Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

The ASUS Z97-Deluxe motherboard is the flagship board in ASUS' channel line of Intel Z97 chipset boards. ASUS revised its entire motherboard line for the Z97 chipset launch with the Z97-Deluxe featuring the updated channel board aesthetics as well as many design innovations built upon the previous board generation. With an MSRP of $399.99, ASUS priced the Z97-Deluxe at the level of other flagship motherboards with a plethora of integrated features and performance that more than justifies the price.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS designed the Z97-Deluxe to be a serious competitor in the enthusiast space, integrating a 16+2 phase digital power system to drive the CPU and DRAM with 10k-rated Japanese capacitors used through the board. The board also features an updated heat sink and heat pipe design to optimize passive heat transfer away from the digital VRM chipset and the Z97 chipset.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Z97-Deluxe motherboard!

It's not a refresh, it's a refinement; meet the Z97 Express

Subject: Motherboards | April 30, 2014 - 04:33 PM |
Tagged: Z97-Deluxe, PLX PEX8747, nda, LGA1150, Intel Z97, asus

In the good old days a new chipset meant a huge amount of new features, either never seen before or significantly improved from the previous generation but as more features have moved on the CPU this has gone the way of the Thylacine.  The new Z97 Express chipset is an example of that, adding refinements to LGA1150 boards but not bringing any brand new features apart from the integral M.2 port for your SSD.  There are new tricks in the UEFI BIOS and XMP can be manually enabled via a physical switch if you wish to avoid the tweaking it via the GUI.  The real improvements have been in the software, ASUS Dual Intelligent Processors 5 may well be better at overclocking than you are and the wireless charging feature will impress owners of compatible equipment.  Also of note is that this is the first review that [H]ard|OCP has included a new test to measure deferred procedure call latency.

If you haven't already, you should check out Morry's previews of a mysterious new chipset due to be announced soon.

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"Today ASUS is launching its Z97 series DELUXE motherboard based on Intel’s new Z97 Express chipset. Intel's Z97 chipset is little more than a refresh of the Z87 Express chipset. Despite this, the Z97-Deluxe we are reviewing today builds on ASUS’ lengthy tradition of innovation and attempts to set the bar even higher than before."

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

Introduction

With the release of the next generation desktop board line imminent, we wanted to give you a taste of the new ASUS offerings. ASUS offers support for current and next generation Intel Haswell processors as well as support for SATA 3 and next generation SATA storage solutions with their next generation boards.

ASUS sought to perfect their designs with the new board lines, building off the successess from the Intel Z87-based boards and improving them for better performance and usability. All board lines feature an updated UEFI BIOS with more GUI-driven interfaces and wizards, particularly aimed at those users who don't want to muck around in the Advanced mode settings. Additionally, all board lines feature updated heat sink designs and aesthetics to further differentiate them from their Z87 counterparts. ASUS also enhanced their AI Suite software with 5-Way Optimization functionality, instead of the 4-Way Optimization functionality integrated into the last generation of AI Suite. 5-Way Optimization functionality integrates TPU (Turbo Processing Unit), EPU (Energy Processing Unit), DIGI+ Power Control, Fan XPert 3, and Turbo App into a single cohesive entity.

ASUS will continue to market the next generation boards across their standard four board lines:

  • Channel series motherboards
  • Republic of Gamers series motherboards
  • TUF series motherboards
  • Workstation series motherboards

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Channel series banner

The Channel series boards include all board designs aimed at mainstream consumers and system builders.

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ROG series banner

The ROG (Republic of Gamers) series boards are geared more towards enthusiast and gamer users, featuring a black and red color scheme for eye-catching appeal. The boards also feature innovative designs and integrated components that differentiate them from the other lines.

Continue reading our introduction of the ASUS next generation motherboards!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction

GIGABYTE is doing some interesting things with their next generation line of boards, offering support for current and next generation Intel Haswell processors. Additionally, these next generation boards will offer support for SATA 3 and next generation SATA storage solutions.

The biggest difference between their new board lines and existing Intel Z87 motherboard lines is how they are differentiating the different board series. GIGABYTE will have a total of four board series in their new product line:

  • Normal series motherboards
  • Gaming series motherboards
  • Overclocking series motherboards
  • Black Edition series motherboards

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Normal Series motherboard
Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The Normal Series boards encompass their channel boards for mainstream consumers and system builders.

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Gaming Series motherboard

The Gaming Series boards are geared more towards enthusiast and gamers users, featuring a black and red color scheme for eye-catching appeal.

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Overclocking Series motherboard
Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The Overclocking Series boards are geared towards hard-core enthusiasts and the LN2 record setting crowd with features and designs specifically oriented to eeking out that last bit of speed and performance from the board.

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Black Edition Series motherboard
Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The Black Edition Series boards build on several products from the other board lines, ensuring the utmost stability and performance through a specialized factory-performed testing regimen.

Continue reading our introduction of the GIGABYTE next generation motherboards!

ASUS A88X-Pro meets your buget and performance needs

Subject: Motherboards | April 22, 2014 - 01:59 PM |
Tagged: amd, asus, A88X, FM2+, A88X-PRO

When building a budget system for yourself or someone else that either does not need a powerful CPU or is better served with a powerful GPU then AMD is really the manufacturer you should be looking to.  The ASUS A88X-Pro, for ~$125, could serve as a solid backbone for your system with a pair of PCIe 16x 3.0 ports along with a single 4x, a pair of 1x and even two legacy PCI slots for your older hardware.  The storage system can support six SATA 6Gbps ports and an additional pair of eSATA along with a half dozen USB 3.0 ports and an impressive 10 USB 2.0 ports.   As the board is intended for use with an APU it sports D-Sub, HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI-D out but for gaming you are best served picking up a discrete GPU.  [H]ard|OCP found overclocking to be a bit challenging as not upping the voltage enough sometimes caused drive corruption but for those willing to put in the effort a speed of 4.5GHz @ 1.575v is certainly achievable.  See the full performance review right here.

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"It’s important to take a step back once in awhile and remember that not everyone can afford huge multi-GPU rigs and eight core CPUs. If you are in the market for a shiny new APU, you won’t want to miss our coverage of the ASUS A88X-Pro. This new FM2+ socket motherboard may not be the answer for you, but it could surely be a solution."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

The Gigabyte Z87X-UD7-TH is a fully packed ATX board

Subject: Motherboards | March 24, 2014 - 05:39 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Z87X-UD7-TH, lga 1150, atx, Thunderbolt 2

Gigabyte's Z87X-UD7-TH goes all out in terms of expansion slots with 5 PCIe 3.0 16x capable of running 4 cards at 8x simultaneously, along with two PCIe 2.0 1x slots in case you need even more cards to be plugged in.  The Intel DSL5520 adds support for Thunderbolt 2 and there are 10 SATA 6Gbps ports, 10 USB 3.0 ports and even 4 legacy USB ports which should be enough for just about any user.  Peripheral support is not everything though, find out about overclocking and stability under load in [H]ard|OCP's full review.

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"We’ve covered a lot of budget motherboards lately and shown that you can get quite a lot for your dollar. The GIGABYTE motherboard we are looking at today is not a budget motherboard. In fact it’s on the complete opposite of the spectrum, competing with ASUS’ WS offerings and MSI’s Big Bang XPower series."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI Unveils Next-Gen Gaming Series Board Line

Subject: Motherboards | March 14, 2014 - 03:09 PM |
Tagged: msi, gaming series, Dragon Power

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Courtesy of MSI

Today, MSI unvieled their next generation Gaming Series boards to be released in the near future. The boards will ship with MSI's latest power technology, dubbed dragon power, with the following names:

  • Gaming 3
  • Gaming 5
  • Gaming 7

Watch MSI on Facebook and Twitter for more information concerning their next generation Gaming line of products.

Source: MSI
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

The ASUS Maximus VI Impact is ASUS' newest mini-ITX member of the Republic of Gamer (ROG) family. ASUS integrated design innovations from its Z77-based mITX board and added in some ROG-based innovations to come up with a wholly unique entity. With an MSRP of $229, the Maximus VI Impact comes in at the higher-end of the mITX price range with enough integrated features to more than justify the cost.

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Courtesy of ASUS

Similar to other members of the ROG-based Z87 releases, ASUS designed the Maximus VI Impact board with top of the line power components. The board's digital power system centers on an 8+2 phase power regulation system using 60 amp-rated BlackWing chokes, powIRstage MOSFETS, and 10k-rated Black Metallic capacitors. To save space on the board, the power components are mounted vertically on a hard-attached PCB to the right of the socket with the sound components and wireless networking on vertical removable cards to the upper left of the CPU socket and integrated into the board's rear panel.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Maximus VI Impact motherboard!

Biostar Launches AM1M AM1 Platform Motherboard Series

Subject: Motherboards | March 6, 2014 - 02:44 AM |
Tagged: mini ITX, micro ATX, Kabini, GCN, FS1B, biostar, AM1

Biostar has officially launched three new AM1 platform motherboards that support AMD's latest Kabini-based desktop SoC. The new Biostar hardware falls under the new AM1M series and includes the micro ATX AM1m-HP board and two mini ITX boards: the AM1MH and AM1ML.

Biostar AM1m-HP Micro ATX Kabini AM1 Platform Motherboard.jpg

All three boards feature a FS1B SoC socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, two SATA III 6Gbps ports, one PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot (running at x4 speeds), one PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot, Gigabit Ethernet, and 5.1 channel audio. The micro ATX AM1M-HP adds a legacy PCI slot to the mix. In an interesting twist, Biostar has oriented the memory horizontally above the FS1B socket rather than vertically and to the right of the socket.

Biostar AM1MH Mini ITX Kabini AM1 Platform Motherboard.jpg

Rear I/O on the AM1M-HP and AM1MH boards includes:

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x VGA
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x RJ45 (GbE)
  • 3 x analog audio

The other mini ITX board (the AM1ML) has the same rear IO configuration minus the HDMI video output.

Biostar AM1ML Mini ITX Kabini AM1 Platform Motherboard.jpg

Biostar has not released pricing or availability information, but the boards should ship sometime in mid-April.

Also read: AMD Releases the AM1 Platform: Socketed Kabini APU

Source: Biostar

ASRock Unveils New AM1 Platform Motherboards For Socketed Kabini SoCs

Subject: Motherboards | March 6, 2014 - 01:33 AM |
Tagged: SoC, mini ITX, micro ATX, Kabini, FS1B, asrock, AM1

ASRock has joined the AM1 Platform fray with three of its own FS1B socketed motherboards: the AM1B-M, AM1B-ITX, and AM1H-ITX. The new motherboards come in Mini ITX and Micro ATX form factors that support all of Kabini’s I/O options including USB 3.0, SATA III, and PCI-E 2.0 connections.

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The two mini ITX motherboards (the AM1B-ITX and AM1H-ITX) feature a FS1B SoC socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, four SATA III 6Gbps ports, and a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot running at PCI-E 2.0 x4. ASRock is using two SATA III ports from the Kabini SoC and two SATA III ports from an ASMedia ASM1061 chipset. Both boards utilize the Realtek RTL8111GR NIC to provide gigabit Ethernet.

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The AM1H-ITX board builds upon the features of the AM1B-ITX by adding a mini PCI-E connector. While the AM1B-ITX uses a 5.1 channel Realtek ALC662 chipset, the AM1H-ITX uses a 7.1 channel ALC892 chipset that supports both analog and optical S/PDIF outputs.

Beyond the mini ITX boards, ASRock is launching the micro ATX AM1B-M. This board features the FS1B Kabini SoC socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots (16GB @ 1600MHz), two SATA III 6Gbps ports, a PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot (running at x4), and a PCI-E x1 slot. The board further offers Gigabit Ethernet and 5.1 channel audio. Noticeably absent is the additional ASMedia chipset that adds two SATA III ports.

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Additionally, the three boards have internal headers for extra USB ports and TPM security chips (the exact configuration of which depends on the specific board). The table below breaks down the basic differences between the boards.

  ASRock AM1B-M ASRock AM1B-ITX ASRock AM1H-ITX
Memory 2 x DDR3 (16GB @ 1600MHz) 2 x DDR3 (16GB @ 1600MHz) 2 x DDR3 (16GB @ 1600MHz)
Expansion Slots

1 x PCI-E 2.0 x16 (@ x 4)

1 x PC-E 2.0 x1 (@ x 1)

1 x PCI-E 2.0 x16 (@ x 4)

1 x PCI-E 2.0 x16

1 x mPCI-E

Storage 2 x SATA III

2 x SATA III from Kabini SoC

2 x SATA III from ASMedia ASM1061

2 x SATA III from Kabini SoC

2 x SATA III from ASMedia ASM1061

Networking Realtek RTL8111GR
Audio Realtek ALC662 Realtek ALC662 Realtek ALC892
Rear IO
  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x VGA
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 3 x analog audio
  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x Parallel
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 3 x analog audio
  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 3 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 1 x Optical S/PDIF
  • 5 x analog audio

 

As with the other AMD hardware partners, ASRock has not released pricing or availability information. You can expect the micro ATX to be the cheapest of the bunch, with the two mini ITX boards commanding a slight premium for their reduced size and bolstered I/O options. The boards with four SATA III ports would make for great home server options by not requiring a PCI-E card to connect more than two SATA drives. The boards will support Athlon and Sempron branded AMD Kabini SoCs, and the combination of a board and SoC will cost approximately $60 according to AMD.

While the AM1 Platform is restricted to single channel memory (a Kabini memory controller limitation) versus Bay Trail's dual channel memory support, the AM1 Platform offers SATA 6Gbps and a GCN-based graphics part. Bay Trail may have a leg up in memory bandwidth and TDPs, socketed Kabini offers more storage bandwidth and graphics performance. I'm interested to see how the two platform stack up, and what the new boards are able to do.

Also read: AMD Releases the AM1 Platform: Socketed Kabini APU

Source: ASRock