PC Perspective Hardware Workshop 2012 @ Quakecon 2012 in Dallas, TX

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling, Processors, Memory, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 9, 2012 - 07:30 PM |
Tagged: video, workshop, streaming, quakecon, prizes, live, giveaways

It is that time of year again: another installment of the PC Perspective Hardware Workshop!  Once again we will be presenting on the main stage at Quakecon 2012 being held in Dallas, TX August 2-5th.  

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Main Stage - Quakecon 2012

Saturday, August 4th, 2pm CT

Our thanks go out to the organizers of Quakecon for allowing us and our partners to put together a show that we are proud of every year.  We love giving back to the community of enthusiasts and gamers that drive us to do what we do!  Get ready for 2 hours of prizes, games and raffles and the chances are pretty good that you'll take something out with you - really, they are pretty good!

Our thanks for this year's workshop logo goes to John Pastor!!

Our primary partners at the event are those that threw in for our ability to host the workshop at Quakecon and for the hundreds of shirts we have ready to toss out!  Our thanks to NVIDIA, MSI Computer and Corsair!!

 

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Live Streaming

If you can't make it to the workshop - don't worry!  You can still watch the workshop live on our page right here as we stream it over one of several online services.  Just remember this URL: http://pcper.com/workshop and you will find your way!

Case Mod Competition

Along with the Hardware Workshop, PC Perspective is working with Modders Inc on the annual case mod contest!  There are two categories for the competition: "Scratch Built" and "In the Box" that will allow those that build their computer enclosures from the ground up to compete separately from those that heavily modify their existing cases and systems.

For more details, be sure to check out the on going thread at the Modders Inc Forums!

Prize List (will continue to grow!)

Continue reading to see the list of prizes for the workshop!!!

Source: PCPer

Gigabyte Unveils GA-H77N-WIFI Mini-ITX Motherboard

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling, Processors, Chipsets, Memory, Displays | August 7, 2012 - 07:07 AM |
Tagged: Z77, motherboard, mini-itx, Intel, gigabyte, ga-h77n-wifi

During a European roadshow, Gigabyte showed off a new Mini-ITX form factor motherboard for the first time. Called the GA-H77N-WIFI, the motherboard is well suited for home theater and home server tasks. Based on the H77 chipset, it is compatible with the latest Intel Core i3 (coming soon), i5, and i7 "Ivy Bridge" processors. The board goes for an all-black PCB with minimal heatsinks on the VRMs, and the form factor is the same size as the motherboard that Ryan recently used in his Mini-ITX HTPC build.

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The GA-H77N-WIFI features a LGA 1155 processor socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, PCI Express slot, two SATA 3Gbps ports, two SATA 6Gbps ports, and an internal USB 3.0 header. There are also two Realtek Ethernet controller chips and a Realtek audio chip.

Rear IO on the Mini-ITX motherboard includes:
  • 1 PS/2 port
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports
  • 2 HDMI ports
  • 1 DVI port
  • 2 Antenna connectors (WIFI)
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports
  • 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 1 Optical S/PDIF port
  • 5 Analog audio jacks

The dual Gigabit Ethernet ports are interesting. It could easily be loaded with open source routing software and turned into router/firewall/Wi-Fi access point. To really take advantage of the Ivy Bridge support, you could put together a nice media server and HTPC recording/streaming box (using something like SiliconDust's HDHomeRun networked tuners or Ceton's USB tuner since this board is very scarce in the way of PCI-E slots). What would you do with this Mini-ITX Gigabyte board?

Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or availability, but the motherboard is likely coming soon. You can find more information on the motherboard over at tonymacx86, who managed to snag get some photos of the board.

Source: Tony Mac X86

Gigabyte has a new Ivy Bridge motherboard; introducing the B75M-D3H

Subject: Motherboards | August 3, 2012 - 03:41 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, lga 1155, b75, b75m-dh3

At first glance the Gigabyte B75M-DH3 looks to have a typo as you would expect a Gigabyte board to start with the letter G and contain upwards of 11 numbers and letters afterwards, but this name indicates it is using the B75 Express chipset.  That means full Ivy Bridge support, with a PCIe 3.0 16x slot, a pair of SATA 6Gbps ports and four USB 3.0 ports and it also sports Gigabyte's Ultra Durable 4 technology and a UEFI BIOS.  Since this is a business oriented board it lacks some of the overclocking ability common to enthusiast boards and TechPowerUp found the back panel to be a little sparse, however at $80 this is a solid choice for any budget minded tech looking to put together an Ivy Bridge system.

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"Gigabyte sent me one of their entry-level products to check out, called the B75M-D3H. Yet make no mistake, just because this product is value-oriented, does not mean it by any means cheap! What makes Gigabyte's B75M-D3H so great? We'll find out in our review."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: TechPowerUp

Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 Delivers Up To 2000W of CPU Power.

Subject: Motherboards | July 31, 2012 - 03:46 AM |
Tagged: Z77, ultra durable 5, power phase, overclocking, Gigabyte Z77X-UP7, gigabyte

Motherboard manufacturers are well-versed in marketing, and over-engineering. And when those two aspects combine, enthusiasts get some really cool feats of hardware overkill. Computex brought us two radical motherboard designs, for example. Gigabyte is at it again, and this time it is showing off the prowess of the company’s power phase design.

Using one of the company’s upcoming Z77 motherboards, Gigabyte was able to deliver 2,000 Watts of power through the LGA 1155 socket--did I mention overkill was the name of the game for this demonstration?

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Specifically, Gigabyte paired its Z77X-UP7 motherboard with two Corsair 1200W power supplies and some laboratory gear to measure the power delivery. Using the 32 power phases in its “Ultra Durable 5” design, it was able to draw 300.6A, 300.7A, and 236.3A on three DC load testers. While drawing the total 837.6 amps, Gigabyte used a voltage meter to measure the current at 2.42 volts. Gigabyte then determined that the Z77 motherboard was able to deliver up to 2026.992 watts of power! The company claims that this would be enough power to support 25 Intel Core i7 3770K processors. It would also easily allow you to permanently destroy your processors, and really put that Intel overclocking warranty to the test (heh).

Needless to say, the board has some serious power phase and VRM hardware on board, and should easily handle the most extreme of overclocks. Granted, it is a marketing stunt, but it is a very cool one at that. As one area where motherboard companies heavily market, Gigabyte has quite the record for the others to beat. Here’s hoping that they attempt to break the record so that we can see more interesting tech demos. Maybe ASUS will bring out the Wolverine from the R&D lab, and see what its 40 power phases are really capable of!

What do you think about the Gigabyte claims? Below is the video that the company used to show off the Z77X-UP7 motherboard.

Source: Eteknix

ECS Motherboard First to Support AMD Memory Profiles (AMP)

Subject: Motherboards | July 23, 2012 - 02:32 PM |
Tagged: motherboard, memory profile, memory, ECS, amp, amd

Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) recently announced its support for the new AMD Memory Profile (AMP) technology. The A85F2-A Deluxe will be the first of the company’s motherboards to support AMP.

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AMP is AMD’s version of Intel Extreme Memory Profiles (XMP) which amounts to known-safe automatic overclock settings. The AMP profiles are stored in the DDR3 memory modules and can be read by supporting motherboards. Now knowing the proper voltage, CAS latencies, and timings to use, the motherboard can ideally automatically configure the modules to run at optimal speeds.

The setting will be able to be enabled/disabled in the BIOS of the new ECS motherboard, as shown in the screenshot below. According to its press release, ECS is the first company to integrate AMD Memory Profile support into its motherboards, and it is honored to lead the charge. “Making a unique and glory prominent product is the only purpose for ECS.”

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Here’s hoping the implementation works well and is more accurate than my experience with XMP profiles has been! Will you be using AMP in your AMD builds?

Source: ECS

ASUS' new flagship, the P8Z77-V Premium

Subject: Motherboards | July 12, 2012 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: asus, p8z77-v premium, thunderbolt

As we mentioned on the PC Perspective Podcast ASUS has a new ultra high end motherboard on the market, the P8Z77-V Premium for the low price of $440.  There are four PCIe 3.0 16x slots, capable of running two cards at full speed or four at 8x speeds as well as a pair of PCIe 2.0 1x slots.  There are a half dozen of both flavours of USB ports and SATA 6Gbps ports as well as SATA2 and eSATA ports but the big connectivity feature is Thunderbolt.  The feature set is almost endless, up to and including an onboard 32GB SSD and it seems that the only thing this board cannot do much better than the competition is overclock.  That is not to say you cannot overclock this board, only that the overclocking potential was lower than other Z77 boards from ASUS that [H]ard|OCP tested.  If you can afford the price, you will not find a more impressive Z77 motherboard on the market.

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"It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the "Premium" moniker on any ASUS boards. ASUS reserves this for boards with truly premium features that set these apart from the rest of the product line. The end result is usually a complex product with more features than most people will ever need. Let's find out just how premium the P8Z77-V Premium truly is."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

GIGABYTE Launches World’s First Fully Certified Dual Port Thunderbolt Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | July 5, 2012 - 10:26 AM |
Tagged: gigabyte, thunderbolt, Z77X-UP5 TH, Z77X-UP4 TH, Z77MX-D3H TH, ultra durable 5

Double Thunderbolt, what does it mean?  It means that properly set up, the two Thunderbolt ports can power up to 12 devices and 2 digital displays simultaneously, with a third display possible from a dedicated video out port on your motherboards header.  Both Thunderbolt ports offer a bi-directional 10Gbps data pipeline that includes both PCIe and DisplayPort traffic, which can be intelligently shared by the devices attached to the interface.  Gigabyte is offering three models of motherboard with this feature, in addition to their standard additional features such as UltraDurable components, which you can read about below.

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Taipei, Taiwan, July 5th, 2012 – GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, today announced the latest GIGABYTE 7 series motherboards, the very first to offer fully certified dual onboard Thunderbolt™ ports. Capable of connecting up to 12 devices plus 3 digital displays simultaneously, with breathtaking data transfer speeds that can transfer 1TB of data in only five minutes, GIGABYTE Thunderbolt™ motherboards offer the fastest connection interface ever on the desktop PC.

GIGABYTE Thunderbolt™ motherboards allow users to daisy chain up to 12 devices simultaneously via an incredible bi-directional 10Gbps data pipeline that includes both PCIe and DisplayPort traffic. GIGABYTE Thunderbolt™ motherboards redefine desktop PC connectivity to make it far easier to connect multiple high speed storage devices and HD displays to your PC than ever before.

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“It’s easy to see how our unique dual port Thunderbolt implementation simply offers more,” commented Henry Kao, Vice President of GIGABYTE Motherboard Business Unit. “We’re the only motherboard vendor currently offering DIY PC builders the absolute maximum in terms of device connectivity.”

“Thunderbolt technology represents a leap in performance and simplicity for media creators and entertainment enthusiasts,” says Jason Ziller, Intel’s director of Thunderbolt marketing. “We are pleased to be working with GIGABYTE as they bring the first dual Thunderbolt port motherboard to market. It’s a great example of what Thunderbolt makes possible.”

GIGABYTE Dual Thunderbolt™ motherboards open up a wealth of new possibilities regarding high-performance storage devices. GIGABYTE has worked closely with several leading device partners, including Promise® Technology, LaCie, BlackMagic, Western Digital, Seagate, Elgato, CalDigit and cable manufacturer Sumitomo:

“Working with GIGABYTE has been very exciting,” said Kosta Panagos, Director of Creative Marketing, at CalDigit. “GIGABYTE’s new line of Intel 7 series motherboards featuring dual Thunderbolt ports, will usher in a new era of flexibility to the PC platform. It is also a perfect match with CalDigit's new T1 and T2 Thunderbolt drives which provide professional level performance on all platforms at consumer prices, a feat that was previously unattainable, thanks to GIGABYTE and Thunderbolt technology.”

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“GIGABYTE’s new dual port Thunderbolt motherboards are an exciting innovation, giving incredible performance and are perfect for video and film professionals using Thunderbolt and the PC,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “Customers using our wide range of Thunderbolt devices will now be able to choose to work in whatever format they need, giving them the flexibility to build whatever production and post production workflow they need.”

"In line with GIGABYTE and its dual on board Thunderbolt ports, WD's My Book® Thunderbolt™ Duo offers dual Thunderbolt ports for amazing creative flexibility while allowing daisy-chaining of up to six My Book Thunderbolt Duo drives or other high performance peripherals for fast and efficient workflow," said Craig Davis, Director Sales & Marketing, Retail Division, Western Digital Asia Pacific & Japan Region.

“Thunderbolt technology is a fantastic way to deliver both data and display via one interface. It provides unparalleled performance and plenty of flexibility,” said Leo Paskin, Product Marketing Manager at Seagate. “With the ability to daisy chain up to 12 devices on GIGABYTE’s new dual port Thunderbolt motherboards, you can turn a desktop PC into a central device hub by plugging in a single cable!"

“As the first Intel certified cable vendor, Sumitomo is delighted to see GIGABYTE bring the first dual port Thunderbolt motherboard to market, creating the ultimate connectivity for desktop PCs, commented Motoi Matsuo. “These new Thunderbolt motherboards are also the perfect fit for Sumitomo’s exclusive high speed 20m optical cables.”

"Thanks to their dual Thunderbolt™ ports, Gigabyte's new 7 series motherboards deliver unbeatable flexibility", says Adam Steinberg, Vice President Marketing at Elgato. "The unique dual port feature enables users to combine multiple portable Thunderbolt™ devices like the powerful Elgato Thunderbolt™ SSD."

“LaCie is pleased to see GIGABYTE announce Thunderbolt technology on their lasted motherboards,” said Erwan Girard, Professional Business Unit Manager, LaCie. “The time is now for demanding PC users, especially digital content creators, to experience the unprecedented speeds and advantages enabled by Thunderbolt Technology. The desire for computers and peripherals to keep up with their work flow is a concern of the past.”

Dual Thunderbolt™ - Fast, Flexible and Simple Connectivity for your Motherboard
GIGABYTE Thunderbolt™ motherboards are the first to be certified by Intel featuring dual Thunderbolt™ ports directly on the motherboard back panel I/O, with each Thunderbolt™ port supporting a maximum data transfer speeds with simultaneous bi-directional data transfer at speeds of up to 10Gbps - this means you can transfer a full HD 1080p movie in under 30 seconds.

GIGABYTE’s dual port Thunderbolt™ implementation ensures the absolute maximum potential connectivity, with support to connect up to 12 individual devices simultaneously, with each port offering full 10Gbps bandwidth.

Thunderbolt™ combines both DisplayPort and PCI Express protocols over a single cable so that users can connect a multitude of device types in tandem with HD streaming video and 8-channel audio, simultaneously in one specially developed cable. Users can also enjoy improved flexibility by ‘daisy-chaining’ several devices while still enjoying low latency and industry-leading data transfer speeds.

GIGABYTE Thunderbolt™ Motherboards Models
Dual Thunderbolt™ Ports are featured on the following GIGABYTE motherboard models:

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Source: Gigabyte

Some good warranty news for a change; ASUS and Gigabyte's new competition

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | July 5, 2012 - 09:53 AM |
Tagged: Warranty, asus, gigabyte

Neither ASUS nor Gigabyte have released an official press release on this topic but the news coming out of DigiTimes this morning will make many users smile if it is wholly accurate.  This story claims that both companies will offer free repairs on motherboards which are still under warranty for user damage in addition to the current warranty which covers factory defects.  Gigabyte will attempt to repair any such user caused damage, which should cover damage caused by overclocking or overvolting and ASUS will replace an unusable motherboard for free, including free shipping and delivery.

This may reassure many who have had bad RMA experiences, as the process is not enjoyable at the best of times.   The previous standard RMA process usually offered two alternatives, the first would be for the user to pay to ship the motherboard to the manufacturer who is often located overseas and if the problem with the motherboard was discovered to be a defect then that company would reimburse the shipping as well as ship out a replacement for free.  Otherwise you were often stuck paying the return shipping on a component that was in the same state as when you first gave up on it, as well as being without that part for the duration of the RMA process.  The second option involved cross-shipping but was only available to those willing to put the cost of the replacement motherboard and shipping on their credit card, to be returned if the motherboard was defective and again, if the board was not defective you ended up footing the bill.

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If these changes to the RMA procedure are indeed accurate then the worry of a faulty board being sent back to you if the damage was judged not to be a factory defect need no longer prevent you from sending a buggy or even non-functional board back to the manufacturer.  There are likely to be some limits on these new policies, keep your eye out for updates as the arrive.

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"Due to the weak global economy, in addition to dropping their motherboard prices, Asustek Computer and Gigabyte Technology have both expanded their motherboard warranty services hoping to attract consumer demand, according to sources from motherboard players."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes
Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Gigabyte

PC gaming is alive and well and hardware vendors are working to create unique features in their product lines to entice this niche audience. Gigabyte has always had a soft spot for gamers who want the best components for their LAN rigs so they can own their friends in any game genre they choose to play. Gigabyte has broadened their product line to include performance gaming mice, keyboards, and PC cases. They also have a line of "G1-Killer" motherboards that Gigabyte claims is designed with 3D gaming in mind. One of their latest boards in the G1-Killer series is the G1.Sniper M3, and just happen to have a sample that we are reviewing today.

 

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Courtesy of Gigabyte

The G1.Sniper M3 was designed into a micro ATX form factor that sports Intel's latest Z77 Express chipset and supports the third generation of Intel's LGA 1155 "Ivy Bridge" processors. It is challenging to pack enough performance features and overclocking options onto a micro ATX footprint, but Gigabyte's G1.Sniper M3 has broken the code in this department. This $180 board includes a digital power phase design with auto voltage compensation, dual UEFI BIOS, and an onboard Creative Sound Core3D quad-core audio processor for rich, high-definition audio.

Continue reading our review of the Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 LGA 1155 Micro ATX Motherboard!!

Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

An overview of Thunderbolt Technology

The promise of Thunderbolt connectivity has been around for a couple of years now. Today, Thunderbolt is finally finding its way to the PC platform in the form of motherboards from ASUS and MSI. First unveiled as "Light Peak" at the Intel Developer Forum in 2009, the technology started out as a way to connect multiple devices to a system over a fiber optic cable (hence the 'light' in the name), though the final products have changed the implementation slightly.

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The first prototype implementations actually used a USB-style connection and interface. It further required fiber optic cables. When it was renamed to Thunderbolt and then released in conjunction with a new lineup of Apple MacBook laptops, not only did the physical interface move to a mini-DisplayPort connection but the cable was made to use copper rather than fiber. Without diving too far into the reasons and benefits of either direction, the fact is that the copper cables allow for modest power transfer and are much cheaper than fiber optic variants would be.

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Thunderbolt's base technology remains the same, however. It is a transfer standard that allows for 10 Gbps of bandwidth for each channel (bi-directional) and concurrently supports both data and display connections. The actual interface for the data path is based on PCI Express and connected devices actually appear to Windows as if they are internally connected to the system which can offer some interesting benefits – and headaches – for hardware developers. The display connection uses the DisplayPort standard and can be used along with the data connection without affecting bandwidth levels or performance.  

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For current Intel processor implementations, the Thunderbolt connection is supported by a separate controller chip on the motherboard (or a riser card) – and some routing is required for correct usage. The Thunderbolt controller does not actually include a graphics controller, so it must be fed an output from another graphics processor, obviously in this case directly from the Ivy Bridge / Sandy Bridge processors. In theory, these could be from other controllers, but with the ubiquitous nature of integrated processor graphics on IVB and SNB processors, this is going to be the implementation going forward according to motherboard and system designers. 

Continue reading our review of Thunderbolt on Windows and the ASUS P8Z77-V Premium!!