HCW Overclocks the Z87X-UD4H Motherboard

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | December 31, 2013 - 06:14 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte

HardCoreWare recently reviewed the Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H motherboard with a focus on its overclocking capabilities. Back in August, our very own Morry reviewed the Gigabyte Z87X-OC Force and used it to overclock his Haswell processor to about 4.6 GHz with liquid cooling. This is actually pretty high. HCW notes how many people cannot get Haswell past about 4.4 GHz due to how its heat scales with voltage and frequency after you leave its comfort zone.

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Image Credit: HCW

According to the review, the new Gigabyte board can get within 100 MHz (around 4.5 GHz) of Morry using just its default "Extreme" setting. With advanced settings, Carl Nelson was able to push it to almost 4.8 GHz on an air cooler from Noctua. This was apparently the highest he has ever seen this CPU reach and maintain stability at.

Gigabyte apparently did some effective tweaks with this motherboard. If interested, you should check out the original review for more details.

Source: HCW
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: EVGA

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of EVGA

The EVGA Z87 Stinger is EVGA's Z87-based answer for the small form-factor crowd. Sporting the micro-ITX form factor, the board is featured packed and offers support for the latest generation of Intel LGA1150-based processors. While its MSRP of $229.99 may seem large for its small stature, the Z87 Stinger's feature list makes it well worth the outlay.

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Courtesy of EVGA

The EVGA Z87 Stinger board features a 6-phase power delivery system and an impressive 10 layer PCB. Additionally, EVGA designed the CPU socket with a higher amount of gold, as well as use of solid state capacitors throughout the board to ensure problem-free operation under all operational circumstances. The following features are integrated into the Z87 Stinger: 4 SATA 6Gb/s ports; 1 mPCIe/mSATA 6Gb/s port; 1 eSATA 6Gb/s port; an Intel GigE NIC; 1 PCI-Express x16 slot; on board power, reset, and BIOS reset buttons; BIOS Select switch; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of EVGA

Technical Specifications (taken from the EVGA website)

Performance

Based on Intel Z87 chipset

Memory

2 x 240-pin DIMM sockets
Maximum of 16GB of DDR3 (2666MHz+ in dual channel configuration)

Storage I/O

4 x Serial ATA 600MB/sec (4 Internal) with support for RAID 0 and RAID1

Expansion Slot

1 x16

Multi I/O

Audio connector (Line-in, Line-out, MIC)

Integrated Peripherals

6 Channel Creative Sound Core3D
1 x 10/100/1000 (Intel i217)

Form Factor

mITX Form Factor
Length: 6.7in - 170.18mm
Width: 6.7in - 170.18mm

Operating System Support

Windows 8 32/64bit
Windows 7 32/64bit
Windows Vista 32/64bit
Windows XP 32/64bit

Product Warranty

This product comes with a 3 year warranty. Registration is recommended.

Continue reading our review of the EVGA Z87 Stinger Mini ITX motherboard!

MSI Z87I GAMING AC Motherboard and GTX 760 GAMING ITX Video Card

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards | December 4, 2013 - 12:02 AM |
Tagged: uppercase, msi, mini-itx

MSI is calling these products, "Mini, but Mighty". These components are designed for the mini-ITX form factor which is smaller than 7 inches in length and width. Its size makes it very useful for home theater PCs (HTPCs) and other places where discretion is valuable. You also want these machines to be quiet, which MSI claims this product series is.

The name is also written in full uppercase so you imagine yourself yelling every time you read it.

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The MSI Z87I GAMING AC Motherboard comes with an Intel 802.11ac (hence, "GAMING AC", I assume) wireless adapter. If you are using a wired connection, it comes with a Killer E2205 Ethernet adapter from Qualcomm's BigFoot Networks (even small PCs can be BigFoot). Also included is an HDMI 1.4 output capable of 4K video (HDMI 1.4 is limited to 30Hz output at 2160p).

Good features to have, especially for an HTPC build.

The other launch is the GTX 760 GAMING ITX video card. This card is a miniature GeForce 760 designed to fit in mini-ITX cases. If your box is a Home Theater PC, expect it to run just about any game at 1080p.

No information on pricing and availability yet. Check out the press release after the break.

Source: MSI

Gigabyte trims the Force and the price but leaves the good stuff on the Z87X-OC

Subject: Motherboards | November 26, 2013 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, z87x-oc, LGA1150

Similar to the Z87X-OC Force that Morry recently reviewed is the Z87X-OC from Gigabyte which will cost you about half as much as the Force.  You give up three PCIe slots, a 16x an 8x and a 1x, but do gain a pair of legacy PCI slots.  As well you lose four SATA 6Gbps ports and the onboard audio codec is slightly downgraded but this makes the board well under $200.  The overall design remains the same, very stable and easy to overclock, enough to win it a Gold Award.

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"GIGABYTE has brought us a few great motherboards over the years with most being just above average. On the surface the Z87X-OC doesn’t have much going for it aside from a Halloween inspired color scheme. All that changes when you dig just a little deeper, as Gigabyte is very much still in the motherboard game."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASUS Announces Republic of Gamers Rampage IV Black Edition Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | November 7, 2013 - 01:41 PM |
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, rampage iv black edition, lga2011

Fremont, CA (November 7th, 2013) - ASUS today announced the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Rampage IV Black Edition, an E-ATX gaming and overclocking motherboard designed to unleash the full potential of Intel LGA 2011 Core i7 Ivy Bridge-E processors is available for pre-order at select sites.

Based on the Intel X79 Express chipset, the Rampage IV Black Edition includes all of the best ROG technologies and innovations for unrivaled gaming and overclocking performance. With its four PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots and eight DIMM slots supporting up to 64GB of overclocked DDR3 DRAM, the Rampage IV Black Edition has near limitless expansion possibilities, including support for both 4-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX.

Every Rampage IV Black Edition includes a free copy of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, allowing gamers to take advantage of premium ROG hardware and software features right out of the box.

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Born to push limits and break records
ASUS designed the Rampage IV Black Edition for those who demand the ultimate feature set. It includes the OC Panel, a real-time system-monitoring and tuning console that is great for gamers and a huge advantage for overclockers. It can be mounted internally for everyday monitoring of temperatures, base clock and fan speeds while also offering one-click CPU Level Up for an instant speed boost. Externally, it can be used to monitor and control multiple parameters in real-time via onboard buttons. Extreme overclocking has never been easier.

Prior to becoming widely available, world-class overclockers have already demonstrated the Rampage IV Black Edition’s record-breaking capabilities as it currently holds chart-topping scores in top benchmarks and numerous other world records on the X79 platform.

Built for the most demanding games and gamers
In order to be able to push the limits, ROG engineers combined thoughtful design with superior quality components.

The Rampage IV Black Edition’s Extreme Engine DIGI+ III voltage-regulator module (VRM) provides highly precise and stable power delivery by employing NexFET MOSFETs, 60A (amp) chokes and high-endurance Japanese-made 10K black metallic capacitors. The motherboard’s black-themed heat-sink is exclusively and cleverly integrated with the MOSFET area to extend to the input/output (I/O) cover for even better cooling and stability.

Built-in SupremeFX Black technology provides sound quality that is on par with high-end dedicated sound cards. Premium components such as ELNA audio capacitors and German-made WIMA film capacitors deliver impeccable clarity, while high-fidelity op-amps (operational amplifiers) and a Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC (digital/analog converter) deliver lossless audio and a brilliant 120dB SNR (signal-to-noise ratio).

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ROG’s Sonic Radar on-screen overlay provides fans of first-person shooter (FPS) games with an ear to the ground, as it displays the precise direction and origin of in-game sounds such as gunshots, footsteps and call-outs — giving ROG gamers a leg-up when trying to pinpoint the enemy.

Ultra-fast Intel Gigabit Ethernet with ROG’s GameFirst II utility optimizes network traffic to keep latency to a minimum and reduce all-important ping times. The ROG RAMDisk utility allows up to 80% of a computer’s available RAM to be used as a high-speed virtual drive — lending a strong performance boost to many modern games that regularly read or write data during gameplay.

Source: ASUS
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The GIGABYTE Z87X-UD5H is the upper tier of their Z87 desktop board line. The board supports the latest generation of Intel LGA1150-based processors and is crammed full of all the bells and whistles you would expect on more costly boards. With an MSRP of $229.99, the board is aggressively priced to compete with the other upper tier Z87 desktop boards like the MSI Z87 MPower.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

Besides an impressive 16-phase digital power delivery system dedicated to the processor, the Z87X-UD5H features GIGABYTE's Ultra Durable 5 Plus technology. Ultra Durable 5 Plus brings several high-end power components into the board's design: International Rectifier (IR) manufactured PowIRstage™ ICs and PWM controllers, Nippon Chemi-con manufactured Black Solid capacitors with a 10k hour operational rating at 105C, 15 micron gold plating on the CPU socket pins, and two 0.070mm copper layers imbedded into the PCB for optimal heat dissipation. In addition to the Ultra Durable 5 Plus power features, GIGABYTE designed the board with the following features: 10 SATA 6Gb/s ports; two Intel GigE NICs; three PCI-Express x16 slots for up to dual-card NVIDIA SLI or AMD CrossFire support; two PCI-Express x1 slots; a PCI slot; on board power, reset, and BIOS reset buttons; switch BIOS and Dual-BIOS switches; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; integrated voltage measurement points; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

Continue reading our review of the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD5H motherboard!

The suave looking MSI Z87 MPOWER

Subject: Motherboards | October 28, 2013 - 02:27 PM |
Tagged: Z87 MPOWER, widi, msi, lga 1150

The Z87 MPOWER that [H]ard|OCP just reviewed is great at wireless connectivity, including WiFi, BlueTooth and WiDi as well.  It is no slouch on wired connectivity either with 8 available SATA 6Gbps port and a similar number of USB 3.0 ports but what is relatively rare is onboard support for 3 displays.  Those features help sell it as a base for an HTPC but you can also make it a powerful gaming machine as it can handle 3-Way CrossfireX and 2-Way SLI as well as sporting Lucid’s VirtuMVP 2.0.  There were some issues with MSI's bundled software utilities but the physical board its self performed well enough to pick up a Silver Award; check out the full review to see the board in action.

If you missed Morry's review of this board you should definitely go back and read it.

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"The "M" series motherboards from MSI have gained a lot of recognition recently being an upper quality not-so-high-priced motherboard for the computer hardware enthusiast. However while MSI brings us some of the best hardware you’ll find on the current market seemingly goes a bit off course with firmware and software."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

The second coming of the X79 chipset

Subject: Motherboards | October 7, 2013 - 02:35 PM |
Tagged: x79, Ivy Bridge-E, ASUS X79 Deluxe, asus

With the release of Ivy Bridge-E the X79 chipset and socket 2011 are making a comeback.  The chipset is not new and the new motherboards coming out sport the same specifications but with added features that were not available when the chipset was first introduced.  ASUS has added USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps controllers, improved SSD caching as well as updating both the onboard WiFi and audio; no Thunderbolt though.  [H]ard|OCP took it through its benchmarks and overclocking tests and found that the added features do make this a great choice for a new Socket 2011 system but not really worth purchasing if you are already on an X79 motherboard.

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"ASUS resurrects the tried and true X79 chipset putting it back in the spotlight with updated features just in time for Ivy Bridge-E CPUs. We take a look at ASUS’ X79 Deluxe and not only see if this motherboard is worth your hard earned cash, but answer the question: is there any compelling reason for existing X79 users to upgrade?"

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

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

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of MSI

The Z87 XPower board is the flagship motherboard in MSI's MPower product line. The board supports the latest generation of Intel LGA1150-based processors with all the over-engineered goodness you've come to expect from an MSI flagship board. The Z87 XPower sports the black and yellow theme of the product line, along with integrated LEDs to really make the board stand out. While its $439.99 retail may seem a bit high, the stability, features, and raw power of the board make it a wise investment for those that only want the best.

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Courtesy of MSI

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Courtesy of MSI

Designed with a 32-phase digital power system and an eight-layer PCB, the MSI Z87 XPower is armed to take any amount of punishment you can throw at it. MSI incorporated a plethora of features into its massive XL-ATX form factor board: 10 SATA 6Gb/s ports; a mSATA 6Gb/s port; a Killer E2205 GigE NIC; Intel 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth adapter; five PCI-Express x16 slots for up to quad-card NVIDIA SLI or AMD CrossFire support; two PCI-Express x1 slots; Lucidlogix Virtu® MVP 2.0 support; onboard power, reset, BIOS reset, CPU ratio control, base clock control, OC Genie, power discharge, and Go2BIOS buttons; multi-BIOS and PCIe control switches; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; 14 voltage check points; independent audio subsystem PCB design; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of MSI

Continue reading our review of the MSI Z87 XPower motherboard!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ECS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ECS

ECS seems to like gold and catchy titles. Building on the reputation of their previous generation Z77-based Golden Board series, ECS designed the Z87-based Z87H3-A2X Extreme to dominate the competition. ECS liberally spread the gold, giving all capacitors and connection pins a nice 24k coating. They even include a small fan hidden under the upper VRM heat sink for active heat pipe cooling. At an MSRP of $239.99, ECS priced the Z87H3-A2X Extreme board to aggressively compete with other manufacturers' high end offerings.

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Courtesy of ECS

ECS integrated a full 12 digital power phases into the board's CPU power regulation system for optimal stability and power delivery under the most demanding circumstances. The features designed into the Z87H3-A2X Extreme include: nine SATA 6Gb/s ports; mPCIe/mSATA port; dual Realtek GigE NICs; three PCI-Express x16 slots for up to tri-card support; one PCI-Express x1 slot; one PCI slot; on-board power, reset, BIOS reset, Boot to BIOS, BIOS backup, 80P, and Quick-OC buttons; 3-digit diagnostic LED display; integrated voltage measurement points; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support. The 80P button configures what information displays on the diagnostic display once the board has successfully initialized.

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Courtesy of ECS

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Courtesy of ECS

As part of their L337 Gaming series boards, ECS redesigned the power delivery and integrated cooling solutions for a better gaming experience. The Z87H3-A2X Extreme has the latest generation cooling technology encompassed in ECS' QoolTech V. Additionally, all VRM-related power components have been cherry picked by ECS for operationally longevity under extreme duress.

Continue reading our review of the ECS Z87H3-A2X Extreme motherboard!