Subject: Motherboards | August 29, 2014 - 12:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, X99, Rampage V Extreme, X99 Deluxe, X99-E WS
Fremont, CA (29th August, 2014) - ASUS today announced the X99-Deluxe, X99-Pro and X99-A, three new ATX motherboards based on the new Intel X99 chipset. Packed with exclusive technologies, including OC Socket and 5-Way Optimization, ASUS’ X99 motherboards ensure ultimate performance from the latest LGA 2011-v3 Intel Core i7 processors.
The X99-Deluxe is the flagship model, with a bundled ASUS Hyper M.2 x4 expansion card for ultra-fast 32Gbit/s transfer speeds; onboard 3x3 antenna 802.11ac for ultra-fast Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1,300Mbit/s; and an ASUS Fan Extension Card for flexible cooling options.
All new X99 Series motherboards feature Crystal Sound 2 audio, Turbo LAN technology for lag-free online gaming, a plethora of advanced software features and our renowned UEFI BIOS for intuitive setup and platform control. With a refined look, the ASUS X99 motherboard lineup delivers the cutting-edge performance and style demanded by PC enthusiasts
OC Socket for extended overclocking headroom and ASUS 5-Way Optimization X99 Series motherboards are equipped with a brand-new ASUS innovation — our patent-pending OC Socket. This unique socket includes extra pins that connect proprietary circuitry to extra contacts found on Haswell-E's land grid array (LGA) and is 100% compatible with Intel’s new LGA 2011-v3 (‘Haswell-E’) processors. In combination with the ASUS UEFI BIOS, OC Socket enables higher DDR4 memory frequencies, lower memory latencies and enhanced stability while overclocking, extending all the way to extreme overclocking conditions, such as Liquid Nitrogen (LN2).Users are also able to increase DDR4 memory frequencies to 3200MHz and beyond, even with all eight DIMM slots populated.
Rampage V Extreme
PC enthusiasts also benefit from exclusive 5-Way Optimization technology to dynamically optimize an X99-Deluxe, X99-Pro or X99–A based PC with one click. First up is Turbo Processor Unit (TPU), a custom microprocessor that provides automated overclocking and advanced voltage controls – catering for novice and advanced users. Then there’s Energy Processing Unit (EPU) to deliver system-wide real-time power savings, controlled via a simple onboard switch or the easy-to-use AI Suite 3 utility.
5-Way Optimization technology also encompasses tuning of the Digi+ voltage-regulator module (VRM) to enhance performance, increase efficiency and ensure reliability, and Fan Xpert 3 for peerless fan calibration and control. Completing the 5-Way Optimization technology line-up is Turbo App, an intuitive tuning panel to tailor and boost all parts of the system for specific games or programs.
Loaded with extreme hardware for extreme builds
The X99-Deluxe is a high-end motherboard loaded with extras for the ultimate in enthusiast PC builds. The bundled Hyper M.2 x4 expansion card gives users flexibility to equip their systems with up to two M.2 devices - providing transfer speeds of up to 32Gbit/s. Hyper M.2 x4 supports M.2 devices from the smallest 30mm (2230) to full-length 110mm (221100) cards.
The supplied ASUS Fan Extension Card provides flexible additional cooling in the shape of three 4-pin/3-pin fan headers. As with all fan headers on ASUS X99 motherboards, the Fan Extension Card features hardware-level PWM or DC control modes – for setting the best control curve for high performance or “silent” PCs.
The X99-Deluxe also features super-fast 802.11ac wireless connectivity on board. The 3x3 antenna configuration enables wireless speeds of up to 1,300Mbit/s. In common with the other X99-series motherboards, the X99-Deluxe supports the ASUS ThunderboltEX II expansion card. This gives users the freedom to add Thunderbolt 2 connectivity to X99-Deluxe at any time for bi-directional transfer speeds up to 20Gbit/s — that's four times (4X) faster than USB 3.01.
AVAILABILITY & PRICING
The X99-Deluxe is priced at $399 and will be available now at authorized ASUS resellers and distributors. The X99-A lands with an MSRP of $279 and will be available from early September, while the X99-Pro is expected in early October, price TBD.
Subject: Motherboards, Memory | August 29, 2014 - 12:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: X99, ddr4, corsair, asus, Dominator Platinum, X99-Deluxe, Rampage V Extreme
PAX Prime, Seattle —August 29, 2014 — Corsair, a worldwide leader in high-performance PC components and ASUS a worldwide leader in motherboards, today announced the availability of the Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4 memory kits in 3300MHz, 3200MHz and 3000MHz speeds – the world’s fastest production memory kits. Corsair developed the new high-speed DDR4 memory in close collaboration with ASUS, tuning and validating the memory timings to take advantage of the optimized DRAM layout and UEFI firmware of ASUS’s new X99 motherboards. The new Dominator DDR4 memory kits, when paired with the ASUS X99 Deluxe and Rampage V Extreme motherboards, creates some of the fastest, most stable enthusiast PC platforms available for the new Intel Core i7 processors (codenamed Haswell-E).
“Our rigorous validation with ASUS has enabled us to make Dominator Platinum 3300MHz the fastest desktop DDR4 memory available at launch,” said Thi La, Chief Operating Officer at Corsair. “Our OC team and engineers are excited to see such performance headroom the new Intel platform and are looking forward to releasing even faster kits in the near future.”
“It is always exciting when two companies renowned for being at the forefront of innovation and pushing performance boundaries work together to create new products for end-users. The combination of ASUS X99 motherboards with Corsair Dominator Platinum ushers in a new era of memory performance and stability for enthusiasts,” Joe Hsieh, ASUS Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the Motherboard and Desktop System Business Unit.
Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR Memory
Dominator Platinum memory kits have a striking industrial design for good looks, patented DHX technology for cooler operation, user-swappable colored “light pipes” for customizable downwash lighting, and Corsair Link compatibility for real-time temperature monitoring. Dominator Platinum memory is built with hand-screened ICs, undergoes rigorous performance testing, and incorporates state-of-the-art cooling for reliable performance in demanding environments.
The ASUS X99-Deluxe and Rampage V Extreme
The ASUS X99-Deluxe and Rampage V Extreme feature an enhanced CPU socket and DRAM trace layout to improve signal integrity, providing increased overclocking headroom and stability over reference designs. This is coupled with a highly customized and refined UEFI firmware that allows easy setup and tweaking – perfect for getting the most from Corsair Dominator Platinum memory.
Availability and Warranty
The DDR4 memory kits are available in Corsair’s Vengeance LPX and Dominator Platinum lines. The memory kits are available immediately via Corsair’s worldwide network of authorized distributors and resellers and are backed by a lifetime warranty.
The ASUS X99-Deluxe and Rampage V Extreme motherboards are available now at ASUS authorized distributors and resellers worldwide. Both motherboards are covered by a three year warranty with advanced replacement in the first year.
Subject: Motherboards | August 23, 2014 - 11:45 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: X99, socket 2011-3, Intel, Haswell-E, evga, ddr4, classified
As Intel's next generation enthusiast desktop platfom gets closer to fruition, several leaks (such as Gigabyte's X99 manual) and motherboard teasers have surfaced on the Internet. A few days ago, EVGA posted a teaser photograph of an upcoming "next generation" Micro ATX motherboard on its Instagram page.
The so-called EVGA X99 Micro is set to be the company's smallest Classified-branded X99 chipset offering supporting multiple graphics cards, DDR4 memory, and (of course) Intel's upcoming Haswell-E processors. The all-black motherboard features black heatsinks over the PCH and power delivery hardware. It is outfitted with a 10-phase VRM that feeds the CPU socket (socket 2011-3), two DDR4 memory sockets on each side of the processor socket, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (just enough to max out a Core i7-5820K), one M.2 connector, and six SATA III 6Gbps ports. The board will support USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, but beyond that it is difficult to say what the exact rear IO port configuration will be as a metal shield blocks off the ports in the teaser photo. There is an eight pin CPU power connector along with a 24-pin ATX connector for getting power to the board. Overclockers will be further pleased to see physical power and reset buttons.
According to Maximum PC, this pint sized Classified motherboard will be priced around $250 USD making it one of the most expensive mATX motherboards around. As part of EVGA's Classified series, it should be packing plenty of overclocking friendly features in the UEFI firmware and hardware build quality. This could make for one heck of a powerful small form factor system though, and I'm looking forward to seeing what people are able to get out of this board (especially when it comes to overclocking Haswell-E)!
Subject: Motherboards | August 22, 2014 - 02:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z97-A, lga 1150, Intel, asus
At $145 the ASUS Z97-A is an inexpensive base for a system and yet it still offers quite a few higher end features. Three PCIe 3.0 16x slots that support Crossfire and SLI along with a pair of both PCIe 2.0 1x and legacy PCI slots allow for a variety of configurations. The half dozen SATA 6Gbps ports are simply expected now but the addition of an M.2 port is a welcome enhancement. When [H]ard|OCP overclocked their 4790K in this board they could almost hit 4.8GHz but ended up with 4.7GHz as the best overclock which makes it perfect for the price conscious consumer. Read their full review of this Gold winning motherboard here.
"While ASUS is usually known for motherboards like the Maximus and Rampage Extreme series’ or even feature rich solutions like the Z97-Deluxe it is motherboards like the Z97-A that are ASUS’ bread and butter. Shopping for an inexpensive motherboard doesn’t have to mean accepting poor quality feature stripped solutions."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ASUS Z97-Deluxe & Z97-A Review @ OCC
- Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE @ Kitguru
- ASUS Z97I-PLUS ITX Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Gigabyte Z97X Gaming G1 Motherboard Review @ Hardware Asylum
- MSI Z97 XPOWER AC - Extreme Overclocking for the new Haswell @ Bjorn3d
- MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC – MSI’s top tier gaming offering @ Bjorn3d
- Gigabyte GA-Z97X-Gaming 3 @ X-bit Labs
- MSI Z97 MPOWER @ X-bit Labs
- MSI Z97 XPower AC @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: Motherboards | August 7, 2014 - 02:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: SupremeFX 2014, LANGuard, KeyBot, GameFirst III, FM2+, crossblade ranger, ASUS ROG, asus, amd
ASUS Republic of Gamers have just released their first FM2+ board, the Crossblade Ranger which should be available for ~$160 in the next few days, a perfect base for the A10-7800 and A6-7400K which Josh just reviewed. There is a host of features on this board, from an updated SupremeFX 2014 audio system to eliminate interference and adjust impedance to the LANGuard and GameFirst III networking enhancements. KeyBot is also new, it allows you to program macros on any USB keyboard regardless of the capabilities of the keyboard itself. Check out the full release for a breakdown of the features.
Fremont, CA (6th August, 2014) - ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced the Crossblade Ranger, the first AMD FM2+ motherboard to carry the revered ROG brand name, packed with game-boosting features for an AMD-based gaming powerhouse that is beyond compare. The Crossblade Ranger’s core benefits include the best gaming networking with Intel Gigabit Ethernet, the best gaming audio from SupremeFX 2014, the best gaming interface with KeyBot and the best gaming performance.
Best gaming networking
The Crossblade Ranger is fitted with state-of-the-art Intel Gigabit Ethernet that delivers better throughput and lower power consumption than competing solutions from other vendors.
The new motherboard’s networking capabilities additionally benefit from ROG-exclusive GameFirst III technology for optimal online gameplay. This advanced network-optimization software assigns top priority to game-data packets, allocating them more bandwidth to ensure the best online-gaming experience and clear, stutter-free online team-chat — all controlled with ROG’s usual intuitive flair.
These features are coupled with LANGuard Ethernet socket technology. LANGuard works by employing advanced filtering components with low impedance capacitors to reduce noise and improve throughput and also includes ESD and surge-protection to prevent damage from lightning strikes and static-electricity discharges.
Best gaming audio
Immersive audio is essential for gaming, so the Crossblade Ranger is engineered with SupremeFX 2014. At its core the SupremeFX 2014 solution uses PCB isolation techniques to minimize electromagnetic interference (EMI) and premium ELNA audio capacitors to provide precise 7.1 channel audio that’s on par with the best soundcards.
SupremeFX 2014 features dedicated hardware for features such as Sonic SenseAmp and Sonic SoundStage. Sonic SenseAmp automatically detects analog-audio front-panel (AAFP) headphone impedance and adjusts the amp gain to provide the best volume control range - taking the guesswork and hassle out of setting gain manually.
Sonic Soundstage is a hardware based solution that features preset audio profiles for a variety of gaming genres. First-person shooter (FPS), racing, combat and sports games presets are available via an onboard hardware switch or via the included (Windows) driver package. The benefit of including an onboard hardware switch is that the Sonic Soundstage presets can be applied without needing a driver – so works with any operating system. For Windows users, the presets are fully customizable via software, allowing one to tailor sound to personal preference.
SupremeFX 2014 also includes additional software features to provide a competitive gaming edge and improve immersion.
Designed for first-person shooters (FPS), Sonic Radar II displays a stealthy overlay that shows what opponents and teammates are up to. Players see the precise direction and origin of in-game sounds such as gunshots, footsteps and call-outs, enabling them to hone enemy-pinpointing skills.
Sonic Studio can be used to create virtual surround modes for stereo headsets, provides EQ controls to tune various parts of the audio spectrum and includes noise reduction algorithms for microphones – this all adds up to make SupremeFX 2014 the complete gaming audio solution.
Best gaming interface
The Crossblade Ranger includes KeyBot, a clever tool that lets users instantly ‘upgrade’ an existing keyboard simply by attaching it to the dedicated USB socket.
Once connected, the KeyBot microprocessor is activated and the user is able to use their current keyboard to control multimedia playback, launch favorite applications or assign macros to specific keys —perfect for automating complicated in-game key sequences without the need for an expensive gaming keyboard.
Best gaming performance and experience
Being an ROG motherboard, the Crossblade Ranger is infused with core ROG DNA.
ROG’s Auto-Tuning technology enables the Crossblade Ranger to unleash the true power of AMD APUs with just few mouse clicks. Thanks to the TPU microprocessor (Turbo Processing Unit), the Auto-Tuning routine applies a CPU overclock without need to enter UEFI - perfect for users that are new to the platform.
For users that prefer manual control, the TPU microprocessor and bundled Turbo-V application allows real-time voltage adjustments within the Windows operating system to simplify the process of overclocking a system. Naturally, the ROG UEFI is also chock-full of overclocking functions that help squeeze every ounce of performance from the AMD FM2+ platform.
To keep things cool and quiet, we’ve included five onboard fan headers – each with PWM (4-pin) or DC (3-pin) control. Extensive fan control options are available within UEFI or the automated Fan Xpert 3 calibration utility. Using either method, anyone can customize fan profiles in order to maximize cooling efficiency and eliminate unnecessary fan noise. The level of control on offer here sets a new standard for the FM2+ platform and completely negates the need for using a dedicated and expensive fan controller.
The Crossblade Ranger is also compatible with the ROG Front Base dual-bay gaming panel. The ROG Front Base enables one-click performance boosting, fan-controls, shielded front audio input/outputs, audio profile selection, volume control and real-time system monitoring to provide everything a gamer needs within a single unit.
AVAILABILITY & PRICING
The ASUS ROG Crossblade Ranger lands with an MSRP of $159.99 and will be available at all major online retailers in August.
Subject: Motherboards | August 5, 2014 - 05:38 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: msi, Intel, X99, x99s sli plus
Well, this just happened.
So there you have it, the X99 chipset is a thing, the MSI X99S SLI Plus is a thing, and it looks damned sexy.
— MSI Computer U.S. (@msiUSA) August 5, 2014
I lightened up the photo some to show off more of the features as the black coloring on everything made it all hard to see. Revealed are a total of 8 DIMM slots (DDR4 we assume), four PCI Express x16 slots (though we don't know how many lanes each is connected to), 8 SATA ports, 1 SATA Express and some more goodies. What do you guys think? Stoked for the pending Haswell-E / X99 release?
Subject: Motherboards | August 5, 2014 - 01:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, Z97S SLI Plus
MSI's Z97S SLI Plus has a very clean socket area with nothing intruding into the space around it allowing for the use of a wide variety of CPU coolers. Three 16x PCIe 3.0 slots will support multiple GPU configurations and the pair of PCIe 2.0 and PCI lots leave you a lot of space for add-in cards. Possibly the best feature is the bootable M.2 slot for the newest type of SSDs but for others perhaps it will be the overclocking features which [H]ard|OCP were quite impressed with. The only warning is to avoid installing the full suite of software that MSI shipped with this board, otherwise you will spend time uninstalling the software you do not want on your machine.
"MSI once again brings us a solid, stable, and reliable motherboard with some great overclocking and positions it in the multi-GPU category. Usually when we see marketing moves like this we think of $200, $300, or even $400 motherboards. This MSI platform rings in at the $138 mark, which spikes this motherboard in the value category as well."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI Z97I Gaming AC mini-ITX Motherboard Review @ Techgage
- ASUS Z97-DELUXE Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- ECS Z97 Machine Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
- Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE @ techPowerUp
- MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC @ Kitguru
- Gigabyte Z97X SOC Force Overclocking Motherboard Review @ Hardware Asylum
- MSI Z97 MPower Overclocking Motherboard Review @ Hardware Asylum
- Gigabyte GA-Z97N Gaming 5 Mini ITX @ Hardwareoverclock
- Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE Review @ OCC
- ASUS Z97-PRO Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- Gigabyte GA-Z97X-Gaming G1 WIFI-BK Motherboard Review @HiTech Legion
Subject: Motherboards | July 24, 2014 - 03:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: biostar, z97, Hi-Fi Z97WE
BioStar's Hi-Fi Z97WE is so named for the EMI shield over the Realtek ALC892 audio codec though on the board The Tech Report tested it was less than effective at blocking noise from interfering with the headphone out when the GPU was under heavy load. On the other hand the Digital S/PDIF audio out is rare to see on a lower priced motherboard and will be attractive to some users, even with the lack of digital encoding. The two PCIe 16x slots can handle dual GPUs at 8x speeds but perhaps the most attractive feature is the M.2 slot for an SSD to be inserted. Check out how well it overclocks and the overall stability of this $124 motherboard in the full review.
"Biostar's latest Haswell motherboard sells for only $125, but it's specced like pricier alternatives. You get an overclocking-friendly Z97 chipset, PCIe slots primed for multi-GPU configs, an M.2 slot for next-gen SSDs, and upgraded audio hardware. We spent some quality time with the Hi-Fi Z97WE to see what it's really like, and you might be surprised by what we learned."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ASUS Maximus VII Gene micro-ATX @ [H]ard|OCP
- Gigabyte Z97-D3H Motherboard Review @ Modders-Inc
- ASUS Z97I-PLUS mini-ITX Motherboard Review @ Techgage
- MSI Z97 MPOWER MAX AC @ eTeknix
- ASUS Maximus VII GENE Z97 Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC Motherboard Review @HiTech Legion
- Asus Maximus VII Ranger & Hero Motherboard @ Kitguru
- ASUS Z97 Gryphon Armor Edition @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte Z97X-GAMING G1 WIFI-BK (Intel LGA 1150) @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte Z97X-SOC FORCE Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
- ASUS Z97-A @ X-bit Labs
- ASRock FM2A88X Extreme6+ @ Benchmark Reviews
Redefining Price/Performance with AMD Motherboards
Motherboards are fascinating to me. They always have been. I remember voraciously reading motherboard reviews in the mid-90s. I simply could not get enough of them. Some new chipset from SiS, VIA, or ALi? I scoured the internet for information on them and what new features they would bring to the table. Back then motherboards did not have the retail presence they do now. The manufacturers were starting to learn to differentiate their products and cater to the enthusiasts who would not only buy and support these products, but also recommend them to friends/family/the world.
Today motherboards are really the foundation for any PC build. Choosing a motherboard is no longer just picking up some whitebox board that has a 440 BX chipset. Now users are much more active in debating what kind of features they need, what kind of feedback has this manufacturer received from consumers, what kind of ratings the board has on Amazon or Newegg. Features like build quality or overclocking performance sway users from company to company and product to product.
In the past 15 years or so we have seen some pretty rigid guidelines for pricing of motherboards. The super cheap “PC Chips” style motherboards existed below the $90 range. The decent, but unexciting motherboards with the bare minimum of features would go from $90 to $150. The $150 and beyond products were typically considered enthusiast class motherboards with expanded features, better build quality, and more robust power delivery options. Thankfully for consumers, this model is being shaken up by the latest generation of products from AMD.
MSI insures that everything is nicely packed and protected in their black and red box.
I mentioned in the previous Gigabyte G1.Sniper.A88X review that AMD and its partners do not have the luxury of offering a $150 and above FM2+ motherboard due to the nature (and pricing) of the latest FM2+ APUs. I am fairly sure the amount of people willing to spend $200 on a motherboard to house a $179 APU that seemingly overclocks as well on a cheap board as it does a more expensive one (meaning, not very well at all) is pretty low. If there is one bright side to the latest Kaveri APUs, it is that the graphics portion is extremely robust in both graphics and OpenCL applications. The hope for AMD and users alike is that HSA will in fact take off and provide a significant performance boost in a wide variety of applications that typically require quite a bit of horsepower.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of ASUS
The ASUS Z97-WS motherboard is the latest release for the workstation board line with several evolutionary changes over its predecessor to take advantage of the Intel Z97 chipset features. ASUS changed little as far as the layout goes from the Z87 revision of the board, updating the board aesthetics with a richer gold and black coloration which is carried over into the board's capacitors and MOSFETs as well. The Z97-WS also features both SATA-Express and M.2 ports as well as optimizations to its CPU power circuitry to enhance the CPU 's performance potential and optimize power utilization. ASUS priced the Z97-WS competitively with a $289.00 MSRP in comparison to boards from other manufacturers with a similar feature set.
Courtesy of ASUS
Courtesy of ASUS
ASUS designed the Z97-WS motherboard with an enhanced power delivery system, optimized to deliver the necessary power to the CPU with minimized power loss from excessively stressed components. The Z97-WS comes standard with eight digital power phases, featuring a new revision of the Dr MOS MOSFETs, Beat Thermal chokes, and Japanese-sourced 12k-hr rated solid capacitors. The Beat Thermal chokes offer up to 93% load-based power efficiency, resulting from the thermal-sensitive packaging design with integrated cooling fins as well as a specialized gold coating. The ASUS integrated the following features into the Z97-WS' design: four SATA 3 ports; an M.2 (NGFF) 10 Gb/s port; two SATA Express 10 Gb/s ports; an eSATA port; dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet NICs - an Intel I218-LV and an Intel I210-AT; four PCI-Express Gen3 x16 slots; one PCI-Express Gen2 x4 slot; two PCI-Express Gen2 x1 slots; dual 2-digit diagnostic LED displays; on-board power, reset, CMOS clear, MemOK!, Q-Code Logger, and BIOS Flashback buttons; TPU, EPU, Dr. Power, and EZ_XMP switches; Realtek 8-channel audio solution; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.
Courtesy of ASUS