AM3+ Keeps Chugging Along
Consumers cannot say that MSI has not attempted to keep the AM3+ market interesting with a handful of new products based upon that socket. Throughout this past year MSI has released three different products addressing multiple price points and featuresets. The 970 Gaming was the first, the 970 KRAIT introduced USB 3.1 to the socket, and the latest 990FXA-Gaming board provides the most feature rich implementation of the socket plus USB 3.1.
AMD certainly has not done the platform any real favors as of late in terms of new CPUs and architectures to inhabit that particular socket. The last refresh we had was around a year ago with the release of the FX-8370 and 8370e. These are still based on the Piledriver based Vishera core that was introduced three years ago. Unlike the GPU market, the CPU market has certainly not seen the leaps and bounds in overall performance that we had enjoyed in years past.
MSI has taken the now geriatric 990FX (based upon the 890FX chipset released in 2010- I think AMD might have gotten their money out of this particular chipset iteration) and implemented it in a new design that embraces many of the top end features that are desired by enthusiasts. AMD still has a solid following and their products are very competitive from a price/performance standpoint (check out Ryan’s price/perf graphs from his latest Intel CPU review).
The packing material is pretty basic. Just cardboard and no foam. Still, fits nicely and is quite snug.
The idea behind the 990FXA-Gaming is to provide a very feature-rich product that appeals to gamers and enthusiasts. The key is to provide those features at a price point that will not scare away the budget enthusiasts. Just as MSI has done with the 970 Gaming, there were decisions made to keep costs down. We will get into these tradeoffs shortly.
Subject: Motherboards | September 2, 2015 - 01:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Skylake, motherboard, LGA 1151, Intel Q170, Intel H170, Intel H110, Intel B150, asus
ASUS has announced a number of new motherboards today, all of which feature new Intel chipsets for LGA 1151 processors.
We've seen quite a few Z170 motherboards show up on the market in the past month, and now prepare for the onslaught of the alphabet soup of variations. In addition to Z170 you will now be seeing H170, B150, H110, and Q170 (and who knows what else might manifest itself?). Fortunately, ASUS has announced boards with all of these new chipsets so you can find one precisely tuned to your build's needs - since we don't all need overclocking or multi-GPU support after all.
The boards will be segmented into a couple of classes, Signature and Pro Gaming. As ASUS describes:
- ASUS Signature: H170, B150, H110 and Q170 chipsets in ATX, mATX and mITX, with 5X Protection II, USB Type-C, and LED-illuminated audio
- ASUS Pro Gaming: High-value H170 and B150 boards with gaming-optimized audio and networking, USB 3.1 and M.2 connectivity, and smart DIY features
Taking a look at the Signature series first, the H170-PRO, H170M-PLUS, and Q170M-C motherboards all require DDR4 memory, each supporting up to 64 GB 2133 MHz DDR4 RAM with 4 DIMM slots. The H170I-PLUS D3, on the other hand, makes use of the existing DDR3 standard for a less expensive upgrade path to Skylake, which natively supports both DDR3L (1.35V) and DDR4.
All four boards have Realtek ALC887 audio, and both “PLUS” boards offer Intel NICs with the Q170M-C sporting Intel vPro Gigabit LAN.
Moving down to the B150-PRO D3, B150M-PLUS D3, H110M-PLUS D3, and H110I-PLUS D3 we find a series of lower-cost boards that all make use of DDR3 memory, the same Realtek ALC887 audio, and Realtek Gigabit LAN. Both Intel B150 based boards also feature USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-C along with standard USB 3.0 ports.
Finally, we have the Pro Gaming tier, with the H170 PRO GAMING and B150 PRO GAMING D3. As you might have guessed the PRO GAMING D3 uses DDR3 memory, while the H170 version uses the new DDR4 standard. Both motherboards feature Intel NICs, Realtek ALC1150 audio, and USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A and Type-C.
Specifics on pricing and exact availability have not been disclosed, but the boards will be available “soon”.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of ASUS
The Z170-A motherboard is among initial offerings from ASUS' channel line of Intel Z170 chipset board line. The board features ASUS' new Channel line aesthetics, featuring white and black coloration to differentiate the line from their Z97 gold-theme offerings. ASUS uses the Z170-A to redefine the definition of a base-line motherboard, integrating many "upper-tier style" features not normally found on the lower tier offerings. The board's integrated Intel Z170 chipset integrates support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Skylake processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory. Offered at a price-competitive MSRP of $165, the Z170-A threatens to give the rest of the Z170-based boards a run for the money.
Courtesy of ASUS
The Z170 shares the same DIGI+ style power system of its higher priced siblings, featuring an 8-phase digital power delivery system. ASUS integrated the following features into the Z170-A board: four SATA 3 ports; one SATA-Express port; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; two PCI-Express x1 slots; one PCI slot; on-board power, and MemOK! buttons; EZ XMP and TPU switches; Crystal Sound 3 audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, and VGA video ports; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.
Courtesy of ASUS
The Z170-A motherboard comes standard with ASUS latest iteration of their sound technology, dubbed Crystal Sound 3. Like its predecessors, Crystal Sound 3 integrates the audio components on a isolated PCB from the other main board components minimizing noise generation caused by those other integrated devices. ASUS designed the audio subsystem with high-quality Japanese-sourced audio and power circuitry for a top-notch audio experience.
Subject: Motherboards | August 27, 2015 - 10:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z170-A, skylake-s, lga1151, Intel Z170, asus
Morry looked at the ASUS Z170-A at the beginning of the month, while SkyLake was still being launched and we were learning about multiple Z170 boards every day. With the chipset still so new it is worth investigating the results of other sites when they tested ASUS' mid-range motherboard which costs about half of the Z170-Deluxe. The aesthetics of this board are somewhat simpler than the Deluxe model and [H]ard|OCP reported the motherboard felt much thinner and more flexible, it didn't break but it certainly didn't feel as sturdy as the more expensive model. Apart from the construction they also could not reach the same RAM speeds as they did with the Deluxe, one of the testers could not get 3200MHz DIMMs to run completely stable at their JEDEC specs. Check out the full review here, the price on this motherboard can make the small issues moot for many enthusiasts looking to upgrade to a new Intel based system.
"Previously we looked at ASUS’ Z170-Deluxe which offered users a huge amount of features and a premium price to go with it. Not everyone wants to spend $300 or more on a motherboard which is why ASUS has just what you need. ASUS’ Z170-A offers all the performance without all the extra features and fluff and a low price point."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ASUS Z170-DELUXE @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1 @ Bjorn3d
- MSI Z170A Gaming M7 Motherboard Review @HiTech Legion
- EVGA Z170 FTW Motherboard Review: An Overclocking Gambit @ Modders-Inc
- EVGA Z170 FTW Motherboard Review @ HiTech Legion
- ASRock Z170 Extreme 7+ @ eTeknix
- GIgabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 Motherboard Review @ HiTech Legion
- BIOSTAR N3150NH ITX Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: Motherboards | August 27, 2015 - 07:41 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Z170i Gaming Pro AC, Z170, msi, motherboard, mini-itx, Intel Skylake
MSI has announced a new mini-ITX motherboard for Intel's latest chipset, the Z170I Gaming Pro AC.
Mini-ITX boards have been hard to come by for Skylake thus far, with very few models and limited availability in the first month (though not quite as elusive as the i7-6700K). With this new gaming-oriented board MSI offers another option, and it looks pretty impressive with 5-phase power delivery, 802.11ac wireless, an Intel onboard NIC, and M.2 support from a slot on the back of the PCB.
Pricing isn't immediately available, but the existing Mini-ITX Z170 motherboards (EVGA and ASRock each have one) have been selling for $199 so I'd expect something in that vicinity.
Subject: Motherboards | August 14, 2015 - 05:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z170-Deluxe, skylake-s, lga1151, Intel Z170, asus
Morry offered you a preveiw of the ASUS Z170 Deluxe and now [H]ard|OCP have posted their opinion of the new motherboard. One new feature you might not have realized was incorporated on this board involves the 5 fan headers, all are 4-pin PWM and can be controlled in the UEFI BIOS. As well there is a dedicated waterpump header that is defaulted to full power, another handy new feature. The plastic shrouds are striking and will make this board popular with modders and those with glass cases who like to show off. During their testing [H] tried to push their i7-6700k past 4.7GHz but could not do so, they will be looking to source additional chips to see what difference, if any, exists.
"Today we review ASUS’ new Z170-Deluxe which is based on the new Intel Z170 Chipset supporting Skylake processors. We overclock Skylake and push the Z170-Deluxe to its limits. We find out about this solid new motherboard platform and we have to say we come away impressed."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI Z170A Gaming M7 Review @ OCC
- ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K6+ @ Kitguru
- MSI Z170A GAMING M7 @ eTeknix
- ASUS Z170-A Skylake Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- MSI Z170A GAMING M7 @ TechPowerUp
- Intel Z170 Chipset Summary @ [H]ard|OCP
- GIGABYTE X99-SLI LGA 2011v3 @ [H]ard|OCP
- Biostar N3150NH Mini-ITX Motherboard @ Modders-Inc
- MSi 970A SLI Krait Edition @ eTeknix
Subject: Motherboards | August 6, 2015 - 01:32 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: XPower Titanium, Skylake, msi, motherboards, LGA 1151, Intel Z170
We've heard news of Z170 motherboards from a couple of vendors today, but how many of them can claim a silver motherboard? If you guessed none you'd be correct - until this moment, that is.
Feast your eyes on the all new MSI XPower Gaming Titanium motherboard, a silver ATX design featuring the new Intel Z170 chipset. While this board is obviously rather new it already has the distinction of holding the highest DDR4 overclock to date (a fact which seems not to have escaped MSI's attention).
In addition to apparently overclocking memory rather well the XPower Titanium also features:
- OC DASHBOARD: On-the-fly overclocking
- Twin Turbo M.2 64Gb/s + Turbo U.2 ready
- GAMING LAN with LAN Protect, powered by Intel
- Audio Boost 3, Nahimic Audio Enhancer
- Game Boost: 8 levels of easy overclocking
- GAMING Hotkey: Assign macros, launch your favorite games or do real-time overclocking using a single button
- XSplit Gamecaster v2.5: 1 year free premium license
- Military Class 5: The latest evolution in high quality components featuring the brand new Titanium Chokes
- MULTI-GPU with Steel Armor: Steel Armor PCI-E slots
The name of the new motherboard might have something to do with the Military Class 5 titanium chokes, but there's no mistaking the look of this board which will provide a fresh option for new builds. Options like this keep rolling in, and it's going to be a very busy rest of the summer!
Subject: Motherboards | August 5, 2015 - 11:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z170, lga1151, gigabyte
Gigabyte have launched their Z170 series of LGA1151 motherboard and you have quite a few to choose from. The 10 motherboards that are being released are the GA-Z170X-UD5, GA-Z170X-UD3, GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, GA-Z170X-Gaming 5, GA-Z170X-Gaming 3, GA-Z170X-Gaming G1, GA-Z170XP-SLI, GA-Z170-HD3P, GA-Z170M-D3H and GA-Z170-HD3. All the boards have differences of course, but let Gigabyte's PR explain to you the similarities.
City of Industry, California, August 5th, 2015 – GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards is proud to announce today its new 100 series motherboards based on the Intel Z170 chipset with support for Intel’s new 6th Gen. Core processor. This updated platform marks a new era for the desktop PC with the continued support of DDR4, introduction of USB 3.1 over the new Type-C connector, as well as an array of onboard features and technologies that lets the user unleash the full power of their PC.
"We are very excited to launch our new 100 series motherboards based on Intel’s new Z170 chipset here at Gamescom in Germany, ” commented Henry Kao, Vice President of GIGABYTE Motherboard Business Unit. “We know everyone has been eagerly waiting for this, so we made sure our 100 series motherboards are packed with features which will make them stand out and provide the best possible experience from the latest 6th Gen. Core CPU from Intel.”
GIGABYTE 100 Series Motherboards
With the 100 series, GIGABYTE offers three motherboard segments to satisfy everyone’s specific needs. The Ultra Durable caters to users looking for a board that has long lasting, high quality components while the G1 Gaming targets gamers that demand cutting edge audio and graphics performance, and with the SOC Force GIGABYTE is bringing a solution for those who are looking to push their hardware performance off the charts. GIGABYTE brings a series of features that won’t let anyone down.
Intel 6th Gen. Core CPUs and Z170 Chipset
With its new 6th Gen. Core CPUs and Z170 chipset, Intel provides notable improvements over the previous generation and revolutionary new features such as support for Windows 10 and DirectX 12, the latest and greatest operating system and API from Microsoft which are both supported natively on GIGABYTE motherboards. Additionally, the new LGA 1151 socketed 14nm CPU from Intel brings both DDR4 and DDR3 support as well as enough power to support up to 3 independent digital displays and enhanced full range BCLK overclocking!
Subject: Motherboards | August 5, 2015 - 07:30 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Z170-Deluxe, motherboards, LGA 1151, Intel Z170, deluxe, asus
We previously reported news of the new Maximus lineup for the Z170 platform, but ASUS had more to announce today.
The new signature motherboard lineup (click here for the full comparison chart) includes new Z170 versions of the familiar models from previous chipsets, and they have specifically detailed quite a bit about their new high-end Z170-Deluxe model.
The Z170-Deluxe is crammed with proprietary goodies such as:
5-Way Optimization: "The unbeatable combination of automated overclocking, advanced fan controls, enhanced efficiency, digital power and per-app performance profiles"
ASUS Pro Clock: "A dedicated base-clock (BCLK) generator designed for 6th-generation Intel processors that allows overclocked base clock frequencies up to 400MHz"
Water Pump Header: "Self-contained and custom water cooling systems now have a dedicated fan header to connect to that provides the required 1A of power for both DC- or PWM-controlled pumps"
Dual PCIe M.2 x4: "The Hyper M.2 x4 card supports a full range of M.2 lengths up to 22110, while providing flexibility to install M.2 drives away from heat-generating sources"
USB 3.1: "With both Type A and Type C USB 3.1 ports onboard, the Z170-Deluxe is capable of handling current...as well as up-and-coming devices"
Crystal Sound 3, Intel Ethernet & Turbo LAN: "Pairing best-in-class integrated audio with low-latency networking on both hardware and software fronts"
And the Deluxe also features advanced cooling capability, with onboard headers individually controllable by assigment to different temp diodes on the motherboard. (The board also supports the awesome-looking "ASUS Fan Extension card" which I feel strangely compelled to purchase - depending on price of course).
Lastly, what modern motherboard would be complete without full RGB lighting? If you said "no motherboard is complete without that!" then you won't be disappointed. The Z170-Deluxe, like the Maximus series, contains just this kind of lighting:
"All the Z170 Signature Series motherboards have a 256-color LED that lets users customize the lighting of their builds. This LED can also be set to reflect the CPU temperature or pulse to the beat of the music playing through the system."
The Z170-Deluxe and the rest of the Signature motherboards are said to be available immediately, so keep checking your favorite outlets as they are gradually appearing for sale.
Subject: Motherboards | August 5, 2015 - 02:44 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Skylake, Maximus VIII, LGA 1151, Intel Z170, ASUS ROG, asus
The 6th-generation Intel Core processors and Z170 chipset are here, and to support Skylake for the enthusiast ASUS has added three new motherboards to their Republic of Gamers ‘Maximus’ lineup: The Maximus VIII Hero, Maximus VIII Ranger, and Maximus VIII Gene.
For those unfamiliar, ASUS includes just about everything (possibly including the kitchen sink, I haven't seen the exact box contents yet) in these Maximus boards, and calling them feature-rich would be an understatement. In addition to the premium construction and overclocking focus there is now a greater emphasis on ease-of-use, with feaures inherited from the company's signature series motherboards. This "5-Way Optimization" includes "all of the enhancements enjoyed by ASUS signature motherboards...complete with award-winning automated overclocking and unmatched fan controls".
There are interesting additions to the new Z170 Maximus lineup, including customizable RGB LED lighting, which can be set to change color based on CPU temperature or “pulsate in time to the beat of your favorite tunes”. Who doesn’t want their motherboard to do that?
The micro-ATX variant: ASUS Maximus VIII Gene
While silent PC enthusiasts might not think aabout a motherboard that's engineered for overclocking performance, fan headers and speed control are a focus with the lineup. In addtion to what's installed on the motherboard ASUS is offering this nice little accessory (as a separate purchase) connects to a header on the motherboard to add an additional three PWM fans with full control.
The ultimate accessory for the enclosure enthusiast? I think so
You could already create some very quiet system builds with Maximus motherboards and the option of adding additional fans with a "Fan Extension card" is a thoughtful one.
The Maximus VIII Hero, Maximus VIII Ranger, and Maximus VIII Gene will be available immediately from the usual retailers, and ASUS states that “other Maximus VIII models will arrive soon”. Pricing was not immediately available at time of publication but I would assume this will mirror that of the existing Maximum VII lineup as in past generations.