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

Z77H2-A5X DE(V1)02.jpg

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.

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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
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.

Z77H2-AX_gold_2.jpg


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!!

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
Author:
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!

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.

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"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