Subject: Motherboards | October 3, 2012 - 02:52 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: trinity, motherboard, gigabyte, fm2, APU
AMD’s latest Trinity APUs launched yesterday, and with that Gigabyte launched its flagship socket FM2 motherboard, the GA-F2A85X-UP4. This board was shown off earlier this year, but now we have all the details. This motherboard is packed with all the Gigabyte technology you would expect from an enthusiast board, and some of the more interesting features include the Ultra Durable 5 capacitors, a digital PWM array, single package IR3550 PowIRStage ICs, and dual APU clock generators to push overclocking of non-K edition processors as far as possible – at least in theory. Also interesting is the inclusion of Lucid’s Virtu MVP GPU virtualization technology, two EFI BIOS chips, switchable graphics, and the ability to crossfire certain 6000-series discrete graphics cards with the GPU in the Trinity APU.
Internal connectivity options include the FM2 socket, four DDR3 DIMM slots (up to 64GB @ 1866MHz), seven SATA 6Gbps ports, one eSATA 6Gbps port, and support for RAID O, 1, 5, 10, and JBOD. Furter, the GA-F2A85X-UP4 supports three PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots. The first slot runs at x16 or x8 if there are two GPUs installed. The second and third slots run at x8 and x4 respectively. Gigabyte has also included three PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots for sounds and networking cards.
Internal IO headers include one CPU fan, four system fans, one S/PDIF, one USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, one serial, one clear CMOS, and one TPM.
Rear I/O on the flagship Trinity motherboard includes:
- 1 x PS/2
- 1 x VGA
- 1 x DVI
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x DisplayPort
- 1 x S/PDIF
- 4 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x eSATA
- 1 x RJ45
- 6 x analog audio jacks
This board is packing a lot of hardware, and the price is right around $130 depending on the retailer. The GA-F2A85X-UP4 is available now. Interestingly Gigabyte has also announced the F2A85XM-D3H based on the same A85X chipset as the flagship F2-A85X-UP4 as well as some lower tier motherboards based on the A75 and A55 chipsets with new FM2 sockets. Unfortunately, these motherboards do not appear to be available yet. If you are interested in those boards (which should cost less), keep an eye out for the F2A75M-D3H, and F2A55M-HD2 – or simply watch PC Perspective’s homepage of course!
In the meantime, you can find more photos of the GA-F2A85X-UP4 on Gigabyte's website.
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Processors | October 2, 2012 - 08:06 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: overclock, asus
ASUSTeK has just accomplished a new world record overclock with their ASUS Maximus V Extreme motherboard. They calculated 1 million digits of Pi in a time of 5s 94ms which beats the current best time 5s 125ms according to HWBot. This result once validated lands the Maximus V Extreme in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place positions.
ASUS has once again broke records in the Pi eating contest with their Maximus V Extreme motherboard.
It must be a fun day for an overclocker when you get to play with Liquid Helium. While I attended the Physics department of Queen’s University up here in Canada the facility was known for its condensed matter group. Much of the building was fitted with piping to recapture and recondense the Helium after its experiments strictly due to how much it cost and how rare it is. If someone offers for you to break an overclocking record with it you are obliged to say yes.
The achieved overclock appears to be tuned towards the application. Memory frequency was kept at 1333 MHz with a FSB of about 110 MHz. I would expect this multiplier-centric overclock is designed to keep the overclock focused on sheer number crunching which Super Pi likely relies on over memory bandwidth. Perhaps reduced memory timings might even come in to play for applications like this?
ASUS broke a few records with their Liquid Helium attempt. As of time of writing none of these records have been updated to the HWBot leaderboard.
With Super Pi running to 1 million digits Asus and their team recorded a time of 5s 94ms -- 31 milliseconds faster than the current leading time of 5s 125ms. The current leaderboard already contains the ASUS Maximus V Extreme motherboard in Gold, Silver, and Bronze positions. This podium has already been well represented by the Maximus V.
When you cannot be satisfied with 1 million digits of pi you can run the marathon to 32 million digits.
The most current record that I could find was set by a team sponsored by GSkill who achieved the time of 4min 44sec 609ms just a couple of weeks ago. ASUS and their team - which apparently has at least one member, “Smoke”, in common with the team GSkill assembled - also beat this record by almost 2 full seconds with a score of 4min 43s 0ms.
Subject: Motherboards | September 23, 2012 - 09:21 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: VIA EPIA-M920, VIA, mini-itx
VIA recently announced a new motherboard and processor combination meant for embedded systems like Point of Sale (POS) machines and digital signage. The EPIA-M920 is the company's first mini-ITX form factor board to feature its VXIIH chipset. VIA has packed a lot into this 17cm x 17cm motherboard, and the specs suggest that it is a capable machine. It can't match the NUC, but it should cost less -- and one SKU can even be run fanless. The EPIA-M920 comes in two iterations depending on the processor you select: the 12Q and the 10E. The EPIA-M920-12Q packs a 1.2GHz VIA QuadCore E processor, and requires a CPU HSF with fan. On the other hand, the EPIA-M920-10E is powered by a VIA Eden X2 dual core processor at 1.0GHz. The 10E version can run without any heatsink fans, and is passively cooled by two small aluminum heatsinks over the VXIIH chipset and processor.
The VXIIH chipset includes the Chromotion 5.0 video processor that hardware accelerates a number of video codecs includinig MPEG-2, MPEG-4, VC-1, and H.264. VIA claims that the graphics processor can handle videos with those codecs at resolutions up to 1080p (they did not specify bit rates, however) without affecting the CPU. Further, the GPU supports DirectX 11 graphics and stereoscopic 3D content.
The VIA motherboard can support up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM running at 1333MHz (via two SO-DIMM slots). Internal headers include:
- 2 x LVDS (Low Voltage Differential Signaling)
- 1 x USB 3.0
- 4 x USB 2.0
- 2 x SATA
- 3 x RS232 (congifurable: 5V/12V)
- SDHC card slot
- PCI-E x4 slot
In addition, the mini ITX motherboard will happily accept power connections from either an AC or CD power supply and is compatible with the slim, low wattage, DC PSUs though no specific recommended wattage was stated.
Rear IO on the motherboard is also fairly impressive considering the size. Via has packed in the following connectors.
- Dual Gigabit LAN ports powered by two VIA VT6130 controllers.
- 2 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 2 x HDMI
- 1 x VGA
- 1 x COM
- 3 x audio jacks (VIA VT2021 HD codec)
- 2 x PS/2 ports
The VIA EPIA-M920 motherboard supports Windows 7, but it is primarily aimed at embedded markets, and as such is compatible with the Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows XP Embedded, and POSReady 7 operating systems. VIA intends for this system to be used to power digital signage, point of sale machines, ATMs, kiosks, embedded gaming platforms, and other digital media applications where low power flourishes. VIA Technologies Embedded Platform Division Head Epan Wu stated that "the VIA EPIA-M920 Mini-ITX packs in all of the latest technologies from VIA providing embedded system designers an ideal platform to create groundbreaking new devices."
Unfortunately, no pricing or availability information was stated in the press release. It should be available to system integrators soon, however. You can find more photos of the EPIA-M920 mini ITX motherboard in VIA's photo gallery.
Subject: Motherboards | September 21, 2012 - 05:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, p8z77-V deluxe
The ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe has a 20-phase power design, more heatsinks than an assault mech and a long list of features including a pair of PCIe 16x slots for CrossFireX and SLI, LucidLogix Virtu MVP, Quick Sync video, Smart Response Technology, Smart Connect Technology and many other extras. You do pay a premium for such a long list as the board is $280 on NewEgg, those who want this much motherboard are going to have to spend a bit more than someone happy with a basic Z77 implementation. [H]ard|OCP put the board to the test most important to many enthusiasts, overclocking an i7 3770K to 4.84GHz with some careful adjustments to the voltages provided to the components. It pulled in a Gold Award but [H] recommends only the experienced pick up this board as there are available settings in the UEFI BIOS which could seriously damage your equipment if you aren't very familiar with the specifications of your CPU and memory.
"The ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe comes from an outstanding pedigree as virtually every board in the ASUS P8xxx series has been excellent. Is this another tremendously worthy entry in the lineup or does this one shy away from its heritage? Read on to learn about our experiences with the P8Z77-V Deluxe."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ASRock Z77 Pro4 (Z77) Motherboard @ eTeknix
- Asrock X79 Extreme11 @ Pro-Clockers
- First "Ultra Durable 5" Mainboards with Two Thunderbolt Ports: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH and GA-Z77X-UP5 TH @ X-bit Labs
- GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H Motherboard Review @ Techgage
- BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z77X Intel Z77 Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews
- ASUS Maximus V Formula @ Kitguru
- ASRock Z77 OC Formula @ Tweaktown
- MSI Big Bang Z77 MPower Intel LGA 1155 @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi @ Legion Hardware
- MSI Big Bang XPower II (X79) Motherboard Review @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte Z77X-UP4 TH Review: Thunderbolt Times Two @ AnandTech
- Gigabyte GA-X79-UP4 Socket 2011 Motherboard @ Pro-Clockers
- The 4 Best X79 Motherboards - You will never see @ Ninjalane
- BIOS Option Of The Week - PEG Port VC1/Map @ TechARP
Subject: Motherboards | September 17, 2012 - 11:09 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: trinity, piledriver, fm2, amd, A85X, a10
Gigabyte lit the social media fuse and showed off some of the first pictures of one of the A85X based motherboards. A85X is the successor to the original FM1 A75 chipset, and it had a rather robust featureset for a "budget" oriented chipset. The original A75 was paired with the Llano APU, otherwise known as the A8/A6/A4 APU from AMD. The A85 is pin compatible with the A75, but it offers two more SATA 6 ports than the previous unit. Both share 14 USB ports, four of which are USB 3.0
The board overall looks nice and robust. The black PCB and accoutrements make it seem like it is a mean board. There are 4 USB 3.0 ports on the back and a header for front panel USB 3.0. All eight SATA 6 ports are used on the board, six + one on the board and one e-SATA. We do not know all the details about the power delivery system, but it looks like it is using a variant of what we saw with the latest Z77 boards from Gigabyte. Good stuff, Mainerd.
October certainly looks to be the month that Trinity arrives. Everyone is very curious how it will perform against the latest Ivy Bridge processors from Intel. While AMD still has a GPU advantage, it is slowly shrinking. Now we wonder how well the CPU part will perform and how much power it will pull. Stay tuned, gentle readers...
Subject: Motherboards | September 12, 2012 - 07:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, MSI Z77A-G41, lga 1155
MSI adds to the value end of their Z77 based motherboard lineup with the Z77A-G41 at a mere $100, $90 after MIR. For that price you get a board with a pair of PCIe 16x slots as well as a pair of both PCIe 1x and PCI slots. [H]ard|OCP were less than impressed with the SATA ports, while there are six in total they are vertical and so add to the clutter of the machine as well as being in the way of the second PCIe slot. They have never been fans of MSI's ClickBIOS, an opinion this board did not change nor were theu impressed with the overclocking abilities of the board, no matter how long they spent adjusting setting in the UEFI implementation. That is not to imply that this board is not a good choice for everyone, it is only the enthusiast that will be disappointed, those looking for a stable motherboard to build an inexpensive machine will find this board fully up to the task.
"While it's usually the high end boards that get the most attention, it's often the lower end and mid-range boards that many people purchase. With this in mind we get back to basics with the Z77A-G41 which is an entry level offering from MSI that boasts many enthusiast features."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Intel DZ77GA-70K Motherboard Review @ Techgage
- Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi Intel LGA 2011 @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi Review: Ultra Durable 5 Meets the C606 Chipset @ AnandTech
- ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe mainboard @ Hardwareoverclock
- ASRock X79 Extreme11 Review: PCIe 3.0 x16/x16/x16/x16 and LSI 8-Way SAS/SATA @ AnandTech
- GIGABYTE Z77X-UP5 TH @ Bjorn3D
- Asrock Z77 OC Formula Socket 1155 Motherboard @ Pro-Clockers
- ASRock Z77 OC Formula Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- Sapphire and ECS X79 Motherboard Review @ OCC
- ASRock X79 Extreme11 Intel LGA 2011 @ techPowerUp
- Super Mainboard for a Mega-Computer: ASRock Z77 Extreme9 @ X-bit Labs
- ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Champion Motherboard @ Kitguru
- ASRock Z77 Extreme6 Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
- MSI Big Bang Z77 Mpower @ Guru of 3D
- BIOS Option Of The Week - Frame Buffer Size @ TechARP
Subject: Motherboards | September 10, 2012 - 09:29 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: mini-itx, htpc, fusion, biostar, APU, amd, a68i-350 deluxe, a68
While Intel has gotten a lot of Mini-ITX love lately, AMD is not out of the game yet. Motherboard manufacturer Biostar recently launched an AMD Fusion APU powered Mini-ITX motherboard that would make for a nice little HTPC. The A68I-350 Deluxe is based around some of the latest technologies including support for DDR3, PCI-E 3.0, and USB 3.0 standards.
The A68I-350 Deluxe motherboard measures 17 cm x 17 cm and comes with a bundled dual core AMD Fusion 350D APU. A heatsink and passive cooling for the south bridge are also provided in the package. The graphics card, memory, storage and other accessories are up to you, however. The Mini-ITX board features two DDR3 DIMM slots that support a maximum of 16 GB. Located in the lower right-hand corner are three SATA 3 6Gbps ports. Below that is a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot for a graphics card or other peripheral. Additional internal IO includes:
- 1 x printer header
- 2 x USB 2.0 header
- 1 X front panel audio
- 1 X front panel header (hdd, power, reset, ect)
- 1 x S/PDIF-OUT header
- 1 x CPU fan header
- 1 x system fan header
- 1 x serial header
According to Biostar, the motherboard also uses all solid capacitors to improve longevity.
Rear IO on the board is not quite as extensive as some of the other offerings available, but is still fairly good for the price. It features two PS/2 ports for keyboard and mouse, one HDMI out, one VGA output, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, one Ethernet port (Realtek RTL8111F Gigabit controller), and three audio output jacks (Realtek ALC662 6-channel HD audio).
The AMD APU that comes with the A68I-350 Deluxe features Radeon 6310 graphics, which are not the fastest but will still provide plenty of oomph for watching videos on the big screen. While it has not yet shown up at online retailers like Amazon and Newegg yet, it is reportedly already shipping and will have an MSRP of € 66 (euros) or approximately $84 USD. Considering the Intel options that have recently surfaced are going for $100+ easily, this Biostar motherboard should provide a nice budget option for your next HTPC or small form factor PC build!
You can find more information on the A68I-350 Deluxe over at the Biostar website.
Subject: Motherboards | September 9, 2012 - 06:14 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: z77x-up7, z77n-wifi, video, live, h77n-wifi, gigabyte
A PC Perspective Live Recap is a recorded version of a previously live streamed event from http://pcper.com/live. If you couldn't make the original air time, or simply want to re-watch, the on-demand version is provided below!
On the way to the Intel Developer Forum, Gigabyte's Colin Brix stopped by the PC Perspective offices to talk with us about the new Z77X-UP7 flagship motherboard with some really impressive overclocking features as well as the latest iteration of Gigabyte's Ultra Durable 5 technology.
While he was here, we also got to see a sneak preview of the mini-ITX motherboard, the Z77N-WiFi!
If you missed the live event you can watch the replay below!
Subject: Motherboards | September 9, 2012 - 01:45 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Z77, pcper live, gigabyte
If you missed the live event, you can watch the replay with Colin and I right here to learn about the new Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 and Z77N-WiFi!!
On Sunday September 9th at 3pm ET / 12pm PT, Gigabyte will be at the PC Perspective offices doing a live event to show off some new products as well as answer any questions our readers and viewers might have. It will all be happening on the PC Perspective Live! channel so be sure you are there later today to participate and possibly win some prizes from our friends at Gigabyte!
Just last month Gigabyte announced the release of the flagship Z77X-UP7 motherboard.
This motherboard features a 32+3+2 power phase technology, Ultra Durable 5 components, an all digital PWM, support for 4-Way graphics configurations and a very unique Direct Link PCIe x16 slot for maximum bandwidth.
The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 motherboard delivers a serious amount of power through its 32+3+2 power phase design (32 CPU phases, 3 Intel® HD Graphics, 2 VTT phases). With the industry’s highest phase count, the Z77X-UP7 motherboard is able to share the workload between 32 phases, ensuring lower working temperatures and maximum CPU power delivery.
Featuring the award winning GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 5 technology with high current capable components including 60A rated PowIRstages® from IR, the Z77X-UP7 is able to deliver an astonishing 2,000W of power and at the same time, operate at remarkably low temperatures. This means that even overclocked, water cooled Z77X-UP7 systems are able to provide remarkable levels of performance.
The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 delivers the industry’s most scalable graphics platform, with support for both 4-way ATI CrossfireX™ and Nvidia SLI™. Providing PCI Express 3.0 x8 connectivity on 4 slots, the Z77X-UP7 delivers ultra smooth 3D rendering, blazing-fast frame rates and enhanced graphics capabilities for users wanting to get the highest levels of graphics performance from their system.
We will also touch on a new mini-ITX motherboard from Gigabyte as well - you'll definitely want to see this!
Here's where your participation comes in - submit your questions or thoughts on the products in our comments section below and we'll hand out a couple of prizes to two questions that we think are the best! There is no registration required, so post away and be sure to join us on Sunday at 3pm ET / 12pm PT at http://pcper.com/live to participate in our live event!
There is something alluring about packing high-end motherboard hardware into a mini-ITX form factor, and it looks as though EVGA will be joining the small form factor game with its first Z77 mini-ITX board. German enthusiast site OCaholic managed to get its hands on the board for a short preivew, and with dimensions of 17 cm x 17 cm, the motherboard packs a ton of overclockable hardware into an attractive design.
The Z77 motherboard features an Intel LGA 1155 socket that can accept either Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge processors in the i3, i5, and i7 flavors. To the left of the CPU socket is an 8-phase power phase with International Rectifier IR3550M MOSFETS. There is also an additional power phase dedicated to getting clean power to the memory. To the right of the CPU socket are two DDR3 memory slots capable of supporting a maximum of 32GB of RAM.
The top right corner of the mini-ITX motherboard features red power and reset buttons as well as an LED display capable of displaying error codes should you push the board too far and it fails to post. The EVGA motherboard features a UEFI BIOS from which you can overclock or reset the board to defaults that should be similar to the company’s current offering.
Along the bottom of the Z77 motherboard is a PCI-E 3.0 X16 slot for adding a graphics card. Directly above the PCI-E 3.0 slot (from left to right) is a USB 3.0 header, mSATA connector, southbridge, and four SATA ports. Two are SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports (Intel RAID 0, 1, 4, 0+1), and the other two are SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports that support Intel RAID 0, 1, 5, 0+1, and JBOD. While it should not be a problem for most users, the SATA ports and RAM slot are packed in really close to the PCI-E slot, so if you are using a graphics card that utilizes a large heatsink, you will probably want to avoid this board. Unfortunately, that’s just one of the compromises necessary to get a motherboard this small though. At least the SATA ports are above the PCI-E 3.0 slot and not to the right of it (like some boards are set up).
Rear IO on the EVGA Z77 mini-ITX motherboard is pretty impressive for a board of this size. You get two USB 2.0 ports, Bluetooth, a small clear CMOS button to reset the BIOS to defaults, four USB 3.0 ports, 1 mini DisplayPort (or possibly Thunderbolt) port, two eSATA 6.0 Gb/s ports, 1 HDMI port, 1 Gigabit LAN port, five audio output jacks courtesy of a Realtek ALC898 8-channel controller, and one optical audio output (S/PDIF).
Unfortunately, there is no word yet on price or availability. Talk around the internet seems to suggest a release date sometime in September and price above $150, but as always you should take those numbers with at least a few grains of salt. Even so, this is an interesting motherboard, and I’m always glad to see more competition in the small form factor and mini-ITX hardware space.
The EVGA board has now joined the Gigabyte GA-H77N WIFI and the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe in the Z77 Mini ITX game. Here’s hoping the increased competition can bring prices down so I can get to building a nice Mini-ITX powered HTPC like the one Ryan built with an AMD APU (and desktop Trinity’s launch date seems to be getting further away rather than closer).
You can find more photos of the EVGA Mini-ITX motherboard over at OCaholic, and as always PC Perspective has you covered on mini-ITX motherboard news. Stay tuned for more details on this EVGA board as we get them!