Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

The X99-E WS/USB 3.1 is leading board in ASUS' Workstation line for the Intel X99 chipset with enhanced support for USB 3.1-based devices. The board features full support for all Intel LGA2011-3 based processors paired with DDR4 memory operating in up to a quad channel configuration. Priced at a hefty $539.99, the X99-E WS/USB 3.1 board comes with an immense feature set to more than justify its massive price tag.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

Powering the X99-E WS/USB 3.1 board is an 8-phase digital power system featuring high efficiency Beat Thermal chokes, Dr. MOS MOSFETs, and 12k rated solid capacitors. Additionally, ASUS integrated their CPU OC Socket into the board's design, ensuring board's overclocking potential. The integrated PLX chip enhances the board's graphics bandwidth, offering full x16 bandwidth with four card populated and x8 bandwidth with all seven PCIe x16 slots populated.

ASUS chose to integrate the following features into the X99-E WS/USB 3.1 board: eight SATA 3 ports; two SATA-Express ports; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; two eSATA ports; Intel I218LM and I210-AT Gigabit NICs; seven PCI-Express x16 slots; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, CMOS clear, MemOK!, Q-Code Logger, and BIOS Flashback buttons; TPU, EPU, Dr. Power, and EZ_XMP switches; Crystal Audio 2 audio subsystem; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A port support.

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS X99-E WS/USB 3.1 motherboard!

A new motherboard from EVGA, the Z170 FTW

Subject: Motherboards | December 14, 2015 - 01:21 PM |
Tagged: evga, Z170 FTW, Intel Z170

EVGA has released several new motherboards based on Intel's Z170 chipset, with the Z170 FTW being the model which Bjorn3D received for review.  The colour scheme is a little more subdued that some of the other manufactures which may appeal to those of us not looking for excessive amounts of bling on our motherboards.  Bjorn reports that the four PCIe 16x slots can only manage dual SLI or Crossfire, however the remaining slots allow you to put in a card to use to power PhysX or an NVMe PCIe SSD if that is within your budget.  Outputs on the back include DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4 but unfortunately no USB 3.1 ports.  The UEFI is interesting, each vendor is trying to outdo the competition when it comes to aesthetics and EVGA is no exception.  Read through the full review to see if the included features on the outweigh the several which are missing if you are considering picking up this board.

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"One of three motherboards available from EVGA for the new Z170 platform along with the flagship Classified board, and the M-ATX Stinger. Available now on Amazon featuring a new BIOS GUI interface, a highly efficient VRM, a CPU socket that has 1.5X the amount of gold content for improved signal quality, 4 DIMM slots supporting 64GB of DDR4 memory, and support for SLI + PhysX to name a few."

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Source: Bjorn3D

Maximum Impact and mimimum footprint; the ASUS Maximus VIII Impact

Subject: Motherboards | December 3, 2015 - 01:39 PM |
Tagged: skylake-s, ROG, Republic of Gamers, Maximus VIII Impact, lga1151, Intel Z170, asus

Before looking at this particular Maximus board, make sure you have checked out Morry's review of the Silver Award winning Maximus VIII Gene as it is well worth the read.  If you find that a mATX board is simply too big for you then you could consider the ASUS Maximus VIII Impact, a mini-ITX board with a fair spread of features.  You are limited to a single x16 PCIe slot but that leaves plenty of channels for 6 USB 3.0, two 3.1 ports of which one is a Type-C connector, four SATA 6GBps ports and U.2 as well.  This board also features the SupremeFX audio found on the Gene, albeit in a slightly different form and adds dual channel WiFi support as well.  [H]ard|OCP were very impressed with Impact, check out the many reasons why it picked up their top awards here.

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"Let’s face it, most sequels are never as good as the original films. When it comes to motherboards the opposite usually rings true. ASUS’ Republic of Gamers brand has had several iterations of the mini-ITX Maximus Impact, today we have version VIII. Hopefully ASUS continues its track record of great sequels."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Maximus VIII Gene is one of the Intel Z170 chipset offerings in the ROG (Republic of Gamer) board line. The board features the standard black and red ROG aesthetics in an mATX form factor to accommodate space constrained system builds. ASUS chose to integrate black-chrome heat sinks into the board's build, giving it a sleek and modern appearance. The board's integrated Intel Z170 chipset integrates support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Skylake processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory. With an MSRP of $230, the Maximus VIII Gene offers a compelling price for a feature-packed product.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Maximus VIII Gene features an 8+2 phase digital power system, providing more than enough power to the CPU and integrated GPU for whatever you choose to throw at it. ASUS integrated the following features into the Maximus VIII Gene board: two SATA 3 ports; two SATA-Express ports; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; two PCI-Express x16 slots; one PCI-Express x4 slot; on-board power, reset, MemOK!, Safe Boot, ReTry, Clear CMOS, and USB BIOS Flashback buttons; ROG SupremeFX 2015 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort and HDMI video ports; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS Maximus VIII Gene motherboard!

MSI Announces KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE Motherboard with Free Game

Subject: Motherboards | December 1, 2015 - 11:02 AM |
Tagged: Z170, Rainbow Six Siege, msi, motherboard, KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE, krait gaming, krait

MSI has announced a partnership with Ubisoft and introduced a specially designed motherboard, the Z170A KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE, which includes a free copy of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (Standard Edition).

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"With this new model you will receive a free copy of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege [Standard Edition]. But that’s not all, during this exclusive promotion MSI is also giving away a free copy of the game with the Z170A GAMING M5 motherboard. The promotion starts on Tuesday 1st of December, 2015."

The motherboard is based on the current Z170A KRAIT EDITION, and this new R6 SIEGE design offers the same gaming-oriented featues such as DDR4 Boost, Intel LAN, and high-end audio components, and both feature USB 3.1 Gen 2 support with Type-C and Type-A ports.

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No specifics on pricing/availability just yet.

Source: MSI

ASUS updates the TUF line of motherboards with the ASUS Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1

Subject: Motherboards | November 20, 2015 - 02:51 PM |
Tagged: asus, TUF SABERTOOTH Z170, LGA 1151

It has been a while since we saw a new Sabertooth motherboard from the other side of ASUS, The Ultimate Force, up for review but [H]ard|OCP has remedied that with the new Z170 member of this line of products.  It bears the same Thermal Armour design as previous models, adding a small fan that doesn't quite fit in with the overall design of the motherboard.  As well you will notice an absence of a visible CMOS battery, it is indeed buried under the armour.  [H]ard|OCP were less than impressed with the memory subsystem, the board is rated for DDR4 2400MHz DIMMs maximum and no higher.  On the other hand the incredible stability of this board and the amount of features available on this relatively inexpensive Z170 board did garner a Gold Award.  Read the full review to understand the benefits and drawbacks of this motherboard.

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"In our opinion ASUS’ TUF series motherboards target the sweet spot in regard to features, price, and performance. TUF motherboards give you more features than most mid-range motherboards but lack certain features found on the high end. The Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 is the flagship part of the current TUF series."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Asus Lights Up Budget Skylake With New B150 Pro Gaming D3 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | November 11, 2015 - 08:07 PM |
Tagged: Skylake, Intel Skylake, Intel B150, asus

Asus has a bright new option for budget gamers with a Skylake compatible motherboard based around the B150 chipset. The Asus B150 Pro Gaming D3 is a cheaper alternative that sacrifices some expandability while still incorporating several enthusiast-friendly features.

Intel’s B150 chipset is a cheaper alternative to the Z170 which has received a lot more attention this year. 

The Asus B150 Pro Gaming D3 features a LGA 1151 socket ready for up to Core i7 Skylake processors that is powered by the company’s “Digi+” VRMs. On the memory front, Asus has opted for four DDR3 slots supporting up to 64GB dual channel DDR3 modules at 1,866 MHz. This is a departure from most of the Skylake motherboards that have launched this year which use DDR4. Opting for DDR3 means slightly less potential performance but at welcome cost savings.

For storage, this motherboard has six SATA 6Gbps ports and a single M.2 slot for solid state drives (albeit limited to 2 lanes of PCI-E).

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The lower-left of this budget board is dominated by a slew of expansion slots as well as Asus’ SupremeFX (Realtek ALC1150 codec) audio hardware. The B150 chipset powers a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot and the board further includes a second PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, two PCI-E x1 slots, and two PCI slots for legacy expansion cards. 

To help this board stand out, the company has added LED lighting above the PCI-E slot and along the right edge of the board. These LEDs can be configured as a solid color, to cycle colors, or to respond to changes in CPU temperature or load (which could help accentuate a custom case mod or simply act as more "bling").

Rear I/O is decent with the following options:

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x VGA
  • 4 x USB 3.0 (Intel B150)
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A (ASMedia)
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C (ASMedia)
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet (Intel)
  • 5 x Analog audio (300 ohm headphone support, Realtek codec)
  • 1 x S/PDIF

There are some limitations with this board, however. The major downgrade from Z170 to B150 is the number of PCI Express lanes from 20 on Z170 to 8 with B150. As such, when using the second physical x16 slot (max electrical x4) with a x4 or faster device the two physical x1 slots will be disabled. Further, when using the M.2 slot for your SSD in SATA mode, one of the physical SATA ports will be disabled. There is only so much bandwidth to go around here as well as the loss of overclocking ability with the cheaper chipset.

Naturally, Asus has not released specific pricing or availability for the B150 Pro Gaming D3. Expect it to undercut existing Skylake compatible boards, though. And if you have been thinking about upgrading, this is a cheaper upgrade path (you can re-use your DDR3 memory) that is an alternative to the Biostar board that can support both DDR3 and DDR4.

Also read: The Intel Core i7-6700K Review - Skylake First for Enthusiasts

Source: Asus

ASUS Announces ROG Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly Motherboard and Matrix GTX 980 Ti

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards | November 9, 2015 - 10:49 AM |
Tagged: ROG, Republic of Gamers, Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly, Matrix GTX 980 Ti, Headphone Amp, E9018K2M, DAC, asus, 10GbE, 10 Gbps Ethernet

ASUS has announced two new products for their Republic of Gamers lineup today, and while we saw the Matrix GTX 980 Ti at IFA in September (and the Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly was also on display), there are further details for both products in today's press release.

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ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly motherboard with Matrix 980 Ti

The motherboard in question is the Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly, a Z170 board with an external headphone amp and 10Gb/s Ethernet add-in card included. This board could run into some money.

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The ROG 10G Express expansion card

While other Maximus VIII series motherboards have high-end audio support, the Extreme/Assembly further differentiates itself with an included 10Gb/s Ethernet card. ASUS has partnered with Tehuti Networks for the card, which in addition to 10Gbps also operates at conventional 100/1000 Ethernet speeds, as well as new 2.5/5Gbps over CAT5e.

“ROG 10G Express is the enterprise-speed Ethernet card, powered by Aquantia® and Tehuti Networks: these key partners are both members of the NBASE-T™ alliance, and are working closely to create the new 2.5Gbit/s and 5Gbit/s standards that will be compatible with the existing Category 5e (Cat 5e) cabling and ports. With PCI Express 2.0 x4 speed, it equips Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly gamers for next-generation LAN speeds of up to 10Gbit/s — or up to ten times (10X) faster than today’s fastest onboard consumer Ethernet.”

This will certainly add to the cost of the motherboard considering a 10GbE card (without the 2.5/5Gbps feature) currently sells for $239.99 on Amazon.

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The ROG SupremeFX Hi-Fi amplifier

If you’re an audio enthusiast (like me) you’ll be impressed by the attention to audio, which begins with the audiophile-grade ESS E9018K2M DAC chip found on other members of the Maximus VIII family, and capable of not only native PCM 32-bit/384kHz playback, but up to dual-rate DSD (DSD128). The external headphone amplifier features the Texas Instruments TPA6120A2, and has a very high 6V output to drive the most challenging headphone loads.

What about the Matrix GTX 980 Ti? Full specifications were announced for the card, with boost GPU clock speeds of up to 1317 MHz.

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  • Graphics Engine: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
  • Video memory: 6GB GDDR5
  • CUDA cores: 2816
  • GPU clock (boosted):
    • 1317MHz (OC mode)
    • 1291MHz (gaming mode)
  • GPU clock (base)
    • 1216MHz (OC mode)
    • 1190MHz (gaming mode)
  • Memory clock: 7200MHz
  • Memory interface: 384-bit
  • Display Output: 3x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x Dual-link DVI
  • Dimensions: 11.62 x 5.44 x 2 inches

Availability and pricing information for these new ROG products was not released.

Source: ASUS ROG

MSI Z170A Gaming M7, a board nicely balanced in performance and price

Subject: Motherboards | November 6, 2015 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: Z170A Gaming M7, msi, LGA 1151, Intel

At $220 currently the MSI Z170A Gaming M7 sits comfortably between a value board and a flagship model.  The heatsinks not only look good but provide decent cooling as well, as [H]ard|OCP points out in their review.  As far as connectivity goes, this board has a half dozen SATA 6Gbps ports, two SEx ports and two M.2 slots along with a total of seven USB 2.0 ports, six USB 3.0 ports and a pair of USB 3.1 ports, one of which has a Type-C connection.  There are three PCIe 3.0 slots, x16 in design and capable of running x8/x8/x4 when all populated, with another four 1x slots for an impressive total number of slots.  Check out the overclocking performance and the new UEFI which replaces the old Click BIOS in the full review.

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"MSI has changed gears as of late vowing to be the number one motherboard manufacturer in the "gaming" segment. While a "gaming" motherboard MSI is still focused on overclocking with this model. We look at the Z170A Gaming M7 to see if it brings MSI one step closer or a step away from that very goal."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI Announces Z170A SLI PLUS Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | November 3, 2015 - 04:00 AM |
Tagged: Z170A SLI PLUS, X99 SLI PLUS, sli, msi, motherboard, crossfire, black PCB

MSI has announced their third PRO Series motherboard, the all-black Z170A SLI PLUS.

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"MSI, leading in motherboard design, completes the PRO Series motherboard line-up with the launch of the all black Z170A SLI PLUS motherboard. Inheriting DNA from the critically acclaimed X99A SLI PLUS motherboard, the Z170A SLI PLUS is powerful, packed with features and styled with class."

While not lacking in stealthy looks from the black PCB to the matching RAM slots and heatsinks, the specifications of this new SLI PLUS board place it firmly into the premium category.

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Features include Intel Gigabit LAN, MSI’s DDR4 Boost technology (which isolates memory traces on the board), Turbo M.2 (and U.2) with speeds up to 32 Gb/s with NVMe SSDs, and the Steel Armor PCI Express slots. And while SLI is right there in the title, there is also support for AMD Crossfire with those super-strong PCIe slots.

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The board is fabricated with MSI’s Military Class 4 components including super ferrite chokes and all solid capacitors, and also offer a “EZ Debug” LED and overvoltage protection. In addition to support for the fastest internal storage standards (M.2, U.2, and SATA Express), the Z170A SLI PLUS offers full USB 3.1 Gen2 support for transfers up to 10 Gb/s for compatible devices.

  • Supports 6th Gen Intel Core / Pentium / Celeron processors for LGA 1151 socket
  • Supports DDR4-3600 Memory (OC)
  • DDR4 Boost
  • USB 3.1 Gen2
  • Turbo M.2 32Gb/s + Turbo U.2 ready + USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C + SATA 6Gb/s
  • Steel Armor PCI-E slots; Supports NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire
  • OC Genie 4
  • Click BIOS 5
  • Audio Boost
  • Military Class 4
  • Guard-Pro
  • EZ Debug LED
  • Overvoltage Protection
  • 4K UHD Support
  • Windows 10 Ready

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Pricing and availability were not specified with this morning’s announcement.

Source: GIGABYTE