Trimming off the extras and keeping the good stuff, the ASUS Maximus VI Hero

Subject: Motherboards | August 26, 2013 - 03:29 PM |
Tagged: asus, z87, ASUS ROG, Maximus VI Hero

If there is one thing that has slowed the adoption of ASUS' impressive ROG line of motherboards it is the price to pick one up, high quality and extensive features do cost after all.  The new Maximus VI Hero, if you can find it, retails for a bit over $200 and comes with a long list of reasons to make it the Z87 of choice.  A pair of 16x, a 4x and three 1x PCIe slots offer a lot of choice for addin cards, ROG SupremeFX 8 channel sound will challenge many discrete audio cards and eight SATA 6Gbps ports will handle your storage needs.  It isn't just about the peripherals though, Hardware Canucks proved that this board can overclock just like one of it's $400+ siblings which is what most enthusiasts are truely looking for.  Check out the full review for the full list of reasons to consider this board.

HC_Intro.jpg

"Combining price and performance isn't something ASUS' ROG motherboards are known for but the Maximus VI Hero bucks that trend by delivering an incredible array of features at a lower than expected cost."

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GIGABYTE Launch Intel H81 Series Motherboards - Bringing Ultimate Durability to Entry-Level Platform Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | August 23, 2013 - 02:52 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, H81, GA-H81-D3, GA-H81M-S2PV, GA-H81M-S2PH, ga-h81m-ds2, GA-H81M-HD3, H81M-H, H81.AMP-UP

City of Industry, California, August 23rd, 2013 – GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, today announced its latest range of 8 series motherboards based on the new Intel H81 Chipset (PCH) supporting the latest 4th generation Intel Core processors. GIGABYTE Intel H81 series motherboards include ATX and Micro-ATX models, bringing together a unique blend of features and technologies that offer the absolute best in terms of quality, durability and overall lifespan.

image031.png

GIGABYTE H81 series motherboards stand out from the competition with signature features that guarantee the utmost in both performance and reliability. High quality components for key areas of the motherboard are joined by an updated and improved UEFI DualBIOS which offers a customizable, full HD BIOS environment, plus the new GIGABYTE App Center, which combines key GIGABYTE applications in a simple, unified interface. GIGABYTE H81 series motherboards also provide additional USB 3.0 ports and support the latest 4K resolution displays on both HDMI and DisplayPort.

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GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 4 Plus
GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 4 Plus focuses on “Ultra Performance” and “Ultra Safe”, with a range of features and component choices that provide optimal performance, cool and efficient operation and extended motherboard lifespan.

Ultra Performance
GIGABYTE uses All Solid Caps (Capacitors) and Low RDS(on) MOSFETs which are rated to work at higher temperatures to provide a longer lifespan. specially designed to produce lower switching for faster electric current charging and discharging, Low RDS(on) MOSFETs have lower power consumption during the switching process, resulting in a faster switching process and less heat generation.

Ultra Safe
GIGABYTE motherboards feature GIGABYTE DualBIOS, an exclusive technology from GIGABYTE that protects arguably one of your PC's most crucial components, the BIOS GIGABYTE DualBIOS means that your motherboard has both a 'Main BIOS' and a 'Backup BIOS', making users protected from BIOS failure due to virus attack, hardware malfunction, improper OC settings or power failure during the update process.

High ESD Protection for USB and LAN (USB 3.0 only)
3199GIGABYTE H81 Series motherboards raise the bar in terms of protecting your system, providing advanced electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection for both your Ethernet LAN and USB ports, both common sources of ESD-related failures. Each LAN and USB port is paired with a dedicated protection filter that can withstand high electrostatic discharges, protecting your system from common electrical surges and even direct lighting strikes.

Additional USB 3.0 Ports
GIGABYTE H81 series motherboards feature an onboard USB 3.0 host controller that provides an additional four USB 3.0 ports. Together with USB 3.0 ports provided by the Intel H81 chipset, users can enjoy SuperSpeed connectivity on a total of six USB 3.0 ports.

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4K Ultra HD Support
GIGABYTE H81 series motherboards provide native 4K support with integrated Intel HD Graphics via HDMI or DisplayPort. 4K resolution is the next technological milestone in high-definition content delivery, utilizing approximately 4,000 pixels on the horizontal axis, more than four times today’s standard HD pixel density.

New GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS with Dashboard Mode
Take control of how your BIOS looks and feels with the new GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS, a fully customizable user interface that allows you to adjust overclocking and performance settings in real-time. With smooth mouse control and shortcuts for fast navigation, the new and exclusive Dashboard Mode gives users complete access to all data related to your motherboard, including CPU, graphics and memory clocks, temperatures and voltages.

New GIGABYTE App Center
GIGABYTE App Center gives you easy access to a wealth of GIGABYTE apps that help you get the most from your GIGABYTE motherboard. Using a simple, unified user interface, GIGABYTE App Center allows you to launch all GIGABYTE apps installed on your system. The GIGABYTE App Center is also customizable with three attractive color schemes.

The GIGABYTE App Center Includes:

  • EasyTune
  • @BIOS
  • EZ Setup
  • Live Updates
  • USB Blocker
  • Smart Recovery
  • Smart Time Lock
GA-H81-D3 GA-H81M-S2PV

GA-H81M-S2PH

GA-H81M-DS2
GA-H81M-HD3

H81M-H

H81.AMP-UP  

Source: Gigabyte

ASUS Never Sold ThunderboltEX. Intel Has Bigger Plans?

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | August 17, 2013 - 09:22 PM |
Tagged: thunderboltex, thunderbolt

Thunderbolt has not exactly caught on for mainstream devices. Outside of media production, USB has a strong brand and carries less of a premium than Thunderbolt. Motherboard vendors and system builders can also more easily implement USB 3.0. Intel, according to VR-Zone, addresses this problem with a reference PCI Express x4 add-in card to be produced and marketed by select Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) partners.

The select partners are, according to current plans, ODMs with existing Thunderbolt motherboard designs.

ASUS_ThunderboltEX Card_4.jpg

ASUS TB_Header Add-in Card, about 19 months ago

Thunderbolt is, basically, the marriage between PCIe and DisplayPort as an external interface. Motherboards can either ship with Thunderbolt ports or a header for non-existent add-in cards. These TB_Headers, on ASUS motherboards, are General Purpose I/O (GPIO) connections used for a fairly unclear task. Officially, they help facilitate a DisplayPort connection to the integrated GPU although they are required even if using DisplayPort pass-through. The card has been stuck in certification woes.

In the Intel's reference design plans, both a GPIO header and internal DisplayPort connection are required on motherboards wishing to support this add-in card. This ends the hope of current system owners wishing to upgrade most existing rigs.

This initiative more seems like an attempt to defer most of the cost of Thunderbolt implementation to a down-the-line upgrade option. I do feel bad for ASUS. They appear to have the problem solved over a year ago with a solution very similar to the one Intel is working on now. If certification were not an issue, they could have very well been first to market. Now it appears they will be in the first wave.

Source: VR-Zone

Quad GPU on the MSI Z87 XPower thanks to the PLX chip

Subject: Motherboards | August 13, 2013 - 11:17 AM |
Tagged: msi, Z87 XPower, PEX 8747 PLX

MSI's Z87 XPower is a brilliant board to base a multi-GPU system on as it's 5 PCIe slots are capable of running two cards at 16x if you are not using the other three, for triple GPU you can manage 16x/8x/8x or even four slots at 8x if you go to the utter extreme thanks to the PEX 8747 PLX chip found on board.  If you are only using one GPU you can choose the slot which avoids the PLX chip altogether to avoid the latency penalty it adds.  A Killer NIC, MSI's Super RAID SSD caching, Multi-BIOS II, Debub LED, Go2BIOS, V-Check Points and Direct OC all add to the benefits you get from choosing this board.  If the $440 price tag doesn't immediately scare you off check out the full review at [H]ard|OCP.

You can also check out Morry's indepth look at the slightly less expensive GIGABYTE GA-Z87X-OC Force right here.

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"Higher end products are niche items which don’t make a lot of sense for the vast majority of users. Even gamers and enthusiasts sometimes shy away from these products unless the feature set aligns with their needs, desires, and budgets. The feature-packed MSI Z87 XPower is a fine example of this high end motherboard category. "

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

Overview and Technical Specifications

What is the Second Look Review

The Second Look Review is used to take a more in-depth look at boards here at PC Perspective. In the initial review, we try to give you an overview of the board, forming an impression of how the board will perform in your system. The initial review details out the board features and layout, BIOS features, and stock performance. The Second Look review attempts to pull back the covers, exposing a more complete picture of the board's performance limits.

In this review, we cover subsystem testing including drive, networking, and audio functionality, as well as overclocking. Additionally, the board components and heat sinks are stripped down to uncover lower level board functionality and design. By the end of the Second Look review, a complete picture of board performance coalesces into an adequate picture for award determination. This award determination takes into account the board performance tested over the course of both the initial and second look reviews.

Be sure to take a look at our first review of this product for a better overall view of the layout and features as well.

Overview and Feature Recap

Features

Courtesy of GIGABYTE

  • Supports 4th Generation Intel® Core™ processors
  • GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 5 Plus Technology
  • All IR Digital Power design
  • GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™
  • Exclusive GIGABYTE OC Features
  • Unique OC Touch Feature
  • Unique OC Ignition Feature
  • Unique OC Brace Feature
  • Gold plated DDR/PCIe Slots and power connectors
  • 4-way Graphics Support
  • Durable black solid capacitors
  • GIGABYTE On/Off Charge™ 2 for USB devices
  • Dual Intel® LAN with high ESD Protection
  • Extreme Heat sink design with 9 system fan connectors
  • Realtek ALC898 with High Quality 110dB SNR HD audio
  • GIGABYTE Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi Card

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force is the flagship board in GIGABYTE's LGA1150 line of boards. GIGABYTE used the previous generation flagship board, the Z77X-UP7, as a template and improved the design to take this next generation board to even greater performance heights. GIGABYTE designed the Z87X-OC Force with an impressive 16-phase digital power delivery system, powered by International Rectifier (IR) manufactured PowIRstage™ ICs and PWM controllers. GIGABYTE integrated a plethora of features into the Z87X-OC Force including: 10 SATA 6Gb/s ports; dual Intel GigE NICs; five PCI-Express x16 slots for up to quad-card support; two PCI-Express x1 slots; onboard power, reset, BIOS reset, pre-power (OC Ignition), base clock up/down, CPU ratio up/down, OC Tag, OC Gear, and OC Turbo buttons; dual BIOS, BIOS select, PCIe port, and LN2 switches; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; integrated voltage measurement points; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

Continue reading our review of the GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Force motherboard!

Supermicro Launches C7Z87-OCE LGA 1150 Enthusiast Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | August 2, 2013 - 01:50 PM |
Tagged: supermicro, overclocking, lga 1150, haswell, c7z87-oce

Supermicro is a company well-known for its server-class motherboards, but its latest motherboard is actually aimed at consumers. The Supermicro C7Z87-OCE is an overclocking friendly board that features the Intel Z87 chipset and a LGA 1150 socket that is ready to be paired with an Intel Haswell processor.

C7Z87-OCE Motherboard.jpg

The board has a simple but effective layout. There are no fancy heatsinks or armor plating here, just a small heatsink over the VRMs. Beyond the CPU socket, features include four DDR3 DIMM slots (32GB max), eight SATA III 6Gbps ports, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, three PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and a AMI UEFI BIOS. Six of the SATA III ports are powered by the Intel Z87 chipset while the other two ports go through the ASMedia ASM1061 controller. Users can use RAID 0, 1, 5, or 10 with this board. The PCI-E 3.0 slots can run at x16, x8+x8, or x8+x4+x4 depending on the number of cards used. An interesting feature of the Supermicro C7Z87-OCE are four green buttons that are numbered 1 through 4. These can be used to overclock the processor by 15% (button 1), 23% (button 2), a user-adjustable amount (button 3), and to clear CMOS (button 4).

The rear IO options on the board include:

  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet (Intel i217V and i210AT NICs)
  • 5 x analog audio
  • 1 x S/PDIF
  • 1 x Thunderbolt
  • Video out:
    • 1 x VGA
    • 1 x DVI
    • 1 x DisplayPort (via the Thunderbolt connector)
    • 1 x HDMI

I'm glad to see another player enter the consumer motherboard arena, and I find it interesting that that player is Supermicro. According to TweakTown's review, the company's first consumer board is not perfect, with the BIOS in particular lacking, but it is an overall decent option for those users wanting a reliable motherboard to support their next system build.

Pricing and availability have not been announced.

Source: Supermicro

The Sabertooth Z87 is one TUF motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 30, 2013 - 10:45 AM |
Tagged: ASUS Sabertooth, ASUS Gryphon Z87, tuf

Along with the very obvious TUF Thermal Armour you can see in the picture below the board comes with ASUS' TUF warranty which lasts for 5 years.  The TUF series is different from the ROG series as the focus is more on durability than extreme performance but that doesn't mean that this board is lacking in speed or features.  It has three PCIe 16x slots with one running at 4x along with three PCIe 1x slots, a total of 10 SATA ports and a half dozen USB 3.0 ports.  [H]ard|OCP found overclocking on this board took a little more effort but did pay off in the end but it was the reliability of the board that truly impressed them.  If you are looking at picking up a pair of the biggest GPUs on the market this board would be a good choice as it is strong enough to support that weight without flexing.

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"The motherboard we are examining today is part of the ASUS "TUF" series which is an acronym for "The Ultimate Force." The Sabertooth Z87 looks like a promising follow up to the Sabertooth Z77 and given the Sabertooth pedigree, our expectations are high for this entry into the series which sets itself apart in the ASUS product stack."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte Releases Three New Budget H81 LGA 1150 Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | July 30, 2013 - 03:01 AM |
Tagged: H81, gigabyte, ga-h81m-ds2, ga-h81m-d3v, ga-h81m-d2v, budget

Gigabyte recently launched three new motherboards based on Intel’s budget H81 chipset. The new motherboards include the Gigabyte GA-H81M-D3V, GA-H81M-D2V, and the GA-H81M-DS2. The boards feature a 3-phase VRM, UEFI BIOS, two DIMM slots, four SATA ports (two SATA 3, two SATA 2), and a LGA 1150 CPU socket that supports Intel’s latest Haswell processors. They are all ATX and identical in featuresets, but differ in the rear IO ports and number of PCI-E x1 slots.

Gigabyte H81 motherboards. From right to left: GA-H81M-DS2, GA-H81M-D2V, and GA-H81M-D3V. (Click on images for larger versions.)

The GA-H81M-DS2 comes with a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot and two PCI-E x1 slots. Rear IO includes:

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 1 x LPT
  • 1 x COM
  • 1 x VGA
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 3 x analog audio
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet

Meanwhile, the GA-H81M-D2V includes the same PCI-E slot configuration as the GA-H81M-DS2 above, as well as the following IO:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x COM
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x DVI
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 3 x analog audio
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet

Finally, the Gigabyte GA-H81M-D3V steps up the PCI-E options to a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot and three PCI-E x1 slots. Rear IO on this budget H81 board includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x DVI
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 3 x analog audio
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet

All of the H81 Gigabyte boards should be available in the US soon for around $50. More information on the idividual boards can be found on the Gigabyte product pages linked above.

Source: Gigabyte

ASUS Releases BIOS Updates To Support Ivy Bridge-E CPUs On Its X79 Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards, Processors | July 30, 2013 - 02:00 AM |
Tagged: P9X79, Ivy Bridge-E, IVB-E, bios, ASUS ROG Rampage IV GENE X79, asus

ASUS has released BIOS updates for all of its LGA 2011 X79 motherboards that add support for Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge-E processors. The update enables enthusiasts to upgrade from their existing Sandy Bridge-E CPU to an Ivy Bridge-E model which adds marginal improvements in performance and power efficiency. Supported processors include the Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition, Core i7-4930K, and the Core i7-4820K. According to benchmarks by Tom's Hardware, the top-end Ivy Bridge-E i7-4960X exhibits up to 30% improvements in performance per watt along with being slightly faster in multi-threaded performance than SB-E. Of course, single threaded performance was shown to be similar to that of Sandy Bridge-E but slower than Haswell.

All of ASUS' X79 boards (including the ROG Rampage, TUF, and P9X79 series) will be getting a BIOS update which will be made available for download on the company's support website or via the individual motherboard product pages. The following chart indicates the motherboard and associated BIOS version number that adds support for IVB-E.

Motherboard BIOS Version Supporting IVB-E
ROG Rampage IV Extreme 4206
ROG Rampage IV Formula 4004
ROG Rampage IV Gene 4206
TUF Sabertooth X79 4104
P9X79 Series 4104

To grab the update, head over to the ASUS support site and type in your motherboard model name to get the appropriate BIOS file.

Will you be upgrading your LGA 2011 rig to Ivy Bridge-E?

Source: TechPowerUp

ASUS Launches ROG Maximus VI Formula Z87 Gaming Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 30, 2013 - 12:33 AM |
Tagged: Maximus VI Formula, maximus vi, atx, ASUS ROG, asus

ASUS has officially launched the Maximus VI Formula motherboard which the company showed off earlier this year. This board has extensive IO and other enthusiast friendly features and is a complement to the Maximus VI Extreme that PC Perspective reviewed back in June.

The Maximus VI Formula uses the Intel Z87 chipset and supports Intel’s latest 4th Generation Core “Haswell” processors. The board is is clad in ASUS technology and a red and black Republic of Gamers color scheme. A 8+2-phase DIGI+ III VRM feeds the processor and memory on the board and is cooled by a massive CrossChill heatsink that can air cool the VRMs or integrate into your custom water loop. The LGA 1150 socket is paired with four DDR3 DIMM slots, and the board supports a maximum of 32GBs at 3100MHz. The DIGI+ III VRM uses NoFET MOSFETs, 60A BlackWing chokes, and 10K Japanese capacitors.

ASUS Z87 ROG Maximus VI Formula Gaming Motherboard (2).jpg

An integrated SupremeFX audio chipset, Mini-PCI-E Combo II card (802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, and a NGFF slot for SSDs), Intel Gigabit NIC, UEFI BIOS, and ROG Armor with SECC back-plate are also featured on this board. The board also supports the company's OC Panel, which is a hardware box that sits outside the case and allows real time overclocking and monitoring.

ASUS Z87 ROG Maximus VI Formula Gaming Motherboard (1).jpg

The Maximus VI Formula further includes 10 SATA 3 6Gbps ports, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (x8+x8 or x8+x4+x4 when in SLI or 3-way CrossFire), and three PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots. ASUS is bundling GameFirst II (QoS that prioritizes gaming traffic), Sonic Radar (visual cues point out direction noise is coming from in games), and ROG RAMDisk software with the motherboard.

ASUS Z87 ROG Maximus VI Formula Gaming Motherboard (3).jpg

Rear IO on the Maximus VI Formula is extensive and surpasses even the Maximus VI Extreme. Port options include:

  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 6 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 jack (Intel NIC)
  • Video outputs
    • 1 x HDMI
    • 1 x DisplayPort
  • Audio outputs
    • 1 x optical S/PDIF
    • 6 x analog audio

The Maximus VI Formula is shaping up to be a beastly flagship board that enthusiasts should get a lot out of when it comes to features and overclocking ability.

ASUS_ROG_Maximus_VI_Extreme_with_OC_Panel_Extreme_Mode.jpg

ASUS has not provided official pricing or release dates, but postings around the Internet suggests that it will be available sometime within the first half (first or second week) of August for around $310. An ASUS representative on the company's ROG channel stated that "currently the projected price is 300 to 310." You can find the product page with more photos and specifications on the ASUS website.

Source: ASUS