Subject: Motherboards | February 18, 2013 - 04:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, ATIV Smart PC 500T, Surface Pro, tablet
Samsung has produced a Surface Pro tablet they call the ATIV Smart PC 500T, which comes paired with a keyboard/docking station. Powered by an 1.5GHz Atom Z2760 and 2GB of DDR2-800 with a 64GB e.MMC iNAND SSD for storage the device the performance will beat a WinRT tablet but it is not going to compete with a laptop. Strangely one of the most advertised features, the S Pen, was not present in the Canadian package so it is not included in this review. Silent PC Review noticed that Samsung are working on the 500T's page, though they do not know if it was to correct the erroneous text stating the S Pen comes with the basic model or simpy to give time to have S Pens shipped and attached. The 11.6" 1366 x 768 screen was washed out in comparison to the Microsoft Surface Pro and it did not seem as sturdy as the Microsoft product either. Check out the full review to get a better idea how this tablet performs.
"Windows 8 is making possible a new class of mobile convertibles that flip between tablet and notebook. The Samsung ATIC Smart PC 500T is one example, based around a new Atom core and built around a big (for tablets) 11.6" screen, but there's an Ivy Bridge upgrade available in the 700T. Meanwhile, Microsoft's Surface Pro shows us a different vision of the convertible."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15z-b000 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Vizio Thin+Light CT15: Something New and Edgy @ AnandTech
- Origin EON11-S Gaming Notebook @ Tweaktown
- Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro Review @ TechReviewSource
- NZXT Cryo X60 Laptop Cooler @ Rbmods
- Sony Xperia Tablet S @ Tweaktown
- Otterbox Defender for Nokia Lumia 920 @ Kitguru
- Analogix SlimPort adapter with the Nexus 4 @ LanOC Review @ LanOC
- verclockersUK Ultima 10.1" IPS Android 4.1 Tablet @ eTeknix
- Google Nexus 7 Tablet 16GB @ Funky Kit
- Nokia Lumia 620 @ The Inquirer
- Google Nexus 4 Smartphone Review 2.0 - Two Months with Google's Superstar Smartphone @ Tweaktown
Subject: Motherboards | February 18, 2013 - 02:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z77, asrock, Z77 Extreme4
ASRock has been steadily gaining popularity with system builders that want a balance between price, features and performance without sacrificing support or stability. At $120, the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 seems to fit the first criteria, the pair of PCIe 3.0 16x slots capable of handling two cards at 8x speeds, four SATA 6Gbps ports and a half dozen USB 3.0 ports meet the second. [H]ard|OCP tested the performance and stability of the board recently, getting an stable 4.8GHz overclock on their i7 3770K, demonstrating that even a value board can compete with expensive models. The sacrifice made was in the thickness of the PCB, it is much thinner than most motherboards and while [H] did not break the PCB they had a few stressful moments; drop by to read about them.
"While ASRock is a well known new comer in the motherboard market, we’ve not exactly been fans of ASRock products based on past experiences. ASRock’s popularity grows and as a result we are taking another look at a motherboard from in the hope of understanding this popularity. Is it just price, or is there more to ASRock’s offerings?"
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Zotac's Z77-ITX WiFi Mini-ITX @ The Tech Report
- ASRock's Z77E-ITX Mini-ITX @ The Tech Report
- GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Intel Z77 Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews
- Gigabyte Z77X UD4H Motherboard Review @ Ninjalane
- ASRock Z77 Extreme11 @ Tweaktown
- ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion and X79 Professional Review: From a Gamer to Gamers @ AnandTech
- ASUS ROG Maximus V Extreme Intel LGA1155 @ techPowerUp
- ECS A85F2-A Golden Review @ OCC
- ASRock 990FX Extreme9 Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- AMD Trinity A10-5800K & GIGABYTE F2A85X-UP4 @ Overclockers.com
- ASRock 990FX Extreme9 @ Kitguru
Define an Enthusiast CPU...
FM2 poses an interesting quandary for motherboard manufacturers. AMD provides a very robust and full featured chip for use with their processors (A85X) that would lend itself well to midrange and enthusiast class motherboards. Unfortunately, AMD does not provide a similarly high end CPU as compared to the competition at price ranges that would make sense for a motherboard that would cost between $140 and $250 on the FM2 platform.
So these manufacturers are constrained on price to offer fully featured motherboards that take advantage of all aspects of the A85X FCH (Fusion Controller Hub). Until AMD can deliver a more competitive CPU on the FM2 platform, motherboard manufacturers will be forced to design offerings that can really go no higher than $129 (the current price of the fastest A10 processor from AMD). This is not necessarily a bad thing though, as it has forced these manufacturers to really rethink their designs and to focus their energies on getting the greatest bang-for-the-buck. AMD is selling a decent number of these processors, but the market is constrained as compared to the Intel offerings utilizing the 1155 BGA infrastructure.
Gigabyte has taken this particular bull by the horns and have applied a very unique (so far) technology to the board. This is on top of all the other marketing and engineering terms that we are quite familiar with. The company itself is one of the top three manufacturers of motherboards in the world, and they typically trail Asus in terms of shipments but are still ahead of MSI. As with any motherboard manufacturer, the quality of Gigabyte products has seen peaks and valleys through the years. From what I have seen for the past few years though, Gigabyte is doing very well in terms of overall quality and value.
Subject: Motherboards | February 5, 2013 - 06:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, Intel Z77, P8Z77-I Deluxe, mini-itx, lucid
The most instantly noticeable thing about the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe has to be the riser card sporting an array of capacitors and providing 8+2 power phase VRMs. What isn't as noticeable until you use the motherboard is the Intel SRT support, Lucid Virtu and the overclocking options available in the UEFI BIOS. Being a Mini-ITX board, the singly PCI Express x16 slot and dual memory slots are to be expected but the spacing is such that you should have no problems with full sized DIMMs or oversized GPUs, depending on the cooler and case you choose. The included dual Wi-Fi antennas are a nice bonus from ASUS as well. Drop by The Tech Report to see this board in action.
"The P8Z77-I Deluxe packs a lot of goodness into a tiny package. We take a closer look at the board's features, performance, and overclocking potential."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ECS NM70-I2 (V1.0) Mini-ITX Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
- GIGABYTE Z77X-UD4H LGA1155 Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Gigabyte Force M7 Thor @ LanOC Reviews
- ASRock Z77 OC Formula Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
- ECS Z77H2-A2X (v1.0) Review: "Golden" LGA 1155 Mainboard from the "Black" Series @ X-bit Labs
- MSI Z77 MPOWER Review: OC Certified LGA 1155 Mainboard from the Big Bang Series @ X-bit Labs
- Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 @ eTeknix
- ASRock Z77 Extreme3 @ X-bit Labs
- MSI Z77 MPower Review: The XPower’s Little Brother @ AnandTech
- BIOS Option Of The Week - DRAM Act to PreChrg CMD @ TechARP
- ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 for AMD Socket FM2 APUs @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-UP4 @ X-bit Labs
- BIOSTAR Hi-Fi A85W Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards | February 4, 2013 - 06:36 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: msi, 3dmark
Do you have a beastly system with MSI parts, intense overclocking knowledge, and a desire for even more high-end parts? In honor of the new 3DMark's release, the motherboard and graphics card manufacturer is letting users of their parts enter in a contest for the highest 3DMark scores.
In a partnership with the benchmarking leaderboard site, HWBot, MSI wants to see top scores for the Fire Strike test on the newly released 3DMark. The contest will run until March 3rd for entries looking to post top ranks. Beyond that, anyone with an MSI Z77 motherboard who enters before February 10th will be entered in a “Lucky Draw” for the MSI Z77A-GD55 Motherboard.
Winners of the leader contest will receive the MSI R7970 Lightning Boost Edition card for first place and an MSI Z77A-GD80 for second place. Note that we are not affiliated with this contest, we just think that our readers might like to know.
Subject: Motherboards | February 3, 2013 - 05:09 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: trinity, mini-itx, htpc, asrock, APU, amd, A85X
Taiwanese motherboard manufacturer ASRock has shown off a new mini-ITX motherboard aimed at home theater PC (HTPC) users called the FM2A85X-ITX. The new motherboard uses AMD’s A85X chipset and supports the company’s latest Trinity accelerated processing units (APUs).
The FM2A85X-ITX motherboard features an AMD FM2 socket surrounded by two DDR3 DIMM slots (max of 32GB 1866MHz RAM), a PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot, and seven SATA 6Gbps ports. A six phase VRM, two USB 3.0 headers, 8 channel audio chip, and RAID 0/1/10 support round out the package.
External IO on the mini-ITX motherboard includes:
- 1 x PS/2
- 4 x USB 2.0
- 2 x USB 3.0
- 1 x eSATA 6Gbps
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 1 x Optical S/PDIF
- 5 x Analog audio jacks
- 1 x DVI
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x VGA
According to Tech Power Up, the new motherboard will cost around $110 USD. Thanks to the form factor, APU support, and multitude of storage connectivity options, the board would make for an excellent addition to a HTPC build!
Read about other mini-ITX motherboard options at PC Perspective!
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
The Z77X-UP7 board represents a new approach to the motherboard game for GIGABYTE - no holds barred. The board combines a larger than normal form factor with high-end digital power circuitry to build a product that packs a punch while not skimping on features. We welcomed the challenge that this board presented, putting it through the normal suite of benchmark and functionality tests to see how well it stacked up. The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7's performance and features come with a price, as all flagship products do, with its $399.99 price tag still a hefty sum.
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
To power the Z77X-UP7, GIGABYTE used a 32+3+2 power phase design with every heat producing chip covered by a highly effective heat pipe cooling solution. GIGABYTE integrated the following features into the Z77X-UP7's design: SATA 2, SATA 3, and mSATA ports; support for 4 different networking types including an Intel GigE NIC, an Atheros GigE NIC, an Atheros dual-port 802.11n adapter, and an Atheros Bluetooth adapter; enough PCI-Express x16 slots for true quad-card support; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
Subject: Motherboards | January 24, 2013 - 04:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, maximus v formula, ThunderFX
While we have seen ASUS' Maximus V Formula before and it still sports three PCIe 3.0 16x ports, up to 32GB of DDR3, six SATA 6G ports, 8 USB 2.0 ports, six USB 3.0 ports, wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth and mSATA with the mPCIe combo card. The new part to this version of the motherboard is the ThunderFX external USB audio DAC, which uses the C-Media 6631 audio processor and [H]ard|OCP found it superior to the onboard SupremeFX solution in every way. Read on to see why.
"Not one to rest on their laurels, ASUS adds another Z77 Express chipset based board to its Republic of Gamers lineup. This time in Formula trim. The Maximus V Formula / ThunderFX gives us most of what the Extreme version gave us and a couple of things it didn’t. What’s so special about the Maximus V Formula ThunderFX? Let's find out."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI BIG BANG Z77 MPOWER Socket 1155 Mainboard Review @ Madshrimps
- ASRock Z77 OC Formula Review: Living In The Fast Lane @ AnandTech
- Intel 847 with NM70 ECS NM70-I2 @ Guru of 3D
- Gigabyte Z77N-WiFi mITX Intel LGA 1155 @ techPowerUp
- BIOS Option Of The Week - SDRAM Row Active Time @ TechARP
- ECS A85F2-A Golden Review: All That Glitters @ AnandTech
- ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 @ Tweaktown
Subject: Motherboards | January 23, 2013 - 04:10 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: asus, motherboards
ASUS wants to be sure everyone knows that it isn't going anywhere and that the motherboard business is doing just fine. We are working very closely with the team at ASUS and can assure you they have little interesting in backing off the DIY train and are even investing more heavily in the enthusiast market.
We are still sorry to see Intel leave the business (at least after Haswell) but it is good to have company's like this coming out and assuring us of their support!
Enthusiasts and PC builders trust ASUS as their go-to brand when it comes to building desktops. As the global leader in motherboard design across multiple product ranges, ASUS remains strongly committed to developing a wide range of new and innovative motherboards now and well into the future. For the consumer segment we have invested significant resources to grow and sustain the Build Your Own ecosystem, including the PCDIY initiative designed to educate and inspire new builders, our ongoing support for the PC gaming community, and our grassroots program for university students across North America providing support for learning through a number of vehicles. For the commercial segment we have been on the forefront with the highly acclaimed Corporate Stable Model (CSM) program in North America. ASUS motherboards have been recognized by eChannelNews with their Resellers Choice Award for Best Motherboard several years in the row. ASUS CSM motherboards covers a full range of chipsets and form factors, and come complete with a guaranteed long shelf life, advance cross shipping, and Intel vPro Technology. With the Haswell-based 4th generation Core platform we plan to deepen our commitment to bring excitement and new opportunities to the desktop platform.
ASUS will continue to expand our close partnership with Intel to fully support their growing CPU and chipset roadmap with a wide selection of motherboards that provide the highest quality and ownership value in the market. We have the utmost confidence in Intel’s continued commitment to desktop CPUs and chipsets, and eagerly look forward to leading the next generation of Build Your Own enthusiasts and system builders.
Subject: Motherboards | January 22, 2013 - 08:52 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Intel, haswell
Word reached us tonight of some interesting and somewhat disappointing news out of Intel. The company has announced a reorganization that will include the spinning down of the retail motherboard development team and product line after the release of the upcoming Haswell line of processors.
We disclosed internally today that Intel’s Desktop Motherboard Business will begin slowly ramping down over the course of the next three years. As Intel gradually ramps down its motherboard business we are ramping up critical areas of the desktop space including integration of innovative solutions for the PC ecosystem such as reference design development, NUC and other areas to be discussed later.
The internal talent and experience of twenty years in the boards business (which until recently has been largely focused on desktop tower type designs) is being redistributed to address emerging new form factors -- desktop and mobile – and to expand Intel’s Form Factor Reference Design (FFRD) work and enable our partners to develop exciting new computing solutions.
Intel's DX79SI was a launch board for Sandy Bridge-E
Many of our readers might not see this as an important decision with the likes of ASUS, MSI and Gigabyte to accommodate the needs of builders, but any time a company that has been in a business segment for more than 20 years exits, you need to pay attention. And while Intel boards have traditional been used only on business and stability-dependent applications, the boards team has in the past few years been producing fantastic, high quality enthusiast class platforms and innovating on the UEFI design, etc. Many boutique system builders were even using Intel motherboards in $5,000+ systems.
As recently as CES earlier in the month, we met with the board team at Intel to discuss future plans for additional features as well new compelling changes to UEFI coming up in Haswell offerings. Instead it appears that members of that product team will be slowly transitioned to the world of new form factors (like the recently announced Next Unit of Computing) and more.
Intel's Next Unit of Computing platform
Intel noted confidence in other companies like ASUS, MSI and Gigabyte for future motherboards and to "fully support Intel's growing roadmap." And for those companies this will likely be good news in the short term as builders and OEMs will be transitioning away, looking for new options. Still, this will no doubt fuel the fire of rumors about Intel's desire to move out of the socketed CPU business as quickly as possible.