cooler in the Maximus VII Formula, dubbing it the Crosschill Copper. Unlike the previous version of the Crosschill hybrid cooler, the Crosschill Copper is made entirely of copper for optimized heat transfer in either air or water-based operation, as well as to alleviate mixed-metal corrosion concerns when used in a multi-block cooling loop. The board also comes with the mPCIe Combo III card, supporting 802.11ac wireless operation,  as well as M.2 SSDs operating at up to 10Gbps, utilizing bandwidth up to PCIe x2 speeds.

Like other ROG Z97-based offerings, the Maximus VII Formula board comes standard with the SupremeFX 2014 audio subsystem and the Radar II in-game audio enhancements. The SupremeFX 2014 subsystem integrates an audio processor capable of up to 120dB signal-to-noise ratio output, as well as the Sonic SenseAmp technology that automatically adjusts headphone impedance for the best audio gaming experience. The board also includes the ROG Thermal Armor overlay and ROG Fortifier under plate, as well as the ROG KeyBot functionality. ROG KeyBot is an in-built macro system that creates gaming macros for any keyboard attached to the supported USB port to elevate your gaming experience to the next level.

ASUS has not yet announced price or availability specifics for the ROG Maximus VII Formula, but expects the board to be available for purchase at North American-based retailers by late July 2014.

For more Computex 2014 coverage, please check out our feed!

Source: ASUS
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

The ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1 motherboard is the newest member of thier TUF (The Ultimate Force) series. The board features the Intel Z97 chipset, but keeps the aesthetics and functionality you have come to expect from TUF series boards, and more specifically the Sabertooth line. That does not mean to say that ASUS did not improve the design of the Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1 board. The Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1 comes with a premium MSRP of $249.99 with features to justify its premium price point.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS used the previous Sabertooth board as a template to design and improve upon the Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1. The board includes the line's signature TUF Thermal Armor board overlay and TUF Fortifier back plate. With the new revision of the Thermal Armor, ASUS integrated two optional fans into its design as well as flow ports above the CPU VRM heat sinks to adjust the airflow through the Thermal Armor. The board is designed with an 8 phase digital power system with alloy chokes redesigned to run cooler than previous generation chokes, 10k-rated Titanium capacictors, and military-grade TUF MOSFETs. Additionally, ASUS integrated on board ESD (elctro-static discharge) protection into the rear panel keyboard/mouse, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, LAN, and audio ports to protect the motherboard and integrated components from voltage fluctuations and power surges.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1 Motherboard Review!

Video Perspective: Gigabyte Z97 Motherboard Roundup

Subject: Motherboards | May 22, 2014 - 10:40 PM |
Tagged: z97, video, pcper, motherboard, live, gigabyte

Earlier this week we were visited by our good friend Leon Chen from GIGABYTE USA to talk all about his company's new lineup of Z97 motherboards. We discussed the various series' Gigabyte offers (Performance, Gaming, OC, Black Edition) as well as the unique features found on them including some impressive overclocking technology on the OC board and M.2 storage support for 10 Gb/s of bandwidth on others. We streamed the entire event live on http://www.pcper.com/live but if you missed, we have the replays of all the content included directly below for you to watch!

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If you want to read our first review of a Gigabyte Z97 motherboard as well, be sure to check out Morry's article covering the GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1-WIFI-BK Black Edition!

Part 1: Gigabyte Z97 Motherboard Overview with Leon!!

Part 2: Gigabyte Z97 Motherboard Software Demo and Q&A

If you want to be sure you know about any of our other upcoming live streaming video events, sign up for our PC Perspective LIVE! mailing list!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of MSI

MSI's Z97 Gaming 7 motherboard offers a bevy of updated features and aesthetics to usher in the Intel Z97 chipset-based product line. The intial update you'll notice are the design of the CPU VRM and chipset heat sinks. The VRM heat sinks have a unique banded design, reminiscent of a dragon's claws. This was done purposefully to cement the Gaming series moniker to the board in the user's mind. The chipset heat sink contains a glowing MSI corporate logo with the Dragon Gaming series shield logo centered above it. The black and red board color scheme is done tastefully with the red coloration used to accent and highlight the heat sinks. With an MRSP of $189, the Z97 Gaming 7 board is competitively priced to take the market by storm.

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Courtesy of MSI

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Courtesy of MSI

MSI designed the Z97 Gaming 7 board with a 12-phase digital power delivery system combining Hi-C and Dark capacitors with super ferrite chokes for optimal power delivery with enhanced power efficiency characteristics. The board includes the following integrated components: eight SATA 3 ports; one M.2 10 Gb/s ports; a Qualcomm® Atheros Killer E2205 NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; four PCI-Express x1 slots; a 2-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, CMOS clear, and OC-Genie buttons; Slow Mode boot, Multi-BIOS, and Audio Power switches; left and right channel audio gain control switches; Realtek audio solution with isolated audio PCB and Nichicon audio capacitors; dedicated per-channel headphone OP-AMPs; integrated V-Check voltage measurement points; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of MSI

Continue reading our review of the MSI Z97 Gaming 7 motherboard!

PCPer Live! Gigabyte Z97 Motherboard Event! May 21st, 10am PST / 1pm EST

Subject: Motherboards | May 17, 2014 - 11:15 AM |
Tagged: z97, video, pcper live, overclocking, motherboards, live, giveaway, gigabyte

With the official release of the new Intel Z97 chipset underway, we are elbow deep in new motherboard reviews and information. Our friends at Gigabyte are making a stop at the PC Perspective offices on May 21st to help educate our readers and viewers on all the changes brought about. This includes the new technologies of the Z97 chipset as well as the Gigabyte-specific features added throughout the multiple motherboard lines. We'll be live streaming the event and of course will archive it for those of you unable to be there.

If you want to catch up on what has been happening in the motherboard world, you should read Morry's Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 Black Edition review.

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Gigabyte Z97 Motherboard Live Stream

10am PT / 1pm ET - May 21st

PC Perspective Live! Page

Be sure you stop by and join in the show!  Questions will be answered, prizes will be given out and fun will be had!  Who knows, maybe we can break some stuff live as well??  On hand to give away to those of you joining the live stream, we'll have a sweet Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3 motherboard!!

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

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We want the event to be interactive, so we want your questions.  We'll of course being paying attention to the chat room on our live page but you'll have better luck if you submit your questions about the Gigabyte Z97 products before hand, in the comments section below.  You don't have to register to ask and we'll have the ability to read them beforehand! 

Source: PCPer Live!